Summer is Almost Over

8 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Being a life long (almost) Florida resident statements like summer is almost over once the 4th of July passes always evoked an eye roll from me. Florida summer tends to end in December.

Now that we spend summers in the wonderful North Carolina mountains, I can identify with the summer is almost over sentiment. In fact, I will go as far as to say, the year is almost over and it is not just flying, it is racing!

In June our daughter flew up for a short visit just before Father’s day. We picked her up at the Asheville airport and decided to maximize her visit time by abandoning the boring Interstate-40 and exploring The Blue Ridge Parkway. We would drive from Asheville all the way to Cherokee, NC. But first we stopped at Publix supermarket to get a box of their fried chicken. My husband loves it.

We had loaded some bag chairs into the truck in anticipation of an adventure.

While we were eating and relaxing, we watched a van arrive and a family spilled out, eager to explore. The children and teens headed for a small rock face and scrambled up, Oh the memories of our children’s excitement to escape the car and climb. I did experience a very small twinge of worry for the climbers but brushed it aside.

The drive from the airport usually take around an hour and a half. This day, with all of our lollygagging the trip took 5 hours and it was worth every minute.

One morning after her return to Florida, our daughter texted me that our security camera captured a bear on our back porch. The image was fuzzy but when we checked my husband’s game camera there he was. We marveled at his balance as he stole seeds from the bird feeder. He visited two more times until we got smart and began bringing in our feeders at night.

Last week the daughter of a cousin stopped by to spend a couple of nights with us. Last year she set out on her dream of traveling across America, living in her car and supporting her adventure as a delivery person for Door Dash. She was very happy to have a whole bedroom to herself as well as a shower anytime she wanted. She did work the supper hours while she was with us.

One morning the three of us drove up to our favorite place, Wayah Bald. She loves the outdoors and we hoped she would enjoy it as much as we do. The elevation is around a mile high and the air there is fresh and usually cooler. The famous Appalachian Trail runs through the bald and we were excited to see a truck parked near the path with a sign reading, Trail Magic. We spent several enjoyable minutes talking with the generous family.

The Hungry Hiker explains Trail Magic:

What is Trail Magic? Trail Magic is when someone does something really nice for you, unexpectedly, out on the trail, usually without expecting anything in return. Trail Magic can come from someone you know or most of the time, a complete stranger. We call people who provide Trail Magic, Trail Angels.

Trail Magic can come in many forms: a ride into town or back to the trail, food, cold soda, snacks, water caches, a place to stay in town, care packages sent to a town stop on trail, a cooler full of chopped fruit, lawn chairs in the shade, etc.

A few days later, the daughter of another cousin came to visit. She is a lovely person to spend time with chatting on the porch. On the final day of her stay we had lunch together at the Clayton Cafe, Clayton Georgia. It was my first time there and I will be going back! If you are ever driving up into the North Carolina mountains on highway 441, consider stopping there. It has everything including a wine tasting area! I love small towns.

Yes, the summer is moving quickly by. Next week we have more cousins arriving! I think this will call for another visit to The Clayton Cafe.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

The Engine Overhaul Part 2

7 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

The Engine Overhaul Part 2

By Bill Lites

Note: 

 At this point I need to remind you that this story takes place around 1972, and I was working on an original 1960 Chevy 6-cylinder 235 CID engine.  With my memory what it is today, I may stray with some of the exact details from time to time, so please bear with me. 

Photo: http://topclassiccarsforsale.com/chevrolet/171302-beautiful-1960-chevy-bel-air-4dr-two-tone-biscayne-impala.html

That said, and with my car in my garage, I researched my handy Chilton’s Auto Repair Manual, and discovered that this engine had a ‘timing gear’ instead of a ‘timing chain’.  So, when I removed the timing gear cover, I saw that some of the teeth on the phenolic timing gear had sheared off (why would anyone design a phenolic gear to mesh with a metal gear?)  The timing gear was pressed onto the end of the cam shaft, and the only way to remove the cam shaft was to remove the engine; or to disassemble the grill and remove the radiator to provide straight-on access to the cam shaft.  I had no provisions in my garage for removing the engine, so the latter option was really the only way I could go. 

