Archive for August, 2011

A Westward Transposition…………….#253 (the 90’s)

August 17, 2011

Gary and the Buick ready to go west

Gary decision was procreate,  an intuitive sense that maybe it was time to turn another page in the book of life,  a westward challenge was about to be ordained.   The 97 Buick was progressing south on highway #281,  a rambling way to state #58 to enjoin Interstate 40 at Weatherford Oklahoma,  a memorable  town from Gary’s musician days.   The Interstate  journey beginning,  no ambitious agenda,  just a forbearance of a California destination.  The westward trek on Interstate 40,  the highway having changed,  no longer the memory filled meandering historical Route 66 from the past.  Gary discovering an omnipresence,  a ferreting endless expanse of highway before him,  his travel being driven for no personal purpose,  exiting  with no self-proclaimed questionable answer.   Gary’s mind-set attempting to contemplate a purpose, the future a masquerade waiting to be discovered.  The droning sound of the Buick on the soldiery road,  Gary a lone passenger,  passing the landmark acquaintances of  yesteryear,  the scenic aura a melancholy  comfort from the past,  but projecting an unknown accolade of the future.    A planned overnight stop in Albuquerque abated, the evening hour still a fledgling,  a decision to press onward to Gallup before halting for the night.   With darkness beginning to prevail,  a welcome Motel Room to rest and replenish, a renewed  aspiration to boost his propensity for this California journey.

Route 66 in Gallup New Mexico

Coconino National Forest Flagstaff

Coconino National Forest Flagstaff

Calif. - Ariz. Stateline Inspection Station

Calif. – Ariz. Stateline Inspection Station

An early morning breakfast,  Gary again acquainting the highway a continuation on Interstate 40,  passing the Indian cliff dwellings west of Gallup,  another postcard vision.  The highway starting its dispersion upward,  the Arizona border on the horizon,  leaving the barren high plateau regions of New Mexico,  entering the tree enclosed mountains, a gateway to the beautiful throes  of  Flagstaff.   A brief stop for fuel,  the Buick continuing its abide westward, Gary’s thinking  becoming resolute,  a 14 hour,  900 mile trip to his sister’s residence in Columbia was deemed a possibility. Intersecting at Barstow, Ca. Highway 58,  departing the Interstate,  the town of Mojave and 100 mile desert trek stretching before him.    It was early evening the Buick arriving in Bakersfield to address a familiar friend,   the well-traveled Highway #99,  the artery north thru the Central Valley, its vestige the length of the state before exiting into Oregon.  Gary finding the highway inhibited mostly with ten-wheelers,  tractor and trailers their drivers performing an unheralded function,   transporting  the commerce that sets the table for America.

Pea Soup Anderson's Selma Ca.

Pea Soup Anderson’s Selma Ca.

Bakersfield in the rear view mirror,  Fresno, then Merced and east to the Sierra foothill  his destination all within reach when a trammel circumstance suddenly made its presence known in the failing twilight , a prodigious valley fog beginning its emergence.    The view of the highway becoming obscured,  the pilot of the Buick unable to distinguish road signs, relying on logic,  following the tail lights of a the truckers before him hoping that the teamsters vision was better than his.   The slow pace travel went on for miles, the fog engulfing all signs of roadside life,  Gary looking to remove himself from this dissolute travel,  finally noticing a glow of lighted structures off the highway, the Buick exiting  into an unnamed  fog enshrouded  realm.  The glowing lights projecting the outline of a well-lit complex and its proclamation sign,  Pea Soup Anderson’s.   Gary not seeing or hearing that name for over forty years, a remembrance returning,  Anderson’s Pea Soup and their advertised enterprise for some reason initiating the  memory of a journey  in the 48 Chevrolet with his father and two sisters to join his mother at his Uncle Charlie O’Toole funeral in Santa Ana.    The capturing fog curtailing any further travel,  Gary ordained to spend  the night at Andersen’s, not happy with the $120 dollar a night charge for a night lodging  but under the circumstances, when held hostage by fog, what could one do.

Gary's sister Nancy

Gary’s sister Nancy

Gary Mother Betty at the entrance to his sister home

The early morning finding highway 99 still enshrouded in fog, but unlike the Stygian darkness, the  dawning delight providing some visual amenity, the journey continuing.  The fog was still persistent when reaching Merced,  the Buick changing directions,  journeying northeastward on State Highway J-59, finally breaking clear of the fog clouded shroud,  the sun finally annihilating its  density , the scenic Sierra Foothills beginning their arrival.   The junction of #108, soon the familiar framework of Sonora coming into view,  Gary’s travel concluding  with the five-mile foray to Columbia,  the home of his Mother and Sister Nancy.    The welcome up-hill  driveway entrance on Parrotts Ferry Rd,  the magnificent tree engulfed log cabin structure with it resume of huge boulders providing a welcome sight.   The arduous 1600 mile journey coming to a conclusion, its purpose still unrealized,  but allowing a serenity,  an atmosphere for reflection, a time for Gary to ruminate on the past and current events that have transpired.

