Missed the bridge by seconds but phoned it in

 
I have a really tough job. Every day in the summer I have to figure out how to cross the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge to deliver my daily newsletter to my good friends (and advertisers) at the South Pier Inn. Or I should say, how to time my trip across so I can deliver the papers and get back before it goes up again.Today, Sunday, July 5, 2013, was not my best day for timing my sprint. On the good side, the John D. Leitch was set to enter the Superior entry to load iron ore pellets at the BN but had a change of heart and perhaps more to the point, needed to get fuel at Calumet so she decided to come in using the Duluth entry. My readers would be able to see her come in and better yet, I found out about it before I printed the paper.Next challenge, I went out to take my run across the bridge to the Inn, at about 10:23 this morning, knowing that I would have enough time (8 minutes) to get across and back before the bridge went up to let the Vista boat come in at 10:30 (the bridge only goes up on the half hour for smaller vessels). I started across. After all, this was my 46th issue of the summer and I had the pattern down good. I could make it across and back in 8 minutes, if no one wanted to talk to me. As I approached the bridge, I saw the Leitch way out there and the Vista boat  approaching the Duluth piers. I stopped and did some mental calculations (not my strong point, as you will see). The Leitch was far enough out there that I had time (I thought) to deliver the papers and get back again before the bridge went up for the Vista boat and maybe the Leitch too. So I started to run across, ran into the South Pier Inn, threw my papers on the counter and ran out (luckily, no one wanted to say hello). I had 3 minutes left, I started to run, just as I arrived at the new light they installed, it turned from walk to stop. I thought I still had enough time to cross, since I still had 2 minutes left before she went up. But I thought about the clean record I have had for the last 15 years. The bridge has never yelled at me, as it sometimes does and someone tries to beat the system. I stopped, said a bad word and turned around.

I decided to take a walk down to the water behind the Hotel; might as well get some exercise since I could not get back to take a picture of the Leitch. We don’t see her so much these days. I ran into Dale and Bette Sola, the owners of the hotel. They were out back tending to their wonderful garden. I started to tell Dale (at right, taking me for a ride on his luxury liner) my sad tale. He added to it by reminding me that it was too bad I didn’t have my camera since the light is better on that side of the bridge in the morning. I felt worse, then realized I had my iPhone on my hip; it had a camera in it. Most of the world knows that but I keep forgetting since I am a snob about taking pictures with a phone.

But it was a chance to turn defeat into victory. I phoned the pictures and the Leitch went by, I crossed the bridge and started to write this. Above you see the symbols, thanks to Dale, of my victory, the work of my iPhone. Now I just have to remember to get my finger away from the lens when I take an iphone picture.

Kenneth Newhams :