As Noah said when he went out on the deck to check the windshield wipers, “I should’a brought a raincoat.” Paul’s day started out with a drum roll. Every morning for months, as he went into the machine shed, he noticed the rusty gate hinge on the door jamb.

It was shoulder-high and stuck out like a rhino horn. “Could be dangerous,” he often thought.

That morning, he was in a hurry and listed just enough to starboard to catch his shirt sleeve on the hinge. It jerked him hard to the right. As he swung around, he stepped on the weed hoe. It stood smartly to attention and saluted him across the eyebrow.

He stumbled across the grain room holding his eye and stepped into the cat’s dish. It slid out from under him. He did the splits and straddled the door jamb into the big shed. Looking up from the floor, he noticed his tractor leaning like it had its foot off the curb. On closer inspection, he found the lean was the result of a flat tire.

Back at the house to get a Band-Aid, he discovered they had no water. The well pump was out. Well houses in this part of Iowa are usually circular, concrete, 12 feet in the ground and have a lip not much above ground level.


Paul loaded up the dog and went to town for parts. Backing out in front of the hardware store, he stuck his elbow out the open window. The protruding door lock slipped up under his sleeve. When he leaned out, looking back, he mashed the door lock down and pinched a thumbful of skin. He reacted by stomping the gas and nearly blindsiding poor ol’ Bud who was on his way to the sale barn in Moville.

When Paul finally got home, he saw his cows were out. Probably in search of water. With the dog’s help, he managed to get the migrating cattle back into the barn lot. He headed for the well.

“At least I’ll get it fixed before lunch,” he thought as he lifted the plywood cover and descended the ladder into the well. There was just room enough for one man to stand up, what with the pressure tank, the pump and pipes.

He knelt down to check the points and leaned a little to let the noonday sun shine light on the subject. Then he felt a stream of water cascading over his head and down the side of his face. It was warm.

Paul considered turning and shouting up at the dog, who was apparently marking the well as his territory, but thought better of it. He leaned as far as he could to avoid the shower, which just allowed the stream to soak his shirt and pant leg.

“Yup,” he said, wiping the side of his face, “I should’a brought a raincoat.”  end mark