Archive for December, 2015

A One Day Tour of New York City….#266 .. ( 2006)

December 30, 2015


The couple rising from their nights repose at the Days Inn, neither Fran or Gary having slept very well, somewhat concerned about the strangers knocking at their door late that night.  but that didn’t still their morning appetite, the two deciding on breakfast at Denny’s.  checking out, the couple walking the four blocks to the new jersey transit bus station on Landis avenue for an Atlantic City bus, then onto the Port Authority Terminal in New York City.   Their arrival time in Atlantic City was timed perfect, dismounting one bus and boarding another for New York, a 2 1/2 125 mile excursion.  Gary enjoying the vista of the tree-lined garden state parkway as a passenger  having spent a lifetime as a driver.   Notice of the journeys end was given when the iconic skyline of New York City from the Jersey side of the Hudson river came into view



The new York Port Authority building, located between 40th and 42nd street,  the largest bus station in the world,  over 7,200 buses per week line up to take on passengers.  The couple disembarking, Fran back on familiar ground from her youthful ventures to the City,  Gary impressed with the thrive of the New Yorker’s, their attitude of purpose in pursuit of their goals,   Displaying the spirit of America.   The subway entrance to Hoboken being on the same block as grand Central Station,  the name a misnomer,  misled by Hollywood  as it’s not a station stop but the starting and ending of subway lines officially known as Grand Central Terminal.  Gary in no hurry, desiring to see the wondrous architectural structure, the building consuming 48 acres of land,  with two levels below ground, 41 tracks on the first below ground level, with 26 tracks on-the Second.   The structure having started construction in 19 oh 3,  a new additions completed in 1913.  The building consuming many restaurants, shops and galleries,  Gary marveling that the builders of this hundred year old pavilion could never have visualized they were building a prototype of today’s modern Mall    .


The street entrance to the subway was  like entering an underground cavern of walkways,  much to Gary’s surprise, subway tickets were available from a vending machines and even more surprising,  the tickets were only $2.00 per person.    A directory providing  a track number,  the posted walkway signs providing directions to their intended platform.   With the MTA subways arrival Gary entered the train experiencing daja vu ,  it was like a scene from a Hollywood Productions.  It was as if he had done this before, but knowing it had to be caused by a lifetime of viewing movies. The couple seated, crossing beneath the Hudson River, the first stop being the Holland Station in New Jersey.  Exiting with baggage in hand, having made reservations and knowing that the Holland Hotel Motor Lodge was within a four blocks radius  but not sure which direction.   The couple approached a parked cab to inquirer the directions to the Hotel,  the driver predicating an offer to drive them the short distance    .


Checking in, the hotels second floor accommodations were exceptional,  a window view of the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.  Gary somewhat intrigued, watchful of 10 lanes of tunnel traffic  funneled down to two lanes for entrance by single traffic officer.  The room vantage point also provided a river view of the New York City skyline, the stately Empire State Building presiding over that domain since 911,.    Settling in, the couple discovering the facility was without food service except for vending machines and complimentary morning pastries and coffee.  but the inquisition was soon remedied with a burger king a block away    .



A wake up call, morning coffee and donuts before greeting the new York  city tour Bus,  a day long excursion about to unfold.   It was not a surprised when discovering the touring convenience was a retired MTA bus,  the couple seated in the front seat across from the driver.   The two finding themselves in conversation with the younger transit chauffeur,  the driver with his pronounced New Jersey accent proclaiming himself as a boxing enthusiast.  Gary relating his past  indulgence of the sport,  the bus driver expelling the time he was in the ring with Hector Camacho as a sparring partner and winning the session.  Gary coming back with the story of Milo Savage during the fifties,  the only fighter on TV to tell his opponent that his shoes were untied, his opponent looking down,  then blasting him.   Gary smiling to himself, sitting across from the New Jersey bus driver,  the conversation an enjoyable congruous tactility of New Jersey hospitality. The first hour of travel was spent making several stops  acquiring the other twenty members of the tour.   Arriving in New York City, the bus making a brief hesitation at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan to acquire a Tour Guide,  a prestigious black man in his fifties, with a delightful personality mentioning that he was an actor performing in Off-Broadway Productions and had appeared in  many of the Law & Order television programs as an extra.



