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Grapevine : March 2011
Rock Springs, Wyo., and also the Salt Lake area. Like the song "Auld Lang Syne" (Webster's: old long since, old times, good old days, of one's youth, etc.) asks, "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?" Mountains of memories came rushing to my mind. Auld lang syne once upon a time, a friend, Dan and I decided to go to a construction job from Selah, Wash., to Rock Springs, Wyo. I ended up with a low-paying job without benefits. I started drink- ing with the ironworkers after work. They got me in the ironworkers union with a working permit out of the Salt Lake Assembly Hall. I remember the first take-home check for a week's work was $488.89. Does it make a difference how much we make, if we are broke by payday? The superin- tendent was "Screaming George." He was mid-40s with a wife (he's now divorced) and two young daughters. I felt uncomfortable gambling, par- tying and living that lifestyle around George after meeting his family. Do drunks have a conscience? "Cowboy Kirk" and I shared an apartment together. He was divorced with three kids. He used to follow the rodeo circuit on the weekends and work iron during the week. The last anyone heard he was in Louisiana. I remembered one night I bought a bottle from a bartender after clos- ing time. Kirk was carrying the bottle out of the bar and dropped it. The neck broke off, but we salvaged about half a bottle. We used George's used snot rag to pour the whiskey through into a container we'd pulled out of a dumpster. After finishing off the whiskey, I couldn't let go of the fact that Kirk had dropped the bot- tle. We ended up having a physical difference of opinion. Kirk used my head for a basketball, bouncing it on the sidewalk and giving me a concus- sion in the process. That was one of several altercations we had between each other. He had an old Oldsmo- bile Toronado that we wrecked on a regular basis. Finally it caught fire one morning about 3 A.M. We rescued what was left out of a half-gallon of gin before the car was completely engulfed in flames. It was cold out- Mountains of memories came rushing to my mind....I ended up with a low-paying job and started drinking with the ironworkers....Does it make a difference how much we make, if we are broke by payday? 44 March 2011