Change is Welling Up

When I got to be a grown up girl, but not quite ready to believe it, I got a job for the summer.  I was in charge of a water survey for the Huron County Health Department.  My job was to ask businesses, those businesses who served water to people, some questions:

  • Do you have a well?  (I knew what a well was, that one was easy.)
  • Where is your wells?  How deep?  Where is it?  Do you have a well log?
  • Is the welll casing grouted?  (Isn’t grout that stuff between the bathroom tiles that’s so darned hard to clean?)
  • Do you have a submersible pump?
  • Where is your pump?  Can I see it?
  • Do you have a pitless adapter?  (Huh?)

My  training was one day of riding around the county with an Sanitarian Tom, while he inspected sewage systems.   “Tomorrow you are on your own,”  Sanitarian Tom said.  What?  My heart skipped a beat.  It didn’t know a pitless adapter from a hole in the ground.

The next morning, Sanitarian Ed, a much more compassionate fellow advised me, “Start out at Coral Gables.  It’s close by, and the owner, Bill Baily, is a good guy.  If you get stuck, you can come back here, and ask questions.”   That was before cell-phones, lap-tops, e-mails, or text-messaging.  That was back when self-carbon paper was a great innovation.  I clamped official looking metal clipboard under my arm and headed for my Huron County Health Department car; a blue Ford sedan; no air-conditioning and no radio.  Tax-payers didn’t want government workers to be driving around the county in the lap of luxury.

Indeed, Bill Baily at Coral Gables was a good guy.  He offered me a cup of coffee and a doughnut from the case on the lunch counter. Sanitarian Ed told me later that was against the rules and considered a bribe, so never take food from the restaurant owner, no matter how innocent it might seem.  I was just being polite, I wasn’t even hungry.

I started in on the questionnaire with Bill.

Yes, Coral Gables had a well.  It was 110 feet deep, ending in bedrock, and yes, it was grouted.  Yes, the well had a pump.  It was submersible.

“Where is the pump?”  I said, going through my checklist.

“In the well.”  Bill said, keeping his face sedate and businesslike.

“Can I see it?”

“No, it’s at the bottom of the well.”  This time I saw the corner of Bill’s mouth pull up just a little before he combed his fingers through his hair.

“Of course,” I said, flipping the self-carbon questionnaire, checking to see if the protector was in the right place, so my pen didn’t press through more pages than it was supposed to.  Really I was just killing time, avoiding Bill’s eyes.  “This is new to me,” I offered without looking up.

“Everything is new at one time or another,”  Bill said.

Of course he was right.  So was Sanitarian Ed.  When on unfamiliar ground, a kind heart, a little patience, and a friend close at hand is all I need to help me over the hurdles.


In the next few days and weeks, Once a Little Girl will undergo some transformations.  I have some learning to do, some questions to ask my best-girlfried-blogger friend, Kim, who blogs at Journey to Epiphany,  and some moral support to garner from Aussie girlfriend, Sharnie who seems to be on a parallel blogger-path with me.  Still, tomorrow, I will plunge ahead, with an idea that wakes me up in the wee morning hours.

Oh, and Bill Baily, wherever you are,  I’m sorry I thought I was ever so clever with my, Won’t you come home, Bill Baily, quip.  Thanks for trying to hide your grimace.  What was I thinking?

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