by Charles H. Burk
Charlie and Rose made the trip every year during the 1970’s, driving 500 miles up to their friends’ cabin up in the wilds of the mountains of New Mexico. This year, they had a plumbing project to work on: they were adding copper tubing to take spring water out of the side of the mountain, and pipe it into the cabin to the kitchen sink, bathtub, and commode.
As with all annual pilgrimages, they’d developed favorite routes and rest stops. The one closest to the cabin was a meadow with a beautiful panoramic view, where they’d stop and stretch their legs before completing the trip. But this time when they pulled in to the meadow, there was already a car there.
Turned out a gentleman and his very pregnant wife – Bob and Sandy – were stranded; their car had blown a heater hose, and all the engine coolant drained to the ground. There was a creek nearby, but it wasn’t much use when the water ran out as fast as you poured it in.
“Of course,” Charlie assured them. “We’ll just go on up to the cabin and get some supplies, and we’ll be right back.”
This was met with less than happy faces. Bob and Sandy were a bit reluctant to see their rescuers leave, but they took heart and watched the soon-to-be plumbers roar off up the mountain.
Their faith was rewarded when Charlie returned not long thereafter, bearing half-inch copper tubing and a few hose clamps. He by-passed the heater and re-plumbed the hot water circuit so no more radiator water would be lost. Bob and Sandy wouldn’t have heat in the car, but they’d travel safely.
Bob and Sandy headed downhill, back to civilization and a warm hotel room. They had known that giving aid in the mountains is a universal courtesy, but they were impressed that plumbing skills and supplies had turned up just when they were needed!