Southern (U.S.) pickup truck decal displays -- what's the deal?

I’m experiencing quite a bit of culture shock in my neck of the woods in Florida. “But it’s just like the North, only warmer!”, you say. Nope – I’m in an demographic enclave that has a “Southern cultural orientation.”

I’m wondering about the decals many people in my part of the Orlando metro area have in their truck windows. Specifically:

  1. Random phrases in the front window, reading something like “A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT,” “DOWN FOR THE COUNT,” “MEAT AND POTATOS,” “COME AND GET IT,” and so on.

  2. Rolling memorials, not just to #3, but to average people. One out of every 20 trucks 'round these parts has a rear window memorial, something like “IN MEMORY OF BETTY LOU GOAD 1968-2001.”

What’s the deal?

  1. You got me–don’t think I’ve seen one.

  2. Just a guess–if these memorials all have a death year of 2001, perhaps it’s for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

I am not all that far from Orlando and I haven’t seen a single example of what you describe.

I’ve lived in the south most of my life and have never seen anything like what you are describeing. All we get 'round here are No Fear and Calvin pissing on Ford/Chevy. But more frequently the flag of various latin american countries, at least this is better than all those rebel flags.

I’m in Orlando’s western suburbs – Ocoee/Winter Garden/Clermont. It’s much different here than along the I-4 corridor. The area is far more … uhhh, I’ll refrain from using the “R” word, so I’ll just say it has far more of a working-class Southern cultural orientation than the rest of the Orlando metro area. I haven’t seen the rolling memorials or the random phrase decals outside of the western suburbs, but I have seen them in Georgia and South Carolina.

The memorials have different death dates, so it’s not WTC related.

I’m from a very redne- err, rural area of New York, and I’ve seen examples of your #1. Most of the time up home they’re decals or painted onto a flycatcher mounted on the end of the hood, though, not on the window. They seem to be the name of the truck, the way people name boats.

I live just outside of Nashvegas, TN and I’ve seen 'em all. Don’t ask me to explain 'em. I’m a transplant and don’t get it either.

Here in the other South (West that is) the memorials are usually done for someone who died early or badly (Murder, accident, etc.) A true sociologic study would probably turn up reasons similar to roadside crosses and shrines. Where people who died early are memorialized until their appropriate “Three Score and Ten” or until the person taking care of the memorial stop taking care of it.

Just my WAG.

I’m not so sure about #1 but I see #2 around here constantly. I’m seriously starting to think that every car in my town will be dedicated to someone by the end of this year.

I live just outside of Philadelphia. The rolling memorials were somewhat common around here a few years ago but I haven’t seen any recently. IIRC there was an incident in this area where the police pulled over and ticketed someone because of this. The cops said that the lettering in the rear window was illegal because it could obstruct the driver’s view. This seems like a reasonable position to me but the person who got ticketed took offense and claimed that the police were harrasing them. IIRC the people were black or hispanic and claimed it was racism. I seem to recall that the person being memorialized was killed in a shootout with the police or something similar. It had the potential to become a major incident but, to be honest, I don’t remember how it turned out.

I’m in Santa Barbara, pretty dang far from Orlando, but I noticed (for the first time, coincidentally) an example of #2 yesterday. We were wondering what to make of it ourselves. I thought it was a good idea, as far as memorials go (after all, what’s the point of a memorial/epitaph if not to be seen)-- gets seen more often than a tombstone or other memorial.