Archive for September, 2010

A Cascading Effusion…………….#179 (80’s)

September 29, 2010
The rumblings announcing the coming event.

The rumblings aloft announcing the coming event.

The twelve-hour work day evening fulfilled, a quiet evening then a journey to bed accompanied by the rumblings aloft announcing the coming event.  Gary distinguishing the quiescent  patter of rain starting to fall,  not unusual for late September in Kiowa,  a welcome sound providing a relief from the enduring hot summer.   An wakening at 4:15 a. m. the rumble of thunder  projecting thru the darken morning environment, the rain still descending from lightning silhouetted clouds but not at  a concerning degree.   Decamping his residence traversing to the high school,  the grade school work day initiated,  his bus route Chevrolet Suburban arrested behind the locked fenced  enclosure.     The rain still descending, Gary proceeding to his appointed morning tasks at the Grade School noticing a definite increase in the rain, a concern about the weather starting,  a subconscious thought beginning to formulate about the condition of his dirt roads.  The newly acquainted school employee having never experienced the advent of a large amount of precipitation on his route, but being an imparted optimist, surely the rain wouldn’t be a detriment to keeping his route schedule.

1974 Chevrolet Suburban

1974 Chevrolet Suburban

     A decision to digress early from the Grade School was determined, the adornment from the sky having increased to an incessant downpour.  Seated in the Suburban engaging the journey,  Gary well aware that he had never before driven the dirt artery to David Meyers farm in such weather conditions.   Proceeding northeast on the glistening blacktop of Highway #2 towards Hazelton, finding the visibility difficult thru the downpour searching for the fourth mile section turnoff.  Stopping at the turnoff,  exiting from the suburban  in the cascading effusion to engage the four-wheel drive,  accessing the front wheels,  rotating the four-wheel drive lock on each wheel.  Employing the four-wheel drive shift lever, adroit in confidence, Gary entered his plight thru the nebula of precipitation   The visual acuity sporadic with each pass of the wiper blades, the 4 wheel drive front wheels attempting to assert its authority ploughing forward on the peaking crown of the road its stability causing a concern.  The rear of the Suburban processing a will of  its own  sliding towards the bordering edge of the road but the  enabled front wheel drive exhorting its call  somehow pulling it back on course.   Its wheels in rotation traversing the quagmire at a crawl,  the vehicle continued, then inevitable happened.  The slick lateral slope of the road was too much to overcome, the rear of the car sliding off the avenue into a mire of cataclysm followed by the front.  The sound of the rain pelting,  the swish of the windshield wipers,  the vehicle idling,  a glow from the dashboard lights in the darkness,  providing a resonating aura,  a sense of dejection starting to prevail  but it was short-lived,  an awakening.

An ensuing quagmire.

An ensuing quagmire.

D & W to the rescue

D & W to the rescue

Keith Rathegeber

Keith Rathgeber

Gary reaching for the two-way radio knowing that Glen Piper would be at the District Office, the Superintendent always steadfast at his station during inclement weather.   Glen acknowledging the driver’s dilemma coming right back with having placed a telephone call to Keith Rathgeber and that D & W  would be arriving in a tow truck to remedy his plight.  It wasn’t long till Gary could see the headlights in the rearview mirror,  rescue was in sight, the tow truck approaching.  Embarking from the winch mounted vehicle in the pouring rain was Keith and Scott Rathgeber evaluating the situation,  pulling the cable towards the front of the Suburban,  finding the large towing eye bolt fastened to the frame beneath the bumper,  hooking the cable,  the vehicle ready to commence its appointment.   Scott sitting behind the wheel of the truck encouraging it forward, Gary remaining in the Suburban,  also attempting to edge its movement.   The towing vessels straining,  its wheels spinning and then a sudden jumping lateral movement,  the towing venture sliding sideways off the road joining the Suburban in the quagmire,  its wheels spinning, unable to muster any traction at all.  With both vehicles now disabled, Keith and Scott seemed perplexed at what to do,  Gary once again addressing the two-way radio  communicating with the Glen,  explaining the situation suggesting that he might call  David Meyer and make him aware of what was going on, Gary suggesting that David had tractors.

David and a John Deere 4020

David and a John Deere 4020

Loretta & Sherrill Meyer

Loretta & Sherrill Meyer

Glen coming back on the radio, he had just got off the phone, David was on his way.  Ten minutes having expired when the lights of the tractor could be seen advancing toward them, as it neared Gary could see that it wasn’t David’s  4430 John Deere,  but his cab-less old 4020,  a John Deere mainstay from 1963 to 1972.  David stopping,  face drenched and  water streaming off his poncho, without hesitation fastening a rope to the truck as Keith unhooked the Suburban,  Scott aboard the tow truck, the 4020 having little trouble pulling it back onto the muddy road,  Keith and Scott acknowledging they could make from there, David saying he would see that Gary and the school vehicle would get to the blacktop. Fastening the rope to the Suburban, Gary steering they proceeding 1 1/2 miles to the Meyer farm, Davids two daughters Sherrill and Loretta boarding the Suburban more concerned on being late for school than the weather.   The towing journey continuing the two vehicle in tandem for the remaining 3 1/2 miles before reaching the blacktop at Gerlane Rd.    A very wet and soaked David Meyers was understanding,  not admonishing the inexperienced mud driver but enlightening him that during inclement weather, whether it be rain or snow,  always take the alternative river road by Girty’s and approach his place from the west.  Then adding the secret of staying on a mud slick road, always drive in the ruts from the previous traffic.  Knowing that he would once again encounter the mud when returning the girls after school Gary was indebted to the farmer for the lesson, this time he would journey the river route, with a thank you to David Meyer.

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Another Precipitous Realm……..#178 (80’s)

September 28, 2010
Low pressure steam boilers - the school's heat

Low pressure steam boilers – the school’s heat

Gary’s school day began at 5:00 a.m. unlocking the gate to the fenced security area accommodating the school buses at the high school accessing his Suburban for the journey to the grade school.  The custodians first assignment in the winter, the firing of the two large low pressure steam boilers,  an unlocking of the building doors,   an activation of the Main St. school crossing flashing caution light and the posting of the flags.   His attention then given the vacuuming of the  library,  the cleansing of two male restrooms finishing with his upstairs rooms desk tops  and the expanse of classroom green chalk boards returned to an unused appearance followed by the dusting of all horizontal surfaces,  all to be accomplished before the 7:00 a.m. bus route embarkation.  In addition to his morning and afternoon regular suburban bus route Gary also inherited a noon route which provided for the return of the rural morning Kindergarten students.

