Those barns and old buildings in Appalachia and surrounding areas painted with “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco” advertisements have long caught my eye. Traveling through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio as much as we did when I was a child, I recall always taking note of these painted ads. Maybe it was the vibrant gold color they used for some of the lettering, maybe it was the no-nonsense typeface, or maybe it was simply how old the ad was — in some cases the ad could barely be read as the barn had begun it’s slow architectural demise toward mother earth years before.
So while the tobacco ad usually catches my eye, in this case the beautiful red color of the barn — as if stained by blood itself — caught my eye along US Route 220 in Durgon, Hardy County, West Virginia long before I noticed the ad. Sometimes these photo ops occur so fast along the road that a person’s sister can nearly suffer whiplash as the photography obsessed brother whips a ninety degree turn from paved rural highway onto loose gravel country roads with little to, well, no warning. For that I am sorry, Bridgett.