Another Rock Blasting Story

During the first 15 years of my contracting career most trenches in rock were blasted, before good productive and dependable rock trenchers were developed. We had one crew that their primary job was drilling and shooting (term we used for blasting) rock. We were building a new subdivision right behind the Bannockburn Baptist Church, before it was built, on Brodie at McCarty Lane in southwest Austin. All was going real good on that project. Don the crew foreman and our ace blaster was short handed, so he hired an old hippie that happened by. The old hippie’s only job was … Continue reading Another Rock Blasting Story

Dynamite Headaches

I have talked extensively about blasting rock and handling explosives (or mishandling as the case may have been). As I’ve said before, my days in the blasting game came early in my life, mostly before I was 30 years old which was up until the early 1980’s. Most of what I learned about blasting rock was from Cecil Lewis or Burnet, Texas blasting legend LJ Henderson. Of course trial and error and being self taught was where I learned the most I suppose. Since there wasn’t a school to actually go to learn the trade, you start out loading a … Continue reading Dynamite Headaches

Cecil Lewis Smoked One Joint In His Whole Life

Cec was well into his 60s and had never smoked marijuana. He is a man that had not lived a completely pure life, but for whatever reason smoking pot or doing drugs was something that had never appealed to him. He had a fellow living at his fishing camp that had enjoyed a long life of pot consumption. Virgil tempted Cec with a baggie of weed one day. Not knowing how he was going to react to it’s effects, he decided to take it with him and find a convenient time to smoke some without calling too much attention to … Continue reading Cecil Lewis Smoked One Joint In His Whole Life

Let me give you a little insight into my dad, Cecil Lewis.

I hope I don’t give the impression that Cecil Lewis was an outlaw or something. He was, what can I say, he was Cecil Lewis. Truly a one of a kind. If he liked you he’d do anything for you, if he didn’t like you, he’d still do anything for you. He was liked by most people, respected by many but people knew to give him a wide berth.I owe much of my success to him. Not only in the things he taught me to do, but in the things I learned not to do. He was the nicest yet … Continue reading Let me give you a little insight into my dad, Cecil Lewis.

The Smithwick Battle Royale

I’ve told many stories about how small I was as a kid and how it made me ripe for being picked on. No one was harder on me than brother Kenny. But I’ll have to say that he was always the first to come to my defense, a brotherly thing. As I began to grow, it was only a natural progression that one day I would have to say no más to being Kenny’s whipping boy. It was just before Kenny left for the Army and I had finished school. We were over at Nonie’s house, right beside the highway. … Continue reading The Smithwick Battle Royale

Brotherly Love

Often when I talk to my brother on the phone, which is usually several times each day, those conversations will drag on longer than they need to. You know, there’s only so much that two people could have to say that hadn’t been covered in the first minute or so. Or something we haven’t said a thousand times before. I have used the following technique many times before, but I was reminded recently how effective it is. All I have to say is “have you ever considered getting on Facebook” ? Instantly I hear a click. It just seems like … Continue reading Brotherly Love

The Salt Cedar Switch

I scarcely ever see a salt cedar tree anymore. As a small child there was one growing off the edge of the sleeping porch at my grandparents house. In fact that’s about the only one I ever remember. I saw one a while back down along the river by the lower end of The Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend. It made me remember why I was so well behaved as a youngun. Just the threat of “Ronnie Gene do I need to go cut a switch off that salt cedar” would get me in line. I’m doubtful that there … Continue reading The Salt Cedar Switch

The Watch And The Dice Game

Back in the mid 60s our Dad, Cecil, leased our place out for deer hunting. I only remember him doing it for a few years. Several of the guys were connected through marriage. I think they mostly came out of Austin. Richard Ward and Bill Hayden I remember for sure. There were several others, maybe a half dozen in all. One other fellow, Harrison was his name. He was a really large guy as I remember. He had a business out on North Lamar just south of US 183. It was a craft supply place, I think. I remember us … Continue reading The Watch And The Dice Game

The Inks Dam Anchoring Project

I’ve Never Really Been Afraid Of Heights, But……. In the hustle bustle of being in the construction business you hire people and trust that they know what they are doing. If a business stays small you can keep your thumb on it and watch every move. But as you expand and grow you have to allow decisions to be made that you are responsible for but you didn’t exactly make. This really applied in the following story. I had a guy, Tom, that was a very smart fellow working for me in a project management roll. Tom was an A&M … Continue reading The Inks Dam Anchoring Project

A Head-Plant In The Mud

I was about 17 years old. Lake Travis was really low like it often is. We had a bulldozer and a Cat 12 Motorgrader down along the bottom land, cleaning up and leveling out so when the lake came back up it would………no we knew it wouldn’t stay smooth but Cec had a good idea. Something to keep me busy. My helper was, David Jordan, my one day in the future brother in law. He was a couple of years younger than me. If I remember correctly it had been a fairly uneventful day, that is until I started out … Continue reading A Head-Plant In The Mud