Tidbits -September 10, 2020

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
  Another popular Saluda County tradition, the Farm Bureau Annual meeting,as we know it,  has fallen by the wayside due to COVID-19.
  As we know it is a great meal, followed by the business meeting and the youth contests. This year, only the business meeting will be held, and it will be in the Farm Bureau building’s yard.
  There are three longtime commitments in my life that I wish I remembered when I started, directing the Emory Choir, serving as public address announcer for the Saluda High football games, and emceeing the Farm Bureau contests at the annual meeting.
  I wish I had the memory for dates, like my late cousin Johnny Shealy. Johnny didn’t just remember monumental dates, but he remembered mundane, everyday activities.
  “When did we go with Harold to the Bonham cemetery?” I’d ask Johnny
  He’d snap his fingers, point and say, “October 13, 1963. It was a Sunday.” (I made the date up. I don’t remember.)
  Cousin Davenport Padgette was another who was great with dates.
  One day he was in Shealy’s Barber Shop, when someone asked him, “Mr. Davenport, how in the world do you remember all these date?”
  “How do you know I’m telling the truth?,” Cousin Davenport answered.
  Davenport and Johnny were kin, but not on the Shealy side, unfortunately for my memory.
  When I got the story on the front page on John Faye Berry retiring as choir director at Richland Springs after 52 years, I started wondering when I started directing the choir at Emory.
  I have some hints on all my quests.
  Emory and Nazareth  became a charge around 1982, and our choirs started combining for a Christmas cantata that year, with me as director ... I think. If my math is correct, that’s 38 years, and I was already the Emory choir director. So, I know I’ve been choir director for over 40 years, maybe.
  I know the pressbox was erected on the homeside at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Mathews Field in 1985. I know this,  because we have a picture of a crane lifting the pressbox up and it has 1985 stamped on the back, so that is 35 years.
  I announced in the visitors’ side press box for several years prior to the homeside move, so I’ve been announcing around 40 years, maybe.
  I got the Distinguished Service Award from the Farm Bureau in 1992, and it was for my longtime service as emcee for the annual contests. The award was 28 years ago, so if I was longtime then.....
  Did I start all these longtime commitments the same year? Wouldn’t that be a hoot!


  REKA
  I was so saddened to hear of the tragic death of Reka Powell.
  If you live in and around Saluda, you have seen Reka walking her beloved dog in the mornings all around town.
  Last Wednesday, while she was walking her dog, Reka got hit by a car and did not survive her injuries.
  I first met her when her son Wendell played on my Yankee little league team over 40 years ago. Her other son, Nicky, played for the Rebels, coached by my Daddy Shake and my brother Jamie.
  At the end of the year our two teams would gather for a campout.
  One year, we camped in the pasture behind our pond. The parents hung around for awhile and walked to campsite. As Reka walked across the pond damn, a snake cross her path.
  I can still hear her with that Japanese accent say, “Come on Wendell. Come on Nicky. Come on Wendell. Come on Nicky!”
  She grabbed her sons and was heading back home. We convinced her to let the boys stays.
  Many remember her for the years she worked at Rosie’s, and our family appreciates the years she helped my mother with housework one morning a week.
  They would have long conversations, but my mother said she couldn’t understand a word Reka said ... then she would told me some things Reka said!
  Reka was such a sweet lady, always smiling.
  The sidewalks of Saluda and her people will miss her.