Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Words of a Predator

Oliver O'Grady

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


An Epic Tragedy, or so it seemed was Rob’s life.

Cancer and its curse upon his virility, divorce and the destruction of his home and relationship with his son, the added emasculation of termination from the job he’d taken great pride in for years, alcoholism and the losses associated with the addiction, were merely a few of the obstacles he encountered.

He wrote of his pain, his anger, his frustration, his love, his devotion, and his great appreciation for the little things that brought him happiness, never hesitating to bear his soul to complete strangers.

Perhaps Rob was hardened by all he endured, but hidden beneath that thick exterior was a kind heart which beat loudly and strongly enough to permit the brave and public pondering of thoughts that most dare not speak of.

I hope a divine hand joined mine and the countless others reaching out to him in his last days, intervening and rebuking the hands that seemed to push him towards taking his own life, for I can not believe he succumbed to the pain after all he endured.

Godspeed, Rob

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering. – Ben Okri

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Mutt Shot

A duet with Mr. Darcy

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sometimes, You Just Gotta Tap That Thing

Or so I recall being told.

After quite the while out of doors this morning, I was glistenin' (we Southern women do not sweat), and longing for a lukewarm shower.

Only a drip or two escaped when I turned the faucet on.

When you live Next Door to Nowhere, there is no water bill. There are a well, pump and septic tank, so a phone call will not provide a prompt return of service.

I don't do cold, so I tolerate the heat. Hawt is one thing. Hawt 'n Glistenin' is something entirely different.

I ran through the usual checklist (flipping switches in case of a tripped circuit breaker) with no luck.

The water pump of the Humble Home is UNDER the Humble Home. Where the creepy-crawlies live.

I was on the verge of soliciting the services of a pro (I was GLISTENIN', y'all - money didn't matter), when I remembered that just such a thing had occurred in the past.

The last time the water pump failed, the President of Neighborhood Watch was home and was kind enough to give it a "look-see" for me.

He was able to get that pump up and running again in no time. I vaguely remember him saying something about dust or spider webs interfering with electrical contacts.

I definitely remember him saying, "Sometimes, you just gotta tap that thing".

I didn't know which thing to tap, but I got all brave and stuff, crawled under the Humble Home where the creepy-crawlies live with a screwdriver in hand, and I tapped that damn water pump 'till it started working again!

Monday, June 19, 2006


There are so few firsts in our lives.

Often we don’t realize just how few there are until age and wisdom allow for reflection but, be it the first word of an infant, the first step of a toddler, or the first award bestowed an elementary student, mothers have the innate ability to recognize the significance of firsts.

The Kid spent a great deal of time and money last week shopping for the perfect wardrobe for the long-awaited, much anticipated cruise.

The Preteen is an elusive, emotional creature, and so it was no surprise when the two or three things she needed multiplied exponentially while shopping with her grandmother this weekend, just as it was no surprise to me or her grandmother that The Kid was reduced to tears of regret tonight for refusing what we thought was The Perfect Sundress for the cruise.

Her grandmother will spend part of her lunch hour in search of The Perfect Sundress tomorrow, and I will journey home tomorrow night to retrieve it, simply because Mamas know how important firsts are.

The Volunteer

Honoring a soldier and volunteer , Sgt. Joseph Derrick

Monday Mutt Shot

Scheming Stowaway

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pirates, Hijackers & Plane Crashes

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Casting Suspicion

Each and every time I read an article reporting the tragic, accidental death of a child, I am provoked; for such articles invariably close with a sentence that casts suspicion:

Deputies and coroner's officials continue to investigate.

If compassion prevailed, perhaps the reasons for the continued investigation would be elaborated:

When a child dies, the response by the State and the community to the death must include an accurate and complete determination of the cause of death, the provision of services to surviving family members, and the development and implementation of measures to prevent future deaths from similar causes and may include court action, including prosecution of persons who may be responsible for the death and family court proceedings to protect other children in the care of the responsible person; Section 20-7-5902(3)SC Code of Laws, 1976 (as amended)

Happy Birthday, Army

We're here for a very special reason, obviously, and that's to celebrate the birth on June 14th, of 1775, of the United States Army. And since that day, it's had one overriding mission, to fight and to win America's wars.

From the Revolution to the current war on terror, wherever our soldiers have fought, they have maintained the highest standards of professionalism, of honor, and of courage.

