Tidbits - Oactober 19 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



TOP OF THE WORLD

  The older I get, the closer I want to stay to the ground.
  In my youth, I loved heights.
  I’d climb as high as I could in a tree. Routinely, I’d climb the outside rungs of our 55-foot tall silo, so I could get a glimpse of the beautiful county and see Little Mountain.
  As a teenager, I stood on the edge of Blowing Rock and looked over. As a college freshman, I marvelled at New York City from the 104th floor, outside observation deck on the Empire State Building.
  Les Hembel landed his helicopter in our pasture and took us all up.
  Family friend, Dr. Stanley Baker, took us flying in his small plane.
  My college friend Dick Moore would fly a plane down to Saluda International and we’d fly from there to Spartanburg.
  I think I hit the wall when Johnny Corley took me up a helicopter so I could take some aerial shots of a Saluda event years ago.
  I had done this before, but this time I realized I was 1000-feet in the air in a doorless whirlybird and the only thing keeping me from falling out was a seatbelt made of man-made fabric.
  I think I have flown commercially on two round trips since then, but I didn’t enjoy it.
  What this is getting to is a football stadium. That’s right.
  When Wayne Grice drove his truck onto the parking lot of Bolden Stadium Thursday, I looked out the passenger door and looked at the Saluda side of the stadium that appeared to go straight up. Was this bleachers or a giant ladder?
  We got to the stadium before the ticket booth opened, so I went in on my press pass, while Wayne waited to buy a ticket.
  You had to go down a steep hill before you arrived a the stands.
  “Lord, held me, Jesus,” I said when I finally reached the stands.
  You’ve seen TV programs on the Aztec pyramids with their steep steps? These rivaled them. And like the ancient pyramids, there were no hand rails.
  When I got to the 50-yard line, I saw Burton Campbell up in the clouds and he had set the SaludaNOW equipment.
  “If Bulldog Burt can make it, so can it,” I said.
  The very first step wobbled. I kid you not. They all wobbled!
  I did not want to embarrass myself by getting on my knees and crawling up, but I was tempted.
  Later, I saw some people doing just that!
  I made it to the top and got acclimated to my perch at the top. I realized I was only 20 feet or so off the ground when I looked over the back of the stands, but that is high enough to kill you.
  I soon saw Wayne walking down the hill, and I knew with his bad hip, there was no way he could climb to the top like I did.
  I made my way to the far end of the stands where there was a rail and I told Wayne he should climb up that way. He did.
  Later, I saw Josie Turner headed toward the stands. I knew Josie had hip replacement surgery recently.
  As she got to the stairs, I yelled from the top of Old Smokey, “Good luck ... luck... luck!”
  “Did you say, ‘Good luck?’” she asked. (There was no echo on the ground floor.)
  “I did ... did... did.”
  Josey made it about five rows up with the help of her friends. She said she was still afraid.
  From my high perch, I noticed many rockets in the parking lot.
  I asked Wayne, “I wonder why there are rockets?”
  And it hit us at the same time, “Charles Bolden!”
  The stadium is named for an astronaut, and he’s been a lot higher than the top of the stands.
  Initially, I was actually worried about climbing back down the stands, but at halftime I decided to take some pictures, which required my going down the steep stairs.
  It wasn’t as bad as I envisioned.
  When I got to the bottom, I noticed very few fans had attempted to go any higher than halfway.
  I climbed back up the stairs to the top with no problem. I had overcome my fear.
  I agree with everybody in the Saluda crowd. We could not understand why there were no hand rails in the aisles of this steep stadium. Saluda High’s stands aren’t nearly as steep, but there are hand rails in all the aisles.
  I enjoyed what I hope will be our next to the last road trip of the year. We enjoyed wings for our meal, but missed the third member of regular entourage Danny Bledsoe, who had flown out that morning for Syracuse. I wonder how that came out?
  If Saluda wins the region, the Tigers, if they keep winning, will host the play-offs all the way to the Upper State championship game. I hope the next road trip is to the State Championship game!

FRIDAY THE 13TH

  NCAA college football teams rely on high schools to supply their recruits, yet the NCAA allows colleges to play on Friday, the day that historically belongs to high school football.
  That shouldn’t happen.
  Dabo Swinney agreed with that, especially since he has a son who plays high school football.
  Clemson played Syracuse on Friday the 13th and lost. In the second game of the doubleheader, unbeaten Washington State played California and also lost. See there! They should not play on Friday.
  Clemson actually looked human in the game. Since Saluda played on Thursday, I was able to watch.
  Saturday, I took a nap and watched a couple of episodes of “Riverdale” while Carolina and Tennessee played the first half.
  With the score 9-3 Tennessee at halftime, I went outside to cut the grass.
  I kept checking my phone and saw that Carolina had tied the game. Later, I saw they had taken the lead, so I knew not only could I not watch, I could also not go back into the house until the game was over.
  As the game was winding down, I checked to see Tennessee was on the Carolina two-yard-line with seconds left. I quickly left the app, and continued to walk around pond until I got the notice Carolina had won the game.
  Whew!
  I’d much prefer Carolina win games going away like Saluda did against Keenan. I could watch if Carolina could beat someone 54-14, but the Gamecock offense, loaded with talent, just isn’t clicking. But....as long as they win.
  The exciting thing about the 7-1 Saluda team is most of the skilled people are young. As I put on Facebook and in the story this week, of Saluda’s 54 points, 30 were scored by sophomores, 16 by juniors, and six were by a freshman. There was also a safety in the total.
  The Tiger defensive unit has six starters who are underclassmen, as well.
  The future looks bright.

SPORTSMANSHIP

  Much was made Dabo Swinney going to the Syracuse dressing room and congratulating the Orangemen players for their performance after they beat his Tigers.
  The next day, Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley got equal coverage after he ran to the distraught Tennessee quarterback  and helped him to his feet after his pass fell incomplete on the last play of the game, preserving the Gamecock win.
  Those were class moves, one in defeat and one in victory.

SHOTS

  I put on Facebook last week Paige Sheppard at Long’s gave me my flu shot last and it didn’t hurt a  bit.
  I added the pharmacy was dangerously close to where the Saluda County Health Department used to be, and every kid who grew up here of my generation had nightmares about that place,  because that’s where we’d go to get shots ... and that’s all we got there.
  The comments from those who grew up in those days were hilarious.
   Back then, we also got shots at school.
  Mable Robertson wrote how she and her brother Maynard Gibson ran away when they got to Hollywood school and saw it was shot day.
  They would eventually get caught, get a spanking, and then later get transported to town to the Health Department where they would get their shots anyway.
  I saw Mable later and she said after she and Maynard ran away that first time her mother, Mrs. Lucille,  assigned their older brother William to follow them on subsequent shot days.
  I also saw Maynard later, and he said when he ran away from the shots, he climbed trees to hide.

SADDENED

  I was saddened to learn of the passing of Joan Berry Bedenbaugh.
  Joan grew up in the Hollywood community, the daughter of the late D.W. and Louise Berry.
  Her dad woked with my grandfather Ralph Killingsworth at the Highway Department.
  After D.W. died, Louise remarried years later, and she asked me to sing at her wedding. I did.
  For years, I talked to Joan every November, when she’d call about putting an ad in the paper about “This Man Called Jesus,” the wonderful program she directed that was produced by Lake Murray Baptist Church each Christmas.
  What joy that program brought to thousands each year. Now, Joan is experiencing the real joy with the real people in Heaven.
  My sympathy to her family.