Get Ready! Get Set! Let’s Gooooooooo!


Most people would frown upon having to be at work before the ass-crack of dawn, but not me. This is my time, this is the time I know that all the people working 9-5 during the week are still curled up in their beds, dreading leaving the comforts they have been enjoying all night long. But that’s not me, I’m the person who roams my house at 3:30 a.m. because I’m plain done sleeping. Regardless if I must go to work or not, I’m up, I’ve always been like this, it’s just the way I’m wired I guess. As I roamed the job site I’m at this morning, in the calm of the morning, still dark, it gave me time to review this past week. As I have mentioned, I have started back to work luckily. With my back to it, I feel the sun beginning to break through the treeline, beginning to become visible over the horizon, peeking through the trees, over the buildings, and of course the power lines which litter the view in any direction one looks. Of course, me being me, me being the one who still likes to meet the sunrise which greets me good morning, needs to grab a picture.


I have missed very few sunrises in my lifetime, and I have a feeling that won’t change. As I took the second picture I could hear my mother whispering in my ear not to look directly into the sun, then I clicked the picture. What can one more picture with me looking directly into a sunrise hurt, right? As I walked the job site, earbuds in, metal cranked up, I saw the overall picture with the changes that had occurred after my departure the evening before. In many ways, I felt a sigh of relief come over me, because it meant that quite possibly that there would have to be very little ass scrambling happening since there is a great deal which must happen today, as smooth as humanly possible, so concrete can be poured first thing Monday morning. I had said I would get into my new job after a few days, lucky you, today is that day, however, there still isn’t much to say, because I’m in training, I’m studying, I’m learning, and luckily for me, remembering things I never even knew that I knew. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning more that my memory has served me, but combining the two elements has been making my transition easier for me. Whether or not that serves true with my new boss I can’t say, I probably have been frustrating the shit out if him with all of my questions, he has allot on his plate, which he just chews up, only spitting back the plate.


Hopefully I don’t say all of this wrong, but I will try to explain my new job and the eventual role I will be in. I found quickly that much to do with the commercial construction is about a person’s title, not necessarily one’s actual experience. But then you could have my boss, who comes with many, many years of experience, but still has a title. His experience shows through and is reflected in how he works. He offers perfection, and demands one put out their own perfection, he commands this without asking, which is a great way to learn for me personally, to be mentored in a fashion that is well above “industry standard”. He is a rare breed and he makes coming to work interesting. There are many hours of the day that I spend in what I will call ” observation, collection, and absorption”, because that is part of how I learn. What better way to learn, right or wrong, good or bad, people working at their specific trade. Again, luckily for me, I spent many years working for and with my dad, before he retired, as a residential concrete contractor. To my advantage, for a great deal of what is going on right now, I know what they are doing and the concept of what they are trying to accomplish with concrete. I remember the early days when I was part of the crew, the labor, which is how my own dad taught, which was hands on. One does not know the skill of a shovel in the right hands, one cannot respect a person which the shovel if you have never done what he had done. I spent many years with a shovel in my hands, setting forms, moving concrete, and helping turn a once vacant lot into a home for a family to live. Of course, later in life, after the Air Force, my role did change in the family business, where I had the opportunity to get my feet wet on the management and supervisory side of the concrete contractor business. Those lessons, not what I have learned in school, are lessons that serve me well now, because I am being refreshed in how psychology and the stroking of egos is just as important as raising hell when something is all fucked up. I have missed the construction industry since I’ve been out of it, its great to be given the opportunities to get back in the saddle again.


In the end, for now, I’m just the new white guy on the job site. Learning and absorbing as much as I can comprehend to build myself a knowledge base which can only benefit me as time progresses, nobody wants to have dumb employees now do they. Plus, for the second time in my life now, here is a job which involves so much more than just being a mindless zombie laboror. Eventhough I never minded the mindless monkey work because it was work and it paid the bills on time. As time progresses over the next few months I will update everyone as to how my chosen path is going. In reality, the “job” chose me, as I’m very lucky that for probably the first time in a very long time, I was in the right place at the right time to accept this outstanding opportunity. Plus, bonus here people, financially it couldn’t have been more perfect timing. I owe a debt of gratitude to the man who set it in motion and even more to the man who has given me an opportunity not to just have a job, but to have an outfuckingstanding job. Can y’all tell I’m happy? I can tell, it feels great. And now I close with a great selfie, have a great day.


