Chris & Marlo
Rob putting the pedal to the metal, the crew cab pickup radar detector on guard duty, the 200 miles of Interstate 35 to Oklahoma normally a 3 hour journey captured in far less time. The four arriving at the Denton’s in Edmond, Rob and Nancy staying briefly desiring to return to Texas. Gary bidding a heartfelt farewell, realizing the bisecting mile between the two families that remained, but hoping that one day they could once again absorb a closer epoch and unite as a family. Gary was impressed with Chris and Marlo’s Edmond residence, the swimming pool, its acreage, the creek flowing below the house, the spacious kitchen and living room, all a marvel, but most impressive was his two Granddaughter, Allison and Hollyann, both a gleaming pyramid to the family. A Saturday morning, Ally having a weekend rehearsal for an upcoming event, Marlo providing a tour of the exclusive private Cassidy School, Gary discovering the school with its uniformed students, 80 acre lake, its grounds resembling a small college campus. Cassidy recognized as one of the foremost educational facilities in the nation.
Marlo, Ally and Hollyann
Hollyann – pool side
Marlo and Mom on the driveway
Rob putting the pedal to the metal, the crew cab pickup’s radar detector on guard duty, the 200 miles of Interstate 35 to Oklahoma normally a 3 hour journey captured in far less time. The four arriving at the Denton’s in Edmond, Rob and Nancy staying briefly desiring to return to Texas. Gary bidding a heartfelt farewell, realizing the bisecting mile between the two families that remained, but hoping that one day they could once again absorb a closer epoch and unite as a family. Gary was impressed with Chris and Marlo’s Edmond residence, the swimming pool, its acreage, the creek flowing below the house, the spacious kitchen and living room, all a marvel, but most impressive was his two Granddaughter, Allison and Hollyann, both a gleaming pyramid to the family. A Saturday morning, Ally having a weekend rehearsal for an upcoming event, Marlo providing a tour of the exclusive private Cassidy School, Gary discovering the school with its uniformed students, 80 acre lake, its grounds resembling a small college campus. Cassidy recognized as one of the foremost educational facilities in the nation.
Sarah and Hollyann
Cassidy High School Campus
Sunday morning Gary and Grandmother Betty accompanying the Denton’s, with the exception of Chris who was on duty at the fire station, to their Edmond Baptist Church. Gary most impressed by the visiting minister, the President of Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee Oklahoma. Having heard many latitudes and sermons in his lifetime, this being one of the best. Accompany the visiting speaker was a quartet of musicians from the University playing and vocalizing an outstanding performance, giving amplitude to character of this University. The Sunday afternoon at the Denton’s, found a reunion, his son Scott, Lana Norwicki and Gary’s Granddaughter Sarah, along with Tad Norwicki and his fiancé Kelly whom Gary thought bore a striking resemblance to Jennifer Aniston, Gary’s mother finally having the opportunity to meet the Oklahoma faction of the Willson’s and their lineage. The following day, Gary having the opportunity to telephone his Oklahoma City friend of over forty years, Jerry Willis. Jerry driving to Edmond, an afternoon spent with this remarkable guitarist and twice the best man at Gary’s weddings, the two reminiscing their days as musicians in the 60’s.
Gary and his Mom
The evening providing and excursion, Chris providing a tour of his work place fire station and nationally acknowledged, a one of a kind Children’s Safety Village complete with a city park, buildings, streets with traffic lights, the attraction a show place to educate the youth about safety. Chris broaching that the Children’s Village having educational school district’s from throughout the State of Oklahoma busing their students to this applauded safety inducement. Before leaving, Chris acknowledging the name Garrett Way, posted on one of village’s street signs, a tribute to Gary’s only grandson whom had risen to Heaven at the age of 12 on April 7, 2001. The night ensuing the family enjoying a fiesta meal at a Mexican Restaurant, Gary discovering why it was chosen, a group of firefighter from another station were seated at an adjoining table, this establishment a favorite of these communities guardians. Another sortie the following evening, the group briefly acquainting the familiar Brick Town for a short duration, Chris pointing out it’s new boardwalk and the waterway canal that flowed towards the recently name changed North Canadian River, Gary questioning why the state would change this historic rivers name to a new bland non historical name, The Oklahoma River. Before leaving an introduction to a specialty, a self-help ice cream parlor presenting their product not sold by the scoop, but sold by weight, one able to sample a variety of flavors, a scale at the checkout stand providing the cost
Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson
It was time to journey to Wichita, Gary’s eldest son Scott offering to navigate the elder Willson north on Interstate 35, the 160 mile trip a 2 ½ hour venture. Gary reluctantly having to relate a farewell to his daughter and grandchildren, especially Hollyann, her vigor a paramount architecture, bringing new meaning to the Denton family. His departure bringing forth an overwhelming sensitivity of loss, this part of his life missing. Traversing north in Scott’s aged Nissan the afternoon hour beginning, the threesome halting at Blackwell Oklahoma to partake of a McDonald’s, a halfway stop. An arrival at the Birzer residence on W. 18th in Wichita, his daughter Sandra a welcoming sight. Scott desiring an immediate U-turn, having to work that night, Gary grateful for his eldest son’s assistance, Scott the only one making frequent trips to California and Modesto thru the years to visit Dad.
