Omissions. Time Magazine published their World’s Most Influential People edition. A list of 100 people in six categories: artists, titans, leaders, innovators, icons and pioneers. The list was impressive and I learned about several new, interesting people.

They did not give any criteria for the list, but by any criteria for influence, I was surprised by two omissions. My numbers are very rough approximations. I did not take the time to be exact. By my count 53 of the 100 were Americans. Of the 53 Americans, 14 (26%) were black, 38 (73%) were white. To me, the first glaring omission was the complete absence of any person of Hispanic heritage. I hope I did not overlook anyone. The Hispanic population in America is over 16 %. Surely at least one person qualified.

The second omission was Caitlyn Clark. The people listed are good people but I did not see many who have a greater influence than Caitlyn. Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to give her credit, blaming her success on racism.

Writing. As you may know, I am having fun writing poetry. I have been blessed to have published several poems. I never tried my hand at trying to publish an essay until I submitted a story of my father’s retirement to an anthology on retirement. I am pleased to report it appeared in Lifespan Vol. 10: Retirement (Pure Slush Books, 2024)

I am very proud of my parents. I hope my love is shown in the story.

Retirement for Love. In the middle years of the last century, my father was a successful regional banker for the Wichita Bank for Cooperatives in Wichita, Kansas. Jim Williams had responsibilities for agricultural loans in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado. When he was 62, he was asked to become the President for the entire system of regional banks.

He went home to discuss the promotion with my mother, Nadine Williams. The change would involve moving to Denver, Colorado. Since they both loved Colorado, he assumed she would be supportive. He was in for a surprise.

Her thoughts were succinct. “We were dirt-floor, out-house poor during the Great Depression.”

Dad was the son of a dry-land wheat farmer in Western Kansas. His family worked hard, had little and endured drought and the Great Depression. Mom lost her father when she was eight.  Her single mother had so many difficulties during the Depression, they had to move from western Kansas, to Springfield, Missouri and live with grandparents in order to survive.

She continued. “We were apart four years during World War II.”

Mom worked for the Selective Service Board in Comanche County, Kansas. The board was concerned they would be accused of favoritism if they did not draft my father. So, at age 26 he was drafted. After training as an x-ray technician for a MASH unit, he served the majority of his time in the Philippine Islands. Obviously modern forms of communication were not available and letters were few and far between. Mom lived four years with uncertainty and anxiety.

Her concerns continued. “We lived meagerly on the GI bill during college.”

Dad had been too poor to attend college when he graduated from high school. The GI bill enabled him to begin Kansas State University at age thirty. While dad studied civil engineering, mom managed, mothering, the small apartment and the meager cost-of-living stipend. We had no money for “extras.”

There was more. “When you graduated, we were glad to have a low paying, entry level position.”

At the conclusion of the war, many veterans went to college. Four years later the supply of civil engineering graduates exceeded the demand. Job prospects were slim. My grandfather knew some people at the Wichita Bank. They needed an appraiser. Dad’s background in agriculture, in conjunction with a civil engineering degree made it a good opportunity. He took the job with a small salary and benefits. He was low man on the staff but glad to have a steady job.

She went on. “We began to have money when you became the bank president. However, we lived like the depression was returning tomorrow.”

During the Christmas holidays in 1959, Dad was asked to attend a board meeting.  He was hoping to get a promotion to assistant treasure or something similar. Mom and I were watching television when he came in with the biggest smile I had ever seen.

The board asked him to be President. He went from low man to the top. Everyone above him had been hired when the bank began in the early 1930’s. All of the men were now in their late 50s or early 60s. The bank had a policy that the president was to retire at 65. The board decided that rather than promoting one person for a year or two, and then a different person for a year or two, they would promote Dad.

Thus, the year I left home to attend college, he began to make a very good salary. They did not change their standard of living. They lived in the same house, drove the same car, still had a garden, canned vegetables, and never ate out. The closest neighbors were a postman, a fireman, a plumber, and a maintenance man. They were comfortable in that neighborhood and never thought of moving to a bigger house or more upscale neighborhood. The new money went into the accumulation of stocks which enabled them to leave a nice estate for their sons.

Having made all of her jabs, mom delivered a succinct knockout blow. “When are we going to finally enjoy life?”

Dad was from the generation of western men for whom public displays of affection were uncommon and difficult. He preferred to show love by his decisions.

He announced his retirement the next morning. They enjoyed traveling, both in the United States and abroad. They hosted and participated in reunions of colleagues in various interesting locations. They often fished in Colorado, and Kansas. They attended weddings, baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other family gatherings. They were able to support their aging parents. Their days were quite full and rewarding until he died eighteen years later.

He never regretted not taking the promotion. In fact, shortly before he died, I asked him if he had any regrets. He said he only had one. “I never had a failed loan.” I thought that was strange for a banker to say until I realized he regretted not helping more farmers. If he had been a little less cautious, he could have done more for others. Appropriate regret for a man who chose loving his wife over personal power.

This and That

No. 1 life regret of dying patients: I see it ‘all the time,’ says psychology expert—what to do ‘before it’s too late’ (

Good News

Good stories from England

Man Sleeps Outside Popeyes To Win Free Chicken For The Homeless (

Couple In Their 80s Has Fostered 150 Children With No Plans On Stopping (

Young people doing good works.

Meet The 11-Year-Old Seamstress Saving Shelter Animals, One Bandana At A Time (

8th Grade Hero Saves Students On School Bus After Driver Suffers Medical Emergency (

My editor is playing bridge and relaxing with friends at her cottage in Gulf Shores. Any errors are the responsibility of yours truly!



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