Story over a cup: Going mudding in the New Years

Published 9:33 am Thursday, January 16, 2020

By Michael Cole

My 2020 began on a muddy note.

Well, let me go back a bit. The New Year started with me dealing with a problem which arguable either began the Monday before New Years, or week or years before.

Your pick.

So, Monday I got a call. I didn’t recognize it so it went to voicemail.

We all do it.

The message was from my water co-op. Where we live we are serviced by South Newton.

So, curious, I called back.

“Mr. Cole,” the lady began, “do you know if you have a water leak?’

I was wondering if this was like the old prank call, ‘is your refrigerator running?’ Or maybe a sales call.

“No,” I replied.

“Well, apparently for the month of December, you used 18,000 gallons of water.”

I was speechless. Did I sleep install a swimming pool?

I offered to go check. So out on the Monday before New Years I went, to brave the elements in our 60 degree tundra.

Sure enough, outside, I found a leak. Or at least the indications of one.

A part of our property outside of house that sits lower than the rest was a small bog. I never paid much attention to it since any rain makes it wet.

But this time, you could call it quickmud or something.

Years ago, there was a garden hose nozzle there, but I had capped it off. Good as place as any to start, I figured.

So, I got to digging.

Bad thing about having done a repair nearly five years earlier, if you bury it, you aren’t quite sure where you buried it.

I was sure it was at the base of the hill. My wife was sure that it was a few feet to the right.

So, I began digging at the base of the hill.

As I am digging, my hole is filling with part of the 18k gallons of water we used.

So its bail and dig.


Four hours later, I am covered head to toe in mud. There is a four foot deep, three foot wide hole that has become a swimming pool.

Not a sign of the water line I was searching.

I was sore all over, I had not been this active in a good year in the least. I was getting cold as it was becoming darker.

Did I mention I started digging at one in the afternoon during winter?

After a distraction from my dogs, who are deathly afraid of water, but apparently think mud is not water. Which meant I was going to have fun bathing a few dogs that felt they would help dig in the mud, I was ready to give up.

One last try. I would move where I was digging.

Now, in my defense, it wasn’t exactly where my wife pointed to, it was about three inches off.

So, I learned that day as I was repairing this water leak:

  1. Listen to your wife.
  2. Dogs who hate baths love mud.
  3. Mud does give you soft skin.

So, here I am waiting for the water to dry off to fill this hole.

But until then, Michael’s mud spa is open to anyone wishing to feel the rejuvenating effects of a mud bath.

I will provide the shovel.


Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination. You can follow him at