"You got any deer up here?"
"Yea, weve seen several does, mostly along the edge
of the woods. They dont come in too close cause of the
The young plumber is an avid hunter, even lets his beard grow
for the hunting season, part of the ritual.
With eighty year old plumbing thats been patched and redone
more times then you can count, a good plumber is a necessity.
Got lucky, let my fingers do the walking thru the yellow pages,
came up with this one first try. Does good work and always comes
right out when I call. With Bob being out of the country so much,
thats a comfort.
This wasnt their first visit. He and his helper had already
done quite a bit of work for us.
"Your pumps bad. Need a new one." Didnt
surprise me, the old one looked like it had done its fair
share of pumping. No pump, no water, so the work began.
Now the pump is in the basement. So most of the job was done
down there. They came up to check the well by the side of the
house every now and then, but the dirty, sweaty work had to be
done at the source of the problem.
"Theres just dirt down there!", my daughter exclaimed
after her first visit to the basement. Was kind of a shock for
a girl who grew up in the arms of neat, clean, building code
inspected and approved suburbia. She was right. When the heating
system was upgraded to a coal furnace, the crawl space under
the house had been dug out to accommodate the furnace and the
coal supply. Never was finished off, just a single square of
concrete put in to support the furnace. Now with the advent of
electric baseboard heaters, only that concrete square and gapping
unused heat ducts remain. The door to the outside is kept closed
to discourage entry of various animals, wild and domestic - the
only other openings are a small window at one end and a coal
chute at the other. Perpetual springs, of which we have an abundance,
seep thru the sods walls, keeping the area damp to wet year round.
"We have a water pump at the barn, will that work?"
Had used it when we lived on the river to water the yard. After
removing the bad pump, the plumber tried ours - no go. So out
that one came and in went one of theirs. For some reason that
one didnt work either. The day drug on, afternoon set in,
bringing with it considerable warmth. Sweaty and hot from the
job at hand, the plumber took off his shirt and absentmindedly
laid it down on the pump stand.
"Try it one more time",
the plumber instructed. I turned on the taps - water in a strong,
steady stream - success at last. Their second pump was installed
and working well.
The job completed, he and his helper started gathering up their
tools. The shirt was carried up to the patio and ended up on
a chair when the plumbers attention was distracted briefly
by something his helper said.
Coming out of the house, as I walked by the shirt something caught
my eye. Was no more then a slight movement in the folds of the
shirt. Knew what it was, even before I took a closer look. Went
to the little room off the patio - got a Mason jar.
"Ever see a Black Widow
spider ?", I ask the plumber when he came for his shirt.
"No", he said as he peered into my Mason jar. "Whered
you get it?"
"Off your shirt", I said.
In his line of work thought he would have encountered one before.
This specimen was a magnificent creature, the picture of poise
and grace. Our basement being dark, damp, and secluded is perfect
for her. Evidently, she had wandered onto his shirt in the basement
where he had left it unattended, then been carried up later.
The Black Widow is poisonous, but not generally aggressive. She
likes her privacy. Am sure she would just as soon have gone unnoticed
and made her escape back to her home - had I not seen her.
The plumber took her home to show his wife.