Eight o’clock, Friday morning. For roustabouts, last night was the first night’s sleep since Yuma.
  • Eight o’clock, Friday morning. For roustabouts, last night was the first night’s sleep since Yuma.
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Hartwell Ragsdale's father and grandfather were undertakers, as are his brother, uncles, and cousins.

The Home-going

Working with a corpse, he says, doesn’t bother him. But it has never become just another routine. “If it gets that common to you, you should leave it. I treat it as if it was my own relative. I respect the body. In the mortuary I put my own laws on. The body is never left nude. The reproductive organs are always covered."

By Judith Moore, Nov. 21, 1984 Read full article

The low-paid roustabouts are responsible for “putting it all up and taking it all down.”

Under the big top

“From that pole on, we have elephants, camels, llamas, then the candy wagons, or concessions area." Pointing to the south edge of the lot rising above Highway 94, Gorman says, “I’ve put the cookhouse there. From the cookhouse west, the performers’ homes will form a double line with an avenue between. We are really going to have to jam and cram to get them all in.”

By Judith Moore, March 6, 1986 Read full article

Masley and Owens. Masley: “I once flew with this guy for a month straight, and he blocked out so much of the sun I lost my tan.”

Office in the sky

For Owens, who would be piloting the DC-9 northward, and who was then supposed to fly back to San Diego, then on to Phoenix, then back to San Diego again, then up to Oakland again, then down to Los Angeles, before catching a final ride back to San Diego — a foggy delay could sabotage his whole day.

By Jeannette DeWyze, Jan. 9, 1986 Read full article

Jeanette and Dee. He asked $30,000 for the business. "I scrimped and saved and got together the down payment, and when the day came for us to take over, I said to Jeanette, ‘Well, okay, we got our own little business.’"

Welcome to Johnny's

"I asked myself, ‘Why can’t I do this? It ain’t all that complicated.’ The first order was this young sailor who wanted French toast. I said to myself, ‘I know how to handle French toast. You take some milk, you beat an egg into it, you slice some bread, you dip the bread in the egg and milk, you put the bread on the grill.’ The sailor said, ‘This is the best French toast I ever ate.’"

By Judith Moore, Nov. 26, 1986 Read full article

Frank Enders: “I’m not going to do the cutting for them. They won't spend the twenty dollars for a water truck to keep the goddamned dust down.”

No Mexican steers entering U.S. will have hard ticks

Last April the USDA instituted the new rule, requiring that an M, at least two and a half inches tall, and another letter such as an S for Sinaloa, O for Sonora, or B for Baja, be branded on each animal’s right cheek. To the Mexicans, this is something of an insult. Even an American broker comments, “Nobody likes to brand an animal on the face.”

By Neal Matthews, July 23, 1987 Read full article

In 1978, when the PSA collision above San Diego killed 150 people, Sperber led the team of twenty-five San Diego dentists charged with identifying victims.

The tooth detective

“ ‘Mmmm,’ I said, ‘there’s a bump in the gum and a hole in the tooth. Maybe the two will fit together.’ Then I really got excited. That was one of the most exciting moments of my life. The gum revealed an area that had been forced into and withdrawn from the mesial surface where the root canal had been performed. I said, ‘It fits!’"

By Judith Moore, Apr. 28, 1988 Read full article

William Magnuson of Gustav Anders: "We’re able to get white truffles from Italy once a year. They cost $600 to $700 a pound."

Recipe for a restaurant

Jackson is cooking two hamburgers and several shrimp on the grill while manning all four burners: burner one, filets of sea bass poaching in a creamy etouffee sauce; burner two, a Chinese-like blend of chicken pieces, red Szechwan peppers, peanuts, and green onions; burner three, shrimp sauteing in butter; burner four, a pan brimming with fresh vegetables

By Gordon Smith, March 26, 1987 Read full article

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