Punching Out

One month of retirement in the can! Wow. This is good stuff, folks. Who knew?

Recently, I drove to Bandon, Oregon, for our annual family reunion. It was lovely to be so relaxed! No rushing back for work. Could this be heaven? Traveling along Hwy 42 W, between Dillard and Coquille, I knew the scenery was heavenly. As my little Mazda zoom-zoomed over hill and dale, I saw something that tickled my inner amusement aficionado.

Anyone remember seeing Burma Shave signs dotted across most of America years ago? (You’d have to be of retirement age, I expect.) Plentiful from 1925 forward, they disappeared in 1963 when the company sold to Philip Morris. The Burma Shave advertising series (usually) consisted of six signs placed along the roadside, sequentially, with the punch-line at the end.  As a child, I remember seeing them along pastures in Central Oregon as we drove to see family in Prineville. We anticipated each one until the end. And that last sign often made us laugh out loud.

Here are a few of my favorites from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma-Shave):

  • Every shaver / Now can snore / Six more minutes / Than before / By using / Burma-Shave
  • Does your husband / Misbehave / Grunt and grumble / Rant and rave / Shoot the brute some / Burma-Shave
  • Within this vale / Of toil / And sin / Your head grows bald / But not your chin – use / Burma-Shave

On my drive to Bandon, I didn’t see any Burma Shave signs, of course. Rather, some sequential signs posted in a field, reminiscent of the old ads. Only with a very important message.

  • Keys?/Wallet?/Phone?

And then the punch-line:

  • Eternal life?

Important things to have near when one travels on a journey. Especially critical was the last sign, for life’s journey. And I had them all. How blessed is that? When I read it, I didn’t laugh. But I smiled.


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22 responses to “Punching Out

  1. Love it Cathy. I can totally picture driving down the road waiting for the next sign. Beautiful.

  2. Ah, retirement heaven. Can’t wait to join you there.

  3. Pam Elliott

    Cathy, Reading that was a nice, nostalgic start to my day. Love the way you tell stories, and I loved the unexpected punch line to this one. Love you, too! Pam

  4. Barbara Bryant

    I laughed out loud. I do remember Burma Shave, but my family didn’t take long drives so I missed the great signs.

  5. Donna

    Ah, Missy Cathy, now you’re one of “us” fellow college library retirees. I knew you couldn’t help but love it. What’s not to love?

  6. Cathy,
    Loved this. I remember the signs. Hadn’t heard the brandname for years.
    You are off and running, enjoying your retirement!
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Judy M.


    I loved the blog! I guess I am retirement age. How very well I remember the Burma Shave signs. In fact, I saw them traveling back to Chicago about 10 years ago to see my son. They are the same old ones, repainted in the midwestestern states. Love ya sister!

  8. Colleen

    I love you so and your writing never stops ceasing to amaze me. I marvel at God’s great love for us-ETERNAL LIFE! Wow! How blessed are we. Keep it up my dear friend you are a blessing and encouragement to us all.

  9. Georgia Denny

    Dearest Cathy,
    Back home and back to work. Have retired twice, but still at it. I saw all those signs also as a 7 yr. old in Washington state. When I get back to Redding I will join the ranks of retirees! (soon).

  10. Molly Rupert

    Ah, Cathy-
    You are sooooo missed here in library land. Just came across your blog as I was thinking of you. Tuesday nights just aren’t the same without you and our wonderful discussions. So very thankful that you are enjoying your new life.
    Can’t wait to read more!

    • Cathy Elliott

      Molly, dear. I miss you, too. Very much. I’ll be coming out soon-soon to get a library-family-fix. 🙂 I’ve got clothes from Sidney to Marianne to bring and lots of hugs to give and receive. And that’s for sure!

      And you! Haven’t seen you for so long. But, as the old movie says, “We’ll always have Tuesday nights.” Or was that…ah…Paris? Anyway, looking forward to catching up. Thanks so much for checking out my blog and getting in touch. Can’t wait to look upon your talented self!

  11. Sherry Canavan

    Hi Cathy!
    As usual, I am right on top of things. You sent your blog in August and I answer it in January. As you can see, I don’t check my e-mails very often. I still prefer the telephone. Old-fashioned or stubborn – I’m not sure which ( or at least that I will admit). Glad to hear that you are retired. I am envious. I’m not sure I will ever be able to retire. I’m counting on the Lord coming before that becomes necessary. Still working at Shasta Regional. Wow, nursing is not what I had in mind but I still love most aspects of it. When patients are demanding or just plain rude, I question my judgement but other than that, I love it. So…… what are you working on now? Did you every finish your house? 🙂 Me neither. I still have the goats, sheep, horses, dogs, and cats. They keep me busy on my “days off.” I am putting the sides on a new barn right now. I have sheep due to lamb this week so I didn’t want to get it done too early. 🙂 Actually, the weather has been a bit of a problem for putting up a barn in the past two months. But the Lord has shown grace to me by giving us this beautiful week to try to finish it. Well, I’d better go. Got to finish the barn and feed the animals. Congratulation on retirement! We need to get together.

    • Sherry…Okay, I see this was sent in 2011. What??? I suppose six years between chats is okay. Right? Though I did see you singing at the Sheila Walsh thing. That was fun. Hope you are doing well, old friend. (Who isn’t old.)

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