Archive for November, 2010

Memorable Events……..#197 (the 80’s)

November 28, 2010
Chris & Marlo

Chris & Marlo

Gary’s memory prevailing with thoughts of the past recalling the last time he had visited with his daughter Marlo and her friend Chris.  The couple having journeyed to Kiowa,  arriving in a 1953 Chevrolet spending the day, both the couple and the classic Chevy having made a lasting impression,  Gary drawing a conclusion that they would soon be united in marriage   The wedding announcement of Christopher Gene Denton and Marlo Cherise Willson wasn’t without expectation, but the telephone call from Marlo’s Mother was, her call was to inquire if Gary would help with the cost of the wedding, the couple having elected a Wedding Chapel Ceremony. Gary agreeing to pay for  all expenses incurred by the Chapel and Ceremony, Kaye relating that the couple had elected to be married on Sunday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day.  The matrimonial time-table having been set, Gary, Jan, 10-year-old Robert and 9-year-old Sandi making the Sunday morning trip to Oklahoma City.  The family arriving early at the Chapel, Gary unsure of his role in the ceremony,  the Father of the Bride discovering he would be ask to stand and present the rhetorical answer to the question “who gives this women”.  The ceremony beginning with Richard Wagner’s traditional Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, the groom awaiting the flowering bride, the presentation very artistic as was Gary’s daughter Marlo in her bridal gown and Chris attired in his formal white tuxedo standing, a pillar of intrepidity,  Gary reflecting on this moment in time, how young the couple looked.

Marlo and Chris

Marlo and Chris

A favorite of the Bride and Groom

A favorite of the Bride and Groom

The ceremonial conclusion being  announced by Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, a radiant glow emitting from the couple as they exited, giving credence to a blessed event.  Gathering outside the Father of the Bride wasn’t surprised at the large number in attendance considering the affluent personalities of the Bride and Groom.   An invitation being extended to the wedding ensemble of family and friends to join the Bride and Groom at Harrigan’s,  a favorite restaurant of Chris and Marlo’s on SW. 74th St., the establishment having made provisions for the gathering.   The joyous event of the afternoon coming to a conclusion,  a sense of melancholy was evident on the return drive to Kiowa, Gary for the first time putting his station in life and age in prospective, raising a young family, and experiencing another venturing into adulthood and making their way on the road of life..

Garrett - Chris and Marlo

Garrett – Chris and Marlo

Sandi with Chris and Garrett

Sandi with Chris and Garrett

The Denton’s having settled, Chris and  having  leased the unoccupied half of Marlo’s  mother’s duplex.  The  summer bringing the wonderful news of expectancy, The Denton’s announcing that January would bring more than a new year.   Behold the newest 6 lbs 2 oz. addition to the Willson legacy, Garrett Christopher Denton making his presence known on January 6, 1989.  Gary inheriting a new status, grandfather, discovering   a quiescence engulfing aura was present when embracing Garrett. his Grandson a reflection of innocence and purity.   Holding the reflection of innocence and purity, experiencing the radiance of sanctity of an unscathed countenance of his grandson, it’s  warm and soft presence instilling a sense of purpose and meaning.

A symbol of attainment

A symbol of attainment

“There’s a time for joy,  a time for tears,  a time we’ll remember through the years,  we’ll remember always graduation day“,  the lyrics of the Four Lads promulgating the up-coming event,  Jan’s commencement exercise at Pratt Community College, having accomplishing a Associate of Science Degree in Nursing.  Gary was surprised when she inquired if the emeritus musician would provide a piano accordance for the nursing class graduation occurrence.   At first somewhat hesitant but then agreeing,  questioning as to what his participation entail, discovering he was to provide a prelude then the entrance processional  followed by an interlude and upon the conclusion the recessional.  Gary having no difficulty selecting what he would play for the processional and recessional  but discovered the Preeminent of the Nursing Departments Jeanie Walsh was paramour to a song from the 1972 Broadway musical,  A Little Night Music,  established in 1975 by folksinger Judy Collins,   “Send In The Clowns“.   Gary immediately finding a humorous countenance in the title,  especially to be perform as a prelude before an assembly of soon-to-be nurses.   He had decided the  processional would be a composition for his wife, Jan at one time having mentioned her high school class graduation song, it too was from a Broadway production,  the 1965 musical,  The Man From La Manche and one Gary was acquainted with,   “The Impossible Dream“.

Cathy Coxs Grade School Music Instructor

Cathy Cox Grade School Music Instructor

Gary vaguely recalling the Judy Collins song,  having never attempted to play Send In The Clowns and not possessing a recording for his musical ear to posture as an auscultation, discovering he would be compelled to purchased the sheet music.  Once purchased another discovery, the score was written in a 9/8’s temporal signature,  a study of its structure was initiated,  the double waltz time beginning was perceptible, but the bridge presented a problem, it wasn’t registering with the resurrected musician.   The always reliable plan B was initiated,  Gary calling upon the Grade Schools music Teacher Cathy Cox,  approaching her after school with a request for her to play the composition for him.  Cathy seated at the piano somewhat apologetic as it was her first time sight-reading the musical score.  Her first attempt was elucidating, Cathy’s performance exacting,  providing the missing bridge connotation needed for Gary’s educated ear.  The pianist now confident with a few personalized brush strokes he could flourish the composer’s artistic musical  painting.

Jan's College Nursing Graduation Program

Jan’s College Nursing Graduation Program
(click to enlarge)

The evening of Pratt Community College graduation ceremony having arrived,  the gymnasium was suffused with friends,  family and all the consolidated graduates of the class of 1988 from  the divergent career majors.   A vocalist and pianist commenced the program,  followed by multifarious address’ from college and guest dignitaries,  followed by an acknowledgement of the graduating students with a replica of diploma’s for their accession.  The student gathering diverged,  Jan’s diminutive sized nursing class assembling in a lecture auditorium with a stage and raised seating,  Gary taking notice of a Yamaha grand piano positioned to one side of the stage and a large movie screen centered as a backdrop.  Seated with  Jan’s parents Bud & Helen Murrow, her  aunt and uncle, Charles & Esther Terry,  the class to be seated in  the forefront before a podium.   Gary removing himself from the group,  ascending the stage,  seating himself at the piano, beginning the prelude, then followed by the  The Impossible Dream as the classes entered.  The program continuing, the introduction speeches and acknowledgements, Gary remaining at the piano.  The lights beginning to dim, a projector coming to life,  highlighting the screen with photos of the past,  accounts of class outings and events,  scenes of the class members close two-year affiliation.    Gary beginning to play appropriate emotional background music,  some of which forged tears of melancholy,  the pianist knowing the erstwhile class comradely and their educational ascendancy,  a vision that would forever be anchored in their memory.  The ceremony coming to a conclusion,  Gary’s choice for the recessional, a fitting one “Chariots of Fire”.

