It was a month or so later that the next changes in Cassie’s life occurred. By this time she was the Stable Master. She fed, watered, groomed the horses and mucked out the stables every day. It was hard work at first. She was still underweight and weak but she was catching up fast. She thought back and came to the conclusion that she was even happier than before she went blind. She was now a growing person, almost an adult.
Her sight, at first, had been really erratic going from 300 yards range and acute sensitivity when she woke to 30-40 yards by the time she went to bed. It had slowly strengthened and stabilized until Cassie could now “see” within a circle with a diameter of 200-250 yards throughout the day. But if she focused she could narrow her vision down to a 10 degree angle in any direction out to about 2 miles. However, if she held it too long she would begin to weaken, losing range and sensitivity quickly.
Cassie was through with her chores for the day when she heard loud noises from the drive up to the ranch. She wandered out to see what was going on and “saw” a string of trucks coming up the road near the drive to the ranch house.
This was the drilling crew with their rig’s to drill for water.
Cassie’s father had headed to Odessa for the day so he was not home but Cassie had been spying on him and knew where he had left instruction for the riggers.
She went into his office and opened the drill map where he had marked the places to drill in the order he wanted. She took out his map marking pen and turned to where the hidden underground river flowed. She quickly marked the map with an x inside a circle. Then on the side she wrote “go to 1200 ft.” “Do this one first.”
Putting the map and paper back into the folder she carried them out to the driveway. In the distance the rigs were all stopped along the road edge. A single super-cab was headed up the drive to the house.
Cassie tap, tap, tapped, her way to the edge of the drive way and waited for the truck to pull up. The truck stopped next to where she stood. She watched the driver as he looked first at the mass of trucks parked along the road then looked at her. Seeing her cane, his eyes squinted as he slowly got out of the truck.
“God” she thought “It’s a good thing I don’t have to focus my eyes on him to see. He is a giant, at least a good eight inches taller than Dad. He was all muscles… not an ounce of fat anywhere!”
“You’re George’s daughter?” His voice felt like sandpaper on her skin. Cold chills went up and down her spine.
“Yes sir, I am.”
“Where is he?”
“He had to go to Odessa for the day. He should be back by tomorrow night.”
“What? Time is money! I got a couple dozen men and four rigs they all cost money. What’s wrong with him? He knows that.” He growled.
Cassie shivered, Dad had told Marie that if Blocker showed up to tell him where the work orders were and to get to work. Cassie had listened from the next room.
“Are you Blocker?” She asked boldly.
“Yeah, I’m Tiny Blocker. Why?”
Tiny, this man was known as Tiny, Tiny Blocker? Who was the person big enough to call this man Tiny?
“Eh, Tiny” Her voice squeak as she started to talked to him.”Tiny, Dad gave me your work orders. Here they are.” she stuck the folder out at him. He stood there looking at her.
“Are you blind girl?”
“You need a dog. That stick is no good in a work area. Get a dog.” He took the folder, pulled the map out and opened it across the hood. She waited hoping that her Dad had not talked to him about where to drill.
“Which way is the quickest access to this land?”
“Go back down the road about three miles toward town. You will have to cut the fence. Put up a temporary gate behind you and go about a half mile straight south. There is a dip in the land and it’s almost dead center of that dip.”
“Hum, if you’re blind how do you know this?” He was staring straight at her now.
“I’ve only been blind for two years.”
“Good point! Too bad, you can’t take us straight to it. Save me some money.”
“How would I get back here?”
He stopped and she could see a grin appear briefly.
“I’d bring you back myself after I got the riggers working.”
“Okay, let go.” She taps, taps, and taps her way around his truck to the passenger door. She opened it and immediately pulled herself inside, slamming the door behind her.
“Time is money” she said through the driver’s open window.” He stood frozen outside at the hood. Then he quickly put his papers into the folder and climbed into the truck. She saw and felt the truck settle on his side.
With a roar of the engine, they rushed back down the drive to his rigs. Barely slowing, he reached out the window and whirled his hand in a circle. Those rigs, one at a time, used the turn into the driveway to make a 3-point turn and followed at top speed back toward town. Cassie leaned back and reached out with her sight. Back behind them the rigs were slowly catching up.
