Cambria Publishing
mining songs, music, photographs Lawrence Chrismas Photography
Cape Breon Miners Gallery
Page 298
Danny D.J. O'Brien
Retired Mine Sampler

The mine did have a magnetic draw to it. We used to say that if you came from the mine and then took another job somewhere else, it'd be like going to church with no clothes on.

But I always thought I wanted to do other things.

I ended up underground. I was working on the spillage. I was loading away and the sweat was running down my face and back. A guy came by in coveralls, looking important. When I asked what he did, they said he was a surveyor. I said, "That's the job for me." "No, they said, don't be talking so foolish. That's a job for the manager's son or the superintendent's nephew." I said, "And for Mick O'Brien's son."

At this point, I got into night school. Of course, I worked every day and would even take an extra shift - oh yeah, I was greedy for that. So, by golly, this one day I never showed up for work. By Christ, they were saying, O'Brien must be sick. And when I didn't show up the second day, Christ, he must be dead because he'd never miss a shift.

What I was doing was getting interviewed to get into the engineering department on the survey staff. I was accepted. I worked for the company from 1941 to 1965. I did surveying for nine years. Then I went into the coal sampling and became assistant quality control manager. We sampled the stone dust and coal. Then, in 1965, I joined the Federal Department of Mines where I continued to take samples on a regular basis from all the Nova Scotia mines and others in Canada.

There's a story about a guy who loaded 10 boxes a shift. He always tried to get 10 boxes, no matter what. His friend would take his time and load six boxes. That's all he wanted that was enough. By God, the fellow who loaded 10, he died. His friend went to see him at the graveside. He said, "George, once the score was 10 to 6. Now she's 6 to 0."