The fundamental interest of this nation requires that we confront and defeat aggressive threats whenever they arise. Yet we find our greatest security in the advance of human freedom.

Throughout its history, the United States Army has served and defended the cause of freedom. And many brave Americans have laid down their lives so that liberty could triumph. America seeks a world at peace, but we know that the best way to keep the peace is to make sure that our military power is second to none.

Vice President Dick Cheney, June 14, 2006

Flag Day

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that "the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field." As States have been added to the Union, the flag has been modified to reflect their addition to our Nation. Today, the appearance of our flag is based on President Eisenhower's Executive Order of August 21, 1959, to include a star for all 50 States together with 13 stripes representing the original 13 American colonies.

Generations of Americans in uniform have carried the Stars and Stripes into battle so that our citizens can live in freedom. Across the globe, a new generation of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen has stepped forward to serve under our flag, defending America from our enemies. We are grateful to them and their families for defending our flag and the values of our great Nation.

On this Flag Day,we recall the rich history of Old Glory, and we remember our duty to carry our heritage of freedom into the future.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday Mutt Shot

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Home at Last

Lt. Robert Cunningham, Cpl. George Cunningham and Capt. Vladimir Sasko

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Face of a Predator

Jerry Buck Inman

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 6, 1944

The free men of the world are marching together to Victory! Dwight D. Eisenhower

D-Day as told by those who were there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Why Home Improvements are Hell

Even the most minor of repairs required in the Humble Home are referred to as Home Improvement Hell because: (1) I ain’t “Handy”; and, (2) they often require a foray into the strange and foreign land of hardware/lumber supply.

The second unnerves me, because I know full well that I will be treated like an imbecile when I patron such businesses. I also know that I must be brave and confront the inevitable in order to accomplish my tasks, so I mustered the courage to go forth and seek supplies for the makings of two thresholds today.

I am very aware that thresholds are prefabricated, but therein laid my problem, for the thresholds I need are not of a standard size. I sought a hardwood (oak, cherry, walnut, ash, maple…whatever) board of a width and density which would allow for the routing of rounded edges and partial ripping necessary to provide a level surface.

I was referred to the employee purported to be most knowledgeable of such matters, who immediately tried to sell me several substitutions. When he pointed to a ½-inch thick wood trim strip designed to cover paneling-to-sheetrock transitions, my Intermittent Tourette’s Syndrome kicked in.

I got my board.

Monday Mutt Shot

Mmmm...Boiled Peanuts!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Home Improvement Hell

I ain't "Handy", but that ain't never stopped me from trying.

The latest installment of Home Improvement Hell: Replacing screen in a screen door.

One of the more severe thunderstorms of late tossed about the wicker porch furniture, leaving a noticeable bulge in the bottom of the screen door. The bulge became a tear last weekend when I managed to put a broom through the screen door.

While there are far more pressing repairs needed around the Humble Home, this one provoked the obsessive-compulsive in me. I blame the internet. The internet led me to believe I could replace the screen in that door with ease.

Trust me, y'all. The internet is a dangerous, deceptive place.

Taking the door down was simple enough.

Removing the framing and lattice strips required more time and patience than I'd imagined.

Learn from my mistake: when framing and lattice strips have staples in them, put them where you won't be likely to step on one, or at least wear shoes.

Removing the old screen wire was, as mildly as I can type, a female dog. The sharp, protruding, rusting edges tore into my fingers and hundreds, nay, a thousand staples had to be removed with needlenose pliers.

The was a brief pause for a dance with a wood boring bee. He was not pleased with my efforts to improve his home and came out to put up a quite a resistance.

Dispatched he was.

Stubbornness is a quality both good and bad, y'all.

In spite of pricked, sore fingertips and an impaled and bleeding foot, I was determined to finish that which I'd started.

I leave it to you to imagine the foul curses which erupted when the last piece of framing broke as I was tacking it on.

With a little chiseling, the broken piece of framework was made to fit. Does this happen only to me or do things never fit back like they're supposed to?

Given the cost of replacement screen, spline, tools, supplies, the injuries and the time involved, it probably would've been more efficient for me to invest $24.00 in a new screen door.

Stil and all, there is great satisfaction in being able to accomplish at least on of the many tasks on the To-Do List of the Humble Home all by myself.