A White Bread Town

When we got to the Cuyahoga Valley we realized we had no bread. Not a big deal, right? We could just pick some up at a store before we got to the park. Who knew we were embarking on a quest for the impossible!

Driving to the center of the town, we passed a few lone motels and headed to what looked like the main crossroad. We chose a direction and made our turn. But instead of supercenters or even strip malls, we found ourselves on a sad street of small industry. Little factories and businesses lined the road. Three out of every four were “available for lease” or “for sale”. The entire business district was almost abandoned. Not quite a ghost town, but far from a healthy economy.

We made a u-turn and took the opposite direction. But no better luck in our search for a grocery store that way, just a couple of churches and a gun store. Eventually we found an odd kind of convenience-liquor-lotto store combo where we were able to buy Wonder Bread (an American brand of packaged sliced sandwich bread).

The store owner seemed tired. No pleasantries in this rust-belt town drained of energy and hope, only desperation and fear, the churches and the gun shop…

And yet… The little houses we drove past were well-kept. Proudly decorated and landscaped with bright flowers and outdoor furniture, neatly manicured lawns and kitschy lawn ornaments. Their small town pride keeps hope alive despite the bleakest of outlooks…

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