Archive for May, 2011

On The Road That I Have Taken….#244 (the 90’s)

May 24, 2011

Robert and Opal Willson

The 92’ Buick again journeying north to Wichita,  Gary and Jan’s separation being congenial the couple and their daughter Sandra traveling together arriving  at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport,  the family having  convened for a second a flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airdrome.   The Willson’s returning to the Illinois  Great Lakes Training Center for their son Robert’s Wedding, the navy seaman about to board the ship of matrimony.   Gary  as usual enjoying the flight, especially  into the busiest Airport in the United States,  the approach requiring the  United Airlines  737 to venture far out over lake Michigan,  the lakes white wave tips giving it motion,  bringing the resting lake waters to life.    The inbound flight joining  a variety of aircraft lined up for their airborne descent into O’Hare,  an airliner landing every 45 seconds.   Gary procuring the  rental transportation,  Sandra in the navigator’s seat studying the map,  Dad being guided by her directions,  traveling the tri-state tollways north before the eastward journey towards Lake Michigan and the reception Hostel just outside of the entrance gates of Great Lakes RTC.

Terminal C - O"hare International

Terminal C – O”hare International

Wedding Location Illinois Beach State Park

Wedding Location Illinois Beach State Park

Toasting each other

Checking in to hotel,  Jan and Sandra having  joint provision,  Gary remaining solitary,  Robert’s navy friends conjugating down the hall to commemorate his last night of bachelorhood.   Jan and Sandra spending time with Opal, the newest and future member of the Willson hierarchy.   An early morning breakfast,  the anticipation building for the outdoor Illinois  Beach State Park Lake Michigan ceremony.   Gary and the family adhering to the direction to the park that Robert had provided,  arriving early,  but soon finding a host of activity.   Robert’s grandparents Bud and Helen Murrow from Kiowa whom had journeyed to Jan’s Uncle Mel and Aunt Leona Weyneth in Metamora a small farming community just outside of Peoria about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the wedding location.   Gary a very much admirer of Mel,  a world war II veteran like his father,  Mel serving in the European theatre,  an artilleryman in Patton’s 3rd Army division and like his father and many other world war II veterans very reluctant to convey their experiences.   Also in attendance for the Navy Chaplain officiated ceremony was Jeremy Birzer, Robert’s best friend and the weddings Best Man designate.   Surprising and unexpected was Jan’s sister Gayle from Overland Park Kansas flying  from Kansas City and adding to the fray was the continuity of his Navy  compatriots.

Mom looking on

Mom incognito looking on

Helen Murrow, Uncle Melvin and Aunt Leona Weyneth

Best Fiend Jeremy looking on

Gary was impressed,  the wedding ceremony service being dictated on the shores of Lake Michigan,  the setting displaying a welding of nature’s life,  not inhibited by the confines of a chapel but in the open air macrocosm of God’s natural wonderment.   The bride and groom both components of the United State Navy,  Opal Marie Ray and Robert Garald Willson accepting the matrimonial vows of a life long commitment,  the Chaplain endowing the two before God and mankind as Man and Wife.   The groom’s father a front row witness to the ceremony,  affording a tear felt emotion,  recalling a heartfelt time in Wichita Falls Texas  twenty years earlier,  a dream fulfilled,  but as in John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost,  the intervention of Manichaeism evolved and acceptance that was bequeathed him.   The Illinois Beach celebratory event completed, Gary instead of walking directly to the car ventured to the lakefront,  touching the water before leaving, and when asked why, not desiring to assert his action as a memory keepsake of the meaningful event,  his reply not exactly veracious,  “because it was there”.   Returning to their hotel abode the evening commemorations  beginning, Robert and Opal hosting the presentations of the matrimonial gifts appreciating the show of love from  family and friends.

The morning finding Gary, Jan, Sandra, readying for a return to O’Hare  for a departure to Wichita,  but accompanied with an added person.   Jan’s sister Gayle having flown into Midway International requesting a ride for her return flight to Kansas City,  Gary more than happy to oblige her, appreciative that she had come, recognizing that her wedding appearance was meaningful to Robert.   At O’Hare, the three boarding their Boeing 737 for Wichita,  Gary of course partaking of a Chicago Dog before leaving,  looking forward to air travel experience home.   Reflecting on Robert’s Marriage,  noting in his mind the difficulties that were in store for the newly wed couple,  with both abiding in the Navy, and the liabilities of different duty stations,  but knowing one thing,  indubitable love if given can conquer all obstacles.

Norma Feaster

Gary was saddened when hearing the news, the Lord having called a caring and admired lady from her earthly sentential of life.   A true patriot of education,  a giving person without retribution that one could be associated with having passed away.   Norma Feaster  was a beautiful person and the embodiment of the educational domain,  an exemplar of the teaching profession.  Gary having witnessed this mentor to a second grade class of seven-year old students expand their horizons, administered all this with her countenance of character and her reflective striving strength of love.    It was his Mother’s birthday,  July 22,  Gary arriving at the cemetery in Hardtner  having informed hospital administrator  Buck McKinney  that he would be attending the Graveside Services for Norma Feaster.   Gary was taken aback at the number of people,  expecting a much larger attendance,  especially from the teaching profession.  With no school in session during the summer months,  he may have been presumptive,  Norma having retired from her teaching profession before the sudden illness.   Gary immediately perceiving those about him, Norma’s friend Juanita Smith and a few others from the Kiowa School system,  Max McGee,  Vee Hill,  Carol McKinley,  but it was the absence of many that was very apparent that very hot afternoon in July,  the privilege of having known this lady would forever be treasured.

