Another Rock Blasting Story

During the first 15 years of my contracting career most trenches in rock were blasted, before good productive and dependable rock trenchers were developed. We had one crew that their primary job was drilling and shooting (term we used for blasting) rock. We were building a new subdivision right behind the Bannockburn Baptist Church, before it was built, on Brodie at McCarty Lane in southwest Austin. All was going real good on that project. Don the crew foreman and our ace blaster was short handed, so he hired an old hippie that happened by. The old hippie’s only job was … Continue reading Another Rock Blasting Story

Dynamite Headaches

I have talked extensively about blasting rock and handling explosives (or mishandling as the case may have been). As I’ve said before, my days in the blasting game came early in my life, mostly before I was 30 years old which was up until the early 1980’s. Most of what I learned about blasting rock was from Cecil Lewis or Burnet, Texas blasting legend LJ Henderson. Of course trial and error and being self taught was where I learned the most I suppose. Since there wasn’t a school to actually go to learn the trade, you start out loading a … Continue reading Dynamite Headaches

Bud Lockhart

I was about 13 years old, up underneath an old dump truck, single handedly putting in a new clutch. We were allowed to use an old covered platform dock down at Pure Stone for the purpose of working on our trucks. It had originally be put there as a loading dock, to load rail cars, but was no longer needed for that purpose. I could tell that a fellow had walked up and was standing beside the truck. I continued on working. About then this fellow squatted down so he could take in what was happening. We chatted as I … Continue reading Bud Lockhart

The Unfortunate Happening On The Side Of Ben White Blvd.

John Harlan did a lot of our road-bores back in my early days in the business. A road-bore is where we drill underneath a roadway or other obstacle to install a pipe for some type of utility. John wasn’t the easiest feller to get along with, but if he and his sons showed up on the job, one thing for sure is they would get the bore done. Besides it was a real sideshow watching them hollering, cussin, and storming around at each other. Back around 40 years ago I had a project in Austin and was waiting for John … Continue reading The Unfortunate Happening On The Side Of Ben White Blvd.

Not Being Easily Embarrassed

My wife swears she has only seen me embarrassed one time. It was 20 something years ago, when I was out in the sun a lot and my skin was very dark. As suntanned as I was, my face lit up like Santa’s suit. It so happened that one day in our office I barged in on an office worker nursing her new born son, even after Madeline told me not to go in that room. I thought she meant that I would wake up a sleeping baby, “so don’t go in there”. Well that wasn’t the only reason for … Continue reading Not Being Easily Embarrassed

A Hunting Trip To Utah

Back in the days, mid 1980s, when I had the energy to trek up and down mountains hunting deer I went off to Utah with few others to hunt for the big one. We were supposed to spent five days up there and not a one of us ever got a shot off. Of course it was the worst spell of rain to ever hit that area. It was however one of the greatest adventures that any of us had ever been on. This trip happened right in the middle of the double tailed quarter episode that I’ve written about … Continue reading A Hunting Trip To Utah

My Crooked Nose

I earned my crooked nose. It took me a long time to learn what to do to keep from getting punched in the nose. It was mostly all about keeping my mouth shut at the right time. Back in the mid 70s we were doing a project on the east side of Houston. At I-10 and Federal Rd. to be exact. The job keep me later than usual so well after dark I found myself standing at a pay phone outside of Jim’s Coffee Shop on Federal Rd. Probably letting Madeline know to not wait dinner on me. At the … Continue reading My Crooked Nose

Cell Phones On The Cheap

After the prosperous years of the 80s came the real estate bust of the late 80s and early 90s. Kenny, Coy and I (of double tailed quarter fame) were teamed up again doing work together. The days of mobile phones had given way to pagers and pay phones.Mobile phones were very expensive in the early days. My average phone bill in the 80s was $1,000 – $1,200 per month. That wasn’t for the whole company, that was just me. I stayed on the phone constantly, conducting business and doing a fair share of BSing. Those costs just weren’t in the … Continue reading Cell Phones On The Cheap

Aged Bourbon

I have told many people before that I lost all taste for bourbon after drinking a fifth and a pint of Old Crow in about 30 minutes one time, and eventually woke up in jail the next day. But that was when I was 16 years old. I just never could stand the smell, much less the taste of it after that. That was well over 50 years ago. I have several bottles that have been in the top of a cabinet, leftover from when the popular thing to do was hand out whiskey as gifts at Christmas time, in … Continue reading Aged Bourbon

Don’t Ever Talk Down To Your Crew When You Are In The Underground Utility Business

There was a contractor that was laying a deep wastewater line around on the East Side of San Antonio. It was deep in the ground. The owner of the company would come to the job every few days and express his displeasure with the progress. No matter how many joints of pipe the crew installed, the boss man would complain. Finally the crew decided that every time he came out and tore them a new one, they would leave a few gaskets out of the next pipes they laid. When they finally got to the end of the line and … Continue reading Don’t Ever Talk Down To Your Crew When You Are In The Underground Utility Business