Category Archives: Texas

The oil boom destruction of minimum wage servitude

Weirdness reigns here in Andrews, Texas.  Town’s got bigtime oil threatening to come out and do great things for the onset of piety and improved community morals.  But it’s screwing up everything else.

For instance, there are people all up and down the road here pumping water out of the ground to sell to the oil patches.  Pays almost as well as selling it in plastic bottles in grocery stores and doesn’t leave any plastic jugs lying around.  Plus nobody has to drink the damned stuff.

But more spectacularly, the Golden Arches want to open a hamburger joint in town, but the only people who might do the jobs are the ones working in the pizza joint, the DQ, or others who haven’t yet tapped into the high-paying employment in the oil bidness.

Local paper announced Mac’s going to pay $13.50 per hour starting for neophyte burgerers.  Which probably means pizza joints, DQs, Steak Fingerers, and Tex Mex joints are all going to be matching it, or losing their help.

Probably also means the price of food bought in the eating joints will be costing more than the gas getting there.

Hell of a deal.  Good to know oil’s good for something besides whatever else it’s good for.

Old Jules

Migration – New tire obligation – Respiration – Palpitation and Coincidence Coordination

Sheeze.  Hi readers .  Sometimes I disgust myself, make no sense whatever.

Went out to the tire place this morning and ordered two each 10 ply 16.5 inch tires to arrive Wednesday and have mounted before I even know whether I’m going to kick the bucket before I can wear them out.    Jumped the gun something awful, but it feels okay, me betting the Universe I can drive on those tires long enough to justify having them before the Universe can draw a tight bead on me and squeeze off a round.

Meanwhile I’m figuring to hear from the VA around Wednesday setting me up for a sawbones to look me over, poke me here and there, tell me to stick out my tongue and say “Ahhh.”  Once that’s accomplished he’ll offer up a theory of what I’d least like to hear from a person in his position and watch my facial expressions to decide whether he needs to trump it.

Generally the whole situation’s seeming better than it did a week ago, though.  Haven’t been toking the oxygen machine nights, generally been getting all the hyperventilating under control, thinking whatever it was happened was just some damned trick of anomalyism trying to rob my macho.

And hells bells, I’ve got a couple of new tires coming down the pike I have to live long enough to wear out.  Hell of a deal.

Got me and address here in Andrews, too, right here on the west coast of Texas, so’s to be able to be a Texas resident dangeriously close to the boundary with New Mexico.

Psychomosomatic heart attacks and similarly life-threatening imaginary events can be a blessing.  Boots a man off his ass and gets him out there betting against the Universe, buying tires and sneering into the future with reckless aplomb.

Old Jules

Big Spring Buggaboo Karma on the Half-shell

Hi readers.

1967, I’m going to say, though it might have been 1968, my somewhat newlywed wife and I headed from Houston to my home town of Portales, NM, for reasons I no longer fathom.  Driving a 10 year-old Fairlane 500.  Crossed the easy Texas parts without incident, but around midnight pulled over 12 miles outside Big Spring, TX to piss and kiss, most likely.

Shut down the engine and when I went to start it again the battery was dead.  Soooo, we bundled up and tried to sleep, but pre-dawn I was on the shoulder of the road trying to flag down someone with booster cables.  Watching the light emerge and a mesa-like hill across the highway a few miles.

Nice guy in a pickup stopped and boosted us off.  When I thanked him he commented he just couldn’t leave anyone stranded 12 miles outside Big Spring, Texas.  Fixed that hill to the west and the distance in my mind forever.

So last week when I was headed here, saw the sign south of Big Spring, BIG SPRING 13 miles and remembered, began watching for that hill.  There it was, just as obvious as that morning so long ago.

BOOM WHACK CLUNKCLUNKCLUNKBANGCLUNK!

Blew out the inside rear tire on the driver side.