Their first tour stop, Central Park, the bus halting at Central Parkway and west 72nd across from the Dakota Hotel, the tour guide pointing out that it was where John Lennon meant his demise at the hands of Mark David Chapman.   Disembarking, the tourist group was conducted to the 22 acres of the park lake,  a small portion of the 845 acre Park.   The Guide giving notice of the extensive walking and bridle paths, A  Zoo,  two ice skating areas, an amphitheater, six miles of circular drives and the many conservative gardens,  plus a 106 acre reservoir maintaining a hundred billion gallons of water named after Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy.   the fresh water reservoir decommissioned as a water source as it was no longer needed.  Gary having realization that this was more than a park to the residence,  it represented the privileged city pride of being a New Yorker    .



The refreshing experience concluded, the tour bus stopping at St Patrick’s Cathedral,  the group embarking on an On your own Tour,  the historic landmark  church capturing Gary’s attention.  Entering alone, Fran deciding she would pass on the Catholicism cathedral.   The awe inspiring construction was started in 1858,  but not completed until 18 79,  like so many projects of that era, the civil war, and its aftermath caused a delay.   The visitor experiencing a historical presence walking in this prominent house of worship,  over 5 million people per year entering this realm.   Gary with camera in hand walked towards the sanctuary, experiencing an aura of deity with the  ornamental and august pillars, the darkened lighting providing an ambiance  of sanctity.   entering the sanctuary he was approached being told that pictures were forbidden in this area,  but the epistle was given too late, Gary already had snapped his picture    .



The couple once again embarking the tour bus, stopping at Rockefeller Center,  a 19 building complex started in the 30’s in Midtown Manhattan between 5th and 6th Avenue and 48th and 51st street.  the complex composing 22 acres of Midtown,  the 70 storied Art Deco Rockefeller Plaza Building being erected and the Radio City Music Hall added on 50th street.  Gary mentioning to Fran about having seen the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in several movies and how spacious it looked, especially in the movie Love Story with Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, but in person, the skating rink was just a pittance in size of what was proclaimed on the big screen.  the tour resuming, a journey thru New York City Chinatown, the guide pointing out points of interest.   Entering the infamous Greenwich Village, a discovery point for Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendricks, James Taylor and Barbra Streisand, all with frequent appearances at the Bitter End, the Café Au Go Go, and the Gaslight Café.   The heritage of the village now recognized as an american icon in the chronicles of music History    .



The tour continuing,  Ground Zero,  Gary somewhat disappointed expecting a  temporary memorial dedicated to those whom had lost their lives, instead  a chain link fence and a bleak view of poured concrete where the below ground plaza and terminals once occupied.  The construction site was a cold ambiguous scene to those visitors who had never witnessed the Twin Towers, unlike Fran who had worked in the towers at one time.  Traversing the  final journey aboard the New York City Tour Bus, an excursion to Liberty Park and the Ellis Island Terminal,  the transportation hub from the past.  The Victorian facility built in 1889,  a train station terminal consisting of 20 tracks and 16 boarding station, where upwards of 9 to 12 million immigrants from Ellis Island finally discovered their destiny,  the station discontinued in 1969   Gary observing the boarding platforms and tracks, now overgrown with weeds,  many of the 20 railroad tracks no longer presence.  A 1920 scene resonating within him,  his mind picturing the past, the station bustling with activity, filled with those from abroad looking for an opportunity to find a new life.   Outside the Victorian terminal,  the once used docking area for many of the ferry boats during that earlier era sitting empty  except for the two used by Ellis and Liberty island circle line Tour Cruise




Gary and Fran boarding a Circle Line passenger ferry,  the wind cascading up the Hudson  from the Atlantic giving them the feeling of nature’s presence.  Ellis Island their first destination, the sight a presence of promise to the many that had come before them.   disembarking,  the couple left to sunder and explore this relic from the past on their own.   The luncheon hour having elapsed, finding within this monument of the past a continence of fast food cuisine, the couple partaking of its opportunity. Gary impressed with the displays and pictures from this landmark of American History,  walking the halls absorbing the renaissance of a hundred years, observing and reading the trials of the many who had converged, the inscriptions of past generations finding enlightenment having past thru this wondrous building constructed in 1892,  it’s demise rendered in 1954.,    the building vacated left unattended and deteriorating for eleven years  when a group of concerned citizens took notice and pursued a national museum endeavor,  a everlasting gift to America.


