When I was a child, the drinking water for our home came from a well not far from the house. The pump was in a hole in the ground maybe eight feet square and eight feet deep. The roof of the well was level with the ground. Access to the pump was gained through a wooden door just big enough to allow one person to climb through and down a short ladder. The only time we needed to go down that ladder was to turn on water for the garden hose.
Of course when the faucet for that hose had to be turned on, one of us kids was sent down the hole. Not only was the place dark and dank, but the pump was a noisy machine with a fly wheel. It turned on automatically when the storage tank reached a low level.
To add to the terror of the well hole, the place was home to spiders.
Big ones. Black widows with long legs and ebony colored bodies.
They wove ragged and tangled webs that hung in drapes across the corners and occasionally across the opening to the hole.
My older brother delighted in telling me how poisonous black widows were.
How they could kill a person dead with one bite.
And, by the way, it was my turn to go down into the hole because Mom wanted her flower garden watered. Or we needed to fill buckets to water the calves, or we’d been told to hose the mud off the door step.
I climbed down that ladder when I was assigned. I never peed my panties when the pump came on while I was reaching for the handle of the faucet. I was always able to avoid getting bitten by the spiders, although I often had nightmares about them.
I blame my brother for my permanently warped mind. He should pay for my therapy.