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HOOTENANNY – Hootenanny is an Appalachian colloquialism that was used in early twentieth century America to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with thingamajig or whatchamacallit, as in “hand me that hootenanny.” Hootenanny was also an old country word for “party”. “Hootenanny” was also used by the leadership of early firefighting battalions to describe a “meeting of the minds” of higher ups or various department heads. The term has trickled down to working companies and is now used, with some frequency, at working incidents and other circumstances that require a focused discussion between key individuals.

Well that pretty much sums up our small gate guard gathering today at the Dairy Queen in Cotulla, TX. Gathered around the hastily pulled together tables, 12 souls made introductions. The cool confines of an ice cream shop where not lost on me, escaping the harsh life of Gate Guarding during Texas’ sweltering heat-Bonus! The mood was light and friendly. I was thirsty for conversation with another female. I didn’t realize how much I missed that until today. Nothing against the men out there of course. But, BIG BUT; sometimes you just don’t get it! We see men all day long, all night long and even when we go to the grocery store. Rig hands everywhere. So it was enjoyable to have a chance to sit down with a group of intelligent females and shoot the breeze. Granted, we discussed fracing, and work over rigs and flowback and schedules, support operations, laundry facilities and the viability of certain gate guard companies. I do believe we covered most of the trials and tribulations of Gate Guarding. My favorite part was the round table of “What’s your pet’s name?” LOL-Just kidding.

There were several newer gate guards at today’s meeting. I do hope that they were able to learn a few tips or tricks to help them with their new job. I know how overwhelming an unfamiliar job can be. Especially when it’s all male and no one to ask questions of. That’s why I mentioned the Gate Guard Forum. It is full of members who gate guard and the atmosphere is friendly and congenial. I enjoyed hearing the other female gate guards perspectives. We all share most of the same concerns. One being, illegals.

Andy and I have seen a marked decrease in ‘illegal’ sightings over the past month. When I spot an illegal, I call Border Patrol ASAP. Before I place the call; I have ready for border patrol; the description and # of persons. The ‘coyote’s’ must have gotten the message because our illegal traffic has been nil for over a month. The border patrol rolled in here two days ago and confirmed my suspicions. They have moved their operations to the east of this ranch. Amongst the group of us, there were a few who had had similar interactions. Overall, not a huge concern though. * a ‘coyote’ is a ‘guide’ for the illegals, they help them get across the border.

I wanted to thank everyone for their participation and for all of the helpful advice and answers. I look forward to getting together again. You were all wonderful. Next time remind me to order a Peanut Buster Parfait……………..

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