There are elements in life that we take for granted, mainly because it seems as if they have always been there. This includes such items as phones, electricity and Cher.
    It is likely that we will not miss any of these things until we are deprived of them.
    “Honey, why is everything in the house floating up toward the ceiling?”     
    “Oops. I guess I forgot to pay the gravity bill.”     
    One thing that we tend to take for granted is running water. At least most people do.
    I spent my earliest years in a farmhouse where obtaining water meant pumping it by hand from an underground cistern. I was potty trained in a privy – a two holer – a scary, drafty, spider-infested rickety little wooden shack whose yawning portals looked large enough to swallow small children. Definitely not the kind of place where a guy might be inclined to relax with a good book.     
    I was 5 years old when our parents added a bathroom onto our farmhouse and installed a pressurized water system. It was just in time, too, as I was beginning to discover the joys of leisure reading.
    This is why I still think it is somewhat of a miracle that a person can get water by simply turning a faucet. That also explains why I did not get overly excited when the water system at our house conked out some years ago.
    The first indication of an issue came from my wife.
    “Something’s wrong with the washing machine,” she said. “It won’t go.”
    The phrase “it won’t go” is how she describes nearly every type of problem.     “Something’s wrong with the car/the blender/the dog. It won’t go.”     
    After a bit of troubleshooting, I determined our water pump had bitten the dust.
    I broke the news to my wife by telling her, “Well, it appears that our well isn’t feeling very well.”
    I have always wanted to say something like that.     
    “What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.     
    “It means that we no longer have pressurized water. Don’t worry, though; I know how to handle this situation. I’ll get us a communal water pail to drink from, and I’ll show you how the whole family can eke out a bath from a single teakettle of hot water. And I know a whole bunch of water-saving laundry tips. Say, for instance, that it looks like rain.”     
    “Why don’t we just fix the well?”      
    “Because that would cost money. My way will be a ton cheaper. Now, back to the laundry. Did you know that you can get at least four days out of one pair of underwear? First, you wear it the normal way. The next day you wear it backwards and the day after that, you turn it inside out and on the fourth day, you wear it inside out and backwards. And there’s no reason to wash a shirt when a hearty dose of Febreze can make it smell as fresh as a spring morning. First thing tomorrow, the boys and I will hammer together a privy from that pile of old lumber. I feel like splurging, so we’ll go deluxe and make it a three-holer. And all of that junk mail and those catalogues the mailman brings us will save us beaucoup bucks on TP expenditures. Um, what are you doing with the phone?”    
    “I’m calling Motel Six to see if they have a room for me. You and the boys can go right ahead and live like barbarians but count me out.”     
    “What do you mean, barbarians? We still have the internet and electricity. If it would make you feel any better, Miss Fussbudget, I could download and print out some pictures of Martha Stewart’s bathroom. Then you can sit in the bathtub and luxuriate in that quarter of an inch of lukewarm water and pretend that you’re at Martha’s house. Think of it as virtual bathing.”
    To make an expensive story short, my wife would not agree to this plan. I was forced to call Torgrude Well Drilling and Rod Torgrude, the guy who had originally bored our well 17 years earlier, came to our farm and installed a new submersible pump. I complained half-heartedly about how things do not last anymore but was secretly glad to know there are still some people who will always be there for you.     
    Pressurized water was soon coursing through our house’s waterpipes once again. Our well was made well, and all’s well that ends well.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, S.D. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.