Water covered the floor of the tiny half-bath, overflowing from the bowl. Dad had bailed and bailed to fill a five-gallon bucket, and had plunged and plunged until he was spent. “Don’t go in there,” he commanded Mom and me from his recliner. “I am going to fix it.” We acceded, but I drove to Lowe’s for a coiled plumbing snake. He tried and tried to feed the snake into the fixture, but it kept flopping incorrigibly out. Finally, he called to me, unable to rise from his knees, with nothing for leverage but the bowl. I wrapped my arms around his big chest and hoisted until he was vertical. “Dad, let me try,” I offered. “This is my home now, too, and I am part of the family.” He consented reluctantly from his convalescence. I struggled and struggled with that incorrigible splashing snake. The coil advanced no more than a few inches during 30 minutes of effort. I did not do anything Dad had not already done, but the water abruptly drained from the bowl, and I was able to pour in the five gallons of blackwater. How nice it was to flush and watch the water swirl down, rather than up and over the brim. We cleaned and disinfected the toilet and the floor, and then the bucket and even the snake. We both hope to never need that belligerent snake again, but have found a place for it in the garage, just in case.
(Reader, please do NOT bring up this episode with Dad. My life and happiness depend upon it.)