SMITH COLUMN: Nothing beats water — cool, clear water

Published 11:30 am Thursday, May 13, 2021

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Waking up early is something that began on the farm yesteryear, but today when my schedule would allow for a later wake up call, my system is not compatible.

Many times, I just go on and start my day, but there are those days when I turn on the TV and find something worthwhile to allow for segueing into a leisurely sojourn to daybreak.

Recently, there was a documentary about the heavy water Hitler needed for his scientists to develop an atomic bomb. The daring raid in Norway to destroy the plant where heavy water was being produced was successful.   Hollywood made a spine-tingling movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat even today.

Makes you appreciate the audacity of the British Special Forces and the fervent commitment of the Norwegian resistance fighters to undermine the Nazi occupation of their country.

At a commercial break, which lasted over three minutes, I engaged the remote. Suddenly, there was one of those shyster evangelists informing viewers that if you buy his miracle water, good things will happen immediately in your life — like whatever you need to pay off a loan, buy a new car or fix your roof. A check suddenly appears in your mailbox in the out of the blue.

If TV evangelists are not curing incurable diseases, they are bringing bonus checks to your mailbox. Not even Mandrake, the magician, had those powers.   

My restless early morning brought about indulgence in the fact that water is a most valuable commodity. All too many of us take water for granted.  Drinking tap water is a commonplace in our daily lives as “fixing” a cup of coffee. That is not the way it is in many parts of the world.

Down on the farm, rain was priority in the minds of all the farming folk in the community. We prayed for rain in the summer when the crops were still maturing. In September, we prayed that hurricanes, coming up out of Florida, would not bring a drenching that would ruin unpicked cotton. 

Then I thought of the lyrics of “Cool, Clear Water,” and Johnny Cash’s thunderous voice sounding forth.

The nights are cool, and I’m a fool,

Each star’s a pool of water,

Cool, clear water.

Dan, can you see that big green tree?

Where the water’s running free,

And its waitin’ there for me and you?

It’s water, cool clear water,

Cool, clear water.

Soon, I was headed to the kitchen for a glass of water to start my day.  Cool, clear water. From a bottle, no less. Two things I could never have imagined growing up is that people would actually pay for water and firewood.

You cut your own wood to cook and stay warm. When you were thirsty, you relied on your nearby well to quench your thirst. Before electricity and refrigeration, well water was an alternative for another feature to our lives.  Farm families would put milk in a bucket attached to the rope of a windlass and lower the bucket down to where it was half submerged into the cool water to keep the milk cool for the baby in the family.

You hear about the “Greatest Generation,” and they were the greatest for sure, but that generation was also the “make do” generation. They found a way to survive. I have the sense that if we were called on today to confront the challenges of yesteryear that we would probably discover that the computer might not be the answer.

I wouldn’t be compatible with drinking water out of a well bucket today. Back then there was something refreshing about the water that trumped the fact that you were drinking from a community bucket. Nothing to make your day like cool, clear water.