I miss roadside Burma Shave signs. Humorous rhyming jingles, placed one line at a time on each of seven orange signs spaced several yards behind one another, advertised Burma Shave along major highways when a major highway contained only two lanes. We youngsters, always included (whether we wanted to or not) in the weekend leisurely family drives, often tired of the license plate game. Fewer cars travelled at slower speeds. The sight of orange signs ahead broke the monotony of open space and always perked us up. We knew a chuckle or laugh awaited.
In today’s stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper traffic or speeding on eight-lane freeways, chuckles or laughs join yesteryear’s Burma Shave signs.
The child in me still looks for roadside humor. Here are some I’d like to share:
Unless Mom likes to fish, why gift her with a can of worms?
Sweeney Ridge, San Bruno, California
Not humorous, but it caught my attention.
Northern California and Oregon, Pacific coastline
Borax Visitor Center, Boron, California
Ironwood Correctional Facility, Riverside County, California
Death Valley, California
My favorite is not pictured because these are posted on private property by a rancher who granted us permission to cross his land on condition that we not stop except to open and close his gates. Placed several feet behind one another, like Burma Shave signs of yesteryear, the first sign posted BEWARE, the second, DOG BITES, the third, MAN SHOOTS, and the final, YOU ARE NOW IN RANGE with circles around the word NOW as if it were an archery target.
Read all 600 of the original Burma Shave jingles in The Verse by the Side of the Road by Frank Rowsome, Jr.