Friday, January 22, 2010
Years ago while driving on a scouting adventure through rural Alabama, this remarkable structure appeared. It was built right on the shoulder of the little two-lane road. I stopped to look more closely, and found that it was abandoned. While taking some photos, I saw a lady sitting on the porch of her home a few hundred yards away. So I strolled over to ask about the stand. She told me that it was the remains of an entrepreneurial effort by a local teenager, with the idea of selling flavored-ice treats. He built it from salvaged lumber and recycled sheets of corrugated tin and painted it himself. All was going well until an inattentive driver swerved to avoid hitting a stopped school bus, crashing into and crushing one side of his business, thus putting an end to his enterprise.
Well, I have a weakness for hand-painted advertisements and folk Americana in general, so I wanted to see at least the paintings preserved. The lady put me in touch with the young man, and I was able to negotiate a purchase. I returned a few weeks later and dismantled the facade and panels on each side, which I still own. Maybe I'll go into business myself someday.
I love the blue clouds and the floating images of his product. That elaborate painted feature on the front left is called a Love Knot. It has appeared on several decorated folk art objects that I've seen over the years.