Archive by Author

Carrots and Tomatoes

18 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

 

“Your garden is wonderful!” I said to the man standing in his side yard tending pots of growing vegetables. His big faded yellow lab came over to say hello.

The neighbor and I introduced ourselves.“Do you like tomatoes?” he asked.

“Sure, we like tomatoes,” I answered.

“I’ll give you some cherry tomatoes then,” he said, pulling them off the vine. He popped one and then another into his mouth. “Somebody’s been eating them.” He said with an innocent grin. “There aren’t many ripe ones.” He handed me six, then went to the vine with baseball-sized almost ripe tomatoes and picked three.” He held one out and ran his finger along a seam. “They split because we’ve had too much rain, but they’re still good.” He put all three into my hand. By this time I had hung my trekking poles from my wrists so I could have my hands free. In case you haven’t seen trekking poles before, they’re like ski poles and they’re supposed to strengthen the muscles in your upper back when you walk or hike. They’re great for stability on uneven sidewalks, too.

“How about carrots?” he asked.

“Yep, we like ‘em.”

He pulled a small but fat carrot from a pot. Then he went to another pot and started pulling on a feathery top. “Whoa, this is a really big one. I got to get my knife.”

I wait, holding my produce in both hands and my poles dangling from my wrists until he comes out with a butcher knife. He digs it into the soil and into the big carrot as well, the sliced places fill with dirt on the way out of the pot.

“You like green beans?” …another question.

“Sure,” doesn’t everybody?

He goes in the house and brings out a large package of frozen green beans—enough for two meals for Bill and me. When he sees that my hands are full he takes the beans with him and goes into the house. He comes back with the frozen bagful in a bigger grocery store bag. He holds it open for the carrots and tomatoes. I drop them in, put the thin handles over my wrist and take the trekking poles in my hands. The plastic bag handles dig a line into my wrist, and I wonder if I can walk the half-mile home with them. I must take it all because of the great pleasure it gave him to share. “We’re from West Virginia,” he says. Families always raised their own food back there. My wife’s an excellent cook, too.

It was like old home week. Mother always had her flowers: sweet peas, roses and nasturtiums, plus she took care of her own chickens. Dad contributed vegetables, fruit from his trees, and whatever fish and seafood he caught wherever they lived. They too shared with everybody who would receive and it gave them the greatest joy in their lives (next to grandchildren, of course.)

When they lived in Vista, California, Mother and Dad would get into their Datsun King Cab and head for a major growing area where big produce trucks lined up to haul tons of produce heading all over America. The trucks, piled high, drove fast and when they turned corners some of the produce rolled off. The law of the land was that if they were off the trucks the gleaners could have them. Mom and Dad filled the bed of their pick-up and brought the veggies home to share. As the Bible says, it is more blessed to give than to receive. I am, however, learning that it is also blessed to receive. A giver must have someone to give to and then everybody is happy.

 

 

 

 

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Walking

11 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

 

 

I started walking in 1939
And thank the good Lord I haven’t stopped yet.
Mama and Daddy were there for my first steps
And I was with Daddy for his last one.

Believe me, he walked plenty in his lifetime
He walked to school,
Walked to fish and to hunt
Walked on his paper route
Walked to his girlfriend’s house
Then he went into the war
And marched and slogged through mud up to his ankles.

He bought a business and stood behind the bar
Listening to the problems of his customers.
Once he walked down off Pike’s Peak after he and his friend,
Sweak Jeske got caught in a downdraft in a Piper Cub.
God was with them that day.
All Daddy got was a ruined plane and a chipped ankle bone.
His friend walked down the mountain and brought help.
After Daddy retired he walked at least a mile every day.
He showed me how to walk in the Florida woods
Being new here, I was afraid to explore,
It has been my favorite trail for over fifty years.

Dad didn’t usually attend church, but when he was 87
He went back to a Christian Church like the one he had attended with his mother, Marie.
There he either received Christ or renewed his commitment.

