That Pump At The Corner

It was one of those days that the windchill was close to -40. The sun was setting fast. And all I could think was that I needed a photo of the pump at the corner of Hanover and Kroeker. While people drove by on their way home from work, I was fiddling around with my crappy camera phone in an effort to take THIS picture:

“This well was dug in 1943 and served as a community well for many years. Four neighbours, Walter K. Barkman, Albert Reimer, Abe Thiessen and Art Giesbrecht originally paid for and used the well, which was 10 feet deep.”

And look. Just LOOK at the picture of the pump in the feature photo! PEOPLE ARE USING IT AS A GARBAGE RECEPTICLE! I mean… good for them for *trying(?)* not to litter… but are people REALLY mistaking it for a City of Steinbach garbage can?

I’ll tell you why I appreciate this pump. It reminds me of the pump that was in the front yard of my great-grandma’s house. It’s a tangible link to the past. A past when people didn’t have running water. And I like that people cared enough to keep it there, as it was. I wish I could know why, what was their motivation? What was their attachment to this well pump?

And then I can think about the notion of progress. Is it good that we now have running water, right out of our taps? That we no longer have to load barrels and buckets onto a wagon and hitch up the horses to go get some water? (Someone I know, is friends with someone who was a little girl on one of these farms, and I’m pretty sure she told me that that’s how they shared the pump — hauling water with a horse and wagon.) It’s definitely convenient to have tap water today. I’m grateful, but also think that maybe it’s problematic in some ways… for example, we do take water for granted, don’t we?

By the way… this pump is no longer functional. (Much to my regret, when we walk by on hot July days.)

If you go for walks along Kroeker Avenue, you’ve probably seen this pump, with its corresponding plaque. What do YOU think of it?