Author: Rhynes, J.D.

Late Night, or, Early Mornin' Hi Jinks

Late Night, or, Early Mornin' Hi Jinks Musician's Indulge In.

Beginning in the early 1970's I worked around and with a member of my local union, Jim McGee, quite a bit. Jim joined my pipefitters local in the early '70's and was a lot of fun to work with. He was also the best B.S.Artist I think I've ever met in my life.As the old sayin' goes, you could tell when he was lying to you, because his lips were moving. On top of that, he was a practical joker of the highest order, and anyone on the job was fair game for his wide range of devious jokes he was known for. I've seen him take weeks to set up a joke for some unknowing foil. He set up an entire crew one time when he got them to buy into one of his "Oyster" schemes. Seems that he and a buddy were going up the coast one spring to go deep sea fishing, and he convinced everybody on the job that he would bring 'em back all the Oysters they wanted, if they would jes bring an ice chest on Friday. He would let 'em know what the cost was when he brought their chest full of Oysters to work on Monday. Come that Monday, sure enough, every body's ice chest was brim full of oysters about the size of a 50 cent piece! He got a cussin' from every man there. That is except me, 'cause I knew better to fall for his scheme's.

One of his very favorite tricks was to catch you with yer hood down welding, and douse you with about a gallon of water. I was usually on his side of several good ones that we pulled on other members of the crew, but there were times we layed in the weed's fer each other fer days, jes waitin to get even. I waited for about a year to get even with Jim fer the time he poured 5 gallons of water on me when I was in a tight spot making a difficult weld. About 1975, Jim bought 5 acres with a house and barn on it, on the road between Oakdale, Ca., and Farmington, Ca. A route that the Vern Williams band always took when coming home from playing in the Bay Area.

Not too long after Jim bought that property, he bought himself 3 or 4 calves to raise for freezer beef . He figured that he could sell a couple of 'em after they got big enough to butcher, and pay fer his own with some money left over. HOWEVER, he didn't know that those calves were to lose him a LOT of sleep in the coming years! Remember that I told you that we always went by his house after playing a gig in the Bay Area? Well folks, here's where I got even fer that 5 galllon bath 'ol Jim gave me that day! We played a Friday and Saturday nite gig at The Freight one week end, and headed up the hill to home at around 1:00 AM in Berkeley. It was about 2:30 am when we approached Jim's house, and I told Keith to slow down to around 25 MPH, then I pulled 'ol Earl out and fired three shots into the deep drainage ditch in front of Jim's pasture. STAND ON IT KEITH, I yelled, and we sped away in the dark laffin like feinds, jes knowin' that the shots would wake Jim, and he would think that someone was shootin' his cows!

Well, come Monday mornin at work, Jim came by where I was working to shoot the breeze fer a few minutes, and I asked him how his calves were gettin' along? He told me that early Sunday mornin' some one was out front of his pasture shootin' at 'em, and he didn't get another wink of sleep, 'cause he figgered that they'd be back about daylite and he'd catch 'em. Did they show up I asked? Nope he said, but he was gonna catch 'em next time fer shore! Well, that was in the spring of that year, and we didn't play the Freight till late summer, and late Fall again. Same time, same scenario, BOOM BOOM BOOM, and take off Keith! This went on fer about another 3 or 4 years until Jim sold the property and moved into town. Jim and I were working the same job the last time I pulled this on him, and he came in to work on Monday mornin', lookin' like he'd been pulled through a knot hole backwards. One of the guys asked him why he looked so wore out? He told 'em he was woke up early Saturday mornin' by some one shootin' at his cows, and he stayed up Saturday,and Sunday nite watin' to catch whoever was doin the shootin'! [We only played Friday nite that time ] Well, I didn't tell Jim it was me that was doin' all of that shootin' all of those years, until about 1990. Jim had retired by then, so I knew he couldn't give me another 5 gallon bath. When I told him that it was me that had woke his sorry butt up all of those times, he jes stood there in amazement, till he finally stammered out. Why? I sez; Jimmy, boy. Ya remember that 5 gallons of dirty water you poured on me when we were welding on top of the cooling tower at Holly Sugar plant in 1978? THAT'S WHY! Jim got that sheepish smile on his face, started laughting, and said, well ol pard, I did have at least one trick on me coming, but FOUR YEARS WORTH? Jim boy, you know "The Shadow' never did stop at even up! NUFF SAID!

Posted:  3/25/2010

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