In what is unquestionably her best song, Dolly Parton sings, "Your smile is like a breath of spring/Your voice is soft like summer rain/And I cannot compete with you Jolene." A breath of spring and summer rain, strangely, are exactly the phrases that entered my mind when I finally partook of my supplies I'd purchased before Harvey hit.
Let me explain. I did nothing to prepare for the deluge until my boss finally told us to take some time on the Thursday before the expected landfall to get what we needed. By then, I was already seeing Facebook photos of empty Kroger and Randall's shelves. So I thought the responsible thing was to head to Whole Foods. With its higher prices, I figured, people would be less likely to stock up there.
I was right. I had no problem picking up shelf-stable Indian meals, chips, chocolate-chip-mint marshmallows, mini croissants—the essentials. But the water selection was visibly thinned. What remained was of the category that I call "fun water," meaning sparkling and/or flavored. I'm usually a room-temperature Brita girl, but I decided to pick up cases of watermelon-kiwi LaCroix and a couple of extra-large bottles of Voss. And I couldn't resist a bottle less familiar to me: Whole Foods-branded "Italian sparkling mineral water" flavored with elderflower, lime and mint.
The hurricane came and went uneventfully for me. I was lucky enough never to lose power, and restaurants in my neighborhood were open as soon as that Monday. But my survival instincts were such that it took me a couple of weeks to be willing to break into the unused supplies. And when I finally opened that bottle, Dolly's words seized my mind. On first sip, it was stronger still, that flavor of dewy spring after a light rain. A drinker without a sense of smell would likely be unimpressed. The water relies almost entirely on fragrance, floral and herbaceous, with a squirt of lime for good measure.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, writer Rob Copeland revealed that LaCroix is flavored using "natural essence oils," the product of condensation created from the vapors produced when boiling fruits, veggies or flowers. Presumably, my new favorite sip is the same deal, with its intensely natural character.
So, guilty as charged, I just expounded on the merits of a supermarket-brand product, albeit a relatively fancy one. But trust me, nothing can compete with this breath of spring, all the more refreshing when we're in the thick of a 90-degree autumn and need something cool and sparkly.