April 17, 2012

Everybody Has a Story…Patrick & Ted



Patrick & Ted


     While Patrick and Ted worked at my daughter’s house, I asked them about memorable stories they experienced in their work.

     We talked while they installed the water heater. I made certain that their work wasn’t interrupted. We completed their storytelling during their lunch break.


     Patrick asked Ted to share with me about the time Ted almost drowned in Lake Erie. Ted and his partner, I’ll call him Quinn, were returning home after completing a job in Erie, Pennsylvania.

     On their way home they stopped at Presque Isle. When they arrived there they not only saw ice fishermen but they saw glaciers (great big ice mounds) the size of small mountains.

     “We decided to walk out and climb one. We walked about three-quarters to one mile on the frozen tundra. As we were going out there were these depressions in the ice.

     “They were pretty deep. What we would do was slide down them, and climb up the other side, and keep going with other mounds.

     “We got to the mound we wanted to climb onto, and I slid down another depression. But the ice wasn’t solid and I went through it. I went completely under the ice.

     “I swam my butt off to get to the hole I made in the ice. I made it, and I was bobbing up and down. It was very cold and hypothermia was setting in (once that happens you’re done).

     “My buddy was still on top. He didn’t know what to do. He slid down (into the water). Now there were two of us bobbing in the Lake Erie water, and no one knew we were there.

     “We kept trying to get out. We tried to push on the ice to get out—it kept cracking. I finally got to some hard ice and got out. My buddy followed.

     “It was a cold walk back to the truck. We didn’t know if we should walk or run, so we trotted. If we walked we would freeze. If we ran we had to deal with the wind chill factor.

     “There was also the fear of breaking through the ice at the bottom of another depression.

     When the two men reached the truck, they drove four hours to their destination.


     While gathering the story above, during the lunch break, the three of us spotted a big bird flying above. They couldn’t agree whether it was a hawk or a turkey buzzard.

     Suddenly I heard some weird noises, almost like someone was repeatedly sitting on a Whoopee cushion.

     It was Patrick. “It mimics the call of a rabbit in distress. See, the hawk is returning.”

     I quickly grabbed my camera and tried to photograph the bird that Pat determined was a red tail hawk.



   On a recent job he had his shoulder “ripped off,” Patrick said.

     Ted and another worker were carrying a twenty-one foot pipe when the other worker “We carry pipe on our shoulders,” Ted said. His partner “dropped the pipe…when it hit the floor it vibrated…” The vibrations rippled up the pipe to Ted’s shoulder, crushing his collar bone and tearing four tendons.




     Patrick cited being involved in setting thirty ton air conditioner units, transported by helicopters, on top of buildings. Cranes couldn’t be used because the building was too high.

     In September 2011 he helped set twenty-four roof-top units on a Walmart. On another date more than twenty units were installed on the Walmart Distribution Center in Claysburg.

     They were transported from the ground to the roof by Sikorski helicopters. If you touched the units after they were moved “you’d get shocked” by the static electricity.

     “We had to strap our hard hats on due to the rotor wash, the breeze created from the helicopter rotors.

     “One man was told to take his cigarettes out of his pocket. He didn’t believe he should. His cigarettes went flying (due to the rotor wash).”


      Ray Rosenbaum arrived in the early afternoon with supplies for the second job my daughter needed done. He worked with the company for thirty years. Five years ago he purchased the company: Griffith & Petz, Inc., 119 Teak St., Johnstown, PA   15909

     I told Ray that Patrick and Ted were telling me stories.

     “Everybody has a story,” he said.


     The broken water heater was replaced about noon, and the air conditioner was replaced by late afternoon. It was time for Pat and Ted to end their workday. And their stories.





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