It would take too long for me to explain all the things I love about old signs, but this sign and my connections to it allude to many of my affections. This sign towers over Highway 77 just as you leave Canton, driving north toward Akron. It is perched (as you can see) at the edge of a patch of woods, and just beyond the shiny parapets of an old Orthodox church building.
Afterwards, on the highway is a cemetery, rural bliss and then another bunch of developments -- Family Family Mega Church, Timken Corporation Executive Headquarters, Diebold Headquarters and the Akron / Canton Airport. Before it? A homogonized bunch of suburban havens: Old Navy, Starbucks, Caraba's, Five Guys, Sams Club, Harley Davidson, McDonalds and Panera. You know the scene, if you live here, you pass it often, if you don't live here? You still pass it often. Same old same old.
But I'm betting you don't pass a St. George Serbian Orthodox Center everyday? And that's one of the things I love.....the daringly long, un-homogenized name of this center.
I also love (of course) the faded glory of it. The flourish at the top and the rust that's suggesting it's lived through quite alot. The impressive fonts that are starting to fade with all the weather that's beaten against the raised standard.
That Serbian Orthodox folks have been gathering here in Canton, Ohio for this long? Makes me glad for all the stories that have circulated under this sign, and all the ways that their ethnic and religious heritage has loosened the otherwise stranglehold that German immigrant culture & bland catholic and protestant expressions have had on this particular town in Northeast Ohio.
And I love the way that old signs remind you that: Alot has gone on here that you have no idea about. So don't get too sure of yourself. Things are more complex than they seem to you right now.
That kind of humility seems like a helpful human attitude for me to keep cultivating....