• Published 3rd Feb 2023
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Up The Ohio Canal - BlueBook

J.H. Wilkins is a prominent Cleveland businessman in 1850. He takes a trip on the canal boat Sylph to Akron. However, it turns out to be more than he bargained for when he catches the eye of the boat's captain... a lady pony!

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Lock 37: Alexander's Mill

We traveled but a short distance, perhaps a mile or two, along the canal before we encountered our next landmark.

Another collection of small buildings was nestled against the side of the next canal lock. There was a general store, and some houses, and many smiling faces and waving hands jutted out of windows to greet us as we locked through.

Rosemary gestured with a hoof ahead of us, as the Sylph slowly rose upwards, and the view ahead cleared. “Look sharp, Mr. Wilkins! If’n it's mills you’re looking for, Mr. Alexander’s can’t be beat.”

Indeed, there ahead of us was a large mill, its fresh red paint contrasting with the surrounding green countryside and rusty water of the canal. It was the first of many I’d see on that trip, and yet the most picturesque. The water splashing over the wheel, lying alongside the canal, its three stories towering overhead, and a quaint little cupola silhouetted against the sky, seemed as if they had emerged from a painting.

A wagon, painted the same shade of blue as the sky and piled high with grain, came rumbling along the dirt road that ran down to the mill. A tall, bearded man in his shirt sleeves commanded his large, barrel chested brown horse to halt. He waved his broad, black hat at the Captain, and called, “Safe travels to ya, Mary!”

“Good harvest to you, Al!” Rosemary replied.

The brown horse whinnied, raising his head and shaking his harness. Rosemary raised a hoof to her face, and flicked her ear, but said nothing.

I raised an eyebrow, but thought better of asking what he had said. A moment passed. The only sounds were the plodding of the team ahead, the jangling of their harness, and the creaks and groans of the boat.

Rosemary cleared her throat. “That, uh, was my friend Smiley. He’s... not so bright, or refined, but he’s got lots of spirit.”

I ran my hand through my hair. “Ah, Yes. I know the type. Quite popular with the ladies.”

Rosemary guffawed. “Indeed.”