Cool Water by
(90 Stories)

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I’m not really thirsty til I realize

To my surprise and horror

That I’ve left the house without

My HydroFlask of water

Cool clear water (water, water)


I try not to panic but I find it hard to swallow

Will tomorrow ever come

I mean what I am to do

without water

Cool clear water (water, water)


Cuz what if there’s a pileup and

I face the the barren waste without

cool water

Wait…I feel a rumble beneath my seat! 

It’s a plastic bottle I’d plum forgot to toss

Water (water, water)

Warm, sweaty water


With appreciation and apologies to Bob Nolan, and the dozens of artists who recorded his song Cool Water. And now, for your listening and viewing pleasure, from the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs…c’mon, sing it with me now:

Profile photo of Barbara Buckles Barbara Buckles
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.

I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.

As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.

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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Wonderful Barb! I love the way you echo your longing for water, cool water. And appreciate your need for it as drive the highways of California. Fun that you modeled your RetoFlash on the song from from The Ballad From Buster Scruggs.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Cool water song is definitely cool. It lives in that lacuna of my brain with all the cowboy songs from some old record I had as a kid, never forgotten. Of course the reusable water bottle is the updated version of cool.

  3. Marian says:

    Love this, Barb, the clip really goes with what you wrote. It made me thirsty! As Californians, we know how essential that water bottle is.

  4. Suzy says:

    Never heard this song before, and never heard of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, so you have added to my education. Love your new lyrics, and, as Mare said, it’s making me thirsty!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Thanks for sharing that ballad from the Coen brothers’ movie. I love their films. May your flask always be full and cool!

  6. Fabulous, Barb! Don’t listen to him, Dan, he’s a devil of a man… I mean c’mon, what an opening line! And yes, here in LA, heading out without the H2O would be madness, like leaving your house in San Francisco without a jacket in any season. Loved your lyrics. And yeah, the double-edged sword of finding some tepid water in your car — do I drink it. What’s begun to breed in there? Oh well, I guess it’s just my own germs (glug, glug).

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