There are only two reasons for me to consider moving to Perry County.

First, my entire family is now there. So that is powerful.

Second, drinking is amazingly cheap. I met Terri at The Hole-in-The-Wall on Saturday around 12:30, when I rolled in to town. She had 3 vodka drinks; I had two Jameson’s and 3 Corona’s. Total cost – $21.98. About the cost of a single martini in a major city restaurant.

Reminds of the time I stopped in at the ‘Chat-n-Chew’ in Malad, Idaho with Jim Gallegos and Shawn Forney. Shawn and I had driven to Salt Lake City airport to pick Jim up. We drank hard for 3 or 4 hours and the tab was around $25 or so. And this was back in the day when Shawn and I would drink a shot with every beer and we were amateurs compared to Jim. He was a legend and an inspiration. Of course he died young, which only enhanced his intrigue and reputation.

We immediately offered to buy the bar and move to Malad. But the old timer was not selling, so we moved along.

The downside of living in Perry County is that aside from my family, every other resident thinks Donald Trump is a genius and a great President. So the racism, irrational nationalism, sexism, and general ignorance is alarming. Otherwise a great community and I always love visiting. Probably if I lived there, given my unabashed willingness to speak my truth, I would get my ass kicked once or twice a week.

Before I hit the road on Saturday morning, I ran 9 miles on the Ohio & Erie Canalway. It was hot. Fucking brutally hot. And I was not as prepared as I might have been. I did not drink enough before I left and took no water. The last 3 miles was tough. In the full sun and I suffered. But I slogged through with some embarrassing walking spells—anyway, by then, the difference between walking and running was negligible. But at least I got out and got er’ done. I bought a gallon of water at the gas station and headed south.

Straight down 77 to 70 and then to route 13 in to Somerset and The Hole. Terri and I had our drinks, chatted, and listened to jukebox music. I am a very big fan of old dive bars with good jukeboxes and cheap drinks. It is top 5 for me. I can make a good martini at home, but it’s hard to re-create that atmosphere of a great old dive bar. Although, my friend Natasha in Dullstrom, South Africa gave it a shot.

Her husband Trevor, a super cool (and lucky guy to be married to Natacha), built a bar in their living room. When I visited, he placed himself behind the bar and served our drinks and played Jerry Jeff Walker all night. He was also a lover of the small bar experience. I had never met Trevor when I first visited. I knew Natacha from our time working together in London. Trevor took me on a tour of his farm. One of his blueberry fields had a pond next to it. I was looking out over the farm and turned back around to ask a question and all I saw of Trevor was his white ass disappearing into the water. He had dived in for a swim. His clothes were on the bank. I declined to join him. A little shy I guess, with a guy I had just met.

Anyway, this was before they had kids. They have two now, so I am planning to visit soon and see if the bar has survived the kids. Also, I gave them a nice bottle of Veuve Clicquot and Natasha has assured me they will not open it until I return. We’ll see. Perhaps this is the year to return.

Saturday, after the Hole-in-the-Wall, we migrated to mom and dads and Terri made a great meal of mussels and pasta with garlic bread. We sat outside and caught up on family and politics and all things important.

Sunday morning, Larry picked me up at 7:30 and we drove to his lot where his house is now under construction. He had a hell of a time getting the project started because the spring was so rainy it was too muddy to dig the basement and foundation. Also, work hours in Perry County are, shall we say, flexible.

If you organize to hire someone for a project, and you agree to a time and place to meet to get started, there is a 50/50 chance they will show up at the appointed time. Or even the appointed day. If they happen to run into someone with a cold pack of beer…..well, what’s a guy to do but be neighborly and drink for a few hours and work can wait. I honestly both respect and disdain this behavior.

A couple of years ago I sat around for days waiting for the two carpenters I hired to assist with my camper project show up. Finally, I packed up the whole operation and moved it to Columbus and got help there.

Anyway, Larry’s house is underway in a beautiful wooded lot on top of a small hill just south of the city, off of 668, just by the Sweeney’s farm and Clouse Lake. It’s a gem of a lot and completely isolated.

Next we drove to the their commercial building where Larry and Terri have started re-modeling Terri’s flower Shop (Rosy Red’s) to become the new restaurant. More details on that project as it unfolds.

Sunday we all gathered for Yvonne’s birthday party. But first she and Terri and I had Bloody Mary’s on the deck. Not a damn thing wrong with that. Meggie came with Dylan and Zach and Jamie came with Gradyn and Zane. The family is expansive. Aside from politics, where we have nothing in common, I have a good healthy respect for my nieces and nephews.They are all good, attentive parent’s and all work hard and take good care of themselves and their families.

I left around 4:30 for the 3-hour drive home. It was sunny and beautiful driving across Ohio farm country to my little home in Cleveland.

Many of these photos are from my run along the canal route–clearly I was not in a big hurry on this training run.

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