TIME OUT WITH LOIS: Traveling family treasure illustrates putting fun, joy into everyday life

With so many new readers of Time Out, some of you do not know about our family and the books. It started back in the early ’90s.

Lois Olmstead

My dad was excited. “You are going to love these old books,” he told me. Later I looked at the “old” books. They were those generic year books sold in grocery stores. I imagine roughly 10 million were sold. Their garage sale value wouldn’t top 75 cents each.

I called my Mom. “Those books were no treasure!” I said.

“I know that,” she said. “Your dad got them out of the green garbage boxes down by the highway!” The next time at the ranch, I put them in the garage so he wouldn’t give them back to me.

We met in Billings a month later. “I can’t believe you’d bring those valuable old books back to me,” my dad said. 

When we got home, He-Who said, “What’s this?” It was the books! They were under the car seat! I knew then the games had begun.

For years the books made trips between us. Others got involved. I got a package from Nevada. I thought Cousin Pat sent a gift. It was the books! One time we sent them in a John Deere parts box. My dad was sure he was getting that tractor part he ordered. It was the books.   

Getting smarter, I kept my car locked at the ranch. I did not realize I had been had until I opened the trunk of my car at the grocery store. I nearly scared the box boy to death when I screamed, “Oh no, the books! I got the books!” He beat a hasty retreat.

Then our kids got into it. They were worse than we were, finding ways to pawn the books off on someone else. They were found in Todd and Lisa’s travel trailer and under the back seat of Kevin and Kathie’s pickup and a gift for Ross under the tree one year.

Then they got together and got me. We were at the dirt track races at the Gallatin International Speedway in Belgrade. There are drawings for prizes at the races.

I got out my ticket stub, I heard 8 … 6 … 3. I held my breath … 2 … one more number … 4!

“That’s me!” I dashed up the stairs and got my prize. It was heavy! I tore open the box. “They are giving books away? Black books? What is this?”

Then my brain kicked into gear. Kevin had asked to see our tickets when we got there. He said he used ticket numbers for passwords on his computer! Yeah, right. All I could say was, “Good job family! Very creative!” The joyful journey of the books continued. Each time the pranks got better.

One time I was speaking at a ladies retreat. When they gave out door prizes, I won. It was the books. Then I had to explain the books to the retreat ladies. I learned we are not the only family with traveling treasures. One family had some dishes and another an unattractive wall hanging. One had passed around an ugly shirt. It is comforting that other families are like ours and that the gifts are of no value, yet priceless.

The reason I am sharing this with you, is putting fun into everyday life can brighten any day. I believe Jesus was a joyful person when He walked on this earth. He attracted people, crowds wherever He went. Joy does that. It doesn’t have to be a prank or a joke. A gift, a surprise lunch or a card in the mail will work, too. 

Let’s read Psalm 100 today and each give a gift of joy to someone who needs it. It will be fun! It might just be the most perfect “Serve the Lord with gladness” moment of your week.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loiso@wispwest.net or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.