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
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.