In preparation for my Paddlefest excursion this weekend, I cracked The Ohio by R.E. Banta, (Rinehart & Co., 1949–The Library has a signed copy). This rich and stylish history’s descriptions of the river, as well as those it collects, suggest that both river conditions and rhetoric have changed. The Ohio is beneath your feet. . . . The clear majestic tide, the fertile islands on its bosom, the bold and towering heights opposite, with the green alluvion in front, and the forest-crowned headlands above and below, round which the river sweeps away to bless and gladden the fruitful regions that drink its limpid waters . . . (Charles Fenno Hoffman in 1833). But it is Banta himself who executes the greatest romanticization of muddy water in the English language: Obviously it seems to the people of the Ohio to be pretty certain that their river flows through the most beautiful country and has the handsomest water–jade green to cream to coffee-with-cream to milk chocolate . . . “Pretty certain”, are you Mr. Banta?