I’d Known it Would be that Good All Along

img_4110This is John Wayne Blassingame. He is 89 years old but looks and moves like a man 20 years his junior. Within minutes of our meeting, he told us that he has a 14 year-old biological daughter with his wife, who is 39 years younger than him. He seemed quite smitten by his vigor, and really, who could blame him?

It is true that after meeting John Wayne, I have a whole new perspective on the possibilities for the second half of my life.

John Wayne is a dowser, and we met him after we hired him to dowse for a well, which we needed because our spring has not performed to expectations. Long story. Might tell it later, but then again, might not. Probably won’t. We wanted to dowse in part because the wells around here tend to be pretty deep – 300 to 400-feet is not uncommon; indeed, the well of our nearest neighbor is 390-feet and produces a mere 3 gallons per minute. Because well drillers charge by the foot ($12 per foot is about average, plus $16-ish per foot of casing, which must be installed to the depth of bedrock), we were keen to do what we could to stack the deck in our favor.

When John Wayne showed up, he explained that he’d actually be teaching us how to dowse, because he wanted us to be the ones to find water. “I want your energy in it,” is how he put it. So we’d find the water, and he’d confirm. Cool.

I’d never dowsed before, but it was real simple. There aren’t many rules, with the exception that to dowse accurately, one must dowse only for “need, not greed.” And according to John Wayne, you shouldn’t dowse for negative information. He told us about the time he was teaching a couple to dowse, and the woman asked “is my husband having an affair?” and John Wayne grabbed the dowsing rods out of her hands before they could register a response, because the response to negative information cannot be trusted, and she might have gotten a false positive. And then what? Hearing this story, I have refrained from dowsing for potentially disruptive and deal-breaking information, such as is my wife listening to James Taylor when I’m not around? Because that would be very, very bad, indeed.


I found water very quickly and, as you can see from the above photo, I thought it was pretty neat. If before I’d had any doubts about dowsing, I sure didn’t after this experience.  There was absolutely no question in my mind. Penny got the same result, and then John Wayne confirmed our findings and drove a stake in the precise spot we wanted to drillers to set their rig. Then he went home to his wife and daughter.

On Friday, the drilling rig finally showed up. At 165-feet, they hit 50 gallons-per-minute. Or somewhere around 50 gpm; truth is, the water was coming in so hard, they couldn’t really do an accurate count. “It’s a hell of a well,” the driller told me. “Best one in town, probably.”

I just nodded, sort of like I’d known it would be that good all along.

Back to some music. How ’bout Hank III doing Cecil Brown






21 thoughts on “I’d Known it Would be that Good All Along”

  1. 50 gpm is pretty neat. I have 1.5 gpm but my well is 425ft so that his a lot of casing which equals a lot of storage. I think I like your better though.

  2. That’s a great story. Our dowser’s name was Howard and as an 85 plus year old he traveled hundreds of miles to help us and only charged a hundred dollars for travel fees. He looked at his ability as a gift to share with mankind. He was so worth it because before we found him we had spent thousands of hard earned cash on deep and empty holes. Our well has held up for almost thirty years now and every day we look at that water as a great blessing. I’m glad you have such a great flow. So much can happen with the availability of water!

  3. I consider myself a fan of science. I like equations, math, knowns, etc. But I also have been successful dowsing. Not sure what to think of myself.

  4. I’m in love. Hank Williams III. Love love love.

    Glad to see well drillers are expensive everywhere. (I know. I’m weird) I thought California had the corner on the expensive market. I can relax now feeling misery loves company. At least in this instance. We get 12 gpm.

    People on wells like to compare gpm.

    1. Vermont is crazy expensive.. They have a slogan here: Keep Vermont Weird. I think it should read more like: Keep VT expensive (to weed out us little folk who cannot afford it).

      Funny how in Lithuania people always compared their wells in terms of water taste. Very American trait to measure and compare the efficiency. 🙂

      1. Really! I would not have thunk it. Wonder why that is? New Yorkers re-locating and bringing their “evil” ways? The main reason CA is so expensive is desirability (desirable weather, desirable opportunity, desirable beauty, etc.) Maybe VT has beauty but I think it’s short on the other two so, huh, can’t ‘splain it from this far away.

        There’s that, too, but in this drought state just having water is key. So who cares how is tastes. Reverse osmosis to the rescue.

        We are of the magic of opinion dowsing is a bunch of hooey even though they look like they have it. I think they have a real good, maybe unconscious, feel for land and geologic formations. Like a fortune teller can read you.

      2. Like I said, I’m a fan of logic, science, etc, but I’ve seen it work and done it myself. Makes me question all I ever knew! Haha.
        No, I also know that we as humans are far from all knowing, new discoveries are made every day, even contradicting previous science. So we will figure out how it works eventually…

      3. Renee, I think there is a lot of desirability in Vermont, for some it may be investment in ski resorts, for others it is the beauty of local safe communities, quaint towns, no traffic, many year-round outdoor opportunities, good schools, like-minded people. California is so diverse in people, nature and even climate. It is like four states in one, is it not? I love the nature out there, and yet the vastness of it feels almost overwhelming for me. I remember being stuck on very remote stretch of Pacific highway where the only gas station in miles was charging $6.50 a gallon. 🙂

      4. I’ve never been to Vermont. I was just surprised to hear it was expensive. I’ve been to Catskills in New York (both summer and winter) and thought it was lovely. Maybe a little similar?

        Me, personally? I do not find the Big-ness of CA overwhelming. I find it exhilarating. Around every corner something different.

        But I laugh. Yes, sometimes here it feels like, hmmmmm, eat or gas? I don’t know how those people near, say, the Lost Coast survive. Wait, yes, I do. They just live real simple to afford such ridiculous gas prices where the car is king and there isn’t public transportation like in Europe.

  5. Whenever an email from you comes up, I smile. Your stories do my heart good. Thank you for sharing the beauty you find. 🙂

  6. That’s a great story, that guy is bitchin’. Good song and an even more awesome picture! (Nice dental arches in those teeth, I’m in a holistic dental frenzy right now, can’t help but notice)

  7. Had a similar experience being ‘taught’ to dowse by an old man, a pig farmer, when I was in my early 20’s…..same doubts that fled faster than 50gmp with the first twitch of the greenwood Y stick…it was an amazing connection to the earth, will never forget it. Oh, he was a bachelor farmer, have no clue about his procreative vigor….didn’t really matter.

  8. Sounds like a fun and productive day with John Wayne. 🙂 I never heard of dowsing until these posts of yours. When we were kids wenused to do this needle on the string thing to “get the answers”. I recently read quite a good book by Russian Valerij Sinelnikov “Fall in love with your illness” in which he explains such a phenomenon as merely listening deeper to one’s subconscious knowledge.

  9. Our dowser was an older gentleman who was just about as entertaining (but did not share anything about his virility:)) I wonder if there are any young dowsers out there? Could be one of those traditional skills needed to be passed on to the next generations. I found walking around our property with ours to be fascinating and would love to have had a chance to try it. Love the picture – pure joy!

  10. My husband taught me Dowsing and I got to say it is fantastically fun finding out that it is accurate! (He is only 2 years older than me though….just enough to call him a geezer.)

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