No Water & Frigid Water

Posted in Eternal Love | 2 comments

Spending the night in a motel in Uvalde was an excellent idea. So, after a good night of rest, Frank and I got up early, had breakfast, then drove back to La Pryor.

While driving down the road, Frank was laughing then asked, “Nancy Lou, are you ready to attack some of those tarantula-sized wood spiders with me and get our home cleaned up?”

I laughed loudly, saying, “You betcha Dimples!”

It was such a beautiful sunny morning without a cloud in the sky, and we were ready to get to our new home, clean it up, and unpack the UHaul. Unfortunately, when we got to our house, just as promised to Frank the night before, the electricity and water were turned on by the house’s owner. So Frank went back to smashing spiders and sweeping down spiderwebs while I cleaned the kitchen.  It was no surprise that there were cobwebs and spiders in all of the kitchen cabinets, but they did not scare Nancy Lou this time.

Once all of the cabinets were clean out, I started washing down the cabinet doors and countertops, then the window over the sink got scrubbed.  By this time, Frank had finished the living room and had moved on to the two bedrooms.  Music was playing loudly from the transistor radio that had been with us in Massachusetts, Okinawa, Van Vleck, and College Station.  Music was as deep a part of us as our love for each other.

After I finished the kitchen, except for mopping, I headed to the bathroom.  The first thing I did in the bathroom was pouring lots of bleach into the toilet bowl.  That toilet needed to soak up that bleach while I cleaned the rest of the room.  The inside of the footed tub and the sink cleaned up pretty easily with Comet and a lot of elbow grease, but I still had that yucky black muck inside its toilet to clean. So, figuring it was now or never, I kneeled on the floor in front of the toilet bowl.  At that exact moment, Frank peeked into the bathroom.  Of course, he was laughing when he saw me kneeling in front of the toilet, and then he walked into the room.

His first words were, “Nancy, are you gonna throw up? You’re not pregnant, are you? Do you want me to clean the toilet?”

As much as I wanted to say “Yes” to all three, I answered sternly, “No, No, and No,  but I will get this nasty toilet clean if I have to chisel it with a knife.”

With that said, Frank backed slowly out of the bathroom.  For some reason, he knew that I needed to be alone with my thoughts, plus I needed a lot of privacy. Although, he did return with a “dull” knife which he slid to me from the door.  You have to love this guy who immediately knew that a wife with a knife chiseling black muck out of a toilet did not need her husband in the room laughing.  Frank was smart like that.

Amazingly, I got that toilet cleaned then swept the bathroom too.  Just as I finished,  Mr. Dimples had finished cleaning the closed-in back porch and had even scrubbed up the mystery remains of a deceased animal in the middle of the floor. So all that was left to do was to mop the whole house.  We took turns doing that then took a break to sit on the front porch.  While sitting there, we noticed that it was around lunchtime.  Not having any groceries, we decided to close up the house then drive the three miles into town to eat.

After returning to the house, our next thing was to unload the U-Haul.  Frank was opening the sliding door of the truck when to our surprise, the head coach, Tommy, drove into our driveway.  He had come to help us unload the furniture.  Since all of the boxes full of kitchen things were in the back of the truck, after they brought them inside, I started emptying them to set up the kitchen.

Frank had not been able to back the U-Haul up to the porch then use the ramp again because a tree was in the way.  I never told him, but inside I was so happy about that.  One scrapped shin was enough. Regardless of not using the ramp, those two quickly unloaded that truck and set up the beds.  By evening, our new home was looking like us.

While I cleaned myself up from the days cleaning adventure, Frank and Tommy drove back into town, bought a few groceries and a six-pack or two, then picked up some burgers at the local restaurant.  When they returned, we sat in the living room talking and laughing about the last two day’s events and those darn giant tarantula-sized wood spiders. After Tommy left, Frank and I spent our first night in our new home.

Early the next morning, after locking up the house, I followed Frank the twenty miles to Uvalde, where we turned in the U-Haul Rental truck, then we started our trip back to Van Vleck to pick up our Scotty.  As busy as we had been for the last two days, we had missed him so much and could not wait for him to see his new home, minus the spiders, of course.  Frank and I had decided to spend two days with his folks before returning to La Pryor, and I could not wait to hear Frank’s Dad laugh about everything that had happened to us.  I was not disappointed. Frank’s Dad laughed until he cried.  Priceless!

At the end of the two days in Van Vleck, we bid them all goodbye, then the Three Musketeers, Frank, Scotty, and I, returned to La Pryor.  Scotty loved our new home.  It was so much bigger than the apartment, and he had a big ole yard to play in, plus a large closed-in back porch for all of his toys.  The only thing else on the back porch was the washing machine set next to the back door.

We did not have a stove, phone, or air-conditioner.  Since Frank would be using our car to drive to work and having just one vehicle, we prioritized that the phone should come first because we lived three miles out in the country with a small child.

