Tag Archives: #amwriting

Granny~Part 2

19 Jul


Judy Wills



I’ve mentioned before that my Dad was 20 years older than my Mother. When Mother had been dating Daddy for a while, she showed Granny a picture of Daddy, and Granny exclaimed: “Why…..he’s an OLD MAN!”   But that didn’t really make any difference to Mom and Dad, even though he was only six months younger than his mother-in-law.


Granny was really a good cook. And back in those days, more women stayed home and did the cooking for their families, than we do now. For some reason, I remember being in San Antonio with Granny and Aunt Jessie, and the smell that I remember is one of Frito Lay Corn Chips™ that she had spread out on a cookie sheet and warmed in the oven, because they had become “limp” from the moisture in the air. Heating them in the oven would “crisp” them up again. It was a unique smell, and one I’ve not smelled since. I guess Frito Lay now has a better way of sealing their packaging.

I remember that whenever I had the flu or strep throat (which I had a lot as I was growing up!), she would make a pot of potato/onion soup for me to eat. It was so good and was just what I needed when I didn’t have much appetite. Unfortunately, I never got the recipe from her. I have a recipe for a delicious potato/leek soup (from my wonderful sister-in-law, DiVoran), but it just isn’t quite what Granny made, but as close as I can come without Granny’s recipe.


One of my favorite things to eat is popcorn. I remember one time when I had either the flu or a very bad cold, and Granny was staying at our house. She asked what I wanted to eat, and I told her a BIG bowl of popcorn! She popped it up, fixed it just the way I liked it – lots of butter and salt – and brought it to me. Unfortunately, my sinuses were so stopped up that I couldn’t taste anything – and the popcorn held no appeal to me. To say that she wasn’t happy with me, goes without saying.

Granny had a terrific sense of humor.


She could tell a joke with the straightest face – then just howl with laughter when I couldn’t tell if she was joking or not.  I’ve seen this look of mischief on her face so many times. She was such fun.


Aunt Jessie always had a dog around the house. And she and Granny both loved those dogs. They came to Albuquerque with Ginger, a beautiful red Cocker Spaniel.

I don’t remember just when Ginger died, but I do remember when they got Trixie – a little Pug. As my Mother said when Trixie was just a puppy – “She’s so ugly she’s cute.” And she was.


As Trixie got older, along came Bubbles – a black Poodle.



They were all fun dogs. We had cats at our house, and dogs at Granny and Aunt Jessie’s house – so we had the best of both worlds.


