The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 33
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Reminiscences of Sour Lake
their muscles to adjust something that had gone wrong. After
forty years of sobering absence, it still seems to me that there
was more high-pressure work going on in Sour Lake than in
any other place I have ever seen.
Amid this orgy of work, there was plenty of idleness, be not
mistaken in that. Probably in the previous months, during the
high tide of development, there had been work for all applicants,
but when I got there, there were not a few men hunting jobs.
I was not acquainted with anyone of importance in the place,
belonged to no fraternal order, and perhaps had little aptitude
for approaching employers. Those who did hire me, I imagine,
had happened to be needing hands badly at the time, as during
the first few months the jobs I did get lasted only a few days.
Consequently, much of the time I was without work. Being
without work meant being without money, and being without
money, in that place, meant being without food.
Some of the other boys of my acquaintance were in my sit-
uation. We lived in various ways. Sometimes we boarded at
regular boarding places; sometimes we slept in sleeping tents
and took our meals at restaurants; more often we batched
straight. But anyway we lived; we were on our own resources;
and our experience in keeping the wolf from the door would
fill a thin volume.
One morning, Will Collins and I awoke to the fact that we
were dead broke and without a bite to eat. We separated and
went different paths to try to make a raise. I had no success
whatever, but when I came back that night, Will displayed a
bright silver dollar. He had hit some doctor, or somebody that
he knew, and struck it lucky. Hungry as he must have been
around dinner time, he had not broken the dollar, but had faith-
fully waited to share it with me.
Another night I was hungry with long developed hunger. I
was working hard at the time, and had money coming but had
none in my pocket. For several days my provisions had been
running low. The day before I had not had half enough to eat,
not a third enough. That morning for breakfast, I had a few
fried Irish potatoes; for dinner potatoes again, but in a still
smaller quantity. I remember well that when we went to eat,
I slipped off to one side so the others of the crew could not see
how scant my dinner was and how I gobbled it down. That
night, my cupboard was completely bare.
Standing around a little fire in front of my tent, I wondered
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/49/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.