blog 15 • pipe
Lisa and I bought our first house in 1960. It was the oldest house in Granada Hills, California..
and in fact, was the house where the child “Granada” had been born. (Later they named the town for her). The house was on Kingsbury Street and situated on a large piece of property covered with an ancient orange grove and other agricultural features that had been irrigated by a series of ¾ inch pipes linked together above the ground. Unfortunately, the trees and plants were dead or dying. The pipes had been drilled with holes in strategic places that needed watering, but most of the holes had rusted shut due to years of neglect, and the pipes were rusted and no longer serviceable. One of my first challenges was to remove the pipes so we could plant a lawn. I went to the local hardware store and confidently purchased a couple of large professional pipe wrenches and a tube of special lubricant guaranteed to loosen frozen joints. One weekend I decided to attack the pipes, and, sparing no expense, squirted large amounts of lubricant on the first joint. After tightening the wrenches on either side of the joint I twisted them in opposite directions with all my might. When the joint refused to give I got Lisa to stand on the wrench on one side of the pipe while I put all my weight on the other. After an hour or two of this I was covered with sweat and had only managed to undo a single coupling. It was obvious this job required a different approach. This time I went to the hardware store and purchased their most expensive, meanest hacksaw and several quality blades. I returned to the job and sawed until dark without much success. The pipe was heavy and too close to the ground, so that it was impossible to get a good angle on the pipe for cutting. It was easily apparent that this task would require many weekends. Nevertheless the job had to be done even though it was taking forever.
One day while I was cursing and sawing away with blistered fingers and sore back, a small truck appeared in our driveway. The driver rolled down his window and smiled at me through broken teeth. His weathered face and faded jeans suggested he was an uneducated illegal looking for yard work. He asked, in broken English, “Hey meester, do you vant dem pipe? I pay you for dem.” Astonished, I said, “You are welcome to all of them for free, but you will have to take them apart yourself.” His face lit up with joy. “I hev to get someting and I vill be ride beck.” He drove out of the driveway and returned in about an hour. He exited the truck with a four pound sledge hammer in his hands. Then he walked over to the pipes, and everywhere where there was a coupling he hit it with the hammer. Each joint easily fell apart with a single blow. Before long he had collected all of the pipes and put them in the back of his truck. It took him about fifteen minutes.
Some of life's lessons are not taught in school.
11/3/2022 07:03:51 pm
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