I do believe it is the simple things in life that bring us the most joy. For instance, yesterday I had a bath. A bath in a real bathtub. Not much could be simpler than that however, for over four years I’ve lived without a bathtub. My “temporary” accommodation, which housed me since “the separation”, had only a shower facility.
In retrospect, it seems that I’ve experienced some significant inconsistencies related to bathing during my life. My family was very poor when I was a child. My Dad was what I refer to as a “latter day hippy”, also known as a “back-to-the-lander”. He didn’t do drugs or free love but he embraced almost all other aspects of the 1960’s counter-culture. For instance, our family of five lived in a one-room shack in the middle of 30 acres of bush (the “woods” for my US friends) without electricity or running water for five years. That is, until my kid brother was born into those circumstances and my mother put down her foot saying “I will not raise a baby under these conditions”.
A consequence of not having plumbing was that we had to haul, by hand, every drop of water we used into the shack. Bath time was very limited as a result, occurring once a week, on a Sunday. We literally had a baby’s bathtub that we washed in as kids. I have no recollection of how my parents cleaned themselves.
As the eldest child in the family, I had the privilege of bathing first. This was important because there was no change of water between bathers. That would have been much too difficult since Mom had to heat the water on the stove. Occasionally we would visit the home of kindly neighbours who seemed to take pity on us as a family and would invite us to Sunday supper. This was followed by the kids having a bath in the neighbour’s tub and afterward we’d get to enjoy watching their television. We were enthralled by shows like the Wonderful World of Disney, Bonanza and the Ed Sullivan Show.
We left “the bush” when I was 13 years old and moved into town. From that point on, and until I was past my teen years, we only lived in homes that had bathtubs but no showers. It was a real treat the first time I made use of a shower instead of a bath. It was quicker and far less work than having to clean the tub after every use. It was the most modern of conveniences for this rube from “the sticks”.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love showers and will certainly continue having them but there is something wonderfully relaxing about having a nice, hot bath. Maybe next time I’ll employ fragrant bath salts and light candles. A-h-h-h-h, rub-a-dub-dub, the joys of a tub . . .