The Nichols Brothers and how the magic of Facebook helped to write their full story

Back in the 70s we had a band of brothers that came to work for us. They were hardworking, honest to a fault it seems like and a little bit crazy. When I say “honest to a fault”, I mean that they gave you a better days work than maybe they should have, as in it seemed like they were killing themselves to be sure you knew they were earning their pay. Larry, Richard and Conner were their names. Larry was a little older than me, Richard was about my age and Conner was a bit younger. It was easy … Continue reading The Nichols Brothers and how the magic of Facebook helped to write their full story

Death By Seatbelt

Once when we were doing a project in Dallas, my Suburban was having mechanical problems so I took it to the shop. They gave me a rental car. This was in the early 90s. Kenny was up helping me on that project so we would go eat before we would go to our apartment each evening. This night we determined where to go eat on our way home, but then I changed my mind. He was following me when we stop at a red light. I just opened the drivers door and stuck my head out to tell him to … Continue reading Death By Seatbelt

Dink – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Dink was a once in a lifetime friend. He could do things to a friendship that would test it beyond limits. I never went five minutes in his company without laughing. He was as much an comic entertainer as anyone you see now on TV or at a comedy club. Dink first entered my life when I was a pre-teen boy. He and my Dad worked construction together in the sixties. Dink was a hard worker and knew his trade. I guess you could say his specialty was road boring. That’s where a big machine drills a hole underneath a … Continue reading Dink – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

He Bit My Thumb

There are a few things in life that really don’t mix. Being really tough and drinking too much are a good example of this. Cecil Lewis was tough guy and he drank a way more than he should have. Back in 80 – 81 I had contracted to build a new state park and campground area down on the Guadalupe River near the little community of Bergheim not far from Boerne, Texas. When I needed him my dad would help me out on projects. On this job he mostly drove a water truck driver. He never drank while on the … Continue reading He Bit My Thumb

I Felt Kind Of Guilty For Contributing To This Fellow Getting Fired

Alvin was a TxDot employee, the supervisor over all of the survey crews. I first got to know him in the early 70s when we were contracted to work on the I-35 expansion through downtown Austin. TxDot did all the layout in those days and had a bunch of survey crews. Now-a-days they mostly hire it all out I think. In fact they may not even have a survey division. Sometime later, around 1980, Alvin was seeing retirement coming so he started his own surveying company and would go out on weekends and do work. I hired him to do … Continue reading I Felt Kind Of Guilty For Contributing To This Fellow Getting Fired

My Memorial Day Memory – 1981

Memorial Day is a time for reflection and to honor those Military Person’s that gave the ultimate sacrifice for this wonderful nation. But 40 years ago Memorial Day was marked by devastation to parts of Austin, like nothing some of us had ever lived through. The story below tells my personal experience that day. During the early morning hours parts of Austin received 11 inches of rain in the span of 3 hours. I have no doubt that one of the highest elevations around, Jester Mountain received that much rain or close to it. We were building what is now … Continue reading My Memorial Day Memory – 1981

The Pipes With The Broken Bells

I hope I can explain this without it become too technical and going right over your head. But I saw a segment on How It’s Made (it was the next one after watching sanitary napkins being made) about making reinforced concrete pipes. I videoed the TV screen for a short while to give you some idea of what this little story is all about. That clip will be at the bottom of the page. I had a project for the City of Austin one time that was running a 48” wastewater line right beside and back and forth across Onion … Continue reading The Pipes With The Broken Bells

Flying Low

In the early part of 1978 Nelson Lewis and I came to an understanding that we would be best served to sever ties and go our seperate ways. We had formed Lewis Contractors in August of 1973. In March of 78, I was strung out between a project finishing up in Houston and another one in the later stages of completion in Crystal City, Texas. Kenny had been out of the Army for a couple of years and had joined us. He was doing a project in Kempner, Texas. There had been a storm brewing between Nelson and me, (all … Continue reading Flying Low

Always Watch What You Say Around The Little Ones

I did a job down in Hockley, Texas a long time ago. I was on that project when I heard that Elvis was dead. Funny how we remember those things. When I first started the project I needed someone in the office there onsite to help keep the pipe and other material ordering straight as well as keeping up with time and other office duties. An older fellow dropped by looking for an employment opportunity. He lived in the area and knew his way around. He was a strikingly handsome old fellow. He dressed nicely, but seemed like he constantly … Continue reading Always Watch What You Say Around The Little Ones

Borrowing Money On Your Word And A Handshake

Early in my contracting career, G.K. became my accountant, sidekick and office guy. His marriage had failed due to his drinking and other circumstances, so he was free to move around the state doing projects with me. Something that I was able to easily do too. Madeline and I were fairly portable. We went to Huntsville, Houston and eventually we ended up in Brackenridge, Tx. We only had one child, a baby – Matthew, when in December 1976 an opportunity came along to go do the largest project I had ever undertaken. It was in Stephens County, Texas. It was … Continue reading Borrowing Money On Your Word And A Handshake