A few years ago, our well went out.
It was getting up there in age and had been jollied along for a decade or more with temporary fixes.
But finally it pumped its last gallon, halfway through a load of clothes. There was no reviving it.
And there we were, a household of three humans and one cat with no water.
You never quite appreciate something until it’s gone.
That well let its absence be known in all sorts of ways.
Greasy hair. Stacked up laundry. Our cat, Angel, sitting in the bathroom sink, fixing her green stare on us. She was a stubborn cat. The bathroom sink was WHERE SHE DRANK. She couldn’t accept that things had changed.
My husband made trips to his uncle’s place to fill a stock tank with water. We dipped from it to flush the toilet. We strained it and heated it on the stove to wash dishes. I would drive into Battle Lake to fill jugs and pitchers with drinking water.
And Angel kept sitting in the sink, expecting life to return to normal.
We got a loan for a new well, but it still took time to dig so we were without running water for eight days.
When you have to heat water on the stove for everything you do, you think twice about things. Should you really make a messy peanut butter-and-honey sandwich for a 3-year-old? Does the counter really need to be wiped yet?
In a weird way, I enjoyed not having running water. It made me feel independent. Resilient. If Ma Ingalls could do it, I thought, well, darn it, so can I.
Of course, even without a well we were pampered compared to the Ingalls clan. We had family who let us use their showers. We could go to the laundromat. And we knew a well was coming.
Still, it was a challenge. Hard times test a person. They make you think about what matters. They reveal things about you that you might not have known.
As the pandemic stretches on and families lose their beloved parents and grandparents, I think about those eight days we lived without running water.
Even though our experience was relatively minor, it did teach me a few things.
One, bad things don’t last forever. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and endure.
Two, stay calm. It doesn’t pay to rage about things beyond your control.
Three, you can be like Angel and deny what’s happening. Or you can jump down from the sink and drink from the dish on the floor.
Which she eventually did.
“It’s My Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.