Photo: https://www.amazon.com/Chiltons-Auto-Repair-Manual-1968/dp/B000JZUKFG

However, in order to remove the cam shaft, I would also need to disassemble the top-end of the engine for access to the pushrods and hydraulic lifters. Then there was always the possibility that when the timing gear teeth sheared, with the engine running at high RPM (the loud clattering noise I heard) for the instant before I could get my foot on the clutch, there might have been some damage to internal parts of the engine.  If so, I would need to remove the oil pan to check for metal particles.  That normally simple task, on this car, required raising the front of the engine enough for the oil pan to clear the cross member under the front of the pan.  Are you beginning to get an idea of where this story is headed?  It seems that most of my simple ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) projects turn out to be major undertakings before they are over. 

Photo: http://victorylibrary.com/235BK.htm

So, I bit the bullet, and waded into the project with both hands.  It took time but I finally got everything disassembled without too much trouble.  Then I removed the camshaft, with the help of my wife, DiVoran, (that extra pair of hands).  I had to take the cam shaft to a friend who had a press to remove the damaged timing gear and install a new one for me.  When I got the oil pan off and checked, there were no signs of damaged engine parts in the bottom of the pan.  That was a big relief!  I have always found that it is a lot easier to disassemble something, than it is to reassemble that same something.  This timing gear replacement project was no different.

Image: https://www.facebook.com/ShadeTreeMobileMechanic/

After cleaning and inspecting all the removed parts, I reassembled the engine, again, with a lot of help from Mr. Chilton’s wonderful book and from DiVoran, who didn’t like handling car parts, especially when leaning over the fender of the car.  Then I reinstalled the radiator and reassembled the grill, and topped off the water and oil.  I held my breath as I turned the engine over for the first time, but there was no hesitation.  The engine fired right up and settled into a quiet purr.  The car was ready for the road again.  As amazing as it might sound, that 1960 Chevy served us and others for many years after that incident.

I’m sorry to have to say, they don’t build cars like that anymore.

Photo by Bill Lites

—–The End—–

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

The Storyteller Almanac

6 Jul

Reblogged 7/6/21

Independence Day 2021. The story is about a song I wrote and recorded back in 1991 – “Freedoms Wings” – for an album I did back then called, “Heritage.” Rather than explain it here, just tune in and listen to hear the whole story behind it all. There are some poignant ‘Americana’ audio clips inserted within the tune. The narration at the beginning of the piece is also something I wrote for the “Heritage” CD back in the day. That narration was done by an old friend – Donald MacCallum. Thank you Donald!

Click HERE to Listen Now

You can find the podcast on the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and similar. You can also find it on my main page for the podcast: www.StorytellerAlmanac.com, Please follow or subscribe to the podcast so as not to miss any future eposodes. Additionally, if you feel so inclined, please consider donating any amount to help keep this podcast going. You can find the donation button on my main podcast page.

Thanks for droppin’ by neighbor. Once again, Happy Independence Day 2021!!!

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

Letters from Mother-6

5 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Marrowstone Island, Washington

July 13, 1983

Dear ones,

Photo credit Pixabay

Well, now, I have been busy, and here it is Wednesday already. I invited one of the Packwood Crew over this morning, the name of Peg. She is an artist-might add a frustrated artist-because there is no place to paint in her R. V., and she also has her man around the house. She gave me some good pointers about painting, and I soaked it up like a sponge. Then, I practiced painting ducks for tomorrow’s class.

Photo credit Pixabay

Last week’s class was long and fast-moving, and I didn’t get to take notes. I think I was in an advanced class because they were advancing a lot faster than I was. My habits got in the way. My nap and the snacks. I’ve been eating, sleeping, thinking, and painting. Dad’s been entertained. We had two days of drizzle. The sun is out now, though.

