Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Signs of the Times...

Oh, sure, one of the elephants is PINK.

Even if you are cold sober as you hop off I-95 onto US 17 South heading to Savannah, there they are...two very large pachyderms!

They stand in front of a giant fireworks store.

The intent is to catch your eye, you pull over, park and go inside to buy lots of firecrackers, aerial bombs, and a handful of B-90s. Be very careful!

So far, I have passed at night and the store is not open.

But, recently I stopped and saw that a new warning sign had been added to the exhibition.

Obviously, someone HAD done some climbing so now they are warned NOT to do it.

That's the deal with such warning signs.

Before a person could whine and say "Well, there wasn't a sign saying I couldn't do it."

Even the Lincoln Memorial in Washington had to tell kids of all ages not to use the tempting slide.

(Guess there would be no rule prohibiting sliding UP the railing..except Gravity, of course.)

My camera and I have been observing such warnings and capturing them when seen. Lately, using a cell phone.

 Sadly, warning about the obvious is not limited to just the United States.

I saw this at the conclusion of a summer tour of (some) of Buckingham Palace in London.

OK, let's assume it was a Yank with his vacationing family.

Here they were with a blanket and a picnic basket and the wide, vast, well-manicured green lawn called to them!

Hey, they reasoned nothing says we CAN'T do this here. Now, there is proper signage.
They even threw in a ban on smoking, just to irritate the French tourists.

Sometimes, in lieu of a Welcome sign, the message is all about what will NOT be tolerated.

Let's see...yep, it pretty much covered everything I was wont to try.

Sometimes just concealed weapons are banned.

So, strap on your holster and 6-shooter, podner, and let's see who raises a shaky hand at you.

The ban or warning could be taken out of content misleading a newly-licensed driver.

But, keep your eyes - and tires - on the road.

This is a familiar advice sign you can see many times on Folly Beach, SC.

It IS called "The Edge Of America" but this refers to parking your car on this barrier island 12 miles from downtown Charleston, SC.

I once got a ticket even though I heeded the warning. It did not specify which way to be headed, parking on a one-way street.

Here is a sign with an image called an "Easter Egg."

Sure, we all have seen the familiar signage on their vehicles but had you noticed the green FX portion forms a white direction arrow?

Warning, do not try to study this design while driving!

Clever but awkward to explain to the police when you rear-end the car that stopped in front of you.

Remember, you are always at fault hitting someone in that direction..back of their car.

Well, unless you can prove they were driving in reverse.

OKAY, technically the sign on the left really is a sign you see a lot overseas.

It is a non-verbal way to say the exit is over here.

No language problems.

BUT, I added some signage myself to make a visual joke.

But, cause and effect is not always a pretty picture!

My diet has me counting carbs so staying away from bran.

I also have not seen this "EXIT" sign locally. Whew.

I used to wonder how business was at this Auto Paint and Body Shop.

Not where I would have gone for any finishing work on my car.

A few years ago, it was bought by new owners who specialize in Asian food.

They did clean up the exterior too so I have dropped in for a meal or two.

Guess the previous owner concentrated on what happened inside his shop and did not worry about the rest.

As the region starts to gear up for the next hurricane season, it is good to check details when buying storm-related equipment.

Businesses have caught on to people who buy products specifically helpful in getting through such seasonal woes as loss of power.

During Hurricane Hugo 30 years ago, my folks were wind-battered, lost 9 pine trees (all fell AWAY from the house and lost power for about two weeks.

They were unsure just how long, as it was not a pleasant memory. They recall standing in lines to purchase Dry Ice but gave up as the outage dragged on.

They did say their insurance company paid them for the lost frozen food and some shingle-replacement costs for the roof.

They added, the company later went out of business within weeks. Oh yeah, the check cleared!

Let's wrap us this sign exercise with a view I had while touring Ireland several years ago.

I was pleased to see a lot of English on this mixture, not just Irish.

Not always the case on the Old Sod.

Even the ubiquitous British expression "Mind The Gap" was on the platform edge at the tube/subway but, here, it took off in a flowing script I could not figure out.

I took a guess, minded where I stepped and later found out I was correct in my transit assumption.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for "signing on" to this silly overview of signage.

It could become my signature style of blogging.

A Sign of things to come.

You might say, a clear sign.

And, with that, I am signing off.

And, that's a sign of progress.

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Monday, March 11, 2019

"Happy 103rd birthday, Mom!"

 Well, no, she did not reach the triple digits but she lived a helluva good, long time.

March 5, 1916 was when she was born and she passed just a few days after her 96th birthday.

She would have smiled and wished everyone a "Happy St. Paddy's Day" at her funeral down in Yemassee, SC.