A final resolution

 It was July when Gary received a divorce decree to be signed so Jan’s Alva Attorney Larry L Bays could  file it with the Woods County District Court.  The couple having come to an agreement, Gary not contesting the proceedings, retaining his car and personal possessions,  their 21 year journey down the road of life together officially coming to an end.  Gary somewhat melancholic questioning the reality of the past events, but concluding it was neither he nor Jan that were the real casualties, but Jan’s mother Helen who had to bear the pain.  Helen having to witness to the breakup of her daughter Gayle’s perfect union, now Jan’s public display and divorce,  what was heartbreaking for Gary to watch was Helen’s withdrawal from her beloved Apostolic Christian Church Wednesday night services.   Because he was party to the problem, was void of a way to console his true feelings for this loving family but through prayer and with time he knew that Helen would once again resumed her Wednesday attendance.  Soon after the degree Jan’s Federal Lawsuit filed against Share Medical Center finally coming to fruition,  she was somewhat disappointed the court only awarding her $50,000  due to her demotion but nothing for pain and suffering as expected and with her departure the stigma of her actions remained.

Gary concluding the road of life sometimes twist and turns, no two directions are ever the same, yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination, the 56-year-old recalling a Dean Koontz passage from the novel Dark Rivers of the Heart.

On the road that I have taken
One day walking I awaken
Amazed to see where I have come
Where I’m going, where I’m from

This is not the path I thought
This is not the place I sought
This is not the dream I bought
Just a fever of fate I caught

I’ll change highways in a while
At the crossroad one more mile
My path is lit by my own fire
And I’m going only where I desire

On the road that I have taken
One day walking I awaken
One day walking I awaken
On the road that I have taken.


To Everything There Is A Season…..#243 (the 90’s)

May 22, 2011
Gary's premire model 2010 Marantz receiver and amplifier.

Gary’s première model 2010 Marantz receiver and amplifier.


A talented roommate named Yamaha

Gary’s apartment reflected a delineation of his character,  an avant-garde approach to the circumstances blossoming into  an acceptance of the reality,  the road of life traversing in a new direction.   The confines of his surroundings,  the Yamaha piano,  his  premier Marantz 2010 receiver able to reproduce a concert sound,  the ever-present  television and  VHS  all vehicles of entertainment,  but still lingering within was what wasn’t.   For the first time in four years there was no 30 miles of road to traverse to and from work, in one respect he was thankful but in another he missed the thirty minutes of driving solitude that enabled uninterrupted rationale to wander in his mind.  Gary’s  weekend résumés of activity in Wichita was once again activated,  not concerned with the additional mileage from that of his years of traversing from Anthony.   The attributes of Century II and it’s continuous sponsoring of events,  the Town West mall and its Regal Nine screens adjacent to the food court and his favorite fast food,  the Orange Julius concessions which  also providing a perfect Chicago Dog, their availability now within the realm of his world.  The only item not yet present was a home desktop computer, Microsoft having introduced a new system the prior year, Windows 95, Gary giving serious consideration to acquiring the new addition, but because of finances it would have to wait awhile longer.

Dad happy to cosign

Dad happy to cosign

The Christmas Holidays about to arrive,  Robert on  Leave from his naval commitment his presence in Kiowa a welcome sight.   The young sailor desiring to purchase automotive transportation from Bill Bogner‘s Chevrolet, Buick.   Robert determining a 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier with 59,000 miles would suit his purpose,  Gary co-signing the note with Wichita’s Southwest National Bank  on December 23rd,  the elder Willson having finance a majority of his automotive endeavors with SW National,  his son’s means of conveyance accomplished.   The staff at the Kiowa Hospital again as in the past opting out of a Christmas Party,  the days of the employee family members  gathering no longer a demonstrated coalition.  The staff  preferring to have a Potluck afternoon lunch,  the hospital providing the turkey and ham, the financial savings from an organized Christmas Party  to be distributed equally in the hospital employee’s Christmas bonus allotment.   Gary having mixed emotions about the holiday season having celebrated Christmas with the Murrow Family since 1976, volunteering to take ambulance call both Christmas Day and New Years so those with family could be together.

Lynn Martin - Editor/Publisher of the Alva Review Courier/Newgram

Lynn Martin – Editor/Publisher – Alva Review Courier/Newsgram

Lynn Martins published glamour photo of Jan

Lynn Martin photographed – published glamour photo of Jan

A concern about Jan and Gary’s separation and her subsequent notoriety was brought to Gary’s attention by the Ministering Brothers of the Apostolic Church.   With the publicized recent drug theft at Share Medical Center,  Jan’s complicity commiserating in being relieved of her management position, and subsequently filing a lawsuit against Share Medical Center,  Gary wasn’t surprised when an additional element emerged.   Keeping abreast of  Jan’s exploits was Lynn Martin’s reporting in the Alva Review-Courier  whom Jan having meant from his hospital board meeting attendance and having posed for Martin in the past for a Glamour Photograph and to the dismay of her family, Martin publishing the enamored photo in the widely distributed Newsgram.   Jan’s propriety was beginning to resonate within the Kiowa community,  the Apostolic Church and its membership , the published articles only adding luminosity to the moira.   Church Ministers Ronald Allenbach and Jeff Bahr acknowledging to Gary that Bro. John Lehman from Sabetha,  having become the Kiowa Churches Elder with the passing of Ronald Nelson, had requested a meeting with him.   With some hesitation Gary agreeing,  knowing he couldn’t refuse,  and that  Bro. John would be in Kiowa the following weekend to administer services on Sunday.   Questioning Ron Allenbach as to a meeting schedule and the location,  Ron conveying that  to the best of his knowledge  Bro.  John would stop at Gary’s apartment located a block and ½ from the church prior to Sunday Morning services.

Bro. John Lehman

Elder Brother John Lehman

Apostolic Christian Nursing Home and Retirement Villiage, Sabeth Ks.

Apostolic Christian Nursing Home and Retirement Village, Sabetha Ks.