Photo credit Pixabay

We’re going to Ray’s birthday party Saturday. We’ll fly down in the AM, maybe stay two days. Dave and Susan will meet us in San Francisco, and we will go on to Concord together. John will be with them. The girls are in Hawaii.

Oh, I was going to tell you not to spell fillet the way I did. I thought it would be like a palette. Is there an e at the end? I see many new words in reading about painting. 

We got a draft for the Datsun, $1689.00, and the draft goes from our bank here (People’s) to the Bank of California, becomes a check, and returns to our bank. Thanks be to the Lord and you for your prayers. Dad was so pleased. Too bad he can’t give credit to the Lord, where credit is due.

I went to church Sunday. Iona’s son looked charming in medium green slacks with a darker green coat pipe in the mid-green. The sermon was about Phillip and the eunuch. Did you know a eunuch can be one in authority? Most people thought they had never met one by the other definition. 

We have no final word on Judy’s coming to the party.

Lowell has a lady friend; her name is Helen. They went to Salton Sea together and spoke of going to Helen and Ray’s for the birthday party. This may turn out to be quite a party.

There’s not much to do this afternoon. I have a few dishes, and that’s about it. Got my hair washed and a bath this morning in six gallons of water.

Many of the people are leaving in the next few days now that the low tide is over. Glad you enjoyed the Wills family. 

We’re happy about your getting the nice car-I’m sure it will come in handy for all of you.

It’s time for the mailman-

Love you lots, Mother and Dad

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.”

Random Memories of Heidelberg-2

4 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

We so thoroughly enjoyed our tours of duty in Germany.  First those three years in Wiesbaden, and then, 10 years later, those three years in Heidelberg.

Being the wife of a U.S. Air Force officer, I became a member of the OWC – Officer’s Wives Club.  That may sound rather “exclusive,” but we did a lot of good things for the entire military community.  As just one “for instance” – the OWC held a Christmas Bazaar every year.  It wasn’t just for crafts that the wives had worked – although there was that, as well.  But a lot of the international vendors presented their wares at these events, as well.  We were able to purchase many things for ourselves that we enjoy even to this day.

But the monies that were made for the OWC during the bazaar was used for many different projects.  In one instance, I remember the OWC in Wiesbaden was able to present three $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school students.  The NCOWC (Non-Commissioned Officers Wives Club) presented scholarships, as well.  That’s just one project.  And I was fortunate enough to be the one presenting the scholarships one year.

I don’t have a picture of the bazaar in Wiesbaden, but here is a picture of the one that was held in 1982 in Heidelberg.  It was held in the ballroom of the Officers Club, as it was the largest room in that building.  As I recall, it was held for about a week – with a weekend on each end.  It was usually a great success.  The entire military community was invited to attend and shop.

The bazaar in Wiesbaden was held in the General Von Steuben (pronounced fon shtoyben) Hotel.  It was a very up-scale hotel in Wiesbaden, and run by the U.S. miltary at that time.  I remember us eating in the restaurant many times.  And the OWC Bazaar was held there in the ballroom of the hotel.

Credit Google Search – The General Von Steuben Hotel, Wiesbaden

I do remember we purchased the first of our three wood-inlay pictures at the Wiesbaden Bazaar.  We thought the price was high ($33 as I remember), so only purchased the one.

In later years we wished we had purchased more pictures, as when we went to purchase the other two we have, while in Heidelberg, the price was considerably more!  But we purchased them anyway.

The artist of the wood-inlay pictures – we only know his initials, B.G. – had a workshop in Heidelberg, which we visited.  While the artist had already died, we were told that he had cut enough jigsaw pieces to make pictures for five years following his death.  WOW!  There was a journeyman the artist had trained to put the pictures together.

I’m not sure just what else we purchased at the Bazaar, but I do know that we purchased our hanging-wall clock there.  It was just the “right” shape and size, and had a really nice chime to it – it was the Westminster chime, better known as the “blind-man’s chime.” 

