Tag Archives: Family Life

My First Car~Part 1

10 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane


I believe I have mentioned before that I started working at an early age (see “I was a 12-Year Old Businessman” blog 01/23/2013) because I had big dreams of things I wanted to do. One of those dreams was to own a car that I could work on and call my own (As I was growing up, my mother always told me she thought I was mechanically inclined). If you can believe it, that didn’t seem so far in the future to me, as the law in New Mexico, at the time, allowed a person to get a driver’s license at age 14. I started my dream adventure at around age 10 by mowing lawns with a push mower (In case some of you younger readers don’t know what that is, the mower doesn’t have a motor on it and the power to cut the grass is provided by you).


By the time I was 12, I had saved enough money to buy a Sears self-propelled gas powered mower (Of course you know what those are, right). I spent a lot of time pushing those mowers around the neighborhood to my various jobs. As my lawn mowing business grew, my parents helped by driving me and my mower to jobs outside our neighborhood.


My lawn mowing reputation grew and in the winters I had a paper route to help supplement my income. So, by the time I was 14, I hadn’t saved enough money for a car, but I needed better transportation than a bicycle for the paper route and to get around town. Strange thing about this was that my parents didn’t want me to have a car, but they were OK with me having a motorcycle. Go figure! Most parents won’t even talk to their kids about having a motorcycle. So, after I got my driver’s license, I bought a used Harley Davidson 125cc motorcycle. Boy could I carry a lot of newspapers on that machine. And, I could go anywhere in town without breaking a sweat.


When I was 16 I got a part-time job as a bag boy with a super market that opened a new store in town. With this job and my paper route, I was making enough money to make payments on a larger motorcycle. My parents helped me buy a new Harley Davidson 165cc motorcycle and now I felt like the “King of the Road” on my bright red cycle. This was the mid-50s and “Fonzie” was a big hit in the “Happy Days” TV show. So of course I had to have the cool “Fad” threads to play the part (leather motorcycle jacket with lots of zippered pockets, Levis jeans with rolled up cuffs, motorcycle boots, and a “Duck Tail” haircut) and complete the scene.


Now I know it’s hard for some of you to imagine the Bill Lites you know today as ever having been one of those motorcycle bums all those many years ago. And I’m sure that, those of you who know me don’t believe I ever had enough hair for one of those hairdos. Well, just take a look at my sophomore year book photo.


Now I know, with the title of this blog, you were expecting to hear all about my first car, and it’s coming. I promise. It was a growing process, so hang in there, I’ll get to it (maybe in Part 2). At the super market I worked my way up to “Checker” (Cashier) that paid more and wasn’t near as hard work as carrying out armloads of heavy paper bags full of groceries to customer’s cars (in all kinds of weather), unloading truckloads of heavy boxes (at 4:00 am) and mopping/polishing floors. The lawn mowing jobs and the paper route went to others who would work for less.

—–To Be Continued—–






Kitchen Table Hierarchy

7 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Three Christmas celebrations and one birthday just about left me partied out. I did have enjoy  making some new snacks and eating them, of course. Then, just as I thought my party schedule was blank, we decided to attend a post-Christmas family party in eastern North Carolina. ( We had barely arrived in Florida from our home in western North Carolina)

 Christmas in Florida was depressingly warm at eighty-six degrees, and I do dislike heat, so I am sure the chance to escape to some cooler temps factored in our decision.

We had dinner at one of the local restaurants then headed to our uncles house for some serious gabbing. We are a talking bunch of people when we get together. My mother was one of twelve children. That means I have a lot of cousins.

When my mom and most of her other siblings were alive, they congregated around a kitchen table teasing and laughing while my generation spread out, chasing our children or catching up with everyone. This past Fall, I noticed that it was my generation now hanging out at the table. We have ascended a step on the ladder of life.

As a rule we don’t designate first cousin, second cousin etc. We are cousins…period, but for picture purposes, we tried to separate the cousins into first, second etc. The picture is of  second cousins, although there is a first cousin in there, but she fits in better with the “youngsters.” (There are a LOT more cousins, but they were not able to attend)


I am so proud of each one of these cousins and love them dearly. One day they will be the ones sitting at the table while their children race around keeping up with the kids. When the time comes for my generation to ascend the final step of life’s ladder, I know the family will be in good hands.

This is one of the songs my mom and dad loved to sing. Many of the artists in this video are gone now.


