Tidbits - December24, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

NO WAY!
  If you live around here and have an over-the-air antenna, you know Channel 19 has a great digital channel. “Decades,” on 19.3.
  It features great comedies, and dramas from the 50s, 60s and 70s, plus shows like “Dick Cavett,” and “Ed Sullivan.”
  The other day I was watching the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” featuring a young singer whose last name on the show was “Twizzle.” He sang a song and did a dance like the twist.
  At the end of the show he sang a beautiful ballad. I figured he must have grown up to be big in the business, but I missed his name in the credits.
  The next day I was watching “The Lucy Show,” and a singer was performing who I knew. I even knew her first name was Roberta. That’s all I could do.
  So, I did a web search with the question, “Jazz singer Roberta.” You’d be surprised how many jazz singers there are named Roberta. None of them were her.
  I remembered  she used to be on the “Ed Sullivan Show” on occasion, so I searched “Jazz Singer Roberta on Ed Sullivan.”
  She popped up immediately, Roberta Sherwood! I went to her Wikipedia page and was reminded her  biggest hit was “Up a Lazy River.”
  I decided to read all there was know about Roberta, and when I got to her family, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
  Roberta had three sons, and one of them was a singer. According to Wikipedia, Jerry Lanning’s most famous role was Randy Twizzle on “The Dick Van Dyke Show!”
  In one day’s time I found out who the guy was on “Van Dyke.” What are the chances the singer I was trying to find happened to be his mother?


BLESSED
  I look back on the Christmases of my childhood, and know how blessed my siblings and I were, and continue to be.
  For those of us who got more then we needed, or even wanted, on Christmas morning, we can’t relate to those who got little.
  I’ve watched three Dolly Parton related programs over the holidays.
  On one them Dolly, who is worth millions now, told of her impoverished childhood. She told how her family, which included 12 children, would go to their church and get a little Christmas package each year.
  One year, the church ran out of packages before Dolly’s mother could get one. Someone said, “I know you won’t mind, since your 12 children got something.” The mother said she didn’t mind.
  Dolly said she later saw her mother in the corner of the room with tears in her eyes.
  “She was a grown up, but she still wanted something for Christmas.” Over 60 years later, Dolly broke up telling the story.
  Years ago, I wrote about my experience in an elementary school class.
  Back then we drew names, and at our Christmas party, we’d open gifts individually, so all could see.
  There was a little girls in our class, who obviously didn’t have as much as most of us. When she got a tiny doll as her gift, she was overwhelmed with joy.
  Remember how stuck up we were as kids, when we hoped certain “poor” children would not draw our name?
  The time came for the boy whose name the little girl drew to open his present. He tore open the small package, and inside the wrappings were four packs of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, valued back then at five cents a pack.
  The entire class, including me, burst into loud laughter. I turned and looked at the little girl, and she was crying.
  I can still see her.
  That experience came back to me after I read the following on social media last week.
  “My friend handed me a very old metal Match Box car today. Then he said I found this yesterday and it reminded me of a major life lesson. I held it in my hand and looked at it while he talked.
  He said, “when I was in elementary school, we did a Secret Santa in my class room at school. All the kids drew a name and then we exchanged presents the last day before Christmas break”. He said, “my parents went out and bought me a nice new toy to give to the child I had drawn. My mom wrapped it up and the kid loved the present that received it.”   
  He then said, “I went and found my present from a boy in my class that I didn’t really know. It looked like it had been wrapped with
newspaper.” He said, “I opened it and it was that little car you are holding in your hand.” He said, “... but when he gave it to me it was dirty and looked well played with.” He said “I was mad. I had given such a nice gift and he had put so little effort into his”. I felt cheated.
  He said, but later I learned the kid lived in a very run down shack. His mom was sick and his daddy had left them years before. He said they barely had enough money to have heat and food. He said “when I realized he had given me one of his only few toys, I felt ashamed for the way I treated him when I got the gift”.
  He said I only learned how poor he was after he quit coming to school and it we were told his mom had died and he had been sent to foster care. I never saw him again. He said I kept this little car all these years because I know it was the best present I have ever gotten.
  I thought about this story and looked at that little car sitting in my hand and I cried. How many times in my life have I been given something from someone and not appreciated it’s TRUE value. This kid had given with his heart when he had so little and it made me realize I need to always remember to never judge anything on the surface and always look deeper.”
  Thank the Lord this Christmas for your blessings, and ask God to be with the ones who aren’t as blessed. Think of the little package, the chewing gum and the dirty little car.
  Merry Christmas to you all!


AT CHRISTMAS
  It is so heartbreaking that John  Bennett died at Christmas.
 He, his family and friends worked for months every year, getting his “Country Christmas” light show ready for the thousands of Saluda County citizens who visited each year.
  One day last week, John posted on Facebook Country Christmas would be open that night, but he wouldn’t be there.
  “I can hardly breathe. Please be careful, stay safe and have fun, Also, I could use your prayers.”
  When I got up the next morning, I learned that John had died during the night.
  Although presenting this free of charge service was exhausting, John was so proud to bring “Country Christmas” to the citizens, young and old.
  You earned the stars in your crown, John, Christmas stars.
  Helen Humphries was a wonderful lady. She and my mother were members of the same bridge club. When it was my mother’s time to host, Daddy and I had to turn up the TV volume to drown out their laughter. What times they had.
  Mrs. Helen’s beloved husband of 72-years, Wilbur, died in September of COVID-19. They were only separated four months.
  Their son Steven wrote on Facebook, “Dad came to get Mom today, so they could  be together for eternity.”
  Another well known Saluda family suffered a recent double loss. Early in the month,  Beth Holmes Sauls, a daughter of the late Harvey and Ruby Holmes, passed away. Beth was a former teacher, who later worked for the family business.
  On Saturday, December 19, Beth’s son Harvey died. He as only 51. I’ve known Harvey and his brother Tillman since they were little leaguers. Harvey and Beth were good people.
  Please keep the families in your prayers.