Thursday, May 27, 2010

At the Side of the Road

A couple of years ago I thought seriously of doing a photo spread for a magazine published by the Bay City news paper. I really enjoyed the magazine because it reflected the area of Michigan in which we live. Unfortunately, the economics of the time laid the magazine to rest but my interest in the potential of a photo spread has not disappeared.

I saw a lot of roadside residence signs in Florida and I see it a lot here in Michigan. When we drive along the shores of Lake Huron many of the homes have signs out front indicating who lives there. But not all signs have names - many of them are symbolic and I've been left wondering about what kind of a family lives there. One sign says 'Changing Latitude' and I've asked myself, 'Where did they live before they changed latitude?'. (We live at an interesting latitude here - almost exactly half way between the Equator and the North Pole And there is sign specifying that alongside the road between here and Alpena to the north.)

There's another sign a little south of town. It's a very large letter 'C'. I know about that house - it's the home of a former pastor in Oscoda (his wife is a local school teacher) and the C represents the first letter of their last name. Another aign along highway 23 says "Fishbones." I know about that one too - the sign is in front of my friendly car salesman's house. Sadly, it used to have a fish skeleton under it but twice the skelton has disappeared. Why would someone rip off a fish skeleton?

Yet another sign is half way south between Oscoda and East Tawas. Heading north it reads 'HA HA'. If you are heading south it reads 'Ah Ah. I don't know why but I always seem to look for that sign on the way home. And I wonder what the sign is really saying.

Then there are signs for resorts all the way along highway 23. This is one of Michigan's treasures - lakeshore fun and frolic and is a great place to be especially if you come from downstate - Bay City, Saginaw, Flint and Detroit. Somes times even Lansing or Midland. And it is a great place to be year round even in winter when there are lot of activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. My wife does not share my feelings about winter - she does not like cold and wind even when our lakeshore temperatures are not as bad as cen parts of Mchigan.

Finally, look closely at the illustration. It's a work of art which adds to the scenic value of our highway traveling. It opens up questions of who lives there, where they came from, what the family is like, and things like that. Maybe I'm just nosy, but nevertheless, the signs along the road make the trip more pleasant. Now that I think of it, I miss the Burma Shave signs from the thirties
and forties. Anybody remember them?

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