If you ask, I'm obligated to respond

Friday, September 17, 2004

Here are a few items from the mailbag:

Hey, Joe -- what about that last bridge blast? -- "Dynamite" Dan

Dear Dan: What's to think? The bridge fell down. I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but all bridges will eventually fall down even if there are no explosives involved.

I can tell you, however, that I would have done things differently.

First of all, why blow the bridge to smithereens when it could have been put to use elsewhere?

Yes, I know the Missouri Department of Transportation tried to sell the bridge to someone with a river and no way to get across. But there isn't a big market for that sort of thing.

So, I would have hooked one of the big spans up to some of those huge helicopters and airlifted it to Old Appleton, where folks have been trying to restore their own old bridge for years. With the addition of one of the big spans from the old Mississippi River bridge, Old Appleton would have been the proud owner of two old bridges. There aren't many towns the size of Old Appleton that can make that claim.

I also would have airlifted another chunk of the old bridge to somewhere near the intersection of Sprigg Street and Highway 74 -- just a few hundred yards from the new bridge. Pedestrians could have used this section of bridge to get across the busy highway instead of crossing at the crosswalk a few feet away. Surely the old bridge could handle foot traffic.

Finally, I would have parked a section of the old bridge at one of the highway department barns located around the state. I hear all the time about some bridge or other being washed out. Wouldn't it be nice to have a spare bridge ready at all times?

Dear Editor: Enough of the decorating tips! Who cares about what you do at your house? And stop belittling your wife. I can't imagine how she has put up with you for 40 years. She must be a saint. -- Disgusted in Diehlstadt

Dear Disgusted: You have no idea how close you've come to hitting the nail on the head. My dear wife has been embarrassed, surprised, distraught, caught off guard, stunned, shocked and chagrined over the 32 years this column has been in existence.

And our sons, even though they live thousands of miles away, wonder if they dare turn on their computers on Friday mornings.

But, if you've been a faithful reader and not just one of those fickle hit-and-miss readers, you should know that my wife also has been praised and acclaimed in these columns far more often than any of that other stuff. Why? Because she is a saint. So you're definitely right about that.

As for the decorating tips, you should take a deep breath and thank your lucky stars you have someone who is willing to share practical advice that will not only make your surroundings nicer but -- if you're really alert -- save you from the pitfalls and heartbreak of divorce.

I give you all this advice for free. The least you can do is get your money's worth.

Mr. Sullivan: Can you offer any proof that the downtown golf course is still alive? -- Teed Off in Tilsit

Dear Teed Off: You're still asking about it, aren't you? That proves the golf course is as much of a reality now as it ever was.

R. Joe Sullivan is the editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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