Vol. II No. 24 12/15/2021
The Stockbridge Leak — Conclusion
by Denny Alsop
Knowing how the gang at 'Midge's' likes a good story on a Monday morning, I did not hesitate. 'Sunday afternoon' I schemed. 'Perfect!' I leapt from the canoe to my car. In minutes I swerved into Clint's driveway. The whole of Clinton's clan was gathered on the wide green lawn to the delicious aroma of grilled sirloin; A cook out!
I caught Clint's eye. He put down the spatula, walked over to me, stopped, took a swig of his beer, crumpled the can.
'Dennis', he said in the sweetest Clint voice I'd heard from him in years of teasing, in decades. 'Dennis, you found it!' He glanced back over his shoulder at the throng of relatives, shrugged his shoulders, said lightly, 'let's take a look-see'.
He was solid in the canoe I noticed. Paddling up the River, he soon saw the underwater geyser of sand. We stopped over it and I overheard him speaking, 'so you're the rascal who ruined my summer'. He sighted both riverbanks for location. We drifted back down to the bridge. When the canoe was lashed to my car, we turned back to the River. The Leak was in plain sight. We'd both been driving by it all summer.
The next morning, Monday, I drove into Town for the mail. The Stockbridge DPW was in the River; Bobby, Gilbert, Red. They had built a coffer dam of black, sand filled contractor's bags. A gas-powered pump purred inside the dam. They had cut out the bad section of pipe and prepared a splice.
I walked down to 'rubberneck' from the riverbank. Clint came over and we stood together. 'Don't say nothin, he warned me, 'to your en-viron-men-tals. You call them, we're twiddling thumbs for months, and getting no wheres'.
A minute passed. I nodded. He was looking out to the middle of the River at Red, Gilbert and Bobby. He was speaking now in a loud voice. Loud enough so they could hear, Clint said, 'Dennis, about you finding this here leak, (long pause) We told you so!'
From the River, I heard laughter!
Snow crystals at dawn. Photo: Patrick White