Houtchens enjoys fellowship of owning a business

By Angela Peacock

Susan Houtchens is owner of the Portales Dairy Queen and enjoys the rewards of family.

Tell us about your spouse:
“I met my husband in the seventh grade. I was in the same Brownie troop with his sister.”

Tell us about a time you cried:
“When my Dad passed away shortly after we bought (Dairy Queen). I realized that God does have a plan for our lives, otherwise we wouldn’t be in Portales. We should use every opportunity to share with family and friends our feelings, and sometimes even strangers. Never let a chance pass by because that moment may never come again. Take time to rearrange priorities. I don’t want the only thing to read on my tombstone ‘she always had a clean house.’ ”

Tell us about a happy time:
“When my daughter gave birth to her first child and wrote me a beautiful letter telling me she never knew how much I loved her until she had a child of her own.”

What is your greatest individual accomplishment?
“Of course being a wife, mother and grandmother. The biggest reward after years of long hours, no money, changing dirty diapers, sleepovers, PTA meetings and endless hours waiting up for your children to come home is when your children have precious children of their own that leave them penniless, sleep-deprived, living in a house with stained carpet and furniture. You can visit them and leave and on your way home smile because that’s the joy of being a grandparent — revenge.”

What’s your favorite sport?
“I love baseball. That sport paid my son’s way through college and gave Rod and I much pleasure traveling to watch him play. Being involved all the way to the regional playoffs in two college World Series. Baseball also teaches principles that can be used in the workplace. Teamwork is essential for a winning combination.”

What do you like most about your job?
“The opportunity to really get to know our customers. When we moved here five years ago we didn’t know anyone, and I decided that working the hours we work the only chance I would have to meet people would be those I made when a new face came into the store. I got so caught up in the struggle that I forgot the real answer walked through the door all the time. Over the years, those new faces have become treasured friends. It also has been fun to get to know other business owners. That’s what makes Portales a community because there are several pivotal people that I will always feel blessed to know. It’s also wonderful to see past employees become an intricate contributing part of our community, and yes to know that maybe we taught them responsibility, commitment and being secure with who you are. The people you wok with become your family.”

Tell us about an embarrassing moment:
“I have had several embarrassing moments, but the one that sticks out most in my mind is the time we had just moved to Carlsbad where my husband was the district manager for a major oil servicing company. It was very important that we fit in and make a good impression, so I went to the school to introduce myself and offer my services as a volunteer. After walking around the school for several hours I returned to my car. I noticed something in the hem of my slacks and in my shoe. It was a pair of my panties. They stuck to my slacks from the static cling after removing them from the dryer. They worked their way to the ground where I had been dragging them all over the school.”

What’s you idea of a perfect day?
“Having a pampering day that consists of a massage, facial, relaxing with a good book, having dinner that someone else prepared with my husband, family and several friends. Then someone to come in and clean up the mess while we all enjoy each others company.”

What is your favorite quote?
“From the Bible: ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.’ ”

If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place?
“I would make it possible for all people to afford good health care insurance providing them the best medical care available.”