Tom Fleming and Mom

Tom Fleming and Mom

The time unfolding,  Gary still pondering a direction, the stay of Columbia protruding on, keeping busy with a list of small project that his sister had accumulated over time.   His Mother and her friend Tom Fleming having invited Gary to an all you can eat Masonic Crab Fest in Hayward.  Gary having made Tom’s  acquaintance in Alva Oklahoma when the couple were on their way to the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, Tom’s son Andy president of the paralympic committee. Gary enjoyed seeing his mother and Tom together, the two making an exemplary couple.  Tom’s world was one of travel and accomplishment, introducing  the Willson family matriarch to the many amenities that have fulfilled his successful life,  the least including snowmobiling, a first for the great-grandmother.  Gary’s mind-set seemed in a semi-quasi state of limbo, indecision still reigned and with all his possessions still in Kiowa decision time was fast approaching.

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Not A Dismissal But Liberation.. #252 (the 90’s)

August 7, 2011
  • Grand Hotel Mackinac Island almost realized

The summer 1998 bringing a diversification in Gary’s disposition at the Kiowa District Hospital,  Administrator Buck McKinney proposing  the hospital take under their ascendancy the proprietorship of the Kiowa Manor,  a Hunter Care 37 bed skilled nursing facility, the corporate entity going thru a change and closing several Kansas properties.  The Hospital Board of Directors cognizance of a similar situation in Anthony whereas the Anthony Hospital incorporated the Hunter Care nursing facility.  After an open public meeting,  the acquisition process being approved and put in ambulation, McKinney attempting to solicit volunteers from the hospital staff willing to traverse their employment to the Manor,  discovering that not a single employee was willing to leave their employment status at the hospital.

Hanna Watson

Hanna Watson

Gary after some serious thought volunteered to move to the nursing home, accepting  the safety and maintenance task at the Manor in addition to maintaining  his responsibilities at the hospital.  His first concern was to establishing an office enabling a home for his computer and files,  the only area designated for maintenance was a very small work bench area off the rear entrance door.   A brief search for an unoccupied room was nil but the  discovering  a delightful Hannah Watson offering to share her office.   Hannah was responsible for coding and billing the medicare paperwork for reimbursement  utilizing the 1996 HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).    The Manor, unlike the hospital, hosted a in-house laundry, small but adequate for the facility,  employing a young man with Down’s Syndrome from Medicine Lodge,  the youth arriving by car five days a week,  driven by a staff member of the charitable organization home he was living in.  Gary discovering that  he was sponsored by Susan Luthi with Arrowhead West, a Community Integrated Employment Services (CIE) program that  benefits both employees and employers by assisting individuals with disabilities to obtain and keep jobs in the community, while at the same time offering reliable and qualified employees to area businesses.   Buck McKinney in an effort to cut cost for the Nursing Home eliminated the kitchen enterprise at the Manor,  requiring Avetta Starzyk and the hospital kitchen to provide the three daily meals.   Gary having to regulate his hours acquiring an additional duty, transporting the meals to the Manor utilizing  the manors electric lift endowed van,  making delivery three times daily during his five-day work week, McKinney’s  daughter Robyn either fulfilling the Manor needs or finding someone for weekends.

The recently acquired Kiowa Manor

The recently acquired Kiowa Manor

Buck McKinney

Buck McKinney

Roby McKinney

Robyn (McKinney) Odell

McKinney and the hospital board coming to a decision for need  of a subjective administrator for the Nursing Home.   The ongoing search for an administrator concluded, the Manor staff introduced to a new administrator, Gary having some questioning doubts the board’s selection.    The new administrator in Gary’s realm of thinking was lacking any initiative, mimicking  Buck McKinney’s maintaining,  the status quo  keeping of a low public profile and  having a closed-door policy to the employees.   Gary on one occasion, entering his office without knocking,  walking in unexpected, the manor administrator seated at his desk,  Gary noticing his computer monitor situated behind his desk displaying a Pornographic web page.   The Administrator immediately began moving his body back and forth of Gary’s line of vision trying to hide the screen with his embodiment.   Gary was taken aback with the presentation being displayed on the monitor,  the administrators body movements evidence of his attempted concealment,  immediately realizing that his surprise entering had intruded upon something he would later regret.   Retreating from the incident,  immediately withdrawing from the room,  knowing that this discovery of the administrators aspersions would some day wreak vengeance and come back to haunt him.

