He was quietly reading.
He looked up from his book and I went on, "Quick! Say everything you can think of about bridges all in one big lump."
Fred looked baffled for a moment more and then complied, "Bridges cross things, bridges go above things. Bridges are an engineering marvel." Then he stopped.
"Oh come on!" I exclaimed. "You must have more than that."
Fred threw his eyes up into the top of his head and then continued, "There are footbridges, rope bridges, log bridges and train bridges. There are highway bridges, suspension bridges, drawbridges, floating bridges and in Hong Kong" he said with a note of triumph in his voice, "there's even an airplane bridge."
"An airplane bridge?!" I asked.
Swooping his right hand in front of him self making a perfect landing onto an airplane bridge Fred answered, "Ya, one of the runways at the airport goes across the water."
"Wow!" I exclaimed again.
"Your turn now", Fred said reasonably and then quietly but firmly went back to his book.
"OK" I thought and then typed the following:
• Mostly people go on top of bridges but sometimes people in boats go underneath them
• Birds like to sit and shit on the struts of bridges
• Trolls like to live under bridges
• Bridges look great with a sunset or sunrise behind them
• Sometimes people jump off of bridges and sometimes people walk over them just for the fun of it
• In war it becomes very important to control bridges
• In peace bridges allow better commerce
• Bridges provide really great views but only if you look for them
• There have probably been written a hundred and thirty-seven thousand books that use bridges as a metaphor for crossing into a
new way of thinking or looking at things
• Holy men, corporate gurus and politicians like to use bridges in their sermons
The next day I asked Fred "Can you think of an important bridge in the Bible?"
Fred thought for awhile. He spent some thought on it and then replied, "No" with another two second thought gap and then "Yes" and then "No" again in quick succession.
"I couldn't think of one either" I said. "At least not off the top of my head...but there must be one don't you think?"
I thought about bridges into the after-world as was believed by my Viking ancestors but kept my thoughts to myself…then.
The next day I looked "bridge" up in our dictionary (© Oxford University Press 1992). I thought it interesting that Fred, a man of the sea, when spouting out everything that quickly came to mind about bridges, failed to mention the bridge of a boat. "Ah ha!" I thought, and then the "ah ha" failed to go anywhere. The dictionary also reminded me that bridges reduce gaps and deficiencies, are a part of a violin etc, and are the bony part of the nose (not to mention the card game).
"Huh", I thought. "Seems like I've always been surrounded by bridges."
My children are grown. I don't suppose either one of them will marry a King or start a revolution. I'm satisfied however, barring tsunamis, accidents, acts of war and mayhem in the guise of peace, etc. that they'll be OK.
That's a good thing!
Everyone around me is wondering what I'm doing
Everyone around me is telling me that I'm nuts
Everyone around me is wondering what I'll do next
Everyone around me keeps telling me that I'm crossing a bridge
"Seems like I'm always crossing bridges
Or going underneath them
Or am surrounded by them" I mused
My children have left the nest
I'm at the end of the line in my career
Menopause is dancing in my bones
changing me into a WoeMan the fishermen tell me
I am aware inevitability Is creeping up on me
I was made to learn this even as a child
Why does this make me nuts?*
Dangling on a Hook