Eavesdropping Through The Motel Wall

Back in the late 70s, we decided to bid on a project for the City of Laredo. I usually traveled to these out of town destinations alone, while Kenny kept an eye on things back at home. But this time he accompanied me on the long road south. We left really early in the morning so we could look at the job site conditions and see what kind of productions we could expect. We checked into a Holiday Inn Motel in Laredo to finish up on a bid that would be turned in later that afternoon. We were staying over … Continue reading Eavesdropping Through The Motel Wall

The Contractor That Did It All

One time we ventured off to Laredo to bid on a project, a new water line. This was way back in the late 70’s. The bids were turned in the late afternoon. We had to stay over until that night when the bids were opened and read at the city council meeting. I figured that was a ploy to get more hotel tax revenue. My brother, Kenny was with me for this trip. We got to the council meeting and saw where not only our bid was going to be opened that night but probably 6 or 8 other bids … Continue reading The Contractor That Did It All

Hauling A Parsons Ladder Trencher

Back in 1970, not too long after I graduated from high school, I was driving a truck for Nelson Lewis, hauling equipment. I remember being dispatched to Devine, Texas to haul a Parsons Trencher from there over to Port Lavaca. It was a trip of around 200 miles, maybe more with weaving my way down through the many little south Texas towns. This was before any big highways were built. Those towns were connected with Farm to Market Roads and a few State Highways. I got to Devine late in the afternoon one day, loaded the machine and chained it … Continue reading Hauling A Parsons Ladder Trencher

Dink Wrote Me A Check

George Lester McDuff was a fiery little fellow. Everyone called him Dink and he always had a story to tell. He had the ability to make me laugh. He could make anyone laugh. I first met Dink in 1963, when I was just a kid. He and my dad worked for the same utility construction company. Dink ran the roadboring division. Roadboring is where a horizontal hole is drilled under a roadway or railroad track a then pipe is installed. It was dirty work with mud knee deep and oil and grease everywhere. But everyday Dink showed up in starched … Continue reading Dink Wrote Me A Check

The Check Washer

Years ago, maybe 1977 or 78 a fellow showed up in our office selling portable check embossing machines. Those are the ones that punched a series of tiny perforations in the amount line of the check, to make it less likely to be forged. As part of his sales pitch he had us write out a check and within 3 minutes he had put a solution on the check and washed all the ink off. He left our signature on it by taping over it before the washing started. Then he made it out to himself with a million dollars … Continue reading The Check Washer

Hiring The New Office Guy

Many years ago I had lost my office person to a better opportunity in Houston for him. I knew of this young man that I thought would be a perfect replacement. This fellow was very good with radio’s. In fact he had been trained in electronic repair. He was a HAM Radio Operator. That would come in handy, because back then when most all of our dispatching was done with 2-way radios. We had just started using computers in the business and Joe was already getting into computers himself. This fellow was very orderly and organized like no one I’d … Continue reading Hiring The New Office Guy

Tumbleweed Hill

Kenny had only been out of the Army for a short time. He was working for the company. I had a 1976 Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Pickup that I handed down to him. We had a project installing a new waterline that extended from near Mesa Dr, along Far West Blvd. The line would end near FM 2222 and Bull Creek Rd. This was Kenny’s project to oversee. We were for the first time living a role reversal, where I was his boss. I made an early morning drive by to check the progress and didn’t see Kenny anywhere, even … Continue reading Tumbleweed Hill

The Disease

It was in the hot summer time and I was out of school for the summer. I was about 14 or 15 years old and working for my Dad, Cecil Lewis. We were building a road down by Turkey Bend. Just country roads are all we built back then, hauling and spreading out caliche for new subdivision roads. I always ran the loader, loading the five or six dump trucks that hauled the caliche. The trucks were driven mostly by our school age friends, the ones at least sixteen and could get a commercial license. Socks Jackson was the mechanic … Continue reading The Disease

When You Can’t Buy It, Just Build It.

For many years we would be working on projects and an idea would pop in our head of a better way to do something and with a good team of fabricators on board with us we’d just build it. Not everything we built worked as well as we hoped, but when we got a winner, it was the real deal. Below was something we built that allowed us to set a large diameter pipe one it, the larger rollers were hydraulically powered and would slowly turn the pipe while the hydraulic pipe saw would move down to the correct mark … Continue reading When You Can’t Buy It, Just Build It.

The VW Bus Was Parked In A Bad Spot

I wasn’t long out of school, probably had just turned 18. One of my first jobs was driving a haul truck for Nelson Lewis, a cousin in the utility business. He had just landed a project in downtown Austin, laying a wastewater line up West Ave. It started down at 7th St and would continue up to about the 24th block on Rio Grande St. Right up in the middle of the University of Texas Campus. The first piece of equipment I hauled to the job was an old White-Oliver Rubber Tired Backhoe. It was a beast, 4 wheel drive … Continue reading The VW Bus Was Parked In A Bad Spot