‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even the water in frozen pipes. It is not a true Adams’ Christmas unless one of us is up to our knees and elbows in frozen mud patching a broken water pipe. This year it was my turn to uphold the tradition. In the oddity of a hard freeze in South Texas and despite all our best efforts, Jack Frost found his way to the one little spot that wasn’t insulated enough and grabbed it. Relative “heat” returned to expose his handiwork, a cascading spray of cold water.
In days of old, this tradition would have required a Christmas Day call to the Zenners and a visit to LaVernia Mills for plumbing parts. Dad would say, “If you need one fitting, buy two because you might mess one up, or save it for another day. I cannot count how many times a pipe needed fixing or a toilet was leaking, but it was usually when the stores were closed and we had guests.
On this joyous day, I layered thermal winter-wear, hats and gloves and headed out into the frozen tundra (my apologies to our friends up north who get this more than one week per year.) Shovel in hand, I am grateful for my father’s insistence on collecting extra parts. It would have been a long day without water, or more importantly hot water. (Of course, a trip to the Zenners would not be out of the question.)
With the frigid wind dulling my mental functions, I could hear Dad telling me what piece to use and not to spill the glue because we were running low. An hour or two later, a few frozen fingers (and some spilled glue) and it was fixed; water was restored. Returning inside to thaw at the fireplace, Christmas could continue as one of our most “cherished” traditions had been completed.
Christmas is best spent with family close by and though my father has been celebrating in heaven for a while, today he was right by my side, out in the cold, suffering together.
Merry Christmas, Dad