#6 A story from the Way-Back Seat of my memory about Dad and a pump and, well, I’ve got a new understanding of what people mean when they say they’re pumped up, because, um, I’m not.

by storytellerisabel

Pop and Mimi’s neighbor, Miss Mary–well, now she’s MY neighbor–has a water pump in front of her barn. It’s just like the one in Little House on the Prairie. (In fact, it looks JUST like that water pump LAMP next to my bed–the one Dad made in shop class.  I wish I could ask  Dad if he got the idea for the lamp from Miss Mary’s real pump. Too late.)

BEFORE everything changed, my family would “come over” to Pop and Mimi’s for brunch or picnics, stuff like that. And every time we come, Dad brings us to the farm to see the animals and, this is the important part, to Work. the. Pump.

Dad wants us to understand how the pump works, and I’m finally getting it. Here’s what happens the very last time we visit BEFORE. (Which, BTW, is only two weeks ago. Seems more like a decade.)

After cranking the pump handle a few times while the twins and I watch, Dad raises his eyebrow and says, Who can tell me why there’s no water coming out of the pump today?

ME:  Air.

DAD: Right, air’s gotten in, so there’s no water pressure. No water pressure, no water.

(You might notice that the twins aren’t saying anything. That’s ’cause they’re four. They ARE looking back and forth between Dad and me like it’s a tennis match.) 

DAD: So what do we do?

TWINS: Knock on Miss Mary’s door! Knock on Miss Mary’s door!  (The twins say everything twice, maybe because they’re twins?)

DAD: Looking a little perplexed, Er, why would we do that dudes?

TWINS: Miss Mary has water in her sink!

DAD: He ruffles their heads and fist-bumps with them, and then he says, What ELSE could we do?

ME: Get rid of the air that’s wrecked the water pressure.

DAD: How do we do that?

ME: Like this. And I run back to Mimi and Pop’s, turn on their hose, pour water from the hose into a bucket, and run back up the hill to Miss Mary’s. (The twins watch me like I’ve never done this before and, trust me, if I’ve done it once, I’ve done it a zillion times. Or at least three times when they were around.)

DAD: Now what?

ME: I pour the water into the top here.  (I have to stand tippy-toed to lift the bucket and pour it into this pipe that’s right next to the pump.) Then I pump the handle. 

I pump the handle updownupdown a few times and then, with a great gurgle and splash, water spurts out and into the trough below. The trough’s for the animals to drink from. In fact, one of Miss Mary’s lambs (Pretty funny, huh? “Miss Mary’s Lambs,” like in the nursery rhyme?) scurries around the corner of the barn and starts lapping it up.

So here’s how this pump figures into my life right now, AFTER:

I’m surprised sometimes that me and the twins and Pop and Mimi aren’t sad Every Single Minute. But Silly Stuff seems to happen that gives us like a break from sad; stuff  that acts like that splash of cold water I poured into the well. It brings up a few laughs. For a little while.

I read somewhere that you can eat a certain amount of dirt in your life so long as you don’t eat too much all at once. I think it’s the same with being sadsadsad. You can bear it if you aren’t sad every single second. Or something like that.

I don’t know if we can manage if we’re sad all the time.

I just remembered that first time something happened that got us pumped up. I’ll write about it tomorrow.

ISABEL

Isabelcurlyheadfrombackonchair-sketch by my friend Ryan Grimaldi Pickard

Advertisements