They Made The Mayor Cry

A long time ago I had a contract with the small city of Sunset Valley, a suburb on the southwest edge of Austin. The contract was to rebuild a crumbling street. When we finished, a condition of getting paid was I had to go to the City Council Meeting where the payment would be approved and they would write me a check right there on the spot. What I didn’t realize was there was a new mayor, a lady, and a couple of new male councilman. I sat through the entire meeting, with the approval of my payment coming at … Continue reading They Made The Mayor Cry

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

The Motorcycle Cop

I was just a kid, maybe 17 years old. Nelson Lewis had a big Cadillac Sedan and wanted me to take it and drop it off in downtown Austin for him. I was barreling up Trinity Street, a few blocks east of Congress Avenue. Just as I approached 3rd street, there was a motorcycle cop turning from 3rd and was going to head north on Trinity, the same way I was going. I saw him keep edging out in the intersection, like he expected me to stop and let him go ahead of me. I didn’t see any flashing lights, … Continue reading The Motorcycle Cop

Then and Now

I graduated from high school in May 1970. By the fall of 70 I went to work in the underground utility industry. I believe I was earning around $3.00 per hour. Considering the minimum wage back then was $1.60, I was doing pretty well. A top operator was paid $3.75 per hour. By late spring of 1972, I had learned enough about the business, plus what I had picked up being around trucks and machinery my whole life, I subcontracted my first water line installation project in Burnet, Texas. I had a crew of 4 or 5 people including myself. … Continue reading Then and Now

The Ice Storm That Completely Paralyzed Austin

In the early part of 1973, I believe it was January 8th – 10th, it begin to rain and the temperatures dipped into the teens in Austin where we lived, and all around Central Texas. During a two to three day period it was impossible for cars to drive. The vehicles were not equipped for it. The city, county and state governments were ill-prepared to handle those road conditions. Weather forecasting was a hit and miss proposition back in those days, so everyone was caught mostly off guard. Almost everyone was forced to stay right where they were when it … Continue reading The Ice Storm That Completely Paralyzed Austin

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

Attorney’s Don’t Always Think Out Their Next Question

One time years ago we were working beside North Lamar out just north of Rhomberg Lane in north Austin. A few blocks south of our job site 2 cars got together in a pretty bad crash. Attorneys got involved and started suing everyone they could think of. I’m not sure how our name got involved but it did and we were named in the suit. Several months or even years had past when an attorney called me to get a statement. She had almost worn me completely out when I told her that I would send her a map marked … Continue reading Attorney’s Don’t Always Think Out Their Next Question

Austin Was Always A One Truck Stop Town + the Big Wheel in Oak Hill.

With I-35 and the other highways of commerce from out to the east and west, it seems there was hardly a time that Austin was home to more than one Truck Stop. In the 50s and 60s, The Austin Truck Terminal up north just south of US 183 on I-35. It was owned by Mr. Herbert Skinner. He also owned Austin Truck & Machinery that was adjacent to it. It became the Freightliner Truck Dealership and remained there for many years.  The cafe was Marvin’s in the early days and later was operated by a fellow by the name of … Continue reading Austin Was Always A One Truck Stop Town + the Big Wheel in Oak Hill.

The Double Cross

The are some things that happen in our lives that leave us wondering about mankind. This story left me feeling less trustful and saddened. I had become very good friends with an old gentleman that was my neighbor, Udo Haufler. Upon his retiring after a long and successful career as an excavation contractor in Austin, I bought his office and yard along with several pieces of his equipment. I didn’t buy his business per se, and I’ve alway questioned why I didn’t. He had almost cornered the market on doing big excavation projects around Austin. The Haufler name in the … Continue reading The Double Cross

Bill Tabor – Inventor & Hydronaut

I can’t tell you that I ever really got to know Bill, but we were in the same type of construction business in and around Austin, back in the 70’s. I’d run into him from time to time. We both frequented the Jim’s Coffee Shop on Ben White Blvd and we would see and chat with each other there. Bill had a horse stable out by Travis Country toward Oak Hill. He had his finger in a lot of things. He also operated a store, Tabor Town down around Cedar Creek, I believe it was. I read where Bill passed … Continue reading Bill Tabor – Inventor & Hydronaut