Penguins Crossing SignI drove to Indianapolis last weekend, a very boring drive through lots of farmland, and enroute became more aware than usual of touching, whimsical, or downright amusing things I saw along the way. So here are a few, and I’d bet that everyone reading this can think of similar item(s) to share for our Friday enjoyment.

I saw a local business with “Logan Nose On” on their sign. Those are all over town this time of year, but I hadn’t dug more deeply into the meaning of “nose on.” The Logan Center, a South Bend organization that provides resources and opportunities for people with disabilities, began an annual event in 1988 selling green foam noses to raise money and awareness. Known as the Logan Nose-on, the fund drive sells these green noses (and other paraphernalia) and also hosts a luncheon and has other related activities. Yard signs that are a big solid green circle with no other lettering, representing a green nose, sprout here like spring flowers in March, and it’s for a very good cause.

Just outside of town is a billboard showing a physician in traditional doctor’s garb, with a swaddled newborn in each arm, but the “face” of the babies is paper currency, and it’s rather startling. I had seen it a couple of times, and this time I paid more attention to it. Turns out that the organization is FeedthePig.org, and their website is full of savings tips, discussions, resources, etc. for saving money.

Driving south along Indiana Rte. 31, I was passed by a semi with “syndicate” in the name on the side of the trailer, which always makes me think of the Mafia. In this case it’s Syndicate Sales, Inc., a manufacturer of floral supplies. The name on the driver’s door of the cab, “Hurryin’ Hoosier Transport” made me smile.

Further down the road, there’s a large billboard advertising “dentures only” in big letters. Half the billboard is a large photo of the smiling, white haired, white bearded dentist offering these dentures. He is a dead ringer for my daughter-in-law’s father, who owns a technology consulting company and is anything BUT a dentist. I chuckle every time I see it. “Why, there’s Phil!”

Continuing south, there are lots of yard signs supporting both sides of a hotly debated local issue — a wind farm in Tipton County, Indiana that could bring $300M in new money to a badly depressed area, but has local residents up in arms. Some signs tout the influx of welcome money, but others warn, “Get the facts” and, “stop the wind farms.” As I can attest from uncounted numbers of trips, the area is mostly wide open farmland that would seem a good place for wind farming, but apparently NIMBY is a strong opinion. I can’t, of course, take sides, since it wouldn’t be In My Back Yard.

Also in Kokomo, a town devastated by the collapse of the auto industry that is beginning to show hopeful signs of life, I spotted a home with a gasoline pump from a service station holding their mail box receptacle. Why do you suppose someone would choose to put a gas pump in front of their house?

Kokomo’s Markland Mall sign featured “Brow Threading” this weekend. Now I’m not exactly sure what “brow threading” is, and I freely admit to my UN-hipness, but it sounds painful and I don’t think I’ll be stopping there any time soon.

As always, off-topic is just fine, but I would be delighted to read about interesting items of local culture that you all see as you travel about your daily business. Maybe, as was true with me, you simply don’t really pay attention until something makes you look more closely. We aren’t likely to see Burma Shave signs these days, but this could be fun!

“If you / Don’t know / Whose signs / These are / You can’t have / Driven very far”

Photo by MSeses, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.