Pocket Lunch

by kfrego

Ron Chapman ran the Walnut Creek, CA office for Schnabel Foundation Company. Ron had several jobs going in California and a large job coming up in Tucson,AZ. Ron was the kind of person everybody should have for a boss. He was an extension of Harry Schnabel who founded the company. Schnabel’s work consisted of doing the underpinning of buildings and shoring of deep excavations for construction projects. They also installed extensive retaining walls in earth and rock. My early projects with them included the forty foot deep excavation of a city jail in downtown Sacramento, CA and the forty foot deep excavation of Tucson Arizona’s highest building the United Bank Tower. Kenny Sweet an old Schnabel supervisor ran both jobs.

Myself and Terry Anders also did a short job at Eldorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Highway 50 is very close to the lake at Eldorado Beach and CalTrans was concerned about natural lake erosion undermining the highway. We had a narrow bench between the lake and the highway to install pressure injected tiebacks to anchor the new retaining wall. Our drill holes extended under the highway. When we pressure grouted the tiebacks in the holes, the ground swelled causing significant highway  bumps on ten foot centers for the length of our wall. We ended up resurfacing the highway to remove the bumps.

We worked about two miles from the casinos on the lake in Nevada. Each day when the maids cleaned our rooms we would get coupons for rolls of nickels, discount meals, etc at the casinos. Ninety nine cent breakfasts and three dollar steak dinners were standard fare. One morning we were among a dozen or so people waiting for breakfast to be served. There were two elderly ladies a couple tables away in our section. We noticed they would take a couple condiments, look around, and stash them in their pockets or purses. We were amused. As their food arrived they began stashing toast, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, and fruit. When they emptied the plate the waiter would bring them more. We couldn’t believe how much food these innocent little ladies neatly wrapped in napkins and packed away. When we were ready to leave we commented to the waiter about the number of refills the two ladies received. He laughed and explained they were on a tour bus leaving for their destination early. The food stashed away would be their lunch on the way home. They came together frequently and always loaded up for the ride home. All the employees got a kick out of them too.

Who knows………..one day I might be one of those old folks fixing a pocket lunch at Lake Tahoe.