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Unfettered

Dammit!  Where you been?

There has been rig washing.

There has been rig washing.

Involving yourself in the South Texas oil business requires more than a traditional 9-5 weekday sacrifice.  Any worm quickly finds that out.  Nothing is written in stone where a workday has no bounds and job duties have no limits.  It is the nature of the game and the measure of the man and you get it done with no sniveling.  It is what it is and what it has always been. The oil patch is its’ own special world.

For years I have been tethered by a driveway alarm that signaled my call to action.  When it chimed, I had a precious few seconds to present myself ready to do the job for which I was handsomely rewarded.  Didn’t matter if the wind was blowing so hard you could barely push the door open.  Didn’t matter if you had to sidestep a buzztail coiled by your front step.  Didn’t matter if it was 3am on a cold, bitter Christmas Morning.  Didn’t matter if you were on the pot or dead asleep.  Just didn’t matter.  When that alarm went off,  some roughneck or gauger or operator or contractor was at the entrance and they had work to do.  That meant I did too.  The driveway alarm defined my boundaries and signaled my limits.

Bowling equipment was collected from various locations and maintenance performed.

Bowling equipment was collected from various locations and maintenance performed.

After the final marathon push of 236 days without so much as one 12 hour period where I was not under the control of the driveway signal,  the ensuing days post-Puckerbrush were ridiculously predictable.  The driveway alarms were packed away in an unlabeled box  and I think I know where the box is. Maybe.  As is my alarm clock.  My cell  phone is available but not tethered readily at hand.  After months of being ruled by a schedule unnatural and foreign,  I let my natural rhythms and the task at hand for the day set my schedule.  Fortuitously,  I saw the bust coming in the shale oil fields of the Eagle Ford and prepared as well as I could.  When the word finally came down the gate was to be closed, I felt no trepidation.  None.  It was time.  Interestingly enough, I got the call when I was at Mason that they wanted me back at the gate where I had spent the last 31 months.  Troubles down there in LaSalle County, South Texas it seems; locks being cut, folks crawling over gates and other general rude behavior.  I told them I could have easily predicted that mayhem and they best deal with it however they might.  I was not available and felt no responsibility to solve their problems once turned out.

Leaky ass water heaters were replaced.

Leaky ass water heaters were replaced.

What I did feel gnawing at me was to catch up with My Bro.  He is 17 months my junior and even though we chose divergent tracks for most of our adult lives, the common thread that binds two brothers together is still very strong.  His normally breakneck schedule underwent some miraculous star re-alignment and for much of the past 3 weeks we have been hand in glove together….. and it has been a great thing.  Even though our life tracks have been separate for most of two lifetimes, seems now we have both arrived at the same place late in the game.  So we work at our different tasks and some together.  There ain’t no cold beer drank before 2pm –mostly.   There is mucho cervezas frio post 5pm along with cigars smoked and pipes filled.  We set on the porch and watch the dogs play free, listen to the coyotes howl up the draw and figure out what matters most in the world when two men are on the backside of two lives lived full.   Both of us realize we are not even close to leaving a substantial financial inheritance to any of the kids but our legacies will be rich even so.  When we talk it is apparent we have little regrets over the lives we lived.  Maybe we fell short according to some folk’s measure.  I could give a damn actually.  I never respected their yardstick of life to begin with.

Size 308 bowling equipment scorecard on the 200 yd lane.

Size 308 bowling equipment scorecard on the 200 yd lane. I am going to stretch that out a bit in the days to come.

I don’t lay abed half the day even though I could.  I have busted South Dallas wide open twice over now loaded brimful with bowling equipment and other hard goods accumulated over the years.  7 years I have had that large storage room in that hell hole south of I-20.  Two trips into that insane maelstrom of humanity was enough for me.  I have nothing left there now and no reason to return that comes to mind.  People once dear and important in my life estranged themselves by their very choice and I hung on longer than I should have.   When I turned south on US 67 that final time, I did not look in the rear view with a single regret.  Slam that door hard and  tight and get on with the things in a life that truly count.

