My dad is pretty old 78
He tells me about the good old days back in the German neighbor hood.
Ice man, put sign in window full, half, quarter block
Scrap metal man
City ash trucks
Send your kid to the neighbor hood bar with a buck for beer.
Every thing on the corner.
Back then neighbor hoods were four or five blocks square.
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Snazzy, you seem to be one of the few fellers I wouldn't mind to hear jabber jawin' on the CB. What's ur 20? Bring 'er on back, c'mon!
Well, Baack kind of makes you wonder what happend to all them door to door services. Guess they were replaced by the snail-mail and then e-mail spamers. They hawk thier goods at a distance. Of course now days alot of those services now are no longer needed due to new technoligy. No more icemen due to the refrigerator. No coal trucks, replaced with natural gas or central heat. The corner stores as I recall were the same ones that mostly provided the door to door services. I remember riding my bike to the corner grocery store and for 19 cents buying a pack of Chesterfields for my dad. Try that today kids and you'll be arrested and your folks will be on AMW. Not saying it's right or wrong, but man what a difference.
Ducks, sniffilling is encouraged here. It's a place where the heart should become heavy or light. Exchanging past life experiences on equal terms and sharing to me is priceless. I appreciate the hugs and right back at you.
Emil, it was rude of me to ignore your question about the best way to enter trucking. I suggest to post that question in the ask the experienced driver section. My own opinion would require 3 days of endless pros and cons. Followed by a week of except if's or maybe that. I hope you're still lurking and realize that being a driver does not require being full of horse pocky like yours truely.
Raindancer, I'm blushing over you so kind words and your right about back then the size of a family was a strength. Now a days if there are more than five you want to cry.
Scarecrow, I'm held up in Granbury, Texas. No c.b. radio within reach. I promise as this story of Life Goes On you'll get a much better view of what I'm all about. Heck you might want to kick me in the pants before it's all said and done.
I'll be back in a bit so stay tuned. SNAZZY.
Okay, where were we. Oh yes, the truck story. It was 1972 and I was still driving for the rich oil man. His wife had gone out of state to be with family, so I drove the limo to Abilene, Tx. The old fella took advantage of his free time to court and stay with his girlfriend. I brought plenty of work clothes and stayed at the motel. Now picture this. A skinny, young, city slicker, driving a stretch limo, pulls up to the oil derrick. The foreman knew he had to keep the rich man happy by working me. My first assignment was to stack pipe. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! You see, stacking oil pipe is like picking up 200 lbs of molten steele. In the 110 degree heat of west Texas in July the metal is so hot that your gloves will actually melt and stick to the pipe. The man at the other end of my stacking chore was at least 50 years old, but looked to be 70 due to his years in the field. He didn't talk much but I swear the old buzzard could fling that pipe around like tossing horeshoes. I tried to keep pace but not being use to hard labor I soon fell behind. To my amazement the old goat walked to the center of the stack and flung them to the new pile by himself. I swear he wasn't even sweating. Of course he was stout as a bull and had hands the size of catcher's mitts. I decided to use some tact, "Say, your pretty good at this, think you might give me some pointers?" The old buzzard was taken off guard. We ended up getting along just fine. Once he got thru explaining the art of pipe stacking and allowed me a chance to keep up, everything went fine. I discovered that he and the rest of the crew looked upon me as management. There to rat em out and snitch to the boss. Once they realized I was just trying to make a buck and could bad mouth the uppity ups better than they could, I fit right in.
That night at the Holiday Inn while showering I noticed both of my upper thighs had blisters from where the hot pipes had burned my skin. I took a closer look at my jeans and discovered hot singe marks on both pant legs. My hats off to all who make a living that way. The next day wasn't as bad for me and by the end of the week I pretty much was just another roust about in the west Texas plains. Friday night the crew invited me to tag along to Impact City. I had half the crew, including the foreman stuffed in the limo. You'd thought they were in a space ship. Most hadn't ever been close enough to one to even open the door. There we were making the 60 mile drive to the only area within 200 miles of purchasing a legal beer. The city of Impact had a population of 14 people. A liquor store, a gas station, and a honky tonk. We got ribbed beyond belief at the bar. After a vote I was made the employee of the month. It took me by surprise since I really hadn't put in a full week. Of course it made better since when I found out that employee of the month got the privlege of picking up the bar tab. I laughed along with the rest of em. Live and learn. Lets break. SNAZZY.
