I Always Wanted To Do The Right Things, But Circumstances Can Get In The Way

Back in the early part of the 70s we had a project relocating a water line on South 1st Street where a big “S” in Williamson Creek. (as shown in the photo below). Three new bridges were be built. We were on the tail end of that job, cleaning up and pressure testing. The City of Austin had a crew that performed the pressure tests and they came out twice and each time the line failed. The General Contractor that was building the bridges had already started work and it was imperative that we get that line approved or it … Continue reading I Always Wanted To Do The Right Things, But Circumstances Can Get In The Way

The Garage Sale

I have always enjoyed playing a practical joke on people, but no one as much as my Granny Ruby. She was always so humorous and would easily laugh at herself. Madeline and I had temporarily left Austin and were living in Houston where we had several projects going on. We still had our home in Austin so we would sometimes return to Austin on the weekends. This one weekend when we were in, my sis-in-law Karen told me that Granny Ruby, who lived in North Austin was having a garage sale and she was going to be taking stuff over … Continue reading The Garage Sale

Granny Ruby and the Phone Call

One time around midnight back in the 60s, Granny Ruby (my dad’s birth mother) received a phone call. The person on the other end told her that he was with the phone company and there was an indication that something was wrong in her phone that was causing a problem at the switchboard. He explain that some times that would happen and it need immediate attention and with her help it could be remedied. Would she be willing to help? Being the good and helpful person she prided herself in being she said sure I’ll help. The fellow ask if … Continue reading Granny Ruby and the Phone Call

There Are Certain Things You Just Don’t Want To Know

Early in my construction career I was involved in a project in west Austin, on West 5th St. That project is seared in my memory, even though it happened almost 50 years ago, around 1973. We were relocating a bunch of utilities lines, that needed to be moved so MoPac could be constructed. There were many things that happened during the course of that project. They aren’t that important at this moment. Several years and a million miles later, we did a second project in the same area of Austin. That project was providing drainage for a new building, a … Continue reading There Are Certain Things You Just Don’t Want To Know

A South Austin Hailstorm

It happened along about 1975. My life has been mostly marked by the year model of this car or that pickup I was driving and at this time. I had a “75” Chevrolet El Camino, two tone blue. Midnight blue top and bottom with a medium blue in the middle. I needed a new pair of work boots, so I headed over to Herman’s Workshoes and Workbooks on South Lamar at Oltorf St. Being young married at the time, we did a lot together back then so my wife met there. She was driving a “74” Pontiac Grand Ville. We … Continue reading A South Austin Hailstorm

GK, My Accountant With A Drinking Problem

Gk was my accountant for several years. I’ve mentioned him in a couple of my previous stories. I mostly called him Worley, his last name. GK was so fast on a desk calculator, you’d think the keys were going to fly off. By the time I got to know him, he was pretty much an old drunk. He would shake a lot. But when he would sit down and had a pen in his hand that man had the nicest handwriting of any person I’ve ever known. He had gone to a business school when he was young. He could … Continue reading GK, My Accountant With A Drinking Problem

I Just Had A Winfield Scott Memory Pop Up In My Head

Not long before Winfield’s death, I was in Houston and met him for lunch near his downtown office. He had not yet been disbarred for getting busted with drugs. He was making plans to come to Austin and open a practice. The rules about Attorney’s had changed allowing television advertising. Houston was saturated with those commercials but it hadn’t so much made it’s way to Austin. He was sure that him investing in a great advertising campaign would put him on the map post haste. He certainly had the line of BS to go a long way. Maybe had things … Continue reading I Just Had A Winfield Scott Memory Pop Up In My Head

The Princess Mobile Phones

Back in the early 70s there was a fellow that started a new mobile phone service operating out of Austin. It was a far cheaper option than Southwestern Bell had at that time. That service could run into hundreds of dollars per month. I believe it cost “X” amount per call placed plus something like 50¢ per minute. Some high rollers would actually spend over a $1,000 per month, but it was the cost of doing business. Larry Bird with Capital Communications, the new guy, tapped into some new technology which allowed for a fairly small radio box to be … Continue reading The Princess Mobile Phones

The Machine That Developed A Mind Of Its Own

Back in 1973, we were doing a project out in the Northwest Hills Area of Austin. We had just acquired a new C14 Hein Werner Excavator, much like the one below. To make it travel the 2 shorter levers (with the black grips) in the picture below would be pushed forward or back depending on the direction you wanted to travel. Of course only pushing or pulling one lever would cause the machine to turn. If you were traveling for a far distance they could be snapped in, so you didn’t have to hold them. At the end of the … Continue reading The Machine That Developed A Mind Of Its Own

$$$$I Could Never Pass Up Tools Laying In The Road

It always amazes me how often I used to find tools, like wrenches, hammers, screw drivers and the like laying on the road when I was traveling so much. I always accused my careless mechanic Paul of being the one that lost most of them. Almost any day I could drive out of the yard and find something Paul had left laying under the hood or on the bumper that would fall off. Of course he wasn’t too worried about it as long as I had charge accounts at all the parts houses in Austin. Perhaps Paul’s carelessness fed my … Continue reading $$$$I Could Never Pass Up Tools Laying In The Road