Tidbits - February 2, 2023


  I’ve been fortunate in the nearly 47 years I’ve been with this paper that I haven’t had to work out in the rain often.
  Even covering over 400 football games, I’ve only gotten wet a few times.
  But, enter 2023, and I have already literally been soaked to the bone on two Wednesdays in January!
  The first time was the gully washer on January 4. I didn’t realize how much it has rained until I got home, and saw water flowing over our pond dam. In all the 71 years I’ve lived at my address, I’ve never seen water over the dam, not even in the floods a few years ago.
  That day I quickly changed out of my wet clothes when I got home. The water was up to my knees on my jeans.
  We didn’t get as much rain on Wednesday, January 25, but I got wetter.
  I had to load  the papers to take to the post office in a downpour. It was windier on the second time, as gusts continually blew my hood off my head.
  Finally, I put the last bag in the back of my van. Just a stop at the post office and I would be through.
  I reached up with my left hand to close the rear door of my van, and all the water that had collected in the license plate recess, poured down my shirt sleeve, all the way to my armpit.
  All I could do was laugh.
  When I got home this time, my jeans were completely soaked.
  I hope I can take a few months off from another soaking.

  In my youth I loved horror movies.
  Every Friday night, I’d manually turn the antenna toward Asheville, and watch “Shock Theater,” which featured classic horror movies. I’m talking the Lon Chaney (Werewolf), Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Boris Karloff (Frankenstein) legendary movies. Lon Chaney eventually played Dracula and Frankenstein, too.
  These Friday night movies weren’t so bad when I was too young to milk on Saturday morning.
  Then I turned 12 and drove, quite illegally,  to the barn in the dark.
  I’m sure I’ve mentioned my most traumatic experience. After a particularly scary “Shock” movie, I walked in the dark at 4 a.m., and got into the pick-up, which always sat parked with the windows rolled down.
  I got in and started to mash the clutch and put my foot right on top of a sleeping cat that let out a blood curdling scream while scrambling to get out. After I pulled my head out of the roof, I had to sit for a few minutes while my heart quit racing.
  I never left the windows down in the truck again, and always used a flashlight to check the floorboard.
  Plowing a field at night was another time I regretted liking horror movies. I could imagine monsters running out of the trees on every round.
  Horror movies were great for dating, however. Boys could display their “bravery” wihle offering a shoulder, until “Jaws” came along, and I screamed as loud as anyone when the shark first popped out of the water.
  I may have seen the first “Halloween” and “Nightmare on Elm Street,” but I never saw the other episodes.
  ‘My” horror movies, you rarely saw blood. The gore was imagined.
  Modern horror movies don’t allow you to use your imagination. You see it all.
  After avoiding terror for many years, I started watching “The Walking Dead,” at the urging my teenaged employee at the time, Ryan Metts.
  I wanted to show I was still cool. I wasn’t. When they killed Carl off, I used the fact I was upset with that move to stop watching. That did upset me, but I also was tired of jumping out of my seat.
  I’ve since watched a good many of the “Game of Thrones” type shows on the streaming services. They are all gory, but rarely scary.
  Then came “The Last of Us,” which started on HBOMAX a couple of Sundays ago.
  This is a based on a famous video game of which I have never heard. I’m not cool.
  This is a zombie series, like “The Walking Dead,” but the zombies are a whole lot scarier. I’ve already been raised out of my chair several times in the two episodes I have seen.
  I don’t know if I can make it to the end of the series. Producers, can you kill off Carl, please?

  I was saddened at the passing of Charlie Sam Daniel last week.
  He has been a civil rights leader in Saluda County for as long as I’ve been alive.
  I guess I first met him my senior year in high school. Our basketball coach Jack Hatchell decided to create a little league basketball program, and had his players be the coaches.
  I had a team. How good were we? Donnie Kneece of my team scored points for the other team on two separate occasions, and he was one of my best players.
  This was during the time of the first integration of the Saluda schools by 12 students. Some of Charlie Sam’s children were in that original 12.
  One of them was a 12-year-old boy named Alfred Daniel. While my team struggled to score, Alfred was hitting jump shots from all over the court. There was no three-point shot back then, but Al was hitting them. Of course, he went on to star for Saluda High and Furman University, and served as a college assistant coach, including a stint a Carolina.
  We don’t even notice racial make-up now, but in the late 1960s think how brave those 12 black children were to go to a previously all white school.
  Fortunately, Saluda schools handled the first integration well, but that was not the case at other locations. You know those kids watched the news.
  I was on the basketball team with Saluda High School’s first black male athlete, Johnny James Gibson. His sister, Ora, was the first female, also playing basketball. I heard them get called names.
 Yes, the children were brave, but so were the adults who led the charged for change. I know Charlie Sam got death threats, but that didn’t stop him.
  Along with his community service, he witnessed his children excel in sports at Saluda High. He saw his son Melvin lead Saluda High to back to back boy basketball state championships in 1977 and 1978, and he saw his grandson Dallan Wright star in Saluda’s state championship football win over Barnwell,.
  He was 90 years-old in 2019, but he did a lot of walking attending those games during the championship season.
  He never stopped walking for what he believed in.