Imagine you’re on the highway; now visualize whirled peas

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 10, 2004

[9/5/2004]I could see before we got close that someone had written two words in the thick, oily dirt accumulated on the back of the Bunny Bread truck.

I expected to see the old standard “Wash Me.”

Instead, cruising down I-20 West Thursday was the message “Imagine that” sketched on the truck’s back.

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That’s all. Imagine that.

I like that the interstate runs through my front yard well, not exactly MY front yard but every work day, I see the seemingly endless parade going by on I-20 in front of The Vicksburg Post.

And I like a vehicle that’s got a message be it bumper sticker, be it painted logo, be it handwritten.

Those who know me know my fondness for car art. By the time the battered old Honda that had carted us around for years made it to Vicksburg three years ago, the half-dozen bumper stickers and the bungee cord were about all that was holding the car together.

(Probably someone could have sketched in a respectable, “Wash Me.”)

The bumper stickers on that car marked us as the free spirits we were trying so hard to be: Not all who wander are lost; Phishisgruven; Mean people suck; A yin-yang symbol.

When I bought my Saturn, I thought it was a brand-new canvas for me and my bumper stickers. I started by going online, and I ordered a Mississippi State University alumni window sticker.

“Why’d you do that?” asked my friend who happens to be an alumni of the University of Mississippi.

She’d traded a same model Honda sans stickers and cords for a new Volvo, around the same time.

She went further to ask if I was going to put bumper stickers on my new car, and I must point this out the tone of her voice suggested strongly against the idea. I asked if she was going to maybe get an Ole Miss alum sticker for her new car.

“No. I just think bumper stickers are tacky. Sorry,” she said.

The thing is bumper stickers aren’t something one can plan. They just happen.

I won’t blame this on my friend, but the MSU sticker still stands alone. Almost 30,000 miles later, bumper stickers haven’t found my little gold car.

Still, as I drive, I look for a car that’s brave with the bumper stickers. Especially during long road trips, it’s a relief to see someone’s thoughts plastered for everybody to see.

But road trips have mostly eluded the goldmobile, too. Besides one jaunt to New Orleans, and another to eastern Tennessee, the car’s 30,000 miles have been logged going back and forth across the Big Black.

That brings me, I think, to why I find myself thankful for the daily view I have of I-20.

Those who know me might be surprised to hear me express any fondness for an interstate highway. I will drive three miles out of my way to avoid the interstate.

There was a time that I thought nothing of making a 20-hour road trip by myself. But now it’s not unusual for me to go weeks without driving on the interstate. I’ve set up my life that way.

It’s not that I hate the interstate. It just seems silly to be in such a hurry if it’s not absolutely necessary.

As I watched that Bunny Bread truck make its way toward the Mississippi River, my imagination wandered as it often does when I watch cars whiz by on I-20. I didn’t really wonder where he was taking the bread; I wondered who else might see the handwritten message and be intrigued.

Mainly, the interstate reminds me that road trips are still a possibility.

Imagine that.

Sonya Kimbrell is features editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail her at