Harts Lane in Simpsonville has been home to Judy Smith and her fashionable cow statue, Bessy for the last three years. When the Smith’s purchased the home, they inherited the cow in their driveway, “My husband asked me what I was going to do with the cow and I said, ‘We’re going to dress her up,'” Smith says. It’s been a collaborative effort between Judy, her friend, Deb Failor and her sister, Charlotte Ingram. Each month, Bessy wears a themed holiday or seasonal outfit. Decorated with acrylic paint, tutu’s, sunglasses, boots and other precious props, she never disappoints drivers.
The fun tradition developed out of a desire to be creative and bring others utter joy, “There’s a part of us that never grew up,” Smith reveals. An ultimate game of dress up, Bessy has worn a different outfit every month since they moved in! Plans to build Bessy a she-shed are in process Smith explains, “I cannot house her wardrobe anymore!” All three ladies contribute to her ensemble, but Failor is the artist behind the woodwork and signs. A talented painter and table maker, she’s crafted cute themed tables’ including a ladybug and flip-flop. She’s also built decorative birdhouses! Ingram is responsible for creating most of Bessy’s colorful wreaths, while Smith envisions creative scenes.
Bessy brings a special smile to the community and specific satisfaction from her creators. Ingram highlights her favorite aspect of dressing Bessy, “The pleasure of creating and after we finish, I stand back and admire what we’ve done. I wonder what people will think.” For Smith, it’s the pure bliss others get from witnessing Bessy’s dazzling personality, “The most joy for me is that when I’m out there, people blow the horn and say I love your cow,” she says. In fact, she’s even received notes from children thanking her! Another enjoyable moment for her is when she has conversations with fans that pass by. Failor loves to imagine what wooden signs will fit each theme and embraces the embarrassing task of sanding Bessy’s udders.
To recognize police officers, Failor created a fallen officer sign that is posted on a tree near the cow anytime life is lost. Once a month, they also cook a five-course meal for fireman at the fire station nearby. It’s a really moooving display of appreciation for their public service.
In November, be sure to stop by to see Bessy dressed as a pilgrim for Thanksgiving on Harts Lane. Honk or wave to show support and thank the Smith’s for making our city a lively place to call home. The best lesson learned from Bessy is to milk life for all it’s worth!