Today as the sun rose further in the sky, taking the temperature higher with it. The conversation of those behind me, whose job it was to keep the cows coming, turned to the unseasonably hot weather. Soon after it turned to their need to quench their thirst. One said that she only drinks Aquafina, while another voiced his preference for Dasani. Who knew cattle people had such fancy tastes in water?
But there was a time when I too fancied myself as something of a water connoisseur. As a Mormon, who doesn't drink tea, coffee, or alcohol, I have drunk a lot of water in my life. Plus, the town my grandparents live in has actually won an award for having the best tasting water in the state of Utah, and the second best nationally. So I know good water.
But that was before the call.
Gus Buckshot had a cow in labor, and a flat tire on his trailer. This meant I would have to go to Gus's place. I say Gus's place, but I suspect that in reality Gus and his cows might have all been squatters on the place. Gus lived in a sixteen foot camp trailer in a pasture on the river bottom with his small herd of cows. He had absolutely no facilities to work cows in, which meant I'd be working on the end of a rope.
After a small rodeo I managed to get the cow roped, and snubbed up to a tree. I thrust my arm in, and knew nearly instantly that this cow needed a C-section. This too would have to be done in the field.
It was a hot summer day with temperatures close to 100°. After the rodeo of catching the cow. The work of laying her down. Followed by the physically demanding job of lifting a 100 pound calf out of the belly of it's mother, then sewing the mother back up again. All while bent over and wearing shoulder length plastic sleeves in 100° weather. I was beat. I was covered in sweat from head to toe, and dying of thirst.
That's when Gus offered a drink of water. I followed him back to his trailer, and Gus pointed to a faucet coming out of the ground that he used to water his cows. I stuck my head under and relished the cool, crisp, life giving water flowing freely from the tap. Possibly the best water I had ever tasted.
From the angle my neck was bent under the tap, I noticed that Gus's place sat directly under the hill holding the city's sewer lagoons. Then Gus, with a touch of pride in his voice said "Y'know, I don't even pay for that water."
Which is why I started drinking soda pop.