Max McGee and Janet Elwood

Max McGee and Janet Elwood

The custodians goal was to have his eight classrooms in pristine posture at the beginning of each day when the teacher entered the room.  The other custodian, Pam Cooper,  evoking another tact, cleaning her classroom during the day, while the students participated at recess,  music or other out of classroom activities,  the teachers and students never really experiencing a primeval  classroom accomplishment.   Gary found Mrs. Elwood’s math and Mr. McGee’s science downstairs 4th and 5th grade classrooms conveniently vacated during the last period of the day,  enabling him to accomplish their room before the end of the school session.  The floors of his other six rooms were managed upon returning from his bus route as was the gym floor, it having been done in the morning and on an as needed basis especially during weather activity,  the student utilizing the gym facility at noon and while waiting for their bus transportation. This being the  concluding task before the ending his day at 6:00 p.m. with the return of the suburban to the high school

Superior Boiler Works Pawnee boiler

Superior Boiler Works Pawnee boiler

Enclosed steam radiators

Enclosed steam radiators

Gary was journeying to Wichita directed by Glen Piper to attend a two-day steam boiler operations, maintenance and safety class, having never visualized or experience the two steam producing Goliath’s that occupied the boiler room,  his only operational knowledge was limited, coming from Ed Hermon the departed custodian.  The grade school still retaining the original Superior Boiler Works, Pawnee boiler, one of two installed when the school was built in 1936,  the second boiler was a Kewanee,   slightly smaller in capacity,  both boiler having never been fitted with automated water level controls having to be filled manually,  but fitted with an electric sensing system that would shut the system down if no flames were detected.   The steam boilers providing the only source of heat for the entire school,  every room including the gym accoutered with fixed radiators.  The radiators upon the first experience of steam let it be known,  their clamor and clanking resonating throughout the building,  caused by non-returning  condensation, when the heat from the steam was applied to a cold convector.   The two-day boiler indoctrination provided an insight to the maintenance aspects, the checking and replacement of steam traps, the large industrial return pumps,  the inspection of the boiler tubes for leakage and the cleansing of the oxidation formed on the numerous tubes and seals and the   proper monitoring of water level and pressure, Gary realized although the boilers were a remnant from a past era he found an another precipitous realm making his acquaintance.

32 inch swarth Snapper

32 inch swath Snapper

The daytime experience found the yard endeavor time consuming,  the only grass cutting appliance was a five horsepower Snapper mower with a 32 inch swath.  Mowing during the school day required scheduling, as there was an access restriction to certain areas dictated by the presence of students,  the grounds encompassed two city block including the little league baseball diamond which was always in a state of request for attention. The Main Street and sidewalk enhancing the length of the building each with four entrances demanded an ongoing edging application until a discovery.   Tom Farney,  a farm owning family school board member suggesting the use of a commercial products sold at the Co-Op, Hi-Var XL, an effectively ground sterile,  once applied a preventive for grass attainment.  As a test the custodian spraying a very thin edging line of the liquid no more than an inch wide on both sides of the teachers walkway on the south side of the building.  After waiting for the results,  a lesson was learned,  the one inch application to prevent grass growth grew to an unsightly six to eight inches.

During a Friday winter’s day a main water condensate return pump located in an area enclosed at the bottom of the stairs leading to the cafeteria failed shutting down the  heating system.  Gary being informed that boiler parts were handled by Chuck Payne Plumbing,  soon discovering that Chuck was out of town and no one was sure when he would be back.  Gary informing Glen Piper of the situation, being told it was imperative to get it fixed as the outside temperature was well below freezing.  Gary making phone call after phone call to Wichita and Enid in search of a replacement pump but to no avail, but a company in Enid giving Gary the phone number of an oilfield service company in Okarche that just might be able to rebuild the old pump.  Eureka, a Saturday afternoon trip to Okarche, because it was for a school and after confirming the pump numbers, the oilfield company person was willing to come in and rebuild the pump.  Gary now able to get the system up and running Sunday, the irony coming later after Chuck Payne returned, he had a backup pump.

The Teachers marvel of application

The copy machine – A marvel of application

An atniquated backup

A mimeograph – an antiquated backup

The most arresting situation confronting the teachers, one that could cause untold frustration,  the failure of the copy machine.  The copier,  its adherence a marvel of application,  thousands of reproductions each week encompassed by the teaching staff in the  pursuit and publication of  academia lessons.  Gary finding some staff members mechanically inclined able to remedy minor obstructions,  others obliging their ignorance calling upon him for assistance.   The lone copier having an antiquated backup, something the custodian hadn’t experienced since his Burckhalter Elementary ascendancy in Oakland,  an ink filled,  hand cranked mimeograph machine, the throwback to past seeing limited use.  Superintendent Piper approached Gary with a solution to the copy machine down-time quandary  asking if he would be interested in working with the contracted Vendor whom was finding it difficult to respond from Wichita every time a problem developed with the machine.   Gary agreeing to work with the serviceman the two meeting at the Grade School on a Saturday afternoon.    The technician  field-stripping the copier down to its component parts, Gary observing, taking notes, comprehending  their function and how to determine and resolve any problems.   The vendor having been satisfied with Gary’s hands on approach, his acknowledgement of the equipment’s operation and discernment to diagnose the cause of a malfunctions.  At the conclusion of their afternoon session the vendor ventured  a monthly financial gratuity as compensation for not having to travel the 90 mile for something Gary could resolve, Gary accepting his offer.  Glen asking about  the Wichita Vendor,  questioning if their Saturday meetings came to resolution and the results, Gary relating the event was successful and expressing confidence that he could resolve most of the grade schools copy machine problems.   Glen continued,  asking if Gary would be susceptible in performing this service for all the district copiers and if so would see that he receive a monthly stipend as compensation.   Gary was somewhat hesitant in accepting Glens offer, but in this instance deciding  ” a bird in the hand wasn’t always better than two in the bush”   accepting  both the vendors and school compensation.

A Colloquium From The Past……….#177 (80’s)

September 25, 2010
Kiowa Grade School

Kiowa Grade School

 Gary’s first acquaintance with South Barber Elementary School structure  commonly referred to by the populace as,  The Grade School,  a colloquium from the past built by the WPA in the 1930’s was engrossing.  It was inherit from his childhood,  people, places and events of the past instilled some sort of haunting mystical spell, especially the inner walls of a  building from an earlier era, one that absorbed,  listened,  and witnessing the initiation that was the foundation of their youthful years.  From the street the building appears to be a single story structure with the exception of the gym,  but in reality possesses three below ground areas.  Beneath the east portal and wing resides the cafeteria, kitchen and classrooms.  Beneath the southwest portal is the library,  boiler annex and in the gym rest a downstairs music room and  girls and boys dressing rooms.   Normal access to the school was by the Main entrances or the south teacher walkway.  The two west side gym doors allowed access for school bus traffic. Remaining was a stage exit door, two others on the east wing and the only classroom to have its own exit door, the kindergarten room.

South entrance - teacher parking

South entrance – teacher parking

Gary’s first accordance with the building was its appearance of disarray,  both sides of the halls amassed with desk and furniture from every classroom, a single path allowing passage but what struck him wasn’t the clutter but the abandon silence.  After a brief search discovering a lone person in the building, the new employee introducing himself to Shirley Sieber.  Shirley and Ed Hermon being the two departing custodians but Shirley agreeing to defer her exit until Pam Cooper could was available, Pam asking and receiving a delay in her starting date.   Shirley very well versed in her duties explaining the assignments to be completed during the summer months, most of which had already been accomplished.   The first project Gary was called upon was to assist Shirley in the stripping and waxing of the kitchen and cafeteria floors,  Shirley was well adept in the procedure  having already accomplished her appointments of classroom floors.  Gary discovering the experience laborious and somewhat calescent, the buildings window mounted air conditioning units not being allowed to be activated until the teachers arrived at the start of the school year, the Kansas summer heat having taken up residency.

