There is a unique little spot on a road near highway 65, close to Mason City, Iowa. The name of this town is Swaledale.
When a traveler is privileged to pass by this little town, your heart will be filled with nostalgia.
As a traveler approaches this little town, one of the first things that will catch your eye, is a line of signs.
As you approach the first sets of signs you will see, “Looking for Swaledale?” “Swaledale Ahead” “Here It Is” “Welcome You Is” “Next 7 Exits”. And, yes, there are seven exits, an exit for each North and South street in the town, I presume, as the population of the town was 174 persons when the census was taken in the year 2000.
There is one sign which simply states, “Rock”. It has been placed beside a large rock that I presume has been there since time began. And, your eyes will catch sight of a sign which states, “Important Sign Ahead”, followed by, “Important”.
The groups of signs which bring on the nostalgia are replicas of the old Burma Shave Signs. Here is a sample. “Little Birds” “These Signs Cost Money” “Sit a While,” “But Don’t Get Funny” “Burma Shave”
Would you like one more? “Hardly a Man Grows Old” When Reading Old Orville’s Signs” “Instead of Watching the Road”.
Well, we read them each time we pass, and receive a good chuckle, and scan the roadsides for more. For some reason, we are still growing old.
Oh for the return of the old Burma Shave signs,
The sweet signs that kept travelers from growing old.
They added mirth and relaxation for all,
And to some, were like finding pure gold.
Children learned to read speedily, and laugh and not cry
They’d vie for who’d find and read the next line.
Life would surely be better, and the pressures less,
If only we had those witty Burma Shave signs.
Disclaimer: I’m not sure I remember the exact words of the signs. You had better check them out when you are privileged to visit Iowa, the state where the tall corn grows.
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