We used to walk, holding hands, near the river when first we met. Soft voices with words of affection used to be exchanged. Rain sprinkles falling on my face and teasingly trickling tiny pricks of cool wet upon my bare arms left memories of this day. It’s been twenty years about, since this walk, this shared gentle stroll. We were experiencing the newly built river walk, The East Race, it’s been named. It was one of the early eighties modifications South Bend Indiana was attempting to construct in attempts to transition the deteriorating façade of the city. This water way was promoted as one of the premier training centers for the kayakers or canoeists to run the rapids for about a mile. It was also aesthetically pleasing to the ears and eyes. They had built it as part of the small waterfall dam built earlier in front of a glass face building, The Century Center, and posing as a sentry, a sculpture by Mark di Suvero, named ‘Keepers of the Fire‘.
I recall walking in the narrow pathway built as part of this river walk for people just like us two, at this moment, walking hand in hand appreciating each other along with natures vein, named after some ‘saint’, The St Joseph River. I’m sure his last name wasn’t ’river’. Interestingly, this river is only one of two rivers in the United States that flows north. It’s a tributary of the Mississippi that empties into Lake Michigan. For informational purposes only, the other one is The White River that runs through Indianapolis in Indiana.
I would be singing a song, not remembering all the words making them up as I sang. Roberta wouldn‘t know, she would pretend to enjoy my voice which was pretty good back then when I had great pitch. We’d stroll along listening in the background to the white capped rapids running like ants do, attempting to find all the new crevices and openings to this newly built pathway while on it’s seemingly unending sojourn. As we walked along this man-made trail we would come up to a stairwell where the waterfalls could be heard drowning the sounds of the river. Overlooking this was a restaurant, The East Race Emporium, where she and I shared a meal while looking out o’er the river. We both knew the underlying subtle nuances of a soon to develop relationship that has now encapsulated twenty-two of our years. This can be recaptured if we once again enter onto this river walk pathway and nostalgic moment in time. This may re-nourish the waning novelty and romanticism I, we, maybe had envisioned so many quickly passing years ago. Maybe all it would take would be one more stroll while holding hands!