Granny (Addie) with Judy and Bill Lites, 1956

~~~~~~~~~~To be continued~~~~~~~~~~

Behold How Good and Pleasant

9 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

On my way home from my walk I met one of the neighbors, Chuck, who had helped another neighbor remove the tree that fell on our house during Hurricane Charlie. Chuck was walking very slowly

Author, Poet and Artistallowing his ancient dog to saunter and sniff all he wanted. We spoke as we passed. When I got to the curve in the trail where I leave it, I stopped to make a note of something. There I heard a forlorn meowing from the bushes. It had to be a lost domestic cat. It was. Chuck’s cat big male tiger kitty.

“Your cat is here.” I yelled. He started back and I went back on the trail to meet him. He wasn’t going anywhere and I was on my way home so we turned around and sauntered back toward the neighborhood. The cat came out and twined around Chuck’s ankles.

“He follows us out here, but he doesn’t like to go too far.” Chuck said. We started slowly making our way back into the neighborhood. I told him I’d been walking past his house since his kids were small. The first time I ever saw them they had run out of the house with no clothes on—just little kids being free and happy. Chuck now had all the time in the world to talk to me. His major kid rearing days were about over. They’re off to college next year. He and his wife have been excellent parents. I’ve heard swimming parties from behind their privacy fence, I’ve seen the family coming home from camping, and watched as boy scouts gathered for projects.

When we got to Chuck’s house right off the trail. I said goodbye and Chuck took his dog over to greet a weenie dog they knew and his master.

I felt so blessed to walk with him, pet the cat, greet the dog, and hear about the kids. How wonderful to have watched a family rear good, happy kids who will become ordinary fine Americans and hopefully rear theirs kids the same. How great that this young man, who probably is quite busy during the week, had all the time in the world for an old dog, an old lady, and a cat who clearly adores him.

Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in one neighborhood where people get along and kids can grow up in safety and in love. Paraphrase of Psalm 133.1


Try a Little Dirt

24 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

Children need to eat a peck of dirt before they grow up. Have you ever heard that? It has been around a long time and if you’d been reared in the way I was, you’d believe it. I read recently in a magazine that germs in good clean dirt can teach a child’s immune system the difference between good and bad bacteria and save them developing allergies.

Here are some things you can do to strengthen your children’s immune systems.

1.   Encourage them to bite their nails. Remember, though, it can be as habit-forming as smoking, so you have to take that into consideration. If they do take up smoking, they can get the nicotine they come to crave, from electronic cigarettes and by-pass the tar that would coat their lungs. That would be good, but it has nothing to do with nail biting.

2.   Let them kiss the dog. You can even let the dog lick their faces. Now why didn’t I get to do this? My parents thought the dog’s tongue had been in terrible places and let me know about it. But you know what, as it turns out dogs have healing stuff in their saliva, so I could have been just as chummy with my dear dog as I wanted to be. Oh, well, it’s all saliva under the bridge.

3.   Don’t bathe them every single day. In this case for sure a little dirt won’t hurt. But, what about the sheets, what about sand in their beds? Well, if they wet their beds, you have to change the sheets every night and every morning, anyhow. The kids have to have a bath too, so bathe them in the morning when you change the sheets and everything will be good and clean all day. I mean the sheets will be clean. We hope the kids will find a little dirt to play in. I had no idea how complicated this might become.

4.   Put the baby’s pacifier in your mouth to clean it off. Don’t forget, though, babies are deadly. I’ve caught my best colds just from sharing a bite of cookie. Besides, I don’t mind doggy spit, but baby’s? Yuk, no.

Now here’s my childhood experience and I’m really quite healthy. The worst disease I’ve ever had was the flu and that only a couple times in my life. No, I don’t get flu shots, but you go right ahead. I’m not responsible for what you do.

Anyhow, my childhood girlfriend, Suzie Q., and I emailed our memoirs to each other one cold winter. That was fun. We were as honest as we could be. One thing we discovered was that we lived an incredibly dirty life. Everywhere we went there was dirt—the school playground was all dirt. It had scattered pieces of old broken glass here and there. (The broken glass was a treasure. We saved it and used it to play hopscotch.) My brother and I liked to explore the prairie and vacant lots. Susie Q’s brothers had a thriving fishing-worm business. That was not a clean job. And here’s the clincher…none of us ever took a bath more than once a week. We may have washed our hands now and then, though. I really can’t remember, I had to wash dishes every day so why would I need to wash my hands?

Did the dirt show? Yes. Once when I stayed at Grandmother’s she noticed that my elbows were crusted with ground-in dirt. Even though I did bathe once a week, no one cared how clean I got. The more Grandmother scrubbed, the more determined she became to remove that offending layer of skin. Oh, goodness, my elbows haven’t been dirty for a minute since.

