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It Ain’t Us What Needs A Bridge


Most states that have a river separating them have the border in the middle of the river. It’s convenient, makes mapping easier, prevents water fights and generally works well. The saying goes- “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Seems simple enough.

Ohio and Kentucky have the Ohio River as the natural separation between them. The problem is they don’t use the middle of the river as the border. For reasons lost in history, the Ohio River there is all in Kentucky. It never presented a problem until Cincinnati got the Feds to pay for fixing the bridge between Cincinnati and Lexington. The Feds were going to pay each state ninety per cent of the cost. That’s where the plan went all to Hell.

“Uh, Director, the river is all in Kentucky except for the on and off ramps in Ohio.”

“Yea, so? We give the money to Kentucky to fix the bridge. Why are you bothering me with a small thing like this? This doesn’t say much for your future as a bureaucrat. I better keep an eye on you. I bet you went to a public college.”

“Yes sir, but there is a problem with that. The Secretary of Transportation in Kentucky said he doesn’t think the bridge is his problem and won’t come up with the other ten per cent.”

“He what! What the Hell is this? Getting nine free dollars for one is a great deal. Son, you come along with me. I’ll show you how it’s done. Make an appointment with the guy and I’ll have him begging for the money as quick as I can talk.”

The appointment was set for Lexington three days later. The Director was pissed about that. The meeting should have been for the next day. The Kentucky Secretary said he was busy until then. He also said he didn’t see why the Ohio Secretary of Transportation needed to be there. “It ain’t none a his business what Kentucky does. He can come to the meeting but he best keep quiet.”

The meeting was set for 9a.m. The Director knew it meant 10a.m. They were called into the Secretary’s office at 11a.m. The Secretary sat behind a huge, paper-strewn desk while the Director, his assistant and the representatives from Ohio sat in chairs facing him. The Secretary didn’t speak at first. As the host he was supposed to open the meeting. After a few minutes he said, “Okay, we’re all here, I guess. Now, what’s all this tomfoolery about Kentucky paying to fix that bridge.”

The Director said up straighter in his chair, coughed and replied, “Kentucky isn’t going to be paying to fix the bridge. You’re only paying ten per cent. The United States Transportation Department is paying 90 per cent. You can’t get a better deal than that anywhere.”

The Secretary mulled that over for a while. Actually, he was only sitting there for affect. “Well, now, I’d say spending nothing is a whole lot better than spending anything. There’s a deal for you.”

“Yes, but the bridge needs repaired and this is the way to do it.” This was from the assistant. The Director didn’t like him saying it although he would have said the same thing.

“You say it needs repaired. I don’t say that. I haven’t heard a single complaint about that old bridge.”

One of the Ohio reps spoke up at this. “We receive complaints daily about the danger of the bridge. The damn thing is falling apart.”

The Secretary looked at him and said, “Why, that’s a shame. People down here ought not be complaining to Ohio about their troubles. That’s just not right.”

“No, it’s Ohio drivers complaining. They come over the bridge to Lexington and then back to Ohio. They are getting scared to drive on it.”

“Well, now, that’s something entirely different. Your folks come here to Lexington because our sales tax is lower. I fail to see why we should foot the bill for your drivers. No one here much drives into Ohio anyway. I think the problem is between you and the feds. That’s what I think.”

“I agree. The thing of it is- the fed, er, the Transportation Department says the bridge is all in Kentucky. We are willing to pay the cost but that’ illegal. Ask him. It doesn’t make sense but there it is.”

“That seems dumb if you ask me.”

The Director said, “No, it’s smart. We can’t make the taxpayers of Ohio pay for a bridge in Kentucky. God, man, that’s not going to fly any way you look at it.”

“Well, Kentucky ain’t paying for a bridge we don’t need and, to be honest, don’t really want. Hell, we don’t want those buckeyes here anyway. How about you feds spend the 90 per cent and get the bridge as good as that will pay for. Ought to do, I think.”

The Director said he’d never heard of anything like that. The Secretary thought he must be a bit deaf so he repeated it. The Director thought he was trying to negotiate with him.

“Look, here’s the way it is- The federal government doesn’t negotiate. We tell, you do.”

The Secretary mulled that one over for real. He looked at the reps from Ohio and at the Directors assistant.

“Boy, you ain’t in Washington now. Y’all in Kaintuck; bluegrass country. Y’all can tell all you want to but you ain’t gettin’ a dime of our money. Y’all get too much a it as is. Now, there’s a nice state trooper outside to escort y’all to the airport. Don’t come back, ya hear?”

“You can’t talk to me like that. I’m from Washington.”

“Son, you ain’t there now. You’re here. You can pay all of it or pay none of it or whatever you want. You ain’t getting any money from us. Last time we stayed on your side; don’t make us regret that.”


The Rob Saga The Rob Saga is available as an ebook and in paperback. It is available at Createspace and Amazon.


There are people living on the edge in what is called Appalachia. They're called ridgerunners, rednecks, hillbillies and backwoods mountaineers. No one thinks of them very often. They don't earn much to society's standards.They stay where they are because they love the area. They are hard workers when they have work and self-sufficient to an extent not known to "outsiders." They are also very funny; they have a great sense of humor about themselves.

They are the salt of the earth and the backbone of America. Their stories are America's stories. These are the stories Of Appalachia.

Book is available as an e-book or in Paperback.
See a preview.

Appalachia Again

More stories of the people of Appalachia.

More of Joe Bob, Bubba and Earl, Mosh Henry and all of the rest of the good folks in Wabash County.

Book is available as an e-book or in Paperback.

See a preview.

Funny Stories Don Roble
Funny Stories
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