 It hung on a wall in every house we lived in from 1970 until we moved into this house in 1999.  It just gave up-the-ghost then (quit working), and we had to purchase another clock.  When we lived in Panama City, Florida during the late 1970’s, we had a clock shop there ship the inner workings to Germany for repair, and it worked for a long time after that.  I really enjoyed that clock, and was sorry to have to retire it.

1974 – San Antonio, Texas – Fred and Janet – clock on the wall

1974 – Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida – Karen, Janet, Charles Wills clock on the wall behind them

I do remember purchasing some brass Christmas tree ornaments at the Bazaar, that came from the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store in Rothenburg, Germany.  Every time we were able to visit Rothenburg, we managed to stop by that store and purchase other ornaments.  

I caught Fred in this picture

Such fond memories.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

What does God say about immigration?

3 Jul

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged July 3, 2021

July 2, 2021

I step away from the “normal” devotional I send you on a regular basis. And I humbly warn you as I’m about to share something personal, controversial and sensitive.

I appreciate, value and respect your opinion on whatever topic is rattling this country right now including illegal immigration. And because I do, let me tell you my story.

When I was 31-years old, a retinal disease robbed my sight completely. A friend visited me and said, “What are you waiting for? Get your application in for social security disability. After all, you have three little kids and you’re a naturalized citizen. You deserve it.”

It didn’t set well with me.

Deserve it? That didn’t set well with me. This is why.

In 1960, I was eight and my brother seven. Life was pitiful in Bolivia, and desperation was served at every meager meal in our tiny, dark kitchen.

So, my parents rolled up their sleeves and worked, sweated and struggled to meet all U.S. Immigration requirements to enter the country.

Four long years later, and with documents in hand, we arrived in Miami. Even before suitcases were unpacked, Father set his own laws. “This is the United States and the language is English. We will learn to speak it and learn it well.”

He also added there would be no excuses when opportunity came to work hard and live to our commitment to give, contribute rather than receive.

Years later, I still carried that mentality in my heart. And that’s precisely what erased any reason for my blindness to be an excuse. So, I studied, worked hard and what followed was an award-winning career as a Spanish interpreter. At the same time, I became a writer and inspirational speaker.

As a writer, I often tuck my opinions about illegal immigration in the privacy of my heart. But in a moment of boldness, I chose to impart this insight: If we enter the U.S. carrying deception, how can we expect to receive blessings for the journey?

The fear of God was considered.

Risking sounding boastful, I confess our family chose to enter legally because of fear. Fear of God’s warning about deception and fear of living void of God’s blessings because, “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours” (Psalm 128:1-2).

And although prosperity followed hard work, our goal was to leave a legacy for our grandkids.

I cupped my grandson’s face in my hands and looked into his blue eyes. “You have to remember your great grandfather came to the U.S. riding in the airplane of integrity. You need to live up to that and carry that legacy.”

Speaking of legacy, I ask your forgiveness for the political incorrectness you’re about to read. But illegal immigration has nothing to do with legality. Rather, it has everything to do with the distorted legacy we’re leaving for generations to come.

Beginning a life under deception molds a mindset where welfare is a goal and hard work becomes an inconvenience.

Important Truths

We can’t allow these truths to vanish in the fog of confusion:

  • A sense of entitlement fosters laziness.
  • Excuse is the door to defeat.
  • Forced indoctrination of our children brings on social collapse.
  • Immorality paves the path to destruction.
  • Mocking God invites disaster.
  • Trust in government for provision keep deception alive.
  • Investing in courage and integrity pays dividends of success.
  • Trusting in God’s provision brings lasting rewards.

We deserve it. Yes, sadly we do. We deserve the consequences of a generation where laziness is accepted. Where wrong is rewarded, right is criticized, Godly views are silenced, and mediocrity applauded.

This writer believes immigration becomes illegal when those crossing the borders believe America is the land of entitlement. Wrong. America is still the land of the free.

That freedom was established by God through the founding fathers. And that liberty became the banner for early immigrants who learned English, worked hard, upheld god’s values, contributed and saluted the American flag.

