Author Topic: Chapter 2 first draft  (Read 74 times)

Offline jn3766

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Chapter 2 first draft
« on: March 15, 2021, 04:55:31 PM »
   2
         Walking on water!

      As the sun came up the next morning, thoughts of yesterday’s news were still fresh on Glen’s mind. He now had a singular focus. All he could think about was his father and the great sacrifices he had made for the family. There had never been a day in his nine years when he didn’t have shelter, food, nor clean clothes. His parents proudly provided for their three children, but now there was fear they may have to go without necessities. Life still had to go on. The next morning was unremarkably typical, albeit the bad news. There was the same routine of chores bright and early and a tedious and long walk to school. The biggest difference was Glen had a more determined look than usual. He walked with more purpose. And no, it was not in hopes of seeing Elizabeth if one could imagine. His attention now was of a more personal one. You could say his thoughts were of a mature young man, not of a young boy. As his mind raced and churned, thinking of a way to help save the family farm, his attention turned to a conversation he overheard from one of his classmates. Riley Evans was his name. Riley was quite the talker and liked to spread gossip. At first, Glen was a little hesitant to take Riley seriously as to what he was saying. Riley was a tiny fellow with blondish, closer to white hair. The sides and back of his hair always seemed shorter than the top. The top of his hair slightly hung over his eyes, almost like bangs. Glen often wondered who cut his hair? Maybe Riley preferred his appearance as it did give him a suspicious and sinister look. Whenever one of his classmates or teachers addressed him, he would peer out from his overhanging locks, drop his head slightly, and pause looking for the appropriate or convenient thing to say. Was it a lack of confidence? Or was he scheming up a story? This time Glen needed to know for sure as it quite possibly could affect his family’s future.

      As Riley addressed his eager mates, Glen moved his desk closer so he could hear clearly. The class day had yet to commence, so the children had time to relax and chat with one another. Riley, like all his classmates, was from a farming family. He heard the same bad news as Glen the day before, so what he was about to say seemed to have more traction. He had heard a severe drought destroyed every farm in its wake and their town was next and they had a limited supply of water left. The news of the coming destruction was horrifying which causes something to begin to stir in Glen. Did the town government see this coming? Glen thought not. If they did, why would they be levying this tax? With no farm, there would be no tax to collect. Maybe the government had ulterior motives? Did they want farmers to default so they could use those vast lands for something else? Something miraculous entered Glen’s mind- a solution. As Riley went on and on, Glen jumped from his desk and ran out of the school. He raced home, not thinking about school or the penalty for playing hooky. He had an idea and wanted to share it with his father immediately.

      As he approached the farm, Glen saw his father near the chicken coop. He tried to scream to his dad but was out of breath. Mr. Bishop, with a wrinkled brow and a frown to match, wondered why Glen was home? As Glen finally caught his breath, he was ready to tell his dad what he thought was a solution to all their problems. He explained what he had overheard in school, and the idea stirring in his head he was so anxiously ready to reveal. The answer was water and how the Bishop farm would be the provider. John’s usually stern jaw weakened and dropped. “We would be the town’s water provider?” He asked, tightening his lips. Glen referred to the time the two of them were walking up a hill overlooking the farm and the town. The Bishop’s residence hovered over all their farming neighbors. Often times the hilly area was damp and moist. Glen would often comment to his dad, “every time we walk through here, it feels like we are walking in quicksand.” His dad would say jokingly, “probably because there’s water beneath the ground.” Could there be water underneath? His imagine turned to what it all could mean. The possibilities were limitless? Maybe an irrigation system could be developed, sending water from the Bishop farm down to the entire town, saving crops from ruin. A boy’s steadfast determination kept his city from being destroyed. His unmatched confidence would come in handy for years to come.

      John extended his clasped hands over his head, and as he began to ponder the proposition, and saw the possibilities, he pinched Glen’s cheek and said, “Son, you are amazing!” Together they devised a plan going back and forth on what it would take to be successful. Enthusiastically John said, “ok, let’s get to work on one condition.” Glen had to go back to school, apologize to his teacher for leaving, and finish the school day. If he wanted to help, it would be before and after school. No exceptions. Glen faithfully followed his father’s instructions. As soon as he heard the final school bell, he sprinted past his brother and sister with a wave and a sorry I don’t have time to talk. As he approached the farm, he noticed his father high up on the hill covered with dirt from hours of digging. “Did you strike any water yet?” He asked. His father said no, but he thought he was getting close. Glen set down his books and immediately grabbed a shovel to help. After each scoop of earth, Glen kept thinking about the result. He envisioned a substantial never-ending stream of the water rapidly flowing from the family farm down to every farm in desperate need of the moistness it would provide. As the two of them kept working away, the sun was about to disappear, and their dream would have to continue into another day.

