A construction truck loaded with gravel, piloted by Fred, with Al riding shotgun, growled around two uphill “S” curves that led into suburban Prestwick Hills.

“Remember the first time you tried skipping stones?” Al said out of the blue.

“What brought this on?” Fred, answered his question with a question.

It would be a good day if civilians stayed out of their way.  That was the only thing civilians were good for–getting in the way.  That and not being very smart.

Civilians were surprised when items were stolen from their unlocked cars.

They planted trees, shrubbery in utility right-of-ways.

They were surprised when unleashed pets disappeared from unfenced backyards.

Old retired people and young kids hung around—asked too many questions.

Highly polished, telescopic, hydraulic cylinders raised the truck’s dump bed.  Fred advanced the truck slowly to spread the gravel.  A skip loader redistributed the rest.  The dump bed lowered with a hiss, and thump.

Fred and Al caught up paperwork under a nearby maple tree, followed by a short break.

Boom!! Chunks of dirt flew, sparks and acrid black smoke ran along a nearby chain link fence.  Decorative fence caps launched into the air.  The old man gawking from Lot #17, looked a little sheepish.

Locating buried utility lines wasn’t an exact science.  The bulldozer operator severed a buried electric feeder cable.  Visibly shaken, but unharmed, he stayed with his machine, until the power company arrived on scene.

If any work got done after this, it would be a miracle.  Small miracles happened every day.



“Share the story of a time you felt unsafe.”



On slow days foremen brought out stacks of in-house generated trouble reports.  The large utility I worked for strived to keep technicians busy and customers happy.  That meant cold calls, with uncertain facility access.  I was a rookie climbing a steep learning curve.  Lucky for me, it was a beautiful late spring afternoon.

My repair ticket sent me to a well-kept suburban home with a side lot surrounded by a chain-link fence.  I approached the house–as expected, no one was home.  Where was the interface located?  On most houses it was on the back or side.  Dogs were territorial, and a hazard–even when their owners claimed they didn’t bite.

I made lots of noise as I approached the gate.  “Here, Doggie, Doggie.”  I dragged the handle of my largest screwdriver across the chain link fence–called again.  If there was a bad dog, I’d put a no-access card on the front door and leave.  There was, again, no response.

As I walked through the yard, around the back corner of the house, I was completely startled.  Two large black and tan Doberman Pinschers, met me snarling and growling.  All I could see were white fangs that wanted a piece of me.  My mind briefly flashed a safety poster message from the wall of the garage.  It depicted the silhouette of a German Shepherd in a fenced yard.  The caption was, “I can make it to the gate in 4 seconds–can you?”  Could I make it?  I was sure as hell going to try.

“Don’t run, stand your ground walk backward slowly.”  Good safety advice–instead, I panicked and ran.  The only thing I remember is feeling hot dog breath close behind, my behind.  I grabbed the fence top rail and sailed over in a crude swan dive.  My tools scattered everywhere and I didn’t look back.  None the worse for wear, other than dirt and grass stains, I went on to the next job.  At the end of shift that evening, I recounted my experience, the boss laughed and said, “I’m glad you’re OK, go requisition some new tools.”  The final minutes were spent trading dog encounter stories.

doberman pinschers“Nice Doggies”