A continuance of adventure,  the couple once again claiming passage on the tourist passenger ferry,  soon approaching Liberty Island,  a scant ¾ of a mile from the departed Ellis Island.   A majestic panoramic scene from their floating endeavor,  the symbol of American freedom, The Statue of Liberty, its 305 foot shadowing presence  enthroning an overwhelming feeling of patriotism.   With the docking embarkation,  the couple journeying to the Liberty Island Museum,  viewing exhibits, absorbing its history,.  In the 16 hundreds,  the 14 ½ acre island was once proclaimed as Oyster Island  because of the perfusion of oysters found by the early settlers.   Gary well aware of the fishing endeavors of the 16 hundreds,  the first Willson arriving and settling with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Michael Willson born in Dedham Massachusetts in 1644.   Other  names bestowed to the future Liberty Island landmark was Bedloe’s Island,  a private summer residence of Archibald Kennedy, the Earl of Cassilis in the 17 hundreds and later during the Revolutionary and War of 18 12 it became a military bastion named Fort Wood,  its relic finally being dismantled in 1944.


Gary and Fran circling the icon statue,  but because of renovation work they were unable to traverse the stairway within the celebrated monument.  Standing before the Lady of Liberty instilled an everlasting remembrance,  acknowledging the sight of it was an inspiration not only to those who stood in its presence today but to the millions who traveled here with a hope for a new beginning.   Once again boarding the Circle Line ferry returning to the illustrious Victorian Terminal,  the boat docking at one of its no longer used slips.  The Willson’s awaiting their New York City tour bus and a return to the Holland Hotel,  a conclusion of their one day tour of New York City, the purpose of their journey to continue    .








A Hoboken Class Reunion……..#267…( 2006)

December 28, 2015



Gary and Fran Finding no rush to check out of the Holland Hotel in the morning,  Gary trekking to the lobby to secure the complimentary pastries, gathering a diet Pepsi for Fran and a cup of coffee for himself.  the couple awaiting Fran’s high school classmate Vicki and husband Sal Mattessich, who graciously agreed to accommodate the Willson’s move, having reservations at the reunion hotel.  The Mattessich’s having driven 380 miles from Hubbard Ohio to attend the Hoboken High School 1966 Class reunion.   Departing the Holland Hotel,  Sal at the helm,  the two couples traversing the highway to Rutherford and the Meadowland Hotel located a mile from Giants Stadium,  home of the National Football New York Giants and Jets.   Gary enjoying the excursion  finding humorous moments during their peregrination,  Vicki administering corrections to Sal’s driving,  whom as a truck driver most of his life was quite able, Sal apparently used to his wife’s-comments,  taking it all in stride.   Arriving at the Renaissance Meadowland Hotel,  their reservations confirmed,  the desk clerk noting Fran’s name,  asserting that a Bob Santangelo had inquired about her,  Bob a Hoboken High classmate    .

Fran’s mother Gladys

Fran’s father whom she was named after – Francis Marion Harriot

Francis Harriot in postal uniform

A somewhat older Gladys Helen Harriot


Hoboken Post Office branch named for William E.J. Harriot after Sinatra's demise

Hoboken Post Office branch named for William E.J. Harriot changed to Sinatra after the stars demise







