Memory Lane: Road Construction ‘Cannonballs’

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Hey, remember these things? Actually, you’ve got to be a bit on the old side, to have seen them. They were declared a no-no around 1960, although some municipalities and private contractors kept on using them for some years afterward. But you won’t see them anymore–except as curious artifacts for sale here and there.

Not until yesterday did I learn they were called “road construction smudge pots.” As a boy, seeing them along Route 1 as we rode to Grammie’s house, I thought they must be cannonballs. Because, well, they looked like cannonballs. But that flame at the top–maybe they were bombs. There were bombs that looked like that in Farmer Grey cartoons. (Remember those?) They never went off, though, so I was pretty sure they must be cannonballs.

We are told by certain persons who collect these, nowadays, that you have to wear gloves to handle them because they’re just so terribly filthy. Probably leave a carbon footprint that even John Kerry would be proud of. Once upon a time they used to be set up along road construction areas as guides to help keep drivers on the road. Now they’re just collectibles.

Not that I miss the old cannonballs. But I do miss those visits to Grammie, and that’s what I think of when I see pictures of those things.

Sorry about the Disabled Comments! I forgot to take the extra step of disabling the disability.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

10 responses to “Memory Lane: Road Construction ‘Cannonballs’

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