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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Rest of the Story, Part II (or III, depending on how you count)

Today's story stays in the plumbing vein (pipe?) and resumes where yesterday's left off, which was right after my sister chaperoned a visit by Roto-Rooter.

“Well don’t get too excited,” my sister cautioned me. “The technician said this’ll probably keep happening. Eventually the roots take over and cause some part of the pipe to collapse. When that happens they’ll have to dig up the front yard with a backhoe and put in new pipes.”

This news made me want to break into the liter of vodka I’d bought for the party.  “You’re on borrowed time,” she continued, “so you should do whatever you can not to bog down the pipes.”  I didn’t foresee having any trouble taking care with the pipes but how could I expect dozens of partygoers to share my concern?

“Put a sign up,” my sister said.

“Good idea. What should it say?”

She held up her hands to let me know her work here was done. “Hey, I suggested the sign. You figure out the rest. Besides, I gotta get home.”  She left me alone to work on sign verbiage.

After some deliberation, I put Sharpie to paper and wrote: “Please use the plumbing gently.”

Buford, my realtor and friend, was the first party guest to arrive.  After hugging me and laying his coat on a chair, he headed for the hall bathroom. The sign brought him to a dead stop.

“’Please use the plumbing gently’? What the hell does that mean? Did you invite a band of vandals with angry stomachs?”

I explained the events that led to the sign and said, “So tell me, Mr. Mensa, do you have any bright ideas?” He had none. Or none that were fit to display.

The sign stayed (and did double-duty as a conversation piece), the guests complied, and there was peace in the pipes.  A year of detante passed.  Then a second, and a third.   The cease-fire stretched into a fourth year, lulling me into the belief that the trees had gone off the cardboard and clay pipe diet.

I learned otherwise just before sunrise on a cold Sunday morning in the fall of 2007. 

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