The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Under the Wire

The new “wata” tank

 

April 14, 2021



She was willing and available. She was my best friend’s wife, but I needed her.

Heck, at that point, I needed anybody! We were going to pour cement for a new pasture stock tank and help wasn’t exactly lining up at my door. (Well what did you think I was talking about, anyway?)

My friend was absolutely the best help a person could have. But even with his talents and strong back this was going to be a challenge. When his wife offered to help, I was skeptical. Sue, my wife, was going to help. She was a Kansas farm girl. I believe in equality for the sexes, so grab a shovel, girl.

This lady, however, was from New York. You know, the land of zillions of people, Times Square and God knows what else. I don’t know how my cowboy friend with roots in tiny Cheyenne Wells, Colorado ever met her but there she was out in the middle of the Colorado sandhills, ready and willing. Besides, what a treat it would be for her to work alongside two authentic cowboy types like us.

Our project involved setting up and leveling a 20 foot diameter steel stock tank ring, then filling the bottom six inch and surrounding 36 foot pad with concrete. The only problem was I couldn’t decide how to level the darn thing to begin with. I decided if it got within six inches of being level it surely would hold enough water to be worthwhile. That’s about as close to level as I ever get any of my projects, anyway.

As we two macho cow-types wrestled with the problem of getting even that close to level, who should step up but Miss New York herself.

“How about if we fill that garden hose over there with water, hold one end at one spot at the top of the tank and then use the other end to level the rest of the tank?” she suggested. “Water seeks its own level, you know. If you had a long enough hose, you could level a spot a mile away,” she added.

My first thought was to take the hose and tie her up somewhere out of the way. My second thought was, “You know, that makes sense.”

With the Queen of the “Big Apple” state now giving directions, we proceeded to bring that steel ring into perfect level.

Duly impressed, I humbly asked my new found top hand how in the heck she knew about leveling projects and such. Turns out she’d grown up in upstate New York which is about as “country” as you can get. Her father was a carpenter and she’d helped him level many a building site. In fact, she knows more about tools in general than most Colorado ranch kids. The more I found out she knew, the easier it was to overlook her pronunciation of “wata” for water and “New Yak” for New York. In fact, she became a regular in our crew. I guess stereotypes can get you in trouble and make you miss some darn good help.

I’ve never told anyone this before but I could hardly wait to slip out there to fill the tank. I still kind of expected it to list off to one side or another, confirming a New York girl really couldn’t be that savvy.

I’m happy to report it was nearly perfect and I’m glad we scratched the funny talking lady’s name in the wet cement out in the middle of a cow pasture in Colorado. She earned it.

By the way, 30 or so years later, tank is still level and holds water perfectly. Oops! I meant “wata!”

 

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