I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.
Heavy Equipment Is Amazing To Watch
Many Years Ago When I Was A Boy
I was always fascinated by heavy machinery. Bulldozers, skip-loaders, front-end loaders and such. I couldn't get my fill of watching the men driving these machines and I also loved the hum of the machines that sounded a lot like a symphony orchestra playing one of Beethoven's classic movement--it was all hypnotic.
From the ages of six on through 12, I would watch the state highway employees unload their equipment and set-up their work offices and I knew that I would soon see a lot of the state heavy equipment that were all in yellow. From the first time a bulldozer fired-off (with the black diesel smoking), and the rest of the heavy equipment coming to life, I was so excited to be able to see and hear the workers riding their heavy equipment which reminded me of being in the audience of a professional rodeo, but this one, the heavy equipment was more entertaining.
Amazing. That best describes the state highway workers how they communicated with hand signals, never stopping except for diesel fuel for their equipment and for lunch around noon. Then around 1 p.m., the work and routine would start all over--and all of this was very exciting to me. Not every one of my friends could stand or sit in a safe place and take in the way that the heavy equipment would smooth parts of the highway bed and other equipment would haul away the gravel and dirt that were obstructions, more or less before the last few steps of building the highway could be finished.
In Every Summer
that I was blessed to be at the work sites on the highway near our home, you could fry eggs on the rocks that had been bulldozed away from the highway maps. 98 degrees would be the average temperature and I thought that other outdoor workers, roofers, forestry employees, and farmers would have to hit the shade, but not these highway workers. No, sir. None of them ever complained about having to stop for water since they had water coolers already placed on their equipment, so there was no down-time for the workers.
But I can testify to the ONE thing that could put the heavy equipment and the workers to a stand-still: one of those monster summer thunderstorms--equipped with heavy winds and sharp lightning. As for me, I did my best to keep hid from the storms, but when you are a young boy, fear grips you during a huge thunderstorm, so I set-out to running as fast as I could to get home and just find a safe place. With my parents both working, I had to use some sense in finding a place to hide from the storm and I found that underneath my bed was as safe as anywhere.
There was that time when I was brave enough to walk down the large hill that stood by the highway and talk to the workers during their lunch hour. They were all friendly and smiled at me and one even invited me to ride with his bulldozer, but the foreman, laughing, said if you ain't careful, this kid will take your job! I didn't want to hinder the workers, so I run back to my place on the hill and out of the way.
Some Days The Diesel Engines Roar
would sometimes lull me fast asleep and when I did nod off, I laid down in some nice soft sagegrass. I did not know that I was already making a future memory that I could enjoy from time to time. FACT: in 2019, every time I see a patch of sagegrass, I go back to those days of summer when I was young boy, and fell asleep to the "music" I heard from the diesel engines pulling those big pieces of equipment that was building the highway near my home.
Time and progress tried to become marital partners and get the highway finished, but as soon as the workers would make a mile of highway, a dozer would have to have a mechanic called into fix the motor or maybe one of the workers would call in to the foreman and tell him that he would be out due to having the flu, but the foreman and the workers seemed to be used to it because I never witnessed one of them panic. This says a lot about the workers' grit and endurance to work, even with adversity, and keep the job going.
Now It Is Time For Me To Reveal
"the" main topic that I wanted to share earlier in this piece, so I kept you in suspense and yes, when you read it, you will be in awe, just like I was when I was a boy gazing at the state highway workers and their heavy equipment.
The main focus of this piece is the Heavy Equipment, the tractors with a wheel with spikes that rolled over the dirt to flatten it, a water truck which was probably THE most-important piece of equipment to be on a project such as this. What was the water truck for? To let water (from a big tank on the truck) run on the road to keep the heavy dust from blinding the workers. This idea was one of the best that I ever heard of.
How many times do you think that I used "heavy equipment," in this hub? There is a valid reason for this. So now to reveal the main thing that I have hidden well. If you will drive past a highway being built either by a construction company or by the state highway department workers, you should see every piece of their heavy equipment all standing still awaiting their workers to show-up and start work on another day.
My question is this: did you ever hear of any of this heavy equipment being stolen? Honest. I have never heard of (a) thief or gang of thieves sneaking into the work area and starting the earth movers, bulldozers, and tractors up and driving them to a warehouse or onto a big diesel truck to do God only knows what.
I am not making this up. I give you my solemn word. And since growing into adulthood, I have known of a lot of equipment being left from one evening to the next morning and it would all be there ready to work. I urge you to go out and see for yourself if I am telling the truth.
P.S. even if I were tempted to go into a life of crime and specialize in stealing heavy equipment, I would not try this line of crime. First, I do not know how to start any of their engines and second, the local police would be guarding expensive equipment that I have been talking about.
June 20, 2019_____________________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery
Ken Avery on June 25, 2019:
DW, I have no argument. In fact, your comment makes a ton of sense.
DW Davis from Eastern NC on June 25, 2019:
Ken, Yes, I believe alcohol was involved.
Ken Avery on June 25, 2019:
DW, by any chance, did the bulldozer thief have a drinking problem?
Ken Avery on June 25, 2019:
Dear Christina, you pose two valid points. I agree with your comments, but the way I think, there are brand-new John Deere and Massey-Ferguson tractors that the state employees (where I live) keep our highways mowed, but at day's end, they leave the tractors parked where they finish their work---and I have heard that there are clever automotive/equipment thieves who are so sharp that they could devise a way to start these machines and maybe move them onto a trailer and take them, well, I won't say where.
Thanks for stopping by and write me anytime.
Cristina Cakes from Virginia on June 20, 2019:
I think it would definitely be hard to steal heavy equipment. I would be much more worried about vandalism. Working for a company that fixes this type of equipment I can tell you that parts are not cheap. Batteries alone are insane.
Another worry I would have is children playing on it and hurting themselves. I have seen equipment parked at the entrance to my neighborhood many times and although my children are too young to be roaming the streets alone, I don't see how a kid a few years older would be able to resist something like that! I know I sure wouldn't have as a kid. I used to get in trouble all the time climbing on the army tank that sat outside of our local library!
DW Davis from Eastern NC on June 20, 2019:
I remember a story of someone taking a bulldozer from a worksite and trying to drive it to town, but that is as close to grand theft Heavy Equipment as I remember.