Tidbits - February 6, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

HOW QUICKLY....

 Last week my column led off with my nephew Trey Shealy asking if Deebo Samuel was the first player from a Saluda High opponent to make it to the Super Bowl.
  This week I’ll mention Trey preached at the funerals of two teenagers.
  How quickly life changes.
  Last week was a terrible one in Saluda County, as two teenagers, Drayton Black and Jaden Coleman died in a truck versus tree accident Monday night. Jaden’s brother, Kadius, was seriously injured. All were students at Saluda High.
  I did not know Drayton or Jaden, other than being nodding acquaintances, but like so many, I have connections with the families.
  Drayton’s dad Stacey was a member of the Yankee little league team I coached. His mother Brandi’s mother, the late Kay Wade, worked with my mother for many years at Saluda High.
  Jaden grew up right down the road from our old dairy farm, and his uncle Vance worked for Thomas Shealy on the dairy.
  I also announced Jaden’s name when he played football for the Tigers.
  Last Monday, I heard something on the scanner about a wreck on Long Road, but I fell asleep. The next morning, when I first went on social media I saw Drayton’s picture, with the message that he was gone. I didn’t find out about Jaden until a few hours later.
  I had tears in my eyes all day Tuesday, when I’d read postings by the friends of the two boys. They were both so loved.
  When something like this happens, it brings back memories. This has happened before.
  Drayton and Jaden were athletes, and there have been few more honored Saluda High athletes than Richard Brooks.
  Richard was the star of the 1973 Tigers, named the state player of the year, and a top recruit of Carolina. In July of 1974, he drowned in Lake Greenwood.
  Richard’s funeral was held at Mathews Field and the stands were full. People still talk about Richard today.
  Thirty-three years later, Richard’s nephew, Tevin Brooks, a promising Saluda High basketball player, died in a car accident, also in July.
  In March 1987, there Saluda High students, Wesley Shidle, John McGee and Scott Drayder died in a wreck on 702.
  I knew them all from their little league playing days. I drove up to their visitation, but I couldn’t go in,  because I remembered the visitation for one of my former players Michael Metts in 1982, who died in an accident on a peach farm. I didn’t want to go through that again with three families. I was a coward.
  In the late 1990s Amanda Rikard and her cousin Brandon Rikard were killed on there way to school. It was a football Friday, and Amanda was a member of the SHS band. Despite their grief, the band had to play that night. I had to announce a moment of silence in memory of Amanda and Brandon.
  In 2012, band member Joye Andrews was killed in a wreck after a football game. Many bought “EnJoye Life” T-shirts.
  In all instances, the community came together.
  Saturday morning, Drayton’s funeral was held at the Saluda High gymnasium, and three hours later, Jaden’s was held at the same location. They gym was filled for both.
  I attended Drayton’s funeral and watched Jaden’s on SaludaNOW. Both featured wonderful messages and music.
  Chris Bosket and Trey spoke at both services. I don’t know how they did it, other than through the Holy Spirit.
  Chris said if the community can continue to come together as it has this week, then great things can be done, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or gender.
  It hit me afterwards that this was the first time many African Americans had ever been to a white funeral, and the first time many whites had gone to an African American funeral. All found out there was not a whole lot of difference.
  Trey recalled hearing a story of Preacher John Griffith holding the baby Drayton and predicting he would be either a lawyer or a preacher.
  It was determined early on he would not be a lawyer, Trey said, but “he’s preaching his first sermon today.”
  Yes, Drayton and Jaden preached their sermons to literally thousands Saturday.
  They say some good things come out of tragedy. We may never know the lives that may be changed by the deaths of Drayton and Jaden, but something good will happen.
  I put on Facebook how this community had gone from the high  of a state championship in December, to the low of the deaths of Drayton and Jaden just one month later.
 Then I added the words from an old gospel song, “The God on the mountains is still good in the valley.”
  The chorus continues, “The God of the good times is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God of the night.”
  Our prayers for the Black and Coleman families continue.

BIG PLAYS

  Since Saluda won the state championship, I’ve been wanting to determine how many big plays the team had this year.
  I define big plays as those 20-yards or longer.
  For me to determine the number of big plays, I had to go through 15 weeks of stories and statistics.
  The totals are pretty amazing. Saluda had 78 big plays during the season.
 This included 28 plays in the 20s (yards), 19 in the 30s, 13 in the 40s, three in the 50s, five in the 60s, five in the 70s, four in the 80s, and two in the 90s!
  In the five play-off games the Tigers had plays of 29, 36, 22, 28, 33, 25, 47, 60, 24, 46, 25, 54, 36, 23, 25, 20, 71, 73, 43, 75, 89, 20, 80, 24, 47, 23, 27, 43, 68, 60, 27, 23 and 30.
  See why the champs were so fun to watch!

WAYNE BOONE

  I was deeply saddened at the passing of Wayne Boone last week.
  Wayne had reached the ranked of Brigadier General in his military career, which ended in National Guard service.
  He also had a successful insurance career, but what drew me to Wayne was his love of cars.
  I always loved the 1981-83 Chrysler Imperials. Frank Sinatra even had his own edition.
  Your rarely saw them, because they only made 10,000.   One day, however, I saw one in Saluda, but I did not know who it belonged to.
  On a Thursday,  I was taking papers by Truman Trotter’s barber shop and the Imperial drove up and out popped Wayne! It was a locally owned car.
  I told Wayne how much I loved the Imperial. Some time passed and Wayne called me and asked me if I wanted to buy it. I did!
  I’ve still got the car. It’s not running now, but it is still good looking, and I’ll always think of Wayne, who supplied a dream come true.
  Wayne was a fine man.
  My sympathy to Shirley, David, Ashley and all the family.

 
 
 
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