Sunday, May 10, 2015
We Were Once All Commuters: Chapter Three
Laddie and Jake, the boys of our tale, are no different. The last big adventure these two boys had was an evening ride over the three bridges that lead summer traffic to the beach. Bicycles and pedestrians were banned from traveling over these bridges because of the high speed of cars and the bridges being designed without shoulders or sidewalks. It would be safer to hitch a ride over the bridges as many kids did each day to enjoy the sun, sand, and waves.
Laddie and Jake went for a ride following a BBQ dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers and stopped by the marina which looked out over the bay, They planned to sit and to listen to the silence of the night arrive on the shore. The bridges could be seen over to the east of the marina. Jake broke the silence, "Hey, Laddie, lets ride for the bridges and hit the beach before calling it a night."
Laddie knew this was a bad idea, but he reluctantly agreed. "Sure."
The first bridge was simple. It was wide on the shoulder compared to the other two bridges, but still narrow on the right shoulder. Getting hit by a car would push them over the low guard rail for sure. I slight miscue to the left could send them to the coroner while causing unnecessary grief among family and friends. But, older teens don't think. They just do; they act with out fear and believe they are indestructible.
The first bridge, as I said, was the easy one. As they approached the bridge they laughed at the sign warning pedestrians and cyclists to stop or possibly be fined or arrested. Their bicycles saw less and less action as they prepared to drive. Jake carried a radio and blasted his favorite songs as he and Laddie pedaled over the bridge. A few cars whizzed passed them. Laddie shuddered as he felt the breeze. Jake pedaled strong. The two boys made it to the other side. Two bridges to go.
The next bridge was built over the inlet. It could be drawn up so larger boats and sail boats could pass through unfettered by the road. The draw bridge section of the road was made of metal grating. Two large control towers stood above the draw bridge. It made for a cool design. When driving over in a car, Laddie imagined gun turrets atop the towers defending the island from a naval invasion. But today, tonight, there would be no invasion. Jake rode over the bridge and lost hold of his radio, and it smashed onto the metal grate. A few buttons and a couple of batteries fell to Davy Jones' locker never to be recovered. Now the ride was silent. Darkness set in.
Laddie shouted ahead to Jake, "Don't stop. Keep going."
"Ok," Jake replied.
Thank goodness Jake listened to Laddie because just as the radio crashed to the road, a semi truck blew by the two boys and completely shattered what was left of the radio. Jake turned white.
Two boys. Two bridges complete. One bridge to go.
The last bridge lay in front of Laddie and Jake. The last bridge terminated on the barrier islands where so many locals and tourists enjoyed the hot summer days and nights. It is beautiful to spend a day or a night at the beach. At night, the ocean sky is pitch black. You cannot see anything. You feel the sand under your feet. You hear the waves crash upon the shore. you hear the wind blow passed your ears as the tall grass in the dunes bend back with the breeze. Once over the bridge, a tall light house would provide a little light. It was bright, but high in the sky. It illuminated the night so shippers could set a course away or toward land. The light did not and could not provide the boys with proper illumination for walking about the dunes nor the beach. Yet Laddie and Jake started to pedal for the last bridge while looking at and heading for the lighthouse.
Until the lighthouse... I will see you on the road.