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The Madera Tribune

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Opinion: Putting moving in perspective

April 27, 2019

According to uhhospital.com moving is the third most stressful activity one must face with the death of a loved one and divorce as the one and two spots respectively.

 

When first married I lived in the Dixieland area. I thought I would live there forever since the property had been in my husband’s family since 1953. After his parents died, we moved to Parkwood as Fred worked at Madera Irrigation District and craved a shorter commute.

 

Life in Dixieland was mostly quiet except around Sept. 1 when the dove hunters came out to play. We lived the truth that five acres isn’t really big enough to be profitable and it is way too big for two people who aren’t the gardening type to maintain.

 

It was in Dixieland we rode out the drought and summer of 1976.

 

We had our own well and it went out. Not surprising the well-diggers had more work than they could handle. We were without running water for about six months. My elderly in-laws, my husband, 250 head of sheep and me without potable water on the property.

 

Luckily, we had MID surface water outlet to keep our pasture green. The water came out of the turnout in one corner of the property and fed by a pump to 20-foot pipes with sprinklers attached. The pipes needed to be moved through the checks in the pasture by hand. If one tried really hard, they could imagine themselves as a circus trapeze artist with a balance bar walking the 20-feet between checks. Ok so maybe it was just the way I coped with this arduous chore. The 15 pipes had to be moved three times a day.

 

His parent’s home had a roof-mount swamp-cooler rather than central air. Several times a day I would go up a ladder to the roof, pull off the side panel, dump in a five-gallon bucket of water and a couple of milk jugs filled with frozen water to keep the inside of their home livable.

 

My final chore of the drought involved driving Fred’s Dodge van a quarter mile up the road for water. We had about 10 of the 25 gallon galvanized aluminum trash cans normally used to hold bulk sheep food. We put those in the back of his panel van and thanks to the neighbor and farmer Paul Kelly, we were able to survive.

 

Receipt of his generous gift of water was used for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing. I made the water run twice a day.

 

We used a lot of change taking our clothes to the local laundry mats. The best ones in town in the mid-1970 we owned by the Nishimoto family at the Bridgestore and the ones owned by the Massetti Brothers out in Parkwood.

 

We imposed on our friends and my mother to borrow showers and made the best of it. Often we would go for a swim in a MID canal pond I dubbed our Agri-Beach. It was one of Dixieland’s worst kept secret swimming holes as cooling off in a canal is not only dangerous but also illegal.

 

Someone, we aren’t saying who, brought in a couple of dump truck loads of sand for the bottom after coming in with a backhoe in the off-season to dig about a four-foot-deep hole. We cleared out any debris each year after water season ended and the canal dried up.

 

Like drinking from a garden-hose and riding in the back of a pick-up truck, things were a lot simpler before the Nanny State took over.

 

Last week we moved about three miles from one house to the other. Retelling the “Well-Went-Out,” story again makes moving a few boxes around the new place a walk in the park compared to life in Dixieland.

 

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

 

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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