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A Sign for 2012Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at 9:31 AM
In this observation there appears to be two things true of all signs:
First, all signs have stories. They do not appear without something having happened or been proposed. Someone gives thought to it (often not enough thought), and someone prepares it (occasionally carelessly).
Second, any sign is in the same place long enough disappears. The traveler passing through town is much more likely to see the speed limit sign (behind which there must be an interesting story) than they who have lived in that town their entire lives.
There is just such a sign on the northeast corner of East National Avenue and North Forest Avenue in Brazil next to Bedwell Tires.
It has a story, probably an interesting one, but someone else's to tell.
And, it seems to have "disappeared."
It is big, obvious, and quite well done. There is a nice little park-like setting with a gazebo and flagpole and everything. The grounds are well kept. Overall it is hard to miss. Yet, in trying to find out the story behind this sign I repeatedly had to describe it in some detail before anyone I asked could quite remember seeing it.
The sign declares in bold letters, "Welcome to Historic Brazil, Established 1866." Below is the name of our mayor, which presumably will soon be updated -- another story.
In my inquiries I was informed that rumor has it the area on which the sign sits is designated for clearing for the infamous highway expansion (to make room for trucks turning or something). Presumably the source of these rumors is the same as those who told me (cir. 1996) the infamous highway expansion would be coming through Brazil in a "couple of years".
I almost hope this rumor has some basis, for the time may well have come to replace this sign -- and the worldview it represents.
For the record, I am very much in favor of knowing our history. The shortest road to failure as a leader or society is to not know how we got to where we are.
But, let's get real. There really isn't that much "historic" about Brazil. Yes, there's Orville Redenbacher and those boom years of the 1940-50's. Truth is, though, there are not that many left who remember those days, and a great many more of us who weren't even here at the time.
The newcomer to our community will see this sign simply because they've not seen it 10,000 times. It will convey to that person a sense that this is a town looking backward. In this observation the time ought to be upon us for becoming a town known as looking forward, and a time for changing the sign representing us to the world to convey a new attitude.
If our community ever does break away from the past, I have three suggestions for a "Welcome to" sign which might better represent our town to the world:
The New! Brazil
Anyhow, those are my thoughts on a sign for 2012.
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