I was in my late teens, sitting on a Missouri River levy. There were three of us, drinking Kansas beer. 3.2 Alcohol. We were too young to drink in Missouri. My 56′ Chevy was parked on top of the levy, we were sitting on the bank of the river. The doors on my Chevy were open and the radio was on. While Don McClean sang ‘American Pie,’ we pondered life.
It was in that moment that my alcohol fortified courage and daring sprang the idea. I told the others, “I bet I could swim across this river.” They laughed, “How would you get home, your car is on this side of the river?”
I calculated some probabilities in my vigorous teen judgment. “We are up river from St. Joe. I figure the river will carry me downstream while I swim. I should come out at the MacArthur Drive access. You could drive my car around and meet me.”
With the firmness of the logic of teen invulnerability, greased with the lubricant of alcohol, we all agreed that this was a good idea. Calculated and well thought – we proceeded on our adventure.
They took my car, I took the river. I don’t know how deep the river was because I never put my feet down. As I swam I thought of the St. Joseph Museum, where they have a stuffed Alligator Gar from the Missouri River. The thoughts pumped the adrenalin and my feet stayed on the surface.
I was waiting at MacArthur Drive when the others arrived. A testimonial to sound logic.