Her formal college perquisite fulfilled,  Jan preparing for the virtual final exam,  a real test of her two years of accumulative nursing knowledge,  the Kansas State Board of Nursing Exam.  Each graduate having to pass the state board exam to be licensed as a Registered Nurse, Gary having little doubt  his wife would accomplish her goal.   Gary reflecting on Jan’s amelioration,  her progression from a small town  indigenous twice married clothing store employee,  to a pillared mother of two,  attaining a prerequisite  college degree for a Registered Nurse.   He reasoned,  his intransigent apportionment was just one of many segments providing a foundation for Jan to attain her sequestered ambitions.    His resolute encouragement a mitigating essential  when others questioned her passion for a career in nursing, but it was her perseverance and determination that emancipated a final accomplishment,   “Jan Willson, R.N.”


California 1 – The Coast Highway……#196 (the 80’s)

November 24, 2010

The beginning of the end

The Eel River bridge

The Eel River bridge

The Cavalier with its valued cargo  acquiring the Leggett junction of US 101 and California Highway 1,  it was the beginning of the end.   The end of State Highways 1 and its 655 mile northern trek,  but a beginning for Willsons to view its wondrous scenic itinerary,  traversing the Coast Highway in a southern proclivity and returning to the bay-area province of Foster City.   A quarter-mile into their journey experiencing the Eel River Bridge,  the first of over a dozen bridges they would ford during their progression with the Pacific and their venture down its picturesque coastal byway.   Retreating on the acclivous avenue,  finding that they were still amongst the abounding redwood forest,  the roadway a gradual descent to the picture perfect blue pacific,  its scintillating effervesce and officiousness a presentation of staidness already coming into view.

Arriving on the scenic coast.

Arriving on the scenic coast.

The gallivant Highway 1

The morning sunshine bathing the highway,  the cresting waves breaking leeward with the oncoming sea breeze arriving from the earthen expanse of the seas profusion,  but a sense of unanimity prevailing.  One found find the northern California coast is isolated from its inland entourage, encountering  just two easterly flowing highways in 250 mile southern sentinel journey.   The lunch hour acknowledging travel abeyance at Fort Bragg,  a short-lived military post established in 1857 to maintain order on the Noyo Indian reservation,  the post closing in 1864.   The ensuing years finding the Forts remnants were accomplished by the lumber entrepreneurs and once again an inhabited presence acknowledged.   Continuing south the family hesitating adjacent to where the Navarro River enters the pacific,  an expansion of shoreline , enabling all to experience the cresting waves breaking on the sand adorned beach.  Robert and Sandi shedding their shoes and embracing the cool receptive waters of the Pacific.

A beautiful family view and the Pacific Ocean

A beautiful family view and the Pacific Ocean

Robert the wave cresting

Sandi giving a lovely presence to the ocean

Sandi giving a lovely presence to the ocean

Once again the Cavalier journeyed on The Coast Highway,  addressing Fort Ross, its history one of Russian occupation, the northern neighbors seizing an opportunity to lay claim to coastal area north of San Francisco.  In 1806 a joint effort in the seal hunting commerce initiated the RAC Company, Russian-American Company.  The Russians supplying the Seal hunters, the Americans the sailing vessels and by 1818 the seal population had been depleted.   The Russians having established themselves building Fortress Rossiya, (Ft. Ross) and a harvesting station on the Farallon Islands 30 miles off the California Coast.  The Fortress Ross settlement and their agricultural enterprises remaining until 1842 venturing as far south as Bodega Bay,  the scenic location for Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie The Birds and Gary’s youthful abalone fishing adventure with his Grandfather Marvin.   Continuing south with resolve,  the bay-area’s accession it’s 60 miles still remaining,  the travelers quiescent with their Highway 1 accomplishments,  the closing miles providing a panoramic view from the overlooking cliffs winding path, the driver ready for its conclusion.

Historic Fort Ross

Historic Fort Ross

Bodega Bay - location of Alfred Hitchcocks "The Birds"

Bodega Bay – location of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”

The shoreline Highway 1  providing  another encore presentation with 101,  the stage,  three-mile from the Golden Gate Bridge.   Gary and Jan finding they could somewhat relax even in the traffic of the multi-lane Highway 101 after experiencing of the narrow cliff hugging coast roadway for the past hour.   Accessing the suspension structure, the travelers finding the six lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge moving swiftly,  its presence a effulgent beacon of San Francisco,  a poised landmark for 50 years,  proclaiming its stature.   The day prior to its 1937 inaugural automotive opening,  200, 000 participants gather to traverse the bridge on foot and roller skates,  each individual to autograph the journals of history and with embarkation of automotive propinquity,  the city of San Francisco enacted a week-long celebration.

A Welcome sign

A Welcome sign

The Golden Gate with a San Francisco backdrop

The Golden Gate with a San Francisco backdrop

Crossing the Golden Gate

A return to Foster City and Gary’s sisters condominium, Scott, Gary’s oldest son welcoming them back after their prolonged travels with a suggested trip to Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk,  questioning if they were in accordance for another short journey.   Gary was weary of driving,  but Robert and Sandi hearing Scott’s description of the Boardwalk and the amusement rides  were ecstatic,  especially after having endured as  spectators when visiting the many relatives whom they had never really knew existed.   The rental Chevrolet making its final vacationing journey,  Scott accompanying the family, their objective,  Santa Cruz and the boardwalk.   Highway 17 and the Santa Cruz Mountains was acknowledged,  Gary having a brief flashback of a previous journey in his youth on this precipitous road, riding on the back of a Cushman 5 horsepower motor scooter,  the teenager and his friend Dale Spady experiencing an adventurous voyage to Los Angeles.  Recalling the uphill ascend,  finding the Cushman in first gear,  having to fall in line behind the ten wheeler semi’s,  a slow but steady gate to the crest.

Highway 17 - The Santa Cruz Mountains

Highway 17 – The Santa Cruz Mountains

Scott directing them on a side trip to Aptos,  pointing out his aunt and uncles previous residence and an area where he and his surfer friends socialized.   It had been over thirty years since Gary had walked the boardwalk at Santa Cruz remembering that he last assailed this copious amusement park  sponsored by the Oakland Tribune for submitting a required quantity of new subscriptions.  The noon hour and an appetite for fish,  finding the assemblage frequenting a seafood establishment on the Pier,  the remainder of the afternoon acquiring the escapades of the entertaining attractions.    The trek back to Foster City found an enervated crew,  it would be their final night in California.

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk

The Big Dipper

The morning bidding a melancholy farewell to Scott,  the Cavalier traversing the San Mateo Bridge to the Oakland International Airport and a return of the Alamo Rental car having deposited over 1200 miles on the odometer.   The American Airlines McDonnell Douglas 80, a version of the DC-9,  taxied to runway two-niner,  the airliner’s  pilot giving power to the tail-mounted twin JT8D-200 turbo jet engines,  the plane lifting off the runway,  banking east,  reaching an altitude of 35,000 ft., cruising at 504 knots,  Wichita Kansas Mid-Continent Airport the winged carriers ambition.   The smartly dressed stewardess providing a complimentary lunch, it’s cargo of passengers lulled by the nutritional substance,  a pacifying composure evolving and the whispering sound of the jets projecting aura of contentment.  The flowing aero flight above the revolving  earthly firma below projecting a temporal passing of forward progress, it’s nebulosity giving essence to the watchful heavenly domain, its silence displaying a gentle caressing of the strata.   The solace was interrupted with an announcement,  the flight was descending to Wichita,  the sixteen day Willson family adventure having concluded.

