The Welder’s Wife

My husband and I were on our way to a simple date night last Saturday. It was one of the first we have been on in a while. He has been working just under 2 hours away from home and the long drives and hard days drain on him.

I was excited to spend time with him. Even though I could tell he could lay down and sleep for a week straight, we were going to enjoy some time alone together. We were headed to the restaurant when we pulled up behind a large black truck with an elaborate detail on the back glass. “Oilfield Trash” was plastered across the window in a broad decorative font. I have heard those words a dozen times and know that they are used by older oilfield workers.

I also know what they used to mean.

In early pipelining days, the traveling caravans of men that would come into small prairie towns were often referred to as “oilfield trash” by locals who believed themselves to be much better than oilfield workers and their drifter lifestyle. But then, “oilfield trash” wasn’t cute. It was derogatory and offensive. Come to think of it, it seems like this happens every so often. The phrase that was used to denigrate a group of people is adopted by that culture to unite them.

So there it was. Displayed proudly on the back of this kid’s truck – a badge of honor for everyone to see “Oilfield Trash.”

I looked at my sweet husband with dark circles under his eyes from welding out in the blistering Oklahoma heat, and I was hurt. Trash?

Almost 3 years ago, my husband moved back to his small hometown to help with the family pipeline construction business. At that time, his dad was in poor health, and my husband was going to come and hopefully provide his dad some stress relief.

He began as a “hand” who basically just does what needs to be done – whatever that may be. He then became a “welder’s helper” and shortly after apprenticing and testing became a welder himself. That is what he does. He works in the oildfield as a welder… And you know what? My husband is not trash.

Trash does not go out on the road for months at a time to make money for a wife and two babies back home. Trash doesn’t get up at the crack of dawn and drive 150 miles (if they are staying in town) to work until sunset and THEN drive 150 miles home hoping to spend a few minutes with his babies before bed. Trash doesn’t get up and do it again and again and again for the next however many days straight putting in long hours and working weekends.

Trash?

My husband does not work knee deep in mud and come home caked in Oklahoma red-dirt to be called trash. That’s called hard work people. His office is the great open spaces of the heartland.  His office is creek beds and grass lands and wheat fields and dirt… there is always dirt. You can’t hardly build a natural gas pipeline and bury it in the ground and not get dirty.

No, he didn’t trade in a cushy office chair and air conditioned paperwork because pipelining sounded easier, and he certainly didn’t do it to be considered trash. He did it because it is what needed to happen to better our family. All of it… And he still finds time to be an awesome father and a wonderful husband.

And the women who take care of them? They aren’t trash either. They get up at the break of day to pack lunches and start praying because they saw the weather report called for 100+ temps for the next 7 days straight. Trashy wives do not beg God to send their sweet husband a cloud to bring a few moments of cool relief. Trashy wives do not worry constantly about whether or not their husbands are drinking enough water or worry if their husbands are going to catch on fire. Just because we pull soapstone from our husbands pockets instead of business cards when we are doing laundry and find sand and metal bristles in our dryers does not make us or our husbands trash.

No. Pipeline wives will smile kindly at you in the bank, grocery store, or post office when you complain about how hot it was walking from your car to the front door as we think about our husbands sweating and laying pipe in a ditch somewhere. We will sit proudly across a restaurant table from a sweaty mud caked man in a heavy button down because he is the most handsome man we have ever seen and he lived another day.

We will take our babies from our beautiful homes to live short-term in nasty small town apartments so they can be closer to daddy. We will live for weeks out of the year in campers like gypsies going from job to job….And we will stay home and try to keep things normal as a single mom – as a lonely wife – as a dedicated partner to men who give every last ounce of themselves to provide for their families. And we will do it proudly.

So, to the young man in the black truck who wears the title of trash proudly, I would like to say this…

I would agree that the world of pipelining is unique and secretive. Those outside of our world will never fully be able to understand it. I am proud of the work that my husband accomplishes. I am proud of how much of himself he gives so that my children and I can live a blessed life. I am proud to be a welder’s wife. I was proud to be a helper’s wife. I am proud to be a part of the pipelining community. But let’s take what the world knows about pipeliners and transform it! Give it a new title! – Because the only thing “trashy” about pipelining, are those who use that as a name.


The welder’s wife.

 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know you stopped by! Or click like to pass it on!….Or… go back up to the top and click “like” on the sidebar to follow me on facebook! Read more about the welder’s wife here.

