I kissed Ed goodby, but my mouth was parched and my lips were dry. I had just come home from my morning walk, and I was dying from thirst. I came in the house, hugged Emmy good morning, and then went to the kitchen for a glass of water. A nice, big, full glass of cool water.
Sometimes I think we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and water automatically comes out. It’s an amazing thing, but we don’t think much about it.
I’m always fascinated by my father’s stories of growing up poor in a small country town. If I’m remembering my father’s story correctly, they had a pump in the kitchen and could get washing water from the pump. In order to get drinking water, however, the kids had to go up the hill to Grandma’s house to get water from the good well. No running water meant…take a guess…no bathroom! Dad’s family had to use an outhouse until he was well into his teens. And this was in the 40′s and 50′s…not so long ago!
It was when I lived in a house alone in the country that I realized how much I take water for granted. One blustery morning I turned on the shower…and nothing came out. I called my landlord, and she said something must be wrong with the well pump. The man who came out to fix it said that the wind was blowing so hard through the pump house that a belt had come loose. In this case, solving my water problem was easy.
Some water problems are a little harder to fix. It was only a couple of months before the well incident when I hopped into the car with my parents. Mom handed me my anti-nausea pill and a water bottle. As soon as I took a drink, I grimaced and almost spit it out. I asked Mom, “What did you put in this?” It tasted terrible, as though I had just swallowed a mouthful of aluminum. Mom insisted that she hadn’t put anything in the water. We soon realized that the chemotherapy treatment I had just had was messing with my taste buds.
Memory fades, however, and daily life intrudes on our gratefulness. I still take water for granted and don’t even think about it when I turn on the dishwasher or do the laundry. I don’t even think about how water once was unpalatable when I take a drink after a long walk.
Water. I’ve written over 400 words about water, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. I haven’t written about swimming or how I miss the beach this year or about our trip to Niagara Falls last year.