Mr. Spaulding and His Charges: Part IV


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To understand this post, it will be helpful to first read the prologue to this series.  It will also help if you read the first three parts, the titles of which are included in the archival list of postings about Mr. Spaulding.

* * * * *

L.:  I know that you blew up a large tree stump for Bill.  I know you blew up a silo for some friends of ours from Webster City.  About how often did you do things like that for people?

Mr. S.:  Whenever they’d call me.  I didn’t do much of that work in the wintertime.  You had to drill into the ground and it doesn’t work very well in the wintertime, unless there was something above ground.  I suppose I’d get a couple of calls a month.  Gradually the word got around so they knew who to call because nobody else did that.

L.:  Did you do it mainly as a hobby, or did it become a nice source of supplemental income, or did you mainly do it almost for nothing?

Mr. S.:  No, no.  I had to buy the explosives.  I had to buy the dynamite and the __________ and all the rest of the stuff.

L.:  As far as for your service?

Mr. S.:  I charged for the work, too.  Not a specific amount, just according to how much of explosives I used, basically, and the time and the mileage.  Sometimes I’d have jobs clear up in Minnesota that I’d get called up to do.  Sometimes I’d go out with some of those jobs and in a day I could get around two or three hundred dollars.  That was welcome income.

L.:  What was the most unusual thing that someone had you use explosives with?

Mr. S.:  Oh, I’d have to think about that.  I used to blow down a lot of silos, these clay tile silos.  (Now silos are made out of poured concrete.  The older kind is just made out of clay tile.  Some if them, I guess, were made out of concrete tile…individual pieces they’d build up like concrete bricks.)  I’d do that by marking Xs on the tile every so far apart, a couple of rows apart about half way around, and then I’d knock a little hole in the tile and then I’d put in the homemade firecrackers I’d made.  I’d put those in all the holes and hook them all together with a real fast burning fuse, a special fuse, and light it and stand back and watch.  And, then boom, boom, boom, they’d work their way around the side and then, crrrrash, down it’d come.  That was a lot of fun.  I liked that work.

Mr. S.:  [Explanation about a detonating cord.]

L.:  How much would it cost just for that cord?

Mr. S.:  Oh, I’d hate to tell you that.  You buy it in hundred-foot rolls, and one roll is about forty or fifty dollars, I think.  I can’t remember now.  It cost a fortune at that rate.  It was very useful for getting things to go off simultaneously, so to speak.  Sometimes I’d have several big trees that they’d want me to take down.  I’d get charges under each one of them and hook them all up with __________ and, boom, they’d all go at once.  That saved a lot of going back and forth, a lot of running.  I never did any running, anyway.  I used enough fuses, two fuses.  I could just walk off at a good pace.  I’d hate to think I was running and trip and fall too close to the charge, so I walked.

* * * * *

Part V will be posted by Wednesday night.

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One Response to “Mr. Spaulding and His Charges: Part IV”

  1. Peg Says:

    I know this is a really delayed response, but this was really interesting and fun to read. My favorite expressiveness this post:

    “. . . and light it and stand back and watch. And, then boom, boom, boom, they’d work their way around the side and then, crrrrash, down it’d come. That was a lot of fun. I liked that work.”

    Very cool. (Or should I say “hot!” ;-))

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