Tidbits - December 26 2019

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


RERUNS?

  Let me tell you, it’s hard coming up with something in a column when it’s done once a week for 42 years, but it’s doubly hard when you have to write two in one week, like I’m having to do, because of the holidays.
  Fortunately, in search of something else, I came across some columns from the past, so I’m going to use some reruns.
  I was trying to figure out exactly when I quit smoking. Oh, I know it was 12 years ago, because I was taking Chantix at the time of my cousin Johnny Shealy’s funeral, which was the first week in December 2007.
  In the December 20 issue, I declared I had not had a cigarette in a week, so I must have quit for good the second week in December.
  Twelve years and 50 pounds later, I have not had even one puff. For someone who smoked for 38 years, that’s pretty remarkable.
  I’ll be honest though, had the vapes been around 12 years ago, I might have gone that route.
  I did miss smoking the first five years or so. Those special times, like morning cup of coffee, after meals, and any other awakened moment.
  A well known Saludan when he reached his 80th birthday said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I wouldn’t have stopped smoking and drinking.”
  I can’t make that statement yet, so, happy 12th non-smoking anniversary to me!
  While looking through those 2007 columns, I made another discovery. Jamie and I put in a new water heater a few weeks ago, and we were wondering when we put in the last one. It was 12 years ago in December. I wrote about it!
  Jamie and I always laugh when we do a project, remembering our Daddy’s, “It’ll only take 30 minutes,” statement.
  No project he ever undertook was done in 30 minutes
  Now, we say, “You know of this hadn’t happened, we might have gotten it done in 30 minutes.” Those “ifs” will get you every time.
  Motte Jean Yarbrough has been bringing me old newspapers his late father, the legendary Saluda attorney Motte Yarbrough, collected through the years. Some date back to the 30s.
  I have enjoyed looking through them, and have come across quite a few of my columns.
  One of them dealt with one of Daddy’s 30-minute project.
  Here is my actual column from June 21, 1979:
  “Working for your father on a dairy farm, the worst phrase you can hear is, “it’ll only take 30 minutes.” 
  That’s an expression fathers use to get you to perform a supposedly easy task. Tell me if I’m wrong. Those “30 minutes” usually turn out to be three hours.
  One of those famous jobs we had was putting up a TV antenna. Daddy had acquired a 20-ft. iron pole, covered with concrete. The idea was to attach our TV antenna to the top of the pole, to give us better reception. So we took the regular antenna down, attached it to pole, and readied to put it up.
  Pushing that antenna up was like pushing a Volkswagen “up a hill.”  We strained and grunted and finally got the antenna bolted to the house.
  Not so bad, we thought. Then we looked in the window and saw the antenna wire hanging to the ground. We forgot to attach it. OK, here we go again. The antenna comes down, the wire is attached, the antenna is put back up. Excelsior.
  We rush into the house to try the reception. We turn the rotary antenna.   Nothing happens. We look behind the TV and see the wire that is supposed to be attached to the rotary motor is now 25-feet in the air. We laugh.
  Back out we go. It is now 100 degrees outside. The roof of the house is nearly at the boiling point.
  Allen and Chuck Harmon had just taken a dip in Allen’s pool, when they came over and offered to help. We put Chuck and Allen on the roof. We take down the antenna, attach the wires, and put the antenna back up. Chuck and Allen’s bare feet are now smoking.  They’re jumping around like they are the first men on the sun. Finally, the antenna is in place.
  Two hours later, the “30 minute” job is completed. We all go inside, lay down, and get up just in time for breakfast.
  It never fails. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It was built in 30 minutes.”
  While we have another antenna today, Daddy’s monument still stands.
  It goes well with the giant satellite dish, and two smaller Dish network dishes in the backyard.
  In another of my old columns, I came across my tribute to my great-uncle Wallace Padgett in 1980.
  Uncle Wallace was a character and could come up with some zingers.
  He was in great pain and was getting admitted to the hospital. Still, the admitting clerk had to get information.
  “Can’t you wait?” Uncle Wallace asked.
  The clerk said she had to get the information.
  “How old was your mother she died,” the clerk asked.
  “Seventy-nine,” said Uncle Wallace.
  ‘How did she die,” she asked.
  “Childbirth,” said Uncle Wallace, without blinking an eye.
  When he was drafted into World War II, he was asked what branch he wanted to go into.
  “If it’s all the same to you,” he said. “I prefer to go into the branch  behind my mother’s house.”
  Uncle Wallace’s wife Jesse was just as funny as he was.
  I was a witness to this exchange at Calk’s Store, when I was a boy.
  Uncle Wallace was waxing nostalgic, and turned to Aunt Jesse and said, “If I die before you do, I want you to bury me next to my sainted mother.”
  “If you die before I do,” Aunt Jesse said, “I’ll bury you any dang place I want to!”
  He died before she did, and guess where he is NOT buried.
  Wednesday night ABC featured live performances of two actual programs from the 1970’s TV programs “Good Times” and “All in the Family.”
  Because it was a live event, ABC was able to break away from that tortuous historic happening called the final impeachment vote.
 No matter whose side you are on, you had to be turned off by members of Congress who enjoy hearing themselves speak.
  We all know why the Democrats want the president to be impeached, and we all know why the Republicans are opposed.
  We don’t need to hear it repeated over and over, and  over and over,  and  over and over ... for a day. Amazingly, none of this wasted speech making changed any minds.
  The “Good Times” remake was awful. While the actors were all talented, most of them were, obviously, rank amateurs when it come to acting in a live play.
  There were too many gaps in the dialogue, as if the actors were trying to remember their lines,  and let’s face it, you are not going to replace J.J. with any other actor.
  An episode of ” Blackish” followed the two classics, and in this episode the cast played the characters from “Good Times” in a dream sequence. They were great. Use this cast of “Blackish” in any future “Good Times” remakes, ABC.
  The “All in the Family” episode was much better. The cast had the advantage of acting together last year, so they had chemistry the ”Good Times” cast lacked.
  Well, that does it for the reruns. Since I’m writing this on December 19, I can’t write about any Christmas activities.
  What till next week ....or next year!