Kimmy Sophia Brown

The Hurricane Plumbers

Mar 18, 2007
The rain bands from Hurricane Ivan were due to arrive soon. I was heading back to King and Queen County after dropping our kids off with friends in Virginia Beach for the weekend. We bought a frozen pizza and rented a movie and my husband and I were going to have a quiet evening alone. I called him on our cell phone and to my dismay he said, “We don’t have any water.”

But he called our wonderful landlord and within minutes of the call, the plumber and his son, showed up to figure out the problem. When I pulled in the driveway, my husband and the two men were gathered around the pump hole. I had driven through a couple of isolated, torrential downpours on the way home, and the sky was looking quite threatening. Still, these jovial guys showed up and set to work at 5 pm on a Friday.

First they tried to replace the filter which seemed to be stuck. They wrestled with that a while and finally decided to take a tiny hack saw and lop off a hunk of pipe and then they took something stuck out of a valve. They had to keep bringing the water pressure down and turning the pump on and off. My husband and I wanted to help but we didn’t really know what to do so we did what all well-meaning helpers do. We hung over the edge of the pump hole and watched them while practicing our Olympic thumb twiddling.

What was really neat was that when they tried one thing and it didn’t work, they were quick to try another solution right away. They worked patiently and efficiently. I was amazed at how cool their tempers remained. My dad used to fix things around the house but not without a lot of colorful words he learned in the navy. I grew up thinking that swearing was part of the repair work. Things weren’t repaired unless you lip lashed them into submission. Anyway, these guys were calm, quick and resourceful. My husband and I hovered over them secretly worrying that if they didn’t get to the bottom of the problem soon we might be without water for a few days. The weather threatened all around us but hung back like a well trained Doberman.

The plumbers had been near Bowling Green, Virginia a few days before and told us that they had seen the tornado that had wreaked havoc in that area. They amicably related stories about other funnel clouds they had seen as they hacked and glued and reconnected pipes trying to get us water before the deluge. Thunder began rumbling but they kept working. We talked about snakes and spiders and movies and other stuff. Finally they miraculously put it all back together, got the water pressure restored and were able to drive off in the nick of time after hearty thank yous and much gratitude on our part. My husband and I went inside and celebrated the working faucets.

Minutes later the storm hit and knocked out the power. So as we sat on the porch in the dimming light contemplating a dinner of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and no video, we remarked about how much human beings depend on each other, and help each other out in times of crisis, and how some people’s gifts make up for ones we may lack. Then we heard the beeping truck of the electrical repairmen and the power came back on and we did the dishes and cooked our pizza and watched our movie and thanked God for all His blessings. And God bless the Hurricane Plumbers, too!

Kim lives in Maine, which is lovely, and where she continues her enthusiastic relationship with Art, Music, Nature, Books, Animals, Humor and Trees.