Peaking out from an overgrown hosta plant in my front yard there is an old-fashioned cast-iron water pump painted red. I like the little bit of history and color it adds to my inherited abundance of hostas, the odd plant that likes shade, but hardly flowers.
A blip of red in a swamp of green.
It feels like a grounding presence and reminds me of that old house in the little mining town in the mountains where that piece of metal used to live.
I’m not quite sure how old it is or isn’t, but it ties our family to a house with many memories of bats, birds in odd places, kittens where no-kitten should go, the penny candy store, and two-seater outhouses complete with a creepy shortcut through the woodshed if the night was to brisk to suit you.
I only remember going there once or twice. With the back of the pickup truck loaded with all the things and covered in a tarp, I halfway remember our dog riding in the second bench with us kids, but I could be wrong. The long winding drive always seemed shorter on the way home.
But that place was always an adventure and has stories more than I remember and more than my dad and his siblings have told. It’s the stuff of lore and family history and all the oddness that comes along with.
One of the most remarkable things in my memory was the big pump on the back patio. There was no running water in the house, but a minute or four of vigorous pumping could fix the problem of water in a jiffy.
It was like magic and time-travel at the same time. I don’t know if I ever succeeded in pumping hard enough to draw water, but I certainly tried.
My dad replaced it at some point and the memory lives in my front flowerbed alongside some daffodils that never manage to bloom.
I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday on the word: Well.
What memories do you have of a place or wells or water? It’s an interesting theme to explore.