Kenny Spoke Before He Thought

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 09:22 AM.

We never carried any water with us. You’d have been laughed out of town! We didn’t even use those Boy Scout canteens. Water was just too plentiful. Every house had a faucet or two attached. And nobody ever minded “thirsty boys” helping themselves to the liquid refreshment.

We fished, swam, took a bath and drank out of Sugar Creek. Our cousin J. C. figured if it was “alright for the fish, it ought to be alright for us.” The creek was much clearer than the pond. You could use your hands to sorta move any “floaters” away before you took a drink. It had to be purified, sparkling and mineralized, nobody I know of ever got sick drinking it. 

Football practice necessitated a whole new look at this water question. Back in 1963, it was considered a sign of weakness to “need a drink” during practice. You had to be tough! I’m not sure I’ve figured out to this day the connection between “toughness” and “waterless” but that is for another article.

By some ill-conceived and diabolical plan, football practice started in August. We lined up, as aspiring gladiators, and put on a hundred pounds of gear, covered it with a heavy practice jersey, and went out and sprinted across an endless field from “can to can’t”. The relentless sun beat down on us like a runaway fire in a cotton warehouse. My throat was as dry as the Mojave Desert. I saw dancing elephants and shimmering mirages in the distance. My tongue felt like the Seventh Cavalry had camped out on it. When we did get a “few seconds” break for the “sissies” we would catch the water in our helmets to make it last. We’d suck on a damp towel. We’d soak our grass and blood stained sleeves to hopefully get a moist lick later on.

“You know”, Kenny Butler could barely get the words out of his dry mouth, “someone could make a fortune selling water out here.”

The ones who had the energy fell out laughing. “You dummy, no one is ever going to pay for water! It is too plentiful.”

“And it don’t taste like nothing. You tell me what idiot would plop down real money for a drink that has no taste. No fizz.  No color. And you can’t even mix peanuts in with it!”

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