Monday, August 14, 2006

Life's Bridges


A story about terrorist plots and the Mackinac Bridge got my attention. Being a Michigan native I can say it's a unique structure and a source of pride for the state. Having said that I'll bet you can think of at least one bridge in your life that sticks out in your memory. I can think of several.

I always enjoy the Butte des Morts Bridge and especially early in the morning when the sun is on the rise and fishermen are just geting out on the water. For a couple years traveling across the bridge between Marinette-Menominee wasn't a sure thing. In fact you had to take an alternate route while Highway 41 was torn up.

There are simpler bridges like the ones in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park, that are practical and scenic as well. One of the best examples of a scenic bridge I can think of is the Cut River Bridge. Not sure if I spelled that right, but it's on the way to St. Ignace, Michigan and the Mackinac Bridge. You'll find it on U.S. 2 and it's worth stopping at just for the view. Although if you suffer from vertigo it might not be the best to take in the view alone, it's literally hundreds of feet up from the river.

One of my favorite childhood bridges was one spanning between Arkansas and Tennessee. Between the ages of 6 and 12 my family lived in West Memphis, Arkansas. That's about 6 miles from Memphis where my Dad worked. There's a lengthy bridge over the mighty Mississippi River. As kids we'd try and hold our breaths in the car while we were crossing it. Never made it very far.

My favorite bridge isn't really much of a bridge at all. We called it the "Cope" that was short for an actual bridge in Copenhagen it was supposedly modeled after. The teenage right of passage was to swim at the "Cope" and dive off the bridge. The current could be swift, but the water was deep enough. Diving from the top rail was the true measuring stick. It also became a late night excursion as we got older. Watching the thunderstorms come across Indian Lake from the "Cope" was cool( but maybe not entirely safe). We'd also watch for UFOs. I never saw any, planes yes.

The "Cope" is also a generational connection for me. While going through a scrapbook one day I came across an old Kodak photo. It's my Dad, then about 18-years-old, leaning against a rail on the bridge with a friend. Now that I'm older I've realized that soon my nephews Max and Derek will be going through their own right of passage on the same bridge. They're only a couple blocks and a few years away. They never met their Grandpa Nelson, but at least the "Cope" will be something they shared in common.

6 comments:

ron henning said...

Our daighter lives in Savannah,Ga. The bridge that connects Georgia and South Carolina is huge. It is called the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. It is a cable stay brige

Anonymous said...

I went over the Macinac Bridge when I visited Michigan years ago...that's terrible that those Arabs wanted to blow up the bridge!

Incidentally, there is a great book out called "Train Man" by P.T. Deuterman...it's a great read.

Max Ipadd
KFIZ Listener for 40 years
Member of ARRL

Bob Nelson - KFIZ said...

I figured others have been across bridges in their lives they remember. Glad to hear from you.

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