Painting words on a water tower

Published 5:45 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

Now that winter is rearing its icy head, I am not one of those people who wax nostalgic about fireplaces and heating their homes with open fireplaces or wood/coal burning stoves or furnaces.

The Garrard County Water Association, I presume, is erecting a big water supply tower just outside Paint Lick on 52 that looks much like the ones you see all over small town Kentucky poked up toward the sky and embossed with the city’s name or “Go (name the local high school mascots).”

I’m already wondering if they’ll let us put “Paint Lick” on it. It would be a shame to just let it stand there naked and unadorned.

I’m assuming it will replace The Great Blue Tube, a very tall “standing pipe” painted royal blue that has served us ever since we moved here in 1982 and still stands to serve, as best it can, right beside the new one. The Great Blue Tube got its name when our nephew, Chris Adams, spent the summer with us in the late 80s. One of the first things he asked was, “What’s that big blue thing in the field out there beside the road”?

“Son,” I told him, “that’s a remarkable work of modern architectural art called The Great Blue Tube that was put there to demonstrate that we Paint Lickers are a highly cultured society. We aim to see if a little of our culture will rub off on you while you’re down here.”

Chris said, “You gotta be kidding. I thought it was some sort of contraption to hold water but I couldn’t figure out why one farmer would need that much.”

I finally told him that it was, in fact, a water tower that served several communities, but the name stuck.

The problem that I hope will be addressed with the new tower is that The Great Blue Tube has suffered from prostate issues throughout our tenure in its environs. Sometimes it can only dribble when it out to squirt. Instead of taking showers at my house, we often have to take drizzles because The Great Blue simply is not up to the task of providing adequate water pressure.

Of course this has been going on for 36 years, in our particular case, and much, much longer than that for folks who have lived here all their lives. Low and/or fluctuating water pressure has been a way of life for so long that we take it for granted. I, personally, gave up complaining about it shortly after we got here.

I knew that one of my neighbors, at that time, who lived a couple or 3 miles out the road, served on the Water Association Board of Directors, so I called him up. My ear still burns every time I think about that call.

“Some people will complain about Heaven, if they ever get there,” he told me. “Buddy, you don’t know how lucky you are to have public water in the first place, do you? Some of us worked our butts off to get it in here and what do we get? Nobody ever says thank you for your service. No Buddy! All they do is call me up and complain that the pressure doesn’t suit them. You want more water pressure then dig yourself a well and buy a pump and keep it going. See how well you like that kinda pressure.” Then he hung up on me.

I never again complained about the water pressure. Loretta will sometimes grumble that something must be wrong with the kitchen sink because the faucet is only putting out a trickle but I tell her that it’s only Great Blue’s prostate acting up again. He’ll take a beta pill and get over it soon.

We often visit friends and relatives in Richmond and Berea where we need to wash our hands from time to time and discover that if we turn the faucets wide open it feels like we might lose some fingernails or blast the skin right off our knuckles.

I have high hopes that the new water tower is going to cause that to happen in Paint Lick.

In the meantime, I’m really wondering if they’ll paint something on it. I’m going to start lobbying for “Historic Paint Lick 4 Miles ahead. Don’t blink your eyes.”

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.