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Out On The Mudline

Water Mishap Evokes Memories Of Early Years

By W. P. Sissell

The Well Went Dry
Bad Water

    As we started the day yesterday, Sunday morning, we found that our water had a strange color.  I suppose that because we have always had to take care of our own water supply, I presumed that that was still the case.  Sometimes that meant a new well and at other times, especially in as cold weather as Sunday morning, it meant something else.

    I, as I did last week on the electricity, went the wrong way.  If I had called the person in charge of our water system first, all my cold, wet work Sunday afternoon would have been avoided.

    I, as usual, called on my son, Shipp, and his son, Parker, to do most of the work.  When we opened the water meter box we found it filled with water, probably because of the 1.08 inches of rain of the day before.  When we removed the water we found a still meter hand—meaning that the trouble was somewhere on the water line and not between the meter and the house.

    At this point we did call the water association and learned that there was trouble with the well.  That trouble had been attended to and fresh, clean, potable water was on the way.  In addition we should not use the water for drinking but only for uses where it would be heated to the boiling point.  After talking to the president of the water association, we got the word to most of our neighbors about the trouble with the well.  At this point, early Monday morning, our water is almost clear but still not safe for drinking until it has been tested.


    During the several hours of working on the line, Shipp, Parker and Grandpa had a running conversation about the water supply on our different farms.  After having Parker fetch some wire, Shipp stripped it and demonstrated that he could still locate water by “Water Witchin.”  I added several stories, for most houses on the Mud Line farm had its own water supply—a 30-foot deep pump. The main house on the McFarland place had an 80 foot well.   

    Down in the bottom, about a half mile from the houses, there was a lone pump for fresh water when we were working in those fields.  After we acquired the McClarty place we had two more dug wells to care for, both on the monadnocks along the banks of the Old O’tuckalofa run.

    Parker, I think, was interested in my story about how we irrigated Miss Sadie’s garden.  Dad made a V trough, using 1×6’s from the saw mill, about a hundred feet long, extending from our pump to the garden.  Ruth and I

wound up with the chore of operating the pitcher pump for many hours daily.  Later Dad replaced us with a “pump jack” from, where else but, Sears Roebuck.  This was  powered  with a one horse

gasoline engine—also used to power a clothes washing machine.  That pump jack is still stored away in an old bus used as a shed up in the hills.  If you wonder about that engine, remember, we never got electricity (except by our own power plant) on the Mud Line farm.

    That pump jack was “something else” at the time, for we could measure the amount of gas supplied to get the water to a certain place in the garden.  

    Those were great days!

    Our wish for you is a great week. It’s cold over here, in the twenties outside and how I missed my Sunday afternoon nap.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS, 38606 or 662-563-9879

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