Awaiting the Sunday morning meeting Gary being somewhat apprehensive,  but at ease with Bro. John as a Church Elder, Minister and  CEO of the Apostolic Christian Churches Nursing Home and Retirement Village in Sabetha.  Gary finding John  more emblematic as a person than as a Church Elder,  being  acquainted with the him,  his wife Connie, their and their two children, the family having spent the night with the Willson’s in Anthony during a joint Sunday School Class Fellowship between the two churches.  John arriving at Gary’s small apartment domain,  both seated at the table,  the conversation being brief,  John aware of the couples quandary,  questioning about resolution.  Gary disclosing  the couples prior counseling with a psychologist from the Anthony Hospital and their meetings with Ronald Nelson concerning the difficulty in the marriage,  but the effort was to no avail.   He acknowledge his faults, taking responsibility for them,  but was true to professing of his faith,  praying for guidance and  thankful for the Brethren in the church,  especially Brother Frank Kisling.   John posed a question about Jan’s action,  with uncertainty Gary professed that she was bound by her strong convictions, the pressure,  the public depuration of her character and a newfound association with her sister Gayle  who had left the church and  may have contributed to a change  in her behavior.   Gary adding,  he found her new neoteric interest disturbing and realized it wasn’t in keeping as a Sister of the Apostolic Church Congregation.    Concerning the validity of what was being said of  Jan‘s actions,  Gary approbated John an affirmation of her culpability.   The interview completed, Brother John affirming he would speak with Jan,  once again expressing his hope of resolution.   Gary In attendance for the morning and afternoon church services,  but the subject of Brother Johns actualization wasn’t, Gary noticing the absence of his wife.

Gary reasoned as it is assimilated in Ecclesiastes,  to everything there is a season and time to every purpose under the Heaven.

An Analogous Disrelationship……..#242 (the 90’s)

May 19, 2011
Missing from the hospital

Missing from the hospital med-room


The revelation was earth shattering,  Jan having discovered that her best friend, the one she regularly visited several nights a week,  a Registered  Nurse at Share Medical Center admitted to appropriating Demerol from the med-room for her personal recreational use.   Jan as Assistant Administrator in charge of Patient Care Services and Director of Nursing was under obligation to adhere to policy and report the incident,  but ignoring hospital precept taking it upon herself to personally minister to her friends predicament,  immediately driving and enrolling her friend in a drug rehabilitation hospital in Enid, thus circumventing any action by law enforcement or the hospital, but upon returning,  Jan promptly reporting the incident to Administration  setting in motion the disclosure of  the missing drugs and the notification of law enforcement.  It was disclosed a law enforcement investigation making a discovery of empty Demerol vials’ in the nurse’s home trash container.  Jan then subjected to interrogation,  an administrative and a hospital board investigation was commenced to bring about a final deposition of the circumstance.   Jan’s initial action and  her flagrant disregard of hospital protocol  preventing the arrest of her nurse friend and the concurrent criminal investigation proceeding  giving suspect by some members of the governing commission.   Although disregarding all proprietary and ignoring the rules of protocol for reporting the incident,  when questioned,  she remained firm in her commitment of action for the nurse.   The recently contracted CEO of Share Medical Center,  Barbara Oestmann disclosing the Hospitals posture, concurrence with the board of directors,  Jan would be excised from her position as Assistant Administrator of Nursing Services and relegated to the status of Floor Nurse to await further disposition.

Jan immediately seeking legal representation,  approaching Phyllis Walta an attorney in Enid,  inquiring about a possible lawsuit against Share Medical Center for their actions. The attorney agreeing to file the suit,  advising Jan,  it would be in her best interest to remain employed as a floor nurse at the Medical Center thru the litigation process which might endure for six months or more.   Gary finding a dolefulness of life in Alva,  his wife displaying an ever-increasing  acrimonious attitude,  consumed with her lawsuit,  the couples only occasion for any joint activity was Church and even then her attendance was sporadic.    Gary believing her esoteric disposition was the result of the hospital decision to relegate her from an esteem administration position to a subordinate floor nurse, her self-esteem suffering and her propriety  now publicly questioned.

A phone call finding  Gary on his way to Anthony,  a prospective renter inquiring about the ad in the Anthony Republican concerning the Willson’s vacant Springfield  Ave residence.   Richard and Barbara Robinson,  an elderly couple with two large dogs were interested after their walk thru inspection, there being no doubt in Gary’s mind that the house had sold itself and they would be the new tenants.   The Robinson asking if they could meet the following week as they had some loose ends to tie up before making a final decision.   Gary also having some loose ends to tie up,  stopping at the Jim Gates Reality in Anthony,  asking if he could provide a rental contract for the Willson’s.   The request being fulfilled,  Gary meeting with the Robinson the following week,  the contract signed,  the rental completed,  a November 1st occupancy date acquired.

Jan's new residence The Aspen Apartments

Jan’s new residence The Aspen Apartments

Gary becoming very much aware that Jan and his marriage was continuing on a downward spiral,  Jan taking the initiative suggesting a separation.   Gary at first against the endeavor reasoning that it wouldn’t resolve the situation,  but when his spouse decided on a separated rooms,  the undertaking enumerated a delineation of their consanguinity, Gary agreeing with her desire.   Jan acceding to a separation  procuring a residency  in the Aspen Apartments on Alva’s 6th street,  a continuation of highway 281,  the south entrance byway into the city.   The apartment accommodation less than a third of a mile from the entrance to the Medical Center.   Gary noticing Jan’s car parked at the complex  stopping to visit,  finding her in good spirit, painting the apartment and  remarking that for  her painting effort she would receive a month of free rental

The Price Apartments

The scene from Gary’s balcony

Gary desiring  to once again embrace a residency in Kiowa,  it seemed like Karma, finding this housing accommodation two blocks from the church,  a vacancy in the well manicured Price Apartments.  The units very affordable with an in-house honor system washer and dryer laundry,  central air and heat,  total electric,  with water and trash service inclusive.   His rental unit,  a single bedroom efficiency on the second floor  with a patio door balcony overlooking a park like scene.   Gary agreeing to Jan’s acquisitions of household furnishing she desired,  embracing the microwave,  cookware, dishes, kitchen utensils and without hesitation included the many years of acquired valued Roseville and other collectibles.   Besides the piano,   Gary retained a twin bed, a dresser remnant from his first marriage,  an aged television and the unwanted  bulky roll top desk.   The Price Apartment provided an electric stove,  small refrigerator and a inconsequential formica kitchen table with two chairs.  In need of a living room chair  and a possible divan,  Gary encountered Jeff Bryan with an array of used furniture in the back of his pickup,   journeying to the Tucker Store to unload the used saleable possessions.   Gary noting a used recliner and a hide-a-bed divan,  making an offer to Jeff,  if he would deliver them to the apartment.  He agreed to deliver,  but because of his back trouble,  declined in helping carry them upstairs,  but would leave them on the walkway entrance.   Gary contemplated a decision to call upon his father-in-law Bud Murrow,  asking him if he would  help carry the furnishing upstairs to his recently acquired apartment.  Gary could see a subtle look of displeasure on Bud’s face for asking,  but knowing Bud and the man he is,  the two were soon moving Gary’s new found furnishing.

