When I was a kid, my family kept a water bottle in our refrigerator.
My brothers and I were frequent visitors to the fridge on hot summer days. House rules dictated that you poured the cool water into a glass for drinking and when the bottle was less than half full, you refilled it to the top and returned it to the refrigerator. Like most rules, these were broken. We drank directly from the bottle and sometimes were in too big a hurry to refill the bottle.
But I can still remember how good that cool water tasted after a hard day on the basepaths or after grinding out a few miles on my one-speed bicycle on a stifling, humid Iowa summer day.
This might seem like an odd topic to include in a family history, but the way we hydrate ourselves has changed radically in recent years and water issues will be huge for future generations. How we handle our thirst today may be much different than in the future.
Even water, the staple of thirst-quenching in my childhood home, is handled differently today. I’m still not quite used to someone offering me water in their home and then handing me a store-bought plastic bottle of the stuff. Nor am I fond of the now-common practice of prohibiting the carrying of your own water into an event so that you are compelled to buy their bottled water at ridiculously high costs.
For many of us, water is not even our first choice. As a child, soda (which we called pop) was a treat, something you got primarily outside the home. We rarely had it in the house. Now cheap soda can be found everywhere.
When you factor in health, economic and environmental factors, ordinary tap water deserves a much better fate.
Thousands of bicyclists are travelling through Iowa this week on RAGBRAI, many of them on an annual pilgrimage to our fair state. It will be hot; they will get thirsty.
It was on one of those steamy days on RAGBRAI that I stopped for a break on a farmer’s lawn, lounging beneath a shady tree and soaking up whatever breeze I could snare. The farmer’s young daughter stood nearby with a hose, filling up water bottles and offering drinks.
One rider filled his bottle, took a sip and spat it out. The mineral content of the rural water was apparently too much.
“Don’t you have any good water?” the rider asked.
Without missing a beat, the young girl replied, “This is the good water. This is the way we like it.”
How did you quench your thirst as a child? What about your grandparents? Our descendants will find it interesting to learn how you dealt with such matters.