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What I Learned from Priming a Pump

January 14, 2014

old-fashioned-water-pump-janice-drewWhen I was a little girl, we lived in an old farm-house in upstate New York that did not have running water or indoor plumbing.  “No, I did not live in the early 1900’s on Little House on the Prairie.  And, “Yes”our neighbors did have inside plumbing. We just didn’t. My dad was a migrant worker and we were quite poor. If we wanted water, we had to work for it, just like we did for everything else. Right outside the house, we had a pump which supplied the water we needed to cook, bathe, and do laundry, etc.

The lesson I learned from priming a pump was that you have to put something in if you expect to get something out. On the success train, there is no free lunch, no credit, and no loafers.  You want to ride, you must pay the price.” Barbara Talley

There is a lesson in every experience when you’re open to learning. We also had one of those old-fashioned wringer washing machines and a rub board, but I digress!)  Every day, rain, shine, snow, or sleet, we’d go out to get some fresh water.  But before we could get the fresh water we had to first “prime the pump.”  That meant we had to take some of the water that was left and pour it into the pump and pump vigorously for a few minutes.  Pumping was always the hardest part for if you stopped before the water began to flow, you’d have to start all over. [We did get strong arms though.] So, we’d pump rapidly and rhythmically until water started to flow.  At first there would be no traction and if you didn’t know any better, you’d begin to doubt and perhaps even stop too soon. But if you continued pumping faithfully, eventually the water would begin to flow and you would barely have to pump at all.  At that point, the water would gush out and we could fill our containers as much as we desired.  We had a hard life back then, but there are lessons in everything.  If you listened to my father who walked five miles to school each day, our life was a piece of cake.

For those of you who have never had to prime a pump, be grateful.  You get to benefit from the lessons without the pain.  I’ve learned however, that we all have different lives, different challenges, and different lessons.  Lessons are made for sharing. Make sure to share yours too. That gives them meaning.  Please enjoy my seven lessons from “priming a pump” in my next blog.

Barbara

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