22 Nov


Judy Wills



As I’ve mentioned in previous musings, I’ve been going through stacks and stacks of papers and pictures that we have accumulated. I’ve found a number of cartoons that my Mother had cut out – probably the newspaper – and sent them to me. And I’ve used some of them in my Old Things R New postings.

Today, however, I would like to share something that we found in my Mother’s Bible following her death.

She was always a hard worker, whether it was at the job where she was paid (she was an accountant, and worked at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque to supplement Daddy’s paycheck, to purchase things that we might not have been able to have otherwise), or when she purchased and opened the Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, or when she was cleaning the house, cooking our meals, doing the laundry…. She was a hard worker.

I think the only time I ever saw her sit down and “rest” was after dinner and clean-up from that, to watch a little TV. One of her enjoyments – especially in her later years – was to sit down after breakfast, with a cup of her favorite coffee, and peruse the newspaper. She would read it from cover to cover.

But this little snippet of information is a real insight into her life. I think it was a testimony to the way she lived her life, and the way she saw life. It certainly makes one take notice about the wisdom of the words.


What do you think?

Her favorite scripture was Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.



How Did He Know?

15 Nov


Judy Wills


As I’ve mentioned in previous musings, I’ve been going through stacks and stacks of papers and pictures that we have accumulated. I’ve found a number of cartoons that my Mother had cut out – probably the newspaper – and sent them to me. I have enjoyed them all, and found some to be more poignant than others.

As I said, my Mother has been gone since 1993, so all of these things were sent well before that. But they still hold true for today. I hope this particular one holds true for our daughters.

We always used to enjoy anything Dennis the Menace, and this is no exception.

Dennis the Menace


Credit to Hank Ketcham:


How Many Meals?

8 Nov


Judy Wills




Throughout the years, my Mother had cut out and sent me articles or cartoons from the newspaper or a magazine, that she thought I would enjoy. I found them to be such fun, and I knew she was thinking about me when she did so. As I come upon them these days, it reminds me so much of her and how much I miss her. She’s been in heaven for 22 years now, and sometimes it’s hard for me to fathom all those years that have gone by.

Judy Wills mother

In any case, at one point in time, she sent this cartoon of Hi and Lois (credit Mort Walker and Dirk Browne). Hi and Lois has been one of my favorite cartoons for many years, and this one is hilarious! I don’t know that I’ve ever sat down and calculated just how many meals I’ve cooked in my life time, but this one made me tired, just thinking about it! Of course, I don’t cook as much these days as I did when we first married all those years ago, so I would have to take that into consideration, as well.


Did you take the time to figure it out?   16,701 meals for Lois. Whew! No wonder she was tired and didn’t have dinner ready!

This reminds me of the e-mail message/facebook entry that came through some time ago. Seems someone wrote a letter to the “Letters to the Editor” of a local newspaper and stated that he didn’t see any reason to go to church. He had been a church attender for so many years, but couldn’t remember a single sermon preached, so why bother to go?

Well, this set off a fire storm of letters – which the editor encouraged!. But it all ended when another man finally wrote in and stated that he had been married for a great number of years to his wife. She had probably cooked 30,000 meals for him, and he could only remember just a few of them. But (and here’s the kicker), he knew that if she hadn’t cooked those meals, and if he hadn’t eaten them, he wouldn’t be alive today. While he couldn’t remember them, they had nourished him and kept him going.

The same with going to church to hear the sermons. They nourish our souls and keep us alive in this world, and give us strength for each day and each situation we find ourselves in.

Words to live by. We actually NEED the time spent with a body of believers, listening to the pastor bring God’s Word to us, to encourage us, lift us up, and strengthen us for our daily lives. The gathering of believers brings us the strength we need – the fellowship with other believers gives us hope and encouragement.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105




27 Oct



A word from DiVoran

 Because I remember her brothers from our childhood, I particularly loved this email from my friend, Patricia. Sometimes I was invited for supper at the Franklins and it was a world of difference from eating in a restaurant-booth with my one younger brother, though I do love my brother. Patricia had five brothers– riches indeed! What I liked most about them was that they were so sweet and funny. Patricia and I were in our eleventh and twelfth years and her bothers ranged from about eight to sixteen. Patricia has always been petite, but she never had any trouble handling all those boys and even enjoying being with them.

Now I’ll let you get to Patricia’s story


I went to the funeral of a friend this week.  She was always relaxed, pleasant, and friendly no matter what, and had a wonderful sense of humor.  She was also a leader, planner, and song leader in our prayer group. She had suffered from cancer, and knew the end was near.  She planned the simple service, including the songs.  It was very simple and wonderful.  I also noticed she, in her witty little way, included some readings for her family. I smiled through the whole service and whenever I think of her, I have to smile.  I understood that her last words to the pastor were: “Well, father, see you in heaven.” The pastor smiled, I’m sure.

