Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Friday, October 29, 2004

"God 'Done' Shed His Grace on Thee"

"and he crowned thy good...with brotherhood..."

One of ours has given his life in honor of the most worthy of causes.

A son, a husband, a father, a brother, and oh, so much more than just the number his memory will be assigned.

God Bless America, SCHP Trooper and Guardsman Jerome Lemon, his family, his comrades and his friends.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

“ Anything that would divert attention and funds from the public schools is a threat to our democracy,” said John Tindall, superintendent of the District 2 public schools.

As in the case of the superintendent's letter regarding The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is this yet another of his misinterpretations?

Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Godspeed, Friends

Our thoughts and prayers go with you all.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

You're not gonna leave again, are you? Posted by Hello


The kid has been away from home for 24 hours.

The dog has been lost in the depths of depression for 18 hours.

Posted by Hello

Will She Ever Come Home?

Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Ultimate Betrayal

Their pain was unbearable, yet wounds time healed have been viciously torn open.

Give our Vietnam Vets the honor they deserve, thank them for their sacrifices, and vow to never again allow another to suffer as they have.

The Sometimes Neighbor

It appears that the Sometimes Neighbor has learned the error of his ways Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Meet Pete

Pete is somewhere over there doing something important with some other fine folks.

Drop in when you can, learn a little about Pete and his comrades, where they are, what they're doing

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Home for Christmas...

...if only in their hearts.

It seems far to early to think of Christmas, but one can not forget those who won't be with their friends and families this year.

Christmas is a time for giving, and I can think of no one more deserving than a service member.

If you have no personal ties to a service member, many ways to offer your support can be found here:

The US Postal Service's recommended mailing dates to insure holiday mail is received in time can be found here:

Monday, October 18, 2004

Pam v. The School District (Round # 3)

The e-mail posted below was circulated by the boss throughout the office after he overheard portions of my phone conversation this morning with the school district’s Fine Arts Director.

I'll give him credit, the gentleman had thoroughly rehearsed his performance. He began with what appeared to be a reading of his resume and carefully placed name-dropping. All courtesies had been extended after listening to 10 minutes of his sales pitch, and I just had to interrupt him to tell him every word had fallen upon deaf ears.

“Oh, didn’t you call about the grants?” he asked.

I replied, “I called with a specific question about the use of the grants and an article published in The Item. Have you read the article?

He insisted that he had read the article, and continued with his rehearsed lines, which eventually voiced his convictions that instruction of the fine arts in our schools were a major benefit.

Again, I interrupted, and asked, “Are the funds meant for an extracurricular school activity being used to provide private dance instruction?”

And yet again, he revereted to his prepared lecture instead of answering the question.

I'm a country girl...a well-read, educated country girl, but a country girl just the same. I don't use the big words I've learned to confuse anyone in conversation or writing, and I lost my patience with the obvious theatrics when I was told how much "personal time" he alone had sacrificed to further this great cause.

It was then that I believe I very clearly conveyed to him:

(a) I understood the importance and benfits of instructions in the fine arts all too well, for I have a child for whom I have sacrified to provide dance instruction for 7 years;

(b) I believe it is the intent of the grants to provide dance instruction for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise be allowed the opportunity;

(c) I found it odd that an instructor, also retained under a grant, about whom an article was published in The Manning Times, who has trained with prestigious dance companies in Germany and New York, could drive over 50 miles to teach those disadvantaged children, while another who obtained a degree roughly 25 years ago, and offered limited dance instruction locally, could not drive across town to teach children in the same situation; and,

(d) I wanted to know if public funds were being used to provide private instruction for only a select few as the article in The Item clearly leads one to believe.

for he finally answered the question.

No. Ms. Prothro "misspoke". Ms. Prothro has requested that the students chosen after audition for roles in a recital for the school be allowed to receive additional instruction after the regularly scheduled classes at her studio, but the school district has not approved this request.

