On our recent fishing trips I decided to take a road we had not traveled for several years. This road took us through the town and area that I spent my early childhood. It also took us down the first and last road that my dad worked on during his career in the Oklahoma Department of Highways.
Traveling through Arnett and south on Highway 283 brought back a lot of memories to me but when we came to the South Canadian River and crossed the "Packsaddle " bridge I had a longing to be a child again. This area had fond memories for me and my family. Returning home I found this poem that my dad wrote about "The Bridge". It had always been his dream to be a part of building a new one over the river if the need came. It was his last job before his retirement.
Cuttin' The Ribbon By Pat Richard
This little piece of ribbon maybe ain't so much to see.
Just a shiny scrap of fabric, but it means a heap to me.
Cause to me it signifies the realizin' of a dream.
That someday I'd help to build a bridge
to span this might stream.
For long the South Canadian was a river wild & wide.
And the only way to cross'er was to ford 'er at low tide.
Until there came an Engineer by name of C.V. Word.
To build a bridge, the like of which home folks had only heard.
A majesty of structure built of concrete, steel & wood.
He built it high and handsome and he made it strong & good.
To stand the awesome pressure of the river at high flood
And after fifty some odd years, still straight & proud it stood.
They named the bridge "Packsaddle" for a creek that runs nearby
And many came to cross her and to gaze a wonderin' eye.
But nothing lasts forever, so they say, and it is true.
And the thing that men call progress, done what nature couldn't do.
For though she'd whipped the river and had never known defeat,
The behemoth trucks of modern times have made her obsolete.
So now we have replaced her with a structure wide & new,
And we named it the "Buzz Bradshaw Bridge, Packsaddle Number Two".
She too will stand the test of time, she's solid, sound & true.
And I know she'll do the job just like she was designed to do.
I watched her rise from bottom up, she'll stand for many a year.
And I had a hand in buildin' her, as Resident Engineer.
So as we cut the ribbon maybe you'll forgive my pride.
Cause I think she's mighty pretty reachin' out from side to side.
And I hope she stands a hundred years for all the world to see
Before thy had a need to build, "Packsaddle Number Three."
A friend told me to post some of my Dad's poetry on my blog and I thank him for asking. Dad was a poet in his own right and mostly enjoyed writing "Cowboy Poetry". I will have to share some of that with you at a later time.