Looking For Signs While Walking Around On A Sunny Morning

It will come as no surprise to some of you when I mention that for several years I have been turning out shitloads of written product that revolve around my taking walks in one locale or another. The present opus is yet another example of same. When, moaning and groaning and writhing, I birthed this website five years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that essays along that line eventually would become my go-to form of expression. But that’s what has occurred, and I’m down with it. I mean, I like walking around while examining my surroundings. Always have. But I didn’t consciously realize it all too much until this publication began finding its comfort level. And so, I tip my hat to the writing process, because it has helped to give me a halfway-decent sense of who I actually am. And who is that, you ask? Don’t ask!

There I was, then, on Thursday the 9th of April, sauntering along the long stretch of blocks that comprises most of Hatboro’s business district. (Hatboro, an old-fashioned-looking town, of which there are way too few in my region, is two miles from Willow Grove, the non-descript burg that I call home. Both Hatboro and Willow Grove are in the suburbs near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.)

I arrived in Hatboro at about 10:30 AM and departed 45 minutes later. The skies were as blue as blue can be, the temperature was mild, and a sweet breeze caressed my cheeks and those of the people that I saw. Due to the coronavirus situation, those people were few in number, and all stores in Hatboro (and throughout much of Pennsylvania) were shuttered, except for those of the sorts deemed essential by Pennsylvania’s governor. Thus, a hardware store, a pharmacy, ten or so food purveyors, and a handful of others were open for business. As for that sweet breeze, even though everyone was keeping plenty of distance between one another, hopefully it wasn’t blowing any coronavirus microbes into anyone’s eyes or mouths. But hey, I’m not here today to dwell upon coronavirus. No further mention of that demon shall I make herein.

On my person was my trusty iPhone. What, like I’d go anywhere without it? (Well, maybe to take a crap, but that’s about it.) For one thing, the phone’s camera is essential to my journalistic endeavors. And what I had in mind to do with the camera was to point it at store, street and traffic signs, and at whatever other signs caught my eye. I enjoy signs, you see. Even though I’d been in Hatboro many dozens of times over the years, I wasn’t sure what the outcome of my plan would be, as I hadn’t paid extensive attention before to the state of affairs of the town’s signage.

I needn’t have worried. From the get-go I found sign after sign that interested me. Some for their colors. Some for their designs. Some for their whimsicality. Some for the jaunty ways in which they interacted with other signs in their vicinity.

In other words, I damn well dug the time that I spent wandering Hatboro’s streets.

Unexpectedly, little was playing in my mind as I kept placing one foot in front of the other, so focused was I on the mission. I wasn’t contemplating the meaning of life. I wasn’t thinking about what other activities I’d fill up the rest of the day with. And I wasn’t analyzing the importance of signs. But, as I realized when I began to gather my thoughts for this essay, signs are important as hell. They provide all sorts of information, and succinctly. We’d be lost without them, would have little clue about what’s going on. Man, signs are essential to human society, don’t you think? Yup, that’s why there are so many signs in Hatboro, just as there are in every town and city. We’re builders, creators, doers. And the oceans of signs in the world prove, reflect and add to that.

Okay, I’m just about signed-out. It’s time for me to have a nice big glass of milk and some warm chocolate chip cookies, and take my afternoon nap. I can hear my sofa calling me. “Lie down, you creaky geezer, lie down,” it’s cooing. “You need your beauty rest. Only problem is, you ain’t got any beauty left. Tough crap. Such is life!”

Thanks for joining me on my passage through Hatboro, girls and boys, and for gazing at a selection of the photos that I took there. By the way, seeing that I usually mention several things at the ends of my stories, I might as well mention them again. Namely, please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this article. And if you click on any photo, a larger image will open in a separate window. Till next time!

