Taryn Lawson

By this point, I assume that a majority of Defiance city residents have — either out of necessity or sheer curiosity — crossed the great Maumee by way of the new Clinton Street bridge.

It appears to me to be quite a fine bridge; seems sturdy. If you haven’t yet had a chance to travel from Defiance’s north side to its south (or vice versa) via this freshly completed piece of infrastructure, never fear: simply log on to Facebook or Twitter to experience the dozens of identical videos posted by Defiance drivers (or preferably, passengers) who deemed it necessary to record their maiden crossing and share it broadly.

I’d be remiss not to use this space to celebrate the bridge opening this week, if for no other reason than to balance out all the complaining I did during its closure.

In February, I kicked things off by grumbling (in written form) about the lengthy detours. In a July column, with six months of detouring under my belt, I was able to narrow my focus to a more specific complaint about the life-threatening way newcomers to the U.S. 24 entrance ramp were navigating its use. Last month, I bemoaned the inaccessibility of both the gym I attend (however infrequently), and the establishment from which I (less infrequently) procure my midnight snacks. It bears note that only one of those places actually saw my return this week.

Did anyone else feel sort of ... funny crossing the bridge for the first time? Maybe a bit apprehensive, as if you weren’t quite sure what was going to happen (even though you very much did)? I’m having trouble identifying the source of this unease; did I expect that the whole thing would collapse?

It did not, but it was unfortunate that immediately after crossing the bridge, I attempted a right turn onto East River Drive, only to realize that area was still closed. I didn’t let it get me down. You know what they say about gift horses...

Despite having crossed a bridge in this spot hundreds of times before, I have to admit, there was something surreal about it, as though when I got to the other side, I felt a tiny suggestion, just a whisper, of the excitement one might feel upon realizing they have successfully teleported. Tim Hortons was right there!

It’s not “the Clinton Street bridge” any longer. No, the new structure has been named Purple Heart Bridge, which I think is a more-than-fine name, a nice tribute to those medal recipients who were wounded or killed during military service.

But I wonder how much time is required before a name change like this really “takes hold” in public conversation.

”There was a fender-bender on the Purple Heart Bridge.”

”The suspect fled the scene in a white Kia, then traveled across the Purple Heart Bridge...”

”Well, the easiest way to get here is just to cross the Purple Heart Bridge, then...”

It doesn’t really work yet, does it?

Every day at a certain time, I stop off at home to take out my dog, so he can do what he needs to do. He circles and circles, sniffs and sniffs, and I watch and wonder what in the world makes this such a complicated decision. It’s a whole routine.

Unfortunately, Monday’s routine coincided with the bridge-opening ceremony, and I, as someone who lives near the bridge, wound up trapped in my driveway, in my car, as all of town rolled through the neighborhood to have a look. Rather than being irritating, it struck me as some sort of jolly, Midwestern parade. Plus, with those detours out of the way, I have a few minutes to spare now...

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