48 comments

Larry Feazel - August 6, 2013 - 5:33 pm

Great piece Princess Becky. This winter, write another one about working in the wind at sub-zero temps…………

Meg - October 21, 2013 - 12:31 am

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post! My husband also works on the pipelines in NW Oklahoma (completely different world from our Texas town) and I have a high hatred for the oil field trash stickers. Right up there with the spoiled oil field wife stickers. I mean seriously? I think I completely stalked all your entries and have laughed and cried the whole time, but this one had to be my favorite!

Tommy Simmons - October 21, 2013 - 6:48 am

Good grief lady it’s just all in fun I’ve been a welder for 40 years I call myself welding trash all the time and so does all the welders I know look up humor in the dictionary and try exercising it its fun your’s truly white welding trash

Scissortail SILK - October 21, 2013 - 10:04 am

You’re right, Tommy. Humor is fun! I love to laugh! I’m laughing right now… ;) Just kidding. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Scissortail SILK - October 21, 2013 - 10:05 am

Oh, Meg! I am so touched that you took the time to read through all the posts! I am even more excited that they blessed your heart! Don’t be a stranger! I would love to see you stop by again!

Kathy - October 21, 2013 - 12:42 pm

From a Pipeliners Wife in the midst of it, packing to move to the next job with a three year old and dog, 10 hours away. This was what I needed to read today. Thank you! You wrote it perfectly. I m proud of what we do because my husband works his hardest for us. Thanks for reminding me why I do this!

Lisa B - October 21, 2013 - 12:51 pm

Tommy – It might be an “inside joke” for you and your friends but when the locals call and treat us like TRASH it’s not funny anymore. They learn that it’s OK because they hear it and read our stickers.

Great story. Thanks for writing this.

Scissortail SILK - October 21, 2013 - 1:45 pm

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Lisa! I hope you come back to visit soon!

Scissortail SILK - October 21, 2013 - 1:46 pm

It is easy to be proud of the hard working men that we love! Wrote this for ladies like us, who love our pipeliners and want others to respect them as much as we do! Safe travels and blessings on your adventure!

Barbara Herring - October 21, 2013 - 11:03 pm

Lone what you had to say itbisvsontrue

Ken Wallace - October 22, 2013 - 9:34 am

Very good article, I chased the pipelines for years working 7 days a week 12+ hours a day. I never considered any person who done this for his family to be trash. For the most part I think the stickers are meant to be for fun and should be taken as a compliment. Prayers for everyone out there fighting the elements Gods and the man made!!

Rachael York - October 22, 2013 - 11:19 am

Thank you so much for this, my husband also works on pipelines and some people are always giving him grief asking him “how can you leave your baby girl like that for so long” well like you said we don’t look at it as him us leaving us, he is out there providing for our beautiful family and home! He works very long hard hours and then when we do get to spend time with him usually we have him home for a few months at a time and its wonderful, I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful husband and provider for our family and I love him very much and pray daily for god to keep him and all welder brothers safe!!!

Lori (Reichle) Dillon - October 22, 2013 - 2:13 pm

BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN and BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!!

HI!
I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall. I am a daughter AND a wife of pipeline welders… I am PROUD to say.
My mother is visiting us right now. I decided, after getting my face all made up for us to go eat with my daughter, to read this for the first time out loud to my mom. It brought so many tears to my eyes that I now have to start all over on my make-up. ;)

THANK -YOU for writing this.
Today is my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday so she’s the star of my Facebook wall today. ;) But I plan to share this on my wall tomorrow. :)

Lori

Scissortail SILK - October 22, 2013 - 2:16 pm

They do it because they love us, don’t they Rachael. There are a million jobs that are “easier,” but our guys aren’t about easy. They are about hard work and dedication… and that is why we love them. THanks for taking the time to read and comment! I hope you stop by again!

Scissortail SILK - October 22, 2013 - 2:18 pm

Oh, Lori! I am so sorry I made you ruin your makeup, but I am so glad that it touched your heart! We are blessed to be in the families of hard working men. Men that know what dedication looks like! Happy birthday to your sweet 3 year old granddaughter! I pray the day is full of overwhelming love! Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing tomorrow! Hope you come back soon!

Belinda McGee - October 22, 2013 - 2:20 pm

A tribute to the hard working welders. Well done.
And to my cousin that is one of them, hats off to you. Love you.

Scissortail SILK - October 22, 2013 - 2:40 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Belinda!

