It’s been an exciting time in Del Dios. We’ve made the news more this year than probably any other time in Del Dios history. First for the fires, and then for the mud slides. And the really big news – water going over the damn. That got us a regular slot on the local news. Momentarily we were a tourist attraction. People flocked to see. Some of them not knowing where the damn was, trying to walk there from the trail to the boat dock. A feat which requires walking on water. We were the favorite Sunday drive. Cars parked on both sides of the highway for a mile and families with young children walked out in the road to the dam. It had a festive flavor I hadn’t seen Cristo’s umbrellas. Streams of families out to see something they have heard about on the news, picnicking on the cement bases of the umbrellas. A certain sizzle in the air – until the terrible accident which lead to death.
Down by the damkeeper’s house onlookers crowded on the narrow strip of dirt. The police had it taped off like a crime area with a guard in a van to keep the eager from scaling down to the dam.
Well, not since Tim tried to kill Mimi has there been such excitement in Del Dios, Bill says. According to him helicopters swarmed over some cabin on Date Lane, where he hid out. They lived by him in the house that used to be the Del Dios church, the one that Sam covered over with camouflage and rebuilt without a permit – the way most of Del Dios was built. – until that day Bill saw Mimi speeding down the hill after Tim on this bike, trying to run him over, but he had a gun. You have to hear the story from Bill ’cause I wasn’t there and I’ve never been one to tell things second hand – and if I do I don’t do a good job of it. What I find hard to believe is that Del Dios ever had a church. And Bill died the year he told me the story so I can’t ask him about it.

Spring 1998