An Odd Childhood Memory

Sometimes, when I am driving along a road, through the mountains, I am reminded of this incident that occurred nearly 50 years ago. I still think about it, occasionally. Not a psychic event, nothing supernatural, just an odd childhood memory.  I just stop and think about it as if it is suppose to mean something, but in the end, I just see it as an odd event in my very early childhood.  

My father worked for one summer in Idaho on the bridge that spanned the Snake River.  This was back in the summer of 1963 in the desert.  We lived in a Motel.  Two Motels, actually, as we stayed at one for a few nights and then moved on to another later.  I remember looking at the surrounding terrain and seeing thousands of cacti, all in bloom.  Both beautiful and impressive.  

I never did see the bridge my father was working on, but it was only for the summer, and then afterward, we moved again.  I cannot say which town we lived in.  It was either Clarksville or Lewiston.  The confusion came about because we shopped in both, as all that separated the two was a bridge, and perhaps 200 yards of river(?).  One town was in Idaho and the other in Washington State.  Since then I have had a fondness for deserts.  I like deserts.  And like a desert, it was very hot during that summer of 1963. I was very young at the time, but I still remember.
One day my father decided we would go to a canyon along the Snake River and go swimming.  We went early in the morning.  When we arrived we were the only people there.  We had the whole river to ourselves.  Because we arrived so early in the morning the water was far too cold, even in the summer, to go swimming as the river was inside a deep canyon.  Had we waited until 3pm, it may have been possible.  Instead of swimming, my brothers and I went exploring along the river.  Moving along the river bed, looking for gold and treasure.  We wondered about 200 yards down stream when my father yelled for us to return.  We did so at a snail's pace.  By the time we got back, my father decided it was time to leave.  I think we were there about an hour-and-a-half at the most.

On our journey back to where we started, we noticed a police car had parked along the road at the top of the canyon along the highway.  It was about 200 yards away from where we had parked.  As we started packing up we saw there were two police cars.  The officers were chatting.  One was leaning against his car.  They took no notice of us.  As we started to climb out of the canyon, I saw a tow truck and there was a small conference going on.  I noticed a short time later, the tow truck driver was descending into the canyon, carrying the cable from his tow truck.  By the time we got back to our car and started driving away, we saw the tow truck pulling a car wreck out of the river.  It was flattened and upside down.  That was where we had been playing.  The wreck had been at the bottom of a deep pool of water.  That was where we had been when my father yelled at us to return.  

Later that day we learned that a driver had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving along the canyon the night before and had driven off the edge and had plunged about 200 yards, upside down, into the pool of water.  Just deep enough to conceal the wreck and the body still in the drivers seat.  We played in the water just a few feet away and never knew.  Such a beautiful, quiet location, and yet, unknown to us, death had paid a visit here, just 5 hours before we arrived,   A second driver witnessed the accident, but since everyone knew the driver was dead, no one was in a hurry.  It could wait until later in the morning.  No one told us.

PastPilot PastPilot
51-55, M
1 Response Sep 8, 2012

Interestingly enough, I just ran across this story. I was raised in Idaho and still live here. ( Boise )
I also liked your prior story about what happened in the movie theater ... My best to you...