Have you ever been driving along, road zoned, briefly break out of your trance, and seen a sign such as “Zilford Earl Franklin Memorial Bridge”? Who gets to choose the names of those memorialized? Who are these people? How do you get chosen for such an honor? Is there a test? A lottery? An application? A vetting process? Are bribes involved? Are campaign contributions required? Are the names drawn from a hat at the strike of 12:00? Do Elves choose them after they’ve cobbled our shoes at night? Does anybody know? It’s a mystery on par with what is the “shelf-life” of a Poptart!
Some choices can be readily understood; Presidents, Governors, War heroes or even Elvis. But really, who are the rest of them?
I’ve decided that I want one of these signs! I don’t want an Interstate sign, though. Nobody reads Interstate signs. Besides, Interstate driving is where you catch up on your sleep. I want a great big bridge sign. Everybody reads bridge signs. If I can’t have a bridge sign, then I want mine to be on a curvy, winding secondary road. If you fall asleep on one of these, you’ll be wearing my sign. Well, as long as it gets read.
Now, you may think that my desire for one of these sign is pretty morbid. It may conjure up images of death, toe-tags, post-mortems and eulogies. Not so fast, Gentle Reader! On an Interstate Highway not far from where I live is a Big Green Sign: THE ROBERT C. BYRD MEMORIAL HIGHWAY. Bob Byrd is the sitting, Senior Senator from the ”Great State of West Virginia”. Senior is not an accidental adjective in this case. Now, I admit, it’s not unusual for the deceased to vote in WV, however, they are usually discouraged from running for office! We leave that to Missouri.
My family has a long-term relationship with Bob Byrd. My great-great grandfather was the first medical Doctor in Wyoming county, WV. He started the family tradition of voting for Bob in the mid-1800’s. During THE GREAT DEPRESSION, Bob, the fiddler, played music with my great uncles, Alec and Jimmy Wallace. They played live on the 11-Watt radio station in Williamson, WV. When I saw Bob’s sign I became very concerned. I hurried home and tuned in to C-Span. Whew! There he was! Holding court in the Senate Chamber. He looked so cute. All propped-up up with sawhorses and 2×4’s. If he ever leaves the Senate, I want to hire his staff. They are good! Bob hasn’t been seen walking since”Y2K”. When he votes, they gently direct his hand to the yea or nay button. They are real good!
Have you ever seen Bob speak on the“Floor”? Many people are in awe of his histoical knowledge. Bob is always willing to hammer home a point with an ancient anecdote; Caesar crossing the Rubicon, Hannibal crossing the Alps, Pioneers crossing the Praerie, somebody crossing something, anybody crossing anything. These are not dry historical facts to Bob–They’re childhood memories!
The “ROBERT C. BYRD MEMORIAL HIGHWAY”. HMMMMMM….It may not be as inappropriate as I first thought. On second thought, cancel my sign order.