Tidbits - August 16 2018

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



ABOUT A STADIUM

  Saluda High School’s football season opener at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field Friday against Strom Thurmond is taking on even more significance.
  Last week, two women directly connected to the names of the historic stadium passed way.
  Jeanette Matthews Shealy died Wednesday. She was a granddaughter of Dr. T.B. Matthews for whom Matthews Field is named.
  Two days later, Ruby Corley Herlong died. She was the widow of Bettis G. Herlong Jr. for whom the stadium is named.
  The two names are further connected as Jeanette’s grandmother, the former Sudie Grisgby, was Bettis Grigsby Herlong, Jr.’s great-aunt.
  Sudie was my great-great aunt and Bettis was my Daddy Shake’s (James Bettis) first cousin. That is why I have always said I was related to the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field.
  Jeanette’s grandfather T.B. was a dentist. His office was in the blue building with arches on West Church Street. Across the road was Matthews Chevrolet, owned by Jeanette’s father, Candler Matthews.
  Jeanette graduated from Saluda High School and Columbia College and began her teaching career in Beaufort. I didn’t realize until I read her obituary that Jeanette taught one of my favorite authors, Pat Conroy, at Beaufort High School.
  While there she met a coach and teacher named Wyman Shealy. Wyman was from Newberry and had Saluda County relatives, as well. The two fell in love and married.
  Wyman later went to dental school, and when he finished, they returned to Jeanette’s hometown of Saluda where he opened his dentist office that is still in operation.
  Jeanette devoted her life to this community, beginning as a French teacher at Saluda High.
  Through the years, she was a leader in the garden club, historical society and library board, just to name a few organizations.
  She served on the Saluda Nursing Center board, and was elected to the School District One Board of Trustees.
  A few years ago, Wyman and Jeanette’s only child Candi suffered a terrible fall at her home at the beach. When doctors were working to repair her injuries, they discovered Candi had cancer.
  She died in October 2012 at the age of 48.
  Doc and Jeanette were devastated, but they found a way to go on, and continued their devotion to this community.
  Jeanette’s sisters, Verda, and Amelia, Saluda’s mayor, devote their time to community causes, as well. Their brother C.G. doesn’t live here, but I know he would be a worker for Saluda if he did.
  Like Jeanette, Ruby was a Saluda County native and Saluda High School graduate. Her father also had a prominent role in the community. Luther Corley was the long-time Saluda police chief.
  Her high school boyfriend, Bettis Herlong Jr., was one of the greatest athletes in Saluda High history, leading the Tigers to the 1941 football state championship.
  After the war, the young couple married in 1946, and  they moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Bettis played football for the Duke Blue Devils.
  After he graduated, the couple returned home, where Bettis took the head football coaching job at Saluda High School.
  The couple had four children, Grig, Lora, Rod and Ben, and Bettis’ coaching profession took them to Aiken, a school in Florida, Brookland-Cayce, Strom Thurmond and back to Saluda where his coaching career ended.
  Bettis was executive secretary of the S.C. High School Coaches Association for 23 years. That was not just a title. It took a tremendous amount of work.
  We printed the programs for a number of years for the Coaches Association annual clinic. Some of the greatest college coaches on America spoke at the clinics and workshops, conducted by head coaches and assistants, were held throughout the event.
  Bettis AND Ruby organized all that. Bettis got elected to the National and S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Halls of Fame, and everyone who knew anything about the organizations said Ruby should have been honored, too.
  She meant so much to all the coaches in the state.
  It is sadly ironic that Saluda opens the season Friday against Strom Thurmond.
  Bettis Herlong was Strom Thurmond High School’s first head coach. The series began in 1961 at Saluda’s Matthews Field.
  Of course, Bettis didn’t know that the Saluda stadium would one day be named for him, along with his great-uncle T.B. Matthews.
  On September 15, 2017, Saluda High School recognized the Matthews and Herlong families for their contributions to the school. Neither Jeanette nor Ruby were able to attend the ceremony, but they sure will be there in spirit Friday night.
  Playing for Saluda will be Dr. Matthews great-great grandson and Jeanette’s nephew, Matthew Herlong, and Bettis and Ruby’s great-grandson David Warren. Their great-granddaughter Kaylyn Herlong will be cheering.
  This tradition continues.
  Jeanette and Ruby will be truly missed.

REUNION

  I saw a lot of relatives and old friends when I attended Jeanette Shealy’s funeral, and Ruby Herlong’s visitation over the weekend.
  It brought back memories of the old Grigsby-Herlong Reunion of my youth.
  I can still see us taking off our shoes and sliding on the floor of Buck’s Place in our socks ... until our parents made us stop!
  We’d break hips now, but it was still good the see that old gang.
  God gives us reunions at sad events to brighten our spirits, reminding us of that impending “Glad Reunion Day.”

HERE WE GO!

  High school football is here!
  The Saluda Tigers have had three great seasons in a row, going 10-3, 12-2, 12-2 and playing for the upperstate championship all three years.
  Many will say this season will be tougher in the new conference, but let me remind you, the Tigers played four of the five members in the conference last year (Batesburg-Leesville, Ninety Six, Fox Creek and Abbeville). Silver  Bluff is the new opponent.
  People forget how much the Tigers lost off the 2016 team. Malik Brooks and Tyrell Abney combined to contribute nearly 4000 yards in offense in 2016. They graduated, and Saluda had very little offense experience returning, yet the 2017 team still won 12 games.
  This year’s team is loaded with offensive experience, so this will be a team capable of putting up plenty of points.,
  The defensive line will  have “brand new” starters, but the rest of the defense will have players with experience.
  The Tigers will  be exciting to watch again this year.

DUH!

  Omarosa is probably the most hated character in reality TV history.
  When she was on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” she was an arrogant backstabber, who always took credit for team success, even when she did little work.
  “The Apprentice” became a hit, because viewers tuned in hoping to see her get fired.
  Years pass, and who does Donald Trump hire when he’s elected president? Did he not watch his own program?
  Omarosa got fired again, and wrote a “tell all” book.
  The president is already calling the book “fake news,” but whose fault is it? The “enemy of the people” press had nothing to do with this debacle.
  The White House security needs serious overhauling, if a low level employee can record conversations, and turn them into a money making best seller.