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Catalina Island Job

Story ID:6699
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA. USA
Year:1960
Person:Offshore Chelsea Kansas Kid-Teamster-8
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Catalina Island Job

Now Im going to change job sites
Just to be more specific
From San Clemente Island, to Santa Catalina Island
Still way out in the Pacific

One morning early,
I was asked to go
Down to a port
In San Pedro..

When I arrived
Almost loaded was the barge
They left a space for me
This barge was very large.

I loaded my water wagon
Onto the deck of the barge
Set the brake
Looked for the man in charge.

This barge had no sides
No life jackets either
Just a flat deck
Left me in a dither.

There was no room for us
On the Tugboat you see
While we were being towed
Out into the Salty Sea.

We were sitting on the deck
Another truck driver, Dick Holley and I
Telling stories to each other
Trying hard not to lie.

Just outside the breakwater
The barge hesitated
Stopped dead in the water
I was devastated.

The Tugboat was still moving
Farther away from us
My thoughts were
The tow cable did bust.

Suddenly the cable snapped out of the water
With a singing sound we heard
The Tugboat was just paying out cable
We started moving forward.

The Tugboat was ahead
Couple blocks or more
Hoped we didnt hit rough water
Too far to swim to shore.

What if a foreign Oil Tanker
Crossed and hooked our cable
Wed have to swim
As long as we were able.

By the time that the Tugboat
Came back to rescue us
Im sure we would have drowned
Sure wish Id have taken a bus

When these thoughts crossed my mind
I thought whyd I ever complain
About air transportation
Wished I taken a plane????

The three hour trip over
The sea was as smooth as glass
This was the only thing
That really saved our sorry behinds.

We were pushed in to shore
At Hamilton Bay we did debark
I drove through the small town
To the place the job would start.

Our Foreman Helicoptered over to Catalina
At Pebbley Beach it sat down
We took a pickup down, to get him
A few blocks south of town.

We got a room
In the famous Rotweiler hotel
Went down to the first floor
There the food was WELL??

This Hotel was built in 1563
No fire escapes, no exit signs
Didnt look to safe to me
To my roommate I did whine.

I paced the distance to a window
Out in the hall in case of fire
And the lights were out
To survive was my desire.

Would you think
That Im a scaredey cat
Youd be right
For thinking that.

As we walked to the job
Up the hill three blocks or more
The golf carts parked along the walk
All had piles of change lying on the floor.

You didnt have to worry about robbers
Or trouble makers mean
There were no quick get-a-ways
Without being seen.

The people there accepted us
After work as we walked up the street
Wed be asked in for a drink.
Come in and take a seat.

We were told by our foreman
This was the Sheriffs plan
If we caused trouble
Wed be forever banned.

Enjoyed our job on Catalina Island
The people there were great
Theres so much history there
Too much for me to relate.

To the job each week
I took the Catalina Catamaran
Not a plane, for me you see
On the sea, this one ran..
Monte Manka 05-16-06