Our Family Thanksgiving Tradition


For as long as I can remember I have went hunting on the weekend before Thanksgiving in an attempt to provide one, if not more, turkeys to prepare for our Thanksgiving feast. Even before I was hunting myself, I was tagging along, learning from my father, my grandfather, and my uncles. I was very excited when I turned 12 because  it was finally my time to join in on the hunt with my family. As the years passed on the tradition was carried on with my own children, it started with my oldest daughter (23 y/o now), my middle daughter (17 y/o now), and most recently with my 12 y/o son. He has accompanied me for many years and after turning 12 this summer he knew it was going to be his turn to bring home a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. My family has a “secret” spot where we bow hunt for turkey. I was entrusted with the location years ago and 3 years ago the ownership of the land was transferred to me when my uncle passed away. This is one location friends never get to go, this is one place that is for family members only, and that tradition has been in place since the 30s and I don’t see it changing on my watch. For the last few years my son has been practicing his bow hunting skills and proved himself recently during bow hunting season when he had a very clean kill of a 10 point whitetail buck from 35 yards at ground level. A technically challenging shot for seasoned bow hunters. Lets just say he nailed it after a long road of education, patience, and dedication.


The first part of the hunt always starts a few weeks before the season actually opens up. We set up stalks to see where the turkey are running so we can calculate the best places for us to set up later. As I stated before, we have been bow hunting this land for many, many years, and for the most part the turkey pass through the same spots by the river year after year, so that is where we start, year after year. There is no need to bait or place decoys because they have a healthy population in this area and a relatively easy to find if you actually know where to look. Granted, there have been seasons so stricken with drought that there were no turkeys, but they always come back sooner or later. My son has mastered the art of the stalk, he has mastered the art of taking pictures in the wild, flagging trees, and mapping out locations with and without using a gps. He like to spend time in the woods without a weapon as well, he likes the connection, and he appreciates that mother nature is willing to provide a great bounty to see that our family eats all year long. He learned early on that in our family we do not buy meat from the store, we hunt, and we provide 95% of the meat that is eaten by our family.


This year, with my work schedule, the rest of my family went out opening weekend and have not returned because they hit their limits already. But, my son and my daughters have yet to go, until yesterday. The way it all ended up working out is my son and I drove out to our location late Saturday afternoon. With just enough daylight left we had time to set up our tent, get a campfire going, and get some food prepared. It was an anxious night for my son, I don’t think he slept at all because he was so excited, he has been waiting a very long time to be able to be the one who brings home the turkey we will eventually eat for Thanksgiving. With the exception that it was 40 degrees overnight, I slept just fine. At 4am I start feeling the jabs from my son, with a dad, dad, dad, dad. Is it time to get up? Is it time yet? Dad, dad, dad, dad. In the distance we could already hear the songs of the turkeys, it was time to get up, eat real quick, and disappear into the woods. At first light we were surprised to see many large turkeys feeding at the edge of the trees. It was very hard to move through the trees and brush because the leaf litter was very crunchy. As we came closer we started getting into the wet litter so we would arrive undetected. We were in place for about 30 minutes when my son was ready to take his first shot. Deep breath, release, breath again. He had made the perfect shot, the turkey dropped immediately. It was the perfect textbook shot from 30 yards. He quickly ran to his bird, assessed his breathing, there was none, so we knew he was dead. My son kneeled by the turkey, put his hand under his limp body, and offered a prayer. “Lord, thank you for this beautiful turkey as this turkey will feed my family and provide happiness for everyone. We thank you for providing this turkey, in your name we pray, amen”. It took me a moment, I was a bit choked up, as I wiped the tears from my eyes I realized my son understood his connection with the land, the animals, and mother nature. It was a beautiful moment to witness.

We packed up to head back to camp where we loaded the ATVs on the trailer, packed the tent, diluted the ashes of the fire, and put the turkey in the cooler in preparation for our travels home. Sunday night we dressed the 23lb turkey and set it to soak in a secret recipe of Wild Turkey, cranberry sauce, sliced oranges, a variety of mild peppers and seasoning, and just a pinch of my secret ingredient. This turkey will rest in this mixture in the refrigerator until late Wednesday night when he will be removed to join the others on my pit smoker for their 12 hour journey into smoked tenderness and bliss. Until then, this post will close.