Drawing water from the well

While growing up on a farm in Catawba County in the 1940s and 1950s, we had a well located about 50 feet from our front porch. Suspended on a pulley above a wooden well house was a chain with a metal bucket fastened on each end. When an empty bucket was lowered into the water, a full bucket of water was pulled up. As I grew tall enough to reach the top bucket, I was expected to do my share of drawing water. We drew many buckets of water on wash days, bath days and canning days. It was hard work, and I always dreaded it, especially when my hands got stuck on the ice-coated chain. I learned the hard way to wear gloves on freezing winter days.

On summer days, my hands burned on the hot chain. Sometimes the chain would break, causing the full bucket to drop back into the water. Also, with kids around, other objects were "accidentally" dropped into the open well and had to be removed. Armed with "grabber" hooks, and a mirror for reflection, dad patiently worked until the bucket or object was brought up from the water. How I envied the neighbors who had hand pumps to pump water from their wells.

As much as I disliked drawing all that water, I would very much like to stand before that defunct well today and draw up just one more bucket.

Joyce Keever, Statesville, EnergyUnited

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