My Life, My Words: James Marren — ‘Every chance I get, we do something fun’
April 4, 2011
"My wife came from Craig. … She went to college in Missouri. … She was in college, I was just living there.
"The job (keeps me here.) I own two businesses — J&M Landscaping and Rhino Lining of Craig. I'm a partner and 50-percent owner of both of those.
"My stepdad owned a roofing company, so every summer I worked for him, starting when I was probably 12. Then I went into construction build, then I drove tow trucks and got here. … I've been in the landscape business for 10 years and owned my business for three.
"It wasn't bad. He had all the safety stuff or he probably wouldn't have let me up there. My mom would have killed him, but we had all the right safety stuff and he just did things right. Never once did you ever feel scared.
"We had a house on the Lake of the Ozarks, so we went there every weekend. Every weekend was a vacation. We'd go down there and fish or ski or whatever.
"The lakes definitely don't get nearly as warm (here), but there's definitely a lot of stuff to do here, a lot of fun stuff.
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"Driving a tow truck, that was the best. Every tow, every job, everything you went to was always different. The wreck was different so you really had to use your head. Every car that was flipped over you had to hook up different ways to get it to flip over correctly and do the least amount of damage. It was a really interesting job because you had to think. You really had to be sharp, you had to be on your game, you couldn't slack and you had to think getting there.
"There were so many fatalities and stuff like that, it was unreal.
"I like landscaping. It's kind of a hobby more than a business. I like to do it — it gets you outside. Coal mining, of course, is (for) the pay. You've got to make a living.
"At the mine, we work, right now, Sunday through Wednesday, so typical summer rolls in, if I'm on swing shift I work every day until noon landscaping and then go to work at the mine. Day shift wise I don't get much done except Thursday and Friday.
"It's hard (to balance.) It's a lot of work and hardly any time with the kids. Every chance I get, we do something fun, but yeah, it gets rough. Not very much sleep.
"It gets pretty stressful, but hopefully it'll pay off someday and I won't have to work nearly as hard to be able to go on some fun vacations.
"My kids (are my biggest pride) because they're so much fun to watch. You never know what they're going to say."
Coal miner at Twentymile Coal Co.