The Plumber

Years ago we had some issues with our plumbing, and because we didn’t have any specific company that we worked with that’d come our house, I simply looked in the yellow pages, found a local service, and phoned them. Whereby a young guy and his dad came over, fixed the problem, and have foreversince been the guys who are at the ready to fix our backed-up pipes.

This weekend, after almost three years of happy water flow, the Jones’ (to protect the innocent, names have been changed) were called and John, the dad, came by as soon as he had an open time frame. Friendly guy. Talkative. And interested in how our family was doing.

“How is everyone? How’re the kids?” he asked Rudy, while shoving a camera into the main pipeline.

“Kids are good, thanks. Every day is a new start, to begin again. You return home at the end of the day hopefully with everything intact…,” he commented. Then added, “…everyone’s fine, thanks for asking.”

John’s son Joe was the usual plumber that came by. A young man, working alongside his dad, learning how to work and run the family business. He always showed up with a smile, a readiness, polite conversation, and the determination to leave our home in better shape than before he showed up.

“How’s Joe?” Rudy asked.

“He’s fine, thanks.”

“Is he still working the business with you?” he wondered. “I haven’t seen him around town lately.”

John lowered his head. He didn’t say anything. Rudy wasn’t sure but he thought he saw John wipe away a tear. He pondered if he should say anything, or just wait.

“No,” John started. “About a year and a half ago, Joe went with some friends to a bar and somehow ended up in a fight. He was repeatedly kicked in the head, leaving him, to this day, with brain damage. He’s unable to work, or do most things on his own.”

Rudy was speechless. An image of Joe’s blue eyes and friendly face zoomed across his mind. He lowered his head, feeling John’s pain.

“I’m so sorry,” he managed to say.

His heart hurt, felt heavy when he realized how his previous statement is so true, that every day is a new start… with the hope of returning home at the end of the day.

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