Signs of Life

The dog and I just returned from a week-long camping excursion, almost a thousand miles of road travel to north Alabama mountains and back. As always I was struck by road signs. There are those highway signs that tell us that the bridge ices before the road–a novelty to someone who lives as far south as I do. Then, stretched over the multi-lanes of the highway crossing metropolitan areas, there was the modern digital read-out signs. These urge us to drive safely with our eyes on the road, while they take our eyes off the road in order to read them. One also reminded to wear a mask; presumably we are not being urged to take our hands off the steering wheel and put a mask on as we are hurling along at break-neck speed.

There were, of course, the abundant colorful political signs in yards alongside the winding rural blacktop, red-white-blue that seemed to shout. And then, standing serenely, was a plain white placard with black black lettering: DON’T GIVE UP. This small sign was in the yard of a rural home alongside a winding mountain road.

“Uh,” was my reaction. “How kind.” That someone would offer humanity such encouragement seems generous indeed.

Think of the person who would go to the trouble and expense of purchasing such a sign and sticking it into the ground in their yard. Was it faith? Was it caring? Or simply wanting to state something different?

I drove on a half mile, and there was another sign exactly the same in another yard. “DON’T GIVE UP.” I wondered if the home-owners were related. Maybe it was some sort of organization out to encourage the world. How novel. I would have loved to take a picture, however, there was no where on that county road to pull over.

On my return trip, I looked for the signs. There they were about a half a mile apart, and I smiled. Another half mile, and another black-lettered sign that I had missed: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I looked around, and yes, looked up. What exactly did these signs mean? Were they some sort of code?

During the rest of my trip, I encountered several small trials, and I thought: “Don’t give up…you are not alone.” And I’ve continued to remember and smile.

Maybe now you will, too.


Darling Readers, just a note that the holiday season is upon us, (as my granddaughter proclaims, Christmastime has come to Walmart) and you might want to revisit my Christmas stories.