Chapter 3 – The Man — 7 Comments

  1. I think I have run into a few “Timmys” in my work history. “Little” fellow very aptly describes someone with his mentality too!
    I am really enjoying your bio. Will be watching for the next chapter.

  2. Do you KNOW what they would do to this guy if he pulled this garbage today? Talk about a harassment in the workplace lawsuit!

  3. Boy did that story bring back some memories. Not the divorce part. Mine only cost me $16.25, but that’s a whole other story.

    There are some similarities in the work situation. Being a Yankee (my family didn’t come over on the Mayflower but since both sides were in Massachusetts by the mid 1630s I’m sure they knew people who did.) working in the oil patch wasn’t easy. You know the mentality of those people…anyone from north of I-10 is a Yankee to them which used to bother the hell out of a friend from mine whose family spanned decades in the history of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, but to the Cajuns he was still a “Yankee.”

    When I first started running a crewboat in the Kerr-McGee production field in Breton Sound one of the “field pushers” was a “Timmy.We lived on Breton Island and there were five small crewboats (you know, the 47 footers by Beaux Craft) out at the island to ferry the men around the huge field that spanned nearly 50 miles north to south and 15 miles east and west.

    Most days “Timmy”studiously avoided putting himself and his crew on my boat in the mornings as we left the island for the day’s work and on those rare occasions when he had no choice he would be a complete jerk having one of the roustabouts tell me where to take them even if he was standing only a few feet away on the back deck.

    One late January afternoon the leading edge of a “Norther” came screaming down on us. The temperature dropped 25 degrees in a matter of about as many minutes and the winds soon were gusting up past 30 knots whipping up 10-foot, slab-sided waves in the Sound.

    Our “Timmy” and his crew were trapped on a small jack-up barge down by South Pass and the “Company Man” sent me down to get them. As I approached the jack-up I could see Timmy’s face turn red” and see him calling the island on his hand-held. He was demanding that the island send another boat to pick them up, but the Company Man told him I was the only one available. It was either get on my boat or there was no way they were getting back until the next evening. That meant no hot dinner, no warm bunk and no breakfast in the morning. Timmy was furious.

    I swung around to the lee side of the barge and made six passes rising and falling the height of a single-story house each time I plucked a man off the barge and never slamming my stern against it as the men stepped on board and hurried down into the boat’s cabin. I made three passes at the barge while Timmy battled with the decision of a cold night on the jack-up or a warm bunk before he finally jumped on board.

    We spent the next hour beating our brains out running into the wind and waves to get back to the island and were then faced with running down a half-mile long narrow and shallow channel into the island’s lagoon. Breaking waves of 12 to 15 feet were like a barrier at the mouth of the channel. The Cajun captains would generally run full bore into the waves and most of the time come close to broaching while tossing the passengers about down below.

    Not me. Knowing that one wave doesn’t pass another, I turned towards the channel, got on the back side of one of the breakers and adjusting my speed to match that of the wave rode smoothly behind the breaking wave all the way into the lagoon.

    Timmy never openly acknowledged my boat-handling abilities to me, but later, when faced with a similar situation I heard a first-hitch roustabout ask him if we were actually going to go through that surf. I heard Timmy say, “when it get’s like this out here, this is the boat you want to be on.” He never said it to my face, and we never shook hands, but every time things really got nasty I’d hear him on the radio demanding that I come and get him.

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