Archive for February, 2011

Back To The Future…….#223 (the 90’s)

February 17, 2011
Kiowa District Hospital

Kiowa District Hospital

Amidst the Anthony Hospital turmoil,  a short two weeks into the realm of the unemployed,  Gary  discovering vocational employment from an unexpected authorship,  the Kiowa District Hospital. Both Jan and Gary having serviced the Hospital, Jan functioning as a Nurse’s Aide and EMT during her college internship and Gary’s as a driver with the hospital directed Barber County Ambulance Service during his employment at the school.   The ex-Anthony Hospital employee according a message of appreciation to his brother-in-law Shawn Johnson for conveying the possibility of an opening at the hospital,  conveying an ongoing dissolution between the current maintenance man Mile Pavlu and the Hospital Administrator.  Gary discovering that Mike,  the son-in-law of Sharon Ragan, the DON,  having unexpectedly  resigned in pursuit of another avocation.   Gary placing a call to Buck McKinney the Administrator expressing an interest in applying for the maintenance position, arranging for an interview having some apprehension about  residing in Anthony.  The interview with  McKinney was brief, the administrator having  no consequence about his Anthony residency and to Gary’s surprise afforded little interest in the prevailing occurrences at the Anthony Hospital.   The financial compensation for a maintenance man was as anticipated,  substantially less than his previous multi-department Plant Service Manager position at the Anthony Hospital.  Gary bringing to light his participation in the Kansas Hospital Engineers Association,  currently serving the organization as secretary, treasurer and editor of the KHEA monthly newsletter,  his concern was whether the Kiowa  hospital would continue to endorse his participation, the Administrator assuring  the hospital’s commitment would be extended.

Shop, O2, Incinerator area.

Shop, O2 and incinerator area

The 24 bed critical access hospital was a monument to longevity in comparison to the Anthony facility,  the Kiowa Facility an upgraded hodgepodge consortium  of add-on’s initiated in 1952,  with a clinic addition constructed in 1978.    Gary initiating an assessment of the plant equipment,  the HVAC system an aggregate of a small compressor and condenser plus added rooftop units and assorted assembly’s,  including window mounted air conditioners abiding the patient rooms.   Gary finding the clinical oxygen system a relic from the past still employing the old 9 x 60 inch cast iron K cylinders,   6 cylinders accessible online at a time, questioning why the hospital hadn’t converted to the LT Liquid Oxygen tanks,  their larger volume not requiring a continuous online changing.   Furthering his  investigation discovering the patient rooms and surgery vacuum outlets  having all been updated and supplied by pair of  Ingersoll Rand vacuum pumps stationed in the basement.   The most surprising revelation, the discovery of a stand-alone outdoor incinerator still in operation, able to accommodate 90% of the hospitals disposable refuse.  Gary aware of the new Federal Clean Air Act requiring all commercial open air incinerators to have scrubbers installed for smoke pollution control, noting that the Kiowa incinerator was  in violation.   The maintenance shop was precisely designated, the 16 x 32 Ft. work benched clutter building was the recipient of the maintenance tools and yard care equipment and a storage home for every used part acquired through a millennium of time.

Buck McKinney Hospital Administrator

Buck McKinney Hospital Administrator

During his initial interview with Buck,  Gary summarized his past hospital related responsibilities and experience,  indicated  that  in addition to his normal maintenance duties, he initiated a written  maintenance and safety policy and  procedure programs with documentation to comply with the ever-increasing number of  state and federal  regulations.  Gary suggesting that a job description title of Maintenance and Safety Director be inaugurated to be in compliance,  the new employee given license to search for a  small suitable office space, discovering a vacant room across the hall from Gail Lindley, the long-established purchasing director from the past John McGee Administrative era.  The small office accommodation fulfilling a homestead for his computer and its edict and once situated Gary began to research for past written documentation.   An investigation soon realized that there was no recorded written records for past inspections or even mandated monthly fire drills and on inquiry discovering the hospital staff never having participating in regularly scheduled  fire drills as required.   The contrivance days of the past and whom ever for years maintained the building were of a by-gone epoch, the day of  written documentation and compliance with State and Federal regulations having arrived.