      Early the next morning, a quick breakfast of some ham and eggs is all they had time for, the fields and the task at hand consumed them. The good news it was Saturday, so Glen had all day to strike water. Also, brother Gregory could help. Although a couple of years younger, Gregory was extraordinarily strong for his age. His job was to move any large rocks and roots out of the way. The three Bishop’s worked and worked through the Kentucky heat determined to accomplish their goal. The work moved into the afternoon with not much of a result. Gregory being a typical 7-year-old, turned drudgery into a game. He started to play in the dirt, rolling around to the point he was barely recognizable. He was covered from head to toe as his whole body was tanned. His older brother began to lose his patience, asking him to leave if he wasn’t going to help. Gregory said ok, but before leaving, he grabbed a shovel of dirt and playfully tossed it at Glen. A decent amount of crud hit Glen right in the face blinding him temporarily. The sounds of innocent giggles could be heard in the distance as Gregory ran away. Glen was outraged at first, ripping his shirt off to wipe away the dirt from his face. Angered, he lost his patience as the soil wasn’t coming off so easy. The dust was almost like mud. As he pealed the thick substance off his face, it felt wet. A thought occurred to him as it could mean one thing. The water was close! He immediately screamed at his father with joy- “Dad, I think we’ve done it!” “Here’s the spot!” After each step Glen felt the ground become softer and softer. A feeling like the “quicksand” feeling he described many times before. John joined his son in the digging. Each scoop of dirt seemed lighter and lighter, almost effortless. Each step became more and more precarious and in a split second the ground beneath them broke apart, and they both thrusted forwards, falling into a large pool of water. They splashed and paddled with glee, impressed with their newly found discovery. Their joy was temporary as a small pool had become a title wave overtaking them. To avoid a flood, they needed to find a way to slow the stream down. They sprinted well ahead of the water flow and feverishly started digging a large pile of dirt and piled it up like a wall to block the flow. It worked, and now what they had in front of them appeared to be a small lake. What they had to do next would decide their fate and the fate of their neighbors.

      As the flow of water subsided, the next challenge was to build a canal-like structure which systematically would feed a steady stream of water from the Bishop’s property down through the remaining farms. Also, they had to create a drill which consistently would pump the water continuously through the valley. As they looked below Glen, tossed a rock, and after a few seconds, a high- pitched plopping sound could be heard proving there was an endless supply beneath now they had to extract it. As the sun was beginning to lower, discussions started on devising the best plan to take. The first order of business was to dig a trench about five miles in length. The plan was no easy task in those days’ pre-technology advancements. John said he would go into town in the morning as he had a friend who could help. The next morning, John stopped by O’Leary Construction. There worked his close friend Carl Oates. Carl, the owner of O’Leary’s Construction, was well known. The two of them grew up together and had great respect for one another. John said he had an idea to solve the town’s irrigation problem but needed help. He explained to Carl his newfound discovery in which Carl became intrigued. For his plan to work, John needed a plow or two and material to build a long and wide trench. Carl said he could lend him what he needed and offered to help after work each day. John was excited as their plan was slowly coming into place. As John returned home, he sat down with the rest of his family to discuss how life would be for them in the future. His wife and children would now be needed to take on greater responsibilities. John and Glen would be busy, digging, and building and, it could take weeks. The rest of the family nodded with understanding knowing how vital their roles would be. Night was about to fall, and a new day and a new future were about to unfold.

      The month turned to May, and John was anxious to get started. Previous rules still applied. Glen could help before and after school, and his grades needed to be maintained. The welcome news was school was closer to being let out for the summer, which meant more time for Glen to help. As the three children started their walk to school, they noticed a large amount of dust rising from the path leading to the farm. A large vehicle came roaring by carrying bulldozers and various supplies headed to the Bishop farm. Glen was so excited, knowing his creation was about to become true. He couldn’t wait for the school day to end so he could
help his father. As 3 pm approached, Glen, had one eye on the clock and the other on the exit door. He called out to his brother and sister- “sorry, I can’t wait for you; I need to hurry!” Caroline and Gregory simply waved and shrugged as he ran by.

