Michael Munas (michaelboy) wrote,
Michael Munas

I'm so old that I recognize the Jack-in-the-Box song played backwards

There are folks that may have a brief presence in our lives but stick in memory more than expected.

I worked at North American Coal Company's Powhatan No. 6 mine thirty-five years ago, and there were several memorable characters.

One fellow, forever staged workplace injuries to get out of work. I once watched him purposely and carefully back up in to a diagonal I-beam at the preparation plant and then fall carefully to the ground.

Two rockdusters I knew, made a regular practice of sleeping on the job. They used an old 5-ton rail-mounted GE trackmotor to pull the pod dusters around the mine. But rather than doing much dusting, they'd usually pull up into a set of entries, apply the brake and then set the drive control on first point (which is kind of like putting an idling car in drive with the brake applied). This would cause the motor to heat. They would then sleep a few hours of each shift on the top of the warm motor.

Charles Pelkey was farmer that once drove a taxi and a milk truck but turned to coal mining as many farmers in the area at the time did. They simply called him "Pelkey". He was a hard-working pleasant guy with a great sense of humor. I believe many of his co-workers admired his life attitude but as many coal miners might, they'd never dare to admit it. I remember that he always chewed Happy Jim chewing tobacco because it wasn't as sweet as Mail Pouch, Red Man, or Levi Garrett.

Out of many, he was one of the few successful men that I remember at No. 6.
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