Return to Long Branch

Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness Church

Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness Church…

The name is long in our family lore. The church was established by my grandfather in 1911, as were many of the Pentecostal Holiness churches of this area. My father pastored the church for most of the 1960’s, and it is here that I have my earliest memories of church.

The church was small, and our large family made up a sizable bit of the congregation. My father preached and led the singing, and my mother played the piano after Mrs. Annabelle Brown left that position. It was just a tiny, unique country church, but its effect on us was indelible. The place is etched in our memories, and the myths and legends of Long Branch have grown over time, and have been embellished through retelling. So, today, nearly forty years since I last set foot in the church, I decided to see how close those myths were to today’s reality. Continue reading “Return to Long Branch”

Lake Jocassee Morning Paddle

Lake Jocassee

The weekend didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned. I had a meeting in Columbia on Friday, so Thursday night I loaded up the boat on top of my car. The plan was to drive down for the meeting, then continue southward to Lake Marion and Sparkleberry Swamp.  Unfortunately, our cat Percy decided to get his paw hurt, so I had to drive back from my meeting earlier than expected to get him to the vet.  He’s OK – just a small cut and possible sprain, but nothing broken.

I really didn’t want to drive back down I-26 again, but I still had the kayak on top of the car and still wanted to go paddling somewhere.  All of my paddling partners were otherwise occupied, so I was on my own.  I finally decided on Lake Jocassee as a reasonable target.

Last time I was here I had just gotten my Old Town Dirigo, and was wanting to see as many waterfalls as I could.  This time I had the Pungo, but wasn’t really sure where I wanted to paddle.  There was one waterfall from the last trip that I didn’t get to see because some bozo parked a pontoon boat right in front of it and showed no signs of moving.  I decided to make that my first target. From there I wasn’t sure where I’d wind up.

The air temperatures were OK, but the water was quite chilly as I unloaded the boat and got set to head out.  There was a little activity at the boat ramp, but nowhere near as much as my last visit.  A boy and his son were taking a canoe out, and one pontoon boat launched.  Another trio was spending lots of time fussing over a tandem rec boat.  I talked with them, and one man and his brother were planning to paddle the entire length of the Savannah River, but not all at once.  On today’s trip they were heading up to the North Carolina River.  I hated to tell them that they weren’t on the Savannah, and wouldn’t be for quite awhile.  However, I’m sure they knew that.

Continue reading “Lake Jocassee Morning Paddle”