Sunday, November 30, 2008

Municipal Plannin' With Betty

Salute Our Santa!

If Bossy Betty ran the world, I would see to it that every community had at least one large, tacky cement statue. Actually, more than one would be great. Imagine saying, "Oh, you want instructions to come to our house?" Let's see. Get off the freeway at the giant Chipmunk and keep going until you see the humongous Taco and then take a left. Our house is third from the corner with the seven-foot Violin Player. The person then thinks, "OK, Chipmunk, Taco, Violin Player. No problem."

At this time, most of these giant statues/monuments are owned and operated by businesses hoping for the advertising boost that the giant cement horse, or the seven foot lizard will bring in. I say, it's time to take the power from the corporations and give it back to the people of the cities. Let's vote on which statues we want where. Those persons wanting to get all serious and dewy-eyed by attaching symbolism, meaning, and gravity to the statues will be banned from the voting process. Sometimes a giant grasshopper is just a giant grasshopper, not a tribute to the brave souls who lived through the dust bowl.

Around here, we are lucky enough to have a giant Santa head and shoulders sitting at the side of the freeway. He used to reside up the freeway near Santa Barbara, saluting all who passed by and welcoming them to the ocean-side strip mall which he oversaw with loving devotion. He even had his own exit called "Santa Claus Lane." You would think that a city that shares a first name with Mr. Claus would embrace him, but no. Believe it or not, after his years of service, some high-handed nut jobs apparently decided he was unsightly and decided to get rid of him. Luckily, the owner of a small used car lot in Oxnard offered to take him. Santa was moved down the freeway, placed in a position of honor, surrounded by a wrought iron fence to keep the gangs and taggers out and is tended to on a regular basis. Best of all, the owner of the car lot chooses not to prostitute Santa, so there is no advertising on or near him. Now, we get the honor of seeing Santa every day AND he salutes US! You can bet that each and every time I pass him, I salute him right back and urge everyone in my car to do the same.

Santa's old, now culturally-deprived exit up the highway still bears his name. Imagine the road-weary family travelling up the 101 freeway, nothing to look at but the picture-perfect ocean outside their windows, the enormous pelicans flying gracefully overhead, the sunlight glinting off the crashing waves, perhaps a dolphin or two dipping in and out of the water. It's all over-wrought monotony, the loop recording that IS nature. (And, by the way, all available for $12.00 on a Planet Earth DVD which you can watch from your own couch while enjoying a fine Pop-Tart.) Then! the bright green sign appears! "Santa Claus Lane 1 mile." Oh! There is joy in the car! "Daddy!" Little Susie cries out from the back seat. "You're the best!" The mother looks approvingly at her husband and her son, whose nose is pressed eagerly against the glass. Now imagine the shock, the horror, the therapy bills when they turn on Santa Claus Lane and There Is No Santa Claus.

Sorry, to all you up near Santa Barbara who ache to have Santa returned to you. He's ours now and there's no give-backs. Find yourself another giant mythical figure in concrete. I hear the Easter Bunny is available, but is demanding a 20 year contract and ear-whitening every six months.

Municipal planners everywhere, start planning for those giant concrete statues that will surely start popping up as people around the country look up and realize just how bereft their city is without a giant peacock or nine-foot cowboy hat. Those who live near our fair town, Santa salutes you each and every time you drive by. Return the favor and salute him with the vigor and enthusiasm he so richly deserves. (Note: Please do this all year long, not just in December when you are trying to butter him up! He's smart. He knows exactly what you are doing.)

Betty Salutes Her Readers Too! Do you have a favorite giant character? Tell me about it!


Alyssa said...

I miss saluting Santa. He's looking pretty good these days. Are his glasses new?

Unknown said...

Doesn't he look spiffy these days? I believe he always had glasses, but they are GOLD now!

Anonymous said...


It is our duty!

Happy Homemaker said...

Saluuuuute to Santa!!! I have gotten out of the habit of greeting our favorite gigantic gift giver. Thanks for the reminder Betty!

Susan said...

We have a sign on which a cow jumps over the moon at the entrance of Dixon that used to be the sign for a restaurant, but the restaurant was torn down over twenty years ago, and the town insisted on keeping the sign up because it has become a symbol of Dixon. When I drive by, I always point the sign out to my guests, and I secretly really love that sign!