Every One

Coon Dog Cemetery

Not your thing?

Stagger Lee’s Lounge

Still no?

Pickle in a Pouch

These bits were on a highway sign, on a fine drinking establishment, and on a special point-of-purchase display in a gas station, respectively. Now, I get that the things that strike me as funny or unusual (often the same thing, I find) may not be to everyone’s taste. But I’m sure everyone will enjoy this highway sign:

Hitchhikers may be
escaping inmates.

Unsaid, but surely implied: So, for the love of God, stop and pick them up. I mean, wouldn’t you want help, if you were escaping from inmates?

OK, you might not usually care about the ambiguities of English, but I think this one warrants a write-in campaign to get this sign edited. After all, safety before all, no?

Don’t pick up hitchhikers.
They might be escaped inmates.

OK, OK, let’s give up on signs sighted in our recent dash across a good chunk of the lower middle of the USofA and switch to landscapes. I’m pretty sure we can all appreciate the range of them, even if our taste doesn’t run to every one of them, or at least not for an extended visit.

America is a big place. In five days of driving we saw just a tiny sliver of it and were still gobsmacked by its beauty and, occasionally, by its ugliness. As we always are.

For the next month we’re in a part of America where teenage male cashiers are as likely to wish me a blessed day as not. From my buttoned-down mainstream-Protestant upbringing, “Have a blessed day” is not an expression that leaps to my lips. But even though I’m not likely to say it, you know what? It’s exactly what I want: for myself, for my loved ones, even for strangers. For people who really deserve it, whoever they may be, and for people who haven’t done much of anything to deserve it: people who need a blessing all the more.

So. Yeah. As Tiny Tim said, “God bless us, every one.”


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16 Responses to Every One

  1. Ken from Kenora says:

    As long as they are not saying the words “Bless your heart”, because we’ve broken that code a long time ago. A very nice collage Isabel.

    • Marion Neiman says:

      Someone I used to work with would say “Bless his little black heart”. Decided and out in the open.

      • Marion Neiman says:

        Sorry, that autocorrect gremlin changed decoded to decided.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Marion – I could fix it, but think it’s important that future internet historians understand the challenges we faced.

      • Isabel Gibson says:

        Marion – Hahaha. I used to say, “Bless his pointy little head” when speaking in affectionate frustration about one of the kids. When used in front of a francophone teacher, though, that expression stopped her “dead” in her tracks. Que?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Ken – Thanks. And yes about “well, bless your heart” although I suspicion that some of the subtext is in the tone. 🙂

  2. Jim Robertson says:

    Rural US in 6 photos. Well done!

    Your editorial correction to the escaping inmates is wonderful.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – Like Canada, the US exhibits a wide range of landscapes – much wider than what we saw between AZ and SC. It would be fun to get a through-the-windshield or passenger-window scene from every state (or province/territory for that matter). Except for the driving part.

  3. “Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates,” apart from its ambiguous grammar, is an arresting (no pun intended) commentary on the local penitentiary, or perhaps not so very local. Any number of jail-escape movies come to mind, as if all of America is available constantly, if not universally, to its (outrageously vast) population of incarcerated citizens. Rolling down the road, keep those cameras rolling! You may be headed for an adventure not on your itinerary.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – As I think back through jailbreak movies I’ve seen, there seem to be two categories of inmates bent on escape: the impossibly brutal and the falsely convicted. Do you suppose they give them different uniforms to wear, so we can choose our hitchhikers wisely?

  4. Tom Watson says:

    Sure makes a difference how you phrase things!

  5. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – Re; “Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates,”
    I have seen similar signs along a stretch of highway in Pennsylvania somewhat north of Gettysburg. I don’t remember the exact wording, but the message/warning was the same. As I remember it, the signs were about 10 miles on either side of the access road to the prison.
    I think it is nice of the Americans to provide warnings like that.
    BTW. Inmates looking for a ride would be in the act of escaping.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – It is nice of the authorities (penal? law enforcement? highway?) to warn drivers. You’re right: the sign isn’t grammatically wrong, it just admits of more than one reading.

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