The Boast

Mrs. met Grady on a Sunday morning.  He’s grizzled, certainly rough around the edges, plaid lumberjack shirt with suspenders, looks 80-ish, but perhaps quite older.  Anyone’s guess and nobody really knows.  But everyone knows him.  In a small suburban, almost rural town, in New England, everyone knows everyone.  Mrs. does not.  Newly married and just bought some land with her husband.  It’s 1963.  They want to build a home.  Have the plans, the contractor, but water.  Where is the water going to come from?  Out there there’s no water unless you find it on your own, deep underground.  A well, as it were. A cistern, whatever you want to call it, but a source, a source that will feed for an eternity.

Grady, Grady Gibbous as he’s known, meets Mrs. on the land on Sunday.  Her husband is off traveling the East Coast on a sales junket so it’s up to Mrs. to help oversee the infrastructural nature of building a home starting with water.  Grady finds water.  That’s what he’s done for decades.  They meet, exchange pleasantries, and Grady goes about his dowsing with little to no words.  He removes these two L shaped rods from his back pocket and starts roaming about the property.  Each in a hand, the rods are pointed out in front of him like two slinged guns. Pointing, laterally, at really nothing.  Just trudging about with these two divining rods in his hands, they stay  parallel to each other the entire time.  Mrs. asks him about the “process” if you can call it that.  Grady grumbles, “Ma’am, this is dowsing, dowsing for water.  When these two rods cross, X marks the spot for your water. Mind you, this may take a while.”  Probably the most he’s said in 40 years.  

An hour later as Mrs. followed Grady around, the rods crossed on the lower part of property, by the road and next to where the driveway would be.  Grady stood there for a moment as the rods were vibrating in an X formation and said, “This is it.  I’ll be back tomorrow with the pounder.”  Mrs. said, “What’s a pounder?”  Grady responded, “Ma’am, I don’t drill wells, I pound them.”  And left it that as he walked away.  Mrs. had a slew of questions, but held them each in as Grady rounded the corner and walked out of sight.  

Monday morning Mrs. was there to greet Grady as he drove up with a large truck, a derrick in fact, that looked like it came from the 30’s.  He pulled up to the “spot”, climbed out and began manually cranking a hoist that rose larger and larger, vertically into the sky.  It rose up 30 feet or so and then he fired up a generator of sorts and the woosh of the sound was deafening.  It hurumphed, crumbled, then sparked again and then went full bore, it was running whatever it was.  

Grady grabbed a lawn chair from the back of the truck, unfurled it and placed right next to the derrick.  He then pulled a lever and a large bit of some sort, a 7 inch in diameter, blunt object, slammed into the “spot” from the top of the tower and smashed into the ground.  Then it rose up again to the top and slammed back down into the ground again.  It was violent and constant.  But with each slam it went a few inches deeper.  And Grady was replete in his lawn chair as each hammer went down to strike the earth.  He had another, another lawn chair.  He got up as all the machinations were going on, pulled the other chair off the truck and set it down, open, next to him.  An invitation to have Mrs. sit and see the wonder.  Or at least so we would think.  Mrs. took the invitation and sat down next to Grady as the pounding ensued.  Not a word was spoken until Grady said, “Ma’am, I pound wells, I don’t drill.  If you drill, you go deep, deeper than you should have to.  When I pound I crack and cracking is the best thing, it opens up aquifers that you could never get to by drilling.”  Mrs. was sort of out of her depth, so to speak, and responded, “You drill for water, that’s what I think you do, not to tell you your business.”

Grady was nonplussed by the comment.  The bit on the derrick keeps pounding, shrunck…shrunck…shrunck.  They sat together, not a word spoken and 8 hours later, water, like an oil field strike, started shooting up out of the well.  

Grady got up and capped it as he had done a million times before.  Turned to Mrs. and said, “It’s all about making the cracks, not making the holes.” He brought down the derrick and drove off while Mrs. was still sitting in the lawn chair.  She still has the lawn chair.

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