Thursday, June 07, 2007

He's Baaaaacccckk...

Looks like Kermit finally came out of his self induced stupor. He claims his 'equipment' went awry but I remember it was right after he decided to grow some 'medicinal herbs' that he split. 'Just kidding!'

I got a kick out of reading one of his posts. One that mentioned a 36" pipe wrench he has. Boy! Does that take me back!

If you have never seen a 36 inch pipe wrench, (usually the Rigid brand) especially the original cast iron kind, then you really can't appreciate a 48 inch Rigid cast iron pipe wrench!

I was only thirteen years old when I first went to work in the oil patch. That was in 1949 in Odessa, Texas.

I left home one day to go to school (I was in the ninth grade at Modesto High in Modesto, Ca., having started in the second semester in Galen Clark School in Merced when I was barely five in January of '41 and passing on to the second grade at age five-'duh'--kindergarten--never heard of it in those days) and missed the bus so started walking the two or so miles. On the way was a train yard and in the train yard was a train (a choo-choo, with a steam engine) just starting out southbound. And, presently, on the train was I, headed for Odessa, Texas!

To make a long story short, a week later, when I finally got to Odessa, I (in this order) had breakfast, took a bath, slept all night, awoke at 6 in the morning, went to work for my brother-in-law as a the world's youngest roust-a-bout! (My sister said I could stay with her as long as I wished but I had to work every day her husband did, five and a half days a week.)

On that first day, when we got to the tank battery where we would work, Joe, for the first of many times said, "Jamsie, grab a shovel!"

I did a lot of different things while working for Joe that year but I really didn't understand how young I was until the day Joe said, "Jamsie, grab that 48 and come over here and back me up on this pipe!"

I'm older now and play music for old folks and the heaviest thing I lift anymore is my guitar amplifier. I have been threatening to dump it and get one that is lighter to lug around. Every time I pick it up, I about throw my back out, it's so heavy. It weighs thirty five pounds---the same as a 48" cast iron Rigid pipe wrench!

For any of you who are familiar with a pipe wrench--you know when you want to open the jaws of the wrench, you hold it in one hand and turn the adjustment wheel to open the jaws with the other. --Right?--Sure! Sounds easy. OK, find something that weighs thirty five pounds and take it in one hand and raise it to chest high with one hand and hold it out from your body at least four inches! Now, ain't that fun??

It wasn't much fun for me in 1949 when I was thirteen years old but it sure is fun remembering it now in 2007 when I'm 71 years old!

Welcome back, Kermit, and thanks for the memory!



Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I think I may be the only reader you have that can identify with a 48" wrench.

9:55 PM  
Blogger J C said...

I think having the knowledge of a 48 inch cast iron pipe wrench is just one of the many wonderful things that are bestowed upon us for being from Odessa. What a great heritage! (Being familiar with caliche dust is another)'chuckle'

6:50 AM  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I sometimes brag that I broke a 48 jaw, heel and handle. Of course I did it with a cheater and a forklift.

4:09 PM  

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