Tidbits - June 21, 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



VACATION TIME

  Well, my annual vacation has come and gone.
  I did what I have done the past few years - drove down on Saturday, played golf on Sunday, drove back Sunday afternoon, got the paper out Monday, and drove back Tuesday morning.
  With no advance warning, other than a “prepare to stop sign,” we ran into a traffic nightmare at the first Bishopville exit on I-20 Saturday.
  The left lane in both directions was closed for bridge repairs. Naturally, I was in the left lane when the traffic came to a standstill, and had to beg my way over to the right lane. It took us 20-30 minutes to get through this mess.
  My sister Dibbie rented a four bedroom, ocean front condo in Cherry, as her retirement gift to herself and family. Our relatives, the Parrises,had a house on 51st Avenue, just down the street from my sister Elizabeth and family. My brother and Jamie and family were camping at Surfside, but we didn’t see them.
  The condo was nice, but every place has its drawbacks. It was oceanfront, but you could barely see the ocean from our first floor unit, because of new protective dunes that had been built up. You also couldn’t walk directly to the beach because of those same dunes, but it wasn’t like walking blocks from a channel house.
  The condo had TVs in every bedroom, but the only rooms with cable were the living room and the master bedroom. The rest of us had TV’s with those portable HDTV antennas you see advertised on TV. They worked really well, and I watched MeTV primarily. I don’t know when I’ve seen so many episodes of  “The Facts of Life” and “Different Strokes.”
  Sunday morning I played golf with my Uncle Keith and cousin Kevin Parris of Spartanburg, as usual. This day, however, we were joined by Jake, the boyfriend of Kevin’s daughter Sarah.
  Jake was starting offensive lineman for the Dorman Cavaliers this year.
  I point this out, because I posted the lowest score of our foursome. I broke a hundred, hit some great drives and iron shots.
  It wasn’t all good. On one hole all four of us hit worm burners in succession.
  The course we played was Eastport, the course where I sprained my knee when I fell out of a golf cart years ago. It’s not very long. We found out when we paid that the course was going to be closed for the remainder of the week for green repairs, so there was no returning for Part 2.
  I was encouraged by my play, and couldn’t wait for our next round on Wednesday.
  After I got back to the condo, I ate lunch, showered, then headed back home.
  When I got near Bishopville, I took the Bishopville-Elliot exit, and ended up on Main Street, Bishopville.
  This is the exit I was lucky enough to be close to when there was a wreck up ahead several years ago. I didn’t notice then that Main Street went right by the famous Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, but I noticed it this time.
  The road goes by the Bishopville McDonald’s that many visit, and then to the Columbia I-20 exit. By taking this route, I missed all the quagmire.
  After I took the paper to the Post Office Tuesday morning, I changed into my driving clothes and headed back to the beach.
  Do you know the difference between Saturday traffic and Tuesday traffic? I went through that 30-minute Bishopville nightmare in exactly two minutes!
  Tuesday afternoon, I was reading on the balcony and saw something moving on the dunes. I was amazed to see it was a red fox! I posted the picture on social media, and heard from several of my friends who had seen and heard foxes at Cherry Grove.
  Because we had a 10:30 tee time Wednesday morning, I got the chance to finally walk on the beach. Our condo was between two Cherry Grove piers. One was .8 a mile away and the other was .9. I walked to the both, but not in the same day. I may be old, but I still enjoy picking up sea shells. Emoree loves to play with them, so I turned them over to her.
  By the way, by walking each morning to the pier and back, playing golf and other things, I walked over 13,000 steps Wednesday and Thursday.
  Wednesday, we played one of our regular courses, Eagle’s Nest. I was so looking forward to playing even better than I did on Sunday.
  Those dreams were shattered when Kevin said, “Look, a snake!”
  I looked on top of the hedge leading into the clubhouse and there sat a non-poisonous snake sunning himself.
  I let out a muffled scream and took a photo ... from a distance. Apparently, the snake is well known and has even been named by the snack bar operator.
  My improved golf game was “gone with the snake.” We had to start on the harder back nine, and I could never get it going.
  On the last hole, I sank a 30-ft. putt for a par and broke into uncontrollable laughter. In just a few days, I went from first to last.
  I hate golf.
  Late Thursday afternoon, Dibbie and I were alone at the house and sitting on balcony, watching a “cloud come up.”
  Suddenly, it started to rain, then the rain began to swirl.
  A rocking chair on the balcony turned over and shot across the floor to the railing. We rushed inside and I had a hard time closing the sliding door.
  We really thought we were going to be hit by a tornado. We were finding safety in the hall, when Dibbie noticed the front door had been blown open and there was glass on the floor, as well as a painting that had been hanging on the wall.
  We figured the front door was blown open while the back door was open, creating a wind rush. The picture was blown off the wall and shattered a glass globe covering the wall light.
  Dibbie was sweeping up the glass when the power went off.
  There were NO storm warnings in the area. We tended to disagree.
  Mayson, Jason, Morgan, Deacon, Madden and Emoree were at Wonderworks at Broadway at the Beach when they lost power for over an hour.
  Imagine if you were at the top of the giant ferris wheel at the Boardwalk and the power went out. Wouldn’t that be fun up there in the wind?
  When the power was restored, the WiFi that had been terrible most of the week improved greatly. The modem was reset. Why didn’t we think of that?
  I did all the routines, read a John Sandford “Prey” book for the 28th straight summer vacation, went to Barefoot Landing, the Flea Market, and the Cherry Grove Nature Park.
  I woke up at 5 a.m. every day!
  Dibbie decided that she and Morgan were going to leave for home at 7 a.m. Saturday. Since, I’d been getting up early, I decided I’d leave then, too. We have never left earlier than 9 a.m.
  When I got to Bishopville, I decided, since it was so early, I’d stay on the interstate rather than going through town. That was a mistake, but the delay wasn’t too bad.
  I got home around 10:30 a.m.
  It was  a fun trip.
  Dibbie had some challenges. She was scheduled to have gallbladder surgery before we went to the beach, but when the doctor told her she could not lift or go into the water for a month after the surgery, she put it off until after the vacation.
  She had to follow a strict low fat diet, meaning she could not eat any of the good beach stuff, including Krispy Kreme doughnuts. That about did  her in!