New grade school principal Juanita Smith

New grade school principal Juanita Smith

With Shirley’s departure and Pam’s arrival, the two working together began restoring the rooms to accessibility,  a classroom appearance once again attained, the hall floors the last to be addressed with an effervescent shine.   Glen Piper’s arrival in the building,  presenting a walk-thru inspection and an introduction to Juanita Smith,  the newly appointed principal position.  The Grade School having done without in the past, the superintendent of schools having accorded the principal’s duties,  Mrs Smith to continued her commission as a fourth and fifth grade english teacher as well as the dual role of Grade School principal.  Gary’s work day schedule was a first, an anomaly,  a 50 hour week during the summer months and the normal school year requiring  a 60 hour work week, 12 hours per day,  5 days a week.   The explanation was coherent, the academia administration getting around the forty hour overtime by designating the added four hours as a separate bus driving entity,  the custodians bus driving assignment at least on paper, a separate employment.

Gated bus yard.

Gated bus yard.

Joe Cox & Craig Ragan

Joe Cox & Craig Ragan

The School buses were gated at the high school,  six 40 passenger Bluebird coaches,  one standard  54 occupancy bus and three 12 passenger 4 wheel drive Chevrolet suburban.   The bus driving assignments were dictated by location, high school custodians Joe Cox and Craig Ragan would provide for the transfer route between the Grade School, High School and the Hardtner,  utilizing two 40 passenger buses, Bud and Pam both residence of Hardtner would drive Suburbans securing  north and east of highway 281 in Hartner, their routes included the non-blacktop lanes of the rural roads.   Gary was appointed the longest route, his 1974 Suburban the oldest,  a maroon and gray 4 wheel drive,  a journey encompassing 38 miles,  10 miles of unimproved dirt road,  supposedly maintained with the township road grader;  Just prior to the start of school,  Gary notified Glen that he was going to run his route several time and make sure he introduced himself to the parents  and at the same time projecting an arrival time enabling the students to be promptly available in the morning.

 Before the start of school the  teachers began arriving  making ready their classroom and colloquium, the two custodians meeting with Juanita, Gary having taken the time to assemble a diagram  similar to a blueprint of the school,  designating all the rooms and areas of the building.   Presenting it to Pam to divide up  the work responsibility within the building.   Pam glancing at the diagram, apparently having already come to a decision,  immediately asserting that she would be responsible for 4 classrooms, two 3rd grades, Special Ed room and  one 2nd grade classroom.  In addition she would do the girls restrooms,  the administrative office,  cafeteria floor,  the stairwell and east  section of the hall,  expressing that it was all she was doing departed the meeting.  Gary finding he had inherited two-thirds of the building , composed of 8 classrooms,  teachers lounge,  the gymnasium, stage, bleachers, downstairs dressing rooms, the library, three-quarters of the upstairs and all of the downstairs hall.  Additionally he had  two city blocks of yard mowing and edging, maintaining the tennis courts,  little league baseball diamond.  Then the added responsibility for operation of the building’s heating system, the  low pressure steam boilers with their antiquated radiators,  plus maintaining the abundant fluorescent lights and ballast and the privilege to raise the and lower the National and State flags on the flag pole each school day.   Gary questioned whether the time allotted for his bus route,  the school and its grounds would be sufficient,  the answer would arrive with the start of school.

A Vestige Of Accomplishment..#176 (80’s)

September 24, 2010

Glen Piper Superintendent Of Schools

Two major concerns in Gary’s life were beginning to weigh heavily on him, the first was the enlightenment of the Apostolic Christian Church and a never before experienced calling to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.   Gary approaching Church Elder Ronald Nelson questioning him of the prerequisites of becoming a brother in the church, Ron explaining the cleansing rites of repentance, its time frame, acceptance and the role of an Elder. His second concern was in direct conflict with his first, one of being involved with management’s accepted falsification of conditions and paperwork for profit at work.   Gary having realizing there was no way he could compromise his commitment to the Lord,  entering Steve Miller’s office,  a decision to terminate his employee status at Kiowa Service having been determined.  The conversation was brief, Gary communicating his abrogation about leaving according Steve a two-week notice affirming his commitment to the first of July fulfilling  the final consummation of the harvest season.  Steve raising from his desk,  presenting an understanding , having discussed the parts person discernment of his warranty position in the past and was aware of his affiliation with the Apostolic Church. He thanked his departing employee for his service,  offering his hand and aspiring him well in his future endeavors.  Gary leaving, relieved, his resolution accomplished, with a wonderment persisting of what the Lord had in store for him.

The final two weeks brought a paradox of emotion having sojourned at the Service Company for over five years, sometime experiencing twist and turns on this enlightening journey thru this agricultural John Deere environment.  The forty three years old, unemployed and bolstering a layman’s resume of jack of all trades and master of none, experienced in everything from wiring the arming circuit of a nuclear warhead on a missile to providing the correct shears for a 16 bottom John Deere plow was seeking an employment opportunity.  Gary contemplated the possibilities, Humphrey Implement acquainted with three of Bud Humphreys four sons, Jim, Kim and Sam, other prospective employers encompassing his contingency list,  the City of Kiowa and Barber County.  Gary realized that another option existed,  but would be very reluctant to impose it, Murrow Construction, discerning  difficulties could prevail working for his father-in-law.  His quest was about to begin when his wife noticed an ad published in the Kiowa News, Jan pointing out,  USD 255,  the Kiowas School District was accepting applications for three custodian/driver positions to fill vacancies at the Grade School and Hardtner Middle School.

Wanda Eckert

Wanda Eckert

It was the next morning,  Gary entering the USD 255 office on Main St.,  introducing himself to the lady seated at a desk in the office  making the acquaintance of Wanda Eckert,  the Superintendent’s secretary.  Gary mentioning the Kiowa News ad about the openings for custodian/drivers, leaving with application in hand, thanking her saying he would return.   The application information completed,  Gary once again returned to the district office, with a smile Wanda motioning him towards the open door to the superintendent’s office.   Sitting behind his desk was Glen Piper,  the newly commissioned superintendent of schools who Gary was acquainted with.   Glen and his wife Donna sometimes attending the Apostolic Christian Church with Donna’s Grandmother and Gary having assisted Glen and his two son’s Ty and Troy at the Service Co. securing parts during harvest, Donna’ family having a farm at Burlington.  Glen welcoming, beckoning Gary with his application to be seated,  the superintendent reaching for the hand-held paper, apprising that Gary was applying for a position as a custodian/driver,  then glancing  briefly at  the application,  looking up at Gary and without hesitation asserting,  “you have the job”.   The first reaction from Gary was one of  speechlessness,  then a acquiescent  “thank you”.   Piper continued with an annotation that as policy the notice in the paper would continue for one more edition,  followed by a notification to applicants of failure or acceptance of a position at which time it would become public.  Leaving the district office Gary understood the unsaid message, the ensuring events of the morning having been thrust upon him without forethought,  sensing  mixed feelings, one of accomplishment but another of humility, and most of all, an overriding essence that a higher authority had intervened.

