Ain’t Got No Rainbarrel

When I was a child I spent a lot of time in Storm Lake, Iowa with my grandparents Floyd and Alice Klinzman. They lived in a grand old house, with loads of oak woodwork, two big porches, and a white picket porch swing.

In the spring, the sticky purple scent of my grandfather’s iris blanketed the back yard, which was also host to a full to the brim, wooden rain barrel for splashing in, and a cellar door worn so smooth it could be used as a slide. As I played in the yard among the grapefruit sized heads of Grandpa’s iris I often sang this song.

I’m sorry play mate, I cannot play with you

My dollys got the flu, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoohoo

Ain’t got no rain barrel, ain’t got no cellar door

But we’ll be jolly friends forevermore.

For some reason it delighted me to sing this song because I did indeed, HAVE a rain barrel and a cellar door. But it did not please me more than the rain barrel I now possess.

Felipe made our rainwater collection system by sawing a pvc pipe in half horizontally, which he wired to the roof and downspouted into a 55 gallon barrel. When the rains come I ask expectantly, after the first big downpour, “Do you think it’s clean enough yet.”

He generally makes me wait for 3 big rains, and then…

The morning of the fourth deluge, we go outside and plunge our mouths into the velvety cool waters of heaven. There is no water more satisfying. Continue reading

I would like to introduce you to my husband; Felipe Pita Cruz

This is the first of four posts intended as an introduction to Felipe and his projects. It is a story I feel provides a glimpse into his remarkable character. It is an exerpt from my work in progress, a memior about our move to Mexico.

Land with water, this is the ultimate possession it seems, though I think of it more as an honor with legal rights. The land we live on is called the Piedra Rahada (split rock), it was suspected there was water here. There were several indicators, there are five Amates, two year-round watering holes above us, and two rainy season creeks that conjoin on our land. We are located in what is known as arid, tropical zone 10. Thus the preoccupation with water.

There was never any question of whether or not we would dig a well. We were advised to contact a man that lived in Los Idolos (the Idols), who had a talent with wells. The ability to find water and dig a successful well is esteemed with similar appreciation as the respect given to the Brujos. Though it is not considered magical, it is regarded as beyond the abilities of the average person. We sought out Don Guerillamo at his home, and as with most cases of acquiring a service, there were many waylays and curiosities in the initial contact. It required perseverance and mezcal for him to consider our project.

Eventually an appointment was made; he arrived at the designated time and immediately informed us,

“There is a lot of water here.” As he crunched his way down the ravine, he stopped and said, “It is everywhere but this is the best place, you may be able to draw from the source of both creeks here.”

What he located was a small divot in a rock face that ran under our creek, it was full of leaves but when you pulled them back there was moisture. It was April, deep into the dry season. We were satisfied with the performance and hired him that day.

Don G arrived with his crew mid-morning the following Monday, there were five of them, they exited the truck, walked toward the house and the image was eerily that of the opening scene to Reservoir Dogs. Really. I have had a few slow- mo moments in my life and I am never quite sure of what brings them on, but in this case it was it pure charisma, they had presence. They were dressed as natty laborers, all wearing different styles, cowboy, hipster, valiente, one gentleman was wearing corrective wayfarers. The dust blew up around them like a movie effect, and I thought, damn this is gonna be good.

For full appreciation, watch the Reservoir Dogs – opening scene.