Tidbits - October 13, 2016

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

LEADERSHIP



  No matter your party affiliation, you have to raise to your hat to Gov. Nikki Haley for her leadership during Hurricane Matthew.
  There was no waiting until the last minute for her. She issued evacuation notices well before the hurricane was due to hit our state, both sides on I-26 were opened to one way travel, and schools were closed so they could serve as shelters.
  Her press conferences were to the point, and featured good reports from officials, and as the hurricane neared, one ended with prayer for our state, her people, and all those in neighboring states.
  I got to see snippets of press conferences of governors from Florida to North Carolina, and they all did fine jobs, as well.
  Their primary concern was saving lives.
  There is more to hurricanes than high winds. The State of North Carolina got some wind damage, but look as the flooding destruction the rain has brought.
  South Carolina’s coast did not go unscathed. Favorite piers were destroyed, as was the beautiful Marshwalk at Murrell’s Inlet. I walked the Marshwalk this summer, and it was so pretty.
  A fire started at Cherry Grove, a couple of blocks from where we stay every year, and five structures were destroyed because of the 75 mph winds. No one was injured, because the residents heeded the Governor’s warning.
  I was also saddened to learn of the flooding destruction in the town of Nichols. I passed through Nichols on my way to the beach this year. It’s a nice little town, and I feel for the residents.
  I think all states learned from the failure of leadership during Hurricane Katrina.
  A hurricane is not something sudden like a tornado or a flash flood. You know about them a week in advance.
  You have plenty of time to get out, yet 1000 people died in New Orleans.
  Although they were not all needed, the State of South Carolina sent over 200 buses to Charleston to bring evacuees to the upstate. In New Orleans, schools buses that could have hauled people to safety in advance of the hurricane ended up underwater.
  Some complained about the early decisions by our Governor, but she had the safety of the citizens at heart.
  I salute the power companies, law enforcement, fire departments, EMS, National Guard, rescue squads and volunteers. You make us proud.
  By the way, I’m sure you all are like me and was fascinated by the Governor’s sign language man.
  What is remarkable is the man is deaf. Someone sat in front of him and signed what Gov. Haley said, and he signed from what he saw from the signer.
  His expressions were great.
  I loved it when the word “governor” came up, and the signer would look at Gov. Haley and point!

SUPER HERO

  I don’t know when I’ve been so touched, as by the outpouring of love for a little boy few people even knew.
  Little Jacob Hall was wounded in the shooting at Townville Elementary School. Doctors did all they could to save his life, but the little first grader did not make it.
  His family put out an unusual request. Jacob loved super heroes, so his family asked everyone attending the funeral to wear some type of super hero garb.
  The request went beyond the town limits of Townville. Children, teenagers and adults throughout the state donned super hero shirts and outfits on Wednesday, including many in Saluda’s schools.
  My heart was broken when this smiling little boy died in a senseless act of violence committed by a child of 14.
  Thank goodness for a hero teacher for protecting the children,  and a hero fireman for stopping the shooter. It could have been so much worse.
  Jacob, your funeral made the news all over the world, and there was not a dry eye in the house.
  You touched us all, little man. Go fly high.....

AND AGAIN

  It’s funny how little ironies keep happening.
  I wrote about Mitchell Spearman meeting up with his cousin Nancy and Rene Infinger, both Saluda connected,  while he was in Hawaii, and finding out Nancy and Renee’s husbands work together at the Pearl Harbor base.
  Mitchell shared what I wrote to Facebook by posting a link to our website.
  Under that link he tagged me in a note that Saluda High graduate Josh Denny was also in Oahu, and he and Renee would be getting together soon.
  As I was reading that note, our phone rang.
  On the other end was Mitchell’s mother Molly!
  Now, how about that.
  Molly told me Mitchell was flying in to attend his 10th Carolina Law School Reunion.
  He left soon after an earthquake in California and flew into a hurricane in South Carolina!


WEIRD SEASON

  This has been the weirdest high school football season I’ve ever experienced.
  Saluda High has already played two games that started as 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.
  Last week, with Hurricane Matthew on the way, Saluda High’s Homecoming game with Gray Collegiate was moved to Thursday, which turned out to be a beautiful day.
  Unfortunately, in anticipation of the Hurricane and the need for possible shelters in the schools, Lexington County closed its schools Wednesday through Friday.
  Under the High School League rules, a school’s sports’ teams cannot participate in a game if their school does not operate during the day. They cannot practice either.
  I was worried the game would be moved to Monday, which would have been a nightmare for me.
  I work until around 10 or 11 p.m. every Monday at home under normal circumstances. Having to announce a football game, then write a story, would have put me into the early morning hours getting through.
  Thankfully, the high school league extended the season and Saluda and Gray Collegiate will meet on November 4.

NOTHING TO SAY

  Notice I have had little to say about Carolina football this year?
  That old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice....” holds true.
  I’m not upset at this year’s team or the coaches.
  I’m upset with the previous staff and coaches who allowed the program to drop this far this fast. Don’t forget Carolina finished fourth in the country just four years ago.
  The coaches started resting on their laurels and rested on the recruiting trail, as well.
  Clemson did not rest. The Tigers, with their excellent recruiting and coaching staff, reload. They don’t rebuild.
  I thought Carolina had reached that point after winning 11 games for three straight years, but Spurrier and staff let us down.

BAD MEMORIES

  When Navy ruined Houston’s unbeaten season Saturday, it brought back bitter memories.
  The graphic at the end of the game said it was Navy’s first win over a Top Ten team since 1984, which made every Carolina fan cringe.
  The undefeated, second ranked Gamecock team lost to a four win Navy team in 1984. Number one Nebraska also lost that day.
  Had the Gamecocks won to go 10-0, Carolina might have played for the National Championship that year.
   Bad, bad memories.....