Tidbits - June 29, 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



PART 3

  Would you believe I made my third trip to the beach in two weeks Saturday morning?
  Last year, Women in the Pulpit Sunday at Emory coincided with my brother Jamie’s family vacation at Lakewood Campground at Surfside Beach. Since I am not a woman, I did not have any responsibilities at church, so I rode down to the beach for a quick two day trip.
  We had the 2017 Women in the Pulpit program this past Sunday, and Jamie and family were again at the beach, and even though I just got back from my annual vacation the week before, I went back again!
  My vacation was in North Myrtle Beach and Jamie, Allison, Kailyn and Gavin were camping in South Myrtle Beach and they are not the same!
  The traffic is not bad in Cherry Grove, but at Surfside it is horrendous at particular times of day. The main culprit is the massive Ocean Lakes Campground that is just down the road from Lakewood.
  For some reason, people who camp at Ocean Lakes  tend to want to turn into the entrance and that slows down traffic in both directions. What is needed is about a one mile long turning lane into Ocean Lakes in both directions.
  We are not talking about a little area. Jamie and I figured the smaller Lakewood has more people camping in one week than live in the Town of Saluda. Combined, Lakewood and Ocean Lakes have about as many people as live in Saluda County! And you wonder why there is a traffic problem!
  Jamie’s campsite was across the road from the pool and water park at the front of his camper and across from the ocean on the side of the camper. There could not be a better campsite and they got it out of luck! Because of the location, they did have to rent a golf cart.
  After having to walk five blocks to the beach at Cherry Grove, it was neat to look out the camper’s side window and see the ocean. I could walk to the beach in seconds.
  I am a shell collector, and the difference between Cherry Grove and Surfside shells was night and day.
  I collected a bunch of tiny, delicate shells on the Cherry Grove beach. The Surfside beach was filled with massive shell remnants, even conch shell parts. There were few whole shells, but I did manage to pick up a few pieces that had been rubbed smooth by the ocean.
  Jamie, Kailyn and I went to a big flea market for our afternoon entertainment, then loaded up in my van to got to Murrell’s Inlet for supper.
  We really enjoyed our trip last year, and were anxious to see if any damage to the famous Marsh Walk by Hurricane Matthew was evident.
  We tried a different restaurant this year, Creek Ratz.
  I am a creature of habit. I had shrimp and grits last year at Captain Dave’s, and ordered the same thing at Creek Ratz. I’ve never had bad shrimp and grits, but Creek Ratz was the best I’ve ever had. I think the topping of melted sharp cheddar cheese was what won the “award” from me!
  If you remember last year, Kailyn ordered a bowl of macaroni and cheese for supper. That was it! She had to order a dessert to stave off her hunger.
  Since she is a rising high school freshman, and goes out with friends, she has had to learn to eat real food. She ordered a bacon cheeseburger that she said was about the best she’s ever had.
  Jamie and Allison had seafood, and Gavin had an order of hush puppies, but didn’t use the honeybutter. His day for eating real food will come soon enough.
  I remember years ago, a teenage girl was vacationing with our Parris family and no matter where she went to eat, Calabash or Hard Rock Cafe, she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. I guess she’s eating other things now.
  I was so full from eating the shrimp and grits, served in a bowl the size of a hubcap, I didn’t know I could walk around the marsh, but I managed.
  The highlight of the walk was a guy with a pet parrot and parakeet. He would put the birds on the shoulders of passersby. Allison got to hold the parakeet.
  Amazingly, the birds didn’t fly away! Wouldn’t that have messed up the show!
  After we left the marsh, we rode further down the road at Murrell’s Inlet and saw many more restaurants. There are some beautiful homes and churches down that road, too.
  We returned to the campground and were looking forward to the golf cart parade, but something that happened every day the Shealy family was at the beach happened again, it rained and rained hard. No parade for Saturday night.
  Around 9 p.m., I climbed into the bed over the driver’s compartment. I watched the TV at my feet and saw the swimsuit competition in the Miss South Carolina pageant. The is was not HDTV so all the girls looked short and overweight, which I know they weren’t.
  During a commercial break, I turned over to the Harry Potter marathon, and before I knew it, I had fallen asleep. I got up that morning at 5:30 and left for the beach at 6:30, so I guess I was tired.
  That didn’t prevent me from awakening at 6 a.m. Sunday. At 6:30 I took a walk on the beach and got some sunrise photos, and collected a few more shells.
  Remembering the nightmare traffic when I left at 11 a.m. last year, I decided to leave at 8:30, which turned out to be a great idea. There was no major traffic the whole way home.
  On Thursday, I charged my Tom Tom GPS. I know I can get better GPS on my phone, but I like sitting my Tom Tom on the dash, so I can look directly at it.
  When the Tom Tom window opened on my computer, a message from the company popped up telling me my Tom Tom was so old it couldn’t be updated. How rude! Of course, it would still work with old maps.
  The old maps took me way out of the way. Jamie’s phone had them turning on Hwy. 544 outside of Conway. My old fellow took me all the way to Hwy. 17 and then to 544. I came home the correct way and got to see the beautiful Coastal Carolina football stadium along they way.
  It got home in three and a half hours, and took a long, long nap.   That’s enough beaching for me for awhile!

