Last week I found myself needing a valve stem for an old sink. When I say old, I mean sixty to seventy years, if not more. Fortunately I knew where to go for the stem. There's a place called Tenny's Plumbing in Hazel Park, and they specialize in old, hard to get parts. They've helped me before, and I highly recommend them.
And they did have the part I needed. But before paying, I had to take a call, so I stepped back from the counter and dealt with it.
When I apologized and returned to the counter Mr. Tenny was there. He looked at me and asked, "You're Cosgriff, right? Bill Cosgriff?"
"No, he was my dad. He passed away a couple years ago," I answered.
He coughed and said, "Sorry to hear that. But Cosgriff was a black guy, wasn't he?"
"No," I replied.
"But he had two black guys working for him?" Mr. Tenny pressed.
"No. Just my brother and I."
He studied me more closely and ventured, "Your shop is across from Murray-Wright High School, on Rosa Parks. Just after a green house, back from the street."
"That's right," I said.
Tenny just kinda shook his head and said, "But Cosgriff was a black guy. He had black guys working for him."
"I'm afraid not," I responded. I even showed him my license, just so he'd know I was me. He then shrugged his shoulders, and I paid for the valve stem and left. It was all on good terms, and he just seemed to have a mental block about it.
And I think he still thinks we're black guys. Ah well. No harm no foul, right?