The Avenue Of The Giants…….#195 (80’s)

November 21, 2010
The Redwood Highway

The Redwood Highway

A welcoming Paul Bunyan at Trees of Mystery


Highway 101 is referred to by a variety of sobriquet,  in Washington State it’s identified as “101“,  in Oregon it is characterized as  “The Oregon Coast Highway“ and in California it is noted as  “The Pacific Coast Highway“,  but the residents of Northern California  christened it, “The Redwood Highway“,  an amenable designation,   as the Willson family experienced,  their journey conveying south from Crescent City.  The itinerary was one without design,  neither Gary or Jan could appraise what points of interest or vista they would engender that might compel an arrest to their journey.   The two lane Redwood Highway blanketed by a disposition of prismatic earthen foliage and majestic ascending trees, the asphalt roadway carving an artery thru the labyrinth of forestation,  providing an uninterrupted avenue of empyrean observation.   The travelogue amongst the Redwoods was halted,  a large parking area and pavilion was entrenched on the left side of the highway,  towering upwards and adjacent was a giant 49 foot likeness of the legendary Paul Bunyan holding an axe and Babe his renown blue ox.  Gary  without hesitation  structured the Cavalier into the Parking dominion,  an aura of curiosity and enthusiasm resonating from the transports postern seat,  Robert and Sandi acknowledging the display,  discovering something of real interest to their youthful apperception.

Robert and Sandi before a redwood

Jan, Sandi and Robert with the stone serpent

Sandi and the tired Logger

Jan and Gary at the Cathedral

Trees of Mystery,  a private own exhibit bordered by The Redwood National Forest and State Park,  first commencing in 1946 and expanding the affectation to encompass the redwoods anomalous aperture,  a celebrated folklore tour along the trail of tall trees,  their vigilant presence in harmony with the performance,  portraying a stately faction in the arena.   The Willson’s beginning,  Robert and Sandi leading the procession, exploring the stated stone,  wooden sculptures and carvings viewed along the winding path,  addressing the Cathedral Trees,  many with six Herculean trees rooted from a fallen ancestor, its new growth springing forth from its branches,  the redwoods blanketing the Trail of Trees in semi-darkness.   The Brotherhood Tree,  a specimen of endurance,  over 2000 years of age and when losing 74 ft. of it skyward reach,  remains standing at 215 feet of stature.  Continuing on to another a cluster of designated trees,  “The Cathedral“,  a hosting location for weddings.  The evening hour was approaching,  a meal at the dining establishment adjoining the Trees of Mystery was fulfilling, Gary realized  a 70 mile journey to Eureka,  the family feeling the fatigue from the long journey,  a catechism of tomorrow’s venture would begin with the celestial essence of an Eureka dawn .

Humboldt Bay

Humboldt Bay

Pink Victorian built by Milton Carson for his son

Milton Carson, lumber Baron’s residence

Eureka waterfront

Arising in the morning,  a gentle ocean affectation filling the atmosphere,  the aurora of the sun brushing the landscape with an advancing effulgence.   Humboldt Bay,  the second largest bay in California,  it position virtually undiscovered from the sea,  because of  its  obscure narrow harbor entrance  and a similar circumstance from the terra firma east,   finding Northern California and Southern Oregon land routes to the pacific coast non-existent because of the 2 million acres of densely forested Redwoods.  In 1850 gold was discovered on the Trinity River, the miners initiating a compulsory path to the coast and an  uncovering of Humboldt Bay bringing settlers and Eureka to propinquity.  A morning tour of the city,  viewing the celebrated Victorian Mansions of Milton Carson,  a pink Victorian built as wedding gift for his son and a colossus of a mansion,  the 1884 lumber baron’s residence. The exploring of the harbor wharf,  the aroma of the lapping water, finding a magnitude fishing sorties and  lumber enterprises  still flourishing, heighten assemblages  of branched timber addressing the waterfront awaiting shipment to the mills.   Another remembrance gathered and filed away,  to be recalled someday.

Avenue of the Giants

Driving thru a redwood

The Founders Tree

The Founders Tree

Acquainting the Highway,  the travelers continued south,  traversing the small burg of Fortuna and finding a distinctive name change for this extension of 101,  now proclaimed as  The Avenue of the Giants.   Halting their progression,  again finding an opportunity to experience the continuing breath of the redwoods,  the Cavalier passing thru a standing giant redwood to the delight of Robert and Sandi.   Once again on foot, traversing another trail to consume the essence of the giants,  finding The Founders Tree,  the 346 foot colossal dedicated as a tribute to a save-the-trees league formed in 1917,  responsible in preventing the groves destruction.    Jan’s interest accumulated, finding a gift shop which displayed cuts of redwood,  some sculptured to adorn a place of dignity in a room,  others that would prevail as a backdrop for a clock or picture.   The uniqueness of the shop included free shipment to any location,  enabling the purchasing excursionists to journey without having to arrange a provisional space for their acquisitions,  thus tempting the traveler to increase their expenditure,  Gary recognizing the sound business practice.   Again the afternoon approached,  their previous motel accommodations in Eureka was unsuitable, their late arrival finding the better establishments without vacancies,  Jan vowing, this would never happen again,  inaugurating a call to the Best Western in Garberville,  a reservation was accomplished and with a satisfied Jan,  a better night’s rest was assured.

A shady spot

A novel idea

Resolving Crescent City……#194 (the 80’s)

November 18, 2010

Farewell to a mountain-locked “Shangri-La” – Scott Valley

A meaningful farewell is given to Aunt Bernice,  the Facey’s  and  the eminent view of the Trinity and Marble Mountains from Etna.   The embarkation finding the family leaving the wondrous mountain-locked “Scott Valley christened,  Shangri-La,  the Willson family again traversing Yreka Mountain on California 3,  accessing Yreka the city of Gary’s earthly commencement.   Having acquired an address  the family making a stop to visit of Gary’s cousin  Pat O’Toole and his wife Shirley,  a thirty year lapse since the two having greeted each other.   Pat and his older brother Bud, both having retired from military service having seen combat in Korea and Vietnam,  Bud availing the Army’s Air Defense Command and Pat a Sonar Specialist aboard a Naval Destroyer.   One final stop  before the beckoning invitation of the road is answered,  a visit to a relation who’s presence is a remembrance of a 4-year old,  but having never having been able to elicit their appearance in person,  his Uncle Pete Potter and Aunt Ann.   Their long time residence a remembrance firmly imbedded because of the sounding of a horn at the Yreka commercial laundry, a sounding displayed in the morning,  twice during the lunch hour and at the completion of the work day.  During the last year of the war,  the 4-year old  would visit with his Aunt and Uncles only sibling,  his older cousin Billy.  After his visit he would walk home past the laundry and for an unbeknown reason the sounding of the laundry horn was intimidating.  Approaching the laundry would find the youngster gathering speed,  running,  success was surviving without a horn encounter.  Gary finding it was a luminous occasion to finally experience and visit with Pete and Ann,  A memorial focal countenance of a forty-three year family memory

