Remarks at the Oak Hollow Housing Development in Grand Prairie, Texas

April 12, 1984

Good morning. Hey, that came on loud, didn't it? Maybe I'm speaking to the group down the street there.

Well, I just wanted to say good morning, and I've been seeing this and hearing about this construction and all. And, of course, you all know that one of the reasons for coming here is that in this industry, in the housing industry, you're out in front of the rest of the United States as to the comeback -- and more going on here than -- and a higher percentage than any place else.

This is an industry that can cause a depression when things are bad all by itself. But it's also an industry that can lead, as this one has been leading, in a recovery from the recession that we've had. And I just have to say, from what I've seen here -- now, I don't know exactly when I'll be in the market. It could be several years; it could be next year. [Laughter] But I've been watching with great care, because I'll probably be in the house market, having sold the one we owned due to the change in locale.

Now, all those people that are covering this here, they're all speculating as to what I'm doing on trips like this and why I'm doing this. You know, the truth of the matter is, it's just good to get out of Washington every once in a while. [Laughter]

But I have to tell you, I'm so pleased about the recovery that we have and what has happened with this industry, and that at last, a dream is restored that probably is more prevalent here than in any other country in the world. And that is everyone's dream of wanting to own their own piece of ground and their own house.

And I have a little confession to make to you also. I was sort of in this business from the hammer-and-nail side and pick-and-shovel side. One of the first jobs I ever got -- summer jobs -- was I was 14 years old, and it was with an outfit that wasn't building new ones, but they were buying old ones and remodeling. And before the summer was over, I laid hardwood floor, I shingled roof, I painted. But I do remember also, I started -- some of these houses, they wanted to add basements and so forth, and didn't have the tools and equipment that we have today. It was pick and shovel. And I was on the pick and shovel.

And I remember one hot day, just approaching noon, and I'd been swinging that pick all day -- you know, a lot of hard clay and rock. And I had the pick right up over my shoulder ready for another blow when the noon whistle blew. And I just didn't even finish the blow. I just let go and stepped out from underneath it. And then, behind me, I heard some very firm and not polite conversation aimed at me, and I turned around. And there was the boss, and the pick was embedded in the ground right between his feet. I didn't have any answer to any of the things that he was saying to me. [Laughter]

Well, I just, again, I just want to commend you for all of this. I think this is a picture of what's happening all over America, and you can be very proud that you're out in front on it here. Thank you for letting me come in and stop production for a while.

Note: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. to construction workers following a tour of the construction site.