Brennan not much into the food.
Father and Son
The Birzer home was inviting, a two-storied structure with a superbly finished basement entertainment and office room with a large screen LCD screen, a large sectional and Jeremy’s desk. Great Grandma delighted with Brennan who was just beginning to walk, knowing that this new-found experience fun, his smile a lively exponent reflection of Jeremy and Sandra. The morning found Sandra desiring to shop for Brennan, Gary and his mother about to enter Sandra BMW mode of transportation, when Gary noticed that above the rear fender of Jeremy’s pickup parked in the driveway, a bullet hole. Gary questioning his daughter about the abnormality, Sandra laughing, replying she wasn’t suppose to say anything about it, but during a visit by Rob, his concealed handgun fell to the ground discharging, resulting in a bullet hole in Jeremy’s pickup. Sandra with Brennan firmly position in his car seat, proceeding to take Gary and his mother on a tour of Wichita., Gary discovering that Wichita had changed, it being ten years since his days of frequenting this majestic city. The evening found Jeremy adorning his culinary expertise, providing an outstanding specialty meal, including an adorning glass of wine. Jeremy, securing a day off from his employment duties, entertaining all for a luncheon engagement at a favorite bistro adjoining Old Town, a pavilion that mimicked Brick Town in Oklahoma City. Gary remembering when the area was first resurrected from the old abandoned warehouse district and now a showplace bordering the Arkansas River.
Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson
With a solemn feeling, departure time and a return to California having descended, Gary once more having a feeling of loss, a farewell to the meaningful people in his life. Jeremy providing transportation in the morning hour to Wichita Mid Continent Airport, Gary and his mother Betty boarding a United Airlines flight for their return journey to Modesto. Unlike the Boeing 557, non stop flight to Texas, the smaller 737 was destined to Denver, a connecting flight to San Francisco awaiting. The delay in Denver was short-lived, but during the escalator travel between gates Gary noticing that his mother didn’t look well. Questioning her about her medication, finding that her nitroglycerin patch that she was required to apply at high attitudes was never exercised, a brief halt was made, the stubborn matriarch Willson complying. Gary enjoying the flight from Denver, having traversed this journey many time before, never a monotonous journey, the scenic view from above an august array displayed below the buoyant aircraft. A gentle touchdown at the San Francisco International Airport, a two-hour delay before a welcomed boarding on SkyWest to Modesto. The traveling couple finding an interesting display at SFO, spending their waiting time enjoying an exhibit of the history of gambling slot machines, the walkway between terminals lined with these historical relics from the past. both finding the history absorbing, stopping and reading the placard that accompanied each exhibit. The short Embraer 120 flight to Modesto was enhanced, upon arrival expecting Gary’s his sister Nancy to meet them and return her mom home to Columbia, to his surprise it was Gary sister Katherine and husband Donald. The transient adventure fulfilled, Gary sad in one respect but happy to be back with Fran, Sammi and Little Bit, Gary giving his mom a loving parting hug, thanking her for the time they spent on their journey and their togetherness his sister and brother in law short visit ending before continuing on. Gary mentioning to Fran that this was only the third time in nine years that his sister Katherine who lives only 70 miles distance from Modesto had ever visited, he guessed she didn’t have much to say.