TITLE: Riding the Dam
GENRE: MG Coming-of-age
In 1952, San Angelo is a boy’s paradise providing ten-year-old, Allan, with endless adventure. But when his mother becomes ill, Allan discovers it’s not adventure he longs for, but the gift of friendship.
It was a day like any other summer day in San Angelo—hot, dry, and full of possibilities. Today was the day Raymond and I were going to ride the dam. This was not just any dam, but the biggest dam in the world. If it was in Texas, it had to be the biggest.
Raymond and I both had bicycles, but I had decided early on that it was a lot of work to pedal around looking for ways to spice up our days, so I convinced Raymond to let me ride on his handlebars while he did the pedaling. I told him that this arrangement allowed for easier conversation. This method was not without its risks. Some kids were known to get their toes cut off in the spokes of a bike riding like this, so I developed toes like an eagle's talons to wrap around the front axle.
It took us thirty minutes to get to the extreme end of the dam and there, we began our slow ascent to the highest point. It was straight uphill and Raymond was pedaling, almost standing straight up. This was going to be harder than we thought.
Raymond was trying to catch his breath and in rhythm with each down pedal, asked, “Why. Am I. The one. Always. Doing. The pedaling?”
We had had this discussion a million times so I said, “You know good and well, this way I can watch for rattlesnakes.” Raymond was deathly afraid of rattlesnakes.