The hike to the dam was a leisurely walk. There were plenty of things along the way worth doing. Those cone-shaped glass insulators found today in flea markets were sat on the crossbars of the telephone poles that alongside the railroad tracks. They shattered with a glorious display of shrapnel when we scored a direct hit on one with our .22 rifles. The city dump was right alongside the railroad tracks and was a fine place to shoot rats and explore. There were no “waste disposal services” to haul garbage and trash away. Common folks in Caney saved their trash until they had a trailer or pickup load then carted it off to the dump. Wealthier people probably hired someone to do it but either way if someone in Caney used it and didn't consume it, sell it, or give it away, it would eventually come to its end the city dump. The City Dump was not a "Sanitary Landfill." Caney folks hauled their trash to the dump and shoveled it onto an existing pile. When a pile got too high, another pile was begun. The City Dump was strung out alongside the MOP railroad tracks for several hundred feet.
For we boys the city dump was an ever-changing archaeological field study. If rats didn't show themselves there were thousands of bottles, cans, and other stuff to shoot at and all kinds of things to poke at, investigate and wonder about. It never entered our mind that this was one of the most putrid, fetid places on Earth; until the day Preston Bunch, one of my friends, shot at a rat that popped up near my feet. I don't remember whether he hit the rat or not but I know the bullet hit a bottle practically at my feet. The bottle shattered into shrapnel and a chunk of it hit my right calf. As cuts go it wasn't especially bad. I ranted at Preston for aiming at a rat so close to me, then wrapped a red bandana I had with me around my leg and stopped the bleeding. We went on to the dam with me limping just a little, waded across the dam and then noodled for crawdads.
It seemed best that I not tell Mother about this wound. She would want to know how I got it. A few days later it began to ooze rancid, yellow stuff and throb with pain. I had to tell her. After giving me the expected motherly recriminations and seeing that the wound was beyond first aid treatment, she took me to visit old Doc Lamddin in his office above the post office. Dr. Lambdin, never known for his gentleness, re-opened the now encrusted wound, cleaned the debris and rotten matter out then bandaged it and gave me a stern lecture about the idiocy of playing in the city dump. It took most of the rest of the summer for the wound to heal. I missed almost an entire season of swimming and the scar stayed on my leg for years was the most prominent identifying mark on my body.