I demanded to be told whether or not the grant allowed for the transportation of the students to and from the school to the dance studio.

It doesn't.

I asked if by placing the requirement on the disadvantaged to travel from the school for an extracurricular school activity defeated the sole purpose of the grant.

It does.

I only hope I've made a difference for only one child who might have otherwise been wrongfully denied an opportunity.

By the way, Boss of Mine, I wasn't that tough on the guy...'tempted as I was, I didn't even cuss :D


Importance: High

Raise Shields and prepare for damage. Pam is arguing with someone on the phone about the whole "dance instructor thing" it sounds like. I will be fleeing shortly. Good luck to those who remain.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Refusing to Obey Orders

I believe there is more to the story of the 343rd Quartermaster Company than we know, and I strongly urge awaiting the results of the investigations before forming any judgment.

The concerns of the soldiers are valid and should have been reported to and addressed by the chain of command in the field of operations.

While obedience in the military is of paramount importance, a soldier, as a reasoning agent may often be obliged to respond not as a machine, but as a person (US Court of Military Appeals); and while a Noncommissioned Officer has the duty to conduct the daily business of the Army within established orders, directives and policies, he is also tasked with the responsibility of taking care of his soldiers (The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide).

That these soldiers are being utilized as fodder for political finger-pointing is shameful.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Guardian Angels

Over the years, I've learned to think of myself not as a single parent, but as the active parent; the one who does it all. I've made sacrifices when necessary, begrudging no one, for I've been the recipient of great joy and even greater unconditional love.

There have been times when my burdens seemed overwhelming, but I tried not to ask for help. I've considered myself fortunate to have friends to ease the emotional and family to ease the rest when necessary. Moreover, I've felt that I should offer assistance when I could to others with greater burdens who were less fortunate.

I am reminded today that I am not alone, save my family. There are those who not only see the burdens I carry, but also benefit from the joy and unconditional love the kid gives. They are guardian angels in their own right, standing beside me, helping me, watching over us, and they don't offer to help, they just help.

One has made it her mission to insure that I have the funds necessary for the kid's participation in the upcoming dance production by treating me to lunch every day, insisting that any money I would have normally spent on lunch be set aside for that purpose.

One has assumed the responsibility of transporting the kid to and from the dance production rehearsals.

And yet another left a gift in the form of a letter delivered to my office today pertaining to journeys the kid desperately wants to make with her classmates to Georgia and Florida in the Spring. The letter reads, in part:

"...I am so sorry that Catelyn has had some difficult days of late... If she wants to go on these 2 trips - pay the deposits and I will see that the remainder balances are taken care of...She is such a precious and smart child and I would not want her to miss these experiences for anything."

The kid and I are both overwhelmed with gratitude by these acts of kindness. I will never forget them...especially the kid's response to the letter... an initial grin turned to tears of happiness and she said, "Now you don't have to worry about it anymore, Momma."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

She Did It!!! Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

A Super Man

May Christopher Reeve be remembered as the super man he was, not as the Superman he portrayed.

It Ain't Easy Bein' A Princess Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Take a Break

from the political debates and smile!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Did Somebody Step In It?

I received a call from an official representing the school district this morning.

She attempted to answer my inquiries by reviewing the specific language of the grant.

Does my reputation preceed me (

I interrupted her spiel to direct her to the reason for my call

It seems she was unaware of the article and its contents. I suggested that she review it, and this article, published today, before discussing the matter any further with me.

And so I wait...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Doodlebug the Dog Continues to Improve

Posted by Hello

I think that's my toothbrush! Posted by Hello

Speaking of Auditions...

...the kid has returned from hers for a role in the Sumter Civic Dance Company's Christmas production.

In spite of a major case of the nerves which (I think) rendered her physically ill this morning, she preservered, and gave it her best shot.

She is pleased with her performance.

That she took the chance matters most to me.

I am reminded to hope the auditions referred to in my last post are for a dance troop representing the school, not the private lessons I've been led to believe they are for.