Gary’s Uncle Pete and Aunt Ann

Gary’s cousin Pat O’Toole and wife Shirley

Gary's WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s curiosity was acuminous,  before departing Yreka  he aspired to ascertain the location of the apartment residence he resided in during World War II,  its appearance and location disclosed only in the memory of a 4-year-old, Gary recalling  the name Butte St.  Instinct  prevailing,  driving to Butte St.,  stopping at a residency and taking a picture,  the results would be forth-coming from his mother upon the film’s development, confirming a childhood memory.   The aphorism  “you can’t get there from here”  was apropos,  the Willson’s aspiring to travel due-west to the Pacific Coast and Crescent City,  finding the only applicable highway from Yreka to the pacific coast was US 199, commencing in Grants Pass Oregon.   Once again addressing Interstate 5,  the new Chevrolet Cavalier bounded in a northern aperture,  the panoramic ambience of the mountainous terrain,  its woodland accession a vestige of natures macrocosm.   The first Oregon city of caliber,  Ashland,  Gary again acknowledging a memory from the age of ten,  having abided on a picnic with his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Sam to Lithia Park.  The resonant precursor for the remembrance,  the Parks Lithia Mineral Water drinking fountain,  not aware of the fountains difference,  its bitter taste not a pleasant experience for a thirsty ten-year old.


View of Mt. Shasta from Yreka

Grants Pass Oregon

Grants Pass Oregon

The Collier Tunnel

The Interstate knows no limit,  Medford came and went,  Grants Pass was rapidly ascending on the horizon,  a junction with US 199,  crossing of the Rogue River and a course alteration to the southwest.  The scenic 80 mile journey to Crescent City commencing uninterrupted until crossing back into California,  coming upon the Collier Tunnel,  named for California State Senator Randolph Collier,  serving 36 years,  the principal author of the 1947 Collier-Burns Act,  which created the California  highway network,  earning him the title  “The Father of the freeway system”.   Gary having recalled hearing his name, as Collier was born in Etna,  lived in Yreka and his political astuteness providing Siskiyou County unprecedented stature.  Approaching the Jedediah Smith National Recreation Area with its towering redwoods and  ambling Smith River,  bringing the travelers to a halt.   A time to pause, Gary, Jan, Robert and Sandi disembarking their conveyance,  wetting their feet in the cool clear aqueous Smith River waters ,  a time to reflect on the silent wilderness serenity,  with its majestic aura and absorb this temporal meaning of nature’s opulence.

The Willson’s at the Smith River

Sandi, Jan and Robert cooling their feet

The Smith River

Smith River redwoods

The 80 mile extent of US 199 was about to fulfilled,  merging with US 101,  4 miles from Crescent City,  the highways final termination.   Gary was surprised with size of the town,  a population of 3500,  all residing in area of less than 2 square mile.    A visual perspective of the towns historic landmarks was enhanced culminating at the  tidal basis of Battery Point.   Taking leave of  the Cavalier,  the family venturing towards a light house built in 1855,  position on a tiny islet across an isthmus only accessible at low tide.  The family discovering a fortuitous reward prevailing,  the isthmus was dry, the ocean withdrawing its tidal gift and being of few visitors.   The tidal basis way to islet was betoken by a lack of rocks, a well-traveled route and once aboard the picayune island,  an uphill walkway was found.   The lighthouse Hosts greeting their visitors,  introducing themselves,  welcoming them to the beacon structure,  their perennial home, elucidating about their life on islet and providing a tour of their living domain.   A narrow stairway journey upward to view the beacon light, the couple chronicling its history and picturing folklore stories of the oceans bellowing force,  its crest sweeping across the islet,  at times  a driven tempest,  questioning the fortitude of the occupancy and the anatomy of the architecture.  The lighthouse excursion providing a celebrated capsule of California’s bygone history and concluding Crescent City, the Willson journey to continue.

The Willson’s at the Battery Point Lighthouse

Battery Point Lighthouse – Tides in

Fisherman’s Marina Crescent City

Entrance to “Shangri-la”……..#193 (the 80’s)

November 17, 2010
California's Central Valley

California’s Central Valley

Mt. Lassen

Castle Crags

The family once again seated in the Alamo Rental Car,  a northern proclivity was enhanced, the engaged vessel accelerating and arriving at the alacrity speed limit posted on interstate 5.   The Northern Central Valley with no reciprocation, its delineation remaining as Gary remembered it, an expanse of agricultural and husbandry endeavors, frequented with small farming communities.  Once departing Red bluff, the scenic atmosphere began anew, to the east, the towering snow-capped peak of Mount Lassen would remain in view for temporal visit until reaching Redding.  The Valley was now belated, the interstate beginning its slow upwards traverse from Redding, reaching out ten miles to embrace Lake Shasta, the third largest lake in California, its shoreline encumbrances 365 miles, populated with a host of evergreen trees, pines, fir, spruce and manzanita.  In 1936 the Shasta Dam project was initiated on the Sacramento River,  a ten-year project culminating in 1946, the completion of the lake reached fruition in 1948, the hydroelectricity plant providing power to Redding and the Northern Central Valley.  In the distance, Mount Shasta’s majestic appearance permeated the north-eastern horizon, but to the west another imposing monument coming into view, Castle Crags, it towering peaks arising from an elevation of 2000 ft to 6600 ft. The crags being formed during the Pleistocene period, the glaciers eroding the volcanic and sedimentary, leaving the solid granite heighten vertex vaulting upwards.

Mt. Shasta

California Highway 3

Before them an imposing presence was within reach,  its ascendancy dominating the panoramic landscape,  casting a mystical aura of celestial contentment on its ruling realm, Mount Shasta,  the regal snow-covered peak raising 14,179 ft in height,  reaching up to embrace the heavens.    John Muir penned,   “Solitary as God, white as winter’s moon”, Mount Shasta starts up suddenly and solitary from the heart of the great black forest of Northern California”,   its ambience imposing like a dormant volcanic pinnacle,  standing aloof,  excluded from any mountain range.  Completing the 350 mile trek on interstate 5 to Yreka,  the travelers finding California Highway 3,  the avenue west over Yreka Mountain,  thru the small community of Fort Jones,  his mother’s birthplace and the entrance to a  “Shangri-la”  called Scott Valley,  the family crowning 12 miles to Etna.

Etna’s Main Street

Cousin Jerry – Jan – Aunt Bernice

The rural setting fading,  a residential notification making an appearance,  Gary questioning his memory after his thirty-five year absence.  It was 1953 again, the same road, the same houses and  like the entrance into town,  Etna’s population of 500 had remained without change.  Gary piloting the car down Diggles Street, a primary approach to the communities lone business street aptly  name Main Street.  The remembrance prevailing, the driver pointing out the previous residency of his Aunt Bernice and his cousin Geraldine (Jerry) Facey where he had spent summers to a somewhat disinterested family, but it was understandable after spending almost eight hours seated in a car.  The walk to the front door of the house was a long one, not in distance but one of wonderment, Gary having not seen his aunt since the age of 12, but when she opened the door, it was 1953 again, she was  as he remembered her.  Aunt Bernice’s current home on Woodland St.was illustrious, its beamed ceiling, rotunda walled fireplace, capacious yard, adorned with towering trees, one emitting a very elongated rope swing, and capped with a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Trinity and Marble Mountains.  His cousins dwelling was conveniently adjacent to Aunt Bernice’s residence, a large abode with an attached garage and shop with an essential spacious yard, Jerry and Fess the parents of five grown children and the possibility of an untold number of grandchildren.

