Tag Archives: Family

Memory Lane Trip~Part 7 (Continued)

15 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



Day 7 – Monday 4/23/2018


As you might have guessed by now, this was turning out to be a really busy day.  Next on my list, there in Dallas, was a visit to the Frontier of Flight Museum a few miles north of downtown Dallas, located at the Dallas Love Field Airport.  This is the best aviation museum I have visited on this trip so far.  This is a large museum with two large display areas and 30+ beautifully restored airplanes.



One of the museum’s most unique displays is their complete Boeing 737 airliner. The nose section of the airplane is inside the building and the passenger section is outside the building.  Visitors can access the airplane from inside the building and examine the entire complete interior at their leisure.



One of my favorite TV series of late, is “Fast N’ Loud” which follows the exploits of hot rod hunter, Richard Rawlings, and his Gas Monkey Garage crew, located there in northwest Dallas.  I’m constantly amazed by the crew’s talents, as they transform “barn finds” or a “basket case” car into some of the most beautiful and unusual road machines ever. Since I was in Dallas, I decided to stop in at the Gas Monkey Garage and see what was happening.



Surprise!!  The episodes of the TV series I have seen are mostly confined to the garage area, as seen in the photo above, with Richard’s office cubical in the back of the garage.  So imagine my surprise to find that Richard has expanded his Gas Monkey complex to include Corporate Offices, and the “Merch” store, which is an apparel store feathering “Trending Threads” and Gas Monkey souvenirs.



As luck would have it, the Discovery film crew was working on another episode, and access to the garage area was restricted.  I was disappointed not to be able to meet any of the “Monkeys” to tell them how much I enjoy the series and the wonderful work they do.



One of Richard’s ventures, since the series started, was the opening of the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, located just a few miles north of the Garage, on I-35E.  I stopped by to check out this beautiful restaurant, but things were very quiet, as the dinner crowd had not started showing up, so I headed west on I-30 to meet my cousins in Arlington, TX.



I had made arrangements to meet three of my first cousins in Arlington for dinner and some reminiscing. These cousins were from my father’s side of the family, and I hadn’t seen any of them in almost 20 years.  Our family had made several visits to see them, in central Louisiana, when I was 6 or 8 years old.  Milton is my age, so we ran around with each other during those visits.  Gerry and Delois were Milton’s older sisters, and as you can imagine, we had lots to talk about.  Well, as luck would have it, we had a communications breakdown, and we missed each other at the restaurant.  After driving around a while trying to connect with them, I finally gave up and stopped to enjoy some really delicious St. Louis Ribs with baked beans and cold slaw at Jambo’s BBQ Shack there in Arlington.



With the help of my cousin, Gerry, I had made reservations, before I started this trip, for a room at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center, where Gerry and her husband George live. This was a great arrangement for the two nights I planned to stay in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as it included three meals each day if I so elected.  And, I would be right there in the same building with two of my cousins.  Later, when we finally did find each other, there at the center, we had a wonderful time going over some of our family history. Gerry’s sister, Delois, also lives in the Masonic Retirement Center, and she joined us in Gerry’s apartment for the festivities.

—–To Be Continued—–


Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 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.




Animals at the Train Station Depot

30 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites



Brownie look alike from Pixabay


Animals have been important to our family for as far back as I know.  When we first moved to Westcliffe (the town’s spelling has an e on it, but the school’s does not.) Dad learned by the grapevine that one of the ranchers had some part Border collie pups. He may have offered one to Dad, I don’t know about that.

“Get your money and let’s go, Dad told us.” He believed in paying for what he got and he drove us out to the ranch to pick out a pup. In the barn,we held some soft, wiggly puppies trying to get closer to us. I don’t know how we decided which one to take, but whichever one it was, we ended up calling him Brownie. We’d brought all our earnings from working in the restaurant and around the house. We had killed flies with a swatter to keep the café clean, washed dishes, cleaned off tables, and taken out crates of empty pop bottles to send back to the bottling factory next time the delivery truck came up from Canon City.  We had thirty-five cents. Dad was satisfied and so was the rancher.


