Saturday, September 09, 2006

Any (Car) Port in a Storm ?


On any given day when we are lucky enough to find ourselves out on the open country roads, we often pause to photograph unique sights. We love to find the rare, the quaint, the odd and especially the bizarre. One roadside item which is neither rare nor quaint has become all too familiar on our rural runs.

The item pictured is sold as a carport and appears to be constructed of what the Brits call Al-you-min-e-yum. We'd like to call this something other than a "carport" , but we don't use that sort of language here. The things are everywhere and often with price signs posted which makes us wonder whether the landowner is either getting a price break or a free carport in the bargain. Many years ago the promoters of the tourist attraction, Rock City, went around the rural South offering to paint barns for free if the farmer would allow them to also paint " SEE ROCK CITY " on the building. Those were hard times and a free paint job was most welcome. It was often seen as crassly commercial by folks who didn't need any free paint jobs. " SEE ROCK CITY " became a sentimental classic in later years to the point where people now buy model barns which bear that slogan.

We don't see collectors seeking models of these carports at any time in the future. We're not turning up our nose a these prefabricated structures which seem useful and perhaps cost effective. We usually reserve judgment on items which are priced " As Low As ". This means that it ain't getting any cheaper and will likely cost you a good bit more once rendered in a useable configuration.

Nice old wooden garages and carports develop a bit of character or at least age with the same grace as the houses they serve. They need sanding and painting, patching and repairs over the years. They tend to lean or bend a bit over the years not unlike their owners. When they reach the end of their service life or if neglected enough, they just collapse like an old person, a bag of bones at the end. At least they don't generally become airborne in gusty gales and get blown into the road or the next county.

What chills us a bit is the tempting ease with which such cheap replacements appear in the yards of nice old country homes. If folks can casually sweep aside their real wood ruins and install one of these, what's next?


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