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Water Bucket: Savior of The South

Many of my hubs originate from my teenage years and those past twenty. Some pieces were funny. Some were sad,.Some were down right scary.


How Much Do You Know About

the early south and its heritage? First off, I am not going to sit here and try to convince you that I know everything there is to know about my early life living on sharecropping with my dad and our family. There may be a few who might snarl-up their noses at my dad’s choice of work, but let me get this clear: he did NOT have a lazy bone in his body. He was always up and going by 4:30 a.m., weekends included. He was just that way. No one ever trained him to get out of bed this early and no one ever told him what he should do by way of work to feed the family. Dad was his own mind living his own dreams and this dream was farming. Hard, manual work in the broiling summer sun that could fry your skin off if you stood still, but my dad was tough. He could ride a tractor or plow a mule all day long without a hat or cap on his head and never passed-out from heat exhaustion.

As a young kid, among all of my dad’s mannerisms was not how hard he worked, although that was impressive. Or how long he could work without a break. No. It was how he always came into our back door and through the kitchen where his first stop was on a table where sat his favorite household item bar none. That was my dad’s aluminum water bucket with matching aluminum dipper. I must be transparent about the definition of what a ‘dipper’ is, well, it is a sensible device with a small aluminum cup at the end and an aluminum handle that stood from the water bucket so persistently. Dad, mom, and my sister, husband, and first child all did what they could to always be near that water bucket.

It was comparable to the gold being guarded in Fort Knox, because it was my dad, who took it on himself to make sure that our water bucket was safe and not tampered with. I said tampered, and by that I do mean that “if” neighbors who were really undesirable—drinking, laying around on our porch and not working, that kind of thing. Dad’s stack would blow each time he would see their rusty old truck coming toward our house. And like precision machinery, dad would ask when these people drove up, something I can do for you? They would look around at each other, then ask if they might borrow a gallon of kerosene to help with starting fires in their windy house. No. This was not sad case. It was a gang of folks who did not work, just eating and getting as many freebies from our settlement that they could.

But my dad, always the wise man, had a formula of how these people knew that they could not stay around our home. It was brilliant. Dad was a master planner and organizer as the next time they saw these freeloaders heading toward our home, he would start standing-up like we all did and when the “people” turned-off their truck, dad did not wait to have small talk. No. Immediately, he told them that we had about five acres of land to clean-off because dad wanted to plant more corn at that place and you should have seen these people quickly yell, no, and fired-up their rusty truck and hauled the wind to get out because these people did not work for some mysterious reason.


I Cannot Measure How Many

people, family included, neighbors too, would sidle up to our water bucket, pick-up the dipper and swig themselves silly with that sweet, chemical-free well water that we were blessed to have. As a matter of fact: we only lived with a rented home that was equipped with a well that, of course, had sweet, chemical-free water. Compared to my city water today, I feel very sad. No. Make that very, very sad. I guess it is a matter of the evolution of life as it pertains to icons of one man’s life, and in “this” man’s life, I lay claim on being the only family for years around who swore by a water bucket. Think of that. The only family. No. I am not bragging. Just telling facts.

Now I could understand it if a pitcher was comparable with pitchforks, but a water bucket can and did stand on its own without any help from our wood stove that was important as well, but did not provide us that sweet, chemical-free water. Just the best food that God ever created, and I just happen to know that He created an endless-measure of food. How do I know this? One glance at my girth should answer this. But our water bucket had no resentment or animosity toward our wood stove, pine stove wood or our dining table that was near the wood stove, but not as near our water bucket.

The aluminum dipper was the water bucket's close companion: the water bucket.

The aluminum dipper was the water bucket's close companion: the water bucket.

No. I Am Not Suggesting That

our water bucket was thought of as a god and worthy of being worshiped, but in the category of importance, I would put our aluminum water bucket (that had a few wrinkles) and aluminum dipper, against any piece of home-ware on the market. Really. In our case, dad only forked-out the grand total of two-dollars and an odd amount of cents, but make no never mind. When he brought our water bucket home with him from Hamilton, Ala., our hometown, honestly, not anyone, even me, could have known just how important (that) water bucket and dipper would be as nearly important as salt that was used to sprinkle our green beans at supper. No explanation necessary.

No. All jocularity aside, the water bucket was quite deceptive. Although humble in design, it always had “that” certain attraction just like a magnet and no matter what season it was at the time, someone always got thirsty, even when family visited, and just had to have a drink of sweet chemical-free well water. No. I am not about to suggest that our well water was any sort of medicinal properties, but I know from my personal experience, that at many times after I helped my family work in our cotton fields and felt all (tuckered-out), just one welcoming drink from our water seemingly made me feel like a new kid. (did you like the rural term: tuckered-out? It means exhausted).

I can testify that our water bucket was not like any other water bucket in the neighborhood. But I have had this feeling that for us, our water bucket had a sharp way of keeping us deceived as its way of telling me that (it) was special, but did not want to be arrogant, but humble. And over the years, I learned to respect that.

In Closing, Here Are Two Facts

that I want to leave with you about water buckets. And I hope that if you are ever tempted to shop those marvelous antique shops that are seen in Maggie Valley, N.C., a place that my wife and daughter visited on one of my yearly-vacations, we did shop a few of the antique shops that I tell you were quite interesting. So here are my Two Facts About Water Buckets:

1.) Without water buckets, the southern homes would have been incomplete (although that fine food was cooked to a turn) would have been at the edge of perishing. I mean it. I do think that it was that sweet well water that came chemical-free—healthy and vibrant.

2.) I think that there would not have bee a (south) if no one had not thought of the idea to manufacture water buckets. My heart-felt thanks to you, Justin Zackham. May all of your days be filled with peace, joy, and the many southerners who visit you by the millions who appreciated your only invention . . .but oh what an invention it was.

January 16, 2020____________________________________________________

© 2020 Kenneth Avery

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