Clover (Pixabay)


A few years later Dad bought each of us a calf so we could get started in the cattle business. My calf’s name was Clover and she was a sweet and pretty little thing. David named his calf, Red,because as a Hereford, that was his color. One morning when I went out to the shed to feed Clover, she was sprawled in the straw not moving or breathing. It was the saddest day of my young life so far. If I ever needed to call up tears for any reason, all I had to do was to remember Clover. Red, however, grew up thinking he was human.


Goose (Pixabay)


Another time Dad bought a white goose we knew was for Thanksgiving. I suppose Dad meant to take it, all nicely dressed, or undressed, so to speak, so Grandmother could cook it for us. The goose was majestic and tame. We loved her and decided we couldn’t let her become a cooked goose. We opened the shed door and let her out. When Dad noticed that she was gone, he made us go out to look for her. Thinking goose-swan what’s the difference, we ambled down to Grape Creek where the willow bushes grew. We ducked and pushed our way through them until we came to a small woven hut. Inside we saw a pallet, an empty whiskey bottle, and the picture of a lady from another time…but no goose. Dad was cross, but apparently,our misdeed didn’t warrant a spanking.


Trail Horses, Pixabay


Dad was a restaurateur, a builder, a flyer, and a budding cattleman. He also kept trail horses for the tourists he took up into the mountains to fish in the lakes. We kids also had a horse we kept in the feedlot. I think Dad got him cheap. His name was Yankee and Dad said judging by his teeth he was elderly. Part Shetland pony, he was also small, no match for the quarter horses most people kept. At first, Yankee and I had a hard time getting used to each other. I’d get on and he immediately trotted to the feedlot where he stopped on a dime and looked up to see me sail over his head. Dad only allowed that to happen a couple of times before he taught me to let Yankee know who was boss.


Tiger Kitty, Pixabay


Mouse (Pixabay)

We had a tiger kitty to keep the mice down, and he mostly lived outside because that was where the mice mostly stayed. Dad seemed like a tough guy, but he hated mice. In a small mining town in Nevada, he worked in Safeway as a meat cutter. For some reason,mice in the back room loved climbing up inside the worker’s pants. Dad shuddered even at the thought of mice. On the other hand, Mother thought they were adorable as long as they stayed out of the restaurant pantry. She told me that when I was a baby, we were delighted to sit and watch a nest full of baby mice romp and play with their mama invisible, but nearby. I like mice, too, but I’ve never been thoroughly tested by them.

Sometimes on the inside, I still feel like the little girl I was decades ago. My peers say they feel that way, too. For a lot of us, good memories like these are silver and gold and unfortunately for our poor families, we tell them a lot.





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.”

Memory Lane Trip~Part 3

27 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 3 – Thursday 4/19/2018


After breakfast this morning I took a little side trip, off of I-10, north on SR-27 to visit the Dequincy Rail Road Museum located in Dequincy, LA.  This was a very small museum and I got there before they opened. I took a photo of their steam locomotive #124 and their restored 1923 railroad Depot, and then headed on down the road to the next museum.



Next on the list this morning took me across the border into Texas, where I visited the Fire Museum of Texas located in Beaumont, TX. This is the restored 1927 Beaumont fire engine station, which displays several beautifully restored pieces of 19th century firefighting apparatus, and several fire engines/hook & ladder fire engines from the early and mid-20thcentury.



While I was in Beaumont, and just a few blocks away, I also visited the Texas Energy Museum.  This was a very large modern museum with exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia that major on the progress that the state of Texas realized, as a result of the development of the local oil industry.



Just around the corner from the Texas Energy Museum was the small restored Travis Street Electrical Sub-station, which has been converted into The Edison Museum.  This small sub-station gives the visitor a view of how electrical power was transferred for residential and commercial use back in early 1929, to keep the city of Beaumont lighted and running.