They didn’t demand or complain. But rather, they sang gratitude to God for allowing them to live and prosper in the greatest nation on earth.

My family still celebrates the 4th of July with a banquet of gratitude served on the table of God’s Word. How about you?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please shareFeel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

If you enjoyed these moments of inspiration, consider supporting JC Empowerment Ministries. We keep going, keep inspiring and keep bringing Jesus light into the darkness only through your cheerful tax-deductible giving. It’s simple. Just hop over to this LINK. https://janetperezeckles.com/about/non-profit-tax-exempt-authorization-letter

Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

www.janetperezeckles.com

The Engine Overhaul Part 1

30 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

In a recent post about camping, I mentioned our first small tent camper and the following story takes place around 1972, not long after we bought that camper.  It all started with what was supposed to be a family camping trip, with friends, for a fun weekend in the Everglades National Park, located at the southern tip of Florida.  On the first day, as we were heading south on I-95 from Titusville, FL we were all excited about the little four-day ‘mini-vacation’ we had planned.  We had both cars packed full of all the food and camping equipment we thought we would need, to ‘rough-it’ for the trip, along with our canoes and our tent camper.  

Photo by Bill Lites

As we approached the exit for Melbourne, FL (only 35 miles from home) our 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne sedan suddenly made a loud rattling sound from the engine, and the car began to slow down.  I immediately put the car in neutral, and coasted onto the emergency lane, where the car came to  a stop.  There was no indication on the dashboard instruments that there was anything wrong, but the car would not run.  My friend Dwayne pulled in behind me, and we tried to assess the situation.  The starter would turn the engine over, but it would not run.  We finally decided it was probably something to do with the timing and we needed to get my car off I-95.  

Luckily, I had an emergency tow-strap and Dwayne was able to tow my car and camper off I-95.  There just happened to be a campground next to I-95, where we could hold up long enough to make some new plans.  We decided to transfer the camper to Dwayne’s car, but he didn’t have a trailer hitch on his car.  It was a holiday weekend, and we had no idea where to go for a trailer hitch.  We borrowed a phone book (no cellphones) from the campground owner and finally found an auto parts store that was not too far from us.  By the time we found the store, bought a trailer hitch, and got it installed on Dwayne’s car, we were all tired, and realized it was too late to make it all the way to the Everglades Park (200 miles)  before they closed for the night.  So, we paid for and spent the night there at the friendly campground and were glad to be able to take a shower after all the day’s hectic activities.

After the campground owner heard our story, he was kind enough to let me leave our car parked there until we got back from our trip.  We packed everything up and headed out early the next morning with four adults and five children in Dwayne’s car (no air conditioning), and with him pulling my camper and both canoes on top of his car.  We finally made it to the park and had a great, if short, ‘Everglades Adventure.’  You can read all about the camping trip in the three-part referenced blogs on this same website (Ref. Bill Lites blog titles “An Everglades Adventure Part 1, 2, & 3 dated 09/24/2014-10/08/2014”) if you care to.  Now, as Paul Harvey would say; for the rest of the story.  After we got home and got everything unloaded, Dwayne drove me back to the campground, in Melbourne, to get my car.  He towed me home and helped me get the car into my garage where I could work on it.

—–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

Letters from Mother 5

28 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

May 20, 1983

 Dear Ones:

Just a quicky, Dad’s home from fishing. I’ve put things away. His young friends wanted to work. He always fixes their bicycles when they break down. 

Photo credit Pixabay

 Dad had about four big buckets of carrots and lots of red, yellow, and white onions that we gleaned along the highway where the vegetable trucks go. They fall off the big trucks when they go around corners and people are allowed to pick them up and take them home. We distributed them among the neighbors.

Photo credit Pixabay

Your Bill called yesterday, and we had a good visit. He felt that he should stay close to his job at Edward’s Air Force Base for the weekend. He’s there to help prepare the Space-Shuttle for return to Florida.  It was nice talking to him.

