I loved and feared the lake.
I loved the ore* boats and their romantic mystery. They were massive and terrifying. I wondered about the men who waved from the decks as the ore boats sailed by the river bars in the Cuyahoga Flats where I'd sit with my dad. I'd sip Shirley Temples. Dad sipped Strohs and lit Marlboro 100s with a Zippo lighter.
Whiskey Island. The Hulett Ore Unloaders. Steel bridges that moved up and down to accommodate the freighters--who said dinosaurs aren't real?
On November 11, 1975, towns like Cleveland learned that they'd lost a few of their own brand of Veteran in the night. I will never forget it. Tears welled in my eyes as I watched the following footage.
*When I originally posted this, I misspelled "ore" as "oar" throughout. Thanks to Paul for pointing this error out to me. The funny thing is that I intentionally went through the essay to ensure I had the right 'ore' up there, but I guess my own oars weren't quite in the water that day. Pray I am forgiven before all of blogland!