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LIFE ON THE LINE - CHRISTOPHER SMITH

While the money is good for a lineman, the work is hard, they miss out on family functions and holidays, and their families sacrifice right along with them. We at J.L. Matthews want to honor the entire home-based crew behind the lineman - wives, girlfriends, parents, children... anyone who loves a lineman. Tell us your story and we may contact you to feature it on our website and social media channels!

Lineman's Name:

Christopher Smith

 

What's your relationship to your lineman? 
I’m his wife!

Tell us about your lineman. How did you meet? What makes them tick? 
Well, I met him at a gas station that I was working at the time! When he left, I had told the girl I was working with that I was going to marry that man someday, not knowing anything about him or if he’d be back, but wouldn’t you know that this good-looking Lineman would come back in over and over again. He finally gave in and gave me his number and for the most part, the rest is history. He’s always been a Lineman, and he loves the rush it gives you. He may be a little crazy to climb up poles, deal with electricity, and be ready to do it all over again the next day, but aren’t they all?

Has anyone else in the family been a lineman?
He is a first generation

What are you most proud of about your lineman?
What I’m most proud of would have to be how Chris wants things done right. He doesn’t want to mess up a job; he wants this job done as perfect as it can be.

Are there things you wish you could change about the job?
Honestly, how dangerous this job really is! Chris got flash burn a few years ago now, and that was the scariest texts I have ever gotten. His mom and I couldn’t get to the emergency room fast enough! He got very lucky he didn’t get more seriously injured, but with this job, it is not something to play around with.

How have your lives changed to accommodate the job? Do you have unique holiday traditions? Do you do anything special on the days your lineman is home?
We’re a pretty lucky family that Chris isn’t out of town much anymore, but when he has worked storm calls in the past, we just wait for him to be home before celebrating a holiday. Also, the day he gets home, we have all the kids here at the house waiting for him, so that he can surprise everyone. Whether it’s been a few days or a few weeks, it’s a very exciting moment when he walks into the house!

How do you manage the crazy schedule and calls that make your lineman drop everything?
You just have to go along with it! There have been a few times that he’s gotten called out at family functions, and one thing I learned fast, you drop everything to help him out the door faster.

Does loving a lineman make YOUR life harder?
Absolutely! Being a Line wife is not for a tender-hearted woman! It doesn’t get easier, but I sure wouldn’t trade it for a thing!

If you have children, do they look up to their lineman? Do they have hopes to follow in his footsteps?
They all do. My step-daughters and one of my sons love telling people their daddy is a lineman! And I’m sure when our youngest can start talking he’ll be the exact same way! I feel like our son will for sure be a lineman himself one day, and heck the girls might be too, you just never know!

Are there any special ways you stay connected to your lineman while he is working for long periods of time?
Texting. A lot. Those random two-minute phone calls throughout the day. Little things like that are what holds us together if he’s away.

What are some things customers or employers have done to show their appreciation?
Just simple thank yous is what makes him happy. When people don’t take lineman for granted.

Tell your lineman's craziest storm/outage story.
One I’ll never forget, would be when Harvey hit, and he was IN WATER with a life vest on fixing a pole! Just an image I’ll never forget!

What was the longest storm duty streak that your lineman worked?
The longest he’s been gone from me would be just a couple of weeks, but before we met, he was gone to New York for around a month!

What crazy experiences have you had on the home front while your lineman was on duty (house flooded, car broke down, etc.)?
Hmm... nothing too crazy on the home front has happened. I’m lucky enough to have my in-laws as neighbors, and I have my father-in-law on speed dial! Our dogs tend to break fences every time my husband won’t be home at night so I’m fixing that on my own.

What advice would you give someone who's thinking of loving a lineman?
Prepare yourself. Get ready for this crazy amazing fun life you’re about to have!

Nicole S.

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Life on the Line - Gary Tanner