Yesterday afternoon, I drove from Greenville, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s a pretty easy trip: ninety miles of highway cutting across a softly rolling landscape littered with the occasional Waffle House and fireworks outlet. If it weren’t for the rich red earth piled around the occasional construction site, it could just as easily have been Pennsylvania or southern Ohio.
Just outside of Gaffney, this magnificent vision loomed out of the light fog, a monumental Claes Oldenburg vision of ripe, full peachiness. Officially, it’s known as “The Peachoid” which sounds rather unfortunate. Built at the outset of the 80’s, this 150 foot tall fully-functioning water tower stands as a testament to the local people’s civic pride and indignation. The state of Georgia gets all kind of credit for peaches, but South Carolina has long produced considerably more. The proud people of Cherokee County figure if it takes an enormous, Federally-funded, custom-painted tower replete with a seven ton green leaf to make that point, then so be it.
Local wags like to make fun of how, from certain angles, this shapely fruit makes an ass out of itself. But I found it nothing short of spectacular; a point of deserved civic pride and community art that immediately set my mouth watering for those sweet fuzzy skins of Summer.
You didn’t have to do that Gaffney, but you did. Bless you.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79