Category Archives: Opinions

Reviving a ranch with rock and roll history

I know a lot of you old hippie types out there have been celebrating the 50th anniversary this month of a certain famous three-day festival of “peace and music” up on Max Yasgur’s farm in New York state. But how many of you remember that we had our own little Woodstock right here in Upstate South Carolina back in the mid-70s?

It was at a venue called Charlie B’s Ranch Arena, just across the river in Oconee County, and it drew thousands upon thousands of “longhairs” from across the region for daylong events featuring the likes of Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top and the Marshall Tucker Band.

I have some very special memories of those events (although they are, admittedly, a little fuzzy), because the band I was playing with at the time, Sashay, was the warmup act for two or three of them, and it was one of the highlights of my career.

Now, the reason I’m telling y’all about this is that after a lapse of more than 40 years, the festival has been revived — sort of. Charlie B is in rock and roll heaven now, but his grandson, Nick Crenshaw, who now owns the ranch out in the country south of Seneca, has consented to let some

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If only that old pot could talk

A very time the pot is brought in, it brings with it the memories of Grandmama in the big old kitchen at Sycamore Hill. The pot was a huge Mirro-Matic pressure cooker and was in almost constant use for the duration of each summer.

Because Grandmama and Uncle Walter had lived through the Great Depression, they worked hard to can enough produce to carry us through the lean times.

Everything humans could grow was planted and harvested and carefully processed.

It supplied us through the winter.

And just as important as the amount put up was the quality of the food.

Not only did the old cooker process hundreds of jars of everything you can imagine, it was also the pot of

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Catching a case of TB

If my best friend Joe and I had not met each other in our early teens, we most likely would have succumbed to a most dangerous and contagious disease called “Teen Boredom” or T.B. for short. When this affliction gets into a teenager’s system, it’s pretty much incurable. At least until he or she gets into their middle-aged years, if at all.

Here is just one example of teenage boredom. Joe and I were sitting at his house one day in March with nothing in particular to do. Now, if we had several assigned jobs to accomplish, we would not have to “think” for ourselves. This is definitely bordering on boredom when a teenager has to think.

After a 30-second planning meeting, we decided to go on a road hike. This type of hike is easy to plan. The only requirement for me was to make sure we returned home in time for me to milk the cow(s), slop the chickens, feed the hogs, carry in the firewood, do my homework and eat

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Paul O’Shield is a local native who enjoys writing about his time as a youngster growing up in Pickens County.


Canadian drugs in our future?

If you watch the news, you might have seen there’s a proposal underway that would allow states to import prescription drugs from Canada, where costs are lower. Drugs are cheaper in other countries because their governments control the prices.

As it now stands, we can go across the border and bring back a three-month supply of our medications for personal use, but there are pitfalls. Technically it’s illegal, but it’s often overlooked at the border. Going to Canada for your drugs can be inconvenient, and travel costs can

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One of our country’s grate men

There are many great people living in Washington, D.C., although we can’t seem to agree on who they are. There are also quite a few “grate” people living there, and it is obvious who they are.

This observation was made by my dad, Bobby D. Barnett, during his time working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the nation’s capital in the early days of the Reagan administration.

The grate people, Dad says, are “the scruffy men who spend the winter on the grates that cover the ventilation shafts leading from the subterranean portions of the city.”

Few places, I suppose, have such an excess supply of hot air as to be able to vent it in such a seemingly wasteful

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Outhouse blues

Being familiar with that little square wooden building at the edge of the yard makes me appreciate modern plumbing, but it does bring back memories of my youth. Having been raised, or reared as some folks call it, in the country gives one a different perspective on the morning constitutional.

I vividly recall our outhouse — or privy, if it needed a more dignified name. However, looking back, I don’t recall it looking too dignified. It was a wooden structure made from unusually wide oak boards and measured perhaps five feet by five feet with a narrow, hinged door. It had a concrete floor and a slanted tin roof.

If my memory serves me correct, it was a two-seater — or a two-holer, as they are commonly called. I never could understand the need for more than one hole.

In any event, I found that most privies were situated under some sort of shade tree, for obvious reasons. Did you ever go into a privy in midday in

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Where were you when the lights went out?

Once, some years ago, we had neighbors who had moved into the country for the good life, away from the hectic town life they had lived all their lives.

We could have told them the truth about the simple carefree life they thought we were living, but frankly I didn’t have the heart. After all, they’d sold their house in town and moved into their country home. Let the good times roll.

They wanted to grow things, they said. All you have to do is stick plants in the ground and sit back to reap the bounty.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have given them the magic wand we used on Fowler Farm to get all the work done? If, of course, we ever got all the work done.

We didn’t have flocks of sheep, herds of cattle or thousands of chickens.

But at that time, we did have three black angus, a mule, two horses, 25 chickens, one calf, four dogs, numerous cats and a hog. We had given up

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Letters to the Editor 8-14-19

A new and unpleasant experience

Dear Editor,

Having the Pickens Doodle Trail in my backyard was a new experience. Now I am having to get used to eating lunch and watching people’s kids use the bathroom on a tree on the edge of my yard.

Do people not know that people live close to the trail? We do have back windows. Would they like to see people use the bathroom while they eat? Can people respect others?

P.S. Go Blue Flame.

Lynn Whitlock


What is it good for?

Dear Editor,

I believe most of the human race wants the same thing. To work and come home to their families. Enjoy life. Live and

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AARP offers scam alert map

The scammers sure have been busy. Is there no end to their creativity?

The AARP is helping us to fight back, however, with its Fraud Watch Network’s free Scam Tracking Map. You’ll find the map on the AARP website ( when you put “scam tracking map” in the search box.

Be sure to click on the widest possible search area, 200 miles, after you enter your ZIP code. Click first on AARP user-submitted reports. You’ll see colored dots where scams have occurred. Click on one and scroll down to see the details. After you view those reports, go back and click on Law Enforcement Alerts, with authorities warning about scams near you.

The wide variety of scams is surprising. One involved an alleged refund where the thieves wanted to deposit the

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Do hummingbirds really hum?

Have you ever wondered why hummingbirds will fight over access to a feeder when there’s plenty to go around? It’s almost like humans. There’s a feeder right outside my kitchen window. To refill it, all it takes is to open the window, detach the feeder from its hook, clean it and refill it.

There are eight little openings in the feeder, and in theory eight hummingbirds could eat at a time.

But even if there are but two competing for the sweetened water, they will attack each other. I read that the red dye in hummingbird water can be hazardous, so I mix my own for the feeder. When there’s a crowd out ther I’ll mix four cups,. As the population declines the amount will be reduced

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