Uncle’s Gift

SCENE: He is in the old downstairs bathroom, helping his daughter and her husband to remodel and re-plumb the old shower and sink.

ACTION: He handed steel wool to his daughter and showed her how to make the ends of the copper tubing clean and shiny. She asked, “Where did you learn how to do this?”
“When I was about nine, Uncle Anthony came to help Dad install a new washing machine for Mom. Uncle handed a piece of copper tubing to me and steel wool and had me shine all the ends of the tubing, he said, ‘Jimmy, it has to be perfectly clean for the solder to stick, even a speck of dirt can make the joint leak.’ So after sweating the joints and turning on the water and nothing leaked, Uncle showered me with praise and I beamed with pride.”
Then he related how when he, as an adult, remodeled their home in the mountains and “the spirit of Uncle Anthony was with me to clean and sweat all the copper fittings for the new kitchen. And then again, the new bathroom in the house Mary and I now live in.”
And today, the three of them, shined up, measured, daubed with flux and linked together all the new copper elbows and pipes for the shower faucet and shower head and soldered it all together.
Before they turned the water back on he warned, “Now it could pop a leak somewhere.”
They turned on the water. You could hear the surge of water pressure through the new copper. They inspected each joint. No joints leaked.
Hooray.
“Thank you, Uncle Anthony.”

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About Ciletti

Jim Ciletti, an award winning poet, filmmaker, and author, is the 2010-2012, Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak region, and for 41 years, poet-in-residence for the Orme School Fine Arts Festival. Jim gives many workshops on the writing and performance of poetry, and makes poetry house calls to create personal poetry events. Ciletti loves everything Italian, including cooking for family and friends, and loves to plant garlic, make homemade wine, and eating peaches and plums. "Everyday is Christmas, but you don't always get everything you ask for. Sometimes more. Poetry celebrates life."
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One Response to Uncle’s Gift

  1. Thanks for this sweet memory!

    Love, Me

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