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Pair Say Beautification Campaign More About Sex Than Plants, But Promoter Says They Dig Too Deep

Sun., Sept. 21, 1997

Sex and flower beds shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath, complain Steve and Linda Kemp.

They’re fuming about an urban beautification campaign that’s promoting landscaping with crape myrtle plants.

Specifically, they don’t like 10 billboards depicting a silhouette of a woman in a Victorian dress and the words: “Myrtle’s coming! Get your bed ready.”

“The meaning that is most clearly presented is one with a sexual innuendo,” Linda Kemp said. “There’s nothing in that billboard about the flowers at all.”

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s a sexual pun,” Scott Kemp said.

Their protests are dismissed by Donna Albus, coordinator of the project sponsored by a group called Abilene Clean and Proud, which wants to blanket the city with 5,200 crape myrtle plants next month.

“If anybody can make S-E-X out of that billboard, they’re sick,” Albus said. “I would never have constructed my billboard with something that would be construed or misconstrued.”

“Does the word ‘bed’ mean that you’re going to do something sexual?” Albus asked. “A lot of people sleep in them.”


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