Bill Duval and the challengin stairs.

Bill Duval and the challenging stairs.

The moving experience wasn’t without incident,  the most difficult would be elevating the Yamaha console piano up the stairway to the second floor.  Gary having petitioned Mike Pavlu,  the son-in-law of Sharon Ragan. Kiowa Hospital director of nursing  to transport the Piano from Alva to Kiowa.   It was oblivious to the two they would need more muscle to lug the piano up the flight of stairs.   Gary having a remedy for assistance, paging Bill Duval at work on the ambulance radio,  asking if he would come by the Apartments on 9th street.  Bill arriving, the three attempting to carry the piano,  but to no avail.    Then a bounty happened by, Roger Robinson, the fire chief  a stout person stopped  to inquire and was soon recruited to help.   The endeavor discovering the length of the piano prevented it from making the turn on the stairs.   Bill Duvall at the top end,  single-handily lifting the end of the piano over the railing while Mike and Roger maintained the bottom achieving the upstairs apartment goal.   Gary noting,  that Bill’s lifting exhibition was without a doubt the greatest demonstration of strength he had ever witnessed.  Thanking Bill and Roger for their assistance,  both remarking humorously when leaving,  that when it came time to carry the piano back down,  don’t call us.

Gayle and Jan In Renaissance character

Another Ren Fest entry

A final trip to the house on Noble Street in Alva to see if Jan had left anything of value,  Gary discovering photo albums and several boxes encompassing an accumulation of  twenty years of family photographs still remaining,  missing were the albums of her college activities and surprisingly their Amway experiences.  Noticeably left behind was an envelope with some revealing photographs, possibly overlooked or purposely a carte du jour,  portraying an insight to activity during Jan’s many Renaissance Festival visits with her sister Gayle in Overland Park.  Gary was taken aback with what he saw, but more adjoin on her lack of regard as a representative member and sister in faith of the Apostolic Christian Church.   The farewell to Alva was without overture,  somewhat of a welcome relief,  his Kiowa apartment a scant four blocks from his employment at the Hospital.   The move was an awakening,  a feeling of complacency evolved with the solace of returning as a resident to a welcoming community of acknowledged advocates.

Caught on camera

An Everlasting Memory…….#241 (the 90’s)

May 17, 2011

Robert Willson United States Navy

Gary finding the work day drive from Alva to Kiowa not as scenic or indigenous to the natural habitat as the excursion from Anthony to  Kiowa.   The journey from Anthony enabling a view of the wild turkeys in the trees bordering the Medicine River,  Deer grazing in the nearby pastures,  coyotes scrambling thru the field  and the ever-present family of possums marching provisionally inline along the highway.   Gary and his family having resided in the Kiowa for ten years, his employment at John Deere,  the Grade School before the family transition to Anthony and not at all compliance with their move to Alva.   His work related position at the Kiowa Hospital for the past four-year and a continuing Chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the Kiowa Apostolic Christian Church imparted a kinship with the small farming community,  likewise something he found in Anthony but difficult to consitute in Alva.   Gary realizing that  Jan was in need of some recreational time from the past moving experience and their resettlement in their rental home,  her sister Gayle extending an invitation  for Jan to visit.  Having just purchased a camcorder,  Jan journeying the 310 miles to Overland Park to spend a weekend with her sister,  returning with a camcorder recording of the Renaissance Festival at Bonner Springs,  a community just outside of Kansas City, sharing the recorded wonderment of those participants in costume with her parents and friends.   Gary was surprised when Jan announced two weeks later she was returning to Overland Park to visit her sister again,  the Renaissance exhibit fulfilling the month of September and most of October,  his foremost concern was the six-hour drive she would have to endure.

A common scene in the morning between Anthony and Kiowa

A common scene in the morning between Anthony and Kiowa

Bonner Springs Renaissance Festival

Bonner Springs Renaissance Festival

Roberts enlistment in the Navy was no surprise to the family,  the young man having difficulty in deciding which direction to administer his educational efforts.   Gary recognizing his disillusionment,  having been in a similar circumstance upon his high school graduation.   One had to start from square one,  choose a college,  obtain a student loans,  secure part-time employment and locate a residence,  a difficult burden to shoulder.   The United States Navy was inclusive with its provisions,  incorporating all,  plus enabling a person to serve his country,  mature in stature, and instill an intellect, Robert eagerly applying himself to the seven week navy boot camp at the Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes Illinois.

A memorable underground passage at O'Hare

A memorable underground passage at O’Hare

Home to 650 recruits - Great Lakes Naval Station

Home to 750 recruits – Great Lakes Naval Station

Graduation time at Great Lakes finding an invitation to parents, wives and relatives being extended.  Gary,  Jan and Sandra departing on a late morning  United Airlines flight from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport,  an afternoon arrival  at the O’Hare International in Chicago. O’Hare was an inaugural event,  the families first visit to the iconic airport facility 15 mile from downtown Chicago, Gary impressed with its size  and constant flow of aircraft  landing and departing in a never ending stream.  Disembarking  at Terminal C, experiencing the glowing neon and electrified chimes of the  below ground passage to Terminal  B, a very unique and memorable welcoming to travelers.    The Alamo rental car providing transportation for the 20 mile excursion to their waiting motel room in Mundelein,  a community  north of Chicago and eight miles from the Training Command Base.   Friday morning finding the Willson’s traversing to Recruit Training Center,  a line of traffic being halted just outside the main gate,  a supervised off-road parking area enacted for the two thousand plus ceremonial visitors arriving to applaud the 750 navy graduates.  The family having no problems in locating their destination, swept up in the flow.

