Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

When My Children Ran Thru Wisconsin’s Last Covered Bridge

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 4:58 am on Wednesday, May 25, 2022

by Robert M. Katzman © May 10, 2022

Standing in front of it

So magnificent

This great gift from

Wisconsin Pioneers

A slight breeze

Rustling my silver hair

I am so much older now

The dark wooden bridge 

Even older

***

Closing my tired eyes

I let myself go

Can it be forty years?

I feel Time 

Flowing past me

Silent, steady and cool 

On my face

Each day stolen from 

What I still have left

***

Then, a tremble of pain

Two beautiful Blue Eyes

Once standing here with me

Maybe watching me now

I wondered…I wondered

If the three still remembered

Any of this quiet old place

Before all of their lives

Became so complicated: 

***

Beginning in 1983

A hundred-mile journey

From Evanston Illinois

To Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Small children squirming

As if we were crossing 

The Great Plains to the Rockies

Two hours in a car

Is an eternity

For three little people 

Strapped in to 

Starship Katzman

***

Lisa and David and Rachel

Eight and Five and Three

Two brunettes and a blonde

Big brown eyes 

Taking in the world

Everything so big to them

One day too soon it would be

Distance / Time / Energy / Money

But on that day, still, it was:

Daddy, how far

Mommy, how long

Daddy, I’m tired

Mommy, I need a quarter

All of that would change 

As years went by

***

But this day, I went back in Time

A little town with no exit

Off the Interstate

A special place 

With two big waterfalls

Water flowing smoothly like

Dark Green Taffy

Stores filled with everything old

Dolls from when Mom was small

Rusty tools from when Grampa 

Was still alive

Root Beer Floats

Hot Fudge Sundaes

Cedarburg Time Machine

We have landed

***

A long stream with Rapids

It made sounds as it 

Splashed over the rocks

People getting married there

Posing for photographers

Right by a playground

With so many things to do!

Jungle Gyms & Swings

Something that spun around 

So fast, kids flew off of it

Or wanted to

Cedarburg, where new and old

Stood shoulder to shoulder

No room for Time

To squeeze

In-between them

***

Five miles north on 

Washington Street

Was the weary 

Last Covered Bridge

In Wisconsin

Put together without nails

Huge slabs of lumber 

Creating a matrix

Standing tentatively on one end 

Looking through the dark

To the glowing light

On the other end

F-a-a-a-a-a-r away

If you happened to be

Lisa and David and Rachel

Eight and Five and Three

***

I made up something new

I wanted to break rules

I wanted to set them free

I wanted them to remember

When Mom and Dad were there

Once upon a Time

At the Last Covered Bridge

In Wisconsin

I told them they had to run

Run!

Through the long dark tunnel 

And all of them had to 

SCREAM!

***

At first, they stood still

What?

We always were telling them

To sit still

To be quiet

To look both ways

And now

Nothing?

***

Looking so very stern

While their Mom stifled a laugh

I said to:

Lisa and David and Rachel

Eight and Five and Three

No screaming?

No ice cream!

And they all took off

Running in the dark

Like atoms bouncing in a Universe

***

Their legs were of different lengths

They ran at different speeds

Lisa first so fast

Then slowing down 

To be with the

The younger ones

I ran after them

Making sure no one fell

But Lisa was ready for that

I could see

 Mom could see

Being an older sister

Is a special 

Responsibility

***

They arrived at the end

Together

Gasping and laughing

Sweaty and happy

If all of life could only be

As magical as running through 

The Last Covered Bridge

In Wisconsin

I asked, “Again?”

Breathless 

Shining eyes nodding:

Yes!

Lisa and David and Rachel

Eight and Five and Three

And they ran, ran away

***

One more time and they were spent

Eyes drooping

Chests heaving

Mom and Dad 

Racing five miles

 To the Ice Cream Parlor

They scampered out

Tripping over each other

Yelling out their orders

All at the same time

The waitress laughing

The ice cream came

Small faces covered with 

Chocolate & Butterscotch 

Whipped Cream & Cherries

Mom cleaned them up

Calling it a “cat wash”

Faster than even 

Daddy’s eyes could see

***

We carried them out

Dad with big sister

Her sleepy eyes closed

Head on his shoulder

Her longer legs dangling down

Mom with the little ones

Eighteen months apart

All asleep for the

Long trek home

***

I saw in my mirror

As they leaned on each other

Like drowsy puppies in a pile

I so wished 

For only a moment

That I could just once be 

Oh, so free!

as

Lisa and David and Rachel

Eight and Five and Three

Still were 

In 1983

***

1 Comment »

Comment by Brad Dechter

May 25, 2022 @ 8:48 am

You make me feel like youth is wasted on the youth! Oh to be young again!
Thanks for the imagery- I could see the smiling faces and the ice cream extravaganza!
Great one Bob!

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