122 thoughts on “Looking For Signs While Walking Around On A Sunny Morning

  1. Audrey Driscoll April 20, 2020 / 12:42 am

    Nice to see a bakery open. Every Bunny Welcome is cute! The smoke shop is interesting (although closed; I guess smokes aren’t essential). Thanks for the virtual walk around Hatboro, Neil!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:04 pm

      I hope that the bakery is doing ok financially. I walked past it twice, and saw only one customer. These are pathetic times.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Audrey Driscoll April 20, 2020 / 10:33 pm

        The past month has seemed like a year. I suspect things will be much worse in another month, but I’m not sure how “worse” will look. It depends…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. George April 20, 2020 / 12:44 am

    I love wandering around your neighbourhood looking at things, courtesy of your essays. Keep them coming!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:09 pm

      Thanks, Lyn. I live in the midst of suburbia, which overall isn’t all that interesting. But Philadelphia, luckily, is not far away. Philadelphia is a fascinating city. Maybe I’ll do a Philadelphia-related story soon, coronavirus or no coronavirus.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross April 20, 2020 / 12:52 am

    As Lyn said, I enjoy seeing parts of your world. 🙂
    My M baked chocolate chip cookies today – so good. And he’s started baking bread too. Also good. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. yvettecarol April 20, 2020 / 2:48 am

    Your wanderings have once again proved fruitful. Great selection of signage!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:12 pm

      Hi. You know, as I mentioned in the story, I was surprised by how many signs looked real good to me. It was a good day for sign-hunting!


  5. Sheree April 20, 2020 / 4:21 am

    Nice that you can stroll around your neighbourhood in the current situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. cath April 20, 2020 / 5:39 am

    Is that really a whole shop devoted to selling popcorn?

    Nice pics, Neil. I look forward to sharing more of your walks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:15 pm

      Cath, I’ve never been in that store. But I know that they sell a wide variety of nuts and popcorn. Probably a lot of the stuff is gift baskets and the like.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cath April 21, 2020 / 3:19 am

        That makes more sense – though (oddly) I am slightly disappointed!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:16 pm

      Yeah. But to tell you the truth, finding it isn’t easy for me. Take care. Thanks for dropping by.


  7. Ally Bean April 20, 2020 / 9:03 am

    Nothing much is open here other than big box retailers. Your photos are charming. I haven’t been anywhere in a while so they seem dreamy to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:20 pm

      Since the virus situation began, I’ve been out on walks most days. Most of the walks have been in my town. But I’ve done three in Hatboro too, to break up the monotony. .

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Paddy Tobin April 20, 2020 / 9:09 am

    We haven’t been to town in over five weeks but have taken a few short walks around the fields (farmland growing wheat which has sprouted in the last week). Some fields are close to a large road so there are signs to be seen here – directions, toll booth ahead and the likes. Your essay and thinking of these signs, on the road, brings to mind that when travelling we rely less and less on signs nowadays and simply enter our destination into Google Maps on our ‘phones or SatNav and simply do as we are told. It is an unthinking form of travel really and seems to separate us more from our surroundings. Taking the time to look at signs puts us back in touch with our area.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:23 pm

      You’re right! Maybe signs are less important than I said in the story. Still, even with navigation systems, we look at signs pretty often to be certain that we’re following the verbal directions correctly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin April 21, 2020 / 4:20 pm

        I regret that signs are becoming less important. We no longer navigate by the names of towns but by “Junction 7” to the N10 etc etc. Anonymous numerical roads but without the names which make them meaningful – the names of the towns that they lead to etc.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Robert Parker April 20, 2020 / 10:15 am

    Hi Neil – I like walking around, seeing what people have though up for signs, too. I see the roll-your-own shop – is PA talking about legalizing weed? NY was kicking it around, and put off a decision last year, but I’m thinking the huge holes in the state budget may send them running for new sources of revenue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:25 pm

      I know that you can buy cannabis legally in PA for medical reasons. I’m not sure if the legislature has been considering making recreational use legal too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. joyce hamilton April 20, 2020 / 10:33 am

    That was fun…..good photos!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Laurie Graves April 20, 2020 / 10:57 am

