This in an opinion piece.

There have been a few times in my life when I did or said something that caused me to find myself in hot water. That’s not a place where most of us normally want to be, but Christmas week I longed to be in some hot water. No, I didn’t want to be in trouble. I wanted to literally be in hot water, because we didn’t have any.

We had a wonderful Christmas. We woke up to find a Christmas tree with plenty of presents and goodies underneath it, but we also discovered we had no hot water in our house. Of all the days for a water-heater to go on the blink, ours choose Christmas day. Way down in central Alabama we rarely, if ever, see a white Christmas. I grew up in the mountains of northeast Alabama where we saw a few white Christmases. Most of those were not white with snow but heavy frost. It’s simply not that cold down here and this Christmas it was unseasonably warm. I must admit though, it was colder than I thought when I tried to step into that cold shower that morning. I didn’t linger long.

Christmas day is not a good time for anything to break down. No repairman or plumber wants to come out on a holiday, especially Christmas. Even if one did, I wouldn’t want to pay that holiday price. I didn’t even consider calling anyone for help until the day after Christmas. Even then, I discovered my regular helpers were gone on vacation. Hey, I don’t blame them. We all need a break from things occasionally. Even my water-heater thought so! We decided we could tough it out and live without hot water for a few days. The stove still worked so we boiled water. Most important of all, the coffeemaker still worked. Our daughter’s house is only a few miles up the road. They had plenty of hot water, and they were gone for the week. Besides that, the Sportsplex where I play racquetball has plenty of showers. Things were slightly inconvenient, but we survived.

Not so long ago, people got by without water-heaters all the time or even running-water, for that matter. I’ve been blessed to enjoy both all of my life, but as a boy, I did take a bar of soap to the pond occasionally, just for the fun of it. I remember listening to my parents talk about having to draw water from a well and having to heat it on a stove top or in a fireplace. They also took baths in No. 2 washtubs with the hot water they heated. Some people back then waited until spring to take a bath or to be baptized. Some went to the creeks to do either. Thank God for indoor baptisteries and water-heaters! Mama always referred to the heater as a “hot water-heater.” Well, I did too until someone asked me if the water was hot, why I needed to heat it. Maybe we should call them cold water-heaters.

Few things feel better than stepping under a nice hot shower, especially on a frigid morning. Few things are more relaxing and refreshing than to soak in a tub of hot water after a hard day’s work. On the other hand, no one should enjoy getting themselves into the proverbial hot water because of something we said or did.

Either way, usually we step into hot water by our own choice. As we live out this new-year, may we make wise choices, say smart things, and may the only hot water we find ourselves in be the kind that helps us get clean.

Bill King is an author, musician and native of Rainsville. Visit for more.

(1) comment


2nd paragraph, 7th line, 5th word should say chose instead of choose.

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