Freedom Hall - A true family gathering

Freedom Hall – A true family gathering

Reporting for duty

Reporting for duty

Brother and Sister Hugs

Brother and Sister Hugs

Upon entering the football field length Freedom Hall, one side lined with bleachers enabling seating  for capacious number in attendance, Gary noticing across from the seating area along the length of the wall were placard posted with training unit designations, apparently each a training units station for the ceremony,  thus enabling the parents or visitors to be seated across from their recruit members unit.  The 1 ½ hour ceremony in the monumental Freedom Hall beginning,  each training division entering with promenade precision,  Gary finding the pomp and circumstance most impressive as only the military can achieve.   Watching his Son Robert parade in,  Gary stifling the tears of admiration,  a proud moment,  noticing he wasn’t alone,  hundreds of onlookers were reaching for a Kleenex or handkerchiefs.   The conclusion bringing a pandemonium of activity,  families all embarking from the bleachers to acquaint their Navy Pride,  the Willson’s included.   Concluding the ceremony,  a surprise enjoyment,  a lunch provided courtesy of the United States Navy,  given in honor of the new E-2 sailors and their family.   The activity fulfilled, Robert returning to his billets to change clothes,  the Willson’s proceeding to a provisional hospitality room.   Their sailor son joining them and providing a tour of the visitors center and a walking excursion of the grounds including the PX.  Robert accompanying the family directing them on a motorized tour of the base, its lakeside provisions and on base housing, Gary impressed with the Navy’s only recruit training facility.

Caught with your mouth full

Proud father with son

The visitors continued, the city of Chicago beckoning, the family consuming the Magnificent Mile of downtown Chicago,  mounting a tour bus,  the guide pointing out all the highlights of Michigan Avenue,  the Navy Pier and N. Lake Shore Drive,  Gary making  mental notes from his traveling advantage point,  setting preferences for a walking tour.   Starting on Michigan Avenue,  the Ghirardelli chocolate store a first stop,  the ambulated tour beginning, absorbing the essence of Chicago.   Mounting the steps of The Field Museum across from Soldier Field,  Gary having seen this iconic museum used as background in many motion pictures,  his anticipation rising.   Entering the pavilion,  his expectation fulfilled,  center foremost was the Skeletal remains of T-rex,  a tyrannosaurus rex from cretaceous period 66 million ago, standing exactly as portrayed on the Hollywood screen.   Continuing upstairs thru the various room and  exhibits,  the atmosphere and smell of the museum bringing back childhood memories of Gary’s monthly visits to San Francisco’s  Golden Gate Park and The Academy of Science, with its Planetarium and Natural History Museum.

The Field Museum

T – rex

Chicago Navy Pier

The Navy Pier, construction starting in 1916, originally designed for the lake shipping industry, but thru the years transposed into a public works,  then the latter half of the twentieth century,  an ongoing lake touring industry,  shops,  culinary and an understandable tourist attraction with a carnival atmosphere. The hungry visitor finding an impeccable accommodation for lunch,  an outstanding international food court,  each member of the family fulfilling their own cuisine desire.   Returning to their rental transportation a final stop at the tallest building in the United State,  the Sears Tower.   Gary was looking forward to the express elevator ride to the 103 observation floor.   Embarking from their park vehicle,  Jan making a decision forgo the excursion,  choosing to remain outside the building while Robert, Sandra and Dad entered the tower for the ascending ride.   Embarking from the elevator, the observation room give a  panoramic view of the hazy Chicago metropolitan area from a height 1400 ft..

Tallest in the US – Sears Tower

View of Chicago from 1400 feet

The morning finding the family in a departure mode, arriving at O’Hare International for the return home, Gary giving a last salutation to Chicago by eating a Chicago Dog at the airport before boarding their flight to Wichita.   The journey to witness Robert’s Basic Training consummation being chronicled as indelible and an everlasting memory. Leaving Chicago Gary wasn’t looking forward to newly discovered doldrums of Alva Oklahoma and to further his melancholy,  upon arrival,  discovering  their feline companion Muffins having passed on.  Gary reasoned, the ups and downs of these events were another exclamation point in the time line of life’s journey.

Love that Chicago Dog

A Bereaved Farewell….#240 (the 90’s)

May 16, 2011
Not a home, but a benefactor

Not a home, but a benefactor

The monolithic expanse empty of activity,  its progeny having departed,  a silence prevailing within the ramparts of 602 N. Springfield in Anthony Kansas, Gary absorbing the solitude, Jan calling once again from her place of employment,  Share Medical Center in Alva Oklahoma,  60 miles distance,  stating that she would be working late and in all probability would not be returning home that night.   In his solitude concluding  a probability she was experiencing what is commonly referred to as  “the empty nest syndrome”,  finding it difficult to endure the saturnine of the once bestirring residence, enveloping herself in work to alleviate the acumen of her discernment.   Gary detected a new assertive vicissitude in his wife’s predilection, no longer depositing her payroll check in the couple of joint account at the First National Bank of Anthony,  but opening an account in her name only at the Community Nation Bank in Alva,  her given rationalization being to establish a Oklahoma financial validity,  giving an explanation,  the 60 mile two-hour round-trip drive  was getting burdensome, proposing a move.    Gary was somewhat adverse to the overture,  as he clearly adulated living in Anthony,  his acquaintances,  the lake,  its proximity to Wichita and it’s host of offerings.   Reluctantly agreeing that the move would be in his wife’s best interest,  especially with her demanding work as Assistant Administrator in charge of all Patient Care Services,  OB,   a licensed First Assistant Surgery Nurse, and the ever-present responsibility to attend evening hospital meetings.   Gary reluctantly knowing the move was inevitable,  his driving distance to work would remain the same as Anthony to  Kiowa,  Alva to Kiowa also a 30 minute  journey.

