Tessie my older sister (much older) and I needed a plumber
to come to mom’s house for some repairs to a pipe in her basement. We got a
recommendation and made the call, and Nick the plumber was coming to pay us a
The big day arrived and Tessie my older sister (much older)
and I awaited with much anticipation, after all Nick the plumber was coming. We
are not talking a Harvard or Yale graduate, a member of the President’s staff
or even the President himself, not even the Pope, but a plumber! I mean the
other guys you can get any time, but a plumber, even more revered than an
As we waited in mom’s house, the snow was starting to fall
and the gloom of a late afternoon was settling in. Like a ray of sun had burst
out from the clouds, a white van suddenly appeared.
“MY GOD! He’s here, the plumber is here!” Tessie my older
sister (much older) blessed herself and genuflected, and frankly I thought it a
bit much, although I WAS prepared to kiss his ring or wrench.
His Plumbness entered through the front door, the neighbors
peering from their curtained windows, but I could feel the eyes were all on us
now. He had an entourage of assistance, a ‘go for’ with rabbit feet and a hood
over his head.
Sticking a small business card in my face, I read the card
and am informed it is indeed, Nick the Plumber! I could feel the joy of having
a plumber even if it was Mom’s house. These events are highly unusual and
should be savored as much as possible, who knows if I will ever see this in my
I wondered how to address him. Do I say ‘Mr. Nick’ or ‘Your
plumbness’ or would a simple ‘Sir’ suffice? I mulled over ‘Mr. Sir Your
Plumbness’ but decided to speak only when spoken to, not look directly in the
eyes and to answer the question as quickly and simply as possible.
“”What seems to be the problem?”
“Joseph, he has spoken! You talk to him”
“Leaky pipe in basement we think.” I didn’t want to offend
him and make him think I was a know it all.
“Why don’t we have a look?”
He was including me in the look! You can’t imagine the honor
or the feeling of gratitude and humility I felt, suddenly as if it were a
feverish wave that overcame my humble body!
Down into the bowels of the house we went, me, Tessie my
older sister (much older), the hooded stranger and his plumbness. He held a
wand like lamp, a symbol of his high status in life, and a reminder of constant
reverence and began pointing it into the hole in the ceiling where the leak
“Looks like you have a leaky pipe!” he intoned, the words
echoing off the basement walls. I thought of Dad and how proud he would have
been of me for getting a plumber not only in the house but deep into the bowels
of the house. I made myself a mental note to mark the day on the calendar. I was going to mention to Mom but thought better of it, after all the shock on her 94-year old body would be too much.
He orders rabbit feet to go to the truck and get a utility
knife and bucket and to remove the crumbling ceiling part.
Reaching up into the newly cut away ceiling, he looks around
with his perpetual light, (may it shine on all your plumbing), his plumbness
makes what I knew was coming next: “It’s an old part!”
Tessie my older sister (much older) says under her breath: “Joe,
he speaks once more, maybe we should take notes or record it?”
I, gathering up all my senses and trying to act worthy of
the conversation with a plumber says: “Oh?”
“Yes, I will have to see if I can get the part you need and
I will call YOU, tomorrow if I do, stay near a phone.”
His plumbness left and Tessie my older sister (much older) and
I sat for a moment or two in the chairs no one has ever sat in before, because
Mom wouldn’t let us, and reflected on the day, the day the plumber cometh.
COMING SOON: HIS PLUMBNESS RETURNETH!