But I like Suzie Q’s story better. Her bath usually took place on Saturday night, but one Friday after school, her aunt and cousin came through town on their way home. They invited Suzy to attend a school program the cousin was in, and they left in a hurry taking a change of clothes for Suzie.

Suzie got the first bath. She was company, after all. She’d never had the first bath before because she had two older brothers who out ranked her. Yep, water was scarce. Most families bathed the whole bunch in the same few inches, one at a time, of course. Here’s good news, though, in my mother’s family, they always bathed the baby last! Anyhow, on the night of the play when Suzie finished taking all the dirt off her skin, she found it was stuck to the inside of the bathtub. There wasn’t anything she could do but dry off and get dressed for the play. She was so embarrassed when her kindly aunt simply cleaned the tub and drew new water that she never forgot it.

Dirt is good, but here in Florida, we have lot of sweat, especially in the summertime. In America, stale sweat is rude, so even though we often have water shortages, too, we still have to bathe more frequently than we might wish. We also get sand in our shoes, we have sand almost everywhere, but unfortunately, we have no dirt.

Treasure Day

4 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

This morning I spent some time journaling and reading and it got the day off to a magnificent start. The first thing I experienced was the uncondintional love of the Lord. Guess what? He loved you that way too, believe it or not. I had fun drawing a picture of a treasure chest and using glitter in for the gold. Breakfast was delicious even thoug it was the same breakfast I have every day with few exceptions. I had some errands to run and Bill was feeling antsy so he said he’d chauffer me. Here’s what made the day a treasure:

  1. Took a check to the high-school library for a friend who wanted to pay fines and cost of book for a student she doesn’t even know. Fines waived, book inexpensive. Student saved. It was a fluke thing. The student is good about returning books, but this one was lost and gone forever and she didn’t have the money to pay for it so she was no longer allowed to check books out of the high school library.
  2. Stopped at the office supply for a dozen black Pentel Pilot pens, x fine. I know I said I wasn’t going to buy any more pens, but these are my special ones that make thoughts flow.
  3.  Went to the big store for dusting powder just like our daughter bought for her mother-in-law whom she bathes twice a week. Haven’t had any dusting powder for decades. I was looking for the one that was lavender scented, in a beautiful round box, with a puff for under two dollars. We asked the associates, but they couldn’t find it. Bill could. We showed the associate and got a nice little story about how her grandmother insisted she and the other children always use the powder after a shower to keep from getting a rash.
  4.  Also in the big store they had tiny sugar donuts and free coffee. Special treat, but Bill had to bag all the veggies, because my hands were busy. Mouth too.
  5. Also in big store, talked to handicapped red haired, red bearded man buying toys for described tiny black poodle. In agreement that tiny black poodles rule the world and are a terror to big dogs.
  6. Passed a lady with a dog sitting in her cart like a pasha, observing the passing scene. I asked cheerfully not judgementally how the dog gets to come to the store. “Oh, he always comes. He won’t stay home alone.” Very good very quiet Jack Russell. He must be good or stay home alone.
  7. Bought chocolate-covered almonds, and a magazine. Magazine unusual purchase, chocolate covered almonds staple.
  8. Clerk singing and rotating bag carousel, “No more full bags here, we’re done.” Tra-la. She’s so entertaining that we ask if she ever thought of going on the road. She laughs. No, she says, most of the time I’m unaware of playing around. “That’s why we come to your checkout.” Bill says. “Because I’m unaware?” she quips. We laugh.
  9. Bill drops me at the trail. Halfway home, voila, the shiny green metal bench is in place! The man who built and installed it is standing there like a painter with a masterpiece. I ask if the cement holding it is dry. He pokes down through the mulch with his finger. His verdict is…yes. I used quick-setting. I ask if I may I be the first  sit upon it. Yes, again. I perch in the middle of the bench, but alas, there is no one there with a camera to take my picture. Bencher and benchee happy and satisfied with sunny day and good job of trail maintenance.
  10. Waldorf salad for lunch. Apples, celery, walnuts, raisins, mayo, sour cream. Yum.
  11. Unpack small bouquet of brightly colored flowers. I know they’re dyed, but what glowing fuchsias, oranges, greens, and yellows!
  12. What shall I say to make an even dozen paens of gratitude? Oh yes, an invitation to lunch on Friday with dear, good friends. Friday is set to be another treasure day. Thursday too, though I know not what the future may hold, I do know who holds the future.

Matthew 6:33


By DiVoran Lites

By DiVoran Lites


Morning Song

31 Dec


