Alastair gave a snort that was evidently mirth. "You a college boy like my kid here?"
"Yes," Mac said. "I went to college." The palms of his hands were a little damp; there was no way of faking a college register if they wanted to look it up.
"Well, did they teach you there how to dig dirt?" Alastair asked.
"Lay off, Dad," Forrest said. "Father has to have his joke," he told Mac.
"Sure, my joke. Hell of a joke when old timers like me have to leave our mines to be run by a bunch of kids who learned their mining out of books. Your old man start at the bottom?"
"With a pick and shovel," Mac said.
"So did I," John Alastair snapped. "Started out in old Guthrie's mine, the Scotch hellion. Before I got through, I bought the mine from his receivers. I was tough," Alastair said. "But there were guys tougher than me around. I was smart, but there were smarter guys than me, too. But I was tougher than the smart ones, and smarter tha