Deborah Hankins - October 24, 2013 - 10:02 pm

I so loved this. Beautifully written. I am a welder’s helper and I have talked to so many of the welder’s on pipeline. They will get to talking about their wives and children, and you see their faces light up with the love they have for their families. They miss their families so much. You can here the longing in their voices. They miss family and home. I know. I am one of them. I have shed many tears when out on the road, alone, because I miss my family so much. Yes we have been called “Oilfield trash, Pipeline trash”. I am, neither, and neither or my brothers and sisters in my pipeline family. We are hard working men and women, that sacrifice so much to provide for our families. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. God bless you, your husband and your children.

Donna - October 24, 2013 - 11:38 pm

I my self am a pipe liners wife. (Well soon to be) and I couldn’t even begin to describe how proud I am of my future hubby. He began as nothing but a hand for a refrigeration co. He put in his time and on every lunch break or any of time that he had he was in the yard practicing his welding skills. He eventually made it to be an actual welder (a DAMN FINE one at that) and that led to about 12 years in the industrial refrigeration field, until one day he came to me and said he decided that he wanted to go pipelining. Me being new to all of the “lingo”of course encourage him to follow his dreams.now everything wasn’t as gravy as I would liked to have been and he didn’t pass the first test that really discouraged him, but I kept encouraging him and letting him know that I was so proud of him for even trying to do something that he really had no idea about. he took the second test once again doesn’t pass…I guess third time is the charm because on his third test he pass it with flying colors now he’s getting calls from all over the country to go work for these people I could not be more of him! I absolutely admire his passion for going by planning to make a career out of it first it was for personal satisfaction and second it was terrific provide for me his fiance and his step daughter (which is pretty much his) there’s not a day that goes by when I talk to him every morning I tell him I love you have a good day please be careful every single day I pray that he goes to work and he gets off work to call me and the vent about his day.that’s that’s HARD WORK and DEDICATION… not just to a job but to a family and that is absolutely amazing

Amber - October 28, 2013 - 9:29 am

I agree oil fielders are not trash… But I think that term is pointed at the few welders/pipelines who don’t put their family first the way others do but instead put themselves first by getting pulled over once a year for driving under the influence ! Those are the pipeliners who give them all a bad name! Reckless and careless individuals.

Scissortail SILK - October 28, 2013 - 10:47 am

Yikes, Amber! It sounds like you know of an oilfield worker who has made questionable decisions. It is always so unfortunate when we decide to group a category of people by the actions of a few. It is even more unfortunate when we relate the profession of an individual with their actions. Sad people make bad choices, but sometimes we say, “that sad [pipeliner] made some bad choices… those bad pipeliners…” Rather than just saying, “That sad person made some bad choices.”

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I am so glad that we agree that oil fielders are not trash!

Kelsey - November 1, 2013 - 1:17 pm

I love this. My dad has been a pipeline welder since he was old enough to test. He has traveled all over the world including Alaska (he wants to move there) and Canada where he was offered dual citizenship. Growing up, I never thought twice about hopping in his filthy welding rig when he picked me up at school. I was just ecstatic that my daddy was back in Texas for a little while! My parents divorced when I was young and the man my mom married worked for Union Pacific railroad. Now, my husband also works for the railroad and the lifestyle that comes with it is similar in many ways to that of a welder lifestyle. I’m so grateful that God prepared my heart as a child to be able to pray for and accept the “inconveniences” that come with it. Being a “single” married mom can be tough. Handling the day to day on our your own certainly wears you out. But it also makes the time together that much sweeter! I am thankful to read this article from a like-minded wife. Your husband and babies are blessed!

Shawnee - November 6, 2013 - 8:32 am

It is nice to know there are other wives who feel this same way! I realize that people use the term “trash” as a joke. But I was taught that trash was a derogatory term and am unable to wear or use the term with pride. I value what my husband does to make sacrifices in his profession. My son is also a welder and I have been a helper. It was an eye opener to be on the job with them even though I already was aware of their struggles. No trash in those two welders, just hard workers who love their families and take pride in themselves. Thank God. Thank you, too, for spreading awareness.

Scissortail SILK - November 6, 2013 - 1:17 pm

Thank you so much for stopping by Shawnee. It is hard work and we appreciate their dedication. We want them to have pride and feel united, we just want them to leave the trash talk out of it. Right? They deserve so much more. Your guys and mine! Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I am so glad this is touching hearts.

Becky

shelley revey - November 12, 2013 - 5:54 pm

I also hate that poor representation of a Welder! Althouth there are many welders who go on the road and act a fool there are many that are Good Hard Working Men that honor their wives. In the past we were “not in the loop” because my husband didn’t run the bars and whores like the rest but We unlike them have something to show for that hard work and the lonely days and weeks and months a wife has that sits at home and honors his hard work. It is mentally tough to be lonely.

