Piano Bridge, Dubina, Texas

“They don’t make ’em like they used to” is a phrase that I remember repeatedly hearing growing up, though I am unaware from who’s mouth that refrain was most aptly spouted. My guess is that it was my father, who has a passion for watching vehicle restoration and auto auction programs. Where I am very much value artistry and beautiful final reveals juxtaposed from the early finds, my father is wired to also better understand the mechanisms which fuel the functions to propel the automobiles.

Where I appreciate the final shine and distinctive lines, I am less concerned on the “how” the motor runs, as long as it does and specific horsepower calculations. I’m less concerned with a 0-60 as long as I get there in style.

This week’s location incorporates both form and function; both style and structure. In the small town of Dubina, Texas, just west of Houston near Schulenburg stands a piano wire truss style bridge erected in 1880. The bridge was rumored to be named a piano bridge based on the twanging that the piano wire would make as one crossed. However, since a restoration in 2011/2012, the planks have been nailed down.

The bridge crosses a portion of the East Navidad River. As the river moves under stretches of I 10, divided as East and West portions, I have a habit of singing a reimagined version of “Feliz Navidad” as I pass.

I have never seen “troubled waters” pass below the bridge in Dubina, but because of the piano association, Aretha Franklin’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is the unequivocal choice. There is a force behind The Queen of Soul’s voice that is not often replicated. The body of work that the late Aretha Franklin left was not easily overlooked. She was a picture of grace and strength as she established her career and cemented a place in our hearts.

I can’t tell you about the specifics of a vintage restored automobile, especially one I don’t own. But, what I can say is that in a field of powerful and dedicated soul singers, in many ways, I am assured that they don’t make ’em like they used to.

Be kind to one another, y’all. Until our next adventure!

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