Tidbits - December 28 2017



  The problem with holidays is to you have to work extra hard to get a day off.
  This week,  because our printer is taking Monday, Christmas Day,  and Tuesday, our normal printing day, off we are having to print our second paper of the week on Friday, December 22, even though it is dated December 28.
  Knowing not a lot happens in Saluda County between Tuesday and Friday, we split our Christmas issue so that we would have something to put in the Friday edition.
  Fortunately, we did have some news with the Special Election for County Council Chairman on Tuesday, December 19.
  Naturally, I can’t write about Christmas 2017 on December 21, so I am going to reminisce.
  Saluda’s Christmas parade was always special in my youth, because, thanks to Les Hembel, Santa always made a big entrance - by air.
   Before he started the helicopter company, Les and his wife Caroline were well known airplane pilots and pilot instructors.
  We knew the start of the parade was nearing when Les would buzz the parade route in his plane, and Santa would stick his head out the window of the plane and wave.
  The plane turned and flew back to the other way, then Les would land on his private landing strip on Pencreek Rd. (or was it Bonham), and Santa would hop into a car and ride to his float.
  When Les started the helicopter company, Santa got a new way to arrive. He would still wave to the crowd, but  he didn’t have to go back to the landing strip.
  Les, would land the helicopter on what we called the football practice field at what is now Saluda Elementary.
  The parade was always a big thing.
  It was not unusual for four or five marching bands to take part.
  The crowd favorite was always the T.W. Josey High School band from Augusta. They were the high school equivalent of the S.C. State Marching 101. Pure joy to watch.
  The bands  back then had things called majorettes. Well, they definitely weren’t “things,” but beautiful girls who twirled batons.
  Because the Christmas Parade was in December, the majorettes put make-up on their legs to make them look like they were tanned, or they wore tan colored stockings.
  I was a growing boy and noticed things like that.
  I was in a few parades as a member both the Cub and Boys Scouts. Because scouts had a military look, we always marched.
  I remember one year, the parade route stayed on Butler Avenue, and hung a right on Jennings Street. It then turned right onto the Batesburg Hwy., and finally turned right on Main Street. I think everyone who walked in the parade that year slept well that night, because that was a long, long walk.
  When I came to work for the Sentinel, I learned from the Keelers about taking parade photos.
  We used a 35mm camera that required changing rolls of film, hoping we wouldn’t miss a float. We’d take the film to Parkman’s and would wait two days for the prints.
  At the new building, we had a dark room and Chris would develop parade photos. We also would take some Polaroids that had film that cost $8 for a pack of eight.
  Today, I take pictures with a digital camera, come home from the parade, and upload them to Facebook in a matter of minutes.
  If I remember correctly, the parade was held on Wednesday when I was a kid, and like the State Fair Day, we’d get out of school early. Then, again, I may be wrong on that.


  My favorite Christmas movie is “A Christmas Story,” and the other night Fox broadcast its version of the Broadway musical based on the movies. It was really good.
   I’ve already seen “Holiday Inn,’ made in the 40s, which was remade as “White Christmas.” Bing Crosby was in both.
  On Amazon Prime I watched the Andy Williams Christmas special, which showed clips from his annual Christmas programs. One song featured Donnie Osmond, who was about six at the time.
 Andy had one of the purest singing voices I’ve ever heard.
  I’m looking forward to “Home Alone 1 & 2,” and “Christmas Vacation.” I laugh out loud no matter how many times I watch.
  By the way, I do not watch Hallmark Christmas movies. I protest because they take “Murder She Wrote” and “Matlock” off the schedule so they can show Christmas movies with the same plot for two months!


  Again, our printing schedule makes the New Year’s Day  bowls games too far away to get overly excited.
  Carolina and Michigan will start the New Year’s Day bowl schedule. I will not  be heartbroken if the Gamecocks do not win. I’m just happy the team is 8-4 and in a good bowl.
  Last year, Jake Bentley had the best game of his freshman year in the bowl. Bentley set the school record for most passing yards in a bowl game, nearly 400 yards, against a ranked South Florida team.
  That game is why I thought Carolina’s offense would be impressive this year. It was anything but, and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper was shown the door. Maybe, the “Jake of Bowl Game Past” will return against Michigan.
   I look forward to the Clemson-Alabama game. I favor Clemson, because I feel the Tigers have a better offense. Both teams have outstanding defenses.
  The Georgia-Oklahoma game is hard to predict. Oklahoma has been in this position before and Clemson blew the Sooners away. Will Georgia do the same.


  If you live long enough, you will endure a friend or loved one dying near Christmas.
  Death is sad anytime, but it seems at Christmas it is magnified.
  In the last couple of weeks, our community has seen a 30-year-old policeman, a 45-year-old County Water and Sewer Authority worker and two brothers in their 20’s die.
  I wrote about Eric Chapman a couple of weeks ago.
  I’d known James Keith since he was a little leaguer. He was such a well-mannered child and he continued those traits into adulthood. He died of a heart attack.
  James’ mother Dora Keith was a much loved teacher in the Saluda School system for many years.
  Thursday morning, Facebook was filled with sadness as friends mourned the passing of brothers, Wade and Harley Epting. The brothers, only 27 and 23-years-old, died in a vehicle accident on Pond Branch Road in Lexington County Wednesday night.
  I did not know the brothers, but I could tell from the Facebook posts how much they were loved.
  Eric, James, Wade and Harley were all graduates of Saluda High. They shared that bond.
  This small community mourns their passing, and prays for their families, especially at this time of year.