Tag Archives: bridge

Of Bridges And Hornets

Allow me to pick up where I left off….

At the back corner of Delaney’s property, the ground sloped in a gradual hill down to a very old truss bridge (probably a couple hundred yards from the corner of the yard).  I’m sure you are familiar with the type of bridge that I’m talking about.  However, in case you aren’t, stop for a minute and envision what one of these bridges looks like to an eight-year-old kid.  This isn’t the exact bridge, but here’s what it probably looked like:

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Here’s what I saw in my eight-year-old mind:

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That was one spooky bridge for me to look at, let me tell you.  We could get to their house two different ways and that bridge was one of them.  I believe Dad drove it only once (maybe he had the same epiphany as I did about what that bridge really was).

They eventually moved into a newer house that wasn’t anywhere near that truss bridge.  But long before they did that, my brother and I were invited to spend the night during one of our trips out there as a family–somewhere around ages nine or ten for me.  As it happened, that invitation spawned an event with Delaney’s Dad that was….well, memorable, to say the least.

What had seemed to be such a great idea at first was quickly turning into a foreboding sense of abandonment the closer the time came for my parents to leave.  Once they were gone, my senses were on high alert.  We got ready for bed and made our way to the bedroom.  Delaney and Aaron shared a bedroom upstairs, so my brother and I bedded down on the floor of their room, which happened to be directly in front of the staircase to the livingroom below.  As the room got darker with night setting in, Delaney thought it would be a great idea to tell a story about wasps and hornets.  I don’t remember what the story was that he told, but I distinctly remember the mental picture it left in my brain.  Now, we all know what a normal hornet looks like, right?  But that’s not what I saw as Delaney unfolded his tale of terror.  Here’s what I saw:

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Do you see the stingers on those things??  And they were all coming after me!  I just knew it!  So I started crying.  Light child-like sobs to start, but then it turned into vehement, gut-wrenching wails (at least in my innocent eight-year-old mind).  The problem was, as soon as I had started this retaliated response to Delaney’s story, his Dad had yelled up from the livingroom below that whatever shenanigans were going on had better come to a stop pronto.  Which meant that there was even more reason for me to cry harder (and also fueled the fire for Delaney to press on with his story).  Which brought another boisterous boom from the nether regions below us to stop whatever was making one of us cry.  Which made me cry even more, which then brought Delaney’s Dad to the foot of the stairs to yell up with finality that one more time would mean at least one someone is getting a beating on the behind.

I’ve never been one to be able to talk and cry at the same time, but it was eventually made known what was going on, with an extremely urgent request at the end of it all by yours truly that Mom & Dad need to come get me–now.  My brother wasn’t really bothered by this (that I can remember), but since they were coming for me, he said that he’d go back too (nice of him to do that).

I don’t remember anything after that.  Probably blocked it out, along with a request that any further efforts to spend more time with them be heretofore and forthwith nipped in the bud.

I guess it worked….

The Ride Home

I believe you could say that this is where it all started….

If you haven’t been to northern Michigan, you really must make the effort to get up there!  Not only do you have the Big Lakes to enjoy (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are the Big Three that surround the State as a whole), but you also have countless smaller lakes that just beg for a relaxing swim.  Add to that the beauty of the Pine,  Maple and Birch trees that are so plentiful up there, and you are simply surrounded by Nature’s expression of God’s smile.

The Mackinac Bridge (the spelling is French–it’s pronounced “Mackinaw”) connects the upper and lower peninsulas of the State.  It is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the western hemisphere, connecting St. Ignace on the north side of the bridge and Mackinaw City on the south side.

About seven miles south of Mackinaw City is a lake with two names.  Its original name is Carp Lake.  I have heard that the lake got this name from the man who first settled on it.  He thought it was so beautiful there that he figured a name like “Carp Lake” would help keep tourists away (there aren’t even any carp in this lake–but you can find bass, walleye, perch, sunfish and even northern pike).  With that said, if you look on a Michigan map you’ll see that the lake is also referred to as Paradise Lake.  This is due to the efforts of a construction company from Cadillac, MI, who got the name legally changed back in the early- to mid-1900s to bring up more people from down-state.  Nice idea until they tried to change the township name from “Carp Lake” proper to “Paradise” proper only to find that there was already a Paradise, MI in the upper peninsula.  Oops…..

My great-grandfather on my Dad’s side discovered this beautiful place and had a cabin built on it in 1928.  Our family has been coming up to this cabin ever since!  So I grew up with family trips in the summer (at least once, sometimes twice) where we would leave around 3:00 in the morning to get up to the cabin about 4 hours later.  I’ve got memories of my Dad carrying me from bed out to our big Chevy van where he would lay me and my brother down in the back.  The lull of the street lights passing overhead and the hum of the tires on the road put the two of us back to sleep in no time.  Then we’d wake up a few hours later and my Mom would have donuts and milk for us to have in the van.  Then, the inevitable would happen:  Kids need rest areas like fleas need dogs–something my Dad hated to stop for (you know why:  all the cars that have been passed will all get in front again).  But that all counts towards fond memories….

One memory in particular stands out.  There is a place on I-75 (somewhere between mile marker 333 and 334) where you come around a bend in the highway and you can see the top of the Mackinac Bridge over the treetops.  For a kid that loves to be “up north”, that thrills a kid’s heart to no end!  It is also the worst place to be for the trip home.  At that same point heading south, you see the top of the bridge disappear behind the pine trees–it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend that you don’t know when you’ll see again.

It was on one of these trips home that I was watching the bridge out of the back of the van.  I was somewhere between the ages of 10-12 at the time.  I distinctly remember that as I watched the bridge disappear over the treetops, I began to cry.  It wasn’t the usual “I don’t want to leave” tears that happen at the end of a vacation.  It felt deeper than that…more than just some reaction.  I remember thinking, Some day I’m going to live up here so I never have to leave.  And you know something?  I remember hearing these words in my spirit, “Say it out loud”.  (I know now that this was the Holy Spirit prompting me.)   So I did…I said it as I watched the bridge disappear from view.  And I remember feeling like something significant had just happened.

Interesting….