Jeff Manes: He really ‘digs’ the family business
May 4, 2012 2:12PM
Jimmy Glade, 52, of Crown Point, Ind., is an avid golfer and outdoorsman, and taught himself taxidermy. He has worked at the family business, Economy Well, since high school. | Photo provided
Updated: June 7, 2012 8:01AM
“It’s colder than a well-digger’s (backside).”
— Author unknown
Jimmy Glade is an outdoorsman and a self-taught amateur taxidermist.
Glade, 52, lives in Crown Point, grew up in Lake Dale, and graduated from Lowell High School. He has been married to Lori for seven years and has two adult children from a previous marriage.
Glade has worked for Economy Well, a family-owned business, since high school.
We’ve known each other since the ’80s and have bowled and played softball on the same teams.
Growing up in Lake Dale?
“We lived in that lake,” he said. “We swam in it, fished it; I knew every inch of the bottom of that lake.
High school sports?
“The coach at LHS begged me to join wrestling; I had the build. When I wrestled in gym class, they couldn’t beat me. It was fun; I loved it, but I couldn’t get away.”
Because you had to work for your dad six days a week.
“Because I worked for my dad seven days a week. Now, we’re down to six days a week, but I’ll still go in on Sundays on emergency calls.”
Is your dad retired?
“No, he’s still there at 77 years old; you’ll never get him out of there. He’s our drive.”
Has well-drilling changed since the ’70s?
“It’s completely different. Years ago, it was all pounding the wells in with steel casings.”
Like pile driving?
“Yeah, I don’t hear so well because of that. Now, it’s all rotary machines.”
Like an auger?
“Yes, we bore it in, pull the tools out, set plastic PVC casing, gravel pack, grout the hole closed and tie it to the home.”
Jimmy, you’re a friend of my brother, Jason. He installs floor coverings and you’re a well-digger. You’re both as strong as bulls, but those professions can take their tolls on the body.
“Any time you’re working with water in the outdoors and that cold air hits you and the wind’s blowing, there’s no worse feeling.
“The well business got a little easier than it used to be because of the new style of drilling, but the bull work of it is still there with the hand digging of the water lines, if you can’t get at them with a backhoe.”
How is your health?
“The hand digging is probably what messed up my back. In my lifetime, I’ve probably dug a trench, without exaggeration, from Crown Point to Chicago — four feet deep.
“I remember jobs digging up hillsides by the Indiana Dunes — 300 feet straight up a hill, back to the house, because we had to drill a well in the bottom of the driveway. You couldn’t get a rig up there. We did that kind of work for years. Most people don’t have a clue what a well-driller goes through in life.”
Tell me more.
“I had a buddy who worked for Wally’s Electric; we’d pick up certain supplies. He told me: ‘I swear to God, you well-drillers are a different breed of people. You all look alike. Most of you are short, stocky and drink a lot of beer.’ ”
I always worried about you, that the people living on the outskirts of Lowell, Lake Dale, Cedar Lake and Crown Point might end up getting city water.
“Even if that happens, there are so many people who want their wells for outdoor use for watering gardens and washing cars. They’re not going to abandon those wells. There always will be service work.”
It’s a lot different digging in the hard clay of Lowell compared to the sandy soil of Lake Village along the Kankakee River.
“Big time. After we’re set up, we can drill a well in a half-hour in Lake Village. We’ll hit water at 10 feet near the river.”
Lake Village water was the best.
“Still is, if you stay shallow. The deeper you go in that area, you’ll get some pretty hard water. The state wants you to go so deep to stay in the pure water because you have farmlands that run off. Today, when you buy a new home, the banks require that you have a water sample that passes.”
Let’s switch gears. You deer hunt in the winter; what do you do for recreation in the summer?
“In the summer, it’s all golf.”
Really? You’ve become a golfer?
“I’ve been golfing for like eight years. I have a hole-in-one and a few trophies.
“I had a double-eagle at South Shore (Country Club in Cedar Lake); that’s a 2 on a par 5. Larry Lindahl is a good golfer. I remember when we’d get done playing softball, Larry would say, ‘Lets go golfing,’ and we’d call him a sissy.”
South Shore is the only place I ever golfed. My brother took me once; he has left-handed clubs. Do you still bowl?
“Oh, yeah. I threw a 300 back in ’09. But that’s nothing; I know a guy in our league who has 50 300 games. The equipment is getting so much better; same with golf.”
What are you averaging these days in bowling?
“Last year, I finished up with a 196.”
Remember that time we fished the stone quarry south of Lowell? You limited out on bass — all of them more than 4 pounds.
“Yeah, I used a spinner bait in the early morning and, when the sun started coming up, I switched to a rubber worm and fished the reeds. Crystal-clear water in that quarry.”
Jimmy Glade is the epitome of the phrase, “Work hard, play hard.” And, if he wants to golf 18 holes on Sunday, so be it.
He’s earned it.