Housekeeper Ona Hunter

                                     Housekeeper Ona Hunter

Dietary Supervisor Arvetta Starzyk

                   Dietary Supervisor Arvetta Starzyk

Gary experiencing the maintenance requirements contrary to those of the Anthony Hospital,  the smaller Kiowa facility with its diminished numbered of acute and swing-bed patients having to provide limited care.  His  morning walk-thru of the building provided a daily agenda of impending task,  the daily incineration and clinical systems inspection followed by the regiment of grounds keeping.  The facilities housekeeping duties being provided by Judy Reed and a staff of two, Ona Hunter and Vicki Rugg,  Judy in a supervisory role except when asked to participate in a disinfecting of the surgery room.   Gary having been acquainted with Dick Reed when he was a sales representative with the Bogner Chevrolet, but not Judy,  readily noticing that her stately working apparel and jewelry more suitable for a hostess than a housekeeping supervisor.   The Dietary Department consisted of one person,  Arvetta Starzyk, her culinary domain absolute, dominantly ruled,  more than adequate for the sparse patience influxes.  Arvetta  a working mother, her son William an enrollee of the California Highway Patrol Academy and younger daughter Anna still in Grade School.

Sharon Ragan Director of Nursing

Sharon Ragan Director of Nursing

The hospital nursing contingency directed by R.N. Sharon Ragan, her patient concern and advocacy reflected by the diligent attention and caring atmosphere the healthcare facility espoused..   Her community presence displayed by her voluntary commitment to the Ambulance Service,  fulfilling almost all R.N. transporting runs and dispatching herself on the monthly ambulance schedule as needed.   Gary very much acquainted with the Ragans having worked with Sharon’s school custodian employed husband Craig and  commemorating how Sharon covered his ambulance on-call duty when embarking his morning and afternoon bus route during his Grade School vocation.

Kiowa Clinic

Kiowa Clinic

The clinic,  a separate financial  entity from the hospital,   Dr. Sidney Stranathan D.O. and Dr. Marion D. Christianson M.D.  leasing the expanse, providing two nursing assistants and office staff.   Dr. Christianson better known as Dr. Chris, having graduated from the Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1952, followed by an internship at Wesley Hospital in Oklahoma City then moving directly to Kiowa , setting up his practice on July 4th 1953.   Dr. Sidney W Stranathan graduated from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Frankin University of Medicine and Science in 1979,  Dr. Stranathan specializes in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.   The hospital and clinic staff  pretty much acquaintances from Gary’s past,  conjecturing  his ten years of residency in the Township.  In all honesty he missed the challenge and learning experience of Anthony but realized his Kiowa Hospital employment as a literal transformation of  Back to the Future.

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A Chronicled Exposure…………..#222 (the 90’s)

February 14, 2011
The Anthony Republican Newspaper

The Anthony Republican Newspaper

The Anthony Hospitals Plant Service Managers  responsibilities having been abated, Gary handing his written resignation to the Hospital Administrator wife Nina, Lee Adams observing his action from the shadows of an adjoining room.    The realm of unemployment a new experience,  the silence of the vacuous N. Springfield residence,  Jan still fulfilling her hospital commitment ,  the children in school,  the lack of presence or purpose displaying a void within,  the silence echoing the reality of circumstance, Gary questioning his judgment to resign his Anthony Hospital position.   A conscious reasoning abided for his adjudicating his employment,  to circumvent an adulteration of a presumptuous fact,  he ascertained any termination notice  by the administrator would be hinged on a false accusation.   A firm justification prevailing,  the resignation an acceptance of responsibility for the Halloween event and any disparage it may have  caused,  leaving the Administrator with no pretext for making public any deprecatory statements about the Willsons’.   Gary having made the decision to “take up the gauntlet”  a “Fifth Columnist” could now surface and publicize the evidence of Lee Adams transgressions without rapprochement.

With an abundant accumulation of evidence of Lee Adams past transgressions ,  Gary culminating an editorial for submission to the Anthony Republican Newspaper, the acquired chronicled affirmation readied for pubic disclosure one which would reveal the despot lurking at the Anthony Hospital.   Accessing the Main Street local paper,  Gary being acquainted with Jim Dunn the owner-publisher and his wife Vera,  having worked with the couple in the past,  illuminating  the Editor with articles about up-coming hospital activities and events.   Jim, in addition as editor,  was the Republicans  photographer,  never hesitating to oblige the Anthony Medical Facility,  his photos and publicity providing intonation for the hospital.  Gary brandishing his typed exposé of Lee Adams sequestered past, including   documentation of the numerical count of nurses,  doctors,  even catholic nuns whom were compelled to resign or were terminated by his actions during his tenure at the ARG (Appalachian Regional Healthcare) Hazard Kentucky Medical Center.   Jim’s first reaction was one of forbearance, not aspiring to evoke the newspaper in what appeared to be an evolving public dispute,  declining to publish the type written article.   Gary opening a folder,  spreading the abundant incriminating clipping from The Hazard Herald Newspaper on the counter,  Jim’s interest peaked.  Gary turning towards the door to leave, briefly stating to the Editor, that he could print it or file it away, it was his decision.

