The Bridge is Coming

Photo courtesy @ashleeattebery

D.J. Neeley | Civil Patriot

Where I live, in the Piney Woods of East Texas, there are a number of old bridges that cross rivers and creeks. Growing up, I lived just north of the San Jacinto on a big piece of property. There was an old highway (59) that crossed the river just north of Humble, (the town made famous by Humble Oil, which later became Exxon). 

As a kid, my parents used to drive us “to town” (into Houston) on Saturdays to visit my grandma and grandpa. On the way home, we would see that big steel arch bridge coming from over a mile away. My kid sister would bounce up and down in the backseat—you could do that back then, before the days of mandatory seat belts—and would squeal, “The bridge is coming! The bridge is coming!” 

She really thought the bridge was moving toward us. I never had the courage to tell her it wasn’t moving at all. Instead, we were advancing toward it, and at a fast rate of speed with my daddy behind the wheel. All of the power was in our hands, not the bridge’s. It was just a neutral entity, meant to protect us from the waters below. 

2021 is coming. Or, rather, we’re barreling toward it like a car filled with squealing kids. Instead of facing it with the usual New Year’s excitement we’re buckled up tight, eyes squeezed shut, a little terrified to cross over the San Jacinto. 

But it’s coming, regardless. And I don’t know about you, but I feel about as twisted up on the inside as my mama’s old dishrag whenever I think about it. 

Here’s my take on where we sit as we barrel up Highway 59 toward the bridge.  

  • First, there’s a bridge to take us over. We don’t have to swim across the San Jacinto to get into 2021. It might feel like it at times but most of us, despite our hardships, are safely tucked away in houses with running water and electricity. There’s food in the pantry and clothes on our backs. We’re tougher than we thought. 
  • Second, we’ve got each other. No one will have to look back on the crisis that was 2020 and say, “Man, no one else knows what that feels like.” Everyone knows what it feels like. . .and it sucks. 
  • Third, moving forward is the only option. We’ve been through hell in 2020 and we’ve lived to tell about it. But this isn’t the time to hyper-focus on that. You’ve got to imagine your daddy’s behind the wheel of the old Oldsmobile station wagon and he ain’t slowing down. He’s sailing over the waters below, no looking back. 

Which brings me to my final point:

  • Don’t look back. 

As my grandpa used to say, “You can’t move forward when you’re looking in the rearview mirror.” 

2020 is the rearview mirror. 

2021 is on the north end of the San Jacinto. And I can tell you from prior experience that what lies on the other side of the San Jacinto is a sure sight better than what we’ve just been through. 



  1. Bless you for that insight. I agree with everything…except about what lies on the other side of the San Jacinto (I can speak to that–I used to live in Cleveland, Tx.). I guess it is because I live in a bedroom community of Austin now and have ample opportunity to observe members of the left and their response to the political situation as well as Covid 19 that I don’t want to cross into 2021 too hastily.


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