By Troy Aaron Ratliff
Copyright 2011 Troy Aaron Ratliff
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When I was little, my mother used to drive me to the high bridge. You know the one. I know you do. Every small town has a high bridge. Of course, not every little boy wants to visit it and not every mother is willing to drive over it to make her kid happy for a few fleeting moments.
At five years old, though, only two things fascinated me more than anything else in the world: blaring, screaming ambulances – which I called “lie-lies” – and trains. The high bridge my mom would take me to was a tight, two-lane overpass above a lonely railroad track, ensconced by mature trees; the road bounding up over the tunneled tracks before coming back down the other side. I knew the way whenever my mom would take me. I recognized the sights of the neighborhood when we were driving nearby. It was only a stone’s throw from our house.
Remember, this was a few decades ago, before laws and shame were brought down upon parents who let their children be locked in car seats in the passenger side, instead of safely in the back. This was also around the same time that the signs attached to grocery carts prohibited kids from hanging on to the front of them, another favorite pastime of mine. The only silhouette not crossed out was the one with the child in the appropriate basket in the front of the cart, facing its driver. I got away with a lot in those days and I feel sorry for kids now. All the same, my mom would let me get away with it.