New movie honors beloved, late Washington mayor

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Maya Angelou is often quoted as saying that people may forget what you say or do, but they don’t forget how you make them feel. This has never been more exemplified than in the dedication DieDra Hurdle-Ruff, of Pinson, Alabama, wrote for her debut film, “Frienemy for Life.” 

Hurdle-Ruff has dedicated her film to former Washington mayor, Mac Hodges, because of the care and attention he lavished on her and her husband, Keithan Ruff when they visited the area. 

Hurdle-Ruff and Keithen returned to the area several times during Hodges’ term to perform her hits as the “Alabama Blues Queen.” Hurdle-Ruff is a 32-times Blues Award winning and nominated international blues singer. She and Keithan formed “DieDra and the Ruff Pro Band” in 2009. 

Each time they visited, Hodges would make sure they had everything they needed to make their trip a success. “He took us to eat. He spent time with us. That’s more than a mayor, that’s love,” Hurdle-Ruff said. “You don’t find that.” 

Hodges enjoyed seeing Hurdle-Ruff and Keithen visit, because to Hodges, Keithan was “his Jimmy Hendrix,” Hurdle-Ruff shared. 

Though she continued to write music and perform, Hurdle-Ruff took several weeks during the COVID pandemic to write the script for, “Frienemy for Life.” She and Keithen were inspired to write and film a movie after Hurdle-Ruff was asked to act in her cousin’s film. Keithen thought of the story line while she wrote the script. 

“Frienemy for Life,” follows the friendship of two women who have known each other since childhood. Their friendship is tested as they experience major life changes. It premiered last September. It is available to stream through TBH Network, a channel on Roku TV, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Android. 

In thinking about who to dedicate the movie to, Hodges was at the forefront of her mind because of his kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity. 

Sadly, Hodges passed away as preparation for filming began. Hodges passed in August of 2020. 

Continuing to honor the Hodges family, Hurdle-Ruff named Hodges’ widow, Lou, as an executive producer, because she made financial contributions that helped make filming possible. 

Washington residents may remember Hurdle-Ruff better as DeeDee Tucker. She grew up in Washington, but moved to Virginia before starting high school. She and her family made annual trips back to the area during the summers.