    Always enjoy going for a walk with you and especially like your take on how “We’re builders, creators, doers. And the oceans of signs in the world prove, reflect and add to that.” Yes!
    Hope those cookies were tasty and the nap was refreshing.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Helen Devries April 20, 2020 / 11:04 am

    I enjoyed your stroll…and the signs.
    You might like a road sign I remember from France….usually one arm points to a particular destination, say, Benitierville, and the other says Toutes Directions…everywhere but Benitierville. This particular one had two arms and each one said Toutes Directions. Underneath there was a placard put up by sime frustrated person ‘Demerdez vous!’ – sort it out for yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sam Gridley April 20, 2020 / 11:37 am

    For me, the sign “We Fix Stuff” is a super-effective ad. I may take my arthritis in to see what they can do about it.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Becky Ross Michael April 20, 2020 / 11:47 am

    Looks like a cute town. I have a popcorn shop in my view, right across the Square. It’s been open every day during this time, and I keep wondering how that’s an essential business. Guess that depends on how much you like popcorn!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Becky Ross Michael April 20, 2020 / 7:21 pm

        I didn’t think it was quite that broad. One would think that includes meals, not just snacks. I suppose you could live on popcorn:)

        Liked by 2 people

  15. Jacqui Murray April 20, 2020 / 11:59 am

    Lovely walk. I haven’t explored my local retail in quite some time so you are it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:39 pm

      Thanks, Jacqui, for strolling along with me from the comfort of your home. I appreciate it.


  16. America On Coffee April 20, 2020 / 12:27 pm

    Sounds as if you took a walk thru old Mayberry. It is nice to know that you are safe, well and moving about. Have a wonderful week and lots of milk and chocolate chips.💕☕️☕️

    Liked by 2 people

  17. annieasksyou April 20, 2020 / 12:39 pm

    The more you observe closely and describe, the more writerly your writing becomes. So this is a win-win for all of us! Incidentally, this is the first time I’m reading your post on my computer, rather than phone, and the photos are great.

    But are you wearing a hat, Neil? You described your paucity of hair-covering at one point. I’ve become somewhat obsessive on the topic after several bouts of skin cancer–one necessitating a graft on the nose I happen to be fond of.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:46 pm

      Hi Annie. Good advice. I’m going to try and remember to wear a cap when I’m outside for more than a short while.


  18. andrewcferguson April 20, 2020 / 1:40 pm

    Nice work as ever, Neil! As others have said, a good virtual tour of your part of the world, which is just as interesting as any tourist brochure, and more real.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:48 pm

      Hi Andrew. My wife and I used to go to a restaurant (Café La Fontana) in Hatboro often. It closed a few years ago. We miss it!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Ann Coleman April 20, 2020 / 2:35 pm

    Honestly, where would we all be without the ability to still take a little stroll on a fine day? Thanks for sharing yours with us, Neil! It gave us a peek into a town we’ve never visited.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 3:50 pm

      For sure, being outside a bit on most days helps to keep us sane in this bad news situation.
      Take care, Ann. See you.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Catwoods April 20, 2020 / 3:19 pm

    You captured the charm of the town really well, Neil! I enjoyed taking this tour with you today!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Debra April 20, 2020 / 3:29 pm

    Glad I “signed on” to read your blog. It’s always fun to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 5:00 pm

      Afternoon, Debra. Good to hear from you. Pretty often I write about walks that I take. But when it comes to racking up mileage on foot, you and Stan have me beat by many miles.


  22. Des April 20, 2020 / 3:32 pm

    It’s funny how we sometimes don’t think about the signs all around us. But I do agree, they are an essential part of who we are and what we do. It was fun taking a stroll with you through Hatboro, Neil. Have a great week!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Amielle April 20, 2020 / 5:04 pm

    Seeing mcdonalds after staying at home ever since this virus started made me miss french fries all of a sudden 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 5:46 pm

      Hi. I’m glad to hear from you. The virus has changed life dramatically. Let’s hope that a vaccine is developed real soon, so that we can get back to doing the things we like to do. Be well.


