Tidbits - August 24 2027

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



WOW! JUST WOW!

  I like Gwen Stefani and I like Blake Shelton, but if I hear one more story about their romance on “Entertainment Tonight,” I’m going to throw up.
  That is about how I was beginning to feel about the eclipse.
  I got my glasses weeks ago from the Lions Club, so I was ready. I didn’t need to see all the hype, over and over and over again.
  I’ll be totally honest. I never expected to see crowds of people flock to Saluda, and neither did a good many of our merchants and restaurant owners, who normally close on Monday.
  Around 10:15 a.m., Ora Corley from the Crawford office next door, came over and told me to come with her, she had people she wanted me to meet.
  She handed me two business cards.
  On one was Anita L. Cochran, assistant director, senior research scientist, McDonald Observatory, the University of Texas at Austin.
  The other said William D. Cochran, research professor, Department of Astronomy, McDonald Observatory, the University of Texas at Austin.
  That’s when I knew this was serious.
  Anita’s brother and his wife live in Aiken, so they had a place to stay for this once in a lifetime experience, and they chose Saluda to view the eclipse!
  Anita’s brother also told his sister works with NASA a great deal!
  I couldn’t let the couple return to Austin, located in Travis County, without telling them the namesake of their county was born right here. I also told them about Bonham and the Bonham House.
  Ironically, Saluda native Mitchell Spearman just took a job at the University of Texas.
  About 45 minutes later, I went into CVS and saw a couple purchasing lawn chairs. They were from Atlanta. At lunchtime, I went in Fred’s and saw people buying lawn chairs, as well.
  After lunch, I walked around the Courthouse Square, and talked to people from Orlando, Augusta and Charlotte. I walked into the library, where they had given out of eclipse glasses. At the Museum, I read the sign-in sheet and saw the names of people from California and Massachusetts, among other locations.
  My  brother Jamie found a family from Florida parked at the Educational Complex, and Tom Quattlebaum reported the parking lot at Persimmon Hill was full.
  Cindy Crapps drove home from Augusta and said cars were pulled over along the side of the road all the way.
  It’s a shame the SHS stadium is still under repair. That would have been a great place to watch.
  At 2:30 I finally went outside for the duration. We had four pair of glasses and five people. Jackie’s children, Meagan, Josh and Joel joined us.
  We all tried to take a decent picture with our phones. I failed miserably.
  Then it happened - the total eclipse of the sun.
  The sky darkened, the street lights came on, and we could take off our glasses to see a spectacular site that most of us will never see again.
  I told someone it was like visiting the Grand Canyon. You can see photos of the Grand Canyon, and they are impressive, but they pale in comparison for when you see it with your own eyes.
  I’d seen pictures of what the total eclipse would look like, but having the privilege of seeing it myself was one of my life’s highlights.
  Hearing the crowd at the Courthouse cheering when the eclipse went total brought chill bumps. Then someone began to shoot fireworks, and the drivers of the 18-wheelers stated honking their horns.
  It was a spectacular experience, and it only lasted a couple of minutes. I guarantee you, however, none of those who had to make a long journey home regretted they made the trip.
 P.S. As a Gamecock, I particularly enjoyed seeing the clip of the Carolina football players at the top of Williams-Brice Stadium (where I used to sit) and “2001: Space Odyssey” blaring over the speakers. The cameraman panned to the total eclipse. How neat was that!
  Another great eclipse experience was the photo Nancy Upchurch posted on Facebook of her father. I asked her permission to reprint it in our paper.
  Marvin Bernstein was born in 1915, so that means he was three years old the last time a total eclipse crossed the country in 1918. At 102, he was able to sit in a lawn chair Monday, put on his glasses, and look up ... for the second time!

AND AGAIN

  I was not overly disappointed with Saluda’s loss to Strom Thurmond.
  Thurmond is a bigger school, had a more experienced team, and was favored to win.
  Last year, the Tigers lost 38-7 to the Rebels, and this year they fell 35-6.
  Saluda recovered to win 12 straight games in 2016. But that was last year.
  Let’s do a little comparison.
  Last year, with players like Brooks and Abney, Saluda gained 272 totals yards. This year, without Brooks and Abney, Saluda gained 298.
  With an experienced defense last year, Saluda gave up 489 yards to the Rebels. This year team, less experienced, gave up only 341.
  Friday’s game would have been a lot closer had the Tigers scored early. Saluda dominated the first eight minutes of the game, but came away with nothing.
  The Rebels stole the momentum and never gave it back.
  I saw enough in this game to see this is going to be a fun Tiger team to watch. There are many young players, who come become game breakers.
  Give them a little time.

WE REMEMBER

  I once shared the same space with comedy legend Jerry Lewis.
  On a trip to New York City, my mother Betty, sister Elizabeth and I were in a Broadway theater, waiting for “Annie Get Your Gun” to start
  The announcer came on to tell us there was a special guest in the audience and introduced Jerry Lewis, who was sitting three rows in front of us.
  Jerry died this week at the age of 91. To be honest I could only take so much of his comedy. I put him in the same category as Jim Carrey in my “quick turn the channel” feelings.
  What I liked about Jerry Lewis was his devotion to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I almost cried every year at the end of the telethon when he sang “You’ll Never Walk Along.”
  He raised $2 billion for MDA. Few if any entertainers have done so much, nor worked so hard for a single organization.
  I shared the same table with Robert Metts at the Catherine Metts- Carey Ridgell wedding reception in May.
  I’ve known Robert, his wife Glenda, their children and the rest of their families on both sides for a long, long time. His great nephew, Ryan Metts, worked for the Standard-Sentinel for five years.
  Two of Glenda and Robert’s sons, Chris and Michael, played for my Yankee little league  team when they were kids.
  Like many, I walked through the funeral home at Michael’s visitation after the was killed in a farm accident. Like all, I was devastated. Imagine how his parents, brothers and other family members felt.
  They went on with their lives and offered their support to other families who suffered similar losses.
  Robert retired from Milliken and Company and started his own heating and cooling business. His brought comfort to many homes, business and churches throughout the county.
  Glenda had a long career in banking, and as a member of Saluda County Council was instrumental in convincing the rest of Council to let the Saluda Civitan Club build the Saluda County Recreation Complex at the County Home.
  Robert and Glenda had been married for 58-years when he lost his battle with cancer. Sadly, he was a first cousin of County Council Chairman Don Hancock, who died of cancer just a few weeks ago. They lived in the same community.
  Robert was loved  by everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed.
 Finally, I express my sympathy to the Wideman family in the death of family matriarch, Frances Wideman.
  The Widemans have meant a great deal to the community through business, law enforcement, military service, sports and public service.