Cost Analysis

This time, old-school won

April 1, 2014 

In today’s rush of electronics and impersonal automation, Fort Mill just witnessed a primitive solution to what could have been a huge problem for the area.

Ron Edwards, the manager at Springs Farm, set fires to save peach buds from frosting over. Think about it: At a time where we nearly wrap our kids in bubble wrap before sending them out to play and are hyper-sensitive about anything that could possibly be dangerous, one man orchestrated the covering of 70 acres of land with small buckets filled with flames.

The best part about it – success! And nobody got hurt.

Local farmers will have lots of fruit to sell this year. The Peach Stand will draw people in for more than just a tasty breakfast and a quality meat counter. It will happen because Edwards came up with an unusual problem-solving idea and because Fire Chief Jeff Hooper let him do it.

I hate to keep belaboring the point, but it takes guts to let that happen. One rogue kick of a bucket and there could have been a disaster. For each speck of ash, a lawyer was waiting with a lawsuit in one hand and a pen in the other. For each flicker of flame, a yahoo with a cellphone and an Instagram account was ready to document any mishap and share it with the unwashed masses connected to social media.

This time, old school won. When I heard the story, I wanted to pop in an eight-track of Jim Croce, read a dog-eared book, and send a telegram. As you can probably guess, only one of those things is possible in 2014. Heck, if I started singing Croce’s lyrics, “Op-er-ator. Well could you help me place this call?” most people younger than 25 would look at me like an alien.

“What’s an operator?”

I wasn’t drawn to this story just because common sense trumped the growing number of safeguards we shroud ourselves in, because we all know that had something burnt up, most people would be decrying how idiotic the idea was. I was drawn in by the fact that we’ve recently been fed a lot of lip service about how poor critical thinking is and that only Common Core can cure this ill. Edwards showed that having a simple understanding of heat overcoming cold and putting it into practical action was a peach of a solution.

I know Fort Mill has a Strawberry Queen, but perhaps the Peach King can have her first dance this year.

You can reach Scott at to learn what operators used to do.

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