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Boomer’s Journal: Water from the well

A tin cup filled with water from the well…I can taste it. There was nothing like it for quenching your thirst on a hot summer day.

Our old tin measuring cup hung on the windmill, dangling from a hand-formed wire S-hook. The measuring cup had been retired from the kitchen. It had a bent handle and a few dents. It had outgrown its old life as a cup to measure flour. Its new use as a drinking cup was much better anyway.

On hot, humid summer days that old tin cup would drip warm droplets on the outside as ice-cold water was filled to the brim on the inside. A cistern held that thirst-quenching water. If you drank water from the well…maybe you can still taste it too.

Lemonade memories are not as vivid as that ice-cold water from the well. We all drank out of the same old tin cup, rinsing the brim between passing the cup around. It was our reward after picking rocks, hauling bales, working in the fields, grinding feed, milking the cows in the dead-heat of summer. Today, the reward is the memory.

We took that water for granted. It was always there. The old tin cup was never missing and always hung from the S-hook on the windmill. We were reminded of where the water was stored, and we were cautioned not to walk on the old boards that covered the well. How did that water stay so cold? We stayed off those boards that covered the well, but we threw caution to the wind when it came to climbing the windmill. How high can we climb before fear takes hold? The less mother knew the better.

The old tin cup hung from the windmill while, inside the house, the colored aluminum drinking glasses, the aluminum water pitcher and the battered aluminum ice-cube tray with the impossible handle were all available for hard-working kids. Inside the house we could have Kool-Aid with lots of sugar, but rarely with ice-cubes. Occasionally mom bought Shaklee fruit drink mix (my favorite was orange) and the slightly scratched aluminum pitcher was filled with that delectable treat.

Inside the house, ice cubes were in constant demand, a demand that was hard to fill. We had two trays in the freezer. The trays were only filled half full. The cubes were small, and when that impossible handle would loosen the cubes, most of them fell on the floor, broke into small pieces, or, because they had been in the freezer for so long, suffered from freezer burn and were dry. No one wanted to fill the trays, so oftentimes the trays sat in the freezer…empty. Bring back memories?

And so, it was back outside where the real deal was found. That reliable old tin cup…hanging from the windmill. Why look for an alternative thirst-quenching drink when nature provided the best? No need for lemon slices or bottled water, something we never fathomed while growing up.

I yearn for those days when life was so simple. I think we should all just take a day, lie down on the green grass, chew on a blade of that grass, and drink ice-cold water in an old tin cup. Yes, the best summertime drink…water from the well, in that old tin cup.

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