Since we had two electric skillets, I knew that cooking everything we ate using those two appliances was possible.  One of the skillets had a dome lid, a rack that went inside it, and it had bake settings plus, I knew how to fry biscuits and stirfry vegetables.  The only problem with using the skillets was the one electrical outlet in the kitchen.  If I plugged them in at the same time, it would throw the breaker.  I solved this by running an extension cord from another outlet in the bathroom, and then it ran out the bathroom door through the porch, then the kitchen door, and finally arrived at a table that set where the stove should have been.

Air conditioning was not a problem for us. Then, for some strange reason, about ten o’clock each night, a strong wind came up that would nearly blow the box fans we had out of the windows.  The days were hot, but the evenings were cool and pleasant.

Frank, Scotty, and I had only been in La Pryor for two weeks when a new surprise came along.

“Frigid Water”

Frank was busy at the Field House with Tommy getting everything ready for the football season.  They had to inventory uniforms and other supplies plus clean the shower stalls then disinfect them.  Sometimes I would walk to town pushing Scotty in his stroller to help them.

On Friday, a couple of weeks after we had settled into our home after Frank left for work, when I turned on the kitchen faucet, there was no water. So, after putting Scotty in his stroller, I walked while pushing him to the landlord’s home. We did not have a well on our property, but the landlord had run PVC pipe buried shallowly underground from his house about a mile away to our home to furnish us with water. Unfortunately, this line had to go under the road, so they ran the plastic pipe through the concrete culvert.

The landlord was not at home, but his wife was, and she told me that she would have him come check it out when he got in.  Later that afternoon, the landlord came to our home to see if he could locate the problem, and he found the leak was in the culvert under the road.  He told me the well was working, but he had to cut off the valve to our home. But, unfortunately, his next words were not what I wanted to hear.  The landlord said that it would be Monday before he could get someone to fix the leak.

Oh boy!  I had a twenty-two-month-old that was mostly potty trained, but he still needed a bath, a flushing toilet, and water to drink.  Not having our phone installed yet, I decided to put Scotty in the stroller then make our journey to the fieldhouse.  After we arrived, I told Frank the dilemma that we were in without water at the house.  Frank told me to take the car on home and that he and Tommy would find some large containers to haul water in, fill them, then head on out to the house.

I loaded the stroller and Scotty into the Super Beetle, then headed home thinking that the weekend could be a long one.  Frank and Tommy arrived at the house about an hour later, and to my surprise, they had stopped by the store, bought sandwich stuff, chips, and canned drinks, plus several six-packs of big boy canned drinks which were not a surprise.  We had a wonderful evening, then Tommy left to go back to his place.  I got gave Scotty a sponge bath after heating water in one of the skillets.  Have you ever heated water in a skillet instead of a big deep pan?  Well, if not, it is different but doable.

The next morning, I asked Frank, “Dimples do you have an idea how you and I are going to take a bath?’

Frank answered immediately, “Lou, we are all gonna go bathe in the river.”

Looking at his dimpled smiling face, I answered, “Frank Henderson, I am not skinny dipping with you with our son in the river!”

Well, now, Frank was laughing before he answered, “Lou, I am disappointed, but I guess we could always bathe in our swimming suits.  That is unless you wanna change your mind.”

Shaking my head and laughing, I walked right past him on the way to put my swimsuit on then put Scotty’s on. When finished, I tossed Frank’s swimsuit at him, saying, “Dimples put your swimsuit on.”

Nueces River

Nueces River near our home in La Pryor, Texas

Once everyone dressed, we grabbed some soap and towels then headed in our car to the river.  It was a beautiful hot summer day without a cloud in the sky.  The water in the river was beautiful and the water clear. When Frank stopped the car, he, Scotty, and I got out, laid our towels on the bank then entered the water.  Frigid!  Ice Cold!  That Nueces River was like stepping into a bucket of ice water.  Frank held Scotty’s hand while I quickly washed my hair and my swimsuit body with soap then immediately bathed Scotty.  Scotty and I promptly left the water for the bank to dry off with our towels, but when I looked back, Frank was swimming in the middle of the river, laughing and having a great time. I had to laugh but was wondering if he had some insulated skin.

Once Frigid River Man got out of the water then dried off, we drove back to the house. On the way home, I asked Frank why that water was so cold, but he did not know.  Later that afternoon, Tommy came for a visit, and we asked him about the frigid river water.  He told us that the Nueces River was spring-fed which made it really cold.  Tommy’s next words to us got Frank chased around the outside of our house by Nancy Lou while hollering, “Don’t hurt me, Lou!”

Tommy’s words, “I told Frank that you all could shower at the fieldhouse.  There are lots of clean showers there. So why did you all bathe in the river?”

Needless to say, our next shower was at the fieldhouse. There was no skinny dipping that particular day and Frank cooked supper that night.

<<<<<<Book I  |  Next Chapter >>>>








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  1. You have a never-ending supply of great stories, Nancy. I love this story.

    • It is one of my favorite stories too. There are still so many more stories to come. I have got to get back in there and write.
      Thank you again Diane.
      Love Nancy

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