Tidbits - April 9, 2020



  Amazing how routine things have changed.
  Who would have ever imagined?
  On April Fool’s Day, my mother was transferred from Springfield Place in Newberry to Saluda Nursing Center. Being closer is great, but she is still in lockdown.
  Jamie, Allison, Dibbie and I were at SNC when the van carrying mother arrived. We spoke to her from a distance.
  Debra Shealy showed us where her the window to her room was located, so we could basically wave.
  Her laptop was out of whack, so I went back another day. Her laptop was brought to me, and I worked on it outside.
  While we were waiting on Mother to arrive Monday, a group from Good Hope Baptist Church came to sing “Happy birthday” to Mrs. Mary Berry, who turned 102-years-old.
  Imagine living over a century, and having to look through a window to hear birthday greetings.
  Imagine being 98-years younger than Mrs. Mary and having a  birthday.
  My great niece Hannah Bowdler turned four on April 4. Normally, she has a birthday party, but 2020 in not normal.
  So, what do you do? You have a parade!
  “Partygoers” were instructed to meet at the Sardis Church parking lot. Many decorated their vehicles with banners, posters and balloons.
  The procession left the church, and after a short trip, the drivers turned into the Bowdler driveway, where Hannah was standing in the bed of a pick-up.
  Passengers in each car, told Hannah “Happy birthday!” and handed presents through the window. Once that was done, everyone drove home.
  Hannah, I hope, will remember her 4th birthday the rest of her life.
  Holy Week began Sunday with Palm Sunday.
  Some churches had drive-in services, while others had services online. None of us walked down the aisle waving palm branches.
  Traditions took a holiday.
  Our tradition at Emory is the choir singing Sandi Patty’s “In the Name of the Lord” for the anthem, with Sheila Shealy singing the solo parts. We do it well, if I may say so.
  For years, the choir began the service by  marching  in while singing “The Palms.” The late Earle Steadman started that, and I continued it when I succeeded him as choir director.
  I’ve always joked that the Emory Choir cannot walk and sing  at the same time, and a song like “The Palms” is hard to sing when you’re standing still, because it gets very high at the end.
  One Palm Sunday, through various reasons, none of our sopranos were able to come to church. I didn’t know this in advance, so we had to try to sing “The Palms” with nobody left to sing the high notes.
  It was awful, and the choir broke into laughter when we made it to the loft. “The Palms” was retired that day.
  This week, they’ll be no Maundy Thursday communion, and no stripping of the altar on Good Friday. I guess they’ll be drive-in sunrise services. I know the internet will be full of Easter services.
  We can’t gather together, but we sure are praying a lot, aren’t we. COVID-19 may bring about a great revival. Maybe, church members used to staying home when things were normal, will want to find their place in the pews again.
  We got another paper out last week, and we’ll get this issue printed, but I don’t know what the future holds.
  As long was we have something to put in the paper, we’ll keep printing, but it is getting harder and harder to find stories, because nothing is happening now or tomorrow, or next week. And, there is no advertising, since most of the stores are closed.
  I’ve been saving stories, but they will soon run out.
We’ll let you know.
  Keep praying for each other, our county, our state, our country, and our world.
  Stay safe!


  You’ve heard that football gate receipts pay the bills for non-revenue sports on the college and high school level?
  LSU put out some figures that tell the story.
  Tiger football made $56 million profit last year. Men’s basketball made $1.6 million, and baseball made $569,000.
  Now read this. All of these figures are losses:
Gymnastics - $2.2 million; softball - $2.1 million; Women’s basketball $4 million; Women’s track and field - $2.5 million; men’s track and Field, $2.50 million; men’s golf - $975,000; women’s golf - $750,000; volleyball - $1.7 million; women’s soccer - $1,8 million; men’s tennis - $940,000; beach volleyball - $704,387; women’s tennis - $1.1 million; women’s swimming - $1.3 million; men’s swimming - $1.2 million.
  That is approximately $24 million in losses for non-revenue sports.
  Power 5 schools benefit from TV contracts, but this year the schools will take a hurting. It has already revealed that the schools will miss out on $350 million in revenue, because March Madness was cancelled.
  If the virus affects the coming football seasons, then non-revenue sports may have to be cut for a year. That would be a shame, but that is the way of the world, now.


  I was deeply saddened at the passing of Dr. Stanley Baker in Greenwood last week.
  Dr. Baker was a long time friend of our family.
  How many times did he hunt and fish with Daddy, Uncle Alton, and our uncle Shep Sheppard in Silver-street?
  Dr. Baker was a man of many talents. One of his hobbies was aviation.
 When we were kids, Jamie and I got our first plane flight, thanks to Dr. Baker.
  Daddy drove us to the Greenwood Airport, and the three of us climbed into Dr. Baker’s small plane.
  Soon, we were in the air.
  The world from the plane is like the Grand Canyon. A picture is one thing, but seeing it in person defies imagination.
  If I remember correctly, he flew us over our farm, and he waved the wings to family below. He also showed us a few pilot tricks that I didn’t particularly enjoy.
  Years later, Dr. Baker was one of the first to visit when Daddy had his lung cancer surgery, and was sewn back up. He was as devastated by the news as we were.
  That was 23-years-ago, and I don’t think I’ve seen him since, but I’ve heard he was seen baling hay on his Newberry County farm when he was in his 90s.
  I’m sure many lives around here were touched by Dr.  Baker. Iris Riddle from Saluda, for one, worked for him for many years.
  He was a master surgeon, but an even better person.
  Rest in peace.