Gary’s article exploded on the front page of the Anthony Republican,  the only deprecatory,  Jim’s decision to withhold the name of the author,  explaining it was a discretionary measure reserved for publishers,  his concern,  Gary’s family and possible retribution.   The community became openly polarized with citizens submitting additional editorials for the removal and support of the administrator, the hospital board of directors submitting a letter of their continued  steadfast support of Lee Adams, the outpouring of concern over whelming.   Jim Dunn receiving veiled threats from members of the hospital board including Larry Olds, owner of Larry’s Home Town market  threatening the editor with pulling his advertisement if the editor continued to publish  articles detrimental to Adams and  the Hospital Board.    Jim a true journalist  calling his bluff continuing to publish the facts  even though Larry’s store was his largest advertising account.  The conflict now a blatant affliction,  a discourse that Jan Willson would soon be discharged as Director of Nursing was rumored.   With growing apprehension Gary and Jan journeying to Wichita  seeking advice from a labor relations attorney,  exploring legal alternatives for possible upcoming developments.   The attorney suggesting that the couple and other concerning parties document Adam’s past by engaging a private investigator,  thus providing a future foundation for litigation.  The attorney supplying the name of an investigator who had  worked with him in the past..

The Anthony Municipal Hall

The Anthony Municipal Hall

A group having assembled at the Willson’s residence at 602 N. Springfield,  all concerned Anthony citizens to discuss a means to convince the Hospital Board in a revocation of Adam’s contract.   Financial donations were acquired to compensate a Private Investigator and secure a leasing of the Municipal Hall for a publicized town meeting to address the impasse.   The evening of the community town hall meeting,  a show of solidarity present at the Municipal Hall ,  over 150 concerned people in attendance,  Gary and Jan both seated on the stage as current and past hospital representatives,  but neither addressing the congregation.   The oratory conducted by long-standing civic prominent citizens and as expected  not a single hospital board member was in attendance.   A straw poll being  conducted by a show of hands,  the tallied count overwhelming for a dismissal of the Hospital Administrator.

Wichita TV stations dispatching their mobile units to Anthony

Wichita TV stations dispatching their mobile units to Anthony

The supposition was broadcast, Lee Adams was going to terminate Jan Willson as Director of Nurses,  but before he could issue the summons  a message from the hospital nursing staff was delivered to Terry Musick hospital board chairman,  the bulletin,  the entire nursing staff would  “walk“   if Jan was removed as Director of Nursing.  Musick placing  an immediate call to the Administrator,  Lee Adam’s termination order was halted.   The news of the impending “walk out “ having reached the news desk of KWCH 12 and KSNW channel 3 television in Wichita,  the stations dispatching their mobile broadcasting trucks to Anthony,  the possible nursing walkout an item on the nightly news.   The stalemate continued,  the Hospital Board unwilling to admit an error in judgment,  then an announcement by Dr. Robert Ludwick  that he was vacating his Anthony practice and moving to Louisiana, publicly stating that “the agitation at the hospital,  was a contributing factor for his decision”.   The news of the respected physicians departure resonating throughout the community, Leander Adams remaining the topic of conversation at the donut shop.

A full-page announcement in the Anthony Republican,  the Anthony Hospital Board would accommodate an open public meeting the following week at the old vacated Lincoln Junior High School Gymnasium to address the communities concerns about the hospital.  The evening of the meeting,  the gym bleachers  filled to capacity,  the entire hospital board Board and Lee Adams, seated on stage.   Terry Musick,  speaking on the board’s behalf, once again endorsing their support for the Administrator.  One by one members of the audience came forward to be recognized,  microphone in hand, displaying their disagreement with the board,  their appeal  having little or no effect on those seated on stage.   Gary noticing a huddled crowd around a member sitting in the bleachers,  it was Dr. Jeffrey Bond, the hospital chief of staff,  the surrounding  group encouraging him to speak.   The influential doctor having maintained  an outward appearance of neutrality throughout the ongoing ordeal, having spoke with him Jan and Gary the couple knowing otherwise.  Standing and addressing the assemblage, the doctor hesitant to speak, a hushed silence radiating in the auditorium,  a pronouncement that his statement would be brief.  He began “It would be in the best interest of the Hospital and Community if the Board asked for Mr. Adams resignation.“    With the applause ringing,  Terry Musick acknowledging the public’s concern,  thanking all for their attendance,  stating the Board would take what was conferred under advisement and render a decision in an executive session.  The public beginning a slow exit from the building when word filtered down from the stage, the Hospital Board informally having reached a decision,  they would  request Leander D Adams to submit a letter of resignation.  Gary pondering how a simple Halloween prank could trigger a life changing event.