That saying is immaturity and lack of pride for the industry and takes away from the real professionals that carry the load for fools that throw a welder on the back and think they are something. I HATE THE ARROGANCE THAT SO MANY EXHIBIT.

They haven’t learned that a REAL MAN isn’t arrogant but humble and kind and honors his wife no matter where he is.

Jim babcock - December 2, 2013 - 12:24 pm

Thank you young lady.I been running a rig for about 40 years, glad to hear from a young lady that under stands our way of life we don’t like being away from family any more than you like us being away. May god bless you and your family.

tara - December 2, 2013 - 9:39 pm

With tears in my eyes, thank you for the perfect words.

Scissortail SILK - December 2, 2013 - 11:52 pm

Thank you, Tara, for taking the time to send me this message. Thank you for reading. It is so wonderful to know that so many of us feel the exact same way.

with love.
Becky

Scissortail SILK - December 2, 2013 - 11:54 pm

It is hard work, Jim, but the men who do it are wonderful, devoted, dedicated and strong. I am so proud to say my husband is a pipeliner. I sure hope your family tells you the same. God bless you and yours this Christmas season! Thanks for taking the time to send me this message. It means so much.

Tracey - December 3, 2013 - 5:14 am

I’ve never been able to communicate to people what our lives are like. This is perfect! Like you were reading my mind! Thank you so much for these precious words. Just found my newest blog to follow! God bless you and your sweet family. You are all in my prayers.

Shelly - December 3, 2013 - 8:25 am

I have cried my eyes out reading this it is so true!!! My husband does not work on the pipeline but he does run construction welding and operating and yes we go when we can and live in the camper with him and sometimes we go for three months before we see him depending on how far he is working from home and we have three little girls!!! I dare anyone to call my hard working husband TRASH he works everyday in the blistering sun and in the freezing rain and snow he works when he’s sick even!! I often tell him that he thinks that they can’t run the job if he’s not there and for someone to trash talk my husband and let me hear it would be fighting words!!!!

Scissortail SILK - December 3, 2013 - 8:47 am

Thank you so much, Tracey. I am so glad you ended up on my page. Thanks so much for following and sharing! It is such a blessing to have such a wonderful community of oilfield families. Merry Christmas!

Becky

Scissortail SILK - December 3, 2013 - 8:50 am

I am so glad this touched your heart, Shelly. Bless you and your husband and your three sweet grils this Christmas season! I hope it is a time of togetherness and love. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a minute to share your heart.

Becky

Kim Powers - December 3, 2013 - 8:40 pm

I feel so much like you my son works In a quarry by Odessa Texas lives in a small camper to save his money for his wife and kids stealing every minute he can head home to Clyde Texas 3 hours away to see his family. My loving daughter n law work at post office to help them too. Thank God that family and faith keeps them strong. My grandfather and many men in our family have made their livings in the oilfield in some form or another working hard to take care of their families there is no trash in work hard . Our country was built on hard honest work. May your family be as blessed as ours.

Scissortail SILK - December 3, 2013 - 10:26 pm

Thanks so much for taking the time share that with me, Kim. You are right. There is no shame in hard honest work. We are blessed to have men in our families who have taught us this! Blessings to you and yours this Christmas season! So glad you stopped by!

Thomas Family - December 3, 2013 - 10:48 pm

My husband is oilfild we are from louisiana and I see this on trucks all the time.I know how you feels I go a week at a time hopping and praying that my husband comes off that jackup boat safe to our two daughters and myself. I see tv shows on about the life of all kinds of crazy People just one time would I like to see a strong oilfield family on tv. You tell people your oilfield and all they see is “money” they dont see the time you lose with the people you love the birthdays are holidays missed. Thanks for helping all oilfield familys know they are not tbe only ones out there that feel that way. I have friends and family who stand by my husband and I but I know not everyone has that so thanks again!

Truce Trujillo - December 4, 2013 - 7:30 am

I’m welder myself and this story is true and we also work hard to provide people what they needed such as menthol for their vehicle, propane, natural gas for their house to keep them warm, cook their own meals, and we burn our body parts from welding sparks, hurting our eyes from watching welding thru hoods, loosing our hearing from listening to welding, all equipment, and what do we get in return? No “thanks” or appreciate, etc.. People need to start thanking people who does all those works for those people who don’t do those kind of works!!

Kayla - December 4, 2013 - 9:58 pm

no truer words have been spoken! this made me tear up, trash is definitely not a word I would ever use describing my pipeliner!

