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The Last Stand

I don't like writing about myself, truly. The few times I do it is only because I want young men or women behind me to learn from my experiences and know if I did it, they can do it. Being your own boss, being responsible for the welfare of your employees, living and dying by your own knife is a good way to live life. It can be stressful, of course, but the benefits, and the rewards far outweigh the long hours and stress. Its a terrific, powerful sense of accomplishment to be able to stand on your own feet, to not have to rely on others to make money for you. Lets face it, corporate America sucks.

Several years ago I enjoyed a good relationship with a fine young engineer with Cimerex, I think it was, working in the Delaware Basin. We commented to each other on Oilpro, then LinkedIn, then privately; I learned a lot from him. He was a fine young man. Several years back he called the office to say that he had left the Permian Basin circus and was now with his family's business in Wichita Falls operating over 300 stripper wells, happy.

He thanked me.


I worked on my dad's drilling rigs, roughnecked on the floors by the time I was 13. I ran away from home and worked for Harken out of Alice, West-Tex out of Abilene and a few other big drilling companies. Besides Coots Matthews and Boots Hansen, Dave Thompson and Martin Kelly part time, I've been self-employed since I was 22.

When I first started operating I had a 12 x 12 foot portable building on skids on an acre of land I bought for 2,000 bucks, and my pickup truck, as an office. I use to answer my truck phone, mobile division. I moved up to a two room space in a strip center a few years later, then eventually into the office I am now closing after 42 years. Debbie has been with me the entire time; if at any time the past 4 decades she had walked in and said she wanted to be president, and wanted my office, I'da got up and moved to the file room in a Midland minute.

When I was a kid I think I always dreamed of being a big time oilman with a shower in my office and a credenza to put a hard hat on.

Well, at nearly 72, I did it! Not the big time oilman thing, not by a long shot, but an office with a shower in it.

When we sold the ranch years ago Ms. Cath and I built a big cantina/game room in the backyard, behind the main house. It's a she-shed more than it is a man-cave as she has some of her African and Canadian animals on the wall and I have gazillions of photographs hung of both of us catching big fish all over the world. You can shoot pool, lay on the couch to take a nap, watch Wimbledon on a screen nearly as big as my first office, play shuffleboard like your life depends on it, and of course, drink a little scotch at the bar. Stumbling home, looking for tarmac, is then only a 30 year jaunt.

The cantina has a big bathroom and a shower, and a guest bedroom in the very back that is now my new office. I've got my favorite blowout photos on the wall, mementos of a hard past, my books about Mexican oil in the book case, the buffalo from Zim that almost did me in, a TV, my own "personal" potty, sorta, and otherwise it is perfect! I don't have to see other people or worry about getting killed in my truck by maniac transients from California driving 30 MPH over speed limits. I can watch the neighborhood fox going home from work every evening thru the yard carrying all kinds of stuff in its mouth, marvel at the red tail hawk family that lives in my trees and even check on Ms. Catherine's spinach if I want.

I hope to write good stuff from this spot.

And the best part of all this, besides getting to the bar in the evenings in 30 feet, is that I can step out the patio doors into the back yard and take a leak anytime I want.

In the end, that should be every man's dream.


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