This picture was taken in January of 1998. EngineerBrian called me up and asked if I wanted to road trip to the riverboat casinos in Gary Indiana and East Chicago. The thought of three hours in a car by myself, let alone another person, is enough to make me to say things like "Mmm, sounds like fun, but I have to alphabetize my perfume tray, maybe next time, k?" But since EngineerBrian and I have been friends since before I was taller than him (like, 1987-ish) and he spent a week in Las Vegas visiting me and didn't get on my nerves, not once (he did give me the flu but I forgave him for that, even though it hit me like a ton of bricks at exactly 8pm on New Years Eve, effectively spoiling my evening and his), it actually sounded like a good time. So I drove to his place and we proceeded down US 12 to the lesser part of the greater Chicagoland area.

I'm not going to say Cass County is white-trash's like (insert state with redneck reputation of your choice here) decided it wanted to experience snow 7 months out of the year and migrated north.

I noticed the sign, which was mounted on the side of a barn, on the way to the casino and told Bri "We have GOT to get a picture of that on the way back!" In retrospect, it would have been easier to just stop, turn the car around, and go, but for some reason we kept going, the fact that it would be dark at 5pm not registering.

I couldn't help but BAD do things have to be in your community that you have to resort to putting threats regarding the consequences of statutory rape on a billboard on the side of a barn on a busy US route? Goodness.

On the way back from the casino, it was dark and crossed my fingers and hoped there would be enough light from the car's headlights so the picture would turn out. Neither of us had noticed what was next to the barn when we had driven past the first time. There was a parking lot. And a BAPTIST CHURCH. Evening services were letting out. Again, I mused out loud what kind of community this was. What had happened here that led the Cass County Proscutor's Office to erect (heh) a huge barnside billboard in screaming orange reminding the parishoners of a Baptist Church not to love thy neighbor if thy neighbor be under the age of ten and six? I'm sure that was not the original intent, but how about a little more money in the location scouting budget next time, hm?

Anyway...the picture turned out. Bri had to drive the car onto the grass and turn on the high-beams and everyone looked at us and I'm sure they were wondering why a Lincoln Mark VII was stopped on snow covered grass with its high beams on, and why a fat blonde girl was leaning back on the hood, and then they saw the flash from the camera and chuckled and discussed amongst themselves how that billboard has done more for Cass County tourism than a TV or radio campaign ever could.

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