Jan and the rotunda wall fireplace

Sandi swinging – Robert in the tree

A reminiscing familiar journey for a Mike,  Gary’s name for the first twelve years of his youthful existence,  replacing it with his first name upon entering junior high,  the roadside memories of the past cascading as the family followed Jerry and Fess south of town then onto a dirt roadway in the Cavalier.   The dust from Fess’s pickup leading the procession wasn’t as amiss as expected,  the trailing car giving an allowance for its deportment as they traverse upward,  the waters of a glimmering creek from the Trinity Alps could be seen parallel to the road..  The excursion coming to a conclusion stopping at an adjoining a meadow and the flowing beckoning sound of French Creek, another memory surfacing from Gary’s summers in Etna fishing with Fess whom just happened to have poles in the pickup.  Gary well acquainted trout fishing and with the family along there was no way to seriously considered walking the creek for white water pools, it then that he notice that Jerry had the foresight to pack  a picnic lunch.

Robert and Sandi at Great Aunt Bernice’s

Tangle Blue Lake

Gary,  recalling when he was 10 spending a summer a month with his Uncle Sam and Aunt Bernice,  his aunt catching him carving his initials in a tree,  she admonished him with a saying that still remained with him,  “foolish names like foolish faces, are often found in public places” .   Later youthful  years,  finding young Mike enjoying a month with Jerry, Fess, and their three siblings,  Sammy,  Dee Dee and  Trudy,  discovering adventure accompanying Fess with the county road crew.  One extended weekend the family made a captivating camping trip to the Trinity Alps and a fishing expedition to the iridescent Tangle Blue Lake.  The caravan assembly traversing the steep logging drag trails finding  all eight in a open-air jeep,  Fess’s brother Wilbur  sitting on the hood to hold the front end down a result of the wilderness grades  steepness,  the four youngsters remaining in the back with the camping equipment.  Etna also provided Mike with a young lady encounter, her name was Bobbi Brown,  they would roller skate,  attend the movie,  fish Etna Creek together and in the warm summer evenings  sit under the clear star filled sky and talk,  a new but lasting experience for a 12-year-old.  The summer ended,  Mike returning to his East Oakland Hills home, the two corresponded briefly by mail,  but like the summer,  it also ended.

Fess harvesting a hog

A very observant Robert

Aunt Bernice’s Breakfast was déjà vu for Gary and a new experience for the family, his Aunt providing a copious breakfast, serving several brands of cereal, a glass pitcher of milk, its bottle or carton container never permitted on the table, a bowl fresh fruit, eggs, pancakes, the syrup also in a glass syrup container and to Roberts delight, rainbow trout, pan-fried, their heads and tail still attached, a journey back in time for the eldest Willson.   Gary finding the June mornings crisp at Etna’s 3000 foot level, Fess after retiring from his county road crew employment, subscribed to an occupation that he had maintained as a sideline, a animal processor, harvesting and processing customers personal or vending products.  Robert watching as Fess backed his pickup to the shop door, the arm of the hoist protruding, its cable lifting a hog up out of the bed of the pickup by it rear legs, then lowering to the metal platform.  Robert watched Fess with knife in hand as the cutting began, but a decision to leave was forthcoming, Gary understood, having watched Fess harvest a live steer from start to finish when he was Roberts age.  The allotted time for their visit had come, saying goodbye was difficult, not so much to his aunt and cousins but to the aura of the past that resided there, deep inside Gary sheltered a secret desire  like Robert Conway in James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon”  it was to return to  “Shangri-La”.

A Mother-Lode Acquaintance……#192 (80’s)

November 15, 2010

Gary’s Dad and Mom’s Pioneer Ca.  home

The reaches of Foster City were diminishing in the rear view mirror,  the San Mateo Bridge beckoned a farewell,  the Willson rental Cavalier crossing to the East Bay turning east on Interstate 580 the new designate for this section of the historic coast to coast  U.S. Highway 50.  The start of a familiar journey through the Livermore Valley venturing the wind-swept Altamont Pass,  a pilgrimage to the residence of Gary’s parents in the tree shrouded Sierra Nevada mountain town of Pioneer.

The infamous Argonault Mine

The infamous Argonaut Mine

Pioneer, a remnqnt of the past

Pioneer Ca., a remnant of the past

Grandpa greeting Grandson

Grandpa Robert hugging Grandson Robert

Traversing north highway 99 to Waterloo Road,  the name for a five miles section of State highway 88,  continuing east,  thru the Sierra foothill gold country,  passing the village of Martel,  beginning the downhill incline into Jackson,  the family viewing the relic fixtures of two once  prosperous gold mines still presenting their stature and heritage,  the Argonaut and the Kennedy.   The Argonaut at its 1942 closing  having the distinction of being the deepest gold mine in North America,  reaching a depth of 5570 feet,  but also having the distinction of losing 47 miners to a fire at the depth of 4650 feet in 1922,  a rescue shaft was provided from the nearby Kennedy mine but to no avail,  the miners were lost.      Traversing Jackson the legendary gold emporium town  on Highway 88  a gradual raising Sierra Mountain climb for 16 miles discovering Pioneer,  a way-stop from a by-gone era, once christened Pioneer Station,  a stopping point to  change  wagon horses for the continuous journey over Kit Carson Pass.   The Cavalier continuing  a two mile venture on a gravel road into the forest shrouded surroundings, the pastoral cabin and family members waiting for their arrival.

The Willson’s (Jan’s taking the picture)

Randy, Sarah, Robert, Sandi, Jan

The Willson’s sequestered retreat, aptly christened “the cabin”,  a fond memory of Gary’s youthful days, helping his Dad clear the land and lay the foundation piers for the structures construction and always mindful of the past wilderness and its eminence of discovery and adventure.  Gary sensing a wave of nostalgia addressing ambience, seeing his family,  having been several years since his last endeavor to California.   Sandi and Robert greeting their cousin,  Sarah and her husband Randy James,   their Aunt Nancy, the three having driven from the Sonora area.   The cabin standing structurally strong and stately,  no longer an addendum,  but a final accomplishment,  Gary’s mother the architect and his father the laborer and construction initiator,  the finished product a result of their collective efforts.   The wind in the towering pines giving notice,  Gary  again discovering the message, an invitation,  a beckoning call from the wilderness.   Instinct flourishing,  he organizing an outing for Robert and Sandi,  first a journey down the old logging road where as a youth he and his sister Nancy discovering a cache of dynamite, but on this trek to the explore an abandoned gold mine with the rusted ore car tracks and its natural spring.  The spring at one time the family’s only source of water,  Gary not surprised to discover the aqua flow still flowering from the mines darken fissure.   A further expedition,  the three following a well-traveled deer trail in an attempt to discover the remains of the old miners cabin from Gary’s childhood ascendancy,  but the recollection of its location was either amiss or the quondam of history having removed its propinquity.