New custodian/drivers - Gary, Pam Cooper & Bud Winters

New custodian/drivers – Gary, Pam Cooper & Bud Winters

The three new custodian/drivers given their official employment notification ask to join the two prevailing high school custodian Joe Cox and Craig Ragan at the district office to meet with Superintendent Piper.  Gary having made the acquaintance of Joe and Craig before was introduced to Pam Cooper and Bud Winters both residence of Hardtner.  Glen giving a presentation about his expectations from  the group adding they were to answer to the principal of the school but like the academia were subject to his discretion and supposition, meaning in reality they worked for him.  Continuing he gave the  building assignments, Bud Winters securing the  middle school position at Hardtner,  Pam Cooper would join Gary at the Grade School in Kiowa,  Joe and Craig to remain at the high school.

Veda Holt & Cathy Cox

Veda Holt & Cathy Cox

With the school custodial assignments in place the new employees would have to fulfill the second part of their custodian/drive positions.  The State of Kansas requiring all school bus driver to have a valid class B drivers license and attend prescribed mandatory driver safety and first aid classes.  The first order of business was to obtain their class B license,  five member from USD 255 to go to the DMV in Medicine Lodge for the written and driving test exam.  The assemblage composed of a recently hired South Barber tennis coach,  a high school teacher, Veda Holt,  the new grade school music instructor,  Cathy Cox,  Pam Cooper and Gary, Bud Winters was exempted having already licensed.  The drive to Medicine Lodge was anything but subdued, Gary discovering that Veda Holt, who was more or less in charge, was quite a conversationalist keeping everyone entertained with South Barber related anecdotes.  Arriving and completing the written exam,  Gary standing in line behind the young tennis coach noticing that he had missed one too many on his test, but the coach having kept up a running conversation with the DMV lady overlooking his results,  filing his test in a waste basket, confirming good looks and youth sometimes do make a difference.  The group filing outside accompanied with a driving examiner directing him to the school suburban they had arrived in,  the examiner halting the procession shaking his head,  letting them know  the suburban didn’t meet the test requirements for the class B license.  A perplexed Veda Holt returning inside with the DMV instructor,  placing a call to the Kiowa School District office.  Wanda Eckert  transferring the call to Glen, the superintendent assuring Veda that he would take care of the situation.   Twenty minutes later,  a Medicine Lodge 16 passenger school bus arrived,  the superintendent having contacted the district office at Medicine Lodge about borrowing a bus.  The five having meant the license requirement, all that remained was their attendance in the Driver’s Safety and First Aid classes which also would be in Medicine Lodge.  The driver’s safety class instructed by the Kansas Highway Patrol and the first aid class by a representative of the state EMS, both playing instructional host to more than school employees.   The sudden train of events giving  rise to the venture down destiny’s road, again Gary’s life’s sequestered certainty beginning to make itself visible.

Music’s Last Hurrah…………….#175 (80’s)

September 22, 2010
Kiowa Supper Club

Kiowa Supper Club

Music wasn’t vanquished from Gary’s sentience of life upon inception to the rural community of Kiowa,  although dormant he still retained all the necessary band equipment to engage in a piano bar or bandstand presentation.  In Gary’s vision, Kiowa was disemboweled of resident performing musicians with exception of Roger Powell, who having in the past recorded and complimented professionals, but having receded from the experience.   The only establishments displaying music in the contexts of a Juke Box was the Uptown Recreation and the Supper Club.  The Uptown Recreation was  a beer serving pool room,  providing sandwiches and accessories,  positioned on 6th St., better known to the local town  inhabitants as Bruce’s,  Bruce Koblitz  the enunciated proprietor.  Entering Bruce’s  domain one is immediately subjected to an atmosphere permeated with cigarette smoke,  centered in the room is two pool tables positioned opposite a long bar addressed with stools.  Lined up on a shelf behind the bar, gallon containers of pickled pigs feet and dills,  rack’s of various chips and adjacent to the end of the bar a small open cooking grill.  Several table with chairs fulfilled the remaining expanse, excluding a door leading to the single restroom, the juke box positioned beside it.

coors-on-tap-ovel-neon-beer-sign_giant

Gary wasn’t evoked by Bruce’s,  having discerned public taprooms of its accord in his past music provisional experiences,  but on occasion given the special circumstance he joined the other Service Company employees for pitcher of beer.  The special circumstances was an expostulation  constituted by owner Steve Miller.  Friday’s were payday at the Service Company,  the weekly checks being dispersed between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. by management,  either John or Steve Miller or when neither were available, by Sandi Palmer.   Unlike Steve who was strictly business and punctual,  good natured John Miller was not a temporal person and most Fridays was late in relinquishing the company payroll checks which for some reason got under his brother Steve’s skin.   Steve initiating an authoritative rule, if John was late with the checks he would have to provide a round of free beer at Bruce’s for all those wishing to participate..   It was soon realized one could look antecedently to an after work beer whenever John handed out checks.   Gary surmised that instead of a chastisement,  John thought it was a vindication, thoroughly enjoying the Friday convergence on Bruce’s Uptown Recreation with the employees.

Kiowa Train Station across from the Supper Club

Kiowa Train Station across from the Supper Club

 The other conception a definitive contrast, the Supper Club, occupying the remnants of an old hotel on Railroad Avenue,  bordering the Sante Fe Railroad tracks,  across from the defunct relic of the once prestige’s  Kiowa Railway Station.  The Supper Club,  a unique dining and lounge facility with a full service kitchen, dining room and special catering area, the separate lounge component opening in the afternoons.  The regal upstairs hotel accommodations a thing of the past having been obstructed and  excluded long ago,  Lynn and Gerva Hargett the amicable title-holding host.  Upon entering  the main entrance,  a small anteroom with restrooms and two entryways, the first an emergence into the lounge and  to the right the dining room entrance.    Encompassing the ante-room the door to the dining area an entry into to a table and chair dining expanse, another entry to access,  a large private dining and meeting room addition.  The Supper Club not an atmosphere of sophistication,  but one of small town contentment. The lounge radiating a warm but not overly plush atmosphere, a small dance floor and jukebox adjacent to entry,  both the sides of the room adorned with booths, the center section with tables, the far end of the room hosting the bar and stools.  The Supper Club and Lounge not an overt  atmosphere of sophistication,  but one of small town contentment.

Larry Swonger

Larry Swonger

Doug Swonger

Doug Swonger

Gary having retain his band equipment, it laying dormant stored away in his residence, discovering an opportunity to resurrect it from it dormancy.  Gary and Larry Swonger visiting with the Supper Club owners, Lynn and Gwen Hargett about the possibility of them entertaining at the Club Lounge.   Gary recalling his musical background in Kiowa,  his first acquaintance 9 years earlier, Judy Jantz hiring his band for the Chamber of Commerce Labor Day Dance,  appearing as The Traditions.

Gary visiting with Larry Swonger at work about forming a trio consisting of Larry on guitar and vocal lyrics and his entertaining MC antics and bad jokes.   Larry’s high school son Doug to entertain the percussion, a hidden talent in his own right awaiting discovery.   Gary’s again acquainting the  Fender Rhodes,  affording the bass octave and keyboard extracting its pronounced musical deliverance, the trio’s inaugural presentation according an acceptable performance, the Hargett’s impressed,  soliciting other engagements.  Gary, Larry and Doug continuing with  several weekend engagements,  Gary providing an added attraction inviting Bob Wallace and Jerry Willis from Oklahoma City to reunite with him on the bandstand for a nostalgic evening.