The check that had shown up in my bank account from the folks over in Houston every week like clockwork has been replaced with old school bartering and trading.  The new money flows from CraigsList and eBay and word of mouth. Some how or the other I had ended up with 22 5 gallon gas cans (all full), nine various size propane bottles (again all full),  11 different hitch and ball combinations and enough bowling equipment to outfit any bowling alley in the land top to bottom.  Hopefully, when I finally get completely caught up with My Bro, the Yeti cooler is devoid of cervezas and I blow this popsicle stand, I will be leaner and meaner than ever.  Well, as lean and mean as a near 60 yo recalcitrant curmudgeon could be.  You know dang well you can’t be a proper nomad if you have a shit ton of goods stashed all over the State so that is coming to a screeching halt.

I have heard from lots of y’all these last few weeks mostly inquiring if all was well. It is, make no mistake. It is VERY well!  I am just running way down below that invasive and offensive radar as I possibly can.  Sometimes, late in the still evening when Little Blue is shut down for the day and the Jim Beam is out on the counter and Tuco the Dog is laying at my feet,  I toy with the idea of shucking it all.  No blog,  no continuing sharing that began six years ago with that first blog entry.  I think about it ever more often but it is not time.

Not yet.

Post script: Some of y’all have been loyal readers since nearly Day One and most likely know more about my real life than some of the 4 EXes ever bothered to find out.  I count you among the handful of truest friends on this earth.  I would welcome observations, comments and critiques of what you think.  Yeah, I would like that.

 

End Note:  Hey Mama, My Time Ain’t Long AND Chick Singer, Bad Ass Rockin’ by Ray Wylie Hubbard.   New offerings from Ray Wylie Hubbard.  The old dudes still got it and I dare you to tell me that ain’t so.  Suits my irreverent nature right about now.

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25 comments to Unfettered

  • phil

    Enjoy yr blog so much and missed reading the last couple weeks /u make so much sense and feel like ive known you forever /far as the back side of life im on medacare next month/not really an upper but glad I have what I do have /all I can say is a day at a time and Fort Davis is a great place and a day at a time/love tinkering with 2 ol rat cars an 87 5th ave and an 80 citation.Love packing up the travel trailer with my better half and 2 cats and visiting Junkyards next month in Lamar Colorado and visiting the old Jail that Festus Hagen grew up in near the yard and new adventures

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    • Andy

      Thank you Phil!

      I love Ft Davis. It is a picturesque historic area and I think it has the best climate in all of Texas!

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  • Ken Harris

    Good on ya! We have finally reached the point of not sweating the small stuff and have the sense to realize i is all small stuff. Go get centered and enjoy what is found there. ‘Member, ya gotta a friend on the south plains.

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    • Andy

      Thanks Ken!

      I was hoping to hear from you. Just know you are one of the folks on my short list.

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  • cyndi

    I read all the time but don’t comment very often. Glad you’re enjoying life.

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  • Larry Jackson

    Howdy Andy!
    Excellent thread! Have been on the Old RV blog for almost 3 years, and although don’t necessarily agree with all that is posted there, it had a Hell of a lot great info and it helped us make the transition from retired to “semi” retired. I’m sure that with your writing skills, you will have many who will enjoy your stories and adventures! Kerry and I have and continue to use your Amazon link. Should you have a need or wanting to relieve yourself of any of the “bowling” equipment, we would be interested! You have our EM’s so feel free to contact us anytime! Best wishes, best of luck and continued solitude to the degree desired! 🙂

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  • Betty Atteberry

    Happy Trails to you, until we meet again, Happy trails to you, keep smiling until then. Happy trails to you. Have a great year. One day at a time.

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  • I’ve been enjoying your words for about a year now, and I find your writing style and observations to be refreshing. Thanks for continuing to share them with us.

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  • Byron Eckhart

    Andy, been reading and agree with most of your thoughts and comments. I kinda escape my corporate world when visiting your blog. While we might not be best buds or BFF’s, I believe if times got rough and we needed to pair up, we could hold our on. Keep the good work you do coming. If you ever get around the Alamo, toss me a line and maybe we could meet some day! Keep reading about those radios, one day they may come in handy. Most of all, stay strong buddy, you have touched many!

