Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer of Love

We experienced the “Summer of Love” in 1969, along with Woodstock and the first man on the moon. There was also Vietnam. I had just graduated from college and planned to marry in August. Before the marriage occurred, I sat my first oil well.

It was early July and I waited in Houston, Texas for my first assignment as a mudlogger with a company called Core Lab. My new mentor was a degreed geologist named Ed M. and we were soon on our way to Mississippi. The 60s in Mississippi were still racially charged and we had to peel off the Core Lab sticker from our company car before driving into the state.

Many in Mississippi thought of CORE as the Congress of Racial Equality, not an oil and gas service company. Being from Louisiana, I was somewhat used to racism, but not even close to what I encountered in Mississippi.

My first well was a 17,500’ wildcat, just outside of Laurel, Mississippi. Ed and I found a room at a local boarding house. Ed liked boarding houses – he had married the owner of the last boarding house where he had stayed in Monroe, Louisiana. I liked them too because I did not have a lot of extra money for the local Hilton.

The drilling rig was big and noisy, but I was not destined to see the well through its total depth. Instead, I drove to Weslaco, Texas to finish logging a well drilling there. I never finished that well either because Core Lab sent me to log yet another deep wildcat, this one near Talco in east Texas.

While young hippies were smoking dope, cavorting around with no clothes, and listening to rock music, I spent the “Summer of Love” on an assortment of noisy drilling rigs from Mississippi to Texas. My boss begged me to sit a wildcat for him in Nicaragua and put off my marriage until later. I thought about it, and the extra money he offered, but my bride-to-be would have none of it.

Five months later, I was married, drafted into the Army and training for a traumatic trip to Southeast Asia as a hired gun for Richard Nixon. Yes, I missed the wild and decadent parts of the “Summer of Love” but I tried making up for it during the “Disco 70s.” Maybe it is a good thing because I don’t think I could have survived both.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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