Fishing With Ivan Part 4 A

17 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

In the summer of 1974, I was between jobs and DiVoran and I decided it would be a good time to take our family on an all-inclusive six-week “Cross-Country Camping Trip.”  We wanted to show our children some of the beautiful and unusual places in our amazing country, and visit friends and relatives along the way.  The first couple of parts of this abbreviated trip description are only a prelude to another fishing trip with Ivan.  So please be patient with me and enjoy the ride.

As part of the preparations for this trip I made a small table, to fit in the back area of our 1968 Ford LTD station wagon, where the kids could play games and read, or anything else, to help keep them from getting bored.  We packed up our vintage pop-up tent camper, with all the things we thought we would need for the car and the camper (I am always forgetting something) and we headed west.

We visited the old ‘Lites Homestead’ in Many, LA where my dad and his twelve siblings were born and raised.  The original house was empty and locked up, but we were able to tell the kids about what it was like living in a 1850s house.  We showed them the rain water cistern, the drinking water well, the chicken coop, and the barn (with hay loft) where I played with some of my cousins in my younger years.  The small cemetery at the Mount Zion Baptist Church, located just north of Many is full of my ‘Lites’ relatives.

Continuing west, we stopped in Dallas, TX long enough to drive by the house I lived in for the first six years of my life.  The house doesn’t look anything like it did when I lived there.  We also took a drive  downtown to show them the First Baptist Church, where I was registered in their Cradle Roll Department at six-weeks of age.

Next we visited my mother, Aunt Jessie & Granny in Albuquerque, NM where I grew up and where I met DiVoran, the love of my life.  They were thrilled to see us and wanted to know all about our camping trip.  We enjoyed taking the kids all around town, showing them where DiVoran and I had gone to school, worked, and played during our teenage years.  Of course, we had to take them to dinner at our favorite Mexican food restaurant, La Placita, located in Old Down Town Albuquerque (founded 1706).  Yummm! 

After that family reunion, we took a tour of the breath-taking Carlsbad Caverns located just west of Hobbs, NM.  I was particularly impressed with the way they had rigged up muted hammers, on some of the various sized stalagmites, which could be activated by electronics, and played from a keyboard like an organ.  We stayed long enough at the caverns to watch the evening exit of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats from the depths of the caverns that darkened the sky.

We stopped to investigate the unusual formations at the Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona.  It’s amazing to me how the trees in this forest became petrified (225 million years old) instead of rotting away as most dead trees do.  Many of the petrified logs had spectacularly different color arrangements.   DiVoran’s mom and dad were ‘rock hounds’ and we bought a few small samples, at the curios shop, for them to do their lapidary magic on.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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