I finally mailed the package. You should receive it by UPS, and I do hope everything will be in good shape. The longer I waited to mail it, the less excited I was about it. I hope you will enjoy it anyway. Please don’t feel obligated to keep any of the things for a lifetime. I have given them to you, and they are yours for as long or as little a time as you wish to keep them. 

Grandmother has been feeling poorly. She didn’t want us to know and didn’t want to go to the Dr. If you have a little time, send her a letter or card, please.

 I love your long letters these days. I’ll answer the latest one more carefully next week. As for now, I’ve been cleaning out drawers and getting stuff ready for the trip to my brother’s campground on Marrowstone Island. The fishing is good there, and the weather is cool. It’s good to spend some time with Smithy and Waunita.  

This is all for now. Maybe I’ll write more in the morning. Let me know what condition things were in when the package arrived. The throw I mention isn’t there because Mrs. Stiffel’s daughter wanted it and got it just before I offered to buy it from the lady of the quilts at the Salton Sea. Dad’s doing the extra watering, and I’m doing up a load of laundry; I must get some breakfast food and milk soon.

Got this new pen in the mail. We entered a sweepstake with a chance at $50,000, but the pen was all we won.

It’s fascinating that you got to see guns being made in Williamsburg. Dad dabbled in that in Westcliffe. He never formed the barrel, but he worked the stock. (Do you remember seeing him do that?)   

Photo credit Pixabayc

Bet you loved the bookmaking at Williamsburg. Your description is interesting about the leather and all. We have an old book with a torn page that was repaired with needle and thread. 

Can you get a book like those made in Williamsburg? Bill said they would only make 10,000 at a time. How much do you think one might be if you were a collector?

Dave and Susan also enjoyed your journal. Touring with Bill must be great since he takes time to enjoy. We fly by places at the speed of a roller coaster.

Photo credit Pixabay

It sounds as if Bill’s sister Judy is a well-trained teacher of aerobic dancing. I’m glad they suggested an alternative place. (Slimnastics?) The big church out here got into tax trouble when they built a nativity scene. That’s Robert Schuler’s church in Glendale, the Glass Cathedral. 

Your Cutlass Oldsmobile sounds neat, and Bill seemed proud to have you driving it. When he asked if he could marry you, we gave him one condition he must always see that you had a car to drive.   

Grandmother Marie is hopeful of getting a new picture of each great-grandchild. 

Love, Mother, and Dad

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.”

Random Memories of Germany-Heidelberg

27 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES
Judy Wills

I was looking at the photograph over our bed recently, and it reminded me of when and where we purchased it.

When we arrived in Heidelberg (1980-1983 tour of duty), we stayed in temporary quarters until we could move into our “permanent” quarters. It was, essentially, a hotel, but maintained by the government. We were able to find and purchase a car relatively quickly, but Fred used it to go to and from work. That left me and the girls with riding the bus wherever we wanted to go.

That wasn’t too bad, fortunately. One day, I remember being by myself at the BX/Commissary complex, and found the “Thrift Shop.” It was a good place to look around and see if those leaving the area had put anything up for sale, that they didn’t need since they were returning to the States.

One thing I found that we really needed was a transformer.

Credit Google Search and Amazon.com

Germany uses 220v electricity, while the U.S. uses 110v. So we needed a piece of equipment called a transformer that allowed us to use our 110v powered equipment on the 220v system without ruining our stuff. This was a good piece of equipment and the price was right, so I purchased it. Unfortunately, it was extremely HEAVY!! It weighed about 30 pounds! Definitely too heavy for me to carry on the bus! I asked if I could leave it there until my husband could pick me up with the car, and they agreed.

As I was looking around the shop more, I found a large photograph, framed, of the Heidelberg castle, and fell in love with it, immediately! Again, the price was right, so I purchased it. And, again, I asked if they could “hold” it for me until my husband could get there with the car – and they agreed.

This photo has hung over our bed ever since – no matter what house we lived it. Unfortunately, the photo has faded to a sepia tone.