It was around that time that he had an accident and had to go into assisted living.
I was present when the therapist came to teach him to
Walk again, and they asked me to help by
Standing at the end of line of support bars, and calling him to come.
It was just like teaching a baby to walk,
“Come on, Dad, you can do it!”
It took all his strength and was all a therapist and a nurse could do
To get him out of his wheel-chair.
He looked up at me with a light in his face
And took a step.
My heart soared, but then
He fell, supported, back into the chair.
But it was not for lack of willingness.
His brain just didn’t have control of his
Body anymore.

Three years after they tried to get him up and walking
I was at my church in Florida for an evening sing-along
We sang “Draw Me Nearer,”
And in my mind’s eye, the hymn book I was holding
Disappeared and I saw Dad walking toward me.
He said, “Would you walk a ways with me?”
I knew then that he was in Heaven.
Early the next morning my sister-in-law called
And told me he had died the night before.
Good night, Daddy.
We’ll see each other again, some glad morning.

 

Ivan and DiVoran

I

Colors

4 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

Mother was frugal with Dad’s Army pay, but she made sure that my brother and I enjoyed life while daddy was overseas. More than once we walked downtown to buy a ten cent glass toy to put in the window of our upstairs apartment. We named the elephants, puppies and cats window toysbecause when set in an upstairs window of our apartment they shed glorious color into the living room.

Some nights when it was time for bed, I watched Mother get out my coloring book and crayons, and I knew that when I woke the next morningMother would have colored a picture for me. That made me happy, and I’m sure the peaceful activity was a relaxer for Mother, too. Later on, she became an oil painter, and when I was older, I took up painting too.

 

 

Some Sunday afternoons if a suitable movie came to town mother took us to a matinee. We had never experienced anything except children’s books and radio, so the beauty of Disney’s Technicolor captured all our hearts.

“Snow White” showed me how important working together and caring for each other was.

“Pinocchio,” informed me of the awful consequences of lying.

“Dumbo,” told me you could do anything if you were born with a talent and practiced it.

“Bambi,” had the most profound effect telling me that mothers can die. I cried and cried when Bambi’s mother was shot by the hunters. I can still see Bambi…brown with white spots, and Thumper in his gray suit. Was there a fire?. I seem to see one in my mind’s eye, bright red. I still love beautiful movies, though, and probably always will.

When I was twelve I got new glasses that improved my sight as long as I wore them. At seventy-five I had my cataracts removed and new lenses inserted. I could now see color and everything else with great clarity. I could read without glasses because I opted for a reading lens. Right out of the operating room I began raving about the colors of the flowers, the sky… the trees. “Oh, oh, look over there, isn’t that beautiful?” I rejoiced.

Sometimes I wonder why our dear Lord gave us so much color and such gorgeous hues that no paint can match. He could have given us a world of Thumper color. But He didn’t. What a generous, benevolent God we have. Thank you, Jesus.

Memorial Day-Two Families Remember

28 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Author, Poet and Artist

 

 

I knew my friend, Patricia had a wonderful family tradition. She grew up in a mountain valley where her great-grandfather had homesteaded. Some of the family has left the valley, some have stayed. Here is Patricia’s story:

 

 

 Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was first called, was observed by most of the community who had loved ones buried in the cemeteries.  The tradition was started to commemorate those who had died in the wars.  People brought flowers and flags in the spring to place at their graves.  Spring, because the flowers were beginning to bloom, (there were no artificial flowers). Decoration Day officially began in 1868 and was on the last Monday of May.  Traditionally families and church members would celebrate it on that day.  Flowers only lasted a day or two, so we would go out on Sunday or Monday to decorate and visit with other family and friends, many of whom we saw only once a year, as they would come home to decorate the family graves.  It was a time to connect with old acquaintances who had moved away and came back to honor their loved ones and visit with old friends.

