Welcome back. Over the years I’ve brought you stories of many legends along with the lives of other men and women who I hope have been as inspiring to you as they have been to me. Now here is the life story of another man who I recently learned has just left us. Daniel Allen Hodge was born on May 13,1932 in Perry, Oklahoma. The name Danny Hodge may not stand out to this generation but back in the early 1950s through the 60s. 70s and 80s his accomplishments made him world famous. He won a state title in wrestling while he was in high school and went on to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma where he went undefeated with a 46-0 record. He was never once taken off his feet during this time. Hodge won the Big Seven Conference Championship three times in a row at the NCAA championships. He became the only amateur wrestler to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated a world-wide magazine and by then he had taken up boxing as well and friends this guy was just getting started in life. After college he joined the Navy, participated in three Olympics and began an 18-year career as a professional wrestler, becoming the headliner. During this time Hodge also won the 1958 Golden Gloves boxing championship in Chicago becoming a wrestling and a boxing professional at the same time which is totally unbelievable even in today’s world of super conditioned athletes. In addition to his many championships, he was also inducted into a dozen halls of fame and other honorary organizations around the world. At the age of 80 Hodge received well-earned special recognition at the Oklahoma State Capital for his many accomplishments. Over the years he had developed a signature move which was the ability to crush an apple with one hand and he was still able to perform it at the time bringing everyone at the ceremony to their feet. Yes, the name Danny Hodge should always be remembered and by the way, despite all his success he never left Perry, Oklahoma.
Moving on, I’ve taken you to many places so now have your passports ready as we head to the world’s lowest lying country. There’s a reason for this trip to the Maldives, or as it is officially known the Republic of Maldives, and that will come later. The country ‘s 115 miles of islands sit southwest of India in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is also the smallest Asian country and the least populated with only around 557,000 residents. The main town is on King’s Island and is called Male by locals. Male is the capital and the most populated part of the islands. Fishing of course has been the main source of income here for generations and continues to be vital to the economy but after the Maldives joined the British Commonwealth tourism has become a big deal there. Remote? Yes. Beautiful setting? Yes. Lovely resorts? Yes, there are a few including newly built ones. If I go, will I be safe you might ask and the answer is yes again.
Now for the two reasons I am bringing you this story. First of all, last week a Chinese rocket fell to earth not far from the islands creating quite a light show. Secondly, this is the spot that the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s daughter and her husband chose for their honeymoon after getting married last week. Now you can say you’ve been there too with the Original Buffalo Dale.
Hope you enjoyed the trip. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…