What’s in your water?

Camp Shelby, MS: There was a time not too long ago that I never imagined that I would pay hard American currency for bottled water. I mean, the stuff that comes out of the faucet is just fine.

And we have the purest water in the world.

No, I don’t care what some high-pitch millennial water purifier salesman says. In general, we have the cleanest water in the world.

I heard Dr. Dean Edell say it on the radio, so it must be true.

I don’t have any hesitation about drinking Coca-Cola.

Back to water though.

When I lived in a certain European country, I was advised to boil water before I drank it. And, my bride and daughter were told not to drink the tap water in two separate central American countries, respectively.

The water at those places is toxic to the human body and small dogs.

This is one reason why I am happy for efforts like God’s Promise in Haiti where clean water is being provided. Please go there right now and give to this awesome cause.

Everyone needs clean water. And we all expect to get clean water, especially if you are a soldier and approach a water buffalo that has the word “potable” clearly stamped on the side. (See photo above)

If you didn’t know, a water buffalo is a tank of water that gives soldiers and Boy Scouts access to clean water out of the middle of nowhere. But someone has to clean it out occasionally and refill it and transport it back to the middle of nowhere.

So, once upon a time captain and his soldiers were out in the middle of Camp Shelby. They’d been walking in the south Mississippi woods for hours and had understandably depleted their own supply of water.

Hot, muggy, tired – you get the picture.

And like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia, they spot a water buffalo in the distance.

No, it’s not sand that they see but a blanket of Southern pine trees. Like the proverbial oasis in the desert, the water buffalo beckons the soldiers to quench their thirst.

Or like a Greek Siren or something like that.

So, the thirsty soldiers approach the docile water buffalo and are happy to find it full of water.

The rush is on to fill empty canteens and camelbacks.

They drink without hesitation because it clearly says that’s it’s drinkable water.

Life is good. The soldiers are hydrated again.

But, the Army Captain is wise and possibly a little slow.

After a minute or so of the excitement of water, he notices that the lid to the water buffalo is not securely shut.

Cue the scary music.

Ruminate on that fact for a minute okay.

The captain climbs on top of the water buffalo, opens the lid, and immediately starts yelling to his soldiers to stop drinking the water.

“Pour the water out,” he shouts.

He shouts again to pour the water out. The Soldiers comply with his instructions.

On cue, he reaches down and pulls out a raccoon.

Only this one is room temperature.

Water temperature actually.

Let’s summarize: A thirsty raccoon has found the lid to a water buffalo open. Like all raccoons, he assumed that the water was meant for him. Unfortunately for him, having no opposable thumbs or ladder to climb out was detrimental to his escape.

Unable to secure his removal, he drowned.

In the potable water.

Sadly.

So, if you’re ever in the middle of nowhere and come across a water buffalo, check and make sure the lid is closed and has been closed since someone cleaned and refilled said Buffalo before you partake of the water.

Nobody needs raccoon flavored water.

That is all.

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Midnight Chicken

Saraland Alabama: 10:30 PM, give or take 30 minutes. I’ve gotten off work at Hart’s fried chicken and am back at my parents’ house where I live.

I’m 17 years old.

Before I leave work, whichever manager is working sells me the remaining chicken from the warmer. The price is anywhere from $0.10-$0.50 a piece. Like I said, it depends on the mood of the person working whether I get a great deal or just an OK deal.

This was my first job. Well, besides digging that 200-yard long waterline for one of my dad’s friends in Citronelle.

Every day after school.

For two weeks.

And getting around $2.00 per hour.

If you count that. But I’m not bitter. Just a word of caution teenagers: get it in writing before you start digging.

Anyway, when I pull into the crumbling cement driveway and see my dad’s work truck, I know he’s home. I open the front door and he’s lying on the couch, half asleep. But he wakes up at the smell of chicken.

Who wouldn’t be happy?

In my opinion, the chicken is best after being in the warmer for a few hours but probably less marketable for the restaurant.

Which is good for us.

I reek of the smell of a fried chicken joint and plop down on the chair in the living room and offer my dad some chicken.

His back is pretty much shot at this point and he sleeps on the couch a lot to help with the pain.

I also think the chicken helps a little. Fried chicken helps everything.

We start in on a bucket of chicken around 11 PM. The TV is on Black Sheep Squadron and dad is reliving his war years with each enemy shot down on the small screen. I’m not sure if he ever saw combat because he enlisted after the official close of World War II, but I like the stories.

He did make it in time for Korea however, but I still don’t know if he ever saw any combat there. I wish I had simply asked him when I had the chance.

All I have are a few copies of dad’s Army records and a few pictures.

Oh, and an awesome memory I wouldn’t trade for all the chicken in the world of watching TV reruns of with my dad as he expounds on the brashness of Pappy Boyington, and the war in the Pacific, and Corsairs fighters, and ‘man, was that a great airplane.’

Chicken is sounding really good for tonight.

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