I know a man, whose heart belongs to the Oilfield. He is now an elderly man, residing in an assisted living home; but he once was a king. A king in a close knit community called, the “Oil Patch.” You would not know if you looked at him, now frail, small, and walking with a cane, but once this roughneck was a mountain of a man that could throw pipe with the strongest of men. He would out work and outsmart any obstacle in his path. If oil was to be found, he would find it. If oil was to be drilled, he drilled it. If oil needed to flow, he flowed it. He was the first man to ever weld for the oilfield under water.
His mind is weak now at 84yrs of age, and simple things fail him. You have to remind him your name even though he has been a constant in your life forever. However, this man still remembers how to read a gage, turn a wrench, or climb a derrick. In his day, there was nothing in the field that would escape his knowledge. He was, and still is the definition of, “Old School Oil field.” He started when hard hats and O2 censors were not yet present, and to get a job on a rig, you stood in line and waited for someone to quit, or suffered from exhaustion. He has witnessed how the field has turned from manual labor to computer assistance in some areas. He has watched how injuries would occur and a new safety rule would finally come into effect.
This king of a man, has taught many, including my own husband, how to make a true living. By taking no shortcuts or handouts, using only his own influence, he has taught many how to work hard and reap in the rewards. He has taught people how to find satisfaction in a job well done, and how to dedicate themselves to a purpose, then see it through. Failure was never an option.
I cannot imagine how many hands he has watched come and go, especially considering he didn’t retire until he was 81. He withstood raising a family, and leaving a good woman at home while he worked tirelessly. While on hitch after hitch and rig after rig, he sadly missed the births of his children and even his grandchildren. He made up for it by being the immense man that he was, and provided as much love to each and everyone that his heart would allow. Generosity was part of his DNA, not just his personality. He is the creator of many tools and parts used in the industry. He is a self taught engineer, and served as a pioneer when the patch was limited and little. By saving his money, he was able to donate to churches, families in need, and who ever else needed it. No mouth would go unfed in his presence.
This man is the definition of a true oilfield man. There is integrity in his persona, honesty in every action and deed, and devotion with every well, well hand, and family. When he speaks of his time in the field, he talks as if he is reliving his glory days. Those moments that have come and gone, to others may seem small or insignificant, but to anyone in the oilfield family, these moments are what life is made of. There is a glimmer in his eyes as he speaks; a reminder of the pride that resides in a roughneck. He has something to be proud of, the life he has lived, the lives he has changed, and the lives he has brought into the world. He is Oilfield. He might be considered older generation Oilfield, from a different time in history, but the message is still the same…. Oilfield is not a profession; Oilfield is a sense of pride. This ole’ timer is my husband’s grandfather, and he still is a king in a growing community called the “Oil Patch.” Even retired and frail, he still wears his heart on his sleeve… and his heart belongs to the Oilfield.