It will be surely missed

Anthony Lake – It will be surely missed


The relocating decision having been acknowledged,  Jan finding a two bedroom rental house at 804 Noble St. with a small additional structured dwelling on it,  the rental agreement also included an option to buy.   The Noble house a behemoth contrary to their 6000 square ft.  Anthony home,  if one included the 1500 square ft. basement.   Gary sensing a feeling of entrapment, the  small house and residing in an inundating college community, not the laid back rural lake, farming  endowed surroundings of Anthony.  The moving experience beginning,  the depositions of the family’s three cats, Muffins,  Mario  and Mitten,  a possible placement a concern, Sandra desiring her feline companion Mittens get a college education and  accompany her to Winfield.   Robert unable to provide for Mario,  Gary approaching Glenda Holdaway  an associate at the Kiowa Hospital about a home for him,  leaving the third acquired member Muffins to venture to Oklahoma with the couple.   Exudation of the accumulation that filled  a three-story,  six bedroom,  full basement house was challenging,  Gary’s brother-in-law Shawn Johnson providing an immediate storage redemption.   Shawn having inherited his mother’s vacant home in Kiowa,  its rental status having been nil for over a year,  offering it’s presence to deposit the many rooms of furniture,  sundry items and dozens and dozens of boxes and accumulated paraphernalia still remaining after furnishing the recently rental in Alva.   Shawn’s storage offer being garnished,  his mother’s old two bedroom home soon being filled to capacity.

804 Noble St. Alva Ok.

804 Noble St. Alva Ok.

Gary was thankful for the abundant amount of family help, Bud and Helen Murrow,  Lynn and Shawn giving raise to the extracting occasion,  asking nothing in return,  although Gary did present Shawn with his treasured Satellite Dish and Receiver.   The only remaining article in the now vacant Anthony house was the pool table stationed in the ballroom on the third floor.  Gary first thought about its deposition was to leave it as is just as they had discovered it, allowing the new owners of the house responsible for its removal.   An alternative arising, Michael Palmer, the son of Sandy whom he had worked with at John Deere had heard about it and  was interested, the teenage boy and his friends accomplishing the move.  The Alva migration fulfilled,  leaving  with two remaining faction,  a once over cleaning endeavor and a final disposition of the Springfield Ave. property.   Gary making two trips back to Anthony  to abstergent the premises and  entertaining a serious consideration to list the residence in the rental market.

Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor Carol Steinbock

Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor Carol Steinbock

Gary discovering Alva a town seemingly without substance except for the University,  finding himself allocated to the confines of what seemed like a closet of a home in comparison to the double corner lot three-storied abode for the past seven years.  His wife still maintaining late hours at Share Medical Center and when returning home only to  journey across town to spend time with her RN friend most nights.   Gary’s home life and relationship  mirroring a sense of  solitude he experienced in Anthony,  except able to occupy his time with his ongoing oil painting projects, his visits with his good friend Jim White, evenings at the lake and the weekend ventures to the many wondrous offerings of Wichita.   It was recognizable, he and Alva having undergone a change from his remembrance of twenty years ago with the band performing at the Elks Club,  Moose Lodge  and Veldon Wolley’s  renown  Vel’s NiteLite Club.     The era for live entertaining dance bands performing on a regular basis in small communities having passed.  The town’s primary source for ongoing entertainment was Northwestern Oklahoma State University,  Gary having taken notice and waited in anticipation for their proclaimed  concert season to start.   It was at work that  Carol Steinbock, the Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor whom resided in Alva approached Gary about  the college Music Department presenting a Schubert Fest as a preview before the coming concert attractions.   Gary entreating Jan to attend with him,  but her propensity for entertainment didn’t include classical music,  as expected she declined.   Attending the event, the  acquainting ushers all dressed in period clothes,  a presentation of some of Schubert’s string quartets, vocals and piano sonata’s,  concluding with several tables of snack treats, the food prepared as it was in the 1820 period.   Gary familiar with the era, always marvel at the life style  of all the Vienna born,  Franz Schubert was paramount,  having written over 1000 compositions,  and  like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  passing on at young age of 31 years.  Other renown composers, Liszt,  Schumann,  Brahms and Mendelssohn all later contemporaries of Franz Schubert.

Gary's Mom and Tom Fleming

Gary’s Mom and Tom Fleming

An unexpected phone call from Gary’s mother serving notice that her and her companion Tom Fleming were on the road and would be traveling thru Oklahoma on Interstate 40 and would detour north to Alva for a brief visit,  the couple journeying to Atlanta to attend the 1996 Paralympics.  The voyaging couple arriving in the evening at the Noble St. address, visiting with an invitation for to meet for breakfast, Gary accepting, Jan declining,  relating that her presence at work was a priority.   Gary discovering Tom’s son Andy was the President and CEO of the Paralympics Committee, in charge of the international exposition, Andy also a paraplegic, having lost his legs in a train accident in 1977.  Tom and Gary’s mother were an ideal couple, Tom like Gary’s father was a teamster,  but unlike his father who was strictly a chauffeur of the trucks and earth moving equipment, Tom progressed from driver to  owner of a large California trucking transport company.  The couple’s visit was brief,  Gary joining his Mother and Tom for an early morning breakfast, their visit providing a brief but needed uplifting, life in Alva settling back into a doldrums.  There remained a lingering doubt,  questioning the syllogism of the move to Alva,  Gary reflecting with an open mind,  when  playing the cards from the deck of life, one should make every attempt to avail the hand dealt.

Concluding A Twelve Year Journey…#239 (the 90’s)

May 13, 2011

Sandra Willson receiving her High School Diploma

Gary never realized how appreciable and steadfast Sandra was in her employment obligation during her Junior and Senior year of high school,  aware that arrangements had been made so she was able to depart school early for her Kitchen duties at the Nursing Home’s in Anthony and Harper  operated by Hunter Care Center Inc,  of Chesterfield Missouri.   Gary while gathering the families tax information noticed the Care Center’s failure to provide his daughters W-2 on time,  Sandra having approaching the Administrator about the corporations delinquency,  receiving assurance  the form would arrive within a week,  notwithstanding a week later still no results,  the W-2 absence still astray.  Gary deciding it was time he got evolved,  placing a call to the Missouri Corporate Office,  explaining the failure of the facility administrator to  remedy the situation,  the W-2 arriving post-haste on the second day of corporate notification.   Surprisingly,  Sandra’s Nursing Home and other part-time employment accomplishing $4,965.38 for the year,  exceeding Roberts senior year employment wage at Chisholm Enterprises Inc,  the franchise operators of the Anthony Pizza Hut,  by more than $2200.  Gary gratified that both Robert and Sandra’s imbuement of their work ethic at such an early age.