Next on the list was a visit to The Clifton Steamboat Museum located some 12 miles west of Beaumont. This museum was created by Mr. D. H. Clifton, who was an avid fan of Civil War maritime technology. The museum is filled with beautiful renderings of Civil War maritime battles and miniature models of many of the Civil War battleships and Ironclad’s of the period.  Mr. Clifton took it upon himself to single-handedly rescued the 1938 tugboat “Hercules” that was scheduled for the scrap yard, and moved it to his museum location in 1994.  Old “Hercules” could stand a new coat of paint in my opinion.



Now I headed west on I-10 again, to visit the Royal Purple Raceway (Now called Houston Raceway) located in Baytown, TX.  This huge sports complex includes a ¼ mile dragstrip (NHRA) and a 3/8 mile oval dirt track.  The pit area is large enough to accommodate 400 racing rigs, and the spectator viewing area seats 30,000.  The activity was electric at the raceway the day I was there, but sorrowfully it was all in preparation for the weekend event that I would miss.  Maybe I’ll catch an event next time I’m in the area.



I had no idea of what a big mistake I would be making when next I tried to visit the Battleship Texas (BB-35) located in La Porte, TX.  Road construction was terrible and had Greta so confused she couldn’t find the location. This was complicated by the fact that coming on the shortest route from Baytown, she had me using ferries which I didn’t have time for.  So, after several tries, I just gave up and headed for my next museum.




Note: This day’s activities will be continued next week.


—–To be Continued—–




Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 58 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 Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, writing blogs 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 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.

Bill’s favorite Scripture is: Philippians 1:6

Tea Party

5 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites





My friends love tea parties and so do I.
Grandmother Marie left me her
Collection of fancy teacups and
Mother Dora gave me her creme1940-s
“Ovenware” Tea Pot with flowers on it.
Mother told me all the stories in her world.


I heard about when she was a young mother
With two small kiddies. Every day
She would cook oatmeal on a coal stove
Like the one she was cleaning
Just before she went into labor
And had to go to the hospital g-r-u-n-g-y…


In those days the men went away
And the women held down the fort
Dora kept a clean, uncluttered house
After every meal.
She washed and dried the dishes
She gathered eggs,
Milked the goat
At five years old, I got to sit on the front step
And drink a glass of hot foamy milk
Dora fed chickens and gathered eggs.


Sewed clothes, repaired clothes
Washed clothes
Hung them on the line
To be examined by the neighbors.
And Grandmother Marie.


Early every morning
Mother hurried with her work so
She could dress up and
Walk her children down the block to
A neighbor or neighbors
Wanting to save her own cleaning effort
She couldn’t stay long
She had letters to write
To Daddy who was at the front.

Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren

21 Jan


Judy Wills





Fred and I have two sets of grandchildren – one set (boy and girl) from our oldest daughter, and one set (boy and girl – twins) from our youngest daughter. There is a wide age difference between the two sets – about 12 years in fact. So while they know each other, and probably like each other, they don’t really see each other that often.

Our oldest granddaughter, Katie, has complained that I have written about all the grandchildren except her! So this one is for Katie. As I think of or remember other things that have happened in her life, I will share them.

Since we moved to Florida when Katie was just a little thing, most of the time that family has come to visit during the Christmas holidays. Therefore, Katie has seen our house almost exclusively decorated for Christmas. It’s really funny to have her visit now – at a non-Christmas time and as she looks around the house and exclaim that “this is just wrong!” We have to rearrange the furniture in the living room to accommodate the Christmas tree that is placed in the center of the front windows. I guess she feels it should always be there – because that’s the way she remembers it.

They arrived one year for Christmas and I had made a different arrangement on the kitchen bar. The minute she walked in, she said, “that’s wrong! Where is the candle you usually have here?” So she got out that candle and replaced it with what I had done already. She’s a hoot!

Katie was a good student in school, and has recently graduated with a degree in Theatre Design and Management. Her specialty is stage management. And she’s very good at it! We were visiting with them last November, and were able to see a stage play that she had managed. She did the lighting and the sound, all by herself – in addition to being the stage manager! She has managed about 10 shows in the Chicago area. Five or six of them were in college, with some being the assistant stage manager, but she has managed four professionally, and is currently working two shows at the same time.

