A week ago, we'd have been making our way up U.S. 221 in North Carolina. It's fascinating to leave the Interstates, to see how the U.S. is living. I'm always struck by how much more manufacturing I see than I would expect to see, given all the talk about how factories have moved overseas. But there's still plenty of manufacturing here, albeit much smaller operations; in other words, this manufacturing won't save the country.
I saw plenty of houses for sale, some of the same ones that were for sale last year when we made the same drive. That strikes me as a possible bad sign. We saw lot after lot of manufactured buildings, mainly sheds and playground units. One playground unit had a "Repo" sign on it--does that mean that the structure was repossessed? And if so, why would a new buyer care? Would it be a better deal? Would it be less safe in some ways?
I also saw a business establishment for sale, with "Ephesians 3:3" on the for sale sign. I was intrigued, and I looked up the Bible verse when I got home: "and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words." It's not the Bible verse that I would put on a for sale sign.
The last McDonald's in South Carolina had a reference to Jeremiah on a sign that advertised the McWrap. I didn't write down that verse, but an Old Testament prophet is not what I would have expected. Jeremiah would probably have choice words about McDonald's, but probably not words that would sell Big Macs.
We saw all sorts of great signs. My favorite: "Avoid a litter, spay your critter." Or maybe it was "Consumer Advocacy Employment Center" with a For Sale sign on it. Or maybe "Appalachian Outhouses."
There were lots of references to minerals and mining and hot springs, like Isothermal Community College and Thermal City UMC church. There were several spots where one could "mine" for gems. I might have thought about going to Linville Caverns, if I wasn't so afraid of closed in spaces.
In short, it's a very different world from the South Florida world where I spend so much time. I could feel my eyes and my brain drinking it all in. When I complain about how long those drives take, it's good to remember that there are benefits.
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