      As he approached the farm, a long deep path like a gulley was beginning. A bulldozer was removing large amounts of the ground scoop by scoop. The giant machine built a mile of the five-mile trench in what seemed like hours. “What progress,” he thought to himself. His father motioned toward a bunch of shovels and waved for him to come forward. Glen’s job was to clear away any excess dirt, so the flow of water would not be interrupted. Glen dug feverishly, beaming after each attempt knowing he was contributing to the astounding undertaking. In the distance, a truck was coming closer. It was Mr. Oates, and he was ready to help and operate the second bulldozer. A loud bang or backfire rang through the valley as Mr. Oates hit the ignition, sending Glen backward on his backside while many of the cows mooed in fear jumping a nearby fence. “Glen,” his father barked, “I know, round up the cows and lock the fence, I’ll be back.” The large yellow excavator slowly edged forward, chewing up any land stubbornly in its way. Glen needed to be a little older to operate such equipment, but his curiosity continued to increase. Carl pushed buttons and maneuvered gears, causing the ground to fly everywhere all to the delight of Glen’s anxious eyes. He ran side by side with a broad grin knowing his great idea was coming closer to fruition.

     The following day, they had reached another mile with a final three miles to go. Glen followed the same routine as the day before. Endless digging and sweeping away excess dirt continued, and a clearly defined and uniformed trench was developing. The work on the Bishop’s farm was starting to get attention from the townspeople. Somehow Glen kept this ingenious plan from his classmates, but his secret could last for so long. The humming of motors and gathering dust could be heard and seen for miles. Why did the Bishop’s keep their plan from others? Not surprisingly, it was the first question on the mind of one local onlooker. John Bishop knew he had a lot of explaining to do and concluded a town meeting was needed. With the help from Mr. O’Leary, they knew by Saturday they would reach their five-mile goal.

      The townspeople’s concerns eased the following Sunday. Everyone gathered at the local town hall. The room customarily made for 35 people was packed with little room to move. John’s family sat in the front row, nervously awaiting his address. As John stood up, he looked out to the crowd with all eyes on him and took a deep breath as he was about to say something without a guarantee of success. A trench newly completed had no certainty of success. There was just hope from the assembled looking-on praying he had an answer for everyone’s concerns. He did his best not to alarm or overstate the situation. Heading their way, was a devastating drought. Misery, affecting the Midwestern States such as Oklahoma and Texas, could be their fate. It had been days without rain, and something had to change for everyone to keep their farm. He first gave praise to his son for coming up with the plan and, without too much detail, showing how what they were doing could keep everyone’s farm watered for years.  There was whispering in the crowd with hands over mouths leaning toward their neighbors as they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. There was a mixture of excitement, skepticism, and many questions. As John went on, hesitancy turned to confidence, and whispers turned to cheers of optimism as many offered their help. No one was prouder than a young Glen Bishop he turned to look around the room and witnessed a town coming together.

      The next morning Mrs. Bishop said, everyone, come to the window, look!” A caravan of vehicles was moving a single file toward the farm ready for a day’s work, and it was before 6 am. John and Glen laid out the instructions to everyone’s understanding and heard comments of “ok, let’s go!” The next step in the process was to build a drill which would pump the water upwards and down the five-mile trench leading to a large well. The large group provided various materials needed to create such a complex piece of equipment. The booming sounds of electric saws rang throughout Jasper. Each hunk of metal connected to the next, strategically designed for efficiency. John was amazed at the expertise displayed by his friends. At each passing moment, he and Glen could see their dream coming together. What the job needed was a large pumping device provided by his friend Carl Oates. Everything was in place. A group of men lifted the massive drill in place directly at the spot of Glen’s initial discovery. The drill immediately started pumping up and down. Everyone could feel the vibration under their feet. After a series of 20 pumps, up came a gush of water. It was almost like a large water fountain. The group of twenty or so men and boys all jumped up with joy hugging each other proud of their accomplishment. Down went the water like a fast-moving stream leading to a previously dry well in the center of town. As days went by, there was still a continuous flow. John and Glen were confident this new method of irrigation would last a lifetime.