Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Doodlebug the Dog Bounces Back

The little black dog who thinks she's a big black dog continues to heal.

Posted by Hello

She growled, barked and bit me when I tucked the kid in last night.

The kid and I looked at each other knowingly, and said in unison, "She's feeling better!"

Posted by Hello

Confessions of a Serial Shovel Killer

Three in one day Posted by Hello

Truly a Good Samaritan

Kim Brunson pays it forward...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Sadly missed by the many whose lives he touched with strength, courage, and humor, Robbie walks once more.

MANNING -- Robert Clifton "Robbie" Hodge Sr., 59, died Sunday, Sept. 26, 2004, in Carolinas Hospital System in Florence.

Born March 24, 1945, in Manning, he was a son of A. Clifton Hodge and the late Ruby Geddings Hodge.

He was a retired disabled U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, chief warrant officer. He was a recipient of DFC, bronze star medal, air medal, Vietnam service medal, purple heart, good conduct medal, National Defense service medal, Army Commendation medal and Army aviator wings. He was twice awarded Disabled Veteran of the Year for the state of South Carolina. He was a member of the Daedalians Fraternal Organization of Military Pilots; formerly employed by Goldsmith Insurance; a former Clarendon County councilman, and was of the Baptist faith.

Surviving besides his father of Alcolu are two sons, Rob (Leslie) Hodge of Hickory, N.C., and Badge (Laura) Baker of Florence; a sister, Barbara Walker (Jim) of Surfside Beach; two daughters, Mitzi (Bryant) Boyce of Florence and Lynn Dickson of Manning; five grandchildren; and two nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Dianne Shirer Hodge.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Clarendon Baptist Church in Alcolu. The Rev. Dr. William J. Holmes will officiate, assisted by the Rev. Kirk Carlyle. Burial with full military honors will follow in Trinity United Methodist Church Cemetery in Alcolu.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Stephens Funeral Home in Manning.

Memorials may be made to Free Will Baptist Home for Children, P.O. Box 229, Turbeville, SC 29162 or to Camp Happy Days, c/o Happy Days and Special Times, 1622 Ashley Hall Road, Charleston, SC 29407.

Stephens Funeral Home and Crematory of Manning is in charge of arrangements.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Tropical Storm/Depression Jeanne

Tornadoes spawned by Tropical Storm/Depression Jeanne have caused major damage here today.

Local media has focused on only one area of our county, but several families in various areas have been left homeless.

Virtually all of the Red Cross's emergency funds are spent, having been directed to the States of Florida and Alabama, where urgent aid was and continues to be needed.

Our local chapter struggles to assist these local families.

If you can help in any way, whatsoever, please do so.

I will act as a conduit should you desire to direct your assistance locally, so don't hesitate to comment or send a personal message, and please remember that, when all is lost, a small donation goes a long way!

One of Those Rare Moments

While channel surfing, the kid paused on a station airing "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy" at a time when one of the kids on the so-called reality show was voicing her relief that she would have a substitute mom for a week.

I smiled, looked at the kid, and said, jokingly, "I'll bet you feel the same way sometimes."

Her reply caught me off guard.

She said, "NO! HUH-UH! NO! I DON'T WANT another Momma, even for week. Besides, I have a substitute Momma if I need one, 'cause I've got Miss Elaine!"

It was one of those rare moments when any doubts I have are washed away.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

A Kid in Need

A ringing phone woke me at 8:00 this morning. A neighbor was calling, asking that I bring her child home with mine after dance lessons today. She said her son would be home upon our return at noon.

Moments after the three of us returned, the neighbor's kid called. Her brother's car was home, but he wasn't.

I insisted that she come over here. She called her mom and joined the kid and I.

A few hours later, the neighbor's kid received a call and related that a sitter would be coming to her house.

The sitter showed, but she brought friends with her. What's more, she told the neighbor's kid to stay home, that she'd be back by 9:00 p.m.

I insisted that the neighbor's kid stay with us. It's well after 9:00, and the sitter has yet to show.

I've called the neighbor kid's mom to let her know what was going on. She made excuses for her son and the sitter.

All I could do was reassure her that I was here for her kid.

This is not a first, and I can only be thankful that the neighbor's kid knows she can depend on me when I am here...I worry about what happens when I am not here.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Absolute Trust

Determined to show the sometimes neighbor the error of his ways, I contacted the surveyor who completed the survey before I bought the humble home. He marked the corners of the lot, and the kid I were viewing his work when another neighbor approached.

We were in the midst of conversation when, peripherally, I noticed movement at the kid's feet. A closer look in the direction of the movement revealed the head of a snake, peeking out of a hole.

I wanted to yell for the kid to move. I wanted to run towards her, and put myself between her and the creature.

Instead, I was gifted with unbelievable fortitude and said, "Slowly walk this way", gesturing to the right. She did so without question. Then I told her to slowly come to me. Again, she did so without question.