Denied Opportunity?

Surely, public funds (grants appropriated from the additional penny sales tax) granted to a public school district for the development of extracurricular activities, specifically the performing arts, aren't being utilized to provide private instruction to a select few (..."we’ll be holding auditions for my Wednesday afternoon classes that will be held at my studio...").

Will a child be denied the opportunity I believe is the intent of the grant?

I've asked.

South Carolina Prays

Members of the South Carolina House of Representatives gathered today in a bipartisan prayer service.

A portion of the program:

Remarks by Speaker David H. Wilkins:

This is an unprecedented event in the history of the South Carolina House, one in which we’re all very proud. This day has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with prayer, peace and patriotism. As many of you know, I’m the state chairman of the Bush Campaign. It’s my privilege to stand here with my friend, Representative James Smith, the Minority Leader in the House and the state coordinator of the Kerry Campaign.

But on this day, James and I, and all these House members, stand here united as South Carolinians – and more importantly as Americans – devoting ourselves in a common cause. As state leaders we believe it is our obligation to set the example.

It’s been said, “Great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation.”

Today marks exactly four weeks to the day until Election Day. All of us understand that enemies of freedom would like nothing more than to disrupt that ultimate celebration of American liberty.

So we believe the time is now for a great act of faith. And that is what brings us here today to make a bold, public proclamation. For the next four weeks these members of the South Carolina House of Representatives will devote time in prayer specifically for:

Continued peace in our homeland;

The safety of our troops; and

A smooth national election.

America was founded by those seeking freedom in faith. Two centuries ago it was President Thomas Jefferson who said, “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”

And right now in faraway places America’s brave sons and daughters continue to answer freedom’s call fighting terrorists in caves and on city streets. We can pay no higher honor to our American troops and to our nation than to pray for them and for the country they love so well they are willing to defend it with their lives.

I believe God covets our prayers. And that’s why we hope that all South Carolinians – all Americans – will join us and stand united in prayer – no matter their politics – one nation under God.

This is our commitment: to lift up our nation in prayer. We believe it is a high calling and a sacred privilege.

In another time, another generation of Americans faced the evil of their time with faith. The prayer of General Dwight D. Eisenhower is as meaningful today as it was during the dark days of World War II: “May the light of freedom, coming to all darkened lands, flame brightly – until at last the darkness is no more.”

America remains the brightest light on earth for freedom. May our country long remain a beacon of hope, a stronghold of strength, and a fountain of faith.

Remarks by Rep. James E. Smith, Junior:

After 9-11, the call of our forefathers for a free nation became the cause of our time. As we prepare to exercise one of America's greatest promises and vote, it is right that we turn to prayer.

SC Prays represents a collective effort of the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives to call on the people of the great state of South Carolina to pray deeply and daily…for peace and protection for our homeland…for our troops…and for a smooth national election everyday…but most especially these next four weeks.

We join with churches, houses of worship and spiritual leaders across our state and ask every South Carolinian to make this your prayer request.

What we do here today honors an American tradition. When our forefathers came to loggerheads writing our Constitution, there was a real fear that they could not resolve their differences.

It was Ben Franklin who suggested that the framers stop and pray.

Like the Speaker said, we believe that praying often, and with confidence, is the best thing we can do in these weeks leading up to our national election.

And our faith is something no agent of terror can ever take from us. Faith is stronger than any weapon in the arsenal of hate.

History shows us there are no chains strong enough to capture and imprison faith.

Faith always breaks free.

Faith is always stronger than the tyrant who seeks to imprison it.

As author Max Lucado writes, examples of human faith abound, even behind the walls of a concentration camp where a prisoner carved these words:

I believe in the sun…even though it doesn’t shine,
I believe in love…even when it isn’t shown,
I believe in God…even when he doesn’t speak.

That is faith.