Mokelumne Beach - A 1920's swimming experience for Gary's Dad.

Mokelumne Beach – A 1920’s swimming experience for Gary’s Dad.

Robert and Sandi at Mokelumne Beach

Grandma, Robert Sandi, Jan and the river sand

A returning venture to Jackson,  turning on highway 49, towards town of Mokelumne Hill,  the families destination,  the Mokelumne River and a swimming area.   The river a boyhood memory of  Gary’s father and time spent with his dad. able to swim as a youth in the 1920’s.   Turning southwest at the bridge,  the family including Grandma,  proceeding on the narrow  access road that paralleled the river,  soon reaching a widening area with ample parking among the river shrouded forage.   Embarking to the river’s edge,  finding a large expanse of sand resembling a beach,  its granular consistency reaching out into the water.   Gary briefly reminiscing,  experiencing  a similar scene over three decades ago with his sisters,  recalling their water spaniel Smokey and his Father sharing of his youthful experience of this spot, swimming in the icy waters of the river.   Sandi and Robert were hesitant but motivated to venture into the snow embolden flow that emerged from the apogee of the Sierra’s,  the two soon discovering its temporal aperture unsuitable for a sustainable swimming presence.   With a Mokelumne river memory installed,  the family continuing on  to Columbia,  preparing for the next event of the mother-lode acquaintance.

Columbia State Park

Robert, Gary, Sandi panning for gold

Gary’s sister Nancy,  providing an opportunity to visit Columbia State Park,  with it 30 original building from the 1850 gold mining town,  Nan’s residence within walking distance of this awe-inspiring exhibition.  The family arriving at the park, experiencing  a journey back in time,  the post office,  bank,  the saloon,  blacksmith shop,  all the conveniences of by-gone era town,  but in reality,  a functioning town within the park,  the denizen dressed in character of the historic period.    Among the many exhibits, Robert and Sandi finding a gold panning display the most enjoyable, a unique exhibit with water filled troughs containing sand,  imbedded with flakes of real gold to be extracted by the celebrating customers,  an experience in California Aurelian mineral history.  A return to Pioneer a final evening before the family’s departure, Gary anxious in one respect to continue their journey, but an aura of melancholy beginning to filter thru his inner-feeling facade,  knowing that his mother would travel east to visit, but having no idea when he would see father again.

A San Francisco Treat…………..#191 (80’s)

November 11, 2010

Fisherman’s Wharf

The second morning in Foster City finding the Cavalier descending down the El Camino Real,  a recrudescence to San Francisco, another adventurous day for the Willson family and Gary’s rumination with the north bay.   Fisherman’s Wharf still a maritime vista presence and the  past,  a historic chronicle of San Francisco nugatory endeavor.   Arriving at Pier 39, the Cavalier finding a statutory residence on Beach Street,  an abbreviated distance to the beckoning fanfare of the many enunciated proclamations.  Gary having traverse this wonderland many times before guiding them Jefferson St, before them moored in the water beside the Maritime Museum, the majestic Balclutha,  its presence beckoning  an open invitation to explore,  the square-rigged whaler built in 1886,  its presence still communicating a residence of a bye gone era.  An essence of  consciousness still remaining of the audacious able-bodied sailors,  the generation who encountered the sailing vestige of the sea.   Continuing on a tour of the lumber bearing schooner C A Thayer another wind-driven vessel of sea-going worthiness and before them at rest,  a familiar sight at berth,  the Eureka, a member of the  Richmond – San Rafael Ferry fleet, an anamnesis from the past,  the boat having spent decades traversing  the bay,  its labor  providing an automotive avenue to Marin County, its tenants bypassing the two San Francisco iconic bridges.  Gary’s remembrance of the automotive transport on San Francisco Bay  the ocean breeze buffeting him on deck of gallant carrier,  the Eureka’s presence a reminder of the  nostalgic memory of his youthful quintessence.

The Thayer

The Thayer

The Balclutha in the background

Aboard the square-rigged Balclutha

The decommissioned submarine Pampanito was solace in the water,  a veteran of the Second World War,  a monument to those submariner”s having giving their all during  battle in the Pacific.   Gary perceiving a tempestuous atmosphere  when boarding the battle tested submersible,  a consciousness of immortality reigning from its past duty-bound participation.   Descending into the bowels of the vessel, the family experiencing the circumscribed quarters the crew endured,  the captured ambience of the surroundings,  giving all who boarded a new perspective of the endurance of a submariner and their dedication.

The submarine Pampanito

Aboard the Pampanito

The Blue and Gold bay cruise casting its mooring at pier 41,  boarding for a journey beneath the Golden Gate Bridge,  the family experiencing the wind cascading thru the entrance aperture  to San Francisco bay,  its breath-taking coercion giving connotation to all who have passed thru these portal to the affable world beyond.   Gary again sensing the aurora,  the bouquet of the bay,  the tidal breath aspiring thru the Golden Gate,  the dampening wind engulfing him and his son Robert, the two being the only ones willing to stand at the bow.  Once again engendering a faction of his youth,  an anamnesis of a buoyant memory and able to experience his children’s recognition of its acclamation.   The isle of Alcatraz drawing near, La Islade las Alcatraces , (the island  of the pelican),  as it was named in 1775 by spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala, the 22 acre isle a  survivor  from the past epoch of history.  Acquiring it’s notoriety in 1934 under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Prisons standing proud as a symbol of discipline to those who disregarded the decretum of the juridical prudence, closing its doors in 1963.  A 19 months of occupation by a fractal group claiming to be native americans in 1969 causing major damage to the landmark before being removed in 1971.  In 1972 the Golden Gate National Recreational Area acquiring the island and opening it to the public.

Alcatraz - once home to 1500 inmates

Alcatraz – once home to 1500 inmates

Alcatraz occupation

Alcatraz occupation

Gary found the skyline of the city by the bay as observed from the aquatic vessel, a panorama vestige of  prominence and heritage.  Tony Bennett having painted a melodious picture with his iconic song,  I left my heart in San Francisco, high on a hill it calls to me.  To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars,  the morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care.   The family stood as the Blue and Gold appliance  edged itself within the brine covered pilings that rose like  benevolent corral,  the crew brandishing the securing rigging,  a gangway in place,  the peregrinations fulfilled.

A Pretty Picture

An addition to Panoramic San Francisco

The family deciding on  luncheon meal at Alioto’s, Gary in years past  having been introduced to  an aquatic delicacy native to California,  the Sand Dab,  a seasonal delight in the spring and summer months. Upon satisfying their appetite,  the San Francisco quest traversing onto the pedestrian filled Jefferson Street that played host to all the enterprising business and street entertainers.  Gary having lost his status as a visitors years ago,  introduced his family to  the renown Ripley Believe or Not Wax Museum,  a tour acquainting them with the life-size wax replicas of individuals of historical prominence.  Continuing, approaching Hyde Street,  the clanging of a bell drawing their attention,  it was the Beach and Hyde Street Turn Around for the applauded cable car.   Securing their tickets finding a position in the very front,  Robert standing on the running board,  leaning out, a glee expounding from him as the trolley proceeded up the steep incline,  then descending to the Powell and Market Street Turn About and a return excursion to the Beach and Hyde Street debarkation.

