Every town has one.

OK, let me adjust that a bit. Almost every town has one.

In many of the small towns I've had the pleasure of driving into, there are two things that usually pop up above rooftops and power poles. You see a church steeple (choose your denomination) and you see a water tower.

And virtually every time I see that water tower standing tall against the sky, I remember my Grandma. Yes, my Grandma, gone from the planet now for almost a half-century.

You see, I've discovered that a water tower, especially those that rise up majestically over a small town, holds not only water but magic. And memories

My Grandma lived in the smallest house in one of those small towns. It was just her, Grandpa having passed even before I ever got to meet him. There are a lot of things that take me back to my 10-year-old self and my Grandma Grace. I suppose chief among them is the smell of freshly baked bread.

And that small-town water tower.

She lived just a block from it you see. This huge contraption colored green with the town's name boldly printed on the side of the tank way, way up there. And thank goodness it was way up there.

I could go wander around town, check out the candy aisle at the local grocery store, trot over to the baseball field, walk past the school playground which of course was empty now in the middle of summer. I could walk over to the creek and watch a couple of old fella's fish.

And I could always find Grandma's house by looking up for my old friend, that magical tub in the sky. Just walk towards that and Grandma's house was....well, just over there. If someone would ask me where Grandma lived (They'd use her proper adult name, but just Grandma to me), I'd just tell 'em 'See that water tower? She lives down near the bottom there.'

Of course, I didn't know that ol' water tower was makin' memories for me at the time. I guess that's the magical part.

I love driving the highways and byways of South Dakota, and those small towns are my favorite because I grew up on a small farm next to a small town myself. And I love seeing that water tower.

Because all these years later I can still see Grandma's house, and I know there's freshly baked bread waiting.

Cars and Coffee July 2020


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