This 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?