Before my father, Cecil, entered county politics in 1938, he was a painting and paperhanging contractor. He worked with his father, Felix, and his younger brother, Marvin. The trio had worked in most of the early homes in San Augustine, either painting or hanging wallpaper. Dad recalled several times to me an incident that occurred around 1929, and was amused by it.
It seems that a rather wealthy lady in town had purchased a hot water heater, a new gadget which was becoming popular. She had a reputation among the artisans of being very difficult to work for, and many avoided her. However, Dad and his crew were painting the outside of her rather large house on a corner lot.
The plumber arrived with the new water heater and was ready to install it for her. The lady of the house and the plumber decided on the best place to put this new appliance, and he proceeded to get his saws. She asked him what he was about to cut. He explained that he had to vent the heater to the outside, and would have to cut a hole in the roof to do so.
“Oh, no, no, no,” she cried. “I won’t have a hole cut in my roof!” The plumber scratched his head, thinking. He replied, “Ok, then I can vent it out the wall, rather than the roof.” Problem solved. “Oh, no. I don’t want a hole cut in my outside wall either”, she protested.
The plumber began gathering up his tools. “What are you doing?”, she questioned. “Well, lady, when you can figure out how I can vent a water heater to the outside without cutting a hole somewhere, just let me know and I will come install it.” With that, the plumber left.
The painting crew, who had overheard all of it, could hardly paint for laughing so hard. Dad thinks the problem was finally solved when the plumber placed the vent pipe through a top pane in a window a few days later. I suppose truly where there is a will, there is a way. You just have to find it.
“THE HOT WATER HEATER”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
P O BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSNE, TX 75972