Stand it Straight

I have replaced many poles for electrical reasons.  Most of the time, it took more than one person to do the job.  We would remove the meter, wiring, light fixture, grounding, etc. from the pole.  Then a crane would come in to lift the old pole out and drop in a new pole in the existing hole.  Then the meter, wiring, fixture, and all the rest would be reattached.

This was usually a whole day job for two men and a crane operator.

One time I was sent to replace a pole by myself.  I transported the new pole on my ’48 Ford flatbed pickup truck.  The large end was at the back of the pickup bed and the top end of the pole was angled up over the cab of the pickup.  Allow me to interject here, a short description of my pickup.  Along the back of the cab and sticking up over it I had a rack with round “stakes”.  These stakes were spaced along the length of the back of the pickup cab, about 1 foot apart.

Therefore, as I traveled with the pole on the pickup, it was held in place by one of the round stakes on each side of the pole.

When I got to the job, the old pole was out already.  I cleaned out the hole and angled a flat board into the hole as a skid plate down into the hole.  I slowly backed my pickup toward the hole, lowering the large end into the hole.

About this time I realized that as the large end went down, the smaller, top end of the pole would rise off of the rack of the pickup and would reach a state of uncontrollable activity.  It could roll sideways or twist and fall, or any other number of catastrophic eventualities.  If it did so while I was in the cab, … ooops!

Just down the hill there was a parked car – directly in reach of the pole should it go that direction.  I realized that I should have provided a guide of some kind at the back end of the pick up to prevent any such occurrence.

My procedure became one of back up a little, check the pole, back a little, check, back a little, check, etc. etc. etc.  Eventually the pole was high enough and the larger end was far enough into the hole that I could manipulate the pole by hand.

After I had the pole up I sat down on the back of the pickup and rested until my heart had slowed down to a normal speed.

I contemplated how I would build the needed guide for the next time I needed to plant a pole singlehandedly.

I never had to do a pole like that again.

Also, I never built the guide.

Sometimes it’s better not to work alone.