Along Twin Ponds Road

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Thank God for friends

By Ray Willis

Thank you, dear friends, for taking the time to email me some of your thoughts on my recent columns.
Most of my loyal readers must know by now how much I value any feedback you are willing to offer about the worth of this
I’ve shared with you more than once how much I love writing for you each week and am honored to be doing so and now entering into my eighth year.
I am used to sharing the loneliness that so many writers experience often in our
In seven years I have heard from two readers outside of the friends to whom I email my columns.
One of the comments was a negative one regarding my not-so-positive thoughts regarding part of an essay a former columnist had written for this newspaper.
The writer had bashed teachers. A letter was published in the Times the next week scolding me for bashing a long-time columnist for this newspaper.
Then my next door neighbor and friend, Marge, from Arizona, to boot, sent a letter to the paper bashing the guy who bashed me for bashing the Times writer. What a riot!
The second response I received was from a dear, elderly gentleman in Atlanta revealing how much he and his wife enjoyed the column.
He will never know how much his letter was appreciated. Furthermore, he took the time to write me a letter in cursive writing. His penmanship was outstanding.
Oh, well, get on with it, Willis!
I email my columns to several dear friends each week.
My best and oldest female friend, Carol, has a kind email to send to me each week regarding the latest column she’s read.
We had crushes on one another in junior high but never went out on a date.
She responded how wonderful that I love my wife, Judy, as much as I do, after reading last week’s essay about some guys falling all over her in public places.
I just received an email a few hours ago from my old friend, Jim, who advised me to keep “a close eye on my southern belle.”
One of my newest dear friends, Larry, is another wonderful man, who recently lost his wife of many years.
Larry and I have been keeping in touch and love forwarding bad emails to one
He wrote that Judy and I really should invite the man who had been paying close attention to her at our fast-food haunt to join us. He added it was also a touchy situation because we might never get rid of the man on future visits.
Len and Roger, two of my old Coast Guard shipmates, also share that they enjoy my writing.
Winnie and Les, two of my old and dear friends who worked with me so many years in education, are wonderful and supportive fans.
Les shared a couple of times that he thought I was a good writer. Winnie has urged me to keep on sending columns
to her.
The compliment from Les was the most meaningful I’d ever received as I had such great respect for him as a master teacher and a man of great
I can’t leave out my sister, Claire, and her husband, Ken. She says whenever my mail packet with a half dozen columns arrives, they sit and make an afternoon out of reading them. I love you both for sharing that with me.
What keeps me going most of all as a writer is the Lord; I still believe He wants me to go on writing about my love and
respect for other human beings.
Somewhere in each of my columns, hopefully my readers will realize I have a trust in the Lord and write to make people
feel better.
How wonderful it is, even if those who respond are friends or family, to receive some kind of communication or feedback regarding my writing.
On so many occasions, especially since I have moved away from Gadsden County, I have felt it’s time to chuck it in and retire.
Shortly later, I will receive some kind of sign, perhaps a word from a friend, or experiencing or witnessing an event while out in public, that will move me in such a way I can’t wait to sit down and write my next
I’ve started hearing from my old CG Auxiliary friend and mentor, Eileen, again.
As a matter of fact, she emailed last night, noting in a couple of recent columns I had mentioned death and inquired if I knew something. Thanks for caring, Eileen.
We became very close when Eileen was caring for her husband, Paul, (also a senior CG Auxiliarist and Air Force veteran) before he passed away much too early in his life.
Another new friend, Stan, has been an inspiration for me to keep on with my
Interestingly enough, Stan and Larry are good friends and neighbors from my old Over55 community in Leesburg, Fla.
I would run into Stan and/or Larry almost daily.
Larry was a walking nut like myself, and how I used to love running into him on one of my jaunts.
Stan walked by our house each day with his dog, Reggie.
He is one of those guys who always has a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone.
Stan was also the first person I met when Judy and I first moved to Leesburg.
He watched the house for us.
Shortly after Judy and I moved in, it was Stan who showed me how to get my lawn sprinkling system
I guess I learned fast because I worked on the sprinkling systems for three of our neighbors.
I also helped a couple of neighbors with computer problems and was beginning to feel like a true handy man.
Do you remember me writing about Larry offering to help me move to South Carolina? I’ll never forget that nice gesture, especially when I know he has a bad back.
Don’t mind me; I am so easily moved any time a neighbor will bother to greet me as Daryl, the EMT, who lives a couple doors down, did this morning while we were out walking our dogs.
I just kind of melt and become giddy whenever someone is nice to me or I have a chance to make someone feel better for the minute.
Hope you’ve had some positive human encounters lately, be it at work or just being greeted by your neighbor.
We need so desperately in these times to let those we love know it and to reach out in a kind way to those who may feel unloved.
God bless you.