 My family still goes out to decorate and acquaint the youngsters with their ancestors.  Many good stories are shared and the children are very interested in learning about the people who are buried there and how they lived their lives back in their day.  They want to know how they are connected.  We have so many ancestors now that the children cannot remember them all.  Fortunately, we have family history documented by family members, to be passed down to the younger ones.  Hopefully, there will always be someone there to take care of the family and the old tradition. 

 We are excited about our visit beginning tomorrow with our children who will all be getting together for the once a year get together.  For three years it has coincided with our granddaughters’graduations.  So we are busily preparing, corresponding, coordinating, etc., which is very hectic, but also very fun and rewarding.  Nothing can be planned in advance, because everything changes, so I do not worry about the planning anymore.  It always works out.  Looking forward to seeing our kids tomorrow.

 

DiVoran

 

 

My grandparents settled in a town fifty-two miles away from where Patricia lived, but I got to live in her community from the time I was 7 until I was 12. It almost broke my heart to leave, but Dad and Mom had sold Min’s Café and Dad had a new job in Los Alamos.

All four of my grandparents and two of my great grandparents along with an aunt and two second cousins are buried in this larger town. Our Mother took us there when we were children to tell stories about her parents and grandparents. Her parents had graves next to each other near the beginning of the cemetery. They were also near their long-time friends and neighbors and each couple has a pine tree, now huge at the site of their grave. Mother’s dad died in 1939 when I was six months old. Dad and Mom came home from Nevada to take over the gas company his father-in-law had run before his death. Mom’s mother passed on when I was seven. I remember Mother crying and serving customers for days.

I was an adult with grown children when my Grandparents died. I didn’t get to attend Granddad’s funeral, but I did fly there for Grandmother’s.

 

Ten years ago I met with my brother, his wife, and her sister to bury our Mother and Dad’s ashes. The aunt who is gone now and two of her daughters came and brought their families. My brother lived in California and we lived in Florida. He kept their ashes until we could meet in the middle. Our son had a combined business trip and vacation so his wife and two children attended. Our daughter and her husband flew with us and our daughter got us a bed and breakfast to stay in that was the same two-storyfloor plan as Grandmother and Granddad’s house and just down the street.

Being together again went a long way in tempering our grief. We did the service ourselves and stayed in the park visiting on a sunny November day. My brother had just picked up a beautiful puppy at the Denver airport, and our grandchildren sat on the grass and took turns holding him while he rested after his strenuous journey. Afterward,our son drove the immediate family to the valley town where Patricia and I had lived as a children.

 

Dancing

21 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 


Our daughter comes to visit every week on her way to Line Dancing. It’s her favorite sport and exercise. She has always loved to dance from the time we danced around the kitchen banging on pot lids with wooden spoons when she and her brother were kids.

Bill and I liked to dance too. We were round-dancers, and square dancers and Bill’s sister even taught a dance exercise class in Germany when the Air Force stationed them there. Dancing must have been in all our genes

Here’s how I got my start.

In 1943, when I was five years old and Daddy was on the front lines, Mother, my brother, and I lived in an upstairs apartment in Grandmother and Granddad’s Victorian house.

 

 

Our small town had an apple-blossom festival and I loved the parade with the majorettes swinging their batons. Mother knew it and signed me up for lessons.

But I have one eensy-weensy fault when it comes to learning things. It’s just that I don’t believe in practicing. Or maybe I believe in it, but there are so many other exciting things to do, like read a book.

So after a few lessons when I still couldn’t begin to twirl, the teacher told Mother she was wasting her money. Grandmother stepped in to pay for ballet and tap dance lessons.

For that class, I walked the three blocks to Main Street and climbed the stairs to the dance studio above one of the stores. One day I walked past my friend Kay Lowry’s house, hoping she’d come out so we could play together in her backyard.

It was a wonderful backyard with a huge cherry tree that we could climb, and beautiful flower beds we just knew angels lived in.

 

 

 

So this one day, Kay did come out. We were in the backyard playing when we heard the doorbell ring and in a minute both mothers came out the back door. Mine had my ballet slippers in her hand and I thought, oh, oh. I forgot my slippers.