Better Midler - The Rose

Bette Midler – The Rose

Iva Beth's handwritten words to The Rose

Iva Beth’s handwritten words to The Rose

Once a musician always a musician even when being sequestered.  On occasion Gary would slip off to the Supper Club on a Friday or Saturday night, there was something inherent about the atmosphere of a well addressed nightclub.  The 19 year association with the realm of Wurlitzer and Seeburg having not only provided a means of livelihood but a bonding with a profession that was shared by notables throughout history.  The Supper Club sporting an upright piano placed off to the side of the dance floor, the musician when asked demonstrated that the eighty-eight keys still retained its functional heritage. It was a quiet evening at the Supper Club, the far and few between after dinner patrons who ventured into the beverage half of the Supper Club having left.  Gary having been asked to play a couple of songs was in process of leaving when he noticed that  his brother-in-law Shawn Johnsons mother Iva Beth and another lady entering seating themselves in a booth.   Iva approaching the piano asking the musician if he knew the Bette Midler song The Rose,  Gary responding  that he had seen the movie and was familiar with the song and then adding,  if you can sing it, I can play it.  Thinking that the comment would end the conversation, but he was wrong, Iva saying okay, I’ll be right back, I have the words at home.  Iva returning with a handwritten note pad with the words written on it.  Gary recalling the unusual two note right hand intro to the song, Iva beginning “Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed” the rest all fell into place, the voice and the piano blending as one, Gary having accompanied many stellar professional vocalist in the past, but this was totally astonishing,  Iva was The Rose.  The musician somewhat mesmerized by what had just transpired, bidding Iva Beth and her friend goodbye, but before leaving asking a favor of Iva,  could he have her handwritten words to the song, what wasn’t said was,  it would be kept as a remembrance of a rose.

Steve Miller's residence

Steve Miller’s residence

Jerry Willis & Gary

Jerry Willis & Gary

It was by invitation only,  the provincial Kiowa farmers not solicited,  Steve Miller extending a welcome to clientele from surrounding states and locations, providing the availability of his Cessna 172 as transportation.  The celebrated event as appreciation of their sponsorship in his John Deere business endeavors, but an attendance dismissal administered to the local community.  Steve very much aware of Gary’s music and band background presented an overture asking if he could provide the music for the 75 people at the upcoming event at his residence.  The petitioned musician placing a phone call to Oklahoma City,  questioning if the guitarist/sax player and friend Jerry Willis would make the drive for  a Saturday night appearance in Kiowa.   With Jerry’s arrival, Gary, the Fender Rhodes,  Kustom Amps and PA , also having enlisted Larry & Doug Swonger to round out the group were ardent for an early evening presentation. The h’orderves,  cocktails,  beverages of every imaginable genus flowing,  served in the outdoor area adjoining Miller capacious indoor pool.   A curiosity beginning to prevail, Gary cognizance that there was no provision for a meal, but that was soon to change.   Steve Miller,  approaching the entertainment asking to use the microphone.  All expecting a flourishing announcement for the attendance of the loyal customers but instead there was  a pronouncement. Steve relating that  dinner would be served at the Supper Club,  the Clubs complete menu at the guest disposal,  compliment of their host.  Steve Continued enumerating a petition from the Supper Club’s, Lynn Hargett, Lynne requesting the assemblage interval their  convergence, so as not to overwhelm the kitchen and  to better serve the entourage.   Gary finding the Steak and Lobster Tail impressive.

The enjoyable evening accomplished,  Gary’s band equipment once again finding solace in its storage capacity,  making  a decision to bid a farewell to his trusted friends, the provisional giver of captivating musical memories, the enabling contributing to years of fiscal accord.   An appropriation,  the quondam  appliance of his antecedent avocation, an evanescent inheritance to be bestowed to his eldest son Scott some day,  a family passing of the melodious baton,  the Steve Miller presentation  his music’s last hurrah.

The Seeds Of Lamentation……….#174 (80’s)

September 20, 2010
Bud Murrow a vintage 95 owner

Bud Murrow a vintage 95 owner

An unexpected change,  the advent of the new service manager for the Kiowa Service Company, Larry Foster giving notice, the communal being that he desired to go in business for himself, the clandestine reason being a discordant with owner Steve Miller’s posture on warranties and other irregularities.  Gary having experienced Miller’s pressure to apply a warranty resolution whenever possible or even  manufacture a possibility, Larry’s refusal to be part of this deception an added reason for his departure.  The Service Company was introduce to Howard, a middle age service department manager whose was previously employed by a John Deere Dealership in Norman Oklahoma.  Gary as well as many of the Service Company employee’s puzzled over how Steve Miller came about finding Howard, but then again the same could be said about his hiring of Steve McCreary.  Like McCreary, Howard immediately sought  means to establishing permanent residency  he and his wife  purchasing and preparing a vacant lot on the corner S. 9th and Robinson St.  for a double wide 24 x 52 ft. modular home.

Harvest - a family affair

Harvest – a family affair

 Gary’s father-in-law Bud Murrow was prompted by his family to engage in something he had never attempted before, cut his own wheat, the only problem was he didn’t have a combine.  Bud in the past along with other members of his wife family having joined together and hiring someone to harvest the Roth family sections of land.  Bud giving in to the wishes of his wife and daughters approaching John Miller about renting or buying a used combine to harvest his quarter section of wheat.  John recently having  traded for a vintage 1960’s 95 combine that was in working order but in need of some minor repairs and a engine head gasket.  The two coming to agreement at a nominal price for what Gary thought might be the Murrows first and last time in harvesting their own wheat.   Gary having some concern with his younger brother-in law Shawn Johnson who was working for Bud’s construction company at the time taking a quasia part in the repairs.    The harvest event resembled more of a picnic than a serious harvesting endeavor, a family affair with the children and grandchildren all taking turns riding in the combine as it slowly progressed with its cutting endeavour thru the 120 acres.   The wheat hauling truck duties shared among the Murrow daughter Gayle Robb and son-in-law Shaw,  Gary unable to participate, his duty at the parts counter during the harvest weeks stretched into sixteen hour days.

The 95 manufactured 1958 - 1969

The 95 manufactured 1958 – 1969

   Gary’s wife Jan entering Kiowa  Service  looking perplexed, it was nearing the final day for the old 95 combine to complete its appointed task.  Jan evoking that the combine had stopped running,  Shawn spending several hours trying to remedy its problem but to no avail.   Jan with a look of hopelessness  presented a question,  “could you do something?   Gary immediately thought of his friend Ron Zahtner but he was on a service call and unavailable.   A walk thru the shop area finding Keith Hoffman,  Jim Pulliam and Danny Callison,  all three having returned from service calls.   Gary relating Bud Murrow predicament,  mentioning that Shawn Johnson had attempted to resolve the problem without success,   the three all shaking their head, acknowledging they knew Shawn.  Keith volunteered to make the short journey to Bud’s acreage, then Denny added his voice,  followed by Jim,  all three would participate.   Keith’s service pickup was full,  the three mechanics,  Gary notifying Craig Brattin he would be out of the building telling Jan that hope was on its way before joining the others.  The short excursion to the Murrow’s stateline  farm accomplished,  the three journeyman mechanics discovering a solace 95 combine sitting in the field with a sulking  Shawn.  Johnson giving a summary of the circumstances and what he thought the problems was, the three addressing  the situation.  Jim cranking the engine,  Keith and Denny on top accessing the engine problem,  within what seemed like minutes a resolution was determined, with some skilled adjustments the vintage harvester came to life,  once again ready to fulfill its appointed task.  The task completed, Gary posing a questioned to three about submitting a work order,  all three just smiled,  “tell Bud the service-call is on us”.

