When my heat pump died two years ago, the decision to replace it rather than opt for repair was simple; the machine was twenty-five years old. I called the company who sold the original, and they were surprised it had lasted so long. I’ve spent most of the twenty years here alone, so I always waited until it was really hot or really cold to burn the electricity to heat, or cool, the whole house. Having large dogs on the bed reduces heating costs. When I had The Three, there was room for me, and three, and it was always warm and toasty.
When Mom moved in all of that changed. She’s in her mid-eighties, and so there must be cool air when it’s hot, and warm air when it’s cold. The heat pump survived a year with Mom, and that was that. Not that Mom caused the demise of a heat pump older than most college graduates for its time was certainly overdue.
So late Sunday afternoon, the water pump submerged deep in the ground was humming but no water was being issued forth. Not a drop. I called around, got answering machines and no humans. Finally, I did reach a guy who was a young owner of a well business he and his wife started. “First thing tomorrow morning” he told me, and the clock was ticking. I suspected they would come out, assess the damage, tell us what needed to be done, and then we would wait until they got all their stuff together and came back. Whenever that might be.
What happened instead was a couple came out, man and wife, with a nicely stocked derrick truck, arriving early, and smiling. They searched for simple fixes, loose wires, the pressure switch, the electrical connections, and then told me, yes, it was the pump. One hundred and twenty feet deep, they pulled out section after section of casing to get to the pump. The shaft of the pump had sheared. It’s dead, Jim.
At the end of the day, my fellow travelers, this might have been a simple description of the trials of getting water restored to my Mom. It was an interesting process. Yet what I would like to relate to you, is the teamwork of the man and wife. They worked with little excess talk, almost no wasted motion, and the conversation between the two was polite, respectful, and easy on the soul to watch. Like dancers who knew their music and moves, these two glided through removing the casing, pulling the pump out, showing me what was wrong, explaining which of the models they had with them would work and why, and then putting it all back together again. Neither appeared to be in charge more than the other, and not one harsh word left the other’s lips, despite the difficulty of their work.
I have a new pump, Mom has water, all is, no pun intended, well. Yet I was moved by the depth of the relationship between these two people, how they interacted as if in a world of their own, of their own creation, and how much they seemed to enjoy one another.
Words fail this task, and they should, for something this rare ought to be experienced in person, and hopefully, with someone equal to the opportunity. Love, true love, deeper than any well, might be found anywhere, true, but it is more often not. I learned much about wells yesterday, but in the actions of a man and his wife, I learned more than I had before.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
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