According to Mary Harwell Sayler in her new book Poetry Dictionary for Children and for Fun, an aubade is: “a morning song. Sometimes it’s a love poem. Sometimes it’s a sad song, but ready or not, an aubade greets the dawn.”

Here’s an aubade for today, actually yesterday, because yesterday it was warm, today it’s cold.

Morning Song

Feed cats

Fill water bowls

Make coffee

Let cats out

Let cats in

“Good morning, husband.”

House chilly

Step out the door and into sunshine.

Tropical breeze

Take a walk

Vines in a yard hanging from a line

Purple flowers

A sycamore clatters brown leaves

“Trees of the field shall clap their hands.”*

Fallen leaves skitter, call, “come hither.”

Not yet!

Six-foot sunflowers, yellow duckies round their feet.

Turn back, work to do.

Thank God.

*Isaiah 55:12



What is Success?

29 Oct

My Take

 DiVoran Lites

Here’s the deal. If all goes as expected, my first novel will soon be published on several e-book sites. I can hardly believe it myself after all this time, but just the idea of it sets me to wondering whether people will like Sacred Spring or not. I sure enjoyed writing it.

People sure liked, To Kill a Mocking Bird. It won just about every award for writing there was and sold at least 30 million books. But with the greatest success possible, it was the beginning and the end of Harper Lee’s writing career.

I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want to get rich. I just want to keep on writing. I’ve got a bouquet of novels, some written and needing polishing, some still in my head. I am the consummate later bloomer and I’m beginning to think that is the best thing I could possibly be.

Other writers try to figure out why Harper Lee never wrote any more novels. They give reasons such as:

1. The publicity was so invasive she couldn’t bear to go through it all again.

2. Money wasn’t a big deal to her, either.

She had a sister and some good friends, and she loved to fish, but she loved to write best of all. She had a childhood friend, who was also a writer, who betrayed her and turned his back on her. He was jealous. How much effect does venom have on the life of a writer? I know from personal experience that some kinds of criticism can constipate a writer’s mind.

Many writers have overcome all those problems and gone on to write seventy or a hundred good books. But I feel that I could identify with Harper Lee, in the area of blocking myself and never going any further.

So, what is success to me?

Pulitzer. No thank you. I’m not in that league. Money, God is already supplying all my needs. So what does my writing dream come to?

I want to sit down at my computer and be myself. I want to commune with story people. I want to be interested in everything and everybody. Life is my lab. I want to arrange and rearrange sentences, describe things, play with words. I want family and friends who love me for myself and who are easy to be with. That’s all. Maybe I’m a success already, because that’s exactly the way I’m living right now and I love it.

The world is full of books, it is also full of food, the demand for both is endless. That’s success as far as I’m concerned.

Cuban Tree Frogs in Florida

22 Oct

My Take


DiVoran Lites 

I must write something down. I can’t talk until I do.

It’s about Cuban tree frogs.

I have one in my shedlette.

He’s been around for about three years.


I think I know his mom, but she has moved on.

He lived with his sister under the porch eave and would startle when I ran the broom to take down spider webs.

Now he lives in my shedlette.

When I was moving a bag of fertilizer, he leapt down to the next shelf and hid.

I jumped back.

He’s much bigger now, but I think he’s alone.

Cuban tree frogs are exotics and shouldn’t be allowed to exist in Florida.

They eat green tree frogs.

It’s true, you used to see them by the dozens.

I love green tree frogs. Their golden racing stripes are real gold from God.

You’re supposed to kill Cuban tree frogs. The tree huggers say so.

Put them in a plastic bag and shove them in the freezer.

My friend knew that.

My son and I talked about it one day in front of his children, but they kept saying, “No, no, don’t do it”

So the Cuban is still here.

I  couldn’t do it anyway, but I know someone who knows someone who can.

Susan wanted to be a responsible Floridian.

However, she didn’t want her freezer full of Cuban Tree Frogs.

She has about a ga-zillion of them.

She chopped two in half with a hoe.

She felt so bad she decided not to do it ever again.

She says, “I could never kill them all no matter how hard I try.”

They hole up in her garage during hurricanes and they die and dry. “What can you do with a dried Cuban tree frog,” she says, “except make jewelry out of it?” Susan is an artist. She makes lemonade out of lemons.

Anyhow, she’s right. I feel so much better. I only have one Cuban Tree Frog and really—I don’t have to think about killing him anymore. I never was going to anyhow.

Exodus 20:13




How to Stimulate the Economy

17 Sep

My Take


 DiVoran Lites

Last night after our friends left, Bill was watching a movie in our studio, formerly the garage and took his head-set off for a moment. Right away, he heard running water and got up to take a look at the laundry area. Hot water was running from the heater onto the indoor outdoor carpet for the second time in a decade. We rushed around getting things turned off and laying towels to keep the water from spreading any further than it already had.

