Tidbits - August 30 2018

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



THE GREATEST EVER!

  I witnessed back to back Saluda High football state championship wins in 1962 and 1963. I saw the great 1973 team that went 11-1, and I have had the pleasure to watch the last three Tiger teams play for the upperstate championship.
  I’ve seen great players, and many records broken. I’ve only missed two Saluda High football games in the last 41 seasons.
  That mentioned, I will say I saw the greatest Saluda High play I’ve ever witnessed Friday night at Ridge Spring-Monetta, and it had absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the game.
  To know Fulton Winn is to love him. As my cousin and a fellow Emory Church member, I’ve watched him grow-up, but he hasn’t grown up very tall.
  He would never be that big offensive lineman, like his oldest brother, Fletcher, nor would he have the athletic ability to quarterback Saluda to the upperstate championship, like his middle brother Forrest.
  He never would be like them, but he wanted to be with them. So, Fulton helped out the team any way he could. He was a ball boy and  a waterboy, and when he got a little older, he became one of the team’s managers.
  After Forrest graduated, Fulton still wanted to be a part of the team, so Coach Stewart Young made him a player.
  Fans got excited when Fulton played a few downs last year in mop-up duty. There were loud cheers when they realized Fulton  was in the game.
  Fulton would never make the two-deep depth chart, but he plays with his heart, and his teammates love him.
  Then  Friday night, something magical happened.
  To fully appreciate the event, you have to know Fulton was a pallbearer at his grandfather, Clinton Winn’s funeral at Emory Monday afternoon. It had been a tough week.
  The clock was running in the fourth quarter, and Saluda, playing reserves since midway in the third quarter,  was up 49-12 with the ball at the RSM 30-yard-line. The play was called and Fulton was split wide to the left.
  My brother Jamie and Lee Morris were talking near the end zone, and Lee said, “I believe they are going to throw it to Fulton!”
  Back-up quarterback Madison Williams got the snap and lofted a perfect fade pass to the end zone.
  Fulton and the RSM defender arrived at the ball and the same team, and Fulton made unbelievable catch for the touchdown.
  With the second and third teamers in the game, I had to think for a minute to remember who Number 30 was, and then it hit me, and I said out loud, “Oh, my God. It’s Fulton!”
  Spontaneously, the Saluda players dashed to the end zone, all of them, and they were jumping up and down just like they had just won the state championship.
  Fulton got the hero’s treatment. He even got the water cooler emptied on him.
  When it came time for the team to sing the Alma Mater after the game, Fulton was lifted on his teammate’s shoulders.
  As I write this on Monday, it still brings tears to my eyes.
  Fulton’s mother Jeannie is notorious for filming her sons in action on her iPad.
  She filmed the pass to Fulton okay, but when he caught it, that iPad shook like with was going through a California earthquake!
  For the countless Saluda fans present Friday, Fulton’s touchdown was something we will remember for the rest of our lives.
  And how about Fulton? He was greeted like a hero when he walked into church Sunday morning, and I had to announce his accomplishment to the congregation, as if they didn’t know.
  I’m sure he was in hog heaven when he went to school  Monday morning. He was featured on the Channel 10 news Monday afternoon.
  Saluda Tiger coaches and players, the way you reacted to Fulton’s touchdown makes you all champions in my book.
  I know Clinton Winn, and all the Emory family in Heaven, was looking down Friday night. I can just imagine Clinton’s face when his youngest grandchild scored a touchdown.
  The night’s magic continued on the way home. First, I sent a tweet to Ethan Joyce in North Carolina. Ethan wrote a wonderful story on Fulton, when he worked for the Index-Journal.
  I told him about Fulton’s touchdown. Ethan was elated and started sharing the information.
  As he cut through Pine Grove Road off the Ridge Spring Highway to take me home, Wayne Grice said, “I want to see the new steeple at Emory.”
  When he pulled into the parking lot, the beautiful moon was positioned right above the cross on top of the steeple.
  Naturally, I took that photo and it has been liked more than 800 times on social media!
  Clinton’s grave was just out of camera range, so I’m sure he was looking down on that, too.
  Yes, it was a magical night!

MORE CLINTON

  In last week’s column, I wrote about Clinton Winn and the “Gulk and gulk and a gee,” phrase he used.
  Jamie recalled an incident regarding that phrase I had forgotten.
 Here is Jamie’s story:;
“  We were on the big  pond dam and I think the irrigation pump had stopped and were having to put water in it to prime it.
  I think Ralph and Thomas, (maybe me, Bobby and Danny, I don’t remember who), were dipping buckets in the pond and passing them to Uncle Alton, who gave them to Daddy to put in the pump.
  Clinton was there and they were talking about Solly, who picked at them when they were children. Every time they asked him something he would answer “a gulk and gulk and a gee.”
  Every time Daddy poured a bucket in, Clinton would say “that’s a gulk and a gulk and a gee.” 
  After about 10 buckets, Uncle Alton said, “Clinton, shut up!”
  Clinton continued on every bucket.
  Finally, Uncle Alton was passing a bucket to Daddy and Daddy said, “We don’t need that one.”
  Uncle Alton said, “You don’t need this one?”
  Daddy said, “No.” 
  Uncle Alton then threw the whole bucket of water all over Clinton and said, and “that’s a gulk and a gulk and a gee.”
  We all laughed, including Clinton, until we had tears running down our faces.”
  There was never a dull moment growing up in our community!

BROADCAST

  I don’t often get a chance to listen to the SaludaNow broadcast of the Tigers, but Friday I sat near the announcers and enjoyed it.
  My favorite line goes to Jeffrey Jordan.
  When I’m announcing at home after the coin toss, I’ll say something like, “Saluda will defend the north goal.”
  Jeffrey said, “Saluda will defend, uh, the tailgate area.”

CHURCH “CONFERENCE”

  As I mentioned earlier, I announced Fulton Winn’s touchdown catch during the announcements at church Sunday.
  Had Jacob McCary been there, I would have announced he almost intercepted a pass.
  I did announce that Tyler Steele, grandson of our choir members Robert and Laurie Ann Vaughn, and great-nephew of Betty Porter, kicked seven extra points for Ninety Six Friday night. (Tyler used to acolyte for us when he was younger and visiting his grandparents.)
  Former pastor Jerry Pickens preached our homecoming sermon. He and Becky’s granddaughter, who has many Saluda County relatives, as well, just began her freshman year at another Saluda rival, Abbeville.
  Harvey, Linda and Leslie Rodgers of Lincolnton, Georgia, came back for Homecoming.
  They witnessed Abbeville beat their perennial Georgia powerhouse Lincoln County 57-0 two weeks ago.
  Harvey said Abbeville was the best team he’d ever seen.
  Saluda fans will be elated to hear that! Not.

REGRET

  Sen. John  McCain visited Saluda County at least once in his lifetime.
  Bill Amick invited me to come meet the senator at Bill’s house during one of the years McCain ran for president, but it was on Tuesday, paper printing day, and I didn’t get through in time to make the meeting.
  It would have been an honor to meet the senator. I have always admired him for standing up for his convictions, even if sometimes he went against his own party.
  You spend five and half years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, and you earn the right to speak your mind.
  As, yes, Mr. President, he was a hero.
  He didn’t find a away to get out of going to Vietnam, like you, bone spurs, and I, student deferment.
  He served our country willingly all his life.