This month, I will turn 80 years old. For most of these years, I have been involved in drilling of some type. I was an only child living with my mom and dad. However, I was a ward of the families and the whole company that my dad worked for. I think it was Standard Oil Company. My dad was the manager, or in those days he was known as the “tool pusher.” When moving equipment and families from state to state, I would sometimes ride with my mom or my dad, and many times I would ride in one of the company’s trucks or in a car with one of the employee’s wives (and children). My folks didn’t have to be concerned because they knew that everyone was always looking out for me.
We traveled in a convoy of several pieces of equipment and the families and belongings of the families. If anyone broke down, the convoy stopped until everyone could go again. A part of my dad’s responsibly was to keep everyone moving and to assist families to find suitable housing upon arrival at their new destination. On Christmas, some families would travel home and others would congregate at our home for Christmas dinner. Those days are gone.
I remember once when one of these convoys was moving some distance and a piece of equipment broke down. While they were repairing the equipment, my dad told me not to cross the street. I had an idea … “cross the street,” and I did. I made my dad promise not to whip me if I would come back. He promised, and I came back. He didn’t whip me then, but the next time I did deserve a whipping he made up for the time that he didn’t. Growing up, I only received a couple whippings and I remember them both. Razor straps make a lot of noise and they hurt.
I remember once I was riding in the car with the driller’s wife and she was following the drill machine too close. My dad told her several times not to follow the rig so close. (Her husband was driving the drill.) Going up a long hill the rig truck started sputtering. The driller pulled to the side of the road and his wife (following too close) pulled in behind the drill on an angle. The rig driver managed to get the rig engine to smooth out and proceeded to drive off. In doing so, the rig rolled back a few feet, backing into the driver’s door of the car without knowing it. I bailed out the right rear window of the car. My dad immediately pulled up and opened the driver’s door to see if the woman driving was OK. She had passed out and almost fell out of the car. Needless to say, the next time the drill driver stopped his wife gave Dayton, the drill driver, heck for backing over her. I never rode with the wife, Louise, again. We were close friends until their passing a few years ago. These are just a few of the experiences that I enjoyed and remember today.
Today, if a company moves to a new location, everyone and their families are on their own. Most companies just lay everyone off and hire new employees at the new location. That leaves no employees dedicated to their jobs. Skilled and dedicated employees are out there. However, they are hard to find today. It’s all about money.