  24. kalison0515 April 20, 2020 / 5:40 pm

    We have been forced as a matter of civic duty to limit our activities outside the home, I think more people will catch on to what you’ve known all along — that you can deeply observe and appreciate what is around you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2020 / 6:23 pm

      Hi. What state do you live in?

      Here in my part of Pennsylvania it’s allowable to walk around outside. But you have to keep your distance from others.


  25. viewfromoverthehill April 20, 2020 / 6:00 pm

    Wow! Do you really take a beauty nap each afternoon like I do????? Love the photos you take as well as your posts. Keep your distance from others as you walk…..

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Joe April 21, 2020 / 12:01 am

    Great to see you out walking around and looking at things, Neil. No photos of hats? You’d think that a hattery might be considered an essential business in Hatboro. By the way, on your advice, my wife and I binged on The Kominsky Method this week. Arkin, Douglas, and the supporting cast are great together. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 21, 2020 / 8:15 am

      Morning, Joe. Let’s hope that Kominsky eventually gets renewed for a third season. It’s a winner. See ya —


  27. Cindy April 21, 2020 / 12:31 am

    That was a fun walkabout in a place I’ve never been. Hope to see more small-town photo strolls from you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 21, 2020 / 8:09 am

      You’d like Hatboro. It’s not fancy, but it’s got some charm. It’s minutes away from Willow Grove. When the virus crisis is over, you might want to pay a visit to Hatboro.


  28. sniderjerry April 21, 2020 / 1:32 am

    Another great adventure for you and your readers. Thank you. Stay safe and be happy. Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  29. JT Twissel April 21, 2020 / 6:24 pm

    I hope the Popcorn shop was open. Popcorn is an essential! Plus the smell …

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Alyson April 22, 2020 / 5:43 am

    Thanks for taking us on a virtual stroll through town – Can’t believe you have a Roll Your Own/Tobacconist’s Shop. Not seen one of those for a fair while, just Vape Stores.

    I worry that many of these fine retail premises might not re-open but that’s me just being negative. Glad to see none have been boarded up though as around here a lot of the plate glass in now behind hastily thrown up plywood. And, we live in a town with very little crime. Strange times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 22, 2020 / 9:01 am

      Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that a high percentage of businesses will not reopen. An effective vaccine is needed ASAP.


  31. johnlmalone April 22, 2020 / 6:05 pm

    your curiosity, Neil, brings much pleasure to us through your words and photos. Keep perambulating and snapping 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  32. tanjabrittonwriter April 22, 2020 / 7:11 pm

    I’m glad the signs showed you the way, Neil. I like the “Play and Learn” display best, think it’s a great motto for all of life.
    Keep walking and exploring.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 2 people

  33. bluebrightly April 23, 2020 / 11:34 am

    Very entertaining! I may live in the Pacific Northwest now, but I grew up on the east coast, in suburban neighborhoods, so this looks familiar. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 23, 2020 / 1:08 pm

      Hi. An interesting institution in this town (Hatboro) is a tiny, all-volunteer radio station. WRDV. Some of the shows are good. Blues, jazz, old-time rock and roll, R&B.


  34. carolinehelbig April 23, 2020 / 2:20 pm

    Your post got me thinking that I don’t pay enough attention to signs in my neighbourhood. When I travel I’m always noticing and taking photos of signs. Thanks for the interesting stroll.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 23, 2020 / 3:52 pm

      Hi. Thanks for reading this story. Speaking of strolls: I’m about to take one in my neighborhood. I need to get out of the house for a while. See ya!


  35. Pam Lazos April 23, 2020 / 10:16 pm

    You could stop and read the signs and no crowds to fight, Neil. Sounds like a perfect outing.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Pam Lazos April 24, 2020 / 8:34 am

        End of the world kind of feeling, I know, Neil, but when you get over the creepiness, it’s kind of nice.