ANOTHER SAD WEEK

  We were at the beach Friday when I heard Thomas Coleman had been killed in auto accident.
  Thomas was one of “my” SHS football players, whose name I announced many times over the public address system.
  Thomas’ mother Kathy told Burton Campbell she remembered a game when Thomas was a freshman and his brother Lewis was a senior.
  The two made a tackle together, and I announced, “Tackle by Coleman and Coleman.”
  Thirty years ago, Thomas’ uncle David Coleman was killed in an auto accident. David was a friend to many, including me.
  My sympathy to Kristen, and the couple’s young son, his parents, Greg and Kathy, his grandmother, Mrs. Dorothy, and the entire family.
  Bryant Williams was one of my bus drivers back in my school days. He married one of my classmates DeAlva Enlow, and worked over 30 years at Amick Farms. His bother Mike is a fixture at Saluda Motor Sales.
  DeAlva has been hit doubly, as her mother Dorothy died the week before.
  Mrs. Dot is well known for all the years she worked at Saluda Frozen Foods. I always enjoyed seeing her there.
  Mrs. Sudie Berry was one of my Christmas Parade “regulars.”
  When our office was located on North Main Street, I’d take parade pictures at the intersection of West Butler Avenue and North Main.
  I watched Mike Lake’s family grow up, as he parked in the same place each year in front of the bank,, and Mrs. Sudie was just a few cars down. We had good times commenting on the entries.
  My sympathy to the Berry family.