OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. –— Dennis Smith and I walked into the Purple Onion, a quaint little down-home restaurant in Shallotte, were seated, and someone said, “Hi, guys.”
At the table next to us were Indiana audiologist Tom “Tucker” Todd, his wife Denise and their three children.
We knew they were going to be vacationing in North Carolina so it was really not a big surprise to see them at the Purple Onion, a favorite breakfast place for beach people located about six miles from Ocean Isle.
Last Sunday morning Joe Kisaday, of Marion Center, had hitched a ride with us to Ocean Isle where his wife, Cindy, and two of their daughters had arrived a day earlier.
Beaver County natives, Tucker and Cindy are brother and sister, and she is also an audiologist.
They were all staying at a beach home on the northern end of the island, not far from us and we did get together a few times.
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It’s easy to meet people from western Pa. now that the Pirates are winning.
Just go into any sports bar and you can find the Pittsburgh faithful around a TV where the Buccos are playing.
The first evening we were here we hooked up with Clark Grosch, former teacher and head basketball coach at Indiana High, at a place called Mulligans in Little River, S.C., just over the North Carolina border.
While watching the Pirates and Cardinals, we met Jim Post, a former football player at IUP.
A punter, who also played defensive end and tight end, Post played under coach Chuck Mills and then for Chuck Klausing.
Post was here when the name of the school changed from ISC to IUP.
He threw out a lot of familiar names of players who were teammates and one of them was the late Larry Panaia, the father of Carla Panaia, who is my daughter-in-law.
Post, a native of Coraopolis, said he not only played football with Panaia but also American Legion baseball as Panaia was from Ambridge.
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This beach trip has become an annual event as Smitty treats his niece, Lisa Kusneski, and her three children, Maddie, Cassie and Joey, a.k.a. “Slick,” to fun in the sun week.
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What a difference in gas prices from one state to another.
We are only a few miles from South Carolina, actually Little River and North Myrtle Beach and the price in North Carolina is $3.56 and in South Carolina the best price we have seen thus far is $3.27 a gallon. Wow!
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The weather and traffic last Sunday on the way South was absolutely horrific.
On I-95 from Fredericksburg to Richmond, Va., it was packed solid in all three lanes and the rain that moved up the coast and nailed Jersey and Philly was coming down in buckets.
We had planned to stay overnight at Goldsboro with an 8 p.m. arrival, we got to the motel at 11:30.
But it was a good week and we will be making our way back home within the next few days.