“I like bridges because they connect people.”

bigmacSay it in the sugary sweet tone of a lower Michigan schoolteacher who was trying to reach out to her poor deprived colleague from the rugged Upper Peninsulan outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia at a teachers’ conference back in the late 60s or so. Except. The poor deprived colleague on the receiving end was none other than The Commander and I dare anyone to try to stereotype that esteemed woman as poor or deprived. Or even a Yooper, even though she has lived there for 65 years or whatever out of 88. (Click the pic for a larger version of the bridge.)

The other day AgateGal used her new iPhone (yay!) to post this picture of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Twitter. Now this actually totally freaked me out for a split second!! Why? At first glance, it looked exactly like a double version of our own Mackinac Bridge. The one The Commander crossed to get to that teachers’ conference all those years ago. I regularly post pics of the Big Mac when I cross it and there is definitely only one bridge and I thought I was hallucinating for a minute.

I don’t have a clear memory of the Mackinac Bridge being built as it appeared in the photo (which was taken by my dad from his friend’s Cessna) but I was alive then. Because I do remember that every time we traveled to Detroit or the Planet Ann Arbor or Lansing to visit relatives, we had to take a ferry across the five miles of water between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. I can remember being on that ferry. We would park our vee-hickle and I’d walk on the deck with my dad with my hands in my jacket pockets. Just like dad. More often than not, it was dark when we did that (I think) because we usually left Siberia at 3:30 AM or so to drive down south. I can remember singing to myself something about “when we go to Deetright in the middle of the night.” Catchy little tune there but I doubt anyone would moonwalk to it. Anyway, it took 11 hours or thereabouts to get down here in those days. Nowadays, I complain when it takes me six.

The Commander and Grandroobly drove us over the Mackinac Bridge and back the first night it was open, back in 1957. I say they drove “us” because I am pretty sure The Engineer was born by the time we did that.

Since I got my iPhone, I make it a point to take a picture of the Mackinac Bridge and post it to Twitter every time I cross it going north. South? Eh? Not. I’m too busy wiping the tears outta my eyes then. And yes, if I am in the driver’s seat, I stop at the rest area immediately north of the bridge to do the mechanics involved in posting my pic. No way do I want to emulate the gal who flipped her Yugo over the side of the bridge!

By the way, The Tacoma Narrows Bridge has a very interesting history. Ever hear of Galloping Gertie? (It’s a 4:12 minute video but it’s pretty good. Grab a cuppa. And no one died in that disaster so it has a good ending for everyone except maybe some taxpayers.)

Many people are afraid of bridges, especially large suspension bridges. I am not. Usually. But. Someday, I’ll get around to talking about my first experience crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida.

5 Responses to ““I like bridges because they connect people.””

  1. Kathy Farnell Says:

    Scott is in the air on his way to see the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. I think he might visit his little brother too.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I remember going over the Narrows bridge when it was a toll bridge and fairly new. I haven’t been over the new one because I don’t often go in that direction. There is a definite resemblance!

  3. Jay Says:

    I believe that a dog did die in the Galloping Gertie episode. The dog was in the car, and the man was trying to retrieve the dog, but was not successful. And this is why we don’t complain about those darn loud grating lanes in the middle of the Mackinac.

  4. Tonya Says:

    Well, your bridge picture is sure prettier than my bridge picture! (That was a yukky day!) For years, since they replaced Galloping Gertie, it was just one bridge, but last summer they opened up the new bridge (one each direction) which has eased traffic a thousand-fold through there. We cross it both directions going to and from Harstine just about every weekend. It was fun watching the progress of the new bridge being built over the past few years. And, on a clear day, it’s truly beautiful with Mt. Rainier straight ahead and the Narrows passage of Puget Sound on either side. (I like bridges, too). :o)

  5. grandmothertrucker Says:

    The first time I ever drove across the Mackinac Bridge was the day after your wedding. I am or was, afraid of heights I found out. I white knuckled it all the way across with my husband ( my x ), my brother Don and my brand new 5 month old baby Donny. I was scared shitless. A few weeks ago, I drove south over it again in a huge red Kenworth truck with a load almost 80,000 lbs….. you can see everything from up there in a big truck… but the weight, and the idea of falling through scared me worse. ( you can look down and see right through the metal grates and see the water!!! ) I have worked on my fear of heights. I did go on the rollercoaster and the needle ride at the top of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas, then I went to the Grand Canyon, and looked over the edge 7 years ago. Arrrggghhh… I can handle that now….. I drive over wobbly old bridges every day usually. I was in Tampa yesterday, but I haven’t driven a big truck over the Sunshine Bridge yet. I was in Conneticut this morning. I was stuck in Miami for 4 days, and now I am stuck in New Jersey until Monday. I am not paid for this and ready to quit. I’m going to Atlantic City tomorrow, and walk the boardwalk…………

    I get a load on Monday that goes to IKEA in Canton Michigan for Tuesday AM, but I don’t get to go home. I have to be in Minneapolis on Wednesday AM… grrrrrr…………