By John Matonich
I always enjoy seeing things that were done for one reason but then take on a different look with a host of folks who also see it differently than the original. (One that comes to mind is the picture of the sailor who grabs a nurse in Times Square and plants a kiss on her lips to celebrate V-J Day. It is a classic photo that has never had the kissers clearly identified even though there have been numerous claims.)
The picture was taken to show the celebration of a very important day in WWII history but has really become a trademark for the uninhibited celebration of a very important event of about any type. I suspect we will never know who the two folks were, but I believe not knowing makes this photo even that much more special.
Another that comes to mind is on a level that isn’t close the iconic sailor picture but is still special to me. When I first moved to Troll Land (the land below Da Bridge), I was driving to a project and went through the City of Burton. I didn’t know much about the city at that time, but the sign for a local tavern caught my attention. The sign was nicely done with the name of the bar and had an oval in the middle with 2 words on it. The top line said “Dancing” and the second line said “Sandwiches.”
I know the designer of the sign was simply trying to let everyone know that this place allowed dancing as well as served sandwiches, but to me I could only see “dancing sandwiches” and from then on this place was the dancing sandwich place to me. What I found amazing as I got to know more folks in Burton was how many felt the same way I did. Most folks I spoke with also only knew the place as the dancing sandwich bar. I guess the sign caught many folks looking and thinking.
I stopped in the bar a few times and always felt welcome. It was a nice place with some great folks who worked and frequented there. Later I met a young man who lived close by and when he wanted to describe where he lived, he started with “2 blocks from the Dancing Sandwich Bar.” I think I smiled more because I knew exactly where he was talking about than the description of the landmark.
I was traveling back to the lake the other day from a trip to Wisconsin when I spied a billboard that reminded me of the Burton landmark. The billboard was for a motel coming up in the next town. In big letters on the sign were the words “FREE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST” on the first line and WIFI REFRIGERATORS” on the second line. Now again, any reasonable person would understand that not only will this place provide you something to munch on in the morning, it also had Wi-Fi and refrigerators in the rooms. I didn’t quite read it that way. It made me think that there was special new appliance in the rooms and while I wasn’t sure why I would need a Wi-Fi refrigerator, it must be pretty cool.
I guess this motel will always have a special name for me and I am sure over time I will find a few folks who have read the sign the same way I have. Wait ‘til I tell them about the Dancing Sandwich Tavern in Burton. I am sure they will want to take a trip to view it for themselves.
And that’s the situation as I survey it.
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: cygnus921