Today, we went to a breakfast in the social room at the church my friend had attended.  On the way in, we met a widower we know, and asked him to sit with us.  As I was looking around, I saw my friend’s brother by himself (the brother of the lady who died).  I motioned for him to join us. A smile lit up his face and he hurried over.  Another widower came in and we gestured for him to come over too.  The four of us enjoyed some great stories together.

When we go to the ranch country where my husband grew up, we go out to meals or coffee with several of his lifelong friends. A lot of times I’m the only woman. We have a lot to talk about. One time they were trying to recall something and the suggestion came: “We should ask the old-timersWe are the Old Timers.” Everybody smiled that time.

I’ve often felt left out because we didn’t live where either of us had grown up. That’s what gives me the tendency to look for others who might be alone too.  At breakfast that day, I turned around and saw another parishioner eating alone, so I invited him to come and sit with us. We were all enjoying getting better acquainted and sharing stories.   About that time, a woman dressed as a nurse came up and speaking directly to me said, “You and your five men come on over to the health fair across the parking lot. It is free.”  I was startled the way she said it, but then I had to smile.  Yes, I always seem to end up with a bunch of guys, I have since I was a kid, and didn’t think a thing about it.  I don’t know what she was thinking.   I was just thinking how people do not seem to smile much anymore, and had decided to make a special effort to make it happen. When it does, it’s heavenly, and none of us feel lonely anymore.




Practicing the Piano

25 Oct


Judy Wills


I’ve mentioned in previous musings about how I started taking piano lessons the day I started first grade – and they continued until I graduated from high school. I was not a very accomplished pianist at that time. Perhaps still not, but more than I was at that time.

1952-Our new piano

1952-Our new piano

I remember my brother, Bill, saying how much he hated practicing the violin – so much so that our parents gave up and let him quit. Well, I pretty much had the same feeling about the piano. Yeah, I wanted to play that instrument, but just didn’t want to devote the time to practice! But they wouldn’t let me quit.

In going through some old papers recently, I came upon this poem.


My mother, at some point in time, found it and cut it out and sent it to me. It depicted how I would “practice” so much of the time. I remember one particular time that I just sat there on the piano bench, not even touching a note. Mother was outside, hanging up the clothes on the clothesline, so I didn’t think she would hear me. When my “time” was up, I just skipped outside, ready to get to something else. Mother looked at me and said, “Did you have a nice nap? Now get in there and practice!!” Trudging back to the piano, my thought was, “how did she know???”

But, as with all things, practice…practice…practice is what it takes to get a command of any instrument. I learned that the hard way, whether the piano or the organ (still not my favorite instrument to play). As I said before, I have the talent, but I don’t have the gift of the instrument. I’ve never been able to just sit down and play something for my own enjoyment. I wish I did or could – it would have made my practice time so much more enjoyable.

I haven’t used my talent on the piano for several years now. I still have my books and I do sit down occasionally to keep my hand in, but not very often. I still love to play the old hymns – and some of the arrangements of some new songs. But I still must have that piece of music in front of me in order to play it. None of it comes naturally.

But if I am ever needed, I can, and do, pick it up and play. God has given me the ability to be able to play for Him and His Kingdom. I play for His Glory, and that fills me up like nothing else.

I am blest.

Trials and Tribulations

12 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistThis morning Bill had a procedure in a different town from where we live. It’s something we’re very grateful he can do because it means knows no surgery. Is called a TUMT  I’ll be driving Bill home because he’s having Valium and a pain pill for the procedure. I’ll be doing some waiting so I have my small art case all ready to go. I have the tiniest palette you ever saw, crayons, inktense pencils, and a multi-media sketchbook and they all fit into the case, along with a water pen to paint with.

I plan to leave the office while he’s in the back to take my morning walk. I’ll be sure to have my hat to shade my face. I’ve put on sun-screen, but I haven’t been in the habit of wearing it and have been bitten by the sun because of it. I have the cosmetic surgeon’s scar to show for it. I didn’t use sunscreen all these years because I heard that it wouldn’t allow my skin to absorb vitamin D from the sun. That reminded me of my mother, Dora, telling me she had rickets as a child. That was caused by a lack of sunshine. Her legs were slightly bowed for the rest of her life. Now I wonder if she got it soon after she was held indoors in quarantine for nine months because she had scarlet fever. Her baby brother died earlier of a disease they called St Vitus Dance.