Evidence Of Character…….#221 (the 90’s)

February 11, 2011
Leander Douglas Adams III

Leander Douglas Adams III

An escalation of uncertainty commenced,  its inauguration surrogate in the confines of the Anthony Hospital.   Questions of the veracity of the recently hired Hospital Administrator’s resume,  ramifications of improprieties related to his previous employment were undulating.  The unsubstantiated suppositions subsequently attaining some public acknowledgement,  eventually achieving the attention of  Hospital District #6 Board of Directors.   Terry Musick,  Chairman of the Board and Larry Olds owner of Anthony’s Larry’s Home Town Market,  a prominent members of the board, both promptly proclaiming,  “the board having done due diligence on Lee Adams finding no inconsistencies in his resume’.”    The reassurance from the civic leaders seemed to quell the public outcry, but within the confines of the healthcare center a cauldron of dispel was brewing.

The fall months finding the crescendo of discernment continuing,  Gary at first wary of the allocations concerning the administrators past,  but realized an abrupt awakening as events unfolded.   The coerced resignation of  a long-established director of Lab and Radiology Departments,  followed by a termination of the Out Patient Services Supervisor,  a new aura prevailing in the work environment,  a scrutiny of all hospital employees,  a gleaning of standpoint,  the Administrator keeping score of those who question his veracity.   The evidence of character was placed on Gary’s desk,  concrete affirmation of all that was rumored,  pictures and articles from the Hazard Herald Newspaper of Lee Adams annihilation of the Nursing and Medical staff at ARH Regional Medical Center in Hazard Kentucky.   Gary bristled with the disclosure,  Gay Farney,  a hospital Radiology and Lab Technician having placed a call to the medical facility in Kentucky,  her inquiry achieving a hospital employee willing to provide and send the  concrete documentation of the detrimental actions of Lee Adams and his disservice to the healthcare facility and community.

Gay Farney

Gay Farney

Gary discerning a polarization among the department managers,  visiting with Karen Porter,  the hospital purchasing director,  Dr. Bond, the medical chief of staff and other department managers,  disclosing the recently acquired information concerning Hospital Administrator Lee Adams past and the hospital board’s failure to undertake  responsibility for its negligence in thoroughly researching the empowered administrator’s record.   The hospital administration continued its vexation,  censoring  Gary’s wife Jan,  the Director of Nursing from effectually discharging her duties and  issuing new directives to the clinical medical staff,  Dr. Robert Ludwick protesting the changes in policy, the expostulations still ascending.   An impasse was acknowledge,  Jan according a possible ally in the hospitals plight,  divulging an adherent, a member of the hospital board,  Jerry Turner,  willing to address the hospital’s administrative quagmire with Terry Musick,  hospitals board chairman  and the other members of the commissioned group.   Jan relating the chronicled evidence of the Administrators abominable past,  Jan inquiring about a resolution after a visit discovering Turner having receded his concurrence,  standing fast with the boards adjudication,  an advocate of the Administrator,   Jan and Gary finding their posturing now openly imparted.

It was the talk of the town, the Anthony Republican newspaper account of the Halloween night escapade was brief,  the police responding to a reported vandal  destruction of property at Hospital Administrators Lee Adams residence.  Gary being inquisitive, visiting with Kenny Hodson,  the officer addressing the call discovering Halloween pranksters having inscribed the word “Liar“ on the Adam’s property.   Gary was somewhat taken aback at the open contempt displayed by the pranksters,  but even more dumbfounded that Adams would educe attention to the event by notifying the police considering his adverse publicity.   At home Jan’s revelation was disquieting,  a consternation, Gary total unaware that  his daughter Sandra and Karen Porters Granddaughter September were involved,  an  incipient act very  unlike Sandra.  The aftermath finding Karen Porter apologizing to Lee Adams,  disclosing her granddaughters actions and revealing the names of the other participant.   Gary conjecturing,  Sandra upon hearing of her parents open adverse criticism of Adams as the instigator, and with Jan’s condoning of the prank,  all probable factors in the event.   Gary’s first reaction upon ascertaining September’s mother Karen divergence was to follow suit and engender an immediate apology for his daughter’s Sandra’s antics ,  but upon reflection finding a hesitancy, aware that the extent of his animosity of Adams would come to light and an apologetic endeavor might turn to one of retaliation.

