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'Tis the season

It was Christmas Eve, in the mid-70s.  It was the days of three-man crews. Two linemen and a driver working on line trucks. Unless it was a big or complicated job, the entire job, start to finish, was handled by the crew. At the time, field foremen rotated through the office to oversee work and assignments.

Our crew, the chief lineman, the driver and me, the lineman, were assigned to a job at the far end of the division. It was a “government “job.  A relative of a general foreman, from another department, was out of lights. The area where the person lived was in a bay island community. Many of the homes, theirs included, were built on stilts and located several hundred feet off the main road.

It was a nasty day, and it was pouring rain when we arrived on location. It was, also, high tide at the time, with the bay rising and onto the boulevard running through the community.

Since it was Christmas Eve, and a co-worker’s family, we wanted to do the right thing. The chief and I put on our rain gear and taped up our boots to try to keep the water out (it didn’t work).   We hoisted the ladder, and the driver on our shoulders and made our way to the house. Remaking the connections at the standpipe, we noticed that the oil tank on the side of the house was beginning float off its pedestal.  We grabbed a hold of it and lashed it up securely in place.

Completing the restoration, we knocked on the people’s door to make sure everything was okay and to let them know what we had done. The response was a gruff, “Okay” and then they closed the door on us.

We stopped at the chief’s house, not that far way, to call the office and change into some dry clothes. We let the foreman know in no uncertain terms, “We’re done for the day and …no more favors for management.”

George Schellenberg – Lineman, Instructor, Retired

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