Tidbits - July 15, 2021

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


BEACHING
    I had my annual “drive to the beach, drive back to get the paper out, then drive back to the beach” vacation.
  Before I left, I, luckily, got the  oil in my 300C changed at Bradshaw Motors. I say “luckily,” because they discovered I had three tires that were dry rotted. If you remember my tire adventure from a few months ago, you’ll know I had one new tire on the car.
  I bought my 2005 300C from Saluda Motor Sales (Bradshaw) in 2004, and the tires that had dry rotted were originals! I have those tires for 17 years and they still had good tread. Can you imagine me driving to the beach with three dry rotted tires. I don’t have that many spares.
  By the way, the odometer on my car finally hit 40,000 miles, after 17 years. That’s 2350 miles per year, and 800 of that is driving to the beach and back twice each year on vacation!
  Our home this year was two stories on stilts. Those of us staying on the top floor had to traverse three flights of stairs many times a day.
  It’s been a long time since we’ve gone to the beach the week of the Fourth. I have never seen so many people on the beach in “meek and mild” Cherry Grove.
  A highlight was the flyover by military planes in the “Salute from the Shore.” Two F-16s were followed by a giant C-17. A single Air Force prop plane followed way behind! The salute began at Cherry Grove and ended up at Beaufort.
  We were lucky to be located on the path of the golf cart parade later that day. All the carts were decorated, and the occupants threw candy, just like in a Christmas parade. It was very enjoyable. Of course, that night we sat on the back porch and watched all the fire works.
  I had some shocking building encounters.
  My first trip every year is to the flea market, where I buy discounted bread ever year.
  I made my bread purchase and prepared to walk across the road to the next building, but it was gone! A man at the last store said the large building burned in February. I walked by the huge concrete slab, and soon noticed another building on the other side had also burned.
  In one of the buildings, I recognized the lady that ran the current perfume-cologne knock-off shop, and remembered she used to be  in the burned building.
  She said after her shop burned, she moved to the building on the other side of the market. Yes, it was the second building to burn!
  I told her if the building in which she is currently occupying burns, we will know something.
  My next shock came when I made my annual visit to the Myrtle Beach Mall. The first thing I noticed was few cars in the parking lot. I entered through Books-a-Million, like I always do, and suddenly stepped into “The Twilight Zone.”
  Practically, all the stores were closed, except Belk’s, Bass Pro Shop and the aforementioned Books-a-Million. When I walked to Bass Pro Shop to take my annual picture of the giant fish tank, I was the only person walking in that huge end of the building. It was like a ghost town.
  I figured the stores were closed because of the pandemic.
  Later in the week, I mentioned the mall to a clerk at one of the stores, and she gave me “Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story.”
  Apparently, Myrtle Beach Mall was going to be bulldozed and a facility like Tanger was going to be constructed in its place. The leases to most of the stores were not renewed.
  Then came the pandemic and the project was shelved temporarily.
  I came home Monday afternoon, got the paper out, then left for my return trip at 10 a.m. Wednesday. I wanted to beat the Tropical Storm Elsa’s rain. I did.
  Elsa delayed her appearance until early Thursday morning. I was awakened by the driving rain, and the heavy rain and strong winds continued throughout the day.
  The wind was so strong it broke a blade off the ceiling fan on the porch and destroyed previously nailed down curtains on both back porches of the home.
  Silly me, I figured people would stay home during the weather event, but clerks at Barefoot Landing and Tanger told me their stores were packed! Okay, I know people flock to the stores when it rains at the beach, but during a tropical storm? Barefoot Landing it not covered. I’m surprised people weren’t blown into the big pond.
  I had the most disappointed shell collecting week in my life. I found one lettered olive. That’s it. Last year, on one day, I found 60 lettered olives.
  I posted a crowd shot picture on the Fourth on social media and Saluda native Lisa Miller Hughes saw it and said she and her family had stayed in the yellow building pictured. She added it was an excellent shark tooth collecting location.
  I responded I had never found at shark tooth in my life, except in a bin at the Gay Dolphin. She then posted a picture of all the teeth has family had found in one day, then later told me they had collected 475 during the week. 475???
  She told me to look for shark teeth where the waves pull back after washing the shore.
  I tried that the day after the storm, figuring the wave action would supply an abundance. Nothing! Maybe, one day.