On Bill’s and my jaunt I can do whatever I want with my phone. I can look up a youtube video for a hymn for this blog. Here it is! Nearer My God to Thee, and what a pleasure – beautiful video and words to the song included.

I’m taking a box of raisins in case I get peckish and a cup of ice water for thirst. We should be home in time for lunch.

We’re home now. Bill had no pain, but he was ready for a nap. All these medical procedures can wear a body out but like the energizer bunny, through the grace of God, we keep on keeping on.

Yellow and Green Thistle signed

The Price of Exercise

11 Oct


Judy Wills



In previous musings, I have mentioned that I have been an “exerciser” for most of my life – well, at least most of my adult life. I guess I really became serious about it while we were living in Panama City, Florida in the early 1970’s. We were actually living on Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB).



I don’t really know what motivated me to start jogging, but that’s what I did. The ground there is pretty flat, so there weren’t any “hills” or even much of any kind of incline to thwart my progress.

And so it was, that I was jogging for about three months before I shamed Fred into getting into the program with me (he says we were actually RUNNING – not jogging!). We would get up quite early and go out together. When we came home, Fred would shower and get ready for his work day while I got the girls up and breakfast on the table. After everyone was gone, then I would go out for another run. I timed myself once, and found that I was running four miles in 28 minutes!! Not bad for an old lady of 40!

And speaking of an “old lady of 40,” perhaps the motivation was that I decided that I did NOT want to be a fat old lady, and was half-way to both! At least, that’s what I told Fred! And so, the exercise program began.

Some form of that exercise continued for many years. We were in Panama City for five years, then in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for one year (Fred was in school – not the prison!!). And in case you don’t know – it SNOWS a LOT in Kansas! But we bundled up, including ski masks and did our daily run. Then on to Germany from there.

It wasn’t long before I discovered aerobic dancing while in Germany, and realized that I couldn’t do both the jogging and the aerobic dancing, and since I was teaching the aerobic dancing (and getting paid for it), I stopped the jogging. I continued teaching, even for about seven years after we rotated back state-side.

While I enjoyed the results of all that exercise, I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed the exercise itself. The aerobic dancing was by far more fun that jogging, but it was still exercise, and I was still dripping sweat like crazy!!

In any case, I found this cartoon once, and thought it described my attitude toward exercise exactly. I hope you enjoy it, too! Credit to Johnny Hart:










Showers of Love~Part 2

27 Sep


Judy Wills



As I mentioned last time, God has blessed me richly with a wonderful husband who has been literally catering to my every whim and need since I’ve had total knee replacement surgery.



But I am blest with others, as well. We’ve had wonderful friends who have brought meals to us, along with visits to encourage us both. We’ve had phone calls and cards wishing us both well. Our church family is the only support group we need. They supported us when I had cancer back in 2000, and they are just as supportive now.

But there is one other I want to mention. As soon as we called our oldest daughter, Karen, with the news when the surgery was to be, she said she wanted to come and help out. Fred said she didn’t need to, but her reply was “what if I WANT to come?” And we told her to “come on down!” And she did.



There wasn’t any need for her to be here the four days I was in the hospital, so she arrived the day following my discharge from the hospital, and she stayed five days. It was so good to see her and have her here. She did the cooking (remember, Fred isn’t much of a cook!), and helped me in and out of my chair. She unhooked me from the ice machine that ran across my knee 22 hours a day, and then hooked me back up. She encouraged me to do the exercises to jump-start my healing process.

And we had some great times of just sitting and visiting. We always seem to have something to talk about, and this time was no exception. I did mention to her that there were times that I wanted to just pick up and run to her and her sister, when they were having health issues – just because….. Perhaps just because I’m Mom. Karen had an unknown ulcer issue a few years back that scared us silly. My immediate response was to fly up there to take care of her. Her sister had emergency appendectomy surgery the week before our grandson’s wedding – and I wanted to jump on the plane and be with her. None of which could I do. So I fully understood Karen’s desire to just come be with Mom. Made this old heart glad, too

Karen and her husband, Brian, have been our traveling partners on many adventures, and they are great fun to travel with. Brian is a planner, and he works it out to see as much as possible on each trip. We are always delighted when they ask us to travel with them.



God has given me the blessings of family and friends that touch my heart in so many ways.

I am blest, indeed.










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