Hoboken Post Office Letterhead

The wives huddling together, then informing Gary and Sal they wanted to return to Hoboken, having been years since they traveled down Washington Street, designated 40 years ago as the Avenue.   Fran anointed as a native of Hoboken, espousing from a full-time working mother Gladys  and her father, Francis Marion, whom she was named after and upheld a family occupation as a member of the Postal Service.   Her grandfather William EJ  Harriot a Hoboken Postmaster, the Hoboken Postal Branch named in his honor, but later a casualty of the misaligned passing tributes to Hoboken disavower Frank Sinatra.  The town having currently evolved from its past, the once primary residence of  3 and  4 story walk-up apartments now converted into exclusive condominiums with elevators, Fran discerning that this wasn’t the Hoboken she grew up in



The travelers stopping at Stan’s Sporting Goods,  a convenience still remaining from the past and with Fran’s return, Gary was now sporting a Hoboken Red Wings hat.  A second stop at the Hoboken Museum, the two couples entering thru the alcove on Hudson Street, a single hostess seated at a desk welcoming them.  Gary perceiving the historic photographs of the military shipyard repair docks from both World Wars.  Posted was a tribute to the once proud Hoboken factories of Lipton Tea,  Maxwell House Coffee, hostess confectionery,  the infamous Bethlehem Steel Corporation and the historic Delaware,  Lackawanna and Western train stations,  all from a past era enhancing this small community of one square mile.   Hoboken  a paramount  contributor to the  commence of the nation, but its industrial presence no longer standing, the town just a footnote of its historic past



The couples stopping for a bite to eat,  then to attend the high school open house, a large welcome sign posted to greet the returning graduates.  The assemblage filing into the auditorium for a welcoming ceremony from the school officials.  the alumni  dispersing to walk the halls and rooms of memories,  exchanging the anamneses of teachers and specific events of forty years ago.  Gary a meaningful witness to the afterthoughts of those who cherished the past and throes of  youthful exuberance    . The school tour fulfilled, the two couples and  most of the touring group journeying the two blocks to the  high school athletic field,  the Red Wings football team hosting the Emerson Cavaliers.   A special area  cordoned off for the 1966 alumni,  the school band playing the national anthem, the public address announcer presenting special recognition to the attendance of the alumni.   Gary a high school football enthusiast, soon discovered the Red Wings team was in a different league than the struggling  Cavaliers,  a light rain beginning in the second half,  but like true Red Wings fans they stayed to its conclusion,  the Red Wings winning the game 61 to zero,  a gift to the attending alumni.   The evening events coming to a conclusion, Sal and Vicki returning the couple to the Renaissance Hotel and an appreciative night’s sleep,  the morrow reunion festivities awaiting    .



The couple dressing for the occasion,  Gary appropriately in a suit and tie, Fran stunningly radiant in her dress,  the couple perambulating downstairs to the convention center, Gary somewhat surprised at the number in attendance.  The dimmed lighting and music of the sixties resonating,  a free alcohol beverage bar that included champagne and vintage wines was available.   The buffet was unbelievable, including calamari and escargot.    Fran acquainting many fellow classmates that she hadn’t contemplated in years, including Karen Jensen, Fran Sneyers and Nick and Rita Herr.   Gary being introduced to the amenities from Fran’s past, the current Hoboken Chief of Police Carmen  La Bruno and finally Bobby Santangelo making his presence known.  The evening coming to a conclusion with an elevator ride to their room,  the couple weary, but dexterous for their return home    .



The morning dawning,  Fran and Gary meeting again with Sal and Vicki whom generously proffered their transportation to the Newark Liberty Airport,  a Boeing 757 awaiting the their flight home.  The couple for the second time discussing about a stay in Denver for a day,  Fran in the past desiring to acquaint a long time special friend.  John Madden,  whom for over the  past thirty years was a practicing attorney,  their friendship beginning in the 60’s when he was a member of the acclaimed Serendipity Singers.   The prestigious 7 57 lifting off the ground,  Gary able to see the illustrious observance of Hoboken, the island of Manhattan and New York City,  the remembrance of this visit forever leonine,  a memory not to be forgotten.  Reaching the throes of the morning blue sky,  the winged vessel heading westward,  the magnificent view of the terrain passing beneath the expeditious craft,  Gary as usual a sentinel of flight , mesmerized by the flow of the earth’s contour,  its splendor a captivating scene,  the hours passing as an abeyance.



