'When He was on the cross, you were on his mind.' Another of the countless, some imaginative, appeals to join the faithful, particularly across coastal Mississippi, a very depressed area where eventual salvation seems to be the only hope. That's a hasty judgment to be sure; we're only driving through after all but it looks pretty grim. In Louisiana there was no less poverty but much less religious fervor. Likewise here in Texas. Hardly anywhere in the south, however, is there a break in the endless enormous billboards calling our attention to all manner of services nearly unseen in the north.
Some are clear albeit clearly speaking to badly depressed conditions. These are the thousands of businesses whose sole enterprise is either 1) to advance money on expected paychecks, on auto titles or on deeds or any other instrument of value, 2) to pawn valuables or 3) bail bond services. In some cases about half the entire commercial activity of a small village are these three businesses. 'Eliminate/Delete Bad Credit ($99 down). Satisfaction guaranteed!' is another sad example. It's easy to imagine, looking around, the number of folks whose circumstances are only made worse by these enticements.
Others hawk legal services and these are quite specific and always accompanied by a huge photo of the lawyer whose services are featured: '18 Wheeler Injury' or 'Specializing in Offshore or Explosive Injury and Wrongful Death' or 'Fast resolution of Hurricane Ike Claims'
Others are less clear. One huge billboard, perhaps forty feet long and a hundred feet in the air queries 'BAD GIRLFRIEND? TIRED OF YOUR LIFE?' and then a 800 number. Elaine is still companionable so I haven't called yet. 'Can't lose it all? Do What You Can; We'll Do the Rest. Drive in Drive out lipo suction' was tempting.
I've had several e mails from some of you back on Vinalhaven complaining about the weather. When did you all become such whiners? Is it simply because you are there and we are here? We are not without our trials I can assure you. Early yesterday, hours before the temperature here in Austin climbed to 72 degrees, a fellow whose house was in a little dip, had some frost on his windshield. You could hardly see his gun rack. Everyone was trying to help but it was I who saved the day, being from Maine and what not. No one else knew what frost was and I'd brought my big two foot ice scraper with me. As I approached, everyone looked approvingly at me because while they didn't know what I had in my hand they were quite sure it was a weapon and that's good enough down in these parts.