But no way I was  pulling over and shutting down my engine.  So I drove on into Big Spring, eased west toward Andrews.  Didn’t blow the second tire until 15 miles from here.

Some things in this life a person doesn’t need to learn twice.  Even if he’s me.  That place 12 miles south of Big Springs is one of them.

Jack

Never trust a Free Mason who doesn’t look older than you.

At least don’t trust them more than you’d trust anyone else.  Josephus Minimus 

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Free Mason who didn’t look a day older than me sidled up to me in the hardware store parking lot yesterday.  “I want to sell you a ticket to a fish fry.  I hope you’ll come join us for a while.”  He gestured with a packet of tickets.  “We’ll have a lot of prizes to give away in drawings.”

Respectable enough looking guy, but too damned young to be a Free Mason, thinks I.  For something to say courteous to him, “What’s the cost?”

He told me and I’d run spang out of conversation pieces.  There’s a fish fry I might attend for the Harper Fire Department in a week or so, but I didn’t figure I’d care to drive to Kerrville for one.  “So when is it?”

Ah.  That’s the catch.  It’s in March.”

March?  I figure I’ll be dead or somewhere else in March.”

He shrugged.  “I wish I could join you.”

Two things seem clear to me. 

  • The guy was older than he looked.  A lot older, assuming he’s a Free Mason.  Probably uses some kind of Free Mason black magic keeping himself looking young like regular people. 
  • Secondly, he was trying to trick me into having to stay around here until March, 2014.  Likely has some sort of Free Mason conspiracy doings.  Wanting to tanglefoot me into them.

Anyway, having deftly sidestepped the Free Mason Conspiracy I had a good trip to town, generally.  Got me a water pump to get water from a container on the ground up into the RV tank.  Impeller with hose bibs on each side, shaft to turn it fits into the chuck of an electric drill.  Moves 250 gallons an hour.  That thing’s going to save me some heavy lifting in the future. $6.95 US.  2013 dollars.

Also picked up a set of fancydancy 21st Century screwdriver heads of all different shapes and sizes to foil the efforts of engineers everywhere.  And a damned cheapass volt meter.

Then down at the Dollar Tree store picked up all manner of things a person needs to get by in this life, each for a dollar.  A person can spend a $20 bill in there and come away with $100 worth of groceries anywhere else.  [32 oz box-like containers of MSG-free beef or chicken broth for $1 US each.  I bought 128 oz, two of each.  Stocking up for The End of Life as We Know It - TEOLAWKI.  MSG free TEOLAWKI won't bring back telephones, computers and radiation levels people can survive in, but it beats boiling 2-headed mutant horses to add flavor.]

Stopped on the way home to talk to the guy up the hill.  He told me about the Marfa Lights, which I’ve heard of over the years, but never seen.  Came away entertaining the thought I might swing out that way and have a look when I get out of here.

Lessons in life, flashes of insight about things I haven’t done yet, and busted a Free Mason conspiracy.  All in one day.

Life is good.

Old Jules

Minneconjou Lakota Texan – another busted stereotype

Long memories

A few old guys of the same species sitting around Kerrville, Texas wondering where the world went.  Each too different from the others to guess which parts they missed.  Old guy the others knew walked up and sat down.

Silver gray hair in a ponytail, 70ish, shorts and sandals with athletic stockings, heavyset.  We shook hands and I studied his features.  In Texas he looked definitely out-of-place, though he could have been Hispanic throwback gene pool.  But something in the features and skin pigment had me suspecting he was a Navajo or Apache.  A curiosity because Native Americans aren’t much drawn to Texas as a home.

Finally my puzzlement got the best of me.  “Where are you from?”

He grinned at the others, then at me.  “I’m Swedish.”

Yeah, but what TRIBE Swedish?”

Minneconjou Lakota, it turned out.  Born in a US Public Health hospital on the Rez in Minnesota.  Mama a party woman, no idea who his pappa was.  Reared by his grandma, then sent off to Indian School.  Learned to be a welder and pipe-fitter.

