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When I was young, it was a big deal when I could talk my grandfather into driving over the Red Covered Bridge on our way home to the farm, north of Princeton. It really wasn’t that far out of our way, but on days when time wasn’t of the essence, I used to get really excited when he made that turn off of Route 26 and headed down the country road that led to this wonderful area landmark. Of course, it wasn’t a landmark to me back then — it was just a fun trip across a covered bridge, complete with a history lesson from my grandfather and a whole lot of horn honking.

My grandfather used to tell me about a day when he would drive a team of horses across the bridge. He spoke of how he was thankful for the bridge, especially when there was a storm; he could keep his team of horses inside the bridge, so they wouldn’t be spooked as much. Every time we drove across that bridge, we stopped before we went through, and Grandpa would read the sign on the bridge about not driving a team of horses faster than a walk across the bridge.

And then he did what I loved most. He would drive the old, green Chevy across the bridge and honk the horn inside the bridge. It was so loud inside that old bridge, and the two of us would just giggle. If I was lucky, I could get him to turn the car around and do it again. Today, I still honk the horn when I drive through Captain Swift’s or the Red Covered Bridge — kind of a tribute to my grandfather.

But the history of the Red Covered Bridge is far more than a kid and her grandpa. In fact, this Monday (Labor Day) the Bureau County Historical Society is planning an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Red Covered Bridge. A brief program begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by a picnic lunch. I hope you’ll take a few minutes out of your day to attend this event. After all, the Red Covered Bridge is one of only five covered bridges in the state of Illinois that allows traffic, and of course, at 150 years old, it is also the oldest. This will no doubt be an event you’ll want to bring the children to — so they can tell the story to their grandchildren too.


What’s the BigDeal? The Bureau County Republican offers readers an opportunity to save some cash by offering its BigDeals! You can cash in on our BigDeals! at www.bcrnews.com. Following is this week’s BigDeal:

• Relax and enjoy a one-hour, full-body massage with Amy Hughes, licensed massage therapist, at her studio in Princeton. This is a great deal for only $25, since it’s regularly priced at $50.


Monday is Labor Day, and the BCR will be closed so our staff can celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Advertising deadlines have changed for the holiday, so if you have any questions, please contact your multi-media consultant or call our office at 815-875-4461.


Friday Night Lights! Friday night high school football begins this week in Bureau County. Watch Saturday’s BCR or www.bcrnews.com for results.

BCR Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus is looking for a couple of experienced sports writers/photographers to help cover fall/winter sports. Give him a call at 815-875-4461, ext. 231, or email him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.


Thanks to all the folks who have called, texted and emailed me about my new book, “Grandma’s Cookie Jar.” I’ll be signing copies at Hornbaker Gardens’ Artisan Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 7. I am so excited! I hope you’ll like what you find in “Grandma’s Cookie Jar.”


The heat is on! Take it easy these next few days. It’s going to be hot, and please check on older neighbors/relatives. Don’t forget your four-legged friends too. And remember ... you are important to me and the BCR.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at 815-875-4461, ext. 229, or at tsimon@bcrnews.com.

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