Mother said it was time to go home now. When we got out on the sidewalk she seemed calm, but she did have a few questions for me.

“Did you go to dancing class?”

“Yes, Mother.”

Whack! The slippers collided with my back-side.

“Who else came to class?”

“Uh,” I thought fast. “Betty, Jane, Anette…”

Whack again.

For each answer, the ballet slippers told me that skipping class and lying about it wasn’t a very good idea. Mother had walked to town and up the stairs thinking it would be pleasant to walk home with me.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to quit dancing. That meant that when it came time to perform for the soldiers at Camp Carson, I could go. Mother made my blue-checked, gingham pinafore, shined my black patent-leather tap shoes, and signed up to drive a car full of little dancers to the one-year-old military base outside Colorado Springs. She dabbed freckles across my nose with an eyebrow pencil. My hair was in two braids with bows on the ends. We sang and danced, just like Shirley Temple. I was the one on the end that watched the other girls but still couldn’t get the steps right.

We danced to “Whistle While You Work,” from Snow White with small brooms resting on our shoulders.

 

 

The soldiers gave us a standing ovation. I’m sure we all thought about our daddies who were, “Over There.”

A Bouquet of Mothers

7 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Author, Poet and Artist

 

 

A Bouquet of Mothers

DiVoran

 

Melody’s Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three friends told me about the joy their Mothers brought them.

One said, “We didn’t have much, but we three sisters and our
3 brothers knew we were loved.
Knowing Mom was designing
And sewing complete wardrobes
For our Barbies each year at Christmastime
We were rich in love and floating
On our mother’s creativity.
Excited by the ticka-a-ticka of Mother’s sewing machine
We could hardly sleep.

On Christmas day
We ran to the tree and ripped open beautifully
Wrapped packages to reveal
A trove of evening gowns, dresses, pants, and blouses.
That had been made from hoarded
Scraps of whatever materials
Mother found and saved for us.

 

Onisha’s Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as mother and dad got home from work on Friday night
Mom, Daddy, my two older brothers and I drove the hour to the Indian River near Titusville, Fl.

Mother loved the Lord, Daddy, my two brothers and me with all her heart.
She also loved fishing and shrimping.

At dark we slung a lantern over the rail of the pier
And shrimp came under the light, and into our nets
Then came fish chasing shrimp
And we caught them, too.

Mom would make a pallet so I could
Lie face down, and watch the water until I fell asleep.

Sometimes we drove out to Playalinda beach
And built a campfire on shore.
We satand sang…
Sweet Hour of Prayer,” and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.
We kids fell asleep the minute we got in the car.

Fern

My mother is a born homebody.
She married at eighteen
And she and daddy had three girls and a boy.
She loved nothing better than to cook big meals
Every day and watch us enjoy them.
She was always there when we came
From school clamoring for snacks.

She nursed us through fevers
She sewed most of our clothes.
When I had surgery as an adult
She looked after me
She cooked so much food…
I didn’t know how to tell her
I wasn’t hungry and please
Don’t cook so much.
Please don’t be hurt when I can’t eat.
Then one day it came to me,
This was and always has been her
Way of showing love
I have never known her to yearn for
Any other kind of life.
Thank you Mother.

Smoky Never Won

30 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

DiVoran on Smoky, , Granddad holding Smoky, Daddy’s legs

 

 

Smoky was Grandad’s Horse
Bought when G. moved to Colorado.
He and grandmother joined
The saddle club and
When they gave up riding
I got Grandmother’s boots.
When Granddad was a guard at the prison
Smoky was a runner
My Daddy was the jockey
Thin and spare
Good rider, but never won.

Warden, Granddad’s boss, Sir!
Had horses too and ran them
He picked the prisoners to ride
Vicious men who had to win.
Warden told Dad to hold Smoky back.
Dad asked if just once
He could get a fair chance.
Warden said, “Not on your life!”
Everybody knew who to bet on.
And Smoky never won.

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