Gary pondered the manner for approaching the Administrator and the likelihood of Adams accepting an apology without retribution, at first dismissing the idea, conjecturing an apology would spring a more realistic outcome,  one of vengeance.   Gary beginning to realize, the Adam’s incident only hastened the enviable,  a grasp of reality, the handwriting was on the wall,  suspecting any confrontation with the Administrator would be futile, the Halloween epilogue could possibly conclude any prospects of Gary retaining his employment.

The ringing of the doorbell to the Adams residence was acknowledged by Nina Adams,  Gary asking to speak with Lee.   Entering, the Administrator hovering in the darken shadows of the dining room, Nina announcing the visitor.    Lee Adams shouting  “I don’t have anything to say to him, I’ll deal with the SOB later, tell him to get the hell out of my house“.   Gary handing Nina an envelope,  turning, not saying another word,  retreating from the premise,  his endeavor  a satisfying  resolution for both.

A Tempest In The Making………..#220 (the 90’s)

February 9, 2011
The storm clouds are gathering

The storm clouds are gathering

Gary was somewhat disconsolate, when the Anthony Hospitals began seeking a new administrator, Jay Jolly bestowing a notice of departure, a quest to expand his career ambitions near the rural mountain reaches of Montana, accepting the Administrative position at St. Luke’s Community Hospital in Ronan Montana.   Jay a community applauded individual, personally and professionally and  well-respected by the Anthony public.  The Plant Service Managers admiration for Jay was prodigious, a congenial deference for the departing Administrator’s commitment to the hospital and the community. Gary able to acquire an insight to his personality and political concepts that the hospital staff wasn’t aware of, ensuing harmonious social visits to Jays office after hospital business hour, Jay administering a 9-6 work day, the Business Office staff exiting at 5.00 p.m

Anthony Hospital Administrator Jay Jolly

Departing  Administrator Jay Jolly

Gary was introduced to Jay’s parents whom resided in Freeport, a once thriving community of 2000 from an earlier era,  its population now numbering 8,  documented as the smallest incorporated town in the nation.   The town’s remaining storefront now boarded up consisting of a single active building,  its primary cartel,  the US Post Office and the corner entrance Freeport State Bank,  The building located across from a grain elevators operated by the Danville Coop..   Jay’s mother Joyce,  discharging the duties of mayor,  his father Russ,  ministering a far-reaching congregation of 60 at the Freeport Presbyterian Church.  A youthful Russ Jolly meeting his future wife,  a native of Harper County,  while fortuitously  visiting an aunt and uncle in Chicago.  Jay being raised in Chicago, his father Russ an employee of NBC,  a University Professorship followed, then answering a call to the Presbyterian Clergy for  13 years before accepting the agrarian Freeport Church position in 1981.  The Presbyterian position enabling a move to Kansas, Jay  mother returning to her Harper County roots.

The remnants of Freeports main street.

The remnants of Freeport’s main street.

A shuttered Freeport Methodist Church

A shuttered Freeport Presbyterian Church

Besides a Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration,  Gary very much aware that Jay was an accomplished musician,  his wife Carol vocally prodigious with a baccalaureate in classical musical.   The Hospital Administrator a polished baritone horn artist,  a performer in The Down Home Dixieland Band, a local Anthony  group composed of mostly senior citizen musicians who exhibited their musical talents in civic events promoting the community.   Jay previously inquiring if Gary would be interested in joining the company of Dixieland proponents,  when the current elderly keyboardist retired because of ill-health.  Gary giving the opportunity serious consideration,  but concluding otherwise,  his work related commitment an envelopment,  but still the thought produced a remembrance of a by-gone day,  giving a rise to a lingering sequestered aspiration.  Gary no longer a craftsman of music, enjoying Jay and the bands participation in the Anthony Veterans Day Parade,  their musical entourage trucking down Main St. aboard a trailer,  the swells of dixieland jazz cascading to the delight of the array lining the street.  The departure of Jay Jolly from Anthony would find a vacuousness not only at the hospital,  but in the Harper County community.

