A Boy, A Bike and Summer

15 Aug



A Slice of Life

Bill Lites




The summer between my junior and senior years of high school I was itching to get away from home and explore the freedom of the open road.  How I talked my parents into letting me go on this wild idea of a trip I’ll never know, but they finally agreed and all was set.  They were not about to help me with this plan, but that was okay with me as I had my own money and transportation.  I loaded everything I thought I might need for a one-month stay into one small suitcase, strapped it onto the back of my 1955 Harley Davidson motorcycle and off I went.




The place I had chosen for this trip was about 185 miles from my home and was known for its moneymaking oil industry.  The plan was to get a job as a roustabout on an oilrig, make lots of money, and come home after a month or two and show my folks that I could do it on my own.  Well, as you might expect, the plan didn’t work out exactly as I had envisioned it.





I made the trip in good time and found a place to stay.  The next day I went to the oil company employment office to ask for a job.  The guy at the desk almost laughed out loud when he took a look at this 6’0” 125 lb. kid who thought he was going to tough-it-out on the oil rigs with those experienced 200+ lb. oil rig brutes.  Besides that, they couldn’t hire anyone under 18 years old, and I would have to prove that I was that old.  So there I was only two days into my great adventure, with no job and no way to pay for my lodgings, but I wasn’t ready to go home with my tail between my legs, either.


I don’t remember all the places I looked for work, but I ended up packing fruit in a terribly hot and dusty fruit processing plant for minimum wage (what a let down).

I have no idea how it happened, but a local church family took pity on me and charged me very little for room and board to stay in one of their extra rooms. At some point, I met the pastor’s daughter and her friends so I spent a lot of my off hours running around with them. The legal drinking age was 21 at that time, so that also helped keep me out of trouble.  When the fruit picking/packing season ran out there were no more jobs to be had for a skinny teenager, so I packed up my few things, loaded my motorcycle in the empty 18 wheeler trailer that was going my way, and was delivered back to my home a little wiser and a lot more tired than when I left.


What did I learn from this adventure? I learned to listen to my parents’ advice before I ran off to try and do my own thing.




Ephesians 6:1



3 Responses to “A Boy, A Bike and Summer”

  1. Onisha Ellis August 16, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I read this with a sigh and a question. How times changed so much that we would not dare allow our son to do this or have we changed so much we don’t trust our children? Are our children ill prepared for life because we have failed to prepare them due to our own fears?


  2. DiVoran Lites August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I’m happy to be married to a man with so much initiative and resilency, but yes, indeed, we do butt heads now and then.



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