I, and a friend, took a 450 mile road trip in the tristate area about the Ohio River. We passed the Lordstown , the Stratton and Cardinal plants. We signed books, in order to seek work, in Steubenville, Wheeling and attempted Belle Vernon, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania. In Steubenville, the form included the line on racial identification, the old, and presumably out of favor, terms: Negro and Oriental.
We encountered much roadkill, especially deer and coon. The leaves of the trees on the appalachian hills were brilliant in the sun, on a very warm day, in mid-October. Approaching the river, towards Steubenville, a fog sat over the river and up the banks to make the river invisible. There was a chemical stench that would not lift. Martin's Ferry seemed small and stolid, and we passed Mingo Junction, hardly noticing. I sang some of the lyrics of The Banks of the Ohio.
The towns were proud to note their favorite sons: Lou Holtz, Dean Martin, Robert Ulrich, Bill Mazeroski, Stan Musial. A good deal of livestock was visible on farm hillsides. Wheeling looked past its prime and cramped. We also crossed the Monongahela, and pumpkins were available from farms. Dried cornstalks stood in fields.
Along route 7 and elsewhere there were signs for local candidates. One for prosecutor had a visage, very similar to Terry Bradshaw. Over all we saw more Obama signs than McCain. The union halls in Cleveland, Steubenville and Wheeling all had yard signs, available, from the Trumbull county Democratic party. Somewher on the Ohio side, there was, on a billboard, the Quaker dove, stating “War is not the answer”, the same side was in Wheeling. At St. Clairsville, we heard a radio advertisement, by bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley, advocating Barack Obama. At a gasoline station, in Ohio, there came out of the family truck, with Pennsylvania plates, a very tall, and slightly husky, pizza complexioned kid. He was wearing a black tee shirt, with the printing: No communists No socialists Nobama