An arrival at Denver International Airport, the largest area airport in the United States, providing landings of over 600,000 aircraft per year,  but not a hub for any major airline with the exception of low-cost Frontier Airlines which caters to only 76 destinations.   The weather was once again a factor for the couple to question a layover with thunderstorms and rain,  electing once again to postpone their visit, the couple boarding their scheduled United Airlines flight and continuing on to San Francisco.  The 737 United flight from Denver to the west coast was one of familiarity, Gary once again affixed to a window,  absorbing the wonders of flight, descending over the north bay area on its final approach,  the 7 37 setting down on runway 10 R,  their journey about completed.   An hour wait before boarding a United Express Embraer 1 20 turboprop craft,  the last leg of their flight.  Again the familiar terrain of the Altamont Pass and the Central Valley coming into view,  their journey to Modesto fulfilled, all that remained was their taxi ride home



Returning to work, Gary having thoughts about their journey east,  realizing that for Fran, it wasn’t just a class reunion, but a Harriot family reunion and a way-stop in life,  to acknowledge the past, recognize the present and  forecast the future”.   Gary having discovered thru the years that One never knows the value of a moment Until it becomes a Memory    .



Due Diligence’…….#268 ( 2007)

December 26, 2015
Colony Park now Country Villa Modesto

Colony Park now Country Villa Modesto

    2007,  Gary’s seventh year at Colony Park,  the 6:30 a.m. morning alarm giving notice of a new day beginning to be an adversary rather than a welcomed friend, discovering with his 66th year of earthly presence his inveterate avidity for Colony Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was beginning to wean.  A passing thought that age might have something to do with it but a new energizing contingency coming into focus, Colony Park and all 11 facilities making up Healthcare Management Corporation were chronicled for purchase.  The LLC bottom line showing a deficiency,  rumored it was not to any paucity of the CEO Arden Bennett,  but the corporation’s CFO (chief financial officer) persuading the board to purchase  additional facilities of which he was a major stockholder, the Watsonville facilities under state scrutiny for violations and operated at a loss.  The clamor of the unforeseen news soon wearing off, the only immediate difference was Brad Kikuta resuming his position as an acting Administrator and  engaging Gary to furtherance the cosmetic appearances to the building, including painting the exterior.   Gary purchasing a Wagner sprayer at Home Depot, being honest with Brad,  mentioning that he wasn’t the best at spray painting and not surprised when Brad,  although having never spray painted before, was willing work with him.   The team intact, Brad spray painting, Gary rolling and brushing the eaves, window frames and the sprayer inaccessible areas.

HealthCare Management CEO Arden Bennett who good-naturedly acknowledged his resemblance to Tattoo on TV’s Fantasy Island and “De plane, de plane”

Gary assigned another project, a detailed analysis of the building and all the plant, medical, safety and  office equipment, plus resident room beds and furnishings, basically a complete inventory of everything but the kitchen sink, all a requirement for the sale.  The process known as Due Diligence included a detailed account of the exact size and physical attributes of the buildings,  even to the point of separating carpeted area from the tiled and included opening the fiscal, employment,  state health and safety records for inspection .

Dennis Pankow

Thru the years Gary having been befriended by the owners of Johnson Rug Company, Dennis Pankow, his wife Sue and Daughter Kim,  at first employing their company to replace the tile in the resident’s room on a scheduled basis but because of the pending sale,   Brad wanting to finish all the remaining resident rooms.    Gary making a decision to purchasing the tile and do the installation himself.    Gary scheduling the event on mornings when Brad was available, the administrator never-failing to volunteer as a participant after the adhesive had cured and the tile was ready to laid.   Other improvement including removing the floor tile in business office and removing the age-old carpet in conference room which refused to come up without the use of a motorized carpet scraper that Dennis loaned at no charge.  All being replaced  with carpet squares,  the face lifting of Colony Park becoming a reality because of impending Due Diligence for the prospective sale Healthcare Management LLC.

Country Villa,  the largest privately owned procurer of nursing homes in the State, the Reissman family operation with over 50 facilities having purchased all