COINCIDENCE

  Saturday morning, when I got to the I-20 exit on Hwy. 178, I was surprised to see a highway patrolman directing traffic. Many cars were coming off the ramp on the right side of the road.
  I figured there must be an accident somewhere.
  When I got on the interstate, I looked back to see the blue lights, and said a prayer.
  That afternoon I got a news notification that said a 26-year-old man had died in the accident at 4 a.m.
  An hour and a half later, a 25-year-old man’s car struck a firetruck on the scene of previous accident, and he, too, was killed.
  How quickly lives change.

TEBOWED

  Have you even known an athlete to be treated so poorly simply because he has publicly announced he was a Christian?
  Tim Tebow is gone from the Columbia Fireflies, now, but he put a lot of fans in the seats, even though he didn’t have great stats.
  His presence on the Columbia roster help make money for the other teams in the league when the Fireflies came to town, as well.
  How was he treated? At Charleston, the Riverdogs played the “Hallelujah Chorus” every time Tebow came to bat, and the mascot wore the “John 3:16” eye blacks Tebow wore at Florida, and “Tebowed” in prayer to also to mock Tim.
  Finally, when another member of the Fireflies came to the plate, the jumbotron flashed a picture of the player, but underneath his picture it read, “Not Tim Tebow.”
  The Charleston president apologized saying the promotion was supposed to mock Tebow’s celebrity and not his religion. I guess that John 3:16 thing and “The Hallelujah Chorus” didn’t have anything to do with religion, right?

SADDENED
  I was saddened to learn of the passing of Ted Caldwell.
  He was one of my Fulmer’s station regulars for years  when I delivered papers.
  Of course, his wife Gloria is a legendary, hall of fame Saluda High School teacher, who joined with Bela Herlong to wrote so many historical dramas for our county.
  Ted Caldwell was a fine man, a loving husband to Gloria, father to Pat and Laura and grandfather to Pat’s two sons.
  He left this earth on Laura’s birthday, June 22.
  I was shocked when I heard Mike Rowlette had died.
  Mike worked for many years as Saluda County’s EMS director and did a fine job.
  He was a good man, who was devoted to the citizens of Saluda County.
  Our sympathy to his wife Terri and family.
  Another man devoted to Saluda County was Fred Strange.
  Fred worked many years for DHEC and was known for his dry sense of humor.
  He always had a funny thing to say when he saw me, and I’d call him “Strange Fred” in return.
  Burton Campbell told me Fred was one of the founders of the 9 a.m. service at Emmanuel Church. This service started small, but continued to grow in popularity.
  Fred will be greatly missed.