The truck bounced and then bounced again as it hit two pot holes close together.
“Slow down.” The truck began to slow.
“Stop just ahead on the left about another hundred yards.”
The brakes took hold and squealed as we slowed to a stop.
“Make a gate in the fence on the left about fifteen more yards in front of us.” Tiny was out of the truck as the first of the rigs pulled to a stop behind him. She listened as the orders flowed. Three men rushed past as the strands of wire were cut and wrapped around a two by four and stapled to it. A loop of rope was tied around the fence pole where the wire was cut making a temporary latch to hold the new gate in position when closed. It was amazing how fast these men worked. They pulled the new gate open and one man stayed to hold it. Tiny got back in the truck and drove through the opening.
“Go straight south about two fifths of a mile. There will be a slight rise. Go over it. The dip should be just the other side.” With that, he stepped on the gas and the truck bounced across the field. This country may look flat to people who have not really traveled over it, but it is not. There are holes, gullies and ditches from runoffs. The truck started up the rise she had mentioned, topped out and went airborne before it hit the backside of the ridge and started down into the dip. Tiny began to slow as he looked around at the land. He stopped the truck about ten feet from where she saw that the water came closest to the surface. He sat there looking around.
“Darn! He’s right, there is something down there.” He climbed out of the truck. She got out on her side and walked toward the closest point to the water. As she stopped, she noticed that Tiny had done the same.
“Well, golly! George got himself a dowser! Can you find oil and gas too?” He asked.
Cassie froze. “How did he know that she had found the water?“ She looked at him.
“I don’t know what you mean.” she said.
He just looked at her with a soft smile on his face and he shook his head. The rest of the rigs were pulling up as he waved his hand in a circle then pointed up then down at the ground.
“Get the rig up and start drilling right here. We are going to 1200 feet. Don’t stop until then. Then call me.” He turned and got back in his truck.
Cassie hurried to join him.
“The land goes up in all direction from here. We can fill this basin with water and have a nice little lake here. Make a great watering hole for cattle. But to be sure we need to drill two more holes one on the east side of the basin nearer the ranch house and one of the west side near your property line.”
“We can run a pipeline from the east well to your ranch house.”
Cassie reached out sensing the underground flow then reached for the map. She made two x’s on it. They show the closet point to the ranch on one side for the underground water, and the west the closest to the property line on the west side.
“Drill at these two points they will be the best place to drill.” Cassie told him.
With a roar he headed due east up and out of that dip. She noticed that he was examining the ground all the way until they were in sight of the ranch house. The he pulled over and stopped.
Turning, he looked at the girl with a frown on his face. “Are you really blind?”
“Yes I’m really blind.” she waited.
“How old are you?”
Cassie turned until her face was looking straight at him. “I’m twelve.”
Tiny gave a whistle and then he shook his head.
“Now that’s hard to believe. I would have thought maybe sixteen even seventeen. You got a self assurance that’s hard to beat. I don’t know if you just being secretive or not but I’m taking you at your word.
“You are a dowser. You are a pretty darn good one at that. I got a little in me that’s how I know. I could had never have detected that water from any distance but you did. I had to be on top of it to know.
“If you can do that with other minerals you can be very rich one of these days. But you have to be careful. If people knew they would be all over you. That is what happened to my granny. They would not leave her alone and kept hounding her day and night ‘til they drove her crazy.”
“So keep it a secret. You ever need help, send for me. Put the word out with the riggers, I’ll come running.” He held his hand out to her. Slowly she extended her own. Gripping it he did a small shake.
“Cassie Howard, Tiny.” she said.
He put up the map, turned and started the truck then continued over the ranchland to the house.
My thanks to Grumpybear for his editing and proofing help. But the final results are mine and all criticism should be loaded onto my shoulders.
© Virgil Lee Fuqua III and vlfouquet.wordpress, 2008-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vlfouquet and Virgil Lee Fuqua III with appropriate and specific direction to the original contents