Why am I here? In order to catch up on work a bit, I fled to West Virginia for two days with my half-pit bull and rented a low-price cabin on AirBnB. Soon I learned that West Virginia was allowing some bars and restaurants to have outdoor seating.

I’ve written dozens of pieces from bars across America. Whether it’s at DK’s in Williston, Freddy’s in Brooklyn, Smitty’s in Uniontown, Mulligan’s outside of Cleveland or the Rusty Bucket outside of Columbus, the clientele have had a story to tell that can be drawn into a larger story.

Usually there’s a conclusion about politics, or culture, or marriage, or economics. Tonight there is none.

At the Longbranch, there’s a range of politics, and a complicated mixture of opinions on coronavirus lockdowns. There are strong views on China and trade. But mostly, there are happy faces greeting neighbors and colleagues, and there are hugs and handshakes. Everyone has a good time at Longbranch Saloon on a Monday Night.