Supper on the Mississippi
By David Maggio
Editor's note: Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg welcomes David Maggio as a contributing writer, see his bio on the "our writers" page or RDHV.com; this is his first essay.
Coming up on Thursday, September 27, the United Way of West Central Mississippi is sponsoring “Super on the ‘Sip" i.e., the Old Mississippi River Bridge. According to their literature, over 15 restaurants will be lined along the bridge ready to serve you along with seating for you to enjoy the food and sunset with family and friends. Live music will dance through the air. What an amazing event to attend; this is the first time I of which I am aware of this happening, but more importantly, the proceeds will be used by our local United Way.
As many of you know, there has been an effort for years to open the old bridge to pedestrian foot traffic as a tourist destination and as an exercise pathway for local and visitors. Unless you are over 55, most of the people in and around Vicksburg have never been across the bridge in a car, let alone walking across the bridge. If you participated in the Over the River Run, your concentration is about running and not stopping to enjoy the view. So, this event will afford you a unique opportunity to view the river from a totally different perspective. Save the date.
However, for me, it is a little different. For two summers in the early 1970’s, I worked on the new Mississippi River Bridge, earning money to help pay for my first semester of the year at Mississippi State. When I started in the summer of 1971, the only part completed on the bridge was the structure steel – the 12” wide I-Beams that would later be the supports for the concrete. To get from place to place on the bridge, you walked on that beam, with nothing below me but air and opportunity. On our lunch break, after eating, each person that wanted to try, put a dollar in the hat, and the person that could throw a ¾” flat washer from the new bridge across and through the old bridge, without hitting any obstructions, won the pot. Of course, it had to be timed perfectly according to the traffic on the old bridge, but I paid for a few books that way.
So, on the 27th, if you see me eying the new bridge with a washer in my hand, just put a dollar in the pot and give it a shot.
For more information on Supper on the ‘Sip go to http://www.unitedwayvicksburg.org/sip