Leander Douglas Adams III and his wife Nina were present for the specially assembled Hospital Department Head meeting,  an Interim Administrator fulfilling Jay Jolly’s position once again introducing Adams,  but this time confirming him as the Hospital Board’s selection as the new  Hospital administrator.   This was Lee Adams second appearance before the department managers, the administration having previously introduced the final two aspiring candidates for the position,  Gary questioning the purpose of the concursion,  recognizing the Department Heads  input or opinion would never influence the Hospital Board’s decision.   Lee’s demeanor was distinctive,  a very erect gray-bearded person with a Bostonian accent,  seemingly very candid in conversation, mentioning he attended St. Lawrence School of Nursing in 1955, a nurse before discovering his administrative talent. When speaking of the hospital,  projecting it in allegory euphemisms,  referring to it  in nautical terms as,  ‘The Good Ship Anthony’.    Introducing Nina,  expressing his wife’s past propinquity with past hospital staff,  her volunteering to babysit for a nurse if unexpectedly called for duty.   Gary accepting his pronouncements at face value, that Lee would be someone able to coalesce with the staff,  a very community minded presence,  a person of character,  Gary conjecturing a good working relationship with this newly acquired administrator.

Like a bolt of lightning a momentous disclosure

Like a bolt of lightning a momentous disclosure

The storm clouds were gathering,  benefits of doubts were beginning to build,  the newly acquired Administrator interjecting  his in authority in the managerial responsibilities once stipulated to Department Managers.   Facile decisions allocated to department managers were being scrutinized and sometimes reversed,  the once cohesive group having found an inhibitor,  engendering a divided assessment of Lee Adams within the managerial council and even within the hospital medical staff.   Gary still adhering to a neutral position, but cognizant of the implications,  especially in the ancillary departments of Lab, X-ray and Outpatient Services,  Lee Adams discharging an animosity towards their representatives.   Apprehension was evolving during the sequential summer months,  like a bolt of lightning a momentous disclosures,  Leander D Adams resume’ documentation  was awry,  a failure to disclose his detrimental administrative capacity and removal from ARH Regional Medical Center in Hazard Kentucky.  First rumors, then facts evolved, Gary and the hospital staff becoming aware Lee Adams dubious past,  his apocryphal personality,  an autocrat of his environment and a domination of those who question him or his motives.   Gary concluding,  the peaceful exemplar work environment of a Jay Jolly era was no longer applicable,  the storm clouds were evident,  the tempest was about to be released.

A Kansas, Welcome………………#219 (the 90’s)

February 7, 2011
Tornado forming as seen from 1 mile west of Anthony

Tornado forming viewed from 1 mile west of Anthony

The sparsely clouded weather providing a warm southern breeze to massaging the landscape of the rural countryside,  not abnormal for a seasonal June day.   The television meteorologist submitting a traversing barometric high pressure,  its clockwise rotation centered in Texas pumping the warm gulf air to the reaches of the Oklahoma and Kansas.   Gary was made aware of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being issued by the weather bureau,  a deepening low pressure system in the northwest,  the cool air converging with the warm southern flow,  a dry line stretching west of Wichita,  diagonally across the state.   A routine notification from county dispatch to the hospital and all emergency response agencies being issued,  the Hospital Plant Service Manager giving it little thought,  having experienced thirty years of Oklahoma and Kansas weather.   The late afternoon finding a noticeable change in the weather,  a line of thunderstorms beginning to form to the southwest,  the severe thunderstorm forecast being updated to a Tornado Watch status.

June of 92'

June of 92′

Gary’s day completed at the hospital,  exiting for home amidst some scattered rain,  Jan, Sandra and his visiting mother who had journeyed from California with the family to Kansas after the passing of Gary’s father,  giving little notice to the increasing thunder proclaiming a noticeable electrical discharge report in the distance.   Gary making an inquiry to the whereabouts of Robert,  a concerning about his being out in the rain,  when he abruptly entered thru the back door.   The approaching storm starting to make its appearance known to the proletariat of Anthony,  the lightning’s presence ever closer to the city,  Gary reassuring his mother,  the storm was a normal seasonal occurrence and would soon pass.   Then precipitously a new intonation arose from without,  a salient promontory,  the shrill sound of the cities tornado warning sirens,  their wailing resonance broadcasting a dispatch for everyone to seek shelter.

