Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Question of Water or Not

 The Fourth of July always brings back warm memories of our family and friends up on High Acres. We all would invite friends to come join us. It was not usual to find, upon reflection, a week or so afterwards, that there were certain guests there none of us had issued an invitation. Apparently we were such grand hosts during their last visit they just assumed they had an open invitation any time they were in the neighborhood, or not.

But, it didn't matter, there was plenty of room. If one didn't merit a bedroom, there were a variety of sofas and half of the house upstairs was one huge open space with various and sundry extra old windows, doors, mantles, and pilasters left over from the construction of the house as well as miscellaneous pieces of furniture awaiting the completion of the room they were intended for. 

Space wasn't an issue. A reliable water source for the house was. Before we would arrive for every trip, Daddy would call Stanbury, the farm's overseer, to make sure that everything had been fixed with the pump and the well. He would remind him that we had guests coming. "Nar, Bill. I thank we got her fixed this time." Of course 'fixed' in Stanbury's lingo most likely involved some combination of bailing twine, used pipes, duct tape, and a method he 'learnt' from his pa. And, every time we were coming up it was "fixed".

And, as my friend, will tell you, that was true a good 25% of the time. 95% of the time we would start off with water. Everyone would have hot showers, water in the kitchen, and commodes that flushed. Then it was only a matter of how much time was going to pass before you would hear someone shouting expletives from the bathroom. There was no need to inquire - they were most likely half way through their shower, probably soaped up head to toe, and then the water cut off. 

Someone would rush in with gallon buckets of water we kept on hand for such emergencies. (Luckily at that time of the year, they would have been kept warm in the sun, so the victim at least got to rinse off with warm water.) 

Then one of us had to go find Daddy or Stanbury for an emergency intervention. If you looked out the window, down the hill, you could always see Stanbury standing there in his blue overalls, hat in one hand, scratching his head with the other. And, I can hear him. "What in the tarnation is it now? It was working just fine." He would get down on his hands and knees and an hour or so later with a lot of yelling, "Try this. Does that work?", once again we would have water. Daddy's first comment was always, "OK, she's fixed. Who's next for the shower?" And, some brave volunteer would step forward.

One friend I brought up saw the line of buckets of water by the back door and asked if we had those in case of fire. I, maybe too quickly, told her that, no, those were the backup water supply for showers. That evening when we had finished dinner, I asked her if she wanted to shower before bed or in the morning. She sheepishly looked at me and asked, "Is there an inside shower?" Before I could laugh, suddenly realizing what she thought, my brother quipped, "Well that depends. There is a shower. The question is: Is there water - in the shower?

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