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Can I bring my family to smoke school?


Yes you can bring your family to smoke school. Whenever school is out, I like to travel with Angie and our son Aaron to smoke school. We take time to smell the roses. We love some of the state parks where we hold smoke school around the country. We love the rivers, the streams, the lakes, and the wildlife and the woods. These are some of our best moments. Down here in Louisiana we call this quality time. Ain't nuttin better. There is always a place to fish near smoke school. I fished for Salmon in Wisconsin and for Sturgeons in Oregon. We have been on alligator tours in the swamps of Louisiana.  This land is my land, this land is your land. You ought to see it with your family. Memories don't just happen. You have to take some time and effort to make them happen.

Some of my most favorite memories were camping, fishing, and hunting in the backwoods of North Louisiana with my momma, daddy, and my kid brother Ricky. Sadly, I realize I will never be the father my daddy was. I have these old 8MM home movies that bring it all back. When I watch them, I remember my daddy showing them over and over again. I am an old fashioned dude. I think family is important.

You have worked hard all of your life. If you be honest with yourself, you can see that not that many people appreciate what you do. I remember when I retired from the Louisiana DEQ, that my main boss asked me exactly what I did in the department. He passed me several times a month in the hall of the main building in our department and he rarely spoke to me. He was always too busy. "What  is it exactly that you do here in the department?"

"Oh not much," I grinned, "Just conduct smoke school and do maintenance on 100 portable buildings we set up for air sampling. Remember I have been asking you for help for the past 5 years and you would not give me any." I grinned and thought to myself, In about a week after I am gone, you will miss me. I found out later that he hired 4 people to take my place. Dang-it I sure could have used some help back then, when we averaged 500 people in our state smoke schools.

I worked in a few plants early in my life. I worked in a steel mill, Lone Star Steel in Longview Texas. The job consisted of long 12 hour shifts at night. I was tired and stressed out because of all of the dangers and the noise of huge saws cutting the steel pipe. Just one little slip and I could have easily lost an arm or a leg or fell head-on onto a saw and- well. Lets face it some jobs have a lot of stress. Stress is the enemy. Coming to smoke school is stressful to many. As an inspector I had to take the smoke school test several times. I had trouble passing the test. Sometimes I took it 12 or 13 times and never passed. When I took over smoke school for the department in 1984, I began to study and invent some ways to take the stress out. I simplified the test. I chose smoke school locations like state parks where you can enjoy the scenery and relax. Maybe if you are lucky, your cell phone want even work.

I think your family would enjoy the scenery too. So why not bring them along. Bring your wife, husbands, and children. Maybe bring your momma and daddy. Don't let them stay at the motel or wait in the car. Bring them out to the test site and let them take the test. Just remind us that it is your wife or family and have them put free on their test sheet. Immediate family members are free at smoke school. The only exception to this policy is if that family member needs the smoke school training and certificates for their job. We do have some schools at plants where safety precautions prevent family member form coming. Come on down, see you at smoke school.


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