Apparently the photographer did not “seal” the photo. Now that wouldn’t have been too bad, but I really liked the picture in color. We have a friend here who has the equipment to make a copy of the photo and enlarge it to the same size – in color. And he did. So we have our original photo back in color, and we are pleased.

As a footnote, our daughter, Karen, and her husband, Brian, found and gave us a miniature of the Heidelberg Gate. It is lighted from inside, and wonder of wonders – the small bulb that came with it all those years ago, is still burning – and it’s running 24/7/365!! It sits on a shelf and I can see it every single day – and enjoy that part of Heidelberg every day. Lovely!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Camping Can be Fun Part 2

23 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Our first family camping trip, with our new/used equipment, was to another one of the nearby Florida freshwater springs.  Now it was wonderful to be able to close up the tent to keep the insects out and have screened windows to let the breeze cool the inside.  The cots allowed us to sleep off the ground, and the awning helped keep the rain out of the tent.  We made many weekend family camping trips to several of the other Florida freshwater springs that year.  On vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains that summer we were not ready for the colder weather.  We discovered that we needed something between us and the canvas cot to keep us warm.  And, in Florida, when it rains the water just soaked into the sand.  But in the mountains of North Carolina the water doesn’t soak in, and we woke up with two inches of water on the floor of our tent.  We never did discover where the water got into the tent.  That trip was when we decided we wanted a tent camper that would keep us warm and dry.

Photo: https://wildernesstoday.com/best-family-tent/

A friend a work sold us his small pop-up tent camper that was just what we were looking for.  This was an older basic house shaped camper with a 2-burner propane stove, but no electricity. We had to use Coleman lanterns for our lighting and we had a small two-burner Coleman stove in case we wanted to cook outside. The camper had a small freshwater tank, which required a hand-pump to get water into the sink.

Photo by Bill Lites

Everything had to fit within the camper footprint as the tent portion opened straight up to a peak running fore and aft.  The small stove, sink and countertop were on one side, with an office size “ice box” (remember, no electricity) under the counter.  On the other side was a small fold-down table with bench seats for four people.   DiVoran slept on the twin bed that ran across the front with storage under it, and I slept in the other twin bed that ran across the rear with more storage underneath.  A swing-away bunk bed was located over each twin bed, and was pinned into each of the fore and aft upright tent supports and that was where our children slept.  It was a very compact efficient and arrangement.  When folded down, everything was flush with the top sides of the camper, with a canvas cover over the top.  This did not allow for anything to be carried on top of the camper.

Photo by Bill Lites

We continued to enjoy camping at the Florida freshwater springs and spent several summer vacations with that camper in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at the same campground we enjoyed that first year in a tent.  We even managed a to get in a wonderful six-week ‘Across America’ (Florida to California and return) family camping trip one summer.  I was between jobs, and it was an opportunity to show our kids some of the wonders of our beautiful nation, and to visit friends and relatives along the way.

Photo by Bill Lites

Over the years we pretty much ran the wheels off that small camper.  We tried a 6-person Starcraft pop-up camper for a while, but we were looking for something with a little more room and comfort.  We finally sprang for a new Colman Fleetwood 8-person pull-out tent camper with all the bells and whistles.  We now had all the comforts of home (with the exception of toilet and shower).  Running water, lights, four-burner propane stove, refrigerator, electric heater, and air-conditioning.  We were ready for anything with this rig!  Our camping experiences took on a whole new prospective after that.  That camper gave us total year-around comfortable camping no matter where we decided to go.

Photo by Bill Lites

A few years later, after some major surgeries, the rigors of camper setup and teardown began to tell me it was time to leave the camping to the younger generation.  Our son and his family were ready to enjoy some quality camping experiences, so they inherited the Fleetwood.  It gave them several years of wonderful Florida camping, and then they also passed the camper to others to enjoy.  And that my friends, is the short version of our camping experiences.  It was great while it lasted, and I can recommend family camping, anywhere anytime, for quality relaxation and fun.  I had some of my most memorable camping times as a kid in the backyard of my home.  So, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a weekend away with the family.  Try it.  I think you will like it.

—–The End—–

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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