Signs: “Check caching”

October 21, 2013

Utah has a Cache County, which includes most of the Cache Valley.  In 7th grade Utah history, if not before, Utah kids learn that the name came from the old Mountain Men, French-descended fur trappers who plied the area well before the Mormon pioneers and even John C. Fremont.

A trapper could collect a half-ton of beaver pelts in a season, to sell to a large corporation to export to Europe to be made into felt.  He wouldn’t want to carry that weight around with him.  So trappers would make a place to hide their furs until trading time — a “cache” in fractured French, from the word “cacher,” which means “to hide,” in this case. (See also Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River.)

Utah’s Cache Valley at least one year hosted the grand rendezvous of fur trappers and their hosting corporate suppliers and buyers, and for much of a decade or longer was a place where fur trappers hid their furs awaiting the rendezvous — great American explorers and pioneers like Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger, James Beckwourth, Peter Skene Ogden and Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Maybe the people who made this sign didn’t know that history.  I found it in Alvarado, Texas, after all.

There is a world of difference between “cashing a check” and “caching a check,” though.  Surely there is an Abbott and Costello-style comedy routine in this sign:

Check caching in Alvarado, Texas?

Check caching in Alvarado, Texas?

Six words on that sign.  Three of them are misspelled, 50%.

I imagine someone entering the store to cash a check, handing it to the clerk who promptly drops it into a slot in a mysterious box and says, “All cached.”  “Where’s my check?” the customer demands.  Abbott and Costello enter from the back room.

Then I got stuck with an ugly earworm for the next few miles, with Tommy James infecting my brain.  But for the want of an “e” it could have been the Beatles or Pink Floyd.

I hope the merchant got a heckuva discount from the sign maker.  At least 50% off.

Camp near the head of Cache Valley, Utah - NAR...

Cache Valley, Utah, in the late 19th or early 20th century; camp near the head of Cache Valley – NARA – 516657 via Wikipedia

Cache Valley, Utah, today, after an infusion of cash. Jim Bridger wouldn't recognize the place.  Wikipedia image

Cache Valley, Utah, today, after an infusion of cash. Jim Bridger wouldn’t recognize the place. Wikipedia image

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