Monday, September 22, 2008

Memories of Water

My first memory of water was at my grandmother's house. She had neither well nor cistern other than a rain barrel under a downspout. The water from the barrel was used for washing and cleaning. Drinking water came from a spring a short distance from the house. The path to the spring passed through thickets of Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel. I remember removing the piece of corrugated metal that kept leaves out of the pool and watching salamanders flee. One of my first lessons from an older cousin was that salamanders were signs of good water. They would not be found in polluted water. I was taught that over 55 years ago and have often wondered about it's accuracy. I have seen them in water that I wouldn't drink without filtering or treating.

The world, or at least my small world, has changed since those days.

There is a privately owned water station about two miles from my house. I get about 1,250 gallons or five loads per month. It's close and convenient.

About 10 days ago I saw a sign that read "out of order". I checked a few days later and a new sign indicated "repair date unknown".

Rather than wait I phoned a friend and asked about other stations. He told me of one less than one mile off the route I take to and from work. The cost is about one-third of what I have been paying. A load normally costs me $3.75 but at this location it costs $1.40.

On the counter at a gas station on the edge of town is a machine. Deposit $1 and receive a plastic card with a magnetic strip. Insert the card into the machine and deposit bills ($1, 5, 10 or 20) and a total is recorded on the card. Take the card to the water station and insert it into a machine and water is dispensed and the balance on the card begins counting down on a display. When the tank is full press a button and the water stops and the card ejects.

I got the first load today.

From a spring and a bucket to a plastic card with a magnetic stripe. Things have changed. Not necesarily improved but changed.


Blogger Buffalo said...

When Kat and I were contemplating locating in Kingman I didn't realize that many residences had to haul water. Spoiled as I am, the idea held little appeal. When I was a kid we carried our water in from the pump.

9/23/2008 09:08:00 AM  

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