After a couple of weeks of really back breaking work something happend that would forever change my life. When I had hired on as a privete chauffer I was required to upgrade my driver's license. All it took was 14 extra questions and a road test taken in a half ton truck. A friend loaned me his V.W. bus and with an extra fee of $ 4.00 I was a licensed commercial vehice operator. I already had a motorcycle endorsement so legally in Texas back in 1973 I could legally drive anything that was legal on the road. Scarry isn't it? No CDL or commercial schools. Just get behind the wheel and go. Learn by your mistakes. Geez, what a perfect receipe for a disaster. Well, one day the foreman told me they were short a driver. He walked me over to the rig and cranked her up. After five minutes of instructions I was on my way. To me it was like sitting ontop of the roof of a house. Now in defense of the outfit. That was just the way things were done back then. Either you made a driver or you didn't. Also I was in the middle of nowhere on dirt roads. The only thing I could of hit was an oil derrick, some storage tanks, or possibly another big truck. All of those were pretty big and being the carefull fool I was there really wasn't all that much risk. Of course the hardest thing to learn at first is the shifting. No matter how hard I tried I ground every gear each shft. After a really frustrating couple of hours I was ready to give up. One of the other drivers decided to take some time and help me out. As soon as the foreman left this real truck driver took the wheel. All he wanted me to do was watch and learn. He explained and showed me the basics. This was common transmission back then known as a 4 by 4. No! Not a 4x4, four wheeler. This big old Diamond Reo had a Cat v-8 with the 4 by four split stick. All it meant was there were two shifter sticks on the floor. One was shorter than the other. The short stick had the same H shift pattern as did the tall stick. The secret was knowing where and when to shift the two. Now remember were giong back some 35 years ago. I imagine you'd have to look hard and far to even find a truck equiped this way now. Anyhow, all I had to do was place the short stick in the 1st gear posistion. Ease out the clutch and watch the techometer. Once it reached around 1,400 rpms I let off the go pedal. As soon as the rpms dropped to around 900 rpms all I did was to shift the tall stick to the 2nd gear posistion. This was and is referred to as floating the gears, because you didn't use the cluth except when taking off or stopping. The more broke in or wear the drive train has makes it easier to float the gears. After shifting each gear on the tall stick thru the H pattern, I simply would shift the short stick to it's next posistion, and shift the tall stick back to it's first gear posistion and repeat the H pattern shift. I know it sounds confussing, but if we were sitting in that truck it would be quite simple. Now, to be perfectly honest I cheated. The old driver simply had me leave the short stick in the second posistion. That way all I did was to float the tall stick thru the H pattern. It limited my top speed to under 30 mph, but what the hay we were on dirt roads. Any faster wouldn't of made sense. See ya'll tomorrow, SNAZZY.
I'm loving your posts. You have a great writing style and I'm enjoying the story. I'm glad I don't have to try to shift anything like that first truck you drove.
This is my first attempt to post anything. I've been lurking for months.
I was born in '53, so I remember all that same stuff. My brothers had Tonka trucks. In those days they were made of wood, lasted forever, and were strong enough to sit on and scoot all over the place, even for a 7-year old girl.
I also remember the Fuller Brush Man, and a blind man selling things. He had a really cool guide dog (German shepherd). My mother bought a really great duster -- bright pink and yellow. We had it for many years.
Don't quit now! I want to hear the rest of the story.
Welcome, Nyegere Im glad your enjoying the story. I was like you and lurked for several months before registering. It's a nice site and so far everyone has been real friendly. For the rest of your lurkers get registered and jump in the water is fine.
Back to the rat killing. While I was out of town my wife packed up and moved out. When I got home the place was empity. When I called her it was the old story of my job meant more than she did. I was hurt but knew in a way she was right. She was a new mom and had to work as well. Then was no hubby to come home to. Also I did like to party. Most weekends when I was in town the house was filled with my buddies, Jim Beam, Coors, and plenty of loud music. I was really tore up. I hated quiting my job but did love my family. I knew this time it was her or my job. I talked it over with my boss. He threw a fit, to my surprise. He kept warning me that if let my wife call the shots, Id never be able to better myself. I stayed working for him, but promised my wife I'd look for local work. I think the old man knew what I was up to. He kept us in Abilene for weeks at a time. It was great pay and I did enjoy driving that big rig around the oil fields. I never really got that good at. Never did any backing, didn't even know how to do an inspection, muchless adjust a brake. I did know how drain the air tanks and thump the tires.
One day at the the well site one of the hands got his glove stuck in the chain that jerks the pipe out of the well. Being a new guy I just noticed the glove. Then I realized all the comotion going on. Yep, the poor boys fingers were still in the glove swinging 60' feet above him. I ran over about the same time the foreman did. The kid was in shock and kept apolizing for losing his fingers. I ran to the limo and got one of my white dress shirts and we wrapped what was left of his hand in it. Another hand,(parden the pun), retrieved the glove with said fingers. Of course I kept a cooler with iced down beer in the trunk of the limo. So, no fingers, glove with fingers in ice chest, foreman, and myself tried to break the sound barrier in route to the hospital. Of course the closest one was an hours drive. We did it in 20 minutes. The sad thang was they were only able to save the thumb,(it hadn't been ripped off), half of the pointy finger, and his little finger. So, no ring finger or middle finger. Worse was this teenager was a fisrt year college student and had dreams of being a dentist like his dad.
Lets break here, SNAZZY
Baack, As good as movie ? Thanks. As far as the boss being mad about the mess. One of my first and biggest mistakes in the oilfields was to park the limo too close to a well that was being fracked. That's when they pump acid down the well to clean out the pipe so the crude flows better.Anyhow, it's messy and a mist of black rain mixed with the acid settles down. Of course I didn't notice untill later that the shinny limo was now caked in crud. When I went to the carwash she came out looking like a spotted owl. The limo was a deep maroon which actually looked black at a distance. After her bath of acid oil she looked like a piece of modern art brushed by a hippie on acid. Figured I was fired. Hell, the old man laughed so hard I thought he was gong swollow his teeth. Turns out the limo was leased from Holiday Lincoln Mercury out of Fort Worth. The kick was my boss owned a good piece of the business and the lease was all tax dedutable. As was my salary, per diem pay (motel, meals, expense account which included my suits), and I'm sure any damage to said limo. Also lucky for me the interrior was leather and blood red in color. Almost forgot to mention that one of the hands at the site was a Vietnam vet. He had tied a turnakit, (spell check ain't working) around the young man's wrist to stop the bleeding. The Doc. at the hospital asked;" Who wrote that "T" in blood on the boys forehead ?" Myself and the foreman took the fifth. We later learned that was standard operating procedure in combat so the medics knew there was turnakit. That way it was less like it would be left on too long.
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