An inherent responsibility of the parts department was ensure the defective part for warranty were properly tagged, stored and the appropriate paperwork filed with John Deere for reimbursement, the work order  billing for replacing the part being a function of the service department.  With the hiring of Howard, Gary soon realized defective parts and failures no longer under warranty were documented as aspiring from tractors and combines still  certified as under warranty.  Howard boasting that Steve Miller approached him with a very innovative way to boaster an hour meter reading on a leased combine by  wiring the radio to activate the hour meter when turned on. It was discerned that many harvesters utilized youths to wash and detail the combines when changing clients and with the youth listening to the radio, a registering of more leasing hours.   Battery warranties also became a concern, the John Deere warranty representative, better known as the Block Man  would visually inspect the batteries for warranty,  marking them with red spray paint.  Gary observing a service department employee removing the marking paint with a high pressure hose enabling the battery to be submitted again at a later date for warranty.  It was rumored Howard special talent was one that paid big dividends,  the reversing of a hour meter on a used tractors or combine, done after closing hours so never witnessed, but silently confirmed by previous owners.   Gary confronted Howard about his warranty concern,  it’s miss-application approaching the realm of theft, and at the least representing a defrauding of John Deere,  the Service Manager’s explanation being,  he was only complying with Steve Miller’s directive

Gary’s consternation about the warranties and misgivings of  Steve Miller’s directives began to sojourn on his conscience.   A unanswered question discovered Gary in Steve Miller’s office,  the parts person presenting his assertion of the impropriety of warranty exploitation.  Steve readily acknowledging it’s presence, but rationalized with an explanation,  gesturing to the small utility tractors positioned across the street,  imparting,  “Kiowa Service having never sold a single one, but they remain”.   Gary, understood the smaller tractor application was not marketable in a wheat farming community, but listening to the owners accordance.   Steve continued,  “John Deere requires I floor-plan a number of their products,  whether they are marketable or not and as a dealer I am given no choice.   Floor planing equipment that I can’t sell cost me money and I am only recouping my loss of income from John Deere.”    Gary acknowledging  Steve Miller’s annotation,  noting that his justification was not acceptable,  the age-old adage coming to mind, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.  Exiting the office discerning that the seeds of lamentation have been planted, the fruit’s of emergence soon to flourish and the  commission of righteous employment to be adjudged.

Advanced Technology…….#173 (80’s)

September 18, 2010
Webstar television communication satellite

Webstar television communication satellite

Kiowa basic cable television consisted of five channels,  three being the major networks, the other two TBS and channel 13  a public television presentation, HBO and Showtime being offered as a premium. Gary finding the Sunday night Wonderful World of Disney presentation paramount to Robert and Sandi, but alas the network dropping the program with the announcement of the inauguration of the Disney channel, but it was not available on the Kiowa  cable network.  Gary taking notice of a quarter page ad in the Kiowa News that  C-Band satellite dish television had arrived in Kiowa.   Chuck Graves having established a plumbing service,  occupying the Schupbach Plumbing building on Main St., erected a mobile home residence just south of the water tower on highway 8,  adding an additional small building and positioning several satellite dishes adjacent to the highway for display,   Steve Miller the first in Kiowa to inaugurate the new accord.

C-span satellite dish

C-span satellite dish

Gary having kept abreast of the new technology acquiring an interest deciding to meet with Chuck to satisfy his curiosity of how much a system would cost.   A discussion with Chuck immediately found the total expenditure exceeded what he could afford,  but further inquisition discovering a possible solution.  Graves explaining, the total cost wasn’t in just the application of the dish or its signal reception equipment, but an aggregate of size and other components, besides the size, the most costly being the automated motor acquisition and locking features, the system that located the satellite and  halted the dish when acquiring a broadcasting satellite.  Gary questioned,  the standard for a satellite dish being 8 to 12 ft.. in diameter,  do they manufacture an acceptable quality smaller dish,  again the answer was an affirmation, there was an acceptable six-foot dish available.  Gary was hesitant with the second question but it needed to be asked.  Do they make  a relatively low-cost manual device for circulating the dish rather than the automated and self locking device. Chuck smiling knowing where Gary was going with cost savings, again affirming that they did make a manual control but he didn’t stock the product but it was available.  Gary concluding after comparing prices, by substituting a 6 ft. dish for an 8,  installing a manual control opposed to an automated self acquiring application the satellite dish system suddenly became affordable.   Gary also discovering the amenable Chuck having restrained his profit margin in appreciation of being one of the first to come aboard his new  business platform.

uniden c-span receiver

Uniden C-span receiver

  Gary recognizing that the geosynchronous satellites were stationed in an area similar to the moving path of the moon and planets,  an unobstructed view of east to west southern quadrant of the sky needed.  Gary discover the Willson’s 11th St. residence was unacceptable for a ground level dish,  it seemed the trees on neighbor Jim Looker’s property was an arresting venue,  an innovative application would be required.  Gary fabricating a four-foot square platform on the enclosed porch roof enabling the mounting of a dish stand,  a solvent solution to the obstructed view.  Chucks arrival,  Gary as a provisional assistant, the two firmly fastening the mounting stand to the provided platform, the espousing 6 ft. dish finding a home able to search the heavens,  a receptive introduction to a distant communication provider.

The common 12 ft. dish

The common 12 ft. dish

A realization having come true, the six-foot rooftop satellite dish acquisition fulfilled,  others including John Miller and  Larry Swonger adding their names to Chuck’s list of advanced technology host.    The satellite presentation providing  a broader spectrum of  programming with 18 geosynchronous  satellites owned by five companies,  offering upwards of 120 channels.  Beside the premium channels like Disney , HBO,  and Showtime was the ability to watch the unabridged network program feeds and behind the scenes footnotes before their scheduled viewing time giving one an insight to the inter-workings of the television networks.  A totally expanse of the television industry was at a person’s disposition, viewing no longer confined to the beckoning selection and cost of the cable company.  Gary concluding the dish wasn’t a symbol of affluence,  but one of accomplishment,  having discovered an unconventional way in fulfill what would in otherwise would have been a high-cost desire.

A Scouting Experience………………..#172 (80’s)

September 17, 2010
Robert in Uniform

Robert in Uniform

Robert having made a decision, the young man aspiring  to become a Cub Scout.   Gary recalling his venture into Scouting,  according a benediction,  but also remembering the encumbrance  of attendance and participation,  sometimes not always a convenience when other contingencies presented themselves to a nine year old.   The attire of a uniform always presenting a presentation of self-esteem regardless of the person’s perspective.   The Kiowa Den meetings being embraced in the Scout Hut,  The hut  located across the street from the Grade School  on 10th St., the upstairs utilized by the older Boy Scouts,  the basement pavilion relegated for the younger Cubs.   Keith Hoffman,  a diesel mechanic at Kiowa Service, in leau of a Den Mother abiding as the tinctured Den Father,  Gary having volunteered as assistant Den luminary, Keith having a son, Danny the same age as Gary’s son Robert.  The young cadre ready to accomplishing the Cub regiment of scouting beginning with the rank of Bobcat, followed by attaining the requirements in the Wolf and Bear Manuals and the final  accolade,  a Webelos accomplishment,  the prerequisite before advancing into the plaudits of mature scouting..

