Verrazano Bridge

So I trundled over the hump-back bridge that connects Assateague to the mainland. It was a sunny Veteran's Day Weekend, but the wind was biting. I crested the hump and was wondering why the horses don't saunter over the bridge and break for freedom when I noticed a figure at the foot of the bridge on the mainland side.

It was Izzy, my imaginary friend. Izzy is the one who travels from historical marker to historical marker trying to find a way to break through his writer's block. So far, this historical marker project has not successfully loosed the floodgates, but he keeps trying. And I am always happy to lend a hand, even if he never runs with my story ideas.

"Ho! Izzy!" I called.

Izzy jumped a bit, startled (I assumed) from his intense concentration on the words of the marker before him:

Verrazano Bridge

Named in 1976 for the courageous Florentine navigator, Giovanni Da Verrazano (c.1485-1528.) In the ship La Jauphine under a commission from King Francis I of France, he explored the Atlantic Coastline of North America in the spring of 1524, searching in vain for a route to Asia. In the crew of 50 was his brother, the map maker Girolam Da Verrazano. Some historians believe the navigator came ashore near here, calling the land Arcadia because of the beauty of the trees.

"Now, there's a lot to go on there," I told Izzy. I emphasized my statement with a firm nod of the old noggin. "So many ideas spring immediately to mind."

Izzy just stared at me.

"You know, er," I said. I wanted to be careful to avoid any talk of searching in vain. "You could interview folks around here and find out what it was like on that fateful day."

"Fateful day?"

"You know; the day the bridge strummed itself to pieces because a stray breeze kicked it into harmonic overdrive or something. It'd make a great disaster story: human drama (cars flopping hither and yon) and maybe even courageous animals. Ooh, I know! Maybe the key love interest is saved by one of the famous ponies. He catches her sweater in his teeth just as she's about to hit the freezing waters of Sinepuxent Bay. Brr."

I shivered for effect. Izzy chewed on this nugget for a moment before responding.

"What are you talking about?"

"You know," I said and pointed at the bridge behind us. "The Verrazano Narrows Bridge."

"The bridge in New York?"

"You mean it was a bridge in New York that failed because of wind-induced oscillation?"

"No," Izzy said. "It was not."

"Oh," I said. "So, this is the bridge that fell apart?"

"Stop that. The bridge you are thinking of is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge."

"Oh," I said. "That's a relief. I was a little worried about walking back to the campsite. Hey, speaking of campsite, do you want to join our camping adventure? The horses are very friendly."

"No, thank you. We have struggled through three million years of evolution to climb up to this miniscule plateau where humanity is no longer required to sleep on the cold, hard ground," Izzy replied. "It would be an insult to our forebears. Besides, the horses bite."

"They do?"

"Now, look," Izzy said and patted me on the back. "I really do appreciate your help here, but what I need is just a little bit of quiet while I think."

I nodded. See, I would have said, "Sure, no problemo," but he had just requested quiet, so I was being quiet to show him respect and all that. That's what friends do for each other; you know, show respect and stuff. Even if they're imaginary friends. Respect, yep. And a little encouragement, too. I quietly thought good, encouraging thoughts at Izzy. Izzy, who is like a brother to me, even though we only met this year. Astute readers might point out that the fact that Izzy doesn't really exist might hinder his chances at being much like a brother. However, I'm forced to point out (in response) that I don't have a real-life brother, either, so he's that much closer to being like a brother right from the get-go.

So, at any rate, I don't know how brothers interact, but I'd imagine that brothers would support each other in their endeavors in the same way that I stood there quietly rooting for Izzy. Of course, to be honest, as I watch the Brunette's brothers, the word "quiet" rarely springs to mind.

"And so there were these two Verrazano brothers trapped on a ship for months on end. I doubt they were quiet!" Izzy looked at me. "Oh, did I say that out loud? I was just thinking --"

But Izzy strolled off. "Where are you going?" I shouted. "Izzy!" But he had disappeared into the mist. I started back up the bridge, but as I reached the top of the arc, I felt a little bit of a breeze. I stopped and felt for vibrations with my feet. Nothing, yet. Then, my mobile phone rang. It was the Brunette.

"Uh, so, you want to drive up to Ocean City for some pizza?" I asked. "You could drive over here and...Oh, I see, you have the fire going. Well, hmm." I looked to the bottom of the bridge. "There seem to be a couple of angry-looking horses between me and you. And I think the bridge is shaking. You sure you don't want to spend the night at the Comfort Suites?"

0 thoughtful messages from friendly readers: