Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The parking lot for the high school was on the other side of the building. Most mornings the guys would meet up there before class. One Monday morning was quite different, a member of our football team was missing. He hadn't been seen since dropping off his girlfriend at home in the new town of Kearney. That had been Saturday night, the night that the mineral creek bridge had washed out. During the Monday morning parking lot meetup word came in that his car had been found downstream from that washed out bridge. Three Harmon Cousins were standing together when we got the news, Ronny Harmon, his brother Donny Harmon and myself.
There was no plan made, somehow we just knew. We were going looking for him. Before we could load up and leave, the principal came up to us and tried to get us to go on into school instead. However the upperclassmen would have it no other way, they would search for our friend. The Freshmen, including Donny Harmon and I, would stay behind at school, as a concession to the principal by the older boys. Later that day Ronny Harmon found our friend about a mile down the creek from the bridge before it ran into the Gila river. Ronny was a pall bearer at the funeral.
It wasn't long before the annual "ditch day" when upper classmen played "Hookey" from school for a day by tradition. The ditch day turned into a school wide gathering at the small park located at the Gila river where Mineral creek joins. The majority of the high school classmates had left the parking lot as a group to remember our lost classmate. School administration had no idea what was going on, so, worried about the mass exodus, they called the Police, whom found us later that afternoon down on the Gila River, the wake for Les Mcdowell was over.

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