Tidbits - December 23, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

MEMORIES
  I was so sad when I saw the obituary for William "Will" Maye.
  Many years ago, after we had eaten at the lunch counter at Parkman's, Freda Glover was shopping for a gift. She picked up an item, and when Will walked by she said, "If you were a man, would you like this?"
  I immediately burst out laughing, then Freda realized what she said and started laughing. We were all laughing so loud, I didn't hear Will's reply, but knowing him, it had to be a good one. From that point on, he was no longer "Will" when we saw him, he was "If you were a man." Will exuded happiness and will be greatly missed.
  We’ve lost so many like Will in the last few weeks.
  Patsy Leopard was a regular visitor at the Standard-Sentinel office. I haven’t seen her recently, but I can tell you every time I saw her in the past, she was wearing orange. She was a loyal Clemson Tiger.
  Perry Black grew up within a stone’s throw of our dairy barn. His Daddy John bought calves from us on a regular basis. I have many good memories of the Black family.
  Raymond Fulmer was member of the Fulmer racing family, with is brothers W.M., Wayne and sister Evon. In those days, when they had a race in Atlanta, for instance, they’d drive the race car to the track! They developed friendships with legends like the Pettys and Earnhardts.
  Raymond’s wife Donnis was one of my teachers and my mother’s bridge club Buddy.
  When Fulmer’s station was open, I’d see Raymond on a regular basis. Another regular was Jimmy Clark, who lived just down the street. For over 30 years he worked or managed Bryan’s service station, also on Travis Avenue. Everyone knew and liked him.
  Virgil Rowe lived in Florida for many years, but he always came back for his yearly SHS Class of 1958 reunion. While home he’d come by the Sentinel office and renew his paper. The last time he was here, he visited Emory Church, where he grew up.
  Donna Dunn was one of my Facebook friends and I knew all her Riddlehoover relatives. She was only 46 when she died. In 2012 she endured the heartache of having her only two children killed in a car wreck not far from her home. The oldest son was a few days away from graduating from Ridge Spring-Monetta High School.
  Mary Pou was one of the sweetest ladies you ever met. Her late husband James was one of Saluda’s leading merchants at the Saluda Jewelry Store. For years she worked at Saluda Livestock Market. My mother was one of those Thursday ladies who worked in the office on sales’ day. They made lifelong friendships.
  You won’t find a harder worker for Saluda County farm community than Dorothy Mills Coleman. How many hours did she work for the Farm Bureau, Farm City Week or Clemson Extension? Usually, she was accompanied by the late Mary Ann Hancock. Of course, she was also a wife, mother and owner of Melldora Farm with her husband Mellwood.
  I sure will miss all these fine people, who made our county special.

CHRISTMAS TIME
IS HERE
  Wow, Christmas comes around every three or four months now, rather than every  three or four years when I was a kid.
  I’m getting to the age where putting up Daddy’s reindeer is getting to be a pain. I may just leave them up. People leave lights on their house all year don’t they?
  My Hallmark car ornament tree stays up year round.
  When I first started the collection, I’d take the ornaments off each year, and store the 4-ft.  tree elsewhere.
  Then I started buying car ornaments not made by Hallmark, and converted some of my Hot Wheels collection into ornaments.
  It got to the point where removing and storing the ornaments was too much, and besides the ornaments are mostly cars, and not Christmas related.
  I now have 200-300 ornaments and am running out of branches. My great-nieces and nephews are fascinated by the tree, so it brings year round joy.
  My family has gotten so big that it is impossible to get everyone together on Christmas Day. Like many of you, we have our family gathering a week or two before Christmas.
  We can relax on Christmas Day.
  In the old days, my mother’s mother, Elizabeth Killingsworth, and sister and brother-in-law Kay and Keith Parris, spent Christmas with us. I can’t remember how we slept nine people in a three bedroom house but we did it. The one bathroom had to be an adventure, too.
  As I’ve written many times before, we couldn’t see what Santa brought us until Daddy got home from milking, and Mamama put on her make-up.
  I used to hate my friends, who would brag about getting up at 4 a.m. to open gifts. Bah, humbug!
  Of course, Christmas Eve we shot firecrackers with the Thompsons, or should I say Daddy and Uncle John shot firecrackers, while we watched. That was  back in the day when cherry bombs were legal, and many were launched into the pond, where they exploded.  Bless the fishes’ hearts. I’m surprised we all survived.
  After Daddy got home from milking and we saw our bounty, we’d make the rounds in the community to see what everybody else got.
  At lunch, we’d go to our Shealy grandparents for lunch. All of Mammy and Papa’s children and grandchildren came. The adults sat around the dining room table, and the kids ate at card tables in the living room.
  After lunch, family members who did not see what you got that morning, visited that afternoon.
  It was an exhausting day, but as the old song goes, “Gee, I’d give the world to see that old gang of mine.”
  I’m 70 and I still love Christmas. Well, not Christmas music and Hallmark Christmas movies since October, love. I have my limits!
  It will never be the same, but aren’t you glad we have the memories?
  Merry Christmas to you all!