My daddy was a water witch.
When you are growing up, and you see your dad walk around with a fork of mesquite wood that occasionally points at the ground, you don't think about it much. It certainly wasn't anything he advertised, or talked about. Every so often, some oldtimer would come around and he and my dad would go off to some property and then come back. Not often, just sometimes. I do know payment never changed hands. I don't know how often he was successful--he never talked about it. And there's not such a much of water to find in our part of New Mexico.
Dad was a respected businessman, later a banker. In New Mexico, it wasn't quite as weird to have a bank president that was also a water witch, but......it was a little different, shall we say.
We owned most of the desert around our house, and there came a time when Dad would go out, of a Sunday afternoon, and slowly walk back and forth across several acres.
He wanted to put in a water well. He was looking for the water. And he found it.
I remember the day he had me step between his arms and put my hands above his on the stick. You know how a hose feels when the water is pouring through it? It felt like that, and the stick was pulling, straining, to turn down to the ground. Then he let go, and suddenly I was just a girl holding a stick.
He ran out of money the first time he drilled and had to come back. Way more than 1,000 feet down, an underground river flowed just where he said it was. And the second time, he hit water. The driller had thought my dad was nuts, but hey, he was paying. Then the wet mud started coming. And finally, the water. The driller may have been more excited than my dad. After all, my dad knew the water was there. He was satisfied. He was very pleased though, with the volume and the potability. For years, he and mother used that water for their morning coffee. You see, in an Air Force town, the city water was highly chlorinated. This made much better coffee.
The well made it possible for him to nurture the large garden, flower beds, vegetable garden, and one memorable year, an acre of alfalfa, at pretty much his own expense. I loved wading through the grass when he flooded the lawn.
Throughout, he was just a perfectly ordinary man who liked to garden and keep bees, and did I mention, was fluent in three languages? In this little two-horse town in southern New Mexico. He was just my dad. Who was a water witch.