Tidbits - August 3, 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



BEACH, PART 4

  For the first time in my life, I have made four trips to the beach in one summer.
  Before you assign me “Beach Bum” recognition, my first trip was a Saturday and Sunday, my second was Tuesday through Saturday, my third was Saturday and Sunday, and my recent excursion was Wednesday and Thursday.
  We couldn’t get together with our Spartanburg Parris family for a vacation week this year for the first time in decades. We had our vacation in June, and theirs was this past week. 
  They had an extra room in their channel house, so I went down Wednesday afternoon, played golf with Kevin on Thursday morning, stayed for Low Country Broil for supper, then drove home.  My sisters Dibbie and Elizabeth came down Thursday in time for the supper, spent the night and came home Friday.
  So, we did connect. Next year, we’ll be able to go on the same week.
  Like many families around here, Kevin and Melissa’s vacation for the past several years has been dictated by travel ball. Katie and Sarah have played volleyball all over the state and country. The one week they had off for vacation before school started was last week.
  A few years ago they played in Orlando. I asked Kevin what they did while they were in there.
  “We watched volleyball,” he said.
  Katie is in college and Sarah will be graduating from high school, so the travel days are over.
  I began to believe my travel days were over on my way down Wednesday.
  About halfway to Columbia, a little shower came up. It didn’t last long, but soon after I turned off my wipers, I had the bad feeling that the air conditioning in my 300C had stopped working.
  It wasn’t too uncomfortable, so maybe I was imagining things.
  As I got closer to Columbia, it got hot inside the car.
  I knew where Autozone and NAPA stores were on St. Andrews Road, so I took the Bush River Road exit.
  Autozone came up first, so I went inside and paid $35 for a large can of refrigerant and attached hose.
  I returned to the car, cranked it, turned the air on high, and raised the hood.
  I had forgotten the hood supports had run out of gas, so I had to hold he hood up with one hand and attempt to put the refrigerant in with the other.
  I had never put refrigerant in my car, and I could not find the proper connector, and could not look while holding up the hood.
  I had a decision to make. Do I drive all they way back to Saluda to get my van, or do I drive to the beach with no AC?
  Well, for the first 18 years of my life I rode to the beach with no air conditioning.
  I take that back. My first car, a ‘59 Chevy, The Blue Streak,  had air conditioning, but it ran hot when I drove down to meet the family at the beach, and after I put water in the radiator at a station, I didn’t use the AC the rest of the way. So, technically, in the first 18 years of my life, I had air conditioning for only 100 miles on the way to the beach.
  I decided to sweat it out and drive to the beach with no AC.
  I opened the back door of the car to put the unused can of refrigerant and was greeted, and I mean greeted, by a blast of cold air from inside the car.
  The AC was working again, and I thanked the Lord!
  I don’t know what happened, but the air conditioning has not given me any trouble since that incident.
  When I got to Cherry Grove, I enjoyed a taco salad supper with the family, then I  took a walk on the beach for two blocks, then hung a left and walked to the boat landing at the end of 53rd Avenue, then walked down to the wildlife, nature trail park.
  This was my regular daily walking trail when we stayed in that neighborhood. It’s a beautiful walk.
  When I got back to the house, I told Louise I had gotten my DNA results back from Ancestry.com, and for the next three hours we did research, or she did research, on the Baker part of the family.
  Keith and Louise don’t just do genealogical research on the internet, they’ve been to the massive Mormon genealogical library in Salt Lake City, where much of the Ancestry.com information is derived. They’ve been to other locations in other parts of the country to do research, too.
  Thursday morning, Kevin and I left for a round of golf at Eagle’s Nest.  It was extremely hot at the beach last week, and Keith got too hot playing golf the day before. He decided to sit this one out.
  Normally, Kevin and I are playing to see who can get beat by an 80-year-old by the least amount of strokes.
  Kevin had already played a couple of times that week. I hadn’t played since May, and it showed. Kevin won by six strokes.
  I parred the first hole, so my round was doomed right off the bat.
  When we got to the third hole, we caught up with a foursome that was extremely slow. All of them passed par in the fairway, but they took time on the green like they were competing in the British Open.
  Golf etiquette tells you if you are a slow playing foursome and there is a twosome behind you, you let the twosome play through.
  Not this crowd. We stayed behind them the rest of the way, and the sad thing is there were no golfers behind us. The foursome could have played as slowly as they wanted.
  When we finished I walked behind the car two of them were riding. They were from Virginia, and most people in Virginia have good manners.
  While we were playing golf, Louise did more research. She found some discrepancies in where my Great-grandfather Baker was from.
  The 1910 census said he was born in Lithuania. The 1930 census gave his birthplace as Russia, and the 1940 census said he was born in Germany.
  Louise said census takers went from door to door to get information and the details were probably supplied by whoever answered the knock.
  Since my DNA did not give any German assignment, I guess my great-grandfather was born in Lithuania or Russia.
  I stayed long enough for Dibbie and Elizabeth to arrive, and we all enjoyed Low Country Broil for supper. When I finished eating, I said my good-byes and headed home around 7 p.m.
  I made good time until I got to Columbia. On the Lexington side of I-20 I saw a sign that said, “Prepare to stop.”
  They were working on the interstate at night.
  I had been driving for three hours and I was NOT prepared to stop! I looked up ahead and saw two lanes of slow moving tail lights.
  Fortunately, I was near the No. 1 exit and I “prepared” to drive home another way.
  I felt sorry for the other drivers, who couldn’t get home by taking the No. 1 exit. I’m sure many of them had been on the road a long time.
  Oh, by the way, on the way down and back, I listened to Christmas cantatas. Ho, ho, ho!
  Football is a coming, so my beach travels for 2017 are over ... I guess.

SLAMMER

  Former Gamecock baseball player Steve Pearce did something remarkable last week.
  Playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, he hit a walk off grand slam homer to give his team the win. 
  A few days later he came up again with the bases loaded and histeam trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth and hit a walk-off grand slam again!
  That is only the third time in Major League history a batter has hit two walk off grand slams in a week.