Tidbits - February 8 2018



  The Super Bowl generally isn’t, but this year it was!
  As the commentators said, last year’s game had an exciting ending, but it was actually two games. The Falcons got off to a 28-3 lead, then the Patriots caught up.
  Sunday’s game was good for 60 minutes.
  Carolina fans enjoyed the coverage former Gamecocks Alshon Jeffery of the Eagles  and Stephon Gilmore of the Patriots got.
  Alshon scored the Eagles first touchdown, but when defensive back Gilmore was put on receiver Jeffery, Gilmore shut him down the rest of the way.
  This opened up the rest of the Eagle receiving crew and they came through.
  An interesting tweet circulated during the week before the game.
  Their junior year with the Gamecocks, Alshon, Stephon, Melvin Ingram and D.J. Swearinger roomed together in a four bedroom apartment.
  The tweet pointed out those four combined to make $46.5 million this season in the NFL. You see how Carolina had those three straight 11-2 seasons with players like that?!
  How many teams will put in the pass  to the Eagle quarterback play in their playbook next season?
  Of course, passes to the quarterback on trick plays have been around forever. The Patriots tried it a few plays earlier, but the pass was too high for Brady to bring in.
  The Philly one came with fourth and goal at the one, and took everybody  by surprise. It was a great call.
   Philadelphia is no longer the professional sports’ city to go the longest without a championship. The “honor” now belongs to Atlanta! Wouldn’t you know it?!
  Pink had the flu, but did a tremendous job with the National Anthem. I don’t get excited over Justin Timberlake, but I think he did a good job.
  Everyone was speculating if Justin would bring on a surprise guest or guests. He did have a surprise guest, Prince, who is no longer with us, but it was neat!
  The commercials were pretty good. My favorite to begin with was the Doritos and Mountain Dew, with Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman rapping.
  Then the M&M’s with Danny DeVito, the many Tide spots and the Amazon Alexa ads topped it.
  The best to me, however, was Eli Manning and Odell Beckham and their “Dirty Dancing” routine. That was laugh out loud funny.
  I hate when the Super Bowl is over, because that means there is no more football to watch.
  It’s a long time until August.


  The worst thing about growing older is you begin a regular cycle of losing good friends to death. I don’t like that.
  It began for me when Don Hancock died in August 2017, and in the last six weeks my friends Tommy Willis, Linda Gibson and Brenda Shorter have all passed away.
  Our lives intertwined in many ways. For instance I’ve acted with Brenda, Tommy and Don in plays at the Saluda Theater, and Linda, as Historical Society treasurer, wrote the checks to pay the bills for the plays.
  Brenda Shorter stepped into the life of Saluda in the fall of 1967, I’m thinking, and Saluda would never be the same.
  She became a member of my SHS Class of 1969, but she was no ordinary transfer student. She was a 16-year-old war widow with a baby. Her husband was killed in Vietnam and he never got to see his son Robbie.
  You would think a new student, with that type of story, would be shy and reserved. You would be wrong.
  It didn’t take long for Brenda endear herself to Saluda High School and her people, and she loved it so much she refused to leave, teaching in the District for over 40 years.
  Brenda and I acted together in two plays, our senior play “Room for One More” in 1969, and “An Evening of Culture” with the Saluda Players in 2003.
  Brenda could make a great comic face. She tried it out on our cast in the senior play and we died laughing.
  Back then, the entire student body would come to the Annex auditorium to see previews of the senior play. At the end of the previews, the cast members would be introduced individually.
  We convinced Brenda to make that face when she crossed the stage. She did and the audience exploded into laughter. A star was born!
  Brenda had the propensity to surround herself with people who were almost as comical as she. Her mother Peggy is funny, as are her brothers Donnie and Mitchell.
  When Peggy married Jim Allen, who was funny, it brought in Jim’s three children, who were equally as funny, Jim, Kathy and Nella.
  Then she had dear friends like Gay Beiers (Ms. Mo) and Linda Gibson, who were hilarious, so no matter where Brenda went, or with whom, you would break into uncontrollable laughter.
