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Grandpa Just Kept on Working

Grady Arnold


Cheryl is a girl from Texas whose grandfather got dumped from a oil drilling company 60 years ago when he turned 65. He got no notice. They came and told him on his birthday. I saw his picture with his wells and truck in the background on Cheryl's kitchen wall. I asked Cheryl about the picture one day while I was visiting her.

It seems that Grandpa had $50 in his pocket on that day, and his kids still going to colleges.  A cop stopped him on the way home, and that ticket took his last $50.

Grandpa went home and thought about it for two days. Oil prices were down then as they are now.
Then he started picking up leases to the stripper wells around Central Texas on contingency.  He bought a worn out cleaning rig and started cleaning out the wells the major oil companies could no longer afford to keep. He drove his own tanker truck to pick up the 8 to 20 barrels of oil every week from each well. He had over 200 wells when they took that old black and white photo on her wall. He was over 80 years old in that old photo.

The price of oil slowly came back up. But he still had all those leases at bargain basement prices. Grandpa just kept on working with  the clean out rig and driving the old tanker truck. Sometimes Cheryl's husband would get a call that Grandpa was stuck in the mud in a field somewhere. Benny, Cheryl's husband, would go over and pull him out. Grandpa would just go back to work.

He lived to be over 105.

Now, his granddaughter, Cheryl, and the rest of the remaining kids and grandkids are on easy street. They all worked and helped Grandpa. The last time I saw her in Texas she had just finished remodeling her home adding 6 new rooms. She took me through her new rooms.  She had just returned from a 3 month cruise around the Italian coast with some church friends. Old Grandpa did pretty good on the stripper wells no one else wanted.

I go by Winkler, Texas to see Benny and Cheryl when I come back from up north on a job. I went to Sam Houston with Benny 40 years ago on the GI Bill. I bet I'm the only one who knows where Winkler is on a map.  It is not on most maps.

With the price of oil down again, the clean out rigs can be had for almost nothing right now.  Many will be cut up and scraped out.

Isn't America great? All you need to do is just keep on working.