News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2007


About that missing Barbie doll …

Only twice in more than a quarter century, until last week, had we called a plumber to see about the kitchen sink.

Both of those occasions taught us life-long lessons. But the call last week stumped.

The first call brought out a philosophical plumber who subscribed to tough love. I called him because the dishwasher continued to malfunction when it discharged water.

A big man, he looked at the sink then unscrewed what I presumed was an overflow valve and cleaned it.

That took less than a minute, and I stood there embarrassed.

“I’m going to charge you the full price for a service call so you won’t ever forget,” he said, before I wrote him a check. I didn’t like him much.

The next incident had to do with turnip-green stems. Garbage disposals don’t digest them well. That’s what the plumber said as he unclogged the pipes below the sink while he delivered what sounded like a standard lecture.

I assumed he’d be happy to come back the next week and take out a new batch. I didn’t like him much either.

We settled on Ed Davidson being our plumber years ago because he doesn’t lecture or judge us.

Take, for example, the stopped up sink from last week. I tried the home remedy of pouring cheap cola down the drain and waiting.

Then I poured in a bottle of drain cleaner when the cheap cola didn’t work.

Then I called Ed.

When we got home that afternoon, Ed had left the culprit on display in the garage with a note that said, “This is what I found in your drain.”

No editorial comment; no explanation as to what it was, or how it might have slipped past the disposal and into the pipe.

“What is this?” Regina asked, as she gingerly poked at the three or four small chewed-up pieces of cloth.”

I referred her to Ed’s note.

“How’d it get there? How long had it been there?” she asked. We recognized the pieces as familiar looking doll’s clothing.

“I hope there wasn’t a doll in that dress,” she said.

There may have been because I recall having to free the disposal shortly after the grandchildren left at Christmas.

And a Barbie is missing.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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