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He couldn’t swim.

June 8, 2016

June 8 @1152

Carl T. Bonde sat back in his overstuffed chair, a lit cigarette in his yellowed fingers.

“You see,” he said,  “his sisters dominated everything in the house, so he had no choice but to get the hell out of town, so to speak.”

“They all slept in on Saturday, so Carl was up at five fixing breakfast.  He giggled as he thought about his dog, Prince, the way he fooled her.  But never mind.  Carl had some serious things to do that day.  He imagined that he could build a rocket that would reach the moon.  Well, he had a start.  He had piece of a car axle tapered to accept ball bearings.  Hey.  It looked something like a rocket, except the end of the taper ended in a threaded section made to accept a pair of nuts that would be turned against each other to keep the bearings adjusted.

“Outdoors he found the rusted axle in the snow.  Heaving another sigh, he leaned it against a rock wall he and I built to mark the edge of the lawn around our house and, well, everything else in the world.  Obviously he wouldn’t launch any rockets that day.

“Buddy walked down to the creek, through the snow.  The weather was almost warm enough for the snow to melt, so his shoes got muddy.  But no matter.  This was good alluvial soil that had no clay, just mineral soil mixed with a generous supply of stones.

“He let himself through the gate through the big garden, then over to the bridge spanning Ashley Creek.  The Creek was running high because of the late winter runoff.  The bridge had the tracks of many footprints, most of them his from the past weeks.

“Bud invented a kind of game.  He dropped some snow into the water on the upstream side of the bridge, then hurried over to watch it emerge down below.  Then he did the same thing with chunks of ice, only when they emerged he tried to bomb them with snowballs.  He did this for five or six times, wondering if any of his friends would think this was as fun as he thought it was.

“The biggest chunk of all was wedged against the bridge near the creek bank.  It was so heavy that he lifted it with some difficulty before tottering with it to the middle area of the bridge.  To keep from breaking it, he set it on the edge of the bridge on the upstream side, of course, and pushed it over the edge into the water.  It was heavy enough that he had to kneel and push.  He pushed.  And pushed.

“At last the heavy ice was in the water, but it rose out too high to fit under the upstream log of the bridge.  As Buddy pushed the ice down into the water he lost his balance and fell headfirst into the icy stream.”

We all asked, “How did you know all this, Grandpa?”

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