OPINION COLUMNS

A routine day at the coffee shop landed me on a blocked caller list

By Gerre Joiner | Published Wednesday, August 12, 2015
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This morning was pretty much like any other morning at the coffee shop. I’m not sure why I thought of calling my friend, Royce Moore, and asking him to meet me for coffee. He doesn’t come often. Sometimes he stops by on his way to play golf.

Today, though, he agreed to meet me at Whataburger. I introduced him around the table. He knew a bunch of the guys.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

We discussed artesian wells. Well, Jimmy Kirk and I kind of discussed some of the time and kind of raised our voices some of the time until we finally agreed that the water comes to the surface because of natural pressure (no pump involved).

We talked about the kind of wells of long ago from which water was drawn with either a bucket and a rope or with a kind of pipe thing with a one-way valve. (I’m not familiar with this one).

We talked about tattoos. One of the folks who came in this morning sported a lot of artwork on his body. He was a big man. Didn’t look like a shy man.

Consensus among the guys is this: not a one of us is going to sign up for a tat.

One of our guys looked at the big guy with the tattoos and said to the group, “I used to think tattoos looked funny. I used to tell folks with tattoos that I thought they looked funny. On that guy, though, they look pretty good. I don’t think I’ll bother him.”

Our discussion returned to water wells, the kind of water wells like the ones we used on the cotton farms in West Texas. Each well was powered by a huge engine that almost never had a muffler.

Back in the ’50s when our wells were drilled, water was propelled 3 or 4 feet from the end of the 8-inch discharge pipe. Good water at our place.

Somehow I mentioned how afraid I was as a child when we approached the engine (no muffler) to service the reservoir for the drip oil.

Someone asked, “What’s that?” referring to drip oil.

I serviced that little pot of oil every day of irrigation season but never asked, “Where is this oil going?” I just knew it didn’t have anything to do with the engine.

It was dripping down into the well casing … drip by drip (you could see it through a little window thingie). I phoned a friend in Lorenzo and asked. He’s a big/good farmer.

His explanation didn’t sound too complete to me, but I told him, “That’s a good answer. That’s what I’m going to tell my friends here in the coffee shop. Nobody’s going to drive 300 miles to check out my story or yours.”

We talked about the beautiful view from the air when one flies over the parts of the country in which “circles” or “pivots” are used to irrigate crops.

From the air, the circles have a kind of artistic feature. The perfect circles. The coloration of the crops under the system, depending on the season. All that translates into a kind of tapestry of agriculture.

Anyway, it seems so from the air. I’ve never flown over the Lubbock area while there was a sand storm in progress. I’d kind of like to see that.

I’ve always seen the storm from ground level and wondered how far that dirt had traveled before it passed through Crosby County.

That pretty well sums up the morning. I don’t think Royce is going to be a regular for us. While Jimmy and I were “discussing” artesian wells, Royce mentioned putting me on his blocked caller list.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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