The Scout Hut across from the Grade School

The Scout Hut across from the Grade School

Gary finding the  Cub Scout guidance was a gratification,  the communion with the younger understudy providing a forbearance of a previous era,  the adventurous ambitions of an insouciant time of life,  his son Robert prevailing with an attitude for accomplishment.  A program to encourage elective projects understandably finding the association of boys not very innovative when left to a decision,  parental guidance was found to be the operative.   Gary recognizing Robert’s  undecidedness on choosing an project,  likewise  he and Keith realized that most of these first undertakings would probably be parental ideas.  With Roberts indecision Gary presented a proposal, having introduced Robert and his sister to the realm of the night sky utilizing a five inch reflector telescope he had purchased through a spiegel catalog.  Submitting his novel idea,  a constellation sphere of the night sky projected by inserting strings of miniature Christmas tree light thru a blackened cork framed board,  the figurative  outline of the sky’s well known constellations illuminated in a darken room.  The two proceeding with this novel idea using illustrations from a star map,  the miniature lights substituting for the stars. The Den displaying their projects, Robert’s project was by far the most unique.

A pinewood model race car

A pinewood model race car

A second opportunity for the young impresario’s of the Cub Scout accumulation,  a project more attuned to the Den members  approval,  a 12 x 4 x 4 inch block of  pinewood to be carved in the shape of a racing car and fitted with the packaged provided axles and wheels.   The finished product enabling the boys to enter a competition,  entertaining a raised platform drag-strip,  the Cubs releasing the sculptured models in paired contention, the models racing  down the elongated runway,  concluding the fastest car in an elimination race.  Each participant allowed two attempts, Robert first competitive appearance a loss, taking his disappointment in hand ready for  the second performance. This time  finding his car finishing first, Gary having applied a coating of graphite to the axles,  enhancing the model racing expenditures mobility.  Robert’s car continuing excel, the over-all winner, Gary recognizing that at that age acknowledgement is important but fleeting.

Keith Hoffman and the Kiowa Cub Scouts

Keith Hoffman and the Kiowa Cub Scouts

Gary was apprehensive about the overnight field outing the Den was about to experience.  He and Robert to  journey a mile west of town,  then 3 miles north to a camp ground on the Medicine River,  an area employed by the Scouts.   Arriving they found Jerry McNamara,  the Kiowa District Scout Leader in uniform and expediting the campgrounds provisions, three large tents and a number of smaller canvas shelters providing the overnight accommodations.   Roger Robinson,  his son Paul  a Scout, setting up a spit mounted already partially cooked pig on hand- operated rotisserie, the pork endeavor  final dispatch to be completed over a grill by the ordained scouts.  Gary having just returned from an expeditionary journey exploring the Medicine River, when his attention was drawn by a commotion originating from a group of Cubs in one of the tents,  the attention-getting sounds  deserving an investigation.   Entering the tent, looking about,  suspiciously according its contents,  Gary apprehending a magazine fold emitting from the sleeping bag of John Thomas.  The Cubs having exited the tent, Gary not surprised at his find, especially among the ascension of inquisitive boys  when billeted together in the remote countryside, the encompassing  magazine in question,  Playboy, the adult retreating outside, ceding his find as undiscovered.

Gary concluding: The world would be a far better place if all mankind would adhere to this oath : On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country and obey the Scout Law to be: Trustworthy, Loyal , Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Discharging It’s Raiment……….#171 (80’s)

September 15, 2010
Mother Nature making her presence known

Mother Nature making her presence known to Kiowa

It was a preharvest extravaganza more than an open house, members of the local farming community and others from a distance attaining a presence,  many ferried in thru the avionics of  Steve Miller’s  Cessna 172.   The quantum staff of the Service Company petitioned to participate, each employee assigned as a spokesman in some capacity.   A capacious amount of comestibles,  roast beef,  ham,  a diversity of condiments,  soft drink refreshments,  iced beer acquainting voluminous tubs and a more potent variety of bottled oblation established in the employee’s appurtenant better know as the break room.   The two structured shop buildings encompassing  14,000 sq. ft.,  petitioned to provide stations of presentation for a multiple of John Deere productions including the complete line of 40 series tractors, the 7720 and colossal 8820 combine  with its reaching 30 ft. wheat harvesting header.   Displays of plows,chisels, drills, the 346 baler and the new 8300 drill,  a shop employee commissioned at each station  with literature in hand,  answering the inquisitive questions.   It was John Deere Day at Kiowa Service Company.

4 wheel drive 8640

All wheel drive 8640

The distant rumbling of mother nature was perceived within the two metal fabricated buildings  but with little fanfare or acknowledgement the farming guest in attendance absorbed in the celebration of the gala event.   The intonation of the gathering storms rain could be heard striking the metal canopied roof,  at first a gentle patter of sound,  then an increasing intensiveness,  the resonance of thunder beginning to echo an increasing presence.   Still the ambiguous group displayed an unconcern,  then a change in plangency,  a pinging sound, then another,  the sound of hail striking the metal covering aloft,  lightly at first,  then growing in magnitude,  a noticeable vocal silence from the assembly as the volume of sound increased,  a concern starting to evolve.   Gary standing among the guest, perceiving a comment,  “these hailstorms are of short duration and will soon pass.”   The intensity increased,  the reverberating sound within the metal structure reaching a fervent pitch,  then exclaimed  a fury,  the vigor of the sound asphyxiating normal conversation.   Gary struck with the magnitude of  sound,  his curiosity abounding,  approached the outside door,  with its opening, discovering the pelting hail blanketing the ground, up to two inches in depth.  Then an eerie calming silence,  except for the rumble of the thunder as the waning precarious storm continued to journey, another destination awaiting its destructive ambiance.   The faces of those in attendance,  a silent reflection of consternation,  an aura of uncertainty,  the encroachment of wheat harvest was soon to commence but now a wonderment.   The once festive occasion  digressing to one of solemnization,  finding an exiting of the local participants,  their flight to assess the storms adversity to their crops.