        Liked by 2 people

  36. Roy Lando April 24, 2020 / 1:37 am

    I do walking a lot. One day, I will write about it. This is great blog. I like it.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Candice April 24, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    Discovering the variety of sights in one’s surroundings is fun. I try to do it too, and I enjoy my virtual walks with you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 26, 2020 / 7:07 am

      Hi, and thanks for stopping by. Yeah, exercise sessions often need an additional something to make the time pass decently. Usually I listen to music when I’m walking for exercise. Enjoy the upcoming week. Take care.


  38. Librarylady April 26, 2020 / 10:13 am

    Hi, what a fun post! I love how people notice things that I never do. I had someone point out how fun some of the ad signage on delivery trucks was, (Was that you?) so now I’ve been noticing trucks. There’s a blog all about cool doors, and another one focusing on great windows. I’m slowly opening my eyes and seeing more all the time. Hey – got any extra cookies? Warm straight out of the oven with cold milk . . . my favorite.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 26, 2020 / 12:04 pm

      Ah, I think you notice all sorts of things. The story with Duck proves that.

      Thanks for mentioning doors. I’ve had it in mind to do a doors story one of these days. Maybe I’ll get to it soon. Take care. See ya!


  39. selizabryangmailcom April 28, 2020 / 4:32 am

    Beautiful weather, nice walk. All that was missing were the people.
    Thanks for sharing during these strange times….

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Friko April 30, 2020 / 7:55 am

    Accidentally slipped in and am duly grateful. A blog after my own heart even if I cannot compete with you. Why should I? We all write what comes to our attention.

    I’ve tried to follow via email, I hope it works. I am not on WordPress.

    By the way, are there any people still in Philadelphia who remember that they had ancestors who came from the German town of Krefeld? Centuries ago now, of course. Krefeld was my home town too, not quite centuries, but still a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 30, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Hi there, and thanks. I appreciate your stopping by.

      I’m unable to answer your question about Germany. I don’t have any info about that.

      By the way, I’m curious about how you found my website. Was it via a google search for one thing or another?

      Take care. Stay safe.


      • Friko May 6, 2020 / 1:27 pm

        I think it was via Helen’s blog, if I remember rightly.

        Liked by 1 person

  41. roughwighting April 30, 2020 / 11:18 am

    I was raised 30 minutes from Philadelphia (in southern NJ), and never heard of Hatboro. Perhaps that’s why it’s still a quaint and pretty town – few people have come to change the small-town stores to big ugly ones. Looks like a happy walking day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 30, 2020 / 12:07 pm

      Hello there. Thanks for stopping by. Hatboro is full of Mom and Pop types of stores. It’s pretty charming to me because of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. D. Wallace Peach April 30, 2020 / 12:58 pm

    It’s amazing how many things I walk by and don’t register. Signs are one of them unless they’re so unique that they pop out at me or there’s a stylistic theme pervading an area. My dinky town has boring signs overall. The business owners in town cut down all the trees lining Mainstreet so that their signs would be visible as if the residents won’t be able to find them otherwise. Yeesh. Our pretty little town now shows off all its scars. Anyway, I enjoyed the walk and the photos, Neil. Keep heading out and about! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  43. jeanleesworld May 1, 2020 / 7:12 am

    Oh! I’ve seen some lovely signs this past weekend, too. A shop called “Fox and Ivy” had this beautifully illustrated fox, and “Shasta Daisy” had elegant flower outlines around a font just curly enough to be pretty without being annoying. Ugly Cupcakes had an appropriately ugly sign, I guess…? A shame, because it’s hard to see unless you’re looking for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. cigarman501 May 2, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
    Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
    Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?” Looks like the weather was great for you walk through the signs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 2, 2020 / 2:36 pm

      Hi. Yes, it was a beautiful morning for a walk. A few hours after I got home the weather changed — it poured.


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