Monday, February 25, 2013

For the Love of a Child: An Ode to Will by Pam Hillman

Guest post by Pam Hillman

Will Woods was our milk man when I was a little bitty squirt. And by milk man, I don’t mean he picked up those small 5 gallon milk cans. He drove a milk tanker and transported a gazillion gallons of milk every day.

We lived down a long dead-end country road, and I could hear a car coming from a mile away. So it was no wonder that I could hear Will comin’ long, long before he got there.

Will gave me my first tricycle. Mama said Will didn’t have kids at that time, so I don’t know where he got the tricycle, but I distinctly remember that he brought it to me in the cab of his tractor-trailer for my birthday. I loved Will with all the passion of a pre-schooler who didn’t see anybody other than my parents and older brothers all week. Since my parents both worked on the farm, I didn’t go to pre-school or daycare: the dairy was my daycare; my brother, the dogs, cats, and newborn calves my playmates.

Will picked up our milk every other day, but I was too young to process how often “tomorrow” really meant, so I’m sure I drove Mama crazy asking when Will would be there. But I was old enough to know that if Mama and Daddy were done with the milking, it wouldn’t be long before Will showed up.

I have a good imagination (I’m a writer, after all), and this is kind of hazy, but I seem to recall sitting on the cement steps at the barn many a morning on those off days, and then trudging to the house when I realized Will wasn’t going to show up that day.

One Sunday morning, Mama was getting us all ready for church, rushing around as only a farm mother can do after getting up at five am to milk a herd of Holstein cows, and next thing she knew, I came flying out of the back room like a wild cat. She made a grab for me, but I tore out of the house toward the barn, yelling “Will’s comin’! Will’s comin’!”

She hadn’t heard a thing. But I had.

I’d heard that big motor, and those big wheels bringing my friend to me. And it didn’t matter that on some days all he brought was a tootsie roll or a piece of gum. He’d remembered me, and I was happy.

While I had a loving, Christian family with roots deep in the red clay hills of Mississippi, my friendship with Will reminds me of Jimmy Denton’s relationship with Slade and Buck Donovan in Claiming Mariah.

Jimmy’s home situation isn’t the best: His pa is a drunkard, and they live in a shack that is falling down around their ears. Slade and Buck Donovan see a bit of themselves in the little boy, and they befriend Jim. Eventually, the caring and acceptance of the Donovans touch the entire Denton family, allowing healing and family to mend. Jimmy’s story is not the main thread in Claiming Mariah, but it is an important part. Jimmy weaves himself into Slade and Mariah’s story and finds a home there. Right where he belongs.

Back to my friend, Will Woods. In my young mind, I assumed Will lived far, far away. As I wrote this blog post, I couldn’t remember his last name, so I called my mother. Mama told me she’d recently seen Will at a Wildlife Jamboree in our community. Over forty years after he ran the route as our milk man, some little nugget prompts me to write an article to honor the attention a man showed a little girl who lived on the back side of nowhere, only to find out he lives right here in my community, and not far, far away as I’d always thought.

That God. He’s amazing, isn’t He?

And so are the men and women who take time for a child.

Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Claiming Mariah

Claiming Mariah Amazon link:
            Claiming Mariah B&N link:
            Claiming Mariah CBD link:
Claiming Mariah Goodreads link:
Claiming Mariah 1st Chapter:

To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’

Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.

(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)

February 22nd: Blogging with Donna Winters and Mary Vee

February 26th: Laura Hilton

Click for a Complete List of Stops Along the Tour
Blog Tour dates

Please leave a comment for Pam!


  1. I registered to win the Nook and liked you on Facebook.
    I love the cover of the book, "Claiming Mariah". Thanks for entering me in the drawing.
    Janet E.

    1. So glad to see you here, Janet. So glad you signed up to win the Nook. :) I love my Kindle...but my mother and stepfather have it right now, so I'm sorta handicapped in the reading department. I suppose I could read one of the THOUSANDS of print books in my house! lol

      I agree with you...the cover of Claiming Mariah is awesome!

  2. SO good to see you here, Janet. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you good luck on the contests!

    Pam, its terrific to have you here. All the best on your book launch.

  3. Thanks Kathleen. It's so much fun to see a story that you've labored over make its way into the big, wide world. :)

  4. What a fun blog story! My cousin drove the milk route for the cheese company. He had the biggest grin. Yay! Dave Gorman! You still do.
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    1. Sounds like your cousin is a cheerful man too, Kathleen. Maybe we should consider driving a milk truck, huh? lol

  5. Hi, Kathleen. What a great era it must have been when milk deliveries were the norm. Thanks for sharing and for coming by today!

  6. I really enjoyed the blog post--so interesting. It's so wonderful, when an adult takes such a loving interest in a child.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Kay, the funny thing is that I was quite young. I had to have been three, four, maybe five.

      Maybe I just remember mama telling me about it, or I literally remember running out of the house to the barn. I remember the cab of that milk truck, and I seem to remember where the stash of candy was kept. :)

      Ah, fond memories!

  7. What's truly beautiful about that story is that was in a day and age when there wasn't the creepy ulterior motive some adults have in taking an interest in a child. It was an age of innocence.

    1. Kathleen, I'm so glad you brought this up because everyone's story isn't as rosy as mine.

      My heart breaks for children exploited by someone they trust. I was so blessed to have loving, caring adults peppered throughout my entire childhood.

      God bless anyone who didn't.

      Btw, my first novel, Stealing Jake dealt with the exploitation of street kids and orphans.

  8. Great story! Nothing is more touching than someone who takes the time to notice - and care about - a child. You are blessed to have such memories, Pam :-)

    1. Thank you, Tammy. My childhood was idyllic according to most standards.

      At the time I thought it was horrible because we worked on the farm, but, really, looking back, we didn't work nearly as hard or as much as I thought we did! lol

  9. What a sweet story, Pam! So precious! What wonderful memories! :D Claiming Mariah is on my wish list. :D

    1. Thanks Linnette!! Glad to know it intrigues you! :)