Bill called the company from whom we lease the water-heater. They are responsible to replace the water heater if, no, I mean when it goes bad. They’d made good on the last one, and we knew they’d make good on this one.

The first thing we rented from the company back in 1965 was a clothes dryer for about three dollars a month. It was a deal we didn’t want to pass up, it was also the first dryer we’d ever had. It was great for Florida mainly because of all the rain we get some months. I was a bit sorry it was too late for the tons of diapers I’d hung out for our two kids, but that just made me appreciate having a dryer more. It lasted twenty-five years. The repairman that replaced it said, “They don’t make them like this any more. Now they have what they call planned obsolescence.” That was the first time I heard of it, and I was shocked.

In my home town one of the original Edison light bulbs still worked perfectly. Also I read that pantyhose existed that would not run, but they kept them off the market so they could keep selling them. I’ll bet they’re hurting now that they’ve gone out of fashion. We all knew about how much better cars could have been at lasting longer, but obsolescence is set up to stimulate the economy and if you love your country, you’re supposed to put up with all kinds of foolishness, so we do.

Bill called Saturday night at 10:30 and within twelve hours the man came for the old water heater and to install a new one. It took three hours. As he finished up, Bill complimented him on a job well done, and said. The other one lasted ten years. I hope this one will do better than that. The man said, “Probably not.”

When he was gone, Bill looked it over and said, I believe I’ll pipe that overflow vent outside, since a flood is the only thing that will tell us our water heater is ready to retire.

Wouldn’t you love to know how long a water heater would last if space age technology and craftsmanship were brought to bear on the problem? But what do I know? Excellence may already be on the way out. Ya think.

Colossians 3:22



Wringer Washing Machine Blues

12 Sep


A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites


One day my mother asked if I wanted to help her with washing the family laundry.  At the time, we had one of those barrel shaped washing machines with the clothes wringer attached to the top and side of it.


I must have been about 7 or 8 and had only watched my mother and grandmother do the laundry, but as a young boy intrigued with all things mechanical, I was eager to see how everything worked.  She showed me how to turn on the water to fill the tub, how big a load of clothes could be washed, how much soap powder to add, and all that technical stuff.  I watched carefully so I could do it myself the next time she needed help with the laundry.  After she got the washer going, I stayed around to see how long it took to wash the cloths and how everything worked.


When the washing was done, the tub had to be drained and the cycle repeated to rinse the clothes.  After that was all done it was time to wring the water out of the clothes so they could be hung on the clothesline to dry.  She was very careful to show me how to feed each piece of clothing into the rotating ringer so I wouldn’t get my fingers pinched.


This worked well for a while until I figured I was a pro at that job and got careless.  As I was feeding a piece of clothing into the wringer, I pushed a little too hard, and my middle finger went into the wringer with the piece of clothing.  “Ops! Just pull it back out dummy.”  But that didn’t work and by now that wringer was eating up my whole hand.  It didn’t hurt that much but I was scared and I screamed as loud as I could.  My mother came running but by the time she got there, I was up to my elbow in that hungry wringer’s rollers.  She tried stopping the wringer but didn’t think to just pull the electric cord from the wall.  By now I was up to my armpit and was sure I was going to lose my arm.  I’m sure my screaming didn’t help my mother’s concentration.  She grabbed me around the chest and pulled with all her might, stripping my arm out against the rollers.  This time when I screamed it was because of the pain and the vision of my arm coming out of its socket.  I must have had my eyes closed or something because I really don’t know how she got my arm out of those rollers without pulling my arm off, but she did.

I had painful scraps all down the inside of my arm but thank goodness I still had my arm.  I really don’t like to think about what could have happened if my mother hadn’t been there to pull my arm out of those rollers in time.    Back in those days, I don’t think there was any kind of safety overload switch that would have stopped the rollers when my body got to them.  I would have come out looking like a cartoon character, or worse, Flat Sam.  I think of it as just another case of Someone up there watching over and protecting inquisitive young kids.



Scripture: 2 Peter 3:17



PPSD and God

8 Sep

Today I am suffering from PPSD or Post Promo Shock Disorder. My brain is numb and  my fingers feel lifeless and lethargic. We just finished three days of giving away Rebekah’s newest e-book Julianne. The promo was exciting  and a lot of books were downloaded. Friends on twitter and Facebook all rallied to spread the word and I am thankful for each one of you. Most of all I am grateful to God. There is no other explanation, we are just not that good at promoting. Hugs……Onisha







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