Tidbits -May 2 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


OFF TO THE RACES

  It was Easter Sunday, and we were enjoying our family gathering at Trey and Allie Shealy’s new home, which features a huge side yard.
  The great-grandchildren loved it, and after hunting for Easter eggs in the yard, many of them started having foot races.
  Trey even got into the act, using his Saluda High fullback speed to pass a three-year-old.
  Seeing this, Dibbie had a “great” idea. She wanted a brother and sister race featuring the four siblings, whose combined age is 254, or 63.5 average.
  Jamie, Dibbie, Elizabeth and I lined up, and it made a great photo op!
  Someone yelled, “Go!,” and we took off. Well, they took off. I ran a couple of steps and quit. I’m well past the hip-breaking age, and I swore off racing nearly 30 years ago.
  That was probably an Easter event, too, when Gordon Bowdler and I decided to race. I was speeding right along until I lost my balance and plowed shoulder first into the hard ground.
  If you don’t think that  made a lasting impression, all three of the Bowdler boys asked me Sunday, “Didn’t you fall down in a race at our house years ago?”
  They thought I was racing them.  I reminded them I was doing a grown up thing and was racing their father, who is a year my senior.
  I didn’t go to the doctor, but I probably broke or cracked my shoulder or collarbone. I was in agony for several weeks. I learned to appreciate everything a shoulder does.
  It was after that spill that I swore I would never race again.
  After I severely sprained my knee, when I got ejected from a golf cart at the beach several years ago, I decided to swear off running all together.
  Since I bought an Apple watch and it started shaming me into exercising more, I have been tempted to trot around the pond on my daily walks or at least across the pond dam, but I haven’t had the courage.
  It was near the pond that I swore off bike riding, you  may recall.
  I was riding Kailyn’s small bike when I ran off the concrete and turned over, injuring that same durn shoulder and my ribs.
  I picked the bike up and told Kailyn, “I think I’ll walk it back to the house.”
  “That’s probably a good idea,” the little smart alleck said!
  Yep, you’ve got to learn to stop when you’ve hit the wall.

BALLOON MAN

  I went to my great-niece and nephew Hannah and Piece Bowdler’s birthday party on Easter Eve, and the entertainment was provided by a balloon artist.
  When I heard what was coming, I was expecting the typical wienie dog balloons, but when he arrived and started rattling off things he could recreate and I was amazed.
  Spiderman. He made Spiderman!
  He began by making Hannah a crown and scepter, which both featured lighted balloons, and balloon pearl inserts!
  Pierce got a John Deere tractor, featuring all four tires and a cab.
  Then it was time for Spiderman. Red, blue, two legs, two arms, and a Spiderman face balloon to make it more real.
  I had to talk to him to find out what brought him to this profession, and, yes, it is his profession!
  He started out like all balloon artists, and then he began to learn how to make so many figures. His appearances began to increase and soon he was able to go full-time.
  If you went to the State Fair this year and saw the full-size Carousel created out  of balloons, that was him and his staff. They worked each night at the fair on the project, much like those who do the sand sculptures.
  If you don’t think what he does takes talent, get you a few long, red and blue balloons and create Spiderman!

READ THE LABEL

  At Hannah and Pierce’s party, their dad Andrew had on a nice fishing shirt, which is appropriate since he owns Bowdler Guide Service.
  Even though I don’t fish, I own two fishing shirts. I like the way they look.
  The first one I bought was a C.B. Forrest’s. I was a beautiful blue check with yellow trim. It was made by Southern Tide, and it was on sale.
  I couldn’t wait to wear the shirt to work the next day, but it needed some ironing.
  That night I put my iron on the typical cotton setting, and started to iron the inside of collar as I always do.  Immediately, I heard something that sounded like bacon frying. The collar was melting!
  Too late, I looked at the label and saw the shirt was mostly nylon and polyester. Well, it felt like cotton.
  Fortunately, I melted the inside of the collar. The outside still looks fine. Thank goodness I started on the back, or that shirt would’ve gotten chunked.
  If you know Southern Tide, you know this was not a cheap shirt, even on sale.
  As long as I have been ironing, I should know to check the label. Believe me, I check it now!

SIX PER CENT

  I’ve read the campaign promises of all these “chicken in every pot” presidential candidates.
  I would love to see free health care, free college tuition, student loans repaid, and a cleaner environment, but I have common sense.
  I saw a political cartoon with a bus carrying candidates stopping at a gas station, and the attendant says, “Sorry, we’re all out of pixie dust.”
  Miss “Sounds Like The Voice Of An ASPCA Commercial Spokeswoman” Elizabeth Warren released her plan to pay off all student loans and provide free college tuition. She will pay for this by putting a two percent tax on everyone worth over $50 million. I didn’t know we had that many 50 millionaires. Look out, Mr. President.
  Wait a minute, Liz, before you pay off the student loans of all this young whippersnappers, I want a refund on my student loan.
  I, and millions of my generation, worked our butts off to pay back inch thick, student loan coupon books. In the immortal words of Steve Spurrier, “What about us?”
  Then there are the progressives who want major changes in how we affect the environments, including requiring electric cars, etc.
  This, too, will require a lot of pixie dust.
  There is no doubt in my mind we have harmed the environment, through centuries of industrialization.
  There was a movie back in the 70s called the “Seven Percent Solution.”
  Well, America is only a “Six Percent Solution” when it comes to the environment, because this country makes up only six percent of the world’s land mass.
  I saw a story on one of the weekend morning news programs about the popular Korean boys  band (I forgot their name). Each day when they leave their home to go to work, they all put on masks.
  This was a not a fashion statement, or a disguise a la Michael Jackson. They wear the mask because the pollution is so  bad in Seoul.
  America cannot clean up South Korea’s environmental mess, or China’s, or India’s or Russia’s. The 94 percent has to do that.
  I think our country is making progress with solar energy, windmills, ethanol, fluorescent and LED light bulbs, etc.
  We can do more.
  I saw a question on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” the other day that asked “What state has eight of the ten most polluted cities in the country?”
  The answer was California.
  And we can ask, “What state has the strictest environmental standards?” The answer to that would also be, “California.”
  So, stringent environmental laws do wonders, right?