And on this day – exactly four weeks before Election Day – we ask all South Carolinians to join their voices with ours in prayer in this unique endeavor to impact positively our national election for all Americans.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways…He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.” And with that blessing comes the responsibility that we all share – to pray deeply and daily for the future of our Nation.

May God bless all of you…all those who seek to lead our country and state…and every person who seeks freedom in every corner of the world.

And May God continue to bless this state and the United States of America.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

My Girl's Gumption

Last year, without telling me until all was said and done, the kid auditioned for a lead role in a dance performance and earned the part.

Sadly, due to time restraints, the performance was cut from the production.

She was so disappointed and so discouraged, I was left with the impression that my words of encouragement and praise fell on deaf ears...until tonight.

Just as I knew of the previous audition, I've known of another for two weeks. This one is for a part in the Sumter Civic Dance Company's annual Christmas production.

Not wanting to be a "Stage Mom", and always wanting to give the kid room to make some decisions for herself, I said nothing then, and I've said nothing about the newly posted audition.

Tonight, the kid told me that a friend wanted her to audition with her.

I told the kid if she wanted to try for the part, she should do so for herself, not for her friend.

"But I have to be in Sumter at 3:30 Tuesday", she said.

"If you want to audition, I will make sure you are there", I said.

"I want to", she said.

So she shall, and she will do so knowing I am here for her, and I am so proud of her for her picking herself up, brushing herself off, and trying again!

Mr. B.G., a/k/a Judge Beeg

His smile hid his suffering, and in his presence, one was always comforted, even when the cloud of cancer surrounded him.

Before he was Judge Beeg, he was Mr. B.G., and he was one of the first to welcome me to the humble home. I remember telling him where I was from in response to the obligatory question that is asked during most introductions, and being met with the reply, "Well, that's allright. You're home now."

May the smiles he shared and the calming reassurances he conveyed be with all who mourn his loss.

B.G. Alderman Jr.

MANNING — Ben Geer “B.G.” Alderman, Jr., 65, Chief Summary Court Judge of Clarendon County, died Friday, October 1, 2004, at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Born January 4, 1939, in Sumter, he was a son of the late Ben Geer Alderman, Sr. and the late Mary Jones Alderman. He was the great-grandson of David Wells and Martha Priscilla Alderman, founders of the Alcolu community. He graduated from Manning High School and Wake Forest University, with a BA in Business. He was a former schoolteacher, manager of the Alderman Wood Preserving Co., owner of Geddings Hardware, and founding owner of The Alderman Agency. He served on the NBSC Manning Advisory Board, the SC Public Service Authority, and the Santee Cooper Dams Committee as chairman. He also served on the board of the Children’s Bureau of SC and Clarendon Memorial Hospital. Mr. Alderman was the 1999 Clarendon County Business Person of the Year, former member and past president of the Manning Rotary Club and a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award. He was a member of the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce and the Sumter Board of Realtors. He was a member of Manning United Methodist Church.

Surviving besides his wife, Ann Taylor Alderman of Manning are a daughter, Guerry Alderman Kirkland and husband, Dr. Keith Kirkland, of Charleston; a son, Ben Geer Alderman, III and wife, Ashley, of Mt. Pleasant; three brothers, Dr. Robert L. Alderman of Roanoke, VA, David C. Alderman of Litchfield Beach, and Dr. James F. Alderman of Charlotte, NC; a sister, Mary Geer Clark of Roanoke, VA; four grandchildren, Patricia Ann Kirkland, Bailey Henry Kirkland, Mary Geer Kirkland, and Ben Geer Alderman, IV.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, October 3, 2004, in the Manning United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Debra Quilling and Dr. Robert Alderman officiating. Burial will follow in the Manning Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the residence, 1308 Hickory Ridge Circle.

Memorials may be made to Healing Properties, Manning United Methodist Church, or Clarendon County Habitat for Humanity, all at P.O. Box 68, Manning, SC 29102.

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