The Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge Collapse

Four days after the horrific 9/11 attacks on this nation, Madeline and I decided to go to South Padre for a few days. I don’t remember if it was planned a way ahead of time or we, like so many, others just needed to go somewhere to reflect on what had just happened. We owned a condo on the beach side, at about the mid point of the island at that time. We found so much serenity in going there, watching the sunrises and mostly enjoyed sitting and reading and hearing the waves constantly rolling in. We had left late … Continue reading The Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge Collapse

The Thanksgiving Feast

This time a year is always my favorite time to eat, like it is for most people. A few years ago I went to an ENT Doc in Austin. He sent me over to an all night sleep clinic. After doing the sleep study and every thing else I could do in hopes of getting a full nights sleep, this guy wanted me to wear a CPAP mask while I sleep. I just couldn’t see that ever happening. So I decided his second option may work into my overall plan better. He said he could go in and snip my … Continue reading The Thanksgiving Feast

Being A Super Snooper At Heart

I have a friend that I have gotten to know over the past few years. We met in the strangest of ways. This fellow had been a friend and one time roommate in Houston of Winfield Scott’s. He had met Winfield and Millard through a girl he dated for for several years. She was their cousin that lived in Austin. RG had lost touch with the Scott’s and his old girlfriend. As he googled the name Winfield Scott some of the stories I have written popped up. That’s when he found out that Winfield died several years ago. RG is … Continue reading Being A Super Snooper At Heart

George and the Misunderstanding

One day back in the late 1970s Cecil, our dad, called and asked if we could do a favor for George. George is Smithwick’s own George Despain. They both knew we did a lot business with Holt Caterpillar. “Would we put a set of dozer tracks on our account, so George could get the best deal possible”? George would give Cec a check for the bill. We readily agreed to it. Wasn’t any skin off of us. George got his tracks all was great. Kenny nor I gave it much thought, figuring that Cec gave the check to the other … Continue reading George and the Misunderstanding

Chief The Stuttering Mexican

Back in the days, the 1970s and into the 1980s when blasting was necessary on almost every project, we would have to hire outside “blasting contractors” to supplement our forces. We had done this for a big subdivision we were building and this guy was well into a project and he hadn’t shown up for a couple of days. I would stop by and it was evident his crew was without leadership and therefore without direction. So I ask where their boss was. No one knew but they were beginning to get concerned because payday was coming up and he … Continue reading Chief The Stuttering Mexican

Things Are So Much Different Now Than They Were 50 Years Ago

When I was a teenager, you could get a gun pulled on you and not end up dead. During a two year time frame, my junior and senior years, I was on the receiving end of a handgun four times. Each circumstance was way different from the others. But back then people knew how to point a gun at you and not pull the trigger. Now when someone shows you thier gun, there is a good chance they are going to shoot you. In fact out of those four incidents, there was only one time that a gun even discharged. … Continue reading Things Are So Much Different Now Than They Were 50 Years Ago

The Schefflera Plant Incident

Madeline had a plant she always kept right outside the front door in a huge pot. She took such great care of it. She would have me bring it in during part of the year. She always monitored my coming and going with it to be sure I didn’t knock any leaves off of it. She was very particular about that Schefflera. It was about 4 feet tall, therefore it required a large pot which was really heavy. She said something to me one day that I didn’t take real kindly to and rushed out the front door. I know … Continue reading The Schefflera Plant Incident

Cec Got Caught In A Tight Place

Cec bought a 1960 Ford Falcon when they first came out. He drove the heck out of that little ol car. It eventually became Bonnie Gay’s car after he got the new worn off of it. These were the days when we lived in Jollyville area but would come to Smithwick every weekend to take care of the place and see too the animals. The Falcon developed a bumping sound up in the front end. He could see a shock absorber was loose. He got the bumper jack out, one of the tall stand type jacks that were just waiting … Continue reading Cec Got Caught In A Tight Place

The Strange Case Of The OSHA Inspections

We were involved in a very high profile construction project in Austin, the north extension of Loop One. This was during a time span between 2005-2007. We were a subcontractor relocating various water and wastewater lines to allow for the highway expansion. All eyes were on us, as we were working for a consortium comprised of two large highway contractors, with oversight by TxDot, The Tollway Authority and City of Austin. Our work is always under scrutiny, due to the dangers involved in digging deep trenches, but this project had many extremely difficult circumstances with traffic congestion being one of … Continue reading The Strange Case Of The OSHA Inspections

It’s All About Timing

A fellow I know used to enjoy having a few beers in the afternoon as he’d make his rounds feeding cattle and such. It was pretty late in the evening, or perhaps I should say night, it occurred to him that he didn’t want to start the next day with a dirty pickup. So he pulled into an automatic carwash, the kind that has an arm that starts at the front on the passenger side and slowly makes its way down that side, circles around the back and heads back to the front spraying soap and water the whole way. … Continue reading It’s All About Timing