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From Blue Leek Water to Perrier

The news pundits today say that in the new millennium that water, not oil, will be the scarce commodity in our country. Of courtesy writerís of old western movies of the thirties and forties knew all about that...it was the prime reason for a battle scene between the good guys and the bad guys. The winner got the water rights to the farms.

Now, with all our fluoridation and chlorinating of our beloved H2O, it has begun to taste like pre-sewage treatment fluids. Hence the bottling companies are doing a land office business selling water to innocent paying customers. "I think there is a little Mexican boy with a hose behind those water machines, filling bottles as fast as he can and laughing all the way to the bank!" Richie said. "Well, I really like the advent of Designer Water Bars in Beverly Hills....I hope they catch on....it gives alcoholics someplace to socialize! At two to three bucks a drink, they can all commiserate over the high cost of staying sober!" I said.

Arthritic old ladies, when I was a child in Brea, would trudge out to the orange orchards, through mud and mustard greens, to scoop up jars of a certain spring water, that was commonly known then as "Blue Leek Water". According to them it had wonderful healing powers and cured everything from Consumption to Rheumatism. That is if you could get the smelly stuff past your nose. It was a dark, smoky, grey-blue and had what looked like Ďmotherí in it. If youíve never seen it, Ďmotherí is a slimy membrane composed of yeast cells and bacteria that develops on the surface of alcoholic liquids undergoing fermentation. In vinegar, it meant it was going bad. Perhaps it was the Ďmotherí in the Blue Leek Water that had such wonderful healing power. Anyway, I could never be persuaded to taste "Blue Leek Water".

Now thereís Kambucha Tea with itís giant mushroom growing in the bottom of itís fermentation bowl. Itís supposed to be some great Chinese herbal healing remedy that will cure everything from Aids, Arthritis and Acne to the Big C. At least they pour about three cups of sugar in this concoction to make it palatable, and they throw the blob of mushroom growth out onto the compost pile. I donít know if it helped the people who drank it, but their gardens were thriving!

Meanwhile, the Cardiff water kept getting worse. To the point I could hardly down my vitamin pills with it in the morning. I thought I would never be persuaded to pay for drinking water, (that smacks of double taxation to me) but here it is 1996 and Iím doing it! There are so many flavors, yes flavors, and so little time! Each one, from Perrier of France to Crystal Geyser that have their own distinct, sophisticated taste so that itís difficult to choose. I mean we are talking about water, after all!

In Oregon and Washington, the natives say the only pure water left in America is East of the Cascades. Each village and town across our land proclaims the best tasting water. Cardiff by the Sea claims the most restaurants per square foot of land, (seventeen at last count) but Iíve noticed that they all serve a slice of lemon in Cardiffís very own natural water!

The greatest entrepreneur of all is the man who thought up "Joe Water", though. All the other brands just quench your thirst, wet your whistle, or mist your face on a hot summer day. Joe Water, however, gives you a jolt of caffeine....thereby taking the place of that morning cup of Java that tends to dehydrate your body, because of itís action.

Richie finally succumbed and bought a purifying system for under the kitchen sink. It does the job. No bottles or cans to sort, itís just great. And it tastes good every day! Just like regular water used to!

Post Script: More than 70% of the human body consists of water. It takes less than a 1% loss in our bodyís water to make us thirsty. A 5% deficit causes a slight fever. An 8% shortage causes the glands to stop producing saliva and the skin to turn blue. A person cannot walk with a 10% deficiency, and a 12% deficiency brings about death. Authorities note that 9500 children worldwide, die from lack of water or, more frequently, from diseases caused by polluted water. Sometimes, for one reason or another, we lose sight of the fact that we live in a wonderful country where this does not happen, and it should make us more mindful of helping others less fortunate than we are.

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