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  • Vince

    Morn’n Andy,

    Missed your posts the last few weeks. Hope you continue. You’re a very good writer and I can relate to your way of thinking. I’ll be 66 this month. I’ve gained a lil experience along the way as you have.

    If you ‘drop-off’ will all of your older posts be gone too? You have a lot of great information available to us and I go back now and then to re-read your posts about RV stuff like solar (mostly), batteries, plumbing, etc. and, thank you for all that.

    I’m thinking that if you shut down the blog you and Tuco the Dog will be talking to each other.

    What ever the future holds for you, the best of luck to you.

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  • Nancy1340

    Onliest advice I got for you is have a hell of a time. You earned it buddy.
    Hope you keep writting some kind of blog. Your way of recallin’ rascal’s, roadtrip’s and senorita’s is mighty entertaining to most of us.

    Thanks Andy and stay well.

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  • Stick with the blog. You never know when you might need to unload with it. Meanwhile, the Fort Davis area is beautiful. We have friends who retired out there. Hope the word doesn’t get out too far too fast, though.

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  • Joel

    As you know, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it up.

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  • Michael

    Andy, so glad to see that you are in your happy place for now. Since I do have a military retirement, we do not have to work in the patch year round. We have been down here a couple of years now in the cooler months. Can’t take that heat. But we are still on a gate, but the RV has been replaced with a very small cube. Not home but still pays good. Not sure how long this will run but seems ok till mid May when we will pull up stakes. Hope you are enjoying your time and that the money will carry you though as far as need be. Take care of yourself and please keep up the posts as I really do look forward to the harsh dose of reality that comes with them!

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  • David

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge, your passions, and stories of your life, adventures, travels, and extended family. I read the lines, and sometimes between them, with true interest, and sometimes genuine concern, but always appreciation.

    David

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  • […] Andy of MyOldRV, post-gate guarding in the shut-down Eagle Ford fracking field and wandering ever since has considered stopping blogging. […]

  • Lynn Brashears

    Glad to hear your hanging in there & staying off a gate. You sure deserve the down time. We figured you would be visiting your brother & possibly your parents. We are still working, now out of Tilden. Keep in touch, sure enjoy reading your blog. You know how to reach us if you need anything.

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  • Larry Worsham

    Andy, very glad you are doing well in your transition back to real life. Over the past few years I have enjoyed reading your blog and short stories. I am a native Texan but was run out of the state when I was 5.(lol) Since I have returned you have exposed me to the culture that is part of the fabric of Texas. Love the Red Dirt music and discussion concerning the Oil Patch and so on. My wife does a blog when we travel and I understand the effort it takes to keep it up and put it together. She now only post when she has something to say. Keep us posted on your thoughts and activities when it suits you……………..safe travels. Larry

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  • Judie Gray

    Andy–
    I so hope you do not quit writing your blog! I have been reading you since you met the blonde (and I liked your wisdom and writing style so much that I went back and read all of your posts). In my humble opinion, you are a true Texas guy-no nonsense, tell it like it is and be the best you can at whatever you do. I know it takes a lot of time and energy to keep up a blog, but there are those of us that will really miss your humor, logic, and music if you leave us. I never worked in the oil patch, but my Texas daddy started b a cm when rigs were built of wood. He eventually became a driller. So I have a small connection. Whatever your decision, thanks for the good reading. Best of luck in wherever life takes you.

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  • Steven Stoli

    Hey Andy,
    I think it was very lucky that the very first gate me and my former PJ worked at was across the fence line from you and your former Miss. I still use the window air unit trick you showed me when our A/C went out on the RV. You taught me a lot about gate guarding tricks but even much more about RV life… which I still do. I’m in Waller, Texas at Jellystone Park working three days a week. My grandkids live 2 miles down the road on a ranch so I get to visit them often. Took early retirement cause with a government that is over 18 trillion in the whole I don’t trust that the money will be there. It’s nice to get a check FROM the government. Looking to work in Montana next year.

    Thanks again Andy for all you did for us newbie gate guarders. We would not have made it without your help and information. It was a very interesting time. The beginning of your blog describe the lifestyle to a T.

    Vaya con Dios mi Amigo!

    Steven Stoli

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