Sandra, Marlo, Chris & Garrett

Sandra, Marlo, Chris, Allison & Garrett

The expectant assemblage arriving for the Saturday,  May 19th commemorative graduation ceremony of the Chaparral High School Class of 1996 in the high school auditorium.  Sandra Lynne Willson achieving recognition for her a 12 year journey down the road of education,  a High School Diploma documenting her accomplishment.   Members of the family having arrived for the event,  her sister Marlo,  husband Chris,  nephew and niece Garrett and Allison having journeying from Oklahoma City.  Her grandparents,  Bud and Helen Murrow,, Aunt Lynne Johnson,  husband Shawn and their daughters Sarah, Jamie  from Kiowa and visiting Aunt Gayle Robb.   For some reason Gary found graduation ceremonies very moving, he questioned that it might be the recognition and  acknowledgement of the individuals as they cross the stage and then again the  Chaparral graduation tradition,  the words of “An Irish Blessing” resounded a largo of emotion for  the conclusion of the ceremonious presentation.

Sandra with her Grandmother and Grandfather

Sandra posing at home

The summer months prevailing,  Robert working in Salina,  Sandra’s preparation completed for her enrollment at Southwestern College ,  Winfield Kansas.   A Saturday morning found Gary hitching his “two Lawn Boy’s and a Snapper” trailer to the Buick,  proceeding to consign furnishing from Sandra’s Bedroom and other possessions to avail the semi-furnished rental house that her and two other prospective student had procured in Winfield.   The journey  was not without incident,  having to stop and tighten the rope tie-downs, the warm wind out of south and always leery of the scatter light rain propelled from the sparse individual clouds that inhibited what otherwise was a blue Kansas sky.   Arriving at his destination,  Gary finding the rental property,  a remnant of days past,  a ship-lap frame house in an indiscreet neighborhood without sidewalks,  a typical descry found in most rural Kansas farming communities,  but suitable for the demeanor of the occupants.  An unloading of the trailer was completed, Sandra’s new Winfield residence established.

Southwestern College, Winfield Kansas

Returning to Anthony,  Gary finding an reverberate emptiness beginning to immerse,  only to multiply once arriving home.   The three-storied structure at 602 N. Springfield now abandon of the children that once provided it essence,  their presence,  a life-giving force that brought an atmosphere of vivacity.   An unwelcome despondency began descending, the six bedroom edifice,  void of an accession of meaning, its purpose having been fulfilled.  No longer the bounding cartage of youth,  their reasons,  actions,  aspirations,  expectations, and questions prevailing throughout the years,  a hallowed part of a parent’s life.   Gary finding it difficult to accept that this chapter in life’s journal that was coming to a culmination.  The acceptance of reality was difficult,  a questioning of the past and all that transpired filtered in thought,  but Gary reasoned,  time is like a river,  its flow having elapsed,  never to pass this way again,  but still one can hold and savor the memories.

Blameless Fortuity………#238 (the 90’s)

May 5, 2011

Sandra Willson as Kendra Star

From the day she was born Gary called his daughter Sandra,  Princess,  a namesake suited to her countenance, a beacon of satiation to everyone.   Sandra attaining her senior year at Chaparral High School in Anthony,  an outstanding academic student,  surmounting her older brother Robert in many respects.   A social protector,  in that she was an advocate for her friends defalcations, always projecting a caring beam of aspiration to those whom surrounded her.   As an afterschool activity continuing her cheerleading ambition acquired in Grammar School, becoming a  member of the Anthony High School Cheerleading team, but  discovering she was not always in favor with the high school sponsor,  the facility member citing her for smoking off campus.   Before a Friday Night school football game, the facility sponsor excluded Sandra from participating with the Cheerleading team.  Her Mother affronting Kris Kastler the principal of the school before the start of the  game,   Jan demanding an explanation for Sandra’s non participation, forcefully stating that her infraction was off campus and shouldn‘t have any application to her appearance.  The principal agreeing with Jan,  reprimanding the faculty sponsor for her indiscretion,  Sandra making her cheerleading presence known.

Gary having recognized Sandra’s enactment talent as early as Norma Feaster’s 2nd grade class in Kiowa ten years earlier.  Her senior year, Sandra performing the featured role of Kendra Star in the Jerome McDonough Play “The Addict”  a presentation by The Performing Artists of Chaparral.    The production portraying  the detriments of  youth’s in a community and their adherence to the addiction of drugs.   Gary and Jan traveling to Wichita to witness Sandra and the members of the performing Chaparral ensemble present a celebrated presentation for the members of the Kansas Congressional body, including the state’s Lieutenant Governor.

1992 Buick Skylark

1989 olds

1989 Olds Cutlass

Sandra was impressive in her use of the 1982 Toyota, a natural with the manual five speed transmission and never complaining about the family transportation heirloom.   Gary coming to the conclusion that his Princess’s  transportation needed to be upgraded making decision to relinquish his cherished 89 Oldsmobile Cutlass to her,  retiring the Tercel Wagon.  A visit to Bogner Chevrolet in Kiowa finding Gary bargaining with Bill,  the reliable Toyota Tercel Wagon having chauffeured his wife to Pratt during her college years,  as a trade in.   Gary deciding that a 1992 Buick Skylark would serve his needs for the time being  presenting his daughter with the Oldsmobile for her discretionary drive to school.

Gary awoke early on a Saturday morning, the first weekend after entrusting Sandra with the Oldsmobile Cutlass  expecting to find its presence outside the home,  but discovering that it was nowhere to be found.   Going upstairs to Sandra’s room finding her responsive to his inquisition about the absence of her car, Sandra looking puzzled asserting she had  parked it out front.  Hearing voices admitting from the third floor above, discovering  that two of her friends whom apparently had been playing pool during the past night concurrently were still present upstairs.  As they descended they gave an explanation that they had fallen asleep and spent the night on the third floor.   Gary once again checking for the presence of the car, to no avail,  turning on his scanner to the Anthony Police Channel, hearing there was activity about an overturned car on rural NE 10th Avenue,  an unimproved road paralleling Highway 2 north to Harper.  The police on the scene transmitting an automotive description,  Gary immediately proceeding north to the location, finding no sign of law enforcement but the 89 Cutlass overturned in a ditch,  the keys still in the ignition.   His emotion was without description,  a wonderment to see an exponent of his material life destroyed without explanation.

