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Messages from the passing lane

September 3, 2015
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

For ten years, our family of three was part of the annual snowbird migration on the nation's highways. The trip from Mayville to Punta Gorda, Fla., was a long 1,200 + miles. So, like many of our neighboring roadway warriors, we developed a number of ways to overcome boredom and add a bit of fun to the journey.

One of our favorite pastimes was "collecting" the license-plate messages displayed on cars along the way.

Although the limited number of spaces available require some creativity with spelling, it takes only a little imagination to piece together the intended meanings.

We learned early on that folks are no longer content with the simple vanity plates that started the fad. Instead of such statements as "BARBIE" and "B SMITH," today's plates qualify as tiny billboards. They can contain everything from the driver's philosophy "PSA CAKE" to a proclamation of pride "DEBT FREE."

Some of the cars displayed plates with messages that told something about the driver's favorite interest. We passed a pickup loaded with boating supplies. It was turning off toward Tampa and the waters of the Gulf. The license proudly proclamed, "SEAGUY."

A van filled with band instruments rolled past us displaying a license reading "TRUBADOR."

Many of the cars we saw along the way brought a welcome laugh. For example, one white Bronco had us remembering that famous "slow speed chase" with a plate that read "NOT OJ."

And we had to admire the humor of the young lady who had her license, which read "BLOND," mounted upside down in keeping with jokes about such gals.

We steered away from a vintage car driven by an elderly couple, just in case their plate held more truth than humor. It read, "CANT C."

When a sleek Nevada sports car passed us at a fast rate of speed one day, we understood why the driver had installed a license plate that read "HI OFICER."

We decided to give a wide berth to a woman driver who had a subtle warning on her plate with the statement, "PMS 24-7."

Near the off ramp to Penn State, we passed a young gal who had opted for a plate of gratitude: "IOU DAD"

Like all the drivers close by, we stared as a shiny DeLorean passed by. Apparently, the driver was getting tired of assuring spectators that he was driving the real thing. He had a plate made that read, simply, "IT IS."

Another driver, enjoying the luxury of a late model Mercedes Benz, announced to the world, "NOT POOR."

A utility truck, filled with tools and supplies turned off the thruway at the Home Depot exit. The sides of the truck advertised the driver's business as that of a handyman. And he used the license plate for additional emphasis. It read "I DO ALL."

We weren't sure if the long black hearse that drove by was advertising or offering an invitation. But either way, this plate was a bit too creepy for our tastes. The message: "UR NEXT."

In our car, we all agreed we needed an answering plate that read, "NOT YET."



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