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

What Didn’t Kill Us, Made Us Stronger

Was online texting back and forth this morning with my little sister/cousin Jan Beaver. We grew up to be parents that jerked our kids up and hauled them to the doctor every time they had a snotty nose. I guess we were making up for the lack of us going to the doctor when we were kids. Jan told of climbing up on the cabinet next to the stove top where Bonnie Gay was making Mustang Grape Jelly and turned the pan over, spilling it all over her arms. She grabbed her up and ran cold water on it and … Continue reading What Didn’t Kill Us, Made Us Stronger

The Texas Freemason Magazines

I would have been 11 or 12 years old. We still lived down on the creek, out of Jollyville. I was left at home alone, which was unusual for my family to do when I was that age. I guess they didn’t know if there would be a house to come back to if they left me there by myself. I was prone to experiment with stuff, as that was when Chemistry Sets were popular. But on this Saturday there was no testing of stuff going on. I remember it being a very cold day, one where stepping out on … Continue reading The Texas Freemason Magazines

Mr. Bob Coffee – Sculptor Extraordinaire

I was at a funeral in Smithwick this morning of Marvin Turner. While standing around visiting afterwards I sauntered over where Kenny was conversing with a group of gentlemen that were all neighbors with he and Marvin down on Cow Creek. After Kenny introduced me all around, a kindly gentleman, the most senior of the group said “you are the fellow that wrote that book, The Angora Chronicles, aren’t you”? Of course I immediately took credit for it. He said he has just finished reading it. He asked if there were other editions. I feigned at how busy I am, … Continue reading Mr. Bob Coffee – Sculptor Extraordinaire

I Remember When I Enjoyed Reading The Readers Digest

I went for years reading it every month. There wasn’t a section of it that I didn’t enjoy. We even maintained a subscription to it for many years. That poor little magazine seems to have dwindled to almost nothing. I bought it a few times after they changed the format, downsized it and made it awful. Did the publisher of that magazine ruin it on purpose or what. You could say that the talent just isn’t around that can be hired. But really so much of it was stuff sent to them. Good stories, good jokes. But as for becoming … Continue reading I Remember When I Enjoyed Reading The Readers Digest

Can We Have A Real Frank Discussion Here Today ?

The following story is one I told very early on, when this group was started. It was a valuable lesson I learned once and it applies now in the age of social media. After you read the story, I have a few more words for you. A 2 Minute Talk That Has Lasted For 40 Years. Udo was of German descent. He had a coarseness about him, but an incredible refinement as well. He adapted to the situation he was in at the moment. When he retired after a long career in the excavation business, he sold me his office … Continue reading Can We Have A Real Frank Discussion Here Today ?

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

I had a new Cat 385 that was delivered probably in 2003 or 2004. I ordered it equipped with a mass excavation boom and a short stick. I knew it would limit our ability to go very deep, but most of the jobs we were bidding on were hard rock jobs. When I compared the different stick and boom configurations, the breakout force of the one I ordered was almost double of a long stick machine. If we were going to be successful digging hard rock we need the most force that we could get at the teeth. The machine … Continue reading You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

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 Story Of How A Little Ol’ Utility Contractor From Bertram, Texas Came To Own Two Giant Excavators

When we first acquired these machines in the later part of 2007, they were bought for a particular project, that was in some fairly hard limestone. We had approximately 6 to 7 miles of very deep wastewater to lay. We didn’t have our own deep trenchers that it would take to dig the depths we were going to need. We would generally subcontract that portion of the work out. We had equipped our two 385 Cats out with Leading Edge buckets (the very strange buckets at the bottom of the page) and had been having great success excavating rock with … Continue reading The Story Of How A Little Ol’ Utility Contractor From Bertram, Texas Came To Own Two Giant Excavators

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