A farmers nightmare

A farmers nightmare

The battered wheat a testament to mother natures fury

The battered wheat a testament to mother natures fury

Jan’s parents and her Aunt and Uncle Charles Terry having left Kiowa to meet with her Aunt and Uncle Melvin Weyenth from Illinois, the three couple to traversing  to  New York State  to visit  Lewis County and the first Apostolic Christian Church  founded by the Benedict  Weyeneth in 1847.  Included in this visit would be the opportunity to partake of  a scenic journey to address the water expressway, the famous Erie Canal.  The day following the storm, Gary having heard reports of many losing their wheat to the onslaught of the hail, thought it best to drive out and assess Buds quarter section.  A concerned Gary and Jan with the children in tow driving the Stateline road approaching the Murrow’s farm,  Bud having  seeded a 120 acres in wheat in the old home place location.   On the way out the family observing the neighboring farms and the  havoc inflicted on the already budding out wheat giving testament to its devastation.  Continuing on,  a hope for supplication but the view not promising, stopping embarking from the car finding a field of despair.    Venturing into the maze of broken wheat stalks the ground laden with the remains of a prosperous crop, a notice of  scrutiny confirming the worst.  Gary ascertaining the path of the storm  had discharged its raiment  paralleling the Stateline   affecting  an area five-miles on either side of the boundary,  the Murrow family wasn’t alone with the storms adversity as mother nature plays no favorites.   Later in the week Jan’s folks called to notify them that they were on their way home,  Jan informing them of the storm.  Once home,Bud like many others wrote off his crop as a total loss,  but with his crop insurance it allowed some redemption providing a start for next year’s harvest.

Destined To Mirror……………..#170 (80’s)

September 13, 2010
A pair of outlaws

A pair of outlaws

Gary discovering although the two sibling were a year apart one would have thought they were destined to mirror the footsteps of the other in the pursuing their academic travel but not thus far in life. Roberts first introduction to school was abrasive,  he experienced a chastisement from his kindergarten teacher,  Sally Forester,  an involvement in a jostling action taking place in class.  The newly accredited students  in line for an activity,  finding a disturbance among the six-year olds,  Robert accused of the instigation,  the son of a local church minister making the acquisition,  a notification finding Jan traversing to the school,  the matter being resolved.   Sandi’s advent in her school debut not nearly as climactic as Roberts,  her luscious disposition, always amiable and attentive to those around her, finding a total acceptance from her classmates.

A Stateline Crafts visitor

A Stateline Crafts visitor

It was a normal winter Saturday afternoon,  the temperature finally accomplishing the 32 degree level,  the sun basking the south side of the residence with its warmth,  Jan having fired the large ceramic greenware kiln in the garage.   Gary stepping outside the craft shop door adjacent to the garage noticing a gray haze emitting from the garage aperture.   Approaching and opening the door,  he was immediately confronted with an intense blanket of smoke, a sensing of heat and a reflected glow of flames.   Hurrying back inside the house alerting  Jan to call the fire department,  the garage was on fire.  Returning and opening the  garage side door entrance, unable to observe because of the dense smoke, dropping to floor level he could perceive flames being emitted from burning boxes across the expanse on the far wall.   Without hesitation he traversed the distance to where a garden hose was connected to the side of the house,  a prayer that the hose was no longer frozen from the overnight temperature.  Addressing the gate valve and dragging the stiff outlay to the garage door, turning on the nozzle his prayers being answered, kneeling beneath the layer of smoke  he proceeded to spray the inflamed containers,  encapsulating them with a mist of water.  The sirens announcing the arrival of the Kiowa volunteer fire department, Roger Robinson evoking a large fire hose toward the open side door. Gary immediately arresting his entrance,  asserting him not to employ the high pressure hose as it would cause havoc with the stored ceramic greenware yet to be fired.  The smoke beginning to clear, Roger and several others of the fire department entering the scene of what could have been, accessing that the fire was out.  It was only then that Gary realized what he had done besides spraying the flames, he had unconsciously went over on a wet floor to the still firing 60 amp kiln and shut it off,  thankful he didn’t acquaint 240 volts.  On closer inspection it was decided that the kiln sparked the fire.  Its station in the garage was kept totally free from flammable items, apparently there was an electrical malfunction that provided a high energy arc, sending a charge across the width of the garage causing the boxes containing ceramic items stored there to ignite.  Gary discovering the tell-tale signs of an arcing heating element, a trip to Wichita for parts,  the kiln quandary soon found its production life back in operation.

Family life having adjudicated a quotient aptitude in the rural town,  the  epoch of the everyday having settled into a normalcy,  Robert and Sandi’s school attendance finding  the Willson residence during the day no longer burgeoning with young ones.   Jan’s Stateline Crafts having reached the pinnacle of success and the acquired Apostolic Christian Church housekeeping positions that Gary and Jan shared were catharsis applications.  The twice per week normal services and other attendance necessitated hours of engagement, Gary primarily responsible for the care of the sanctuary and  the total vacuuming of the remaining area of the church.  He was thankful for some forethought,  because besides a normal vacuum sweeper, the church having been constructed with two central closeted vacuum system with hose outlets stationed throughout. Marvin Ott,  the principal owner and president  of the Bank of Kiowa,  also a Brother in faith with the Apostolic Church, posting a notice in the Kiowa News for a bank teller position.  Jan reasoning, with both Robert and Sandi now in school, her job as a stay-at-home  mom  for the most part had come to a conclusion, deciding to enter the pool of applicants for the opening at the bank and welcomed as a new employee.

Bank of Kiowa

Bank of Kiowa

Gary’s completion of his fourth harvest season at Kiowa Service,  finding a meridian having been reached with the apex of combine sales starting to decline.   A surprising new developments was apprehended, Larry Foster the service manage being replaced, although portrayed as a mutual agreed upon resignation, it was questionable.  Larry wasn’t the only change to come about,  Gary being asked to recede from his parts management position,  Steve Miller soliciting an experienced parts person from the John Deere dealership in Wichita who resided in Wellington, the new person to have a dual purpose for the move to Kiowa.  Steve McCreary would assume the parts department managerial position and he and his wife Tudy were to open a Mexican restaurant in the recently closed Daylight Donuts building.   Gary finding Steve a very personable, good nature and laid back person, portraying himself not as a boss or supervisor, but a  fellow worker to help alleviate some of the  burden of the parts department.   Gary discovering working with Steve an acceptable experience, no longer having the responsibility of the lassitude of endless paperwork and oversight of the inventory.  His three years, two harvest tenures in management was an applicable learning experience and he didn’t feel slighted at being replaced, it was more of a promotion since there was no change in his pay check.

Conejo's in Kiowa

Conejo’s in Kiowa

The opening of Cornejos’ restaurant found it resembling a Taco establishment rather than a purveyor of Mexican cuisine.  Steve’s wife Tudy, a member of the Conejo family,  an implied prosperous  name in Wichita,  the owners of a very large and successful demolition and trash transporting concern, plus financing several family own Mexican restaurants.   Gary questioning his own perception of events,  it was well known that Steve Miller had financed the purchase of the house that Steve, Tudy and their two children  occupied, but in all likelihood it was part of the contract for their relocation.   Needless to say there were always those spreading  rumors of seeing Miller and Tudy together,  Gary chalking it up to small town residual chatter because of some of Steve Miller’s past notoriety and indiscretion .   The advent of  Cornejo’s  was an overnight success,  Tudy having a keen business sense having managed a family establishment in Wellington.  Conejo’s in their rise to prominence promoted a causality, having an undesirable effect on the Dairy Bar, the only other fast food endowment in Kiowa,  a concern being evoked that its operation would desist,  the rumor becoming fact,  its closure inevitable.  With the passing of time the real world persisted and the newness of Conejos tapered off,  returning  like a Phoenix, the Dairy Bar took flight again,  the hamburger and ice cream parlor opening with new management, Monty Blunk and Family, Gary concluding that the surrounding world wasn’t  changing, but evolving (more…)