A cool, refreshing glass of aqua fresca.
That’s what Nancy and I used to call a glass of water. A cool, refreshing glass of water.
And that’s one of the things I miss about Nancy, though it used to kind of annoy me when she would bring it to me while cutting the grass.
But now I miss it.
Let me explain.
Nancy, if you don’t know, was my wife of 41 years. She passed on Feb. 26, 2017, not quite two months after our 41st anniversary in December.
We spent that day, and several others, before and after our anniversary on Dec. 28, in the hospital.
So what’s the story behind the glass of water?
I’ll tell you. But let me give you a little background.
It’s Sept. 23, 2020, and I just cut my lawn about 30 minutes ago. That was at 1:30 a.m.
It was comfortably mild. A good day to cut the grass—even starting at 10 a.m.
Usually, I cut the lawn in two segments.
Looking at the house I cut the grass on the left side first. It’s Bahia grass and it grows faster than the lawn on the other side of my driveway. That grass is some sort of off-shoot of St. Augustine.
When it’s hot like it has been this summer, I’ll cut the left side and maybe not do the right until later, or even the next day or two.
And when it’s really hot, I’m thinking about a tall, cool glass of aqua fresca.
Did I tell you that’s what Nancy and I sometimes called it? Anyway, time for some background.
Nancy got sick on March 23, 2006. Sick enough that we went to the emergency room and eventually in intensive care.
Suffice it to say the illness never left her. By that summer she was having problems with both hearing and sight.
There were many things she couldn’t do as the days progressed, but not being a loving helper wasn’t one of them.
I’d be cutting the grass and about 15 minutes later, Nancy was holding a cool drink. Thing was, I wasn’t ready for a drink. Back in those days I could cut the grass in under an hour and would try to finish it before getting some water.
Those days are passed.
So, while I truly didn’t appreciate the glass of water Nancy held for me in those days, I would finish cutting a row and get the glass of water.
Today, when I needed water, I had to go into the house to get it. I used to bring a liter of water or so outside. But that just made it hot, or at least warm. I realized I’d got more of a break by coming inside my cool house and getting a glass of water from the frig.
But it took me a while to realize that.
There are many things that I did differently now.
Like cooking. And cleaning. And doing the wash.
I used to do it some of the time. But now, if I want food, clean clothes, or a neat house I have to do it myself.
And, just so you know, I don’t live in a clean house anymore. Things stay where I drop them.
But I still have clean clothes. And I haven’t missed many meals, either.
One thing I do miss.
It’s seeing Nancy’s smiling face that came with the cool drink of H2O.
Author and historian Rick Reed has been writing about Florida's Lake and Sumter counties since 1991 in The Daily Commercial, The Lake Sentinel and Lake Magazine. His Reminisce column, which looks at local history in Lake and Sumter counties has appeared in The Daily Commercial since 1998. He served as the City curator of the Leesburg Historical Museum from 2003 to 2008 and wrote the Sesquicentennial History of Leesburg in 2008, a 240-plus page book of Leesburg’s history.