Our neighbor said nothing, but observed curiously, until I motioned for her to turn around and pointed out the eavesdropper. It was only then that the three of us realized the possible danger. Fortunately, a manly-man neighbor came to our rescue within moments.

One difficult neighbor can not make a bad neighborhood, nor can a value be placed on the absolute trust that is given by one you love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Godspeed, C Battery

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Poetic Justice

Far, far, far be it for me to revel in another's misfortune.

There are times, however, when the lessons I attempt to teach the kid manifest themselves...

"You reap what you sow".

My meditation with the mower was interrupted today by the owner of the house next door, who just this weekend decided to clean the debris left in his yard by January's ice storm that had not already been removed.

He approached to propose an exchange of property.

He was certain I'd benefit by accepting 10 feet of road frontage from him, while giving him 10 feet of waterfront.

My response was noncommittal to say the least, polite to say the most.

I explained that, though our mutual neighbor maintained his lawn by keeping the grass cut from the center of said mutual neighbor's drive, we all knew that it was not our property line. Additionally, there was easement reserved by the State for access to the water. Furthermore, I stressed that, in spite our mutual neighbor's slight, I made every extra effort to keep the lawns of both of our yards clean for the sake of appearance, even though I knew where the property line laid.

Though he does indeed own some of the road frontage that I maintain, our lots are shaped in such a manner that he does not even own enough property to access his lot in the manner he has always chosen to. In other words, he must cross my lot to get to his door.

I resumed mower meditation for a few moments, resisting the urge to demand that my sometimes neighbor move his car, which was parked partly on my property.

Realizing that my temper was about to get the best of me, I took a break and walked inside, where I was greeted by kid, who asked, "What's wrong?"

When I told her of the proposal, she said, "Even I know waterfront property is worth more than roadfront property. Does he know you work for a lawyer doing real estate?"

I phoned a friend to vent.

Friends are great (Margie) when it comes to such things. They know that there are times when you just need to voice your frustrations before acting on them!

Having regained my composure, but arming myself with the kid as a preventive device, I returned to finish the yard work I started.

Before my task was completed, the sometimes neighbor discovered that his car's battery was dead when he attempted to leave.

Alas, I had no battery cables.

*Seriously considering building a fence, with a gate, so the sometimes neighbor will have to request access*

In need of help Posted by Hello

Over the Line Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Time and Love Heal All Wounds

When Doodlebug decided to duel with a Dually Sunday, I secretly doubted that such a small dog could survive being trampled by such a large truck. The vet and many others thought the same.

But I believed that she'd survive, because I had to. I had to believe it because I told the kid she would. When the kid cried, "MY dog isn't supposed to die like this. My Doodlebug is supposed to get old and die!", I tried to find the words to comfort her: "We're doing all we can to keep her from dying. I don't think she will. The vet doesn't think she will. You can't think she will. You have to be strong for her and help us take care of her."

Once the kid and the dog were settled after the emergency vet visit, I took the phone, walked outside, called my mom, and began to cry. I needed help. She and my dad were here not long afterwards, providing a brief respite from the our fears and worries.

Doodlebug the Dog is far from full recovery, but, as the vet exclaimed at first sight of her during her follow-up visit today, "You're gonna live! I always worry about sending you little ones home, but you're a spoiled one, you're a loved one, and you're gonna be OK!"

September 15, 2004 Posted by Hello

September 14, 2004 Posted by Hello

September 13, 2004 Posted by Hello

September 12, 2004 Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 11, 2004


True resolve is tempered by time.

"We here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


It's just a number. A statistic. How can those who have given their lives in honor, duty, and service be reduced to a number?

They can't.

David Swanson, a reporter for The Philadelphia Enquirer, reminds us all in his video presentation, "Echoes of War".

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Hurricane Frances

Hurricane Frances is pounding Florida.

The damage and destruction from Hurricane Charley was great. Hurricane Frances is weaving a path of even greater damage and destruction in the state.

Those of us in South Carolina who have survived hurricanes know what Floridians are facing.

We've benefited from the aid of our neighbors in the past, and it's time to return the favor.

What can we do?

The simplest thing we can do is be kind the evacuees who have sought shelter here. Remember that they are overwhelmed with worries of having homes and jobs to return to. Be polite and helpful; take an extra moment to offer a few words of comfort. Something so little can mean so much during times of trial.

Another way to help is to donate to the Salvation Army or Red Cross, keeping in mind that one person requires one gallon of water daily...if you only give $5.00, you will helping five people.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

"Does She Have Insurance?" "What Plan?"

Two questions that have been posed frequently of me, and of the kid's pediatrician, ophthalmologist and neuro-ophthalmologist more times than I can count.

I'm convinced that, had the answers been different, the kid would have never received the immediate treatment she did, and my heart breaks for the parents of children who may not receive the care they need when the answers to those two questions differ.

Has the Hippocratic Oath become a Hypocritical Oath?