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oday, I ventured from my home to Buchanan, Ga., to pay my final respects to a very old acquaintance. We are not family; I would not even venture to say that we are, or ever have been, friends of any measurable level. The acquaintance of which I speak is an old and failing wooden bridge from my very distant past. This old bridge, spanning the Van Wert Street gap over the railway below, has been on the job far longer than I have been alive, and I am now 63 years of age. This old bridge and I have more or less "acknowledged one another" since I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade at Buchanan Elementary. Our family moved from Rome to Buchanan in the fall of 1965, and I became acquainted with the old bridge the very first time I rode the bus to school. From that first introduction, this bridge would bully me, taunt me and put the fear of death into me. For every day that my school bus passed over it, I always had an uneasy feeling that this rickety old bridge was going to collapse onto the rail bed far below and that we would surely fall to our deaths. It did not appear safe to me as a young child, and it appears much the worse for wear today. Regardless of my earliest opinion of her fitness, the number of children that she has safely shuttled to and from the school she watches over is beyond measure. Year after year and decade after decade, we have lumbered over her in big yellow buses, and we have walked across her by the classroom to go caroling on the court square at Christmastime. Later in life, some would choose her as a setting for prom photos. She took her charge Women’s Auto Clinic. for our safety with gallant Women’s Concierge Service. resolve – we were never in any danger where she was concerned. Now generations 770.832.9465 strong, we have accompanied our 134 Bankhead Ave., Carrollton children, and our children's children, along this same familiar path of

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our long past youth. If – like me – you were fortunate enough to grow up in Buchanan, this old bridge has become entwined not only in your formative years, but also in your adolescence, and beyond. She is as much a part of our lives as are the strong core values we received growing up here. It has now been 54 years since we first met, and yet she still stands vigilant, still on duty, still spanning the gap she was given the charge to oversee, so many decades past. The better years of this old bridge are now unfortunately behind her – her health has been woefully neglected. She has been put out to pasture, so to speak, deemed too old and feeble and unworthy of the task for which she was given charge. I understand that the railroad intends to tear her down this year. Knowing that she is nearing the end of her life, I felt compelled to visit her one last time – while I still had the opportunity. Today, I viewed the old bridge with a much different perspective, as more than a mere acquaintance. I did not doubt her at all. I walked up to her with no fear, striding across her full length with unwavering faith that she would not let me down – and she did not disappoint. Halfway across, while pausing to gently place my hand on one of her weathered railings, I shed a tear as much for guilt as for compassion. Reflecting backward, I must acknowledge that I did not properly appreciate her in my youth, but I certainly do today, now, in this moment of time. I feel a great sadness within my soul that her end is so near, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to prolong her life. She is quite a marvel, this old bridge, for she was


Profile for West Georgia Woman Magazine/Angel Media, LLC

West Georgia Woman Magazine August 2019