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vertical plane, then wrapping around the drive pulley. Most all of the big gas engines have been junked now. It was the weakness of the old central power plant with its bullwheel that conditions of the wells changed. The oil table dropped in one well while another got loaded with water, and a third went to gas and a fourth clogged up with sand. After the engineer had carefully studied his lease, picked out a central location for the pumphouse, worked out his loads and his vector forces, and built his plant . . . then they decided to drill two more wells, or two wells went dead and were abandoned, and the whole Rube Goldberg scheme of things was thrown hopelessly out of balance. Typically, the gas engine sounded something like this . . . Piff Piff POW POW Boom Boom Pup Pup Piff Piff POW POW Boom Boom Pup Pup Such rhythms were heard for years across the width and breadth of TeXas. But today they are almost gone, replaced by the individual gas engine at each well, or perhaps an electric motor which can be set up to start and stop unattended, with servo mechanisms on an electric clock. Automation has hit the oil field, and grade-school archeologists play and scamper over the massive foundations of some old pumphouse, marvelling at the mute remains of a lost way of life. XVI The oilfield derrick is fast disappearing, too. The great tall tower, which for a hundred years has symbolized petroleum to the general public almost as much as the corner gas station, is seen less and less often these days. They still use the drilling rig derrick while drilling for the deeper wells; once the deep well is drilled they dismantle the derrick and move it to another drilling site. But for the shallow wells, the portable rigs mounted on great long trucks, with a the telescoping kind, have replaced the oldtime four-legged derrick. The oil production derrick, a structure of much lighter iron designed to be left permanently in position for such chbres as pulling rods and pumps and tubing, is almost never set up any more. One can still see thousands of them, forests of them, in such places as Kilgore and Oklahoma City. They were put up many years ago. Nowadays, a workover rig with a gin pole or a small derrick can be maneuvered along the highways and roads and set up in an hour, so one derrick can serve several hundred wells.. As soon as the need for the old derricks is gone and their present wells die out, down they will come and away to the junk yard. The same thing has happened, you know, to the windmill tower. The windmill has come down because the electric or gas motor can pump so much more water, and the old derrick is no longer needed for hoisting out the pipe and pump since the water well workover boys have a telescoping ginpole on their trucks, too, these days. So if you’re out Sunday-driving and looking for oil wells to show visiting relatives from Yankeeland, you’ll have a tough time showing them the kind of wells they expect to see. Try to convince them that the christmas tree over there, or the pump jack, is an honest-to-gosh Texas oil well! But it is. THE AMERICAN DREAM Midland There are still those of us who ask ourselves why we do what we do. So I want to make it clear in the beginning that I write this because I am incurably turned on by the American Dream. Even though nlenty of people have tried to help me by proving the Dream is a lie, I know my case is hopeless. I was hooked with my earliest education, and it is far too late to change now. For many years I was grateful for the education I received. It began in Boston during the Depression \(I remember the week, in the second grade, when my father still admire most of my early teachers, though now I find I have to make allowances for them. It was they, after all, who got me hooked on the Dream. Each of my classrooms figuratively contained the bust of George Washington in marble by Houdon. That, more or less, symbolized the Dream and guaranteed its authenticity. America: wonderful place where everyone who worked hard and was honest got ahead, even if you spoke only Italian at home until you were six. It was important to be honest because we wouldn’t enjoy eating our cake with dirty hands, and there would be a time when you didn’t have to sell papers after school to help your mother put bread on the table. Everyone grew up helping himselfthat was the hard work so that later we could help everybody else; that was the reward. In America there was justice, and that was why things The writer is a consulting geologist in Midland, Texas. 8 The Texas Observer worked out that way. My third-grade teacher, a wonderful Boston spinster, had been in Symphony Hall at the first public performance of “America the Beautiful,” and although her voice cracked on the high notes and she could not lead without the piano, she believed in the words unfalteringly, and so did I. From inside the highceilinged, worn, neat classroomsalready C. D. DiGiambattista 50 years oldthe Dream could be felt waiting in the cool shade of the huge old elms outside the wide windows. Mr. Donovan, who nipped in the basement and kept the teachers in a state of terror when he chose, also kept the many windows sparkling, so that in spite of his little fault, even he helped us to see that the Dream was real outside. Too bad I had to find out eventually that George Washington made his first pile through unscrupulous land speculation in the Alleghenies and that when his friend Tom Paine awaited the guillotine in France, the President turned his back. As long as it was only in school, the Dream worked like a charm. I could fly as high as I liked. When I started high school, I set myself the goal of the top grade in every course, and I did it. Afternoons I held down a job; evenings and weekends I tended the neighbors’ lawns and furnaces night. In the end, I was valedictorian and won a scholarship to Harvard. My kind, Wilson ian third-grade teacher with the neat hair bun and pince-nez was beside herself with pride. For a month before I went away to college I read all the books on etiquette in the local library; my chief fear about Harvard was that our table manners at home had been rather special. I dreaded most of all the possibility of encountering a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup. My fear was unnecessary, for after a week at Harvard I was drafted. That was only Hitler’s fault; I was ready enough to fight for the American Dream. And if the classmates who had thought me a grind had better eyes, better teeth, and better spirits because they came from better homes, and if they went to Dartmouth to become Marine officers by taking degrees in liberal arts because they had more to recommend them socially, that did not invalidate the Dream, as long as I could come back to it. I went into the infantry; while I did get back, it was just barely. Eventually, which was as soon as I could, I was ready to leave college with my two degrees in geology and begin receiving my reward, about which I had no doubt. I had proved this to everyone’s satisfaction, but mostly mine, in a theme on Communism for English A. Communists were just people with no ability who hated work, and so never got anywhere. Just sour grapes, that’s all. When Standardoil interviewed me about jobs I wore a tailored Chesterfield \(it cost better than a month’s how I came to Texas, though some of my professors had misgivings about the oil business. IHAD enough Dream to fly for years, and I worked very hard for Standardoil all over Texas and New Mexico. One day my supervisor came to see me and told me angrily that there must be some