Tidbits - March 25, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


HISTORY REPEATS
  Almost exactly 30 years ago, my family and friends gave me a surprise 40th birthday party.
  Had I had a weak heart, I most assuredly would have died. It was the most perfectly executed surprise party ever.
  Saturday, I attended a surprise 40th birthday party for my first nephew Morgan Jones.
  Through the fault of no one, Morgan was not completely surprised simply  because of semantics.
  My surprise party was held on a Sunday in the meeting room of a Batesburg bank (it wasn’t Batesburg-Leesville then). All the guests parked at other locations, so the bank parking lot was empty.
  Morgan’s party was held at the home of his fiance Holly Backmom in Lexington. As he drove up, he saw all the cars parked around the cul de sac, and since Holly’s house sits high on a hill, Morgan saw the party guests standing in the backyard.
  He still was touched  by the sentiment. He didn’t turn pale like I did 30 years earlier.
  When I learned of the party, I knew exactly what I was going to give Morgan.
  At my party, someone gave me an “old age combat and survival kit” hat. I wore it throughout my party.
  When I got home from my surprise party,, I put the hat on the head of a teddy bear Joann Keeler gave me years earlier. It sits on the top shelf in my bedroom next to a Howdy Doody puppet someone found at Bob White’s and gave to me as a gift.
  Saturday, I removed the hat, complete with its 30 years worth of dust, and put it in a gift bag.
  Since Morgan was my parents’ first grandchild, his mother Dibbie asked me to look in the shop and find something belonging to Daddy to give to Morgan. I put this item in the gift bag, as well.
  Saturday at the party, I told Morgan the story of the hat and urged him to put it on a top shelf and save it to give to his first nephew, Deacon, when Deacon turns 40. That way the hat will have close to 60 years worth of dust. Morgan put the dusty hat on and wore it the rest of the way.
  Then it was time for the Shake gift.
    I explained to everyone Daddy saved everything, and I reached in the bag and pulled out an item, and said, “Nobody, knows what the heck this is.”
  The item had a fan and wires coming out the rear.
  “Daddy died in 1998, and nobody has needed this since, so I guess it is okay to give it to Morgan.”
  The item was passed around and nobody had a clue what it was.
  Morgan is talented at woodworking, so I told he might make a hanger out Daddy’s item and hang the hat on it.
  Oh, by the way, I turned 70 on March 24 without a surprise party. I told my friends and family after the 40th, if they ever did that to me again I would kill then, and I meant it.
  The only milestone birthday that bothered me was my 30th. It was tough to admit I was no longer in my youth.
  Today, I’m so happy to be here, as Minnie Pearl used to say.
  When people ask me how I’m doing, I say, “I’ve had both my shots!”
  That’s good enough for me.

MARCH MADNESS, REALLY
  I have never seen a NCAA men’s  basketball tournament like the current one.
  I have an uncanny ability to fill out a bracket, and see it busted on the first game. This year, I picked Virginia Tech to upset Florida in the first game.  Bad choice, but it didn’t matter, because I managed to pick six more losers on opening day.
  The second day, I missed four.
  After Saturday, no one in the world had a perfect ballot!
  Sunday, the team I picked to win it all, Illinois, got beat by Loyola of Chicago.
  You may know Loyola’s lucky charm is an 101-year-old nun, Sister Jean. I suggest Ray Tanner offer her a job.
  In the Yahoo bracket contest, 24 of my 63 picks were correct as of Sunday night. That’s not good....
  I was afraid the Carolina women were going the way of the men’s tournament. You know I can’t watch, but when I turned over to check the score, I saw 1st seed Carolina was only leading 16th seed Mercer 27-25. I turned it quickly.
  I was able to relax the next time I turned and the Gamecocks were up by 12. Carolina went on to win big.
  So far, so good.

THIS WEEK
  I was saddened at the death of my old friend Ray Storey. I guess  I had known Ray for 64-years since we are the same age.
  Ray was one of our group of Saluda High School football volunteers, who give up our Friday nights to support the Tigers.
  Ray was on the chain crew for years. He couldn’t work this year, because cancer quickly struck him. He waged a brave fight.  
  Ray was a fixture at The Hardware Store (formerly Ace) for several decades, and was loved by all the customers.
  I guess I’ve known Mrs. Nell Gardner for as long as I’ve known Ray,  because her daughter Sandra Gardner Padget was my classmate, and like Ray, she was loved by all who knew her.
 Her husband Jack and my Daddy Shake were among a group of Saluda boys to depart for World War II on the same day.
  Mrs. Nell was devoted to Saluda’s school children, serving as a lunchroom manager for many years.
  Finally, we express our sympathy to Saluda County Historical Society’s Museum Chairman and Saluda’s Santa Bob Horne and family in the death of his mother Frances McDaniel Ellenberg, a nice lady.