Words and pictures from the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries
Sunday, February 10, 2008
The Best Water in the World
We're proud of our water, here in the mountains. "The best water in the world" we call it. A man may live in a tumble-down shack but if he has a spring above his house, he can dig down to the place where the water runs over bare rock, dam up a small pool, and pipe the water from the pool to a reservoir (which could be anything from a wooden barrel to a cast concrete box) and thence to his house. Gravity water, cold and clear and free.
Clifford, who with his wife Louise owned the farm we live on, told us how during the Depression he went to Detroit in search of a job. "And I woulda made good money too but I couldn't drink the water. Just got on the bus and come back the next day."
I grew up drinking the city water in Tampa and always assumed that was how water should taste. But after I'd lived in the mountains half a year, drinking the water from our own spring -- I was spoiled. Totally and completely. When I returned to Tampa for a visit, the water tasted so much like chlorine that I found myself using bottled water even to brush my teeth.
Our little spring puts out a tiny stream, the size of a pencil, but (so far, knock-on-wood) it's never slackened. It was adequate for our needs till our older boy went to college and began coming come home for spring or fall break with five or six friends. The little spring just couldn't keep up with all the showering and laundry and flushing. So we had a well dug.
We planned to use the well water for the laundry and bathrooms and to have another pipe to supply the kitchen from the spring. My husband, the resident DIY plumber, was resigned to a long, unpleasant session in the cramped crawl space under the house, tackling this complicated reworking of our plumbing. Then we tasted the well water - and lo and behold, it tasted just the same as the spring!
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