Anthony Chief of Police John Blevins

Returning home Gary questioning  the two boys, the two remaining adamant that they had no idea of what could have transpired about the missing car, still maintaining they had fallen asleep upstairs as John Blevins,  the Anthony Chief of Police arrived.  John an acquaintance of Gary and more so of wife Jan,  a classmate of her Kiowa High School Graduation Class.   John Blevins was a professional,  having spent twenty years as a police officer  in Wichita, retiring from the larger city force to take a leadership position in Anthony.   Interviewing the two boys with a skeptical look on his face,  asking Gary to take him to the third floor where the boys had spent the night.   Gary was shocked at what he saw as they entered the large third floor ballroom, home to the pool table. The room disheveled, almost a remnant of a bar, empty bottles and cans including  alcoholic beverages spewed about, a perplexed look on Johns face, Blevins questioning about its appearance.  Gary was truthful in his answer,  stating it had been more than a week since he had ventured to the  third floor adding that he never bought or would provide any alcoholic beverage to his children or anyone underage, hesitating then adding that Johns Kiowa High School classmate may know more about that subject than he does.   Returning to the main floor, Chief Blevins took both youths to his patrol car, returning a short time later,  stating  the car theft mystery was solved.   The youth admitting that they found Sandra’s car keys, drove to Harper to buy more liquor  and on the way home wrecked the car  and walked back to Anthony, resuming their presence on the third floor of the residence.

Gary had no affection over the event,  more of a disappointment in his daughter for her lack of discretion in acquiring friends.    The  loss of the Cutlass,  plus a balance still owed after insurance remuneration of $1300,  the under age boys taken into custody would be tried in juvenile court, Gary not expecting any monetary restitution.   The event finding Sandra in need of an automotive replacement, Gary noticing a television commercial,  notice of an auto auction at Century II, the ad finding him on his way to Wichita.  The auction was unique, the elder Willson discovering a 1956 Oldsmobile StarFire at reasonable price,  a dream of a car, but it was his dream not Sandra’s, practicality prevailed.  A 1993 Mercury Topaz  under warranty was offered,  although a stick shift, the price was right and the decision was made to buy, Gary deciding to leave his Buick at Century II,  driving the Topaz back to Anthony.   Upon arrival at home, presented Sandra with the Topaz and after spending the day in Wichita didn’t feel up to making another 110  mile round trip to get the Buick,  asking Sandra if she and her friend September Porter would return to Wichita in the Mercury and have  September drive Gary’s Buick back to Anthony.

Damage Mercury Topaz

Gary waiting patiently for Sandra and September’s return from Wichita when the phone rang.   It was Sandra explaining they were still in Wichita and there had been an accident, she had rear ended the Buick with the Topaz.  The front of the Topaz had been damaged and water was coming from the radiator but the Buick seemed alright.  Gary weary of the events, telling the girls to find a convenience store and park the Topaz and drive the Buick home.  The girls having arrived Gary deciding t0 return to Wichita to survey the damage to the car he had just bought.  Once in Wichita he found the damaged Topaz not parked at a location that was on the way back to Anthony but on the other side of town.  Gary deciding not to make an issue of it as his daughter was already to the point of tears considering the loss of two cars in two weeks.  The good news was that the damage looked to be minimal, mostly to the front grill and the radiator   The next morning a Sunday, Gary approached Harold Madsen at his home located behind  his Automotive Repair establishment to see about transporting the car from Wichita.   Harold telling Gary the family had plans and he couldn’t retrieve it till tomorrow,  but he would be more than happy to loan Gary his pickup and auto trailer if he thought it necessary.   Taking advantage of the opportunity,  Gary was soon on the highway in Harold pickup and trailer making  his third trip to Wichita in two days.  The Topaz loaded and arriving back in  Anthony he parked the pickup and trailer with the car still on it to await Harold’s attention.

The cattle won,Jan’s Dodge Shadow lost

Every Wednesday night was reserved for the Apostolic Christian Church,  Gary driving from Anthony,  Jan often saying she would bee working late, meeting him at the church when returning from Share Medical Center in Alva.  The church service having concluded, Gary proceeding back to Anthony, Jan saying she would be following, right behind him.  Gary arriving in Anthony deciding to stop at Larry’s Home Town Market to pick up a few things when he heard the wailing of the ambulance siren heading west out-of-town and for some reason he had a premonition, a feeling something was wrong.  Once home he turned on the scanner,  discovering the ambulance had been dispatched to an accident a mile west of town, the feeling continuing, he had to go, deciding to drive to the area.   Arriving at the scene, immediately  recognizing Jan’s Dodge Shadow convertible with a crumpled front end,  noticing that the airbag having been deployed, Jan was nowhere to be seen, the ambulance having left for the hospital.  Gary hastily driving to the Hospital finding his wife up and about in E.R. very much shaken but apparently not incurring any major physical damage except the trauma of the airbag deploying.  Jan relating that coming downhill off a raise a mile west of town,  the cars  headlights failed to pick up a herd of cattle that had wandered thru a broken fence onto the highway, the Dodge Shadow plowing into the herd with  brakes locked, several head not surviving.  From the looks of the car and impact, Gary very much thankful someone above was watching over his wife as the results could have been far worse..

Gary questioned the responsibility outcome of the accident, the sheriff’s department report stating that there were several reports of cattle being out at this location, but the rancher claiming that the fence was intact and that a reported mountain lion in the area spooked the cattle causing them to break the fence.   Gary coming to the conclusion that events that unfold in one’s life have a meaningful purpose,  giving one a residual of patience and understanding not always acquired by self, but sometimes its implication was fleeting.