By LARRY JONES
Most of us plod along through life doing the best we can, but very few of us ever become really good at anything. Rarely do we achieve world class status, but my mother checked this box with her iced tea making skills. In my early years, there was never anything as good as coming in from the field hot and sweaty, sitting down at the dinner table (at noon), and having my first glass of cold iced tea. The first glass was always the best. The primary secret to my mother’s wonderful iced tea was the fact she used rain water from our cistern, rather than the hard well water. She also insisted on using only Lipton’s tea — none of that “off brand” stuff would do.
This year I suppose that my mother would be a bit frustrated with the challenges imposed on tea making. Down here on the “pore farm,” I’m not sure we’ve had enough rain to fill the water bucket with the dipper that always sat on the end of our kitchen cabinet. For my mother to be forced to make tea or fill ice trays with well water would have almost certainly brought about apoplexy.
According to Matthew 5:45 of the King James version of the Bible, the Lord states that He “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” I’m not sure where that puts me, because I’m still waiting on my share of the rain. The northern part of Parker and Palo Pinto Counties seems to have fared a bit better than me, but most of the western part of the state is in critical need of rain to fill lakes and recharge depleted aquifers.
Water has always been a limiting factor in the settlement of Texas. In this part of North Texas, availability of well water is very uncertain. Both of my grandparents relied on underground cisterns to provide for household water. Grandpa Jones had a very weak well, but it could not provide an adequate water supply. My mother’s parents lived in Millsap, an area with almost no wells.
A couple of weeks ago while watering my garden, I noticed the sprinkler begin sputtering. At the same time, my wife Helen was running the washing machine in the house, and was watering her flowers in the yard. The once strong aquifer has been depleted to the point of being unable to support even moderate demand. With continued industrial development and an ever increasing population, we Texans are going to need to seek out alternative sources of water to supply our needs. As a result of the ‘Drought of the Fifties,’ we went on a lake-building binge to provide for municipal and community water supplies, eliminating the need for home cisterns and wells. With these systems struggling to keep up with demand, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about home water catchment systems again to harvest the meager rainfall we do receive.
In the meantime, believing in God’s word in the book of Matthew, I just need to figure out how to define my role as either “just” or “unjust.” I need to change my current status to one or the other, because I desperately need some of that rain sent to the “pore farm.”
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to email@example.com