The Cowboy and Concrete

There’s a sticker on the big metal carts that the tradesmen bring to house their tools while at the job site.  It reads, “Honor Labor.”  Hell yeah.  For some reason, I feel like the American Dream has been a little tainted this last decade.

The trucks arrived with a vengeance, and soon after they were pouring.

We’ve gotten to where people don’t want to put in the hard work it takes to accomplish a difficult goal.  We want our desert, and we want it now.  Here, take this pill to magically get rid of your fat while you sit watching the latest celebrity fall from grace from cocaine or an extra-marital affair. (Now that’s livin!)

But when a line of trucks appeared, cresting over the hill and rumbling their way down Folsom towards Prospect, I knew I was in for another day of good old fashion labor.  Why concrete, and why so late in the game?  The original floor plan that was cast needed an augmentation or sorts.  The kitchen floor was recessed from the rest of the restaurant, and it required a lift for many reasons.

I really had to watch where I stepped. It was easy to get tangled in the wire re-bar.

As soon as the trucks parked, bam, the guys jumped out and prepared the piping to run the concrete inside.  Tools such as floats, 2×4’s, wrenches, and shovels made their way in as well.  As the truck’s cylindrical mixer rotated slowly, the sloshing aggregated material waited to become part of something more than itself.

Let her go!

The signal was given to release the concrete, and after a little “tickling” of the pipe, the stuff poured forth.  Out came the newest, viscous, and very permanent addition of Prospect.  Watching these guys do their thing proved pretty amazing.  When you dump three trucks of concrete onto a floor, you better have your plan already formulated.

Once it starts flowing, you better be ready!

Out of all the people to photograph, one stood out – The Cowboy.  He also happened to be the lead man, and a little surly as well.  I suppose you have to be when leading a team.  He barked orders, but he stood in the thick of it too, literally.

The Cowboy, doin' his thing.

Standing tall.

Watching these guys baby a material that looks lumpy and stiff, into something buttery smooth and level – in less than a few hours – was pretty amazing.  And as they finished up, a little stiff themselves, sweat and exhaustion coating their faces, they looked back at their work and smiled.

Smoothing it out to some buttery goodness.

Honor Labor

See you down the road.


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