Bridges Crossed: Long Ago and Used-To-Be

I crossed the bridge a thousand times in my youth. The bridge served as a shortcut to many destinations. We new the distance of the bridge's span by the number of railroad ties from one end to the other. We counted the train cars as they passed, and flattened pennies on the tracks.

We met there at midnight, shared philosophies and built dreams while sitting on the huge, rough-cut rock steps that climbed to the tracks from the street. It was a right of passage to kiss our girlfriends while standing at the halfway point of the bridge as the trains passed by. We'd kiss and vow, "No cross backs." The boys dared each other to perform jumps off of the bridge into the river.

We even fished from the bridge. Catfish and bluegills were common, and the river ran thick with shad each spring. Banking a healthy catch on a light line from such a placement was a nearly impossible task. Still, we tried.

And the best hot dogs in the world were sold at a place called Bart's - just a couple of blocks from the bridge. Jackie Gleason even agreed. His picture hung above the grill as an affidavit. Now, the bridge is just a memory, another used-to-be of long ago.

- The Fool
- photo of the bridge. Artist unkown.