As we slowly made our way up Holmes Creek to the main spring, Scott, the magazine publisher’s husband told me a little more about the spring. He explained that Cypress Spring was actually on private property and the only way to it was by boat. Scott also explained that Nestle, you know the chocolate people, bought the rights or whatever you do with a spring, as far as pumping water out of it.
The Nestle Company pumps so much water out of the spring for their bottled water and seems to not mind folks playing in the water. I understand this. I’m pretty sure that there is something that says the land is private, the water is public and Nestle can only pump so much of it out per day or something.
I know that Nestle has their hands in a lot more than chocolate. They make coffee, tea, ice cream, cereal, baby food, candy, frozen foods, dog foods, energy foods, cosmetics and a lot of bottled water. This is America; I have no problem with that. Nestle is based in Switzerland, again, no problem with that.
Think about the water.
Nestle bottles water under various labels including Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Perrier, Poland Spring, San Pellegrino, Vittel and Ozarka. The best I can figure, Nestle bottles the water from Vernon’s Cypress Spring and sells it under the name of Deer Park. This is just my educated guess. I am a scientist and my primary work for the past 25 years has been involved with educated predictions and guesses.
The original source of this bottled water was Deer Park, Maryland. However, with the popularity of the brand, they also use springs in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida. This water was originally primarily sold in the New York market and now can be found all along the East Coast.
Just remember this water deal; I’ll get back to it.
Scott pulled the boat over the main spring and said, “Jump in.” I looked at my two children and said, “Well, jump in.” They did. They turned this interesting color of “shriveled pink.” Their teeth chattered as they both said at the same time, “It’s cold.”
Researching how cold the water actually is, I found out that it is somewhere between 69 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. That explained the feeling of someone turning on the air conditioning as we got closer to Cypress Spring.
It’s about 30 feet deep and crystal clear at the main spot where the spring comes in. Twenty feet away people were standing waist deep in the water.
It was between 9 and 10 AM on a Sunday morning. Scott thought it would be best to get there before the crowd; he was right. There were already 10-15 boats and 10 or so canoes and other types of watercraft there. As the time passed, more and more folks kept coming.
Hank Williams Jr. music was being played loud. It was almost as if it were being piped in from the trees. I liked it. Hank Jr. would like it. I swear it was as if they were shooting a music video right there on the spot.
We parked the boat, or landed it, or whatever you do with a boat. Scott knew what he was doing.
I just looked around in amazement. There were grills and smokers, coolers, tables and chairs and they were all IN THE WATER. The smell was incredible. Hamburgers and barbeque or whatever they were cooking smelled better than Paula Deen’s kitchen.
And Hank Williams Jr. kept singing.
It was simply a street party in the water. Folks were nice - why would they not be?
This was in Vernon, or on the outskirts of Vernon. It didn’t matter; these were “my people.” I felt safe here and I felt welcome.
And Hank Jr. sang louder.
Another thing I noticed was that everyone seemed to have brought their dogs. The dogs were riding in the boats and playing in the water. They were good dogs. The next time I come back, I’ll bring Doolittle, my 92.5 pound Standard Poodle.
He looks a little different, being a big poodle and all, but folks here don’t judge you so much by that. That being said, I was careful to kind of keep my arms down because I still had those butterfly tattoos on the inside of my arms. I wasn’t afraid of folks seeing my butterflies, I was a just a little afraid of them figuring out that they weren’t real tattoos.
I kept my distance, took pictures and enjoyed the music of Hank Williams Jr.
It was Sunday morning; it was prior to 10 AM when I got there. One thing I noticed was that quite a few fellows were drinking beer while wading around in the water. Again, they weren’t rowdy when I was there – they were just socializing.
Some folks would see this or hear about this and say, “Oh, I don’t need to go down there.” That would be nonsense. I’ll ask a question like my Baptist Missionary Mama would ask. She would have asked, “How do you know they aren’t taking communion and being baptized?”
To that I would have answered Mama, “I don’t.” It’s not that Mama was for drinking, it was just that she was not for jumping to conclusions, nor judging folks. Now if they were shooting each other or bothering dogs, she would have had a problem.
Hank Jr. just kept sounding better.
I don’t remember seeing any cell phones, iPads, iPods or portable games. The kids were playing in the water, the trees and on the ropes. I liked that.
Back to the Nestle Company – I figure they sent someone down South to investigate Cypress Spring. He or she probably put on a golf shirt and khakis to go out and investigate the spring. They saw all the fun, the kids, the boats, the ropes, the dogs, the smiles and the laughter. They figured they could bottle the water up and ship it north and it would make folks feel better about themselves.
However, when they opened that first bottle, Hank Jr. didn't start playing and those two or three fellows with blue jean shorts, cowboy hats and not wearing shirts didn’t magically appear. No ropes dropped from the ceiling and there was no smell of barbeque.
You can’t just drink it; you have to get into it. You have to live it and love it. It will love you back.
Nestle Folks: The watermelon tied to a rope was not some sort of Yankee trap, they were just chilling it in the cool spring water.
I’m not finished yet; I still need to take you back into town.
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and watermelons tied to ropes in Vernon, Florida.