I don’t get around at all. I stay well to myself. Some would say that I have no boundaries and let people walk all over me. And I would say you’re right! Because I’m a bridge, and that’s pretty much my job.
I was built in 1968. You probably couldn’t tell by my looks because of my several facelifts, but I am 54 years old. I’ve seen a few things in my day. Heard some stories too. But my creator, Jack Moody, built me because I was needed. And God, the great creator, has a plan and a purpose for each one of the kids that have ever walked over me.
Before I was born, housefuls of kids would have to walk to school, and the path led them right through a creek. It wasn’t that bad most days, but after it rained, the creek would be full of water, and the kids would have to walk to my next-door neighbor, the highway bridge, to cross the flowing water. Cars, trucks, and sometimes semis would zoom by on that bridge on their way to work. It just wasn’t safe for the kids to be experiencing that, so I was created.
I felt like a hero with every opportunity I got to carry a child across the expanse so they could reach their destination safely. I’ve heard of grand bridges with beautiful colors that span over miles of the sea or hang over deep canyons. Bridges as wide as seven lanes of traffic or that hold thousands of people at a time. Bridges that are so long they scare those that cross and so narrow that there is no way to turn around. You have to keep going forward or stay on the bridge forever. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to do amazing things like these far-off bridges. To be grand and beautiful. But all I have to do is remember the things I have seen, and then I’m content right where I am.
I may just be a little old bridge, but the stories I could tell!
Children have come to play on me, dancing across my planks. Teachers have brought their young students to reenact “Billy Goats Gruff”. It’s my favorite play, and I have been in it many times. I have consoled many a child who just needed some space, and I was the place of choice for kids to read books or write in their journals as they listened to the water trickling beneath us. I’ve seen some unpleasant things as well. Sometimes a bike rider would attempt to ride down the hill and incorrectly calculate and miss me completely. I’ve seen many floods but also some miracles. I may just be a little old bridge, but the stories I could tell.
Back when the kids walked a half mile to school, uphill, both ways, I would see most kids four times every day as they walked to school in the morning, to lunch and back to school at noon, and then in the afternoon as they walked home.
The kids at Cookson Hills have learned so many things. Throughout the years, I have caught them chatting about their lessons. I heard stories of a lot of hurt and sadness in their past. Some kids didn’t want to work through their trauma. They seemed content to stay where they were and not cross the bridge, so to speak. But many kids have decided they didn’t want what the past had for them. They chose to cross the bridge and learn new skills and coping techniques. They decided to open up their heart to allow healing, forgive those that hurt them, and go down a better path for their life.
When a kid walks over me, they are not with me for a long time, but it saves them so much time and energy and is far safer than the alternatives. I don’t like to think of what it would be like without me here. I imagine all the kids put in harm’s way. If I could, I would help every child reach a happy destination where they can positively impact future generations. But as it is, I help those I can, reach their destination quickly and safely, and that’s all I need to be a valuable little bridge in Happy Hollow.
Recently some new developments have made it so that kids don’t need to cross my planks as much anymore. I’m happy to be here whenever someone needs me, though. A fence has made its way to my crossing, and soon I will be able to see horses in the new pasture. I look forward to sharing more memories with the community, and I thank my maker for allowing me to play this role in the kids’ lives.