Water by Carlos Leonardo Najera de Madrid

ditch

There was a ditch in front of our home, water ran down the ditch along the block. It was very muddy water that came from the canal system. The water was the color of chocolate and this was our only source of water.

There was a small settling pool in our front yard. The ditch had a little wooden door and from there a smaller ditch led the water to the pool. Everyone had one in their yard. As I said before, the water there was heavy with mud and sedimentation.

My mother would dip in her bucket into that muddy mess and carry it inside the house. She poured the water into a large clay jug and  left it alone so that the mud would settle. Later she poured it into another jug using a filter. The water was still muddy so she had to wait a while until the sediments settled again to the bottom and the water became clear. From that she poured the water to a big pot and boiled it. Now when this water cooled off she put it in another clay pot. This would be our potable water. It would  still have a muddy aftertaste and a muddy bouquet to it, but when you are thirsty enough it was delicious and refreshing.

There were times when the winter could be very severe. It does not happen very often but I have seen snow on the ground. Sometimes the temperatures got down to below 20°. There were many days when I saw my mother breakthrough the ice with an axe to get to the water.

We also had a canvas water bag. If you are old like me you would see these quite often. Lots of times drivers would put them on the radiators of their cars and trucks for them the cool off.

water bag

When water seeped through the fabric and made the outside wet, the evaporation actually cooled the water. The water temperature would be as low as 65°. The canvas material gave it an additional flavor, but on a hot day it still seemed quite refreshing.

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About jedwardnajera

I am a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I am an artist, a member of Gallery 9 in Los Altos, California. I published a novel Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, available through Amazon Books. I spent over thirty five years in a classroom. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He was a mechanical engineer and had a wonderful love of history and science. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. He wrote in Spanish and I have spent six months translating these pages into English. Now I am in the process of editing, rewriting, and revising them. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
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