Sunday, May 2, 2010


When I was a heavy-equipment operator, I loved loading trucks. There's certainly an art to it. I'd get into work, a half-an-hour early, to begin greasing, checking the fluid levels and doing a walk around my machine, to make sure all was safe. I ran a big CAT 973 endloader...It was a track machine. 3 heaping buckets of dirt in the box of an 18 wheeler, and I'd hit my horn, and send him on his way! I'd keep my dirt on a 45 degree angle, from the front of my bucket, next to the truck, to reduce loading time...Sometimes I built a pad, for my loader to sit on, so I was higher than the truck, to increase my efficiency, and loading speed. When there were no trucks to load, I'd either push dirt down off stock piles in order to pulverize it....or core streets, to generate piles of dirt, when I was finish grading. This makes it easier for the dozer hand, on another job site.

He wouldn't have to deal with clumps. I know when I was running a dozer, that if I got loads of shitty dirt, with rock and clumps, and trash in it...I'd be calling the loader operator on the other end, a whole bunch of "mutherfuckers"! I'd often tell the truck drivers, "Tell that loader man to get his shit together, or he is going to be looking for another job!"

A Foreman who knows machines can tell a good loader operator from the "git-go". A good operator never steers to cut his tracks, when he backs up his machine. If a man does this, he tears up sprockets, idlers, rollers, final drives, and tracks. A good loader man steers into the pile or cut, working the bucket to get a heaping load of dirt. He knows how to cut to finish grade! He'll ease up to a trailer box, and fluidly dump the load of dirt, curling the bucket to the bottom of the trailer box, and immediately hit the hoist and bucket back levers, will backing up...This movement is negotiated by experienced operators, missing contact with the truck by inches...Time is saved by good operators who have this fluidity of movement! When backing up, a good operator always looks over his right shoulder, to make sure there is nothing in back of him, to run over. A good operator gets "into his Zen", when he feels he is part of his machine. There's nothing like it in the world! I remember listening to rock-and-roll, or country music, smoking cigs, and thinkin' 'bout that waitress in the tavern, when we shut down for the night!

After ten-or-twelve hours, I cooled my CAT down, cleaned its tracks, and locked "her" up for the night. I jumped into my Dodge Ram and headed to the Gin Mill. I'd be all sun-burned, dusty, dirty, and thirsty! When I opened the door of the tavern, I'd feel that nice blast of air-conditioned air, and smell the wonderful smells of the bar room! I was greeted by smiles from my compadres, country western music on the juke box, and shots-and-beers, from buxom waitresses! Yes...I'm proud to be a Local #150 Operating Engineer! I'm so happy to recall these days. Amen!


  1. Amen!!!! Nothing like a shot & a beer after a day like that! I am proud to be an American!!!!

  2. sometimes, I still think about these days...but the shot-and-beer is simply out of the question!!