Friday, April 18, 2008

The Marion Camera

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Marion, North Carolina a dreadful little town. The Chamber of Commerce types would coo, "Oooooh, it GROWS on you!" The same thing could be said about jock itch: "Oooooh, it GROWS on you!"

You have to wonder about a town that finds it necessary to greet visitors with the warning not to park on the sidewalks.

Was that a problem?

Were hordes of drivers so stupid they could not distinguish a sidewalk from a parking space? And if they were that stupid, what makes you think they would read a sign, much less heed it? But I guess the sign works. I mean, I didn’t park on the sidewalk ONCE during my visit.

Before I could finish pondering the first sign at the edge of town, a great big billboard caught my attention.

At best, using celebrities to promote mental health services is a questionable strategy. But Abraham Lincoln? Vivien Leigh? What demographic was Tanyi trying to reach with this billboard, anyhow? The Rhett Butler - Ulysses Grant set?

The guy that called me "depressive and shrill" last week should go to Marion. Right there in black and white on the Tanyi’s billboard is the very image of "Depressive" and "Shrill" personified as the beloved "Abe" and "Viv". I feel better now.

While visiting Marion, North Carolina you could go shopping at the Lady Marian Plaza.

But why would you?

Their sign must have been the most modern thing in town. In 1966. And why Lady Marian? Robin Hood’s girlfriend, I assume. But that’s Marian with an "A". The town is Marion with an "O". So why do we have the Lady Marian Plaza? What’s the point? Might as well throw in a "T" and call it the Lady Martian Plaza!

It was lunch time and my belly was rumbling. I pulled over at the Western Sizzlin and was about to scurry in for a quick bite until I read their sign. The ENTIRE sign. "Mr. Roach?" Suddenly, I wasn’t hungry anymore.

Actually, there was only one reason I left Interstate 40 to cruise Marion. I intended to take a photograph for you. But the one and only photograph I planned to take was the one photograph I could not take.

You see, Marion did have one feature I found attractive, and that was a camera shop built to look just like…A CAMERA!

I went out of my way to snap a picture of it, but there was just one small problem. The camera shop was gone! Vanished! Vamoose! Poof!

I learned my lesson. I should have taken a picture of it last year, when it was still there. Thank goodness for cyberspace, where I did manage to find an old photo of the camera shop that looked like a camera.

So while I wouldn’t go so far as to call Marion, North Carolina a dreadful little town, I contend that now more than ever the virtual Marion is far preferable to the real one.

I discovered the photo of the Marion camera shop on a really nifty blog by Sarah Bryan called "Field Guide to What’s Good." It's an awesome collection of photos showing us the South at its very finest!

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