Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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8 • November 2015 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S e Show Off B y R I C K W I L L I A M S In the Trenches It's okay every now and then to be a bit of a show off, to share your ability and hard work with those you love. And that's something that sign guys get to do a lot of, since our work is in the public eye every day, and very often in every direction. In this month's "Shop Talk" I write about a job I worked on recently that is up in the sky and the size of a PT boat. I like doing work like that from time to time just to later drive by and see it once more. Right now we're working on some custom signs that I will install in the local school that my little grandsons will attend, and very likely graduate from. These fairly elaborate signs honor the four state champion basketball teams that White Oak ISD has had over the years. No doubt they will hang in the gymnasium for decades to come, honoring the play- ers and coaches who brought excitement and glory to their honored alma mater. And when my grandkids, and even great grandkids walk by them and study the history of their school, they will also notice their Pop's logo down in the cor- ner, their grandfather whose work will still be scat- tered around the county well after I've flown off into the sunset. But, I hope not to be flying away anytime soon, and haven't done any real flying in a while either, just lots and lots of work. In some ways this may be keeping me out of trouble. In fact, had I gone straight back to the airport that day, I would surely would have been in trouble and had some explaining to do. Seems another elderly lady who lived nearby also saw a pilot waving and circling low in a little plane, a plane who's engine kept going quiet, and then rev- ving up again. And was sure she heard him holler, "Help me… help me!" So she called the sheriff, who dispatched a deputy out to the nearest airport, the same airport I did not return to right way… thank goodness. I didn't need any help, I was just showing off, and I still am a little bit each day. As a sign maker, this comes with the territory. And when we all look up, to see what we've learned to do and have put in place, this can't help but make us smile a little bit and feel good about what we do. At least that's how it works for me. Have a great month. T he phone call from the airport had worked, and at an altitude of about 200 feet I could see her standing there on the little front porch of my Aunt Margie's house. My grandmother, who we always just called "Mom," could not see all that well, but she was looking up and that was what I wanted. I pulled the throttle back on the little 65 horse- power Continental engine and glided a bit closer to where Mom was staring upward. I waved my arms, and waved the wings of the little airplane, too. Even though she was probably feared for my life, she waved back and watched intently as I pushed the throttle in and circled back around. This time when I idled the engine and it got quiet, I yelled out to her as loud as I could, "Hey, Mom!" and both me and my machine waved some more. Though her eyes were old and tired, I knew she still heard well enough and I wanted her to know it was really me flying up there just like I knew what I was doing. Another turn, and again I called out, "Hey, Mom!" I believed she heard me, and I saw her wave once more. Then I turned the plane gently away from her, waggled my wings and left the neighborhood before I attracted more attention than I wanted. From time to time I think back on that day some 35 years or so ago, when I owned the little Baby Ace, a custom-built single-seater open cockpit plane that shared a lot of parts and engine type with the venerable Piper Cub. It was great fun to fly, and I was so glad to have the experience and proud that I had earned my license and could do so legally. And, I wanted my grandmother, who I loved dearly, to see what her grandson could do at least that one time. I was saying, "Look, Mom, both hands," and these hands know how to fly! And though she prob- ably would have rather kept me on the ground, she still waved and smiled, and I believe she hugged me just a bit tighter the next time we were together. Rick Williams owns Rick's Sign Company, a commercial sign shop in Longview, Texas. He has been in the sign industry since 1973 and documenting the sign business since 1986. Contact him at RickSignCo@

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