While in high school and college, she actually performed in some plays. Perhaps that’s where she felt the itch to manage. Here she is in a play. Her character was “Sadness.”

On another note, when our daughters surprised me for a late 75th birthday in Virginia last year (see my post  Surprise!)



Karen asked Katie if she was prepared to be idolized for the weekend. When Katie asked her what she meant, Karen said that her cousin, Hannah, would probably hang on Katie’s every word that weekend! And she did! It was so fun to watch.

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












31 Oct

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix


Cherish your family and friends
For they are your treasure,
A God given wealth
beyond measure.




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

Gone Fishin’

24 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites


Photo from Pinterest


My dad learned to fish from his dad. He loved it the best of all recreations. The first fishing trip I recall going on with dad was when we lived in Westcliffe, Colorado. We had a little restaurant and bar on Main Street called Min’s Café.

One early fall, Mother and Dad closed the restaurant and we went up into the Sangre de Cristo Range to fish in a creek. We drove our black 1946 Ford two-door car to about 9,000 feet elevation. We took a tent, fishing gear, and an aluminum set of pots, pans, and flatware that all fit together in a cozy kettle.

It wasn’t far, so we arrived early in the day and found ourselves in a high meadow. Dandelions with their green leaves grew all around, some of the flowers were yellow, and some were dressed in white fluff. The air was cool and fragrant. Grasses along the creek had begun to change colors. As soon as the tent was set up Dad took my brother and I down to the creek to start fishing. Our poles had two hooks each so we’d have a chance to catch more rainbow trout and more browns. Dad thought that since I was such a big girl I ought to be able to thread the worms he’d brought along onto the hooks. They were wiggly and squishy and I didn’t like doing it one bit, because I knew it had to hurt them. Dad was proud of me for doing it, though, so I was proud, too. He wanted us both to learn to enjoy his favorite sport. Dad and my brother went to fish further up the creek. Mother was resting in the car after a long week of working in the café. Feeling lazy, I released the fishing line into the creek in a quiet place and propped the rod against the bank with rocks. I then crawled into the tent and picked up my Nancy Drew mystery from the library. Reading was already my favorite recreation. Before I got through even one chapter I heard a commotion outside and crawled out of the tent to see what was going on. Dad and my brother were waiting for me. Holding up my fishing pole to show me that I had caught a fish on each hook. Wow, was I ever satisfied with my talent for fishing. Dad took them off the hook for me, thank Heaven. We put them in the creel, then Dad and brother went back to fish for our supper. Mother was ready to pick dandelion greens and wanted me to help her. I had never heard of such a thing as eating dandelion leaves before, but she said said Auntie Elvira had taught her in Camp Fire girls when she was younger.

After we picked a batch of green and started them cooking in the kettle, mother gave me a bar of soap and told me to wash my hands. I got down as close as I could to the water and put my hands in holding the soap. Whoosh, the creek took it, and it was gone. I went back to tell Mother and she was understanding about it. “Oh, well,” says she, “we’ll just have to wash our hands with sand.”

Dad had brother and I watch him clean the fish so we’d know how to clean our own next time. I’ve never had to do it, but I can see clearly in mind mind’s eye how he slashed it from the bottom of the belly to the gills and pulled out the guts. It was pretty cool and then after it was fried in cornmeal in a skillet over the camp stove dad taught us how to get the bones out. We started at the tail, got hold of the inner skeleton and pulled all up together. We then pulled that from the side and had two clean sides.

During supper, my brother kept casting bright-eyed glances at my dad. Did they have a secret? What could it be? I would find out one way or another.

As I was finishing my canned peaches for dessert I looked up and saw that gentle snowflakes were wafting down. I’d never seen it snow in summer

Later on when no one was looking I got my brother in a headlock and made him tell. Did I mention he was younger and smaller?

Anyhow he talked. He said that after he and dad had caught a few, they sneaked in and put a couple on my hooks. “That’s what you get for readin’ when you’re supposed to be fishin’” my brother said. He then ran away. I gave chase, but I never caught him. Did I mention that he was swifter a well?



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