Susan Luthi

Susan Luthi

An afternoon found Gary coming across Susan Luthi leaving the administrator’s office, Susan approaching saying that he was just the person she wanted to talk to.  She continued that Arrowhead West held an annual recognition dinner in Medicine Lodge,  the event was to recognize the many handicapped and mentally challenged employees in Barber County for their labors and honor the employers who gave them the opportunity. Gary wasn’t  surprised to discover the manor administrator declining her  invitation, Susan asking Gary if he could attend,  with a smile, giving Susan assurance that he would be more than happy to participate.  The night of the event Gary in attendance greeting two others that he knew  Jim Reed from the Kiowa CO OP and Kevin White, the Medicine Lodge Hospital administrator, both having sponsored challenged employees.   Gary seated for dinner with the manor’s  employee and later standing with the  beaming  down syndrome employee as he received a plaque of recognition for his work accomplishment.  Gary also receiving a plaque of recognition for his attendance in the form of a hug from a thankful Susan Luthi.

Gay Farney

Gay Farney

Lab results are negative

Lab results are negative

Exertion at the hospital and Manor taking precedence,  resuming his disciplined routine, discovering a new maintenance employee Rory Reed hired to make the once abandon large garage outbuilding on the Manor property suitable for use.  Rory’s previous employment was with the Kiowa CO-OP that his father Jim managed,  Gary finding that it was good to have a second pair hands at the facility.   On his return to work a different atmosphere prevailed, he realized that his incident with the Administrator, witnessing his eluded computer web site visits  were coming to fruition.   He sensed a feeling of being watched, also having confrontations with the Manors Director of Nursing,  discovering the DON opening  and adjusting the secured  thermostats for the facility.   Approaching her,  politely stating that he was responsible for the environmental aspects of the facility and that he would appreciate it if  she would  confine her directives to nursing.   A monthly responsibility was conducting and logging a fire drill at both medical facilities, including the clinic,  documenting the sounding of the alarms and the staffs response.   During a morning  drill at the hospital,  Gay Farney,  the Lab Director approached Gary with a concerned look on her face, stating that she had received a call from the Manors administrator  directing her to perform a blood alcohol test on him.  The request raised some  suspicion, curious if his recent confrontation  with the Manors DON,  their past disagreements  and  his unexpected walk-in on the Administrator porno-viewing may have given this request meaning.  Gary was comfortable submitting to the lab test,  his concern wasn’t the test results  but the  implication leading to a questionable future.   That evening receiving a phone call from the nursing home administrator apologizing for the administrative misjudgment in asking for the test,  the negative results confirming his aberration.   The administrator stating that  his reasoning for the test was based on statement from the Director of Nursing,  Gary realizing that his tenure at the Nursing Home would not endure, concluding he was now a target for dismissal.

Terminal 3 walkway at O'Hare

Terminal 3 walkway at O’Hare

Tri-City (MBS) Airport - Midland - Bay City - Siginaw

Tri-City (MBS) Airport – Midland – Bay City – Saginaw

Again the 97 Buick Skylark was traversing the road north to Wichita ,  Mid Continent Airport his point of embarkation,  a United Airlines 737 flight to Chicago O’Hare, then a  flight northeast to Lake Huron and the Tri City (MBS) Airport servicing Midland, Bay City, and his destination Saginaw Michigan.    The traveler journeying to affront an ICQ internet acquaintance whom he had visited with for many months,  a lady of standard whom had recently suffered a major physical difficulty.   Debbie’s occupation,  a transcriber of  taped court proceedings,   typing the audio transcript  on a computer word processor as a written document,  returning the results to the subscribing court appointed attorneys and other parties.   For some unbeknown reason her  vision having literally overnight diminished to the point she could no longer decipher the printing on her computer screen,  her circumscribed vision problem now a concern that she would lose her livelihood and source of income.   During her correspondence she related that she had corresponded with her son whom she hadn’t spoken with in years,  the son traveling from Texas arriving, concerned about her health but only accomplished adjusting the resolution of her computer before whisking back to Texas.   The arrival in Chicago,  O’Hare terminal #3  always enjoyable to Gary,  the underground walkway with the tantalizing chiming stereo sound and the psychedelic lighting giving a presence of entering another world.   He could envisioning the artisans of this production,  unprecedented in their fortitude for this artistic endeavor,  the structure providing a remembrance to all that passed thru it.   His travels continuing,  boarding a 737 for, the Michigan Tri-city Airport and for some reason the lyrics and accompanying memories of the band stopping after playing at a truck stop to eat, a jukebox and the refrain of Lefty Frizzell singing about Saginaw Michigan came to mind.   Disembarking finally meeting Debbie who was accompanied by her friend Vicki who had provided the transportation considering Deb’s recent disability.  Gary was pleased that unlike other inaugural meetings with a new internet acquaintance discovering that their appearance didn’t exactly correspond to a self description or photo was pleasantly surprised that Deb justified the photo she had posted.

