DENNIS TOWNSHIP — As some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, Richard Bradley wears his sense of humor on his lawn.

Bradley’s one-story home is on a rural stretch of Route 47.

And when weekend shore-bound traffic slows to a crawl a mile away from a notoriously clogged intersection with Route 347, the 65-year-old retired cabinetmaker and newspaper circulation manager has some fun.

“Danger. Fire Warning — Don’t even (pass gas) in the woods,” reads one sign outside his house in the Eldora section of Dennis Township.

“Caution. This sign has sharp edges. Do not touch the edges of this sign,” reads another.

“I just like to crack people up,” said Bradley with a laugh. “They look so miserable, stuck in traffic there for hours. ... They see the signs. They crack up, they’re laughing, and that cracks me up.”

In the several years of doing it, Bradley said no curious motorist has yet to knock on his door. He estimates hundreds of traffic-snarled travelers have taken photos, though.

He even received a thank-you note once.

“One person left me a card in my mailbox on their way from the shore, which said they were stuck in traffic for what seemed like hours, they saw the signs and had a good time laughing about it. You don’t get that too often,” he said.

Bradley’s wife of 42 years, Jackie, said her husband keeps a folder of ideas for future signs.

“He has a file folder of his possibilities. He’ll see something that will spark something, or will see something on Pinterest,” said Jackie Bradley, who says the signs can be a bit coarse at times.

Some of the Dennis Township man’s curious hobby can be attributed to his love of a good practical joke.

Two weeks ago, he pulled one on his friends and neighbors a few doors down, who awoke one morning to find their Ford Escort covered in aluminum foil.

“I did a double take. My husband’s car was covered in aluminum foil — but I mean a really neat job, not just thrown on,” neighbor Florence McCart, 71, said. “Sure enough, I called him and said, ‘There’s only one person who could have done this. You must have spent a fortune on aluminum foil.’ He said, ‘No we were in BJ’s, and they were having a sale on aluminum foil.’”

The couple liked the joke so much they kept the car wrapped that weekend for passing motorists stuck in traffic to enjoy.

For Bradley, being a perpetual prankster sometimes comes with payback.

Once, while working as a cabinetmaker for a yacht company, Bradley’s co-workers set up a complex pulley system attached by a string to one of his notebooks. Above his head were two buckets of water and sawdust.

“The whole crew was up in laughter, and I was covered,” he said. “But the work they went through to do that was amazing. It was a lot of fun.”

On his Dennis Township lawn during summer weekends, Bradley has a canvas.

When it’s busy, he also has a captive audience that has seen rear bumpers and brake lights for an hour.

So he was a little disappointed on Labor Day weekend, when he noticed no Route 47 traffic backups in front of his home.

When cars are speeding past, they miss the signs.

Contact Brian Ianieri:


More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.