Lost Crossings: Letters from the Family

Katey and Shane,

I just read your book, “Lost Crossings.” I truly enjoyed it. You brought to light the significance those bridges had long ago and created a new interest in them. Everyone I speak to about it has a story pertaining to a certain bridge. My uncle used to cross the Roses Branch Bridge to visit my aunt when they were “courting.” I live in New Jersey but am very familiar with Mitchell and Yancey Counties. I felt I was riding along with you two while you were searching for the bridges. I could picture it all in my mind. What a great escape for me! What an adventure for you!

I’d also like to thank you for preserving in some way my grandfather’s legacy. George Canipe was a wonderful man and a most loving and fun grandfather. He was a great storyteller who loved people and liked to stay busy. He never bragged or sought special recognition for his hard work. The work itself was his reward. It means so much to me and my entire family to have him recognized in such a meaningful way. After he died my mother tried to get a bridge named after him but was turned down. George always kidded, ” What’s a decent, taxpaying Democrat have to do around here to get some action!” Turned out he was right. We would all like to sincerely thank you for your work and for being so kind to my grandmother, Corinne. I read your blog about meeting her and you did the right thing by picking out a scarf.

[family member’s name]

Katey and Shane,

Thank you for writing the story of my hero, my dad, George Canipe. Last year when my mother told me about your visit to her house, I never imagined that you would write such a wonderful account of my father and his work.

As a child, you dad is always bigger than life, a mystery who leaves every morning then comes home in the evening with a shirt stained white with salt from prespiring so much during those hot summer days or in the winter with hands chapped and cracked from working out in the cold. A soft spoken man who holds you on his lap even when he is so very tired from his labors. As you grow older and too big to sit in his lap, you sit on the floor at his feet and bask in his love.

My father was a simple man, not very well educated, but able to do everything. he could build anything, our house, furniture and bridges. I loved to go with him and see his bridges. I will admit I was often afraid to walk over most of those swinging bridges, well at least by myself. I remember helping my father master multiplication and division, yet he could design and draw a bridge to scale and tell you exactly how many pieces of lumber and nails it would take to build that bridge.

My father had a big heart and liked to help people in need. And he cared about his community. he served as fire chief of Bakersville for many years. During his tenure as chief, everyone received formal training and the department received its accreditation. He served as an alderman for Bakersville as well. He always had a smile, a wave or a handshake ready for everyone he met.

My children have wonderful memories of their Pa, who took them fishing, let them drive his truck and who introduced them to his bridges. They have seen your book and will be ordering some of Shane’s magnificent photos as a memorial to their Pa.

Thank you again. I would like to meet you both sometime .

[family member’s name]

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