The Good 'Ol Days


Bronze sculpture In the Oil Pioneer Plaza, Downtown Artesia, New Mexico. Work by Vic Payne and One Of Numerous Sculptures in Artesia Dedicated Its Local Pioneers In Oil and Gas and the Cattle Industries,



I've dones this countless times in my long oily life; it's how a deal was done, an oil and gas lease made between landman and landowner, it's how business occured. You sorted it all out and shook hands on it. That was that. No stinking lawyers, no board rooms in bank buildings, no court reporters or video cameras...what you said was your word and you never backed up on that. Not ever. These were the days when good men would sooner die than go back on their word.


Today everybody lies about everything, pretty much always, and you better be lawyered up. Even the simplest of deals will often turn sour and cost tens of thousands of dollars to sort out. Nobody even attempts to do this anymore; they'd likely laugh at the concept.


And, besides, pickups these days are all four wheel drive and jacked up to head high on a normal man. They are so high now days you can't talk over them. And if you laid your forearm on the hood of a pickup 9 months out of the year in Texas or New Mexico, you'd have 3rd degree burns to contend with.


My locations aren't big enough, or expensive enough, to be cluttered with portable office buildings, are fancy air conditioned trailers; we still talk what we have to talk about over the hood of a truck, though mostly these days it's over the dropped tailgate. Its cooler and you can lay stuff down to write, and remind yourself of all the things that were said. Pickups are still the focal point of the oilfield, they are how you remain mobile and available to do the work you do. Pickups are homes away from home.





Also in downtown Artesia....

Martin Yates was part of the partnership that was responsible for the Illinois #3 oil well. The oil sand, or “pay”, was drilled in on April 9, 1924, after two unsuccessful attempts. Geologist V.H. McNutt, after the two failures would not specify a third site. The decision was passed onto Martin, who, in return, elected for a woman’s intuition, asking his wife, Mary, to select the site. She did, and the rest is history!