Monday, January 12, 2009

The Bridge is Out!

In the flood of '72, Dillman Bridge was washed out. A group of M.I.A. Leaders, (a youth auxiliary of the the L.D.S. church) came home from a meeting in St Johns about midnight. Walter and Ann Hooser, and Ralph and Ila Derrick, were taking Birka Laney home and they saw the bridge was about to go. They delivered her to her home and rushed back to get across the bridge before it washed out. When safely on the other side they stopped and got out to assess the situation. They decided they had better get a roadblock set up in case the next car that came along wasn't aware the bridge was gone. They brought back two fifty-five gallon barrels and a 2x12 lumber plank, put them across the road, then went home feeling that everything was taken care of for the moment. The next morning, Ruby (Alvin) Laney and her two youngest sons, Jerry and Kit, who happened to be home alone, were out before sunrise looking at the flood damage. They had looked at where the bridge had been at Dillman and walked on up the creek looking at where Mr Jenks' dams had washed out. They had just turned from the dam sites and started home when they saw Vain Snyder coming down the road in his pickup; he was coming fast. They all knew immediately that he was going to wreck, whether from intuition or from knowledge of Vain's driving habits, is not known.
Ruby said, "Jerry, run to the house and call Uncle Ralph to come help. Kit and I will get over there, at least we can hold his head out of the water until help comes." Jerry ran, no questions asked and Ruby and Kit started running toward the road. Ruby was scared. She was running as fast as she could and praying every step of the way. Kit was overheard later telling a friend, "I thought I was a pretty good track star, but I sure couldn't keep up with Mom!" In the meantime, Ralph Derrick saw Vain go by his house and the same thought came to him. He told Ila, "There's goes Vain, he's going to wreck!" "Oh, he isn't either," Ila said, but she said it to herself, because Ralph was already out of the door running to his pickup to follow Vain. Jerry reached home and rang Ralph's house but didn't get any answer because Ralph was gone and Ila had run outside trying to determine what was happening. Jerry called Walter. Walter picked up the phone and said, "Hello." Jerry said, "Vain's going to wreck!" Walter dropped the phone and ran.
Just as Ruby and Kit reached the road, Vain hit that 2x12 full speed. That pickup leaped like the General Lee on 'The Dukes of Hazard." For just a moment they had the wild hope that he might make it, then the front bumper hit the bank on the other side, the pickup turned over and settled back into the creek upside down. Ralph was right behind Vain and had stopped his pickup. He was down in the bottom of the creek before Vain's pickup quit rocking. He tried the door, but it was jammed shut. He pounded on the window.
"Vain, are you alright?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Can you open the door?"
"Can you open the window?"
He opened the window, and Walter who was there, helped get Vain through the window. Vain had one little scratch over his eye. Ruby was so relieved; her knees turned to jelly and she thought for a moment she was going to faint. Ralph insisted on taking Vain to the doctor to be checked, but he found nothing else wrong.