The Search Continues

by Tom Swift

From our side of the river you can see a pedestrian bridge that runs parallel to the current. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to walk it. Today was the day were going to find that bridge.

After driving up and down the river parkway, we pulled over. I figured we had to be close. There happened to be a guy messing around in his car. His trunk was open. Lots of stuff in that trunk. Like he couldn’t say no at the last rummage sale he had been to.

“Do you know the area?” I asked.

We had indeed pulled over close. The pathway down was forty yards away. The man pointed. “It’s about a mile from there,” he said, referring to the start of our path.

The weather was perfect. It was a perfect day to find a bridge.

Except when we reached river level we stopped. The Mississippi had crested. Our path was a bath.

Hanging out on a nearby beach some minutes later — a perfectly fine spot, there was a bench and a clearing, and B. could roam free — the man showed up.

“I was down here just last night, about 5 o’clock, and it wasn’t like that,” he said. The man held in his hand a football. He held the football high. His arms were a question mark.

He paused. He contemplated. “Have we gotten any more rain?”

Today was perfect. Yesterday was perfect. “No,” I said. We have gotten a great deal of rain the last ten days. None, however, in the last twenty-four hours.

“You could get right through yesterday,” he said. He seemed to be apologizing for the guidance he had given us. No reason for that. Sometimes it’s not the thing you are looking for that you need. B. and I were content with what we did find: A bee in its last throws crawled up beside me on the bench. The fall colors put on their warmup act. Slow-moving water provided our soundtrack. There was, to confirm, plenty to pee on.

On our way back up the path we talked some more with the man. He likes to get in his car and go, he said. Yesterday he had been in Zimmerman, Minnesota, and stumbled on a quaint neighborhood he wasn’t expecting to find that far out of the city. “I just like to go see what I find,” he said.

I know the feeling. My little buddy has wrote “Barry Was Here” (in his own way) in more patches of more counties than I could count.

“We’re you going to throw some,” I asked. His football was pristine. Multi-colored. Red and yellow and white. Possibly a new-style Nerf. I must admit I have not played backyard football this century. A wrong for which I have no excuse.

We shared the path with runners  and a biker and a juggler; two people doing calisthenics (a woman jumping rope, a man doing super shallow squats with an unwavering gaze), and a woman shimmying in a hammock near the water. A cruise boat passed on the far side. We heard a crew caller bark orders as a team rowed along the near edge.

“No,” he said. “I just like to have something in my hand. Since walking is boring.”

I don’t think he meant that. There was nothing boring about where we were. Probably why he had come back to this place two nights in a row. We say things. He was a nice fellow.

B. and I will make it to the bridge another day. We got in our car. We left. But not disappointed.