|Gramma! Gramma! Have you heard? They are
going to blow up the Old River Bridge! Her grandson had an impish grin on
his face and she should have known from that there was more involved.|
What bridge? Why? Oh, I don't believe it!
The grandson had caught her attention. She watched him as he swung his arms
back and forth together while turning his head back and forth all the while
Yep! They are a blowin' it up, for sure.
Guess what (which was his favorite expression) Guess what? There's going to
be a new bridge.
Gramma Miriam was skipping around the kitchen
holding her grandson's hands as they danced a hop skipping circle around and
Hoooorah! Hoooorah! Hooorah! Three cheers
for the powers that be. Her grandson had known just how to pick up her day
and it had certainly worked.
The aging woman was all at once in reverie
about the old bridge. As clear as crystal in her mind was the time sixty
years ago when they had crossed the river on a pontoon boat while in their
car. Her mother had gathered them all to the front seat, rolled the windows
on the car down, even though it was freezing cold outside. All the while,
she was advising them what to do if their car slipped off the boat or if
the boat should sink. The old bridge had collapsed and this was before the
new bridge was built. Sixty years ago saw that bridge serve the heavy
traffic back and forth between Kay and Osage counties.
If Miriam enjoyed the learning about the new
bridge from her Grandson, this was nothing compared to the fact that
everyone who came through the house brought her the news.
Now this is the time for a celebration,
Miriam reasoned to herself. How can I do this and how shall I do it?
Clearly this would need to have some thought. The people in the community
all had jobs and were working continually with little time for anything but
the always required regular holidays. What would be a way to express the
communities thank you and gratitude for this wonderful new bridge?
The bridge in question had been a headache
for everyone. Her brother, who was a road construction, contracting
business, absolutely forbid the family to drive over it. His logic was the
old bridge had been built before the Kaw Dam. The systematic regular release
of water from the dam brought massive amounts of water under the old bridge
tantamount to a flood stage. Engineers build these bridges to allow for
occasional flooding over the years, not for flooding every month as
sometimes happens when heavy rain builds up water behind the dam. It was
an accurate observation. However, the miles via the shortened route by
using the old bridge were cut down considerably. This made the risk worth
Miriam, in the car by herself, crept slowly
up on the bridge. I have to make one more trip over you just as a
farewell. Shaky spans heaved and rattled. The boards under the wheels of
her car creaked and groaned. Up above she could see the rattle and quivering
of the long rusty, slender, metal supports. She looked down to the boiling
waters of the river which were flooded from the recent heavy rains. Lined up
behind her was a string of cars. At two thousand pounds a car the five
thousand pound load limits were way over, she was sure. Over to the other
side, a line of cars also waited for them to get across the one lane
Is this the main stream everyone talks
about? Miriam joked with no one but herself. I won't be so funny talking
if this thing goes down. I must be crazy to take one more chance on this
When she one more time arrived at the other side of the river her mind was
so grateful to get across the thing it occurred to her what could be done in
the way of a thank you note.
I'll just go to Hobby Lobby, purchase a
fancy wood plaque and have the folks around the neighborhood sign it after
I've lettered a thank you note in calligraphy on it.
Miriam congratulated herself on the idea. It
seemed much easier than trying to get the people in the neighborhood
together to socialize. Summer heat was upon them, a tent would have to be
rented, and who knows what else? This was just a better, easier way. She
heard the Ponca tribe had contributed 450,000 dollars toward the new bridge.
The Osages had also contributed no telling how much. If nothing else when
pow-wow time came around she could easily get the signing of the plaque done