I returned to Charleston after my divorce in 1993 and was living on James Island in a neat little brick 800 sf building at the end of a winding dirt road.

Mom had retired as an LPN from St. Francis Hospital after working downtown for 25 years.

Yes, they gave her a 25-year service pin, a gold watch... and a rather small pension.

She once complained to me how $139 a month after 25 years with the hospital, was not very much money.

I agreed it was small by today's standards but she had been collecting it each month for nearly 30 years!

We did the math: $139 x 12 months equaled $1,668 a year.

Times the 30 years she had received a retirement pension check would be a total of slightly more than $50,000!

That put a smile on her face and she said "OK, where's the fifty grand?"

(The photo above shows Mom playing around, pressing her face on the hospital copy machine many, many years ago.)

The photo on the left shows Mom joining me for a beer on a Sunday afternoon at the now-closed Backstage Deli in North Charleston.

Not a drinker, she had agreed to pose with me and a yard of ale I  had bought for this photo opp.

This was the only place I knew that gambled on using the tall, fragile glasses in a public bar.

You had to hand over your driver's license before they would start to fill the glass.

That deterred people from sneaking out the door with the costly souvenir glass.

It would have been difficult to hide it under your coat or sweater.

And, of course, you had to also steal the wooden glass holder.

Breakage finally called a halt to the use of these special glasses, I was told by the owner.

In this other "drinking" photo, Mom was hoisting a glass of Welch's fizzy grape juice that was as close to her version of an alcoholic toast that we shared to welcome a new year.

Needless to say, I had filled my glass with real wine.

A nice pinot noir to be precise.

On New Year's Eve, I would attend the Retirees Drop-in at the Post and Courier.

For many years, I brought home the bottle of "fake" wine the paper handed out.

After I had returned to town for a few years, my dad went into a nursing home.

 Mom asked me to move in with her because she did not want to be alone in her home.

My brothers were married and living elsewhere so I was the available son to do that for her.

I did move in and she stayed in her home for another 10 years with me as her "roommate."

It was good for both of us.

One side of the house was finished as a bachelor pad for me.

(Dad was a carpenter and had expanded the 800 sf house they bought in 1962 to 2,000 square feet.

First thing he added was a 1,000 square foot workshop because that's where he made his money.)

After I moved in, I had a deck built on the back of the house so mom could relax on sunny afternoons. Two overhead fans made sure she was comfortable out there.

Another fan was added to the front porch so she could "move with the sun" from one to the other.

I had a good deal, a nice house and my mom asking if I would be home for dinner that night.

She liked to cook and now she had a son at home to cook for.

My cousin Francine (Pookie) continued her visits to see mom as she had done for years when we all lived downtown at Meeting and Society Streets in Ansonborough.

She had driven mom to visit dad at the Mt. Pleasant nursing home for several years until he passed away.

Not surprising, when mom could not continue to stay at home, even with paid caregivers, the choice for Assisted Living was Sandpiper, the same one she had selected for her husband.

Very social, Mom had a delightful, spacious room, filled with her furniture, pictures she loved on the walls and mementos she treasured.

 Unfortunately, after only 5 months there, she suffered a stroke and was moved to the nursing home part of the facility.

She was diligent in her physical therapy and regained most of her speech and the use of her left side.

I noticed that once a week, adorable dogs were brought to Sandpiper to comfort residents.

I like that, so one day, I packed up Wallaby, her cat, and brought him to visit her.

Might have been the first cat to visit.

She was asleep when I arrived. I carefully took him out of the carrier, put him on the bed and gently placed her hand on his head.

Memory - or his purring - awoke her and she smiled as she petted her feline friend.

I visited mom often and joined her for lunch many times.

Got to know the staff over the 4 years she was there and they did not mind when I took mom on a very FAST cruise around the facility.

Well, maybe they were concerned but I was careful and only did this when we were alone.

She would laugh and say "Go faster."

Which I did.

My younger brother Dennis moved from Clearwater, Florida, up to Summerville and he and his wife would come to visit mom.

We all would join her for meals and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Dennis captured a sweet moment when a colorful clown posed with her on a New Year's Eve.

He is on the right.

I later found out he was the husband of one of the staff who took care of mom.

When mom passed, she was buried on March 17 at her beloved Yemassee, where she had grown up as a child.

It's a place I stop and visit when I am heading down to Savannah.

Not as often as I should, but mom would understand.

She did not live to see me start being picked as an Extra in various tv shows and movies here in Charleston and down in Savannah.

She would have encouraged me to do this and hope - with me - that maybe someday I would even be featured and given a line or two.

Mom's are like that.

(Click on the photos or links for more information.)

I did not finish this entry in time for her birthday so I wanted to make sure it was posted before the anniversary of her funeral.

Thanks Mom.

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