Had time to spare on the way to a contra dance at a folk school , so dawdled and stopped to snap some photos along the way. The folk school holds workshops in basket weaving, broom making, blacksmithing, and mountain music among others. It is tucked into the corner of a tiny town that is also known for its New Years Eve possum drop. Yep, they drop a possum in a basket at midnight at the corner gas station. Now, I’ve never witnessed this jaw dropping event, but I’m assured no possums are harmed. Unless they’re afraid of heights.
This reminds me of one of my favorite road signs that marks the way to Possum Holler. It’s spelled holler, just the way it’s pronounced. But my favorite all time road sign is this one:
The photo’s a bit blurry because I took it from inside my car. No way I’m getting out of the car to become chigger bait. We’ve been warned!
Minutes later I drove pass a small civic center that boasted this sign “Voter Precinct. Fairplay.” Now I don’t know if the town is named Fairplay, or if it’s a warning to the voting public to be on their best behavior, or just wishful thinking. But in this rowdy election season, I think all voting stations should put up a similar sign.
Friends from out-of-state got lost on the back roads when trying to find my Tennessee mountain home one time. They were nonplussed, however, as they got pictures of many colloquial road signs for their trouble, like “Fish Kill” and “Frog Level.” I guess that’s the rare place in a mountainous area that’s so flat the frogs’ eyes are level with the ground. Here’s another good one:
The ones I passed by but were noteworthy were “Hardscrabble Road” and “Friendship Road.” It makes you wonder about the history of a place. I also like country roads named after earlier inhabitants, with old timey first names like Zell, Ollie, and Mose.
I grew up on a street that was originally known as “Poverty Ridge.” Luckily the name was changed to a non-descriptive one before I was stigmatized. Then a millionaire bought the property next door, put thoroughbred horses on it and named the stables “Poverty Ridge”. They went out of business a few years later. They were warned!
Think: Do you know the history of the places that surround you? Who were the original inhabitants of your street? How has the neighborhood grown up?
Say: Ask your neighbors what they know about the neighborhood.
Do: If you don’t know your neighbors, take this opportunity to introduce yourself. Hold a neighborhood potluck or holiday party to get to know one another.