Possumhaw: It was well worth it

August 4, 2018 10:59:46 PM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


The water hose was lying in the flower bed surrounded by a pile of gray sand. I touched it with my fingers. Sam said, "It's coming from the well through the hose." I thought maybe not. "If it's gray," he said, "it's coming from the well." 


It made me sad because I knew what that meant. A dozen years ago the house had the best-tasting well water. Water is refreshing, but you wouldn't say it tastes good, except to be refreshing. Then the pump started drawing sand and pumping it into the house, into the washing machine, the bathrooms, even the freezer's ice maker. Sam flushed out the lines and switched the house over to the water association. Fortunately, the house was plumbed early on for community water. The community water might not taste as good as well water, but it is clean and tested. 


Since then the well water fed the outside spigots, so there's little thought to how much or how often we water plants, fish ponds and animals. Sam said, "I don't know how long that 38-year-old pump will keep working and if it'd be worth it to buy another." 


I show Sam the sand. I still wasn't all that sure the sand was coming from the well. Most of the sand had dispersed into the Prairie clay which wasn't a bad thing, but you could clearly see it was a gray sand. "It's from the well," Sam said. 


We walked over to the well house where there's a container we can put a filter in if we have an emergency need for water. The bottom of the container held gray sand. A Prairie friend had asked about our well water. Her eyes flashed with excitement. She said you know well water is better for you. It has a lot of minerals we don't get in tap water. I could see she was interested in our water, and I'd gladly share but I had to tell her we were sucking sand.  


In a "Healthy You" class at The W's Life Enrichment Program, a man shared he had previously been afflicted with many ailments, then he started going to Hamill Springs where they have spring water you can collect for free. He said it was a bit of a drive but well worth it. He attributed his return to good health in large part to the spring water.  


It's true you can buy bottled water labeled spring water, but then there's all those bottles needing to be recycled and you have to wonder where the water came from. Once at an MSU baseball game a young girl in front of me held a Fiji water bottle. My friend next to me leaned over and whispered, "I've been to Fiji. You can't drink the water." 


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.