  I’ve known Gay since the early 70’s, because she was a close friend of my college roommate Mickey Gresham of the Duncan-Lyman area of Spartanburg County.
  Ironically, Gay ended up teaching in Saluda and she and Brenda soon became close friends.
  They would go camping in a tent at the beach, but the tent was air conditioned. Whoever heard of such?
  The Saluda Players went to New York City the week after the Blizzard of the Century in 1996. Gay and Brenda were in NYC DURING the blizzard and were trapped. The city has never been the same.
  Gay and Brenda were notorious for their “Happy birthday” singing. It is very difficult to sing off key on purpose, but Gay and Brenda had it down pat in high soprano voices.
  In 1990 , while he was serving as school board chairman, Thomas Shealy gave his graduation speech and warned the students not to do the things that Mrs. Shorter and Gay would do.
  When he turned 40 the next year, they paid for an ad in the Sentinel stating  there would be a special announcement on WJES concerning Thomas’ birthday on February 17. They sang happy birthday to Thomas and it was repeated every hour  that day. They paid for all of this!
  Five weeks later, they made an appearance at my surprise 40th birthday party, and brought the house down with their rendition.
  How many people have been embarrassed in restaurants, church and on the street by this dynamic duo?  No one would trade it for the world.
  In 2003 we convinced Brenda to play the part of the director in the Saluda Players production of “An Evening of Culture,” a redneck version of Romeo and Juliet.
  Brenda did great, but retired from the stage after the performance. Who would have thought she would ever get nervous on stage?!!!
  I’m sure Brenda was looking down from heaven and enjoyed her funeral at Saluda Baptist Monday afternoon. Stacey Smith, Vernon Ball, Trey Shealy and Burton Campbell all spoke and had the crowd laughing until they had tears in their eyes.
  Vernon recalled Gay and Brenda going on a World Changers mission trip to Chicago one summer.
  They stayed in a Chicago high school that had no air conditioning. It so happened Chicago was going through a record breaking heat wave.
  Vernon said the school janitor said it had been 97 degrees the night before.
  Soon, Vernon looked down the hall and saw Gay and Brenda coming their way, hauling their luggage.
  “We’ve already bought our plane tickets, and we are going home,” they told Vernon, explaining they couldn’t take the heat.
  Vernon didn’t know they had an air conditioned tent.
  Leave it to Gay and Brenda to travel to New York during a blizzard and Chicago during a heat wave.
  Trey and Burton had unique perspectives, since they were Brenda’s former students.
  They both used joyful scriptures, and their stories brought tons of laughter. Trey said that is what Brenda’s son Robbie wanted.
  Saluda Baptist pastor Stacey said he started to put on his normal funeral black suit, but changed his mind, thinking that is not what Brenda would want.
  So, he put on a gray suit, and wore a purple shirt and purple tie for the Saluda Tigers.
  I smiled, because I was wearing a gray suit and a purple and white tie for the Saluda Tigers.
  I’ll be honest to say I had tears of laughter and tears of sorrow. When Macy Crawford sang. “Wind Beneath my Wings,” I had to get my handkerchief out.
  Brenda was one of our Standard-Sentinel Tuesday afternoon paper purchasers. She came by the week before Christmas. I had no idea I would never see her again.
  I just wish I had written down all the funny things she said. I know I did use many of her sayings and antics in my column. I just don’t know when. She was great at coming up funny country music song titles.
  Funny how things happen. On February 3, the day Brenda died, a picture I posted on February 3, 2010, on Facebook circulated again. In the picture were Brenda and Linda Gibson, two dear friends, who died of cancer three weeks apart.
  I keep old Class of 1969 papers under my bed. Last week, the box containing this info spilled out onto the floor. One thing in the box was our senior newspaper.
  In the advise section, Brenda wrote: “Dear students: Some say get out before it’s too late, but I say stay before it’s too late. Yours truly.”
  She took her own advise. She stayed in the Saluda schools for over 40 years.
  Oh, how she loved the schools, the students, the teachers and administrators, and oh, how everyone loved her.
  There will never be another Brenda Shorter.