Marlene McMurtry - December 5, 2013 - 8:12 am

Wow I love it. I wish there is one one with back hoe operator’s wife. My husband and I can relate very well on what you wrote. I husband has been a pipeline for 36 years now. There are towns that doesn’t want the pipeline there. They would have signs in their yards saying No Pipeline Here. I was afraid of letting people know we were with the pipeline. Last year when my husband went to purchase a four wheeler after work. No one of the employees would help my husband because he had dirt on his clothes after a day of working hard. When my husband yelled, can I get some help here. An employee finally came over to help. My husband wanted to purchase the new four wheeler but the employee wanted to show him a used four wheeler. My husband said he wanted someone else to help him. The other employee was much nicer and my husband bought the four wheeler. Never judge someone by how they are dressed!!! My husband told him that. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Thomas - December 5, 2013 - 7:52 pm

Wow!!! Awesome story and all true!!!

Lisa - December 5, 2013 - 10:07 pm

I am a proud daughter of a welder. Almost all of the men in my family are pipeliners. I was raised following my daddy across this country, living in a travel trailer coming home only for the school year. I saw more of this country in 18 years than most see in a lifetime.I went to 5 different schools before Christmas as a first grader. We moved from town to town learning to find a grocery store, post office and a laundry mat. While as a child, I wanted to spend summers at home with my friends, however my life was much richer spending time with my family. Daddy worked from sunup to sundown often coming home caked in mud, but we were always glad to see him. He was the hardest working man I have ever known. My daddy took great pride in his work and we were incredibly proud of him. It is not an easy life and most don’t understand it, but I wouldn’t change being the daughter of a welder for anything.

Tonya - December 11, 2013 - 6:07 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! I just had to share your link and my pride for my welder husband with all of my facebook friends! Keep up the good work!

Sarah Rogers - January 20, 2014 - 11:35 pm

I love this and tolaly agree with everything 100%!! My husband is also a oklahoma pipelined! He works his butt off every day for me and our son! I’m am blessed beyond word to be able to be a stay at home mommy and to have traveled All over Oklahoma:)

Amanda - February 8, 2014 - 2:45 pm

I love this. You are an amazing family adored by our beautiful Savior! I love all of your pieces, I think I have read most of them by now! God is using you and your precious family for glorious things… Thank you for being a light! (This goes for all of your writing pieces). XO

- Your sister in Faith. <3

Emily - February 9, 2014 - 5:04 pm

I found this article on Facebook today and I want to thank you for writing this. I’m a welders wife and 3 months pregnant. He works 10 hours away, and as I sit alone in our house day by day, I struggle with how I’m going to get through the next 6 months and then later after our baby is born. No one seems to understand how I feel or how difficult it is for both of us. This article definitely helped.

Mandy - March 31, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Thanks for this! My fiance just passed his test to become a pipefitter and I have no idea what to expect. This was so eye-opening. Thank you!! -Mandy

Steph - April 2, 2014 - 10:48 pm

I happened to stumble across your blog somewhere on social media and was immediately directed to the post about Finding Hope After Miscarriage. We lost our baby about 2 months ago and I went through such a weird grieving process. I think I convinced myself it was ok because it was God’s plan, yet I had these awful feelings of guilt and sadness. Then I realized that this was normal and it is how we are supposed to grieve. We weren’t created to understand death and God wants us to grieve, to understand Him better.
After reading through that post, I noticed on the side column that you have a post about being a welders wife. Instantly I felt like we were going to be best friends. My husband finishes up welding school in 4 weeks and we are overwhelmed with what life is going to look like. We have two kids, 2 and under, and my husband already doesn’t see us much because he works full-time and then goes to school at night. I’m so nervous about what things are going to be like and all the traveling. We just talked about all of this the other night and I feel like I put so many stipulations on what I was willing to do. But I’m so proud of my husband for what he does for our family. Your post made me realize how much I need to show him that appreciation and not expect that he knows it. And that I really need to be open to whatever the Lord has for us. My dream has been to be in full-time ministry (similar to another post of yours) and work with students (high school or college age). I didn’t think I would be the wife of a welder. But I want to be proud of that and encourage him in all of it as I know it’s much harder for him to be away from us. God has a path and a plan for us and it’s not trash…it’s beautiful, because it’s His plan.

Janet Lasswell - April 9, 2014 - 10:29 pm

Just would like to say that people do not appreciate the hard work these men do.Nor do realize if it weren’t for these men they call “trash”they would not have all the comforts that come from some else working for their comfort ,I would be proud to be called there wife and shame on anyone who uses a drogatroy term for someone who works as hard as your husband does.God Bless and you have a beautiful family.

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