Debbie and a Saginaw Michigan Thanksgiving Dinner

The Michigan Thanksgiving was celebrated with a snow covering laden upon the ground,  a norm  for Michigan this time of the year.   The person from Kansas finding the unheralded hostess providing a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and all the trimmings,  her sight not being impaired enough to distract from a kitchen performance.   The following morning the two traversing to the hospital for a scheduled MRI,  hopefully to discover if there were any neurological reasons for her demise vision aspects.  The preliminary results reflecting no neurological problems, but a waiting period for the doctors official reading remained.   Gary having contemplated taking advantage of his Michigan journey to explore the tri-city area and lake front but having never experience the non forecast snowfall from what was called The Lake Effect, when cold air moves over warmer water, taking up moisture that later precipitates as snow when the air moves over land, wasn’t too enthused to brave the weather.  Giving it some thought there was inquiring a destination that always intrigued him, one influenced by the movie “Somewhere In Time“  starring Christopher Reeves  and Jane Seymour, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island,  the departure site for the alluring destination on Lake Huron was about a three-hour drive,  but there was a resurgent,  the season for charting an accommodation having just closed.   Further adjustments prevailed as Deb’s car developed a difficulty and would no longer start,  Gary suggesting that they call and have it repaired but Debbie insisted that she knew a mechanic that would take care of it but he wouldn’t be back until after the holiday weekend.  Gary somewhat distressed finding himself stranded in his new acquaintance home, although in good company,  not wanting to be sequestered.

Wichita's Mid Continent Airport from the air

Wichita’s Mid Continent Airport from the air

  His return flight date having arrived, his experience was somewhat enlightening, confirming that life provides different meanings to different people, arriving with no expectations and leaving with no expectations,  nothing ventured nothing gained except sharing cordial friendship.   A late arrival by Vicki to transport them to the airport garnished some concern,  the three of them arriving as a final call for departure for Gary’s flight was being announced,  approaching the empty departure gate areas, thankful the ticket agent was still there but discovering his reservation had already been given to a standby.   A hasty conference with the agent, the departure was halted, Gary watched as the stand-by person exited.  Once aboard the 737 remained on the Tri-City taxi way for almost an hour, the Kansas bound traveler convinced the providence had conspired to keep him in Michigan, questioning a stewardess to the reason for the delay, her reply,  their problem wasn’t Tri-City but O’Hare,  traffic was back-up because of the snow developing weather.  Because of the delay Gary thought he would miss his connecting flight, but apparently it too was running late, finally airborne on his final leg and from the air Wichita’s Mid-Continent would be a welcome sight.  The 90 mile drive, the farming communities, the fragrance of the fields,  the newborn winter wheat just starting to flourish,  he couldn’t help but notice it’s green a flourishing contrast to stark naked brown of the Michigan winter.   Gary’s visit to Saginaw Michigan somewhat enjoyable,  his acquaintance with a friend acceptable in many regards,  but realizing a person to person confrontation trumps the written and spoken word.

Manor storage structure

Manor storage structure

A premonition of Gary’s employment termination was forthcoming with the hiring of Rory Reed for what was thought to be for a special project to install a door and park the manor van in an old facility storage structure behind and across the alley from the Manor that Gary had recommended to be replaced.  Rory a long time employee of the OK Coop managed by his father Jim,  informing Gary that he had given notice at the Coop and would be available to assist in the up coming projects for the Manor.   It was  the last week of December 1998 when Gary was summoned to the manors administrator’s office, the administrator handing him a check and without an explanation given notice that his employment status was terminated effective immediately.  With all the changes in his life in the last year Gary had already come to a decision if this day should come he wouldn’t question or contest his termination,  not because of a lack valor or justification,  but acknowledging it would be better for all not to add to the reflected heresy of aspersions.  Gary wasn’t surprised that the word of his termination at the hospital had spread among the members of the Apostolic Church and that Ron Allenbach and Tom Farney had already made inquiries on Gary’s behalf for employment elsewhere.   The days following his release were spent waiting on the monetary funds from his  closed 403 hospital retirement account, his termination not a dismissal but a liberation, now able to give thoughts to opening other doors of  opportunity, recognizing the world knows no bounds.