Tidbits -July 2, 2020


  I was one of those weeks, filled with sadness and joy.
  I was deeply saddened at the deaths of three old friends, Tom Biga, Charlie Rentz and Beverly Grice.
  Tom worked for many years at a Clemson Extension agent in Saluda County. He was well liked, and well respected. Afer he retired, I’d bump into him on occasion, when I took papers to The Circle.
  Charlie was a dedicated church and community leader. He was also the first and only hot air balloon pilot I have ever met. He took many from Saluda County up in his balloon, although most of the time it was tethered.
 He invited me to go up, but since I’ve grown an allergy to height in my old age, I declined.
  I’ve known Beverly Grice for many years. Her late sister, Brenda, was my classmate, and he brother Wayne and I have worked together in the Saluda High football pressbox for nearly 40 years.
 Most in Saluda remember Bev from her years working at Ann’s Dairy Bar, a popular eating establishment started by her mother on South Main Street.
  Although it’s  been gone a long time, Ann’s Dairy Bar was famous for its great hamburgers, chicken salad, milk shakes and ice cream.
  Ann’s was a drive up business, not fast food. Your burger was cooked after you ordered it. Not everyone knew there was a small table in the back some used for “dine in” service.
  Marty and Joann Keeler and I would slip in the back door many times to at lunch. I’d often order a banana milkshake to go with my cheeseburger.
  Those were great times with great people.
   Beverly was one of he funniest people I ever met, and I will miss her occasional phone calls. She knew more about what was going on in Saluda than I did!
  My sympathy to Tom’s family, Brooksie Rentz and her family, and Bev’s brothers and sisters, Doug, Wayne, Cathy and Jerri and their families.
  The same day I heard of Charlie and Beverly’s passing, I learned that I suddenly became a great-uncle again!
  My niece and nephew Allie and Trey Shealy had been trying to have children for some time, and recently were approved to adopt, after going through the lenghty process.
  Trey, a pastor, and Allie, a teacher, told the adoption agency they did not care about the race, they just wanted a child.
  They were on vacation in Cherry Grove Friday when the adoption agency called and said there was an African American newborn boy available for adoption, and they were first on the list. Before they said yes, they had to talk about the situation.
  One of the first people Trey called was his daddy Jamie, and he asked  if he was would mind if the James Bettis Shealy name to be carried on by an African American child. Jamie said, of course, he didn’t mine.
  Trey and Allie decided to go ahead with the adoption, but first they had to  be approved by the baby’s mother, and they drove to Charleston to meet her.
  They told her they wanted to named him James Bettis Shealy, IV, and she said that was fine because her father was named James.
  After the interview, Trey and Allie were told they could come pick up their son in Charleston Saturday afternoon.
  The immediate family got to see the baby when he got home to Saluda. Jamie, Trey and Bettis were photographed together, with Daddy’s picture in the background for the four James Bettis Shealys. In Bettis’ hand they placed Daddy’s ID bracelet. Trey also took a picture of the baby wearing his Daddy’s state championship ring.
  The adoption agency recommends only the parents hold the child for the first week, so the baby can bond with them. Trey and Allie are discouraging visitors the first week, except for immediate family.
  I am not immediate, but after I took my mother her newspaper at SNC Sunday morning after church, I snuck over to Trey and Allie’s to see my new great-nephew.
  I didn’t dwell on the color of his skin. All I no is this baby is going to be greatly loved by his family and his community, and that’s they way it should be.
  Trey showed me the video of he and Allie meeting their child for the first time. Of course, I teared up. They are going to be great parents.
  Welcome to the family and the world, Bettis Shealy. Uncle Ralph loves you.