By 1970-or-so he was up in Alaska on the North Slope a few years building the first Alaskan pipeline across the permafrost.  Had a few stories to tell about that, then all of us began picking his mind for all manner of details.  “How deep did they have to go setting the pilings holding up those pipe joints?” How were you housed?”  And so on.

Turned out all the oil from that field was shipped directly to Japan.  US refineries weren’t tuned to that sort of crude.  But the fields are still producing.

Guy has a tribal census number, but never went back to live on the Rez, but visited his grandma there until she died.  Brought tears to his eyes thinking about her.  Never used the free health-care/dental-care for life benefit available to him because of the tribal census number US Public Health Service offers.

“I worked hard all my life and settled here.  Paid my own way every step along.  Making a lifetime job of being an Indian didn’t appeal to me much.  When they quit shooting us they tried to offer that as the next best thing. 

“They’re still trying, got all those liberal white people to worship blanket Indians.  Better than getting shot, but not as good as kicking the whole damned mess.”  He shook his head.  “Damned white people and their congratulations for being victims will finish off all the ones left.”

Nice meeting him.  I hope I see him again before I head for the tall timber.  Being born into a trap doesn’t mean there’s no escaping it, I reckons.

Old Jules

Denouements

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Certain types of problems seem to follow us through life, probably so’s the Universe can teach us whatever lessons it is we’re supposed to be learning during this one.  Frequently we’re slow coming to an understanding as to what ours are.  Mine, I suspect, probably are a consequence of karma acquired during a previous lifetime involving motor vehicles.

Which I hadn’t realized until I began looking at all the posts here involving transportation during my stay here.  One piece of that saga was the Toyota 4 Runner that carried me to this piece of real estate in 2008.  And became a subplot microsaga:

 Got me a new truck!

 Confession Time

The New Truck Resurrection

The Communist Toyota 4-Runner

A long one.  And one I’m finally going to apply a razor to.  I’ve found a guy who’ll follow me back out here next time I go to Kerrville, and put that 4 Runner onto a car dolly, pull it out of my life.

I went out and put the wheel back on it, took it off blocks and pushed it up the hill with the Toyota RV far enough so’s we’ll be able to get it onto the dolly.  Gale and the guy up the hill came out and improved the road enough yesterday with some machinery so’s a regular person will be able to get in and out of the valley without blowing a tire.

It’s not easy for me to part with that 4 Runner.  Lots of life history events trapped in it, but it’s clear enough the time’s come for a denouement.  Turns out I’ll be doing something similar with the Toyota RV, because Jeanne’s son, Michael’s decided it’s not the best option for him.

I’m willing to believe, for the moment, that when the 4 Runner goes out of this valley I’ll have poured enough of the life-ingredients into it to have filled whatever hole it was the vehicle challenges demanded of me this lifetime and I can have some other kind for a while.

Gracias, Jack

A place to live if the RV breaks down

Hi readers. I swapped Gale for this trailer, finalized it yesterday.

In addition to giving me the means to get my stuff out of this valley and into storage in Harper, I can live in this thing if the RV breaks down somewhere up the road. It’s light enough so a half-ton junker pickup truck can pull it.

It takes a considerable load off my mind. Both Gale and Raymond, the guy up the hill have pointed out if that RV quits I’ll be dead in the water. I tried not to let it bother me, but couldn’t help it nagging me some.

But with a Coleman stove and oven, my diesel burning heater, a bunk, I can live in this thing. Better than almost all my ancestors almost certainly lived before they left Europe. And certainly better than any Native American ancestors did.

The DuoTherm heater began life in the late 1940s or early ’50s as a kerosene trailer heater. The man up the hill had it, but we couldn’t get the carb to work. Eventually replaced the carb with a needle valve and converted it to diesel fuel, which is cheaper and more easily available.

Besides, if a person doesn’t have much he doesn’t have much to lose.

Old Jules