A Hill Climber

Busy China Town

Busy China Town

Jan going strong in China Town

Jan going strong in Chinatown

A final objective, Chinatown, before the resolute return drive  to Foster City.  During his youthful years Gary having ventured thru almost all areas of San Francisco, but never having a purpose to realize an in-depth exploration of the realm known as Chinatown.   Grant and Stockton Street extending eight blocks was the designated tourist path to explore oriental expenditures, open outside markets with varieties of fish and meats stayed on ice, vegetables, fruits and endless shops of clothing, knickknacks and trinkets, the sidewalk filled with a multitude of visitors, an everyday occurrence.  Jan enjoying the emporium and boutiques, Gary, Robert and Sandi noting fatigue ready to frequent the Cavalier and depart for Foster City, their expectations fulfilled.

Destination – California…………#190 (80’s)

November 8, 2010
Foster City, once a landfill

Foster City, once a landfill

From the Oakland Airport Gary could ascertain the past, viewing the Gallagher and Burk quarry,  its mountain indention still a prominent landmark on the East Oakland hills.  The scene of his youthful adventures,  Devil’s Punchbowl,  the Sulphur Mines,  a remembrance of an audacious childhood firmly imbedded.  Gary’s eldest son Scott having awaited their flights arrival at the airport to Shepherd the family to his Aunt Katherine and Uncle Don DeValle’s condominium  in Foster City.  The DeValle’s having departed on a pre-scheduled vacation to Oregon, Gary told to make themselves at home.  Having acquired a  prearranged rental car from Alamo Car Rental, the willson taking possession of a new Chevrolet Cavalier it’s odometer registering 16 miles.   Following his son down Interstate 880, the old Nimitz Freeway,  to the San Mateo Bridge, crossing San Francisco Bay to Foster City.  The city founded in the 1960s on engineered landfill of the marshes of the bay on the east edge of San Mateo, the city  named after T. Jack Foster, the real estate magnate who owned much of the land comprising the city.  Gary son Scott having left Oklahoma City taking up residence at first in Santa Cruz but now installing prefab office systems for a company in San Francisco and working for Don and Katherine at Foster City between office set-ups, delineating computer software programs, the DeValle’s having initiated a sideline software business.

San Francisco At The Beach

San Francisco At The Beach

Perpetual Pendalum

Perpetual Pendulum


Steinhart Aquarium

Steinhart Aquarium

The agenda was in place, the morning finding the Willson’s leaving the condominium,  Gary propelling the Cavalier to San Francisco,  the first of a two-day adventure in the city by the bay.   The inaugural stop being the ocean side Sunset District, the family disembarking off the Great Highway that ran parallel to the sandy beach hosting the breaking waves of the majestic Blue Pacific.  With the famous Cliff House Restaurant within sight, Robert, Sandi and Jan, now shoeless their feet greeting  the waters of the Ocean.  Gary very much familiar with these surroundings as a youth having shook hands with the thundering surf and  the joys of the now departed Playland At the Beach, all fond memories.   Continuing their drive up Fulton St to the  10th Ave entrance to Golden Gate Park, the 1017 acre expanse playing host to an array of exhibitions,  the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Science and Natural History with its aquarium and museum,  one of the world’s largest.  Gary finding himself at home in the complex, as a youth having ventured to the park and the Morrison Planetarium at six weeks intervals,  a bus journey across the Bay Bridge and subsequent McAllister Ave. Electric Bus to the Park,  a regular visitor to the changing programing of the planetarium. Not surprising when entering the Academy of Science  to find the pendulum outside the Planetarium entrance still suspended and fluctuating from the ceiling,  giving presence to the earth rotation.   A tour of the Steinhart Aquarium,  the african display with its taxidermy wildlife and across to the De Young museum,  Robert and Sandi  experiencing the vast variety of this realm.

Jan At The Japanese Tea Gardens

Robert and Sandi

The visit to Golden Gate Park would not be complete without the Japanese Tea Gardens,  concerted in 1894 for the California International Exposition,  its five acres, a  wondrous presentation of walkways thru flowering escapades,  circular bridged paths overlooking the tropical fish laden ponds,  the rising Pagoda and sculptured Buddha’s.  Leaving the park, Gary deciding on another landmark visitation, Lombard Street,  the famous crooked street in San Francisco.   The steep incline addressing the ascent, its winding interlude decorated with a panoramic display of burgeoned plants,  the residences inhibiting this visitor attraction,  taking amour-propre in their affectations.  The day waning for the  adventuress family,  Gary directing the Cavalier  onto the El Camino Real to ensue a return to Foster City.

Lombard St.

Lombard St.

The Phoenix Adventure…………..#189 (80’s)

November 6, 2010


Desert Botanical Garden

Breakfast at 34,000 feet,  the early morning flight of American Airlines having soared into the celestial sphere above Kansas’s,  departing Wichita’s Mid Continent aerodrome,  it’s designated appointment,  Sky Harbor International,  Phoenix Arizona.   The inflight excursionists being provided a Skyway Catering meal of scrambled eggs,  sausage,  pancakes, to sustain their morning appetite during the 843 mile southwesterly flight.   An Arrival in Phoenix finding Pam Ott,  her children Jay C and Summer K awaiting at Sky Harbor,  the Willson family to visit with  the Otts,  Pam being Jan’s best friend and her husband Doug a  fellow class member at Kiowa High School.  Pam being very efficient  having entertained an agenda,  the first stop before acquainting the Ott’s abode was the Desert Botanical Gardens,  a scenic walk presentation of the anthologized flowering cacti species from around the globe.  The fifty acres of natures exhibition included several trail tours,  the Discovery trail,  Sonoran Desert and Wildflower trail,  providing over 21,000 plants.   The Willson clan enjoying the trifecta tour but Gary discovering it was better adhered for those persons with an astute desert botanical background.  With the walk-thru tour completed,  the Phoenix calefaction approaching 100 degrees in the late morning hour,  a welcome relief from the elements was found at the Ott’s residence on W. Milagro Ave in the suburb of Mesa.   Gary taking notice and discovering  most homes in the housing addition engendering sand in place of the green lawns for their yards,  the exception being the Ott’s back yards which was seeded in grass and lost golf balls,  the rear of the residential dwelling addressing a fairway on the Dobson Ranch Golf Course.


The Sonoran Trail

The Sonoran Trail

Doug, Pam, Jay C, Summer K - the Ott residence at 1720 Milagros Ave.

Doug, Pam, Jay C, Summer K – the Ott residence at 1720 Milagros Ave.

