I don’t know why but some things just catch your eye – speak to you – and make you want to look at them. For instance – I like the way palm trees look against a blue sky – or even better – a stormy one. I like the way a Sierra lake mirrors the trees around its rim. I like the way a nicely decorated room draws you in and makes it hard for you to get out. I like the way one white hydrangea looks in a vase of roses, the way light dances on the bottom of a pool on a sunny day and the way candlelight flickers across a dinner table. I like the silent look of a city street at dawn. And I really like an old sign – a neon sign that glows against the night – or just a sign that’s been out braving the elements and surviving – like this one I saw in Salt Lake City. I drove by it about a decade ago and since then I’ve thought about it every now and then. I was in Salt Lake City for a volleyball tournament and when the games were over on the first day, some – well, the mothers – wanted a little wine. A couple of us volunteered to make the run. It turned out it wasn’t easy to score a bottle of wine in Salt Lake City on a Sunday night. We tried the first store we saw and the cashier sent us packing. A woman – so nice – jumped in and walked us to a phone booth and found a liquor store in the yellow pages. Filled with hope, we drove toward the address and it was on that drive that I spotted the sign. The neon probably still worked back then and that’s probably why I was so taken with it. I remember pulling into the parking lot to get a closer look. I remember the cute, quaint look of the place. I don’t remember if my friend Maria thought it was as cool as I did. A couple of weeks ago we were in Park City. Our friends had invited us up for a weekend of hikes and eats and laughs. On the way home we planned on killing some time in Salt Lake City before going to the airport. When my husband asked me what I wanted to do, I said – Can we go find that cool neon sign with the temple on top of it? He said – Sure. Where is it? I shrugged and said – I don’t know, on a big wide street with lots of motels on it? What he said next is why I like the guy so much. Sure – let’s go find it.
On the way I googled “Neon Sign Temple Salt Lake City.” I got a little traction. This link came up. So it turned out other people were attracted to my sign too. Now at least I was armed with the name of the place – Temple City Motel. I googled that and Yelp didn’t even have a write up about it. I was wondering if it had been torn down. We got to Salt Lake City and Jim thought maybe U.S. 89 might be my “big road with motels on it.” He called it the Mother Road, the old highway. As we were driving down it I unearthed this link – another photography website which coughed up a street – State Street – which, it turned out was the old U.S. 89. We were on the right track- headed straight there. Then, moments later, we saw it -Temple City Motel. We got out and took some pictures. The past decade had not been kind to my motel. The people who were hanging out there are not the sort of people who want to be captured on camera. I tried to be discreet but I could not hide my crazy enthusiasm for the sign. I captured it from every angle. I would have climbed inside it – if I could have. I don’t know what it is about some things. They just catch your eye – you know – they speak to you.