1976 Pasadena, Texas. Three of us were renting from my former boss, Valdis, and driving to Channelview in my 69’ LTD five days a week. The band leader was Al Leone, and the drummer was Michael Craig Step. I was the management trainee and they were print boy and gopher on the 2.2 billion dollar chemical lobotomy we were building to drain into the San Jaciento River basin. 

       Valdis played the accordion, and I had a Marine Band harp that I blew enthusiastically but without a lick of classical training. It was my car, or almost my car...as the contract manager had co-signed my note to prevent me from hitchhiking from Houston to Channelview each day. Work started at seven. 

        We were an unlikely trio, but Valdis saw us every day...so he knew we were good for the rent. He was no longer my boss, as he had had a heart attack and was allowed to return to work in the drafting pool after being forced from his position as the massive project’s senior civil engineer. 

         I never thought it strange that I should become the youngest member of a small team of experts assembled to supervise the Channelview job, at eighteen. There were three others...all college graduates training on this team too. They were their own crew, and did not want to think much about that we were doing a lot of the same work, and me for far less pay. 

          There was just too much noise; too much noise for me to understand or even appreciate my position, how I had gotten it, or anything else. There is no noise now, four decades later. No noise and time to reimagine a past that made no sense, a past that I struggled with, a chronological jigsaw puzzle that just sat in a box too small to assemble.

        Who put the sword in the stone, and why were our knights scarlet?  

         The college was first called King’s , where Valdis had worked as a refugee and earned his degree, from the same New Jersey university I would, three decades later after  1976 when I worked for him in Texas; three facts  that I have not assembled until just this very moment, because, I have the quiet to hear and time for doing so. 






Views: 60

Comment by Tom Cordle on January 18, 2019 at 8:21pm

You can hear an awful lot in the silence. By the way, the only classical training for blowing harp is where to find good scotch cheap – or at least score a bottle of rotgut T-bird.

Comment by Robert B. James on January 18, 2019 at 10:26pm

Thanks for reading and commenting! I could drive and bend a reed, but not drink drive and bend a reed. I stuck to listening. 

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 19, 2019 at 12:29pm

Free at last.

Hart returned to his old haunt.

In and around?

Long term buy and fold?

Far out cool split SS (sound system).


He felt bad.

I suppose we'll wind up with a light fence--ground up llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

Why not Disneyland SW? None of it has to end badly, Jane (sweet as a quarter-back sneak) added.

SG sounded silence. Shriners peddled strongly.

Narrow streets.

Split the night.

Let's get naked Hart sd behind her ear. She stretched like a caged panther. Can't describe those eyes.

Promise to suck your navel to your spine? She yawned.

I'm on your side. Look around tiger shark!
Comment by Robert B. James on January 22, 2019 at 11:33pm

Dr.Hart: yikes.


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