Jan immediate donning her coat and embarking for the hospital as required by a long-standing protocol,  Gary realizing,  he too would be following her.  When reviewing the Hospitals Emergency Preparedness Plan as Hospital Safety Director,  he amended a Return Personnel Protocol to include the on-call maintenance person.  Gary could see the questioning expression on his mothers face as he gathered everyone to accompany him to the basement.   Descending to the lower level,  Gary disclosing to his Mother,  he too would have to  leave and fulfill his obligation at the hospital,  assuring the three,  they would be safe in the below ground disposition.  Gary’s could tell by his mother questionable expression about being left  alone with the children,  the siren still sounding its call to take cover.   Gary wasn’t surprised at her concern,  as someone from California,  her apprehension and perception of tornado’s are perceived from movies and television,  not adherent to the occurrence and accepted life of those who thrive in what is labeled,  Tornado Alley.

Arriving at the hospital,  Gary finding Jan,  as DON,  still indecisive in initiating the protocol to start transferring patients to the basement,  a decision that he was content with not having to make.   The nursing staff began the aversion process,  Gary relegated to his protocol position of monitoring the south hallway, its posture enabling a view of the front and rear hospital doors and an access to the boiler room operations center which housed the emergency generator.   The Emergency Preparedness Plan requiring him to be the only employee representative to be active aloft unless an immediate danger was perceived,  then entrusted to take shelter below ground level in the boiler room operations center.

A thankful sound,  the wailing sirens had ceased,  followed by a brief continuous burst,  the all-clear having been sounded,  Jan and the nursing staff thankful for a halt to their transfer of patients.  Gary,  inquisitive to the reality of the trepidation of the storm,  its resolution and a procrastination would have to remain on hold,  the return to his  home a precedence, a curiosity  about his mothers experience of  being stationed in the basement of an unfamiliar  house,  the sound of thunder penetrating thru the wind-driven wash of rain and the every presence echo of the tornado warning sirens sounding.  Betty Willson relating her experience to her son,  asserting it was without incident except for Robert making a reference to another lower level in the basement that they could crawl into if necessary,  which she really didn’t want to hear.  Robert was referring to a covered recess in the cement flooring, across from the external entrance of a deposed coal-chute.   This quarried area another level beneath basement cement floor once housed the original but long displaced 1904 coal-fired furnace,  its only remnant remaining,  the walled-in a brick masonry up thru the structures three floors,  the adherent chimney exiting thru the roof.

Gary concluded,  the experience of the day would always be remembered,  for indeed,  the sounding of sirens was a Kansas welcome to his Mother.

Never A Farewell To Memories…..#218 (the 90’s)

February 2, 2011
A receding presence

A receding presence

A journey to Sacramento’s Metropolitan Airport from Columbia,  a necessity for Jan’s return to Kansas,  the Anthony Hospital’s Director of Nursing making a decision to return home early rather than accompany the family on their 1600 mile journey in the Blazer.     Gary discovering a schedule for the return to Kansas was contingent upon whether his mother accepting his request that she accompany the family,  the son concluding a pause and change of atmosphere would be appropriate for her,  considering the tumultuous events of the past week.   The first undertaking was one of communications,  contacting the various jurisdictional institutions, social security, insurance company and others concerning his Father’s passing on behalf of his Mother.   An arduous event unfolding,  a return to Pioneer and the scene of the heartbreaking occurrence,  Gary,  his mother,  Robert and Sandra,  arriving at the listless residence.   The son sensing when  entering the devoid structure,  the coolness of night still present within,  the walls once a repository of vitality now silent with an aura of solitude,  a lingering semblance of something lacking.  The stillness,  an imperious bone chilling feeling and a recognition,  the once thriving entity having its essence of life removed.

The task at hand proceeding,  Gary’s mother gathering personal possession of applicable concern,  the removal of items essential for her immediate necessity and items best not ceded to a no longer inhibited residence.   Gary accommodating his Mother,  placing incidentals in the Blazer,  among them a rifle and his fathers World War II,  Japanese Nambu 8 mm. pistol,  a memento from his service in The Pacific Theaters of Saipan,  Okinawa and Korea.   An acquisition of his fathers wallet,  his mother discovering an accumulation of 13 one hundred dollar bills,  banded with a note,  “gambling money”  and tucked away on a closet shelve,  rolls of coins,  including silver dollars, an uncovering and revelation of the mans frugality.

