When we travel, LM and I love to be off the beaten path and spend a lot of time looking for "little signs of true Americana." This trip we didn't have too much time to seek out our favorite past time, but one afternoon while we were staying at Chincoteague in VA, we ventured off the island to see what we could find. LM is very well-known for his knowledge of all things fishing related! He is often in print, and on the air, and he is a renowned instructor of salt water fishing. He loves things related to his life's passion, thus, finding this site along the road in VA caught my eye very quickly. This little roadside stand displaying hand carved and painted fish caught my attention quickly but we were on the wrong side of the road so I made LM promise we would "stop on the way back" (often famous last words, which never come to fruition). As we were passing the stand on the way back, LM resisted stopping (he is always reluctant to do nice things for himself), but after some plaintive cries from me of, "you have to stop," followed by a "stop now," we were turning around and pulling in to what looked like the parking lot of an abandoned store next to a trailer which looked uninhabitable. We walked through a little row of trees and found the hand-cut and painted pink pig sign asking us to ring the bell.
Very shortly, an elderly man in an old paint-spattered sweatshirt (the shirt a work of art in its own right), appeared, and we launched into a most delightful visit with the artist, himself, Tom Burton. These fish are just beautiful; hand carved, painted on both sides with exterior house paint, and the most wonderful examples of American roadside folk art!
Here's my striped bass expert with Tom Burton, holding his just purchased fish! Tom lives alone in that old trailer with his much loved cat, and he is one of the sweetest men I have ever met, not to mention talented. Our visit was a very bright moment of what had already been a spectacular trip.
Our beautiful Tom Burton striped bass now adorns the front of LM's house and he is just so happy.