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Saturday, October 9, 2010


The big house had burned down. It had been a large log house where grandma had all her children, all eleven of them.

For some reason when they built the new house it wasn’t erected on the old site which was at the crest of the hill.

The well was next to the old house, and the garden spot also.

The new house was small, only three rooms, and we had to walk a ways to get the water now, while before it was just outside the door.

The well rope broke and the bucket fell to the bottom of the well and sat there. To this day I can’t figure out why no one fished the bucket out of the well and put a new rope on it (many years later someone did that). But here we sat with no water at hand.

We had some springs where the live stock drank, but it was at the bottom of a very steep hill, and was a couple of blocks from the house.

So being very inventive we divided the springs, one for the cattle and the other for the household use. Every drop of water we used had to be carried up that steep hill.

Now halfway up the hill there was a large maple tree that became a stopping place to rest; for no one carried the water all the way without resting.

I would lay under that tree in the summer time and watch the clouds roll by. It was quiet except for an occasional mooing from some cow that had lost their calf. Many times sleep would overtake us while laying there.

Our buckets would hold about three gallons which is about two flushes of a toilet. So day after day we carried water up that hill and rested under that tree which had become like a friend.

I knew the flaws in its bark and each of its limbs how they spread out from the trunk.

About once a week we had a special day, it was called wash day when all the clothes were washed. You would be surprised how much water it takes to wash clothes for several people and how many trips up and down that hill.

This was in pre-bleach days when they boiled the clothes in a 50 gallon pot to get them white. I must say I still have fond feelings for that old maple tree on the hill for I enjoyed some respite from the hot, sultry weather beneath its limbs.

One of the popular songs in that day was; “Maple on the hill,” pure hillbilly music. For those who can stomach it. 

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