A final commission before departing,  Gary’s mother voicing her concern for the property,  requesting the initiation of a project his father was about to commence, the scathing of the premises weed growth which rebounded every spring,  only to dry out in the summer heat and present a fire hazard,  the single strand Weed Eater brand appliance being put to use, a final calling to address the land.   The family instilled in the Blazer,  preparing to depart,  the envisage of  past  memories firming imbedded in the journals of Gary’s conscientious.   A farewell gaze, the pine of remembrance,  a retention of recollections,  a young Mike exploring the realms of hidden bounty in the woods,  real or imagined.   The toting of piers with his father,  to bear the structure,  placing them in their designated position. The assemblage of the outhouse with the celebrated Pop Graham present and the many bonfires at night,  the young family singing familiar songs from a by-gone era,  but above all, the platonic surroundings and standing  the visionary edifice, a fulfillment of his father’s dream.   The transport in motion,  a final glance in the rearview mirror,  a station of wondrous adventure and treasured times in Gary’s life receding,  a final farewell to its presence,  but never a farewell to the memories.

Las Vegas

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

A parting to Gary sister Nancy and her Columbia home, the Chevrolet Blazer  traversing the highway ,  destination, Las Vegas, an unexpected turn of events on the families return to Kansas,  Gary’s Mother,  an accomplice on the return,  providing the detour incentive.   The family discovering the illuminating city prosperous with visitors,  having difficulties acquiring a vacancy in any of the prestige’s hotel accommodations.   After several unsuccessful attempts to find suitable lodging,  a final resolution,  the night’s rest would have to be employed at a motel,  but the lodging didn’t arrest the newly arrivals from patronizing the celebrated casino’s.  A fulfilling buffet meal at the Excalibur,  Robert and Sandra off to a mezzanine shopping floor,  the casino’s hypnotic slot-machine sound according an invitation to Gary’s Mother.   As a bystander,  Gary observing as his mother deposited an ample concert of silver into the dollar machine.   A ringing of bells from the one-armed bandit,  Gary’s mother watching as a bountiful supply of coins were released,  a raise in excitement,  the container overflowing with $240 in silver coins.   Gary immediately absconding $200, announcing to his beaming mother,  he would exchange the coins for $100 dollar bills,   so she could leave a the casino a winner.  Gary scurried to find the exchange counter and by the time he returned she had consigned her remaining winnings back to the machine.  The hour was getting late,  children to meet them at designated time and place in the casino for their return to the motel.   Gary couldn’t help but grin as the group traversed the casino gambling floor,  his mother trailing behind,  stopping at every chance to deposit the loose change she retained in her purse,  still hoping to be another winner.

Kingman Arizona's aircraft graveyard

Kingman Arizona’s aircraft graveyard

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A 150 Burlington Northern & Santa Fe trains per day through Gallup

Stopping for breakfast,  then leaving Las Vegas,  attaining highway 93, the blazer journeying to the Hoover Dam.   Gary giving thoughts to stopping and engage in a tour of the magnificent structure,  but was torn between allotting time for sightseeing and his hasten to return to Kansas.   A compromise,  a decision was constituted to stop at the viewing overlook,  then continue on their trek.   Entering Kingman Arizona, a unhealded community founded in 1883 and named after Lewis Kingman a surveyor establishing the Needles Ca. to Albuquerque N.M. Atlantic-Pacific Railroad line,  when Arizona the 48th State to join the Union was part of Nevada Territory.  A distant view from  Interstate 40 of the famous Aircraft graveyard, littered with hundreds of the “carriages of the sky”, their above ground storage a silent burial.   A familiar passage,  the four lane highway now providing a celerity, a halting at Flagstaff for lunch before crossing into New Mexico and the high plains town of Gallup with its large railway yard, over a 150 trains traversing daily.  The family having one more provisional stop before concluding their journey, an overnight stay in Albuquerque.  The sunlit morning again finding the Blazer occupants on the final span of their journey,  leaving interstate 40 at Tucumcari,  traversing northwest on highway 54,  across the panhandle of Texas,  thru the town of Guymon,  noted as the weather capital of Oklahoma,  because of its gateway location and the swift arrival of extreme weather traversing from the Colorado Rockies.   A turn eastward,  a recognizable posted highway sign,  Highway 64,  a straight 150 mile projectile to Alva,  then North thru Kiowa  and the family’s residence in Anthony,   a welcome abatement to the road weary travelers.

Gary was in concert with his Mother’s decision to accompany the family to Kansas,  concluding it would allow her time to reflect upon the aspects of the past events from a distance,  rather than be a captive of its surroundings.   A time for her to develop her own awareness,  an inner search to reconcile any misgivings and without forethought, most of all to endure through this troubled time.