Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ba leaners

Just off 4th and Main Street in Keokuk, Iowa, my Dad's home town, stood a dry cleaning establishment.  The letter C must have pooped out sometime during the Eisenhower administration, and for the next 25 years, as dusk fell the neon sign beckoned with the promise of ARTISTIC   LEANERS.  An on-going Casady family shtick speculated about the goods and services available there.  In the most common version, one could retain the services of a couple beatniks, arranging for them to come over to your place on Saturday wearing turtlenecks and berets.  They would then strike dramatic poses against the living room walls as your guests arrived, adding a certain je ne sais quoi to your cocktail party.

That was in the 1970s, and I do not know the current status of the expired C. I note, however, that the  laundry is still  in business, 30 years after Dad and I last chuckled about the sign. Thus began my longstanding habit of keeping an eye peeled for and missing letters in neon signs, and pronouncing them just as they appear.  I'm sure the fam has grown a little weary of me suddenly blurting things out like, "Look, it's the F  IEND     MOT  L  , let's stay there!"

My second favorite was in Summit County, Colorado, where we usually vacationed with our kids. One summer evening in the early 1980's, a local recommended a nearby saloon for good Mexican. Rather than the usual navigational instructions, she simply told us to drive down the highway and look for a sign flashing BA  BA  BA .  Those were the best driving directions I have ever received, and we enjoyed the Old Dillon Inn on many return visits over the next quarter century.

It is a pity that the ODI appears to have closed.  The ba would have been a perfect hang out for some of those artistic leaners.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I was in college, the bar on 14th between O and P that became O'Rourke's was called the Five O'Clock Lounge. But various letters fell off and eventually it became the Five C_ock L_unge. We tend to still talk about the bar and reference that particular name iteration.

John Craw said...

Went to high school at Surrattsville in Maryland . Named after the famous Mary Surratt First Lady to be hung by federal government. On many a Monday after a sports victory the su would have been removed and we spent the day in Rattsville.

Anonymous said...

I recently spent time in Northern California. During the drive, we passed through Hopland. Sadly, the p in the city's sign had faded away...

Steve said...

I thought I'd die laughing when I saw a sign in a rest room someone with some whiteout had modified by removing the "c" from "Baby Changing Station".

Peter Crawford said...

My older Son and I marveled at the aggressive construction of the CVS at 27/Old Cheney. Getting really good at reading he declared that it was to be a "CVS Pharmacy". No, I chided him-this was to be a CVS Farm-C. The second A on the East Face failed even before they opened. Where do the find light bulbs like that?

Tom Casady said...

Pete,

At Walgreen's?