Tidbits - February 4, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

AWFUL WEEK
  It seems our weeks are getting worse and worse, and sadder and sadder.
  For our family we learned my 89-year-old mother had contracted COVID-19, while a resident of Saluda Nursing Center. This came on the heels of my 100-year-old Aunt Christine Shealy having to be hospitalized with COVID the week before. Fortunately, both are improving.
  This is not the case, however, for many we know.
  Richard Ergle is a well known businessman around here, with his tree cutting and construction business. He’s the husband of Jail Administrator Janice Ergle, father of Recreation Director Paul Ergle, and SHS Athletic Director Jeanette Ergle Wilder.
  Richard, a strong man, who played in the great 1973 SHS team that finished 11-1, beat cancer, but he couldn’t beat this illness.
His children kept everyone updated on social media. We were happy when the came home from the hospital, but were alarmed when he went back the next day with blood clots.
  All his many friends continued their prayers, then Jeanette posted on January 27, “Heaven gained another angel tonight. Daddy passed at 6:46. Please continue to pray for our family.”
  Gerald Powell and I started first grade together in Mrs. Annie Mae Riser’s class 63-years ago, and have been friends ever since. Most times when I left Gerald’s presence, I was  laughing, because he was always funny. There was one exception, however. I took a picture of him hugging his son Daniel as “Pooh Bear” was about to depart for war with our National Guard unit. That time when I left his presence, I had tears ion my eyes.
  Morris Holmes was well liked in Saluda and Edgefield counties as a businessman, political leader, golfer and Gamecock Club member.
  Bill May grew up here and was only 59, when he died in a Texas hospital.
  I’m not saying COVID was the cause of death of Richard, Gerald, Morris and Bill, but I know they all had it during the course of their illnesses.
  Kenny Bane has kept his friends and family members up to date with his wife Angie’s battle with the disease. It has been intense. Like Richard, Angie game off the ventilator and was breathing on her own, then she, too, had a relapse caused by blood clots. At last report, she was doing better, thank the Lord.
  This disease is not hoax, and it is not the flu. Ask the families of the 400,000 people who have died from it.
  I know there are many who think wearing a mask violates their rights, but a wearing a mask is not about you. It is about others.
  You wear a mask, so that you won’t kill somebody else in the event you carry the disease.
  It’s that simple, and I repeat to all you Christians out there:
  “Others, Lord, yes others. Let this my motto be. Help me to live for others, that I may live like Thee.”


35 YEARS AGO
  January 28, 35 years ago, I was eating lunch with the Keelers in the Red & White dining room. The TV was turned to the routine space shuttle launch, and then we saw it. At first we weren’t sure what was going on, then we realized the crew was lost. I’ll never forget President Reagan’s speech that night, “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”
  I posted the above on Facebook, and got many comments. Here are three from Saluda natives.
  Valera Vagnoni Goff - We had no school that day. I was home, folding clothes and watching on TV. The really frightening part for me was that I had considered applying to be that teacher in space. Although I am sure I would never have been chosen, it felt oh so personal to me. Now I live just a hop, skip, and a jump from Lake City, the home of Ron McNair.
  MaryEllen Bauknight Wirkus - We were in Hemingway at the time. Our science teacher was Mrs McNair and her brother-in-law was Ronald McNair. It was such a big deal, we had gathered in the gymnasium and cafeteria to watch as a school together. I remember the shock in the pit of my stomach when we realized these were not just astronauts and a teacher... these were family members and loved ones. Poor Mrs McNair! It was heartbreaking for her.
  Blane Crawford - Nancy, living on  the Florida Space Coast, had a class of Kindergartners outside watching the launch that day. So horrible, and then she had to try to counsel and console them. Absolutely awful!
  This was one of those days, we will not forget.