“Honey, I want you to use this up. It is not to go on the shelf, it is to be used all the time.”  Those were the words spoken to me by a prominent leader in the Methodist church in West Columbia. Wayne and I were standing beside a beautiful, silver punch bowl with its matching tray and ladle.

I have thought of the lady and those words through the years. Use it up. Though it has had hundreds of polishings throughout the years, the silver bowl isn’t quite as shiny as it was that day. It has been used for receptions, baby showers, all types of events at the church, the chamber, and is still used today. If the same lady was able to see the bowl today, she would be happy to know the punch bowl has a few scratches and a lot of stories to tell.

One day, Dr. Driscoll handed me a pamphlet that I have kept for years. The front of the pamphlet reads, “What did you do with your dash (dash being the time between life and death)?” I think we ought to use that dash time, and wear it out.

When America was first settled by the Pilgrims, the first two buildings to be built were the church and the school. From that day forward, schools have been most important. A community cannot exist, and certainly not grow, without a school.

In 2018, it was time for a bond issue for our school. Some of us started meeting at a local restaurant on Wednesday mornings to talk about all the ways in which the bond would benefit the education of our kids and the growth of the community. Beautiful drawings and big plans for the proposed improvements were published. The vote for the bond passed with more than 70 percent in favor. I believe, if we were to ask our voters what they think about the community using school property for their programs and events, most voters would say yes, use it, use it up.

I happen to be a fan of the Wharton Babe Ruth program, which started in 1958, and have supported it for years. I know what it does for our youth, the parents and the community. Even before the bond was passed, volunteers with the Wharton Babe Ruth program took pride in building the field. Oh, stories the stands at Tiger Stadium field could tell!

Years ago, when the Babe Ruth tournaments were held here, it provided a big, financial aid to our community. Many of you can join me in remembering when Wharton hosted the 1994 Babe Ruth World Series. The town was packed with hundreds of visitors. Parents and volunteers worked in concession stands, and helped in many other ways to make the tournaments successful. We saw firsthand, and now know that parents will follow their youth, and will leave their dollars for lodging, food and shopping … all while enjoying our town’s friendly atmosphere.

There is no better advertisement than people. It was a great experience for the entire community, young and old. Shouldn’t we want to continue to show off our beautiful facilities?

While the complexes were being built, we thought of them being used for school and community events, such as playoffs and/or tournaments. It was the people, the voters in this community, who made it possible for these facilities to exist. Now, I think we can say the people expect cooperation to take place between our school district and our community.

Our kids are taught the game of baseball in Little League. Babe Ruth provides the second level of training to prepare them to play in high school. If the Babe Ruth organization is unable to afford the new fees for using the facilities, we could lose the organization to another, neighboring community. Our children will be left with a gap in their early training which would have a negative impact on our high school program.  

We have more than half of a century of Babe Ruth history in this community, and we are proud of this organization. Let’s be sure to show our support of letting the organization continue to use Tiger Stadium field. Use it up!

Billie Jones is a longtime resident who writes a weekly column on items of interest in this community. She can be reached at bhjones6@sbcglobal.net



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