Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I grew up in the oil patch.  Whizbang, Oklahoma, on top of the North Burbank oil field. My father was an oil field mechanic or roustabout.  He and a crew of three other men were responsible for fixing anything that broke.  There were about five or six such crews.  That work was hard.  He would come home covered with crude.  

He had built a wash house about 25' from the house and it contained the washing machine.  My mother had to soak his clothes in kerosene to have any chance of getting them clean.  One day something happened and the wash house caught fire. I was only about 7 at the time so I am not sure what happened, I may have been at school.

A Phillips water truck was dispatched and put out the fire.  The heat melted the asphalt shingles on the side of our house facing where the shed had been. We were lucky.  My mother was caring for her mother who was an invalid and bed-bound.  A few years later, in the face of still greater tragedy, she was having trouble coping and asked our family doctor if perhaps she was having a nervous breakdown.  He let out a great laugh and said:

"Margaret, if you were going to have a breakdown you would have had it a long time ago."

My father got unpaid time off from Phillips when a drilling crew was working in the vicinity of our house.  He worked as part of the drill crew.  Handling strings of 4" drill pipe that went down 5,000' was dangerous work.  Not many of the roustabouts wanted the work even though it paid considerably more.  He had been an athelete when younger and had a combination of size, strenght, agility and alertness that made it possible for him to do that work and live to tell about it.  And that was all done in the open air. It is good to know where you come from.

It is appalling that you were sent into a crude oil hold without a safety line and a rescue breather.  But it has only been since about the '80s that OSHA has required even the most rudimentary safety gear.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 09:48:02 PM EST

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