An afternoon journey yielding to downtown Phoenix,  Pam introducing all to the Engle Homes Towers,  a new 20 story high-rise building to engage Doug who recently obtained his law degree, the Ott twin securing employment as a new attorney with a prestige’s law firm.   Doug proudly providing a tour of the twelfth  floor law offices,  Gary mostly impressed with the presence of the law firm’s library  but also with the view from the high-rise structure.   A quiet evening with the Otts, the morning awakening  finding  Pan, Jan and the children leaving for a shopping foray,  Gary and Doug remaining, a discussion of living in the summertime environment of Arizona,  Doug pointing out the normal thermostat setting in the residence was at 80 degrees,  but upon Pam’s debarkation Gary noticed Doug walking over and setting  the thermostat to 74 and later upon hearing Pam’s  car in the driveway reset the thermostat at 80 before his wife entered.   Gary surmising Doug’s serendipity clandestine action, apparently  a result of his employment in an air-conditioned office having lowering his tolerance.   The afternoon all adorning swimming attire, the two families traversing to something Gary had never perceived,  a wave manufacturing indoor swimming facility, Robert and Sandi standing in the wave producing natatorium,  the swells of water rushing towards them,  a new experience.

Jan – Captured for The Show

Conestoga Kids

The late afternoon,  the two families journeying South towards Chandler to the Rawhide Wild West Town, a replica of earlier era located  on 160 acres of the Gila River Indian Community, featuring  covered wagons,  buckboards,  a museum, and showmanship characters giving a presentation of gunfights,  with humorous interaction with the audience.   A gun fight ensuing,  Jan being singled out as a hostage, called upon to precipitate in their production,  the crowd and her family enjoying her concert.   The evening concluding with dinner at the Rawhide Steakhouse, the two families in an outdoor patio setting,  the crowning point of the evening,  a mesquite flame broiled steak.   The entertainment continuing at the steakhouse,  an unusual circumstance,  if a patron ordered a well done steak,  upon the servers arrival beneath a cover they would discover a well done smoking cowboy boot on a platter,  a novice Rawhide Ranch idea for remembrance.

The Yeager family

Roy, Vonne and Yergler family

Jan - a farewell to Pam and Phoenix

Jan – a farewell to Pam and Phoenix

Sunday morning unfolding, the two families participating in church services at the Phoenix Apostolic Christian Church, Doug and Pam non members, but Doug’s Mother Irma and Father Marvin having raised their family in the Church.   Gary and Jan having the opportunity to  acquaint many of their church Brothers and Sister with relations in Kiowa,  finding a solace in bringing greetings from the Kiowa congregation.  The  afternoon finding Pam providing transportation,  the Willson family accepting an invitation from   Jan’s cousin LaVonne and Husband Roy Yergler to visit their home also in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.   LaVonne the eldest daughter of her Lavern and Raymond Roth.  A quiet evening remaining Gary grateful for a very enjoyable time and the  hospitality provided by Doug  and Pam and their family, the visit would be an everlasting memory.  A morning wakeup call, Sky Harbor beckoning, the Phoenix adventure fulfilled, a flight to California, the journey continues.

Day Of Atonement……………………#188 (80’s)

November 2, 2010
King James Holy Bible

King James Holy Bible

The years of attending both Sunday services and Wednesday nights at the Apostolic Christian Church  began to assimilate with Gary,  the fellowship with the members not the only benefaction,  the ecclesiastical message from the pulpit instilling a consequential testament.  The congregation expressing unity with total humility and solace of purpose, the displacement of facades addressing worldly vanity, the shedding of self-adornment and fashionable attire to overly enhance appearance, a reluctance to participate in self-proclaiming public endeavors including movies and entertainment television amenities, not a prescribed perquisite but a self desire.  The elder ministering Brethren not schooled by man to proclaim The Word, but called upon by their convictions to stand before the crown of redemption and administer to the assembly.  A volunteer contribution when a financial need was discerned, the biblical tithing a provision, never a collection tray, the only employed person receiving gratuity, the person maintaining the cleanliness of the facility.  A new horizon emanated, there was a another subservient admission of life other than the worldly ways of society,  Gary imbibing the words of the bible, his meaning of thought having found a comforting solace.

Gary  having witnessed Jan’s acceptance of Jesus Christ and the acquiesce of becoming a Apostolic Christian Sister in faith,  first approached Jan’s Uncle,  Raymond Roth, a Church Minister but subsequently embracing a hierarchy, Ronnie Nelson the Church’s Elder to enlighten him to the prerequisite for acceptance in the apostolic brotherhood.   Ronnie patiently explaining that the church required no more than what was in the bible,  a term of repentance was first in order to demonstrate and  acknowledge the wrongdoing in one’s life and to make amends,  privately or personally,  in some means approach those whom you have offended,  giving a penance for your censurable action and beseeching absolution.   Gary, meeting in prayer with Ron Nelson in his home in the evenings,  discussing the lamentable occurrences of the past,  getting direction on a desirable approach to fulfill his commitment with the Lord’s direction.

Kiowa Apostolic Christian Church

Kiowa Apostolic Christian Church

Ninety days having passed, the traditional repentance temporal for those seeking affiliation with the Apostolic Christian Church  was thirty to sixty days, most prospective disciples having family members abiding in the congregation for generations.  Gary in abeyance, but never questioning his accession, his faith in the Lord firmly resolved,  acknowledging the decision to proceed was at the discretion of  Ron Nelson.   A day of atonement  having arrived, the total apostolic congregational membership present for a closed session attendance, an open colloquy of the aspiring brethren.   Brother Bill Schrock  directing prospective brother to enter, Gary standing before the brothers and sister of the Apostolic Christian Church, a warm glow of solace empowering him, acknowledging his total acceptance and certitude, Jesus was Lord and Savior, answering enquiries of his affirmation and belief in his salvation thru Christ.

 The inherent faith protocol consummated the baptism being affirmed for the following week.   Gary having a decision to make, it was tradition that the baptismal recipient embrace a church member to accompany him as a  sponsor,  to attest to his communion and to assist in the baptismal ceremony. The person also to stand with him and the minister,  providing a towel to edulcorate the baptismal water upon his emergence.   Jan’s  family and most of the congregation expecting Gary to approach Jan’s Ministering Uncle,  Raymond Roth to conferred the carriage of sponsorship,  but to their surprise another finding prominence in Gary’s acuity.   A person of esteem religious conviction,  one whom Gary had many pontifical discussion with,  a man who lived with total divination to Lord in every aspect of his life, his statue presenting a prodigious ascendancy on the new disciple.   His choice a disappointment to his in-laws,  but an atonement of his commitment, Gary espousing Frank Kisling, a farmer,  friend and true believer from Burlington Oklahoma.

heavenly clouds 3

The Baptismal water vessel was filled, the last time availed was when Jan was emerged into it cleansing waters years earlier, the church endowment having had no additional proselytes.   The  Church,  their traditions of a by-gone era,  discomforting to some inaugural visitors,  but finding the kindred membership all in attendance for the ceremonial occasion.   The new disciple stepping into the sacrosanct of water, Ron Nelson proclaiming the baptismal sacraments,  the laying on of hands,  Gary to be  immersed,  the church elder placing his hand on the adherent,  submerging him in the cleansing waters,  a new personage in Christ arising.   With an accommodation of dry cloths,  the newly announced person in Christ standing before the pulpit,  the congregation,  each walking down the center aisle to greet their new brother in faith,  the traditional bumping of chins by the men to symbolize a greeting with the holy kiss,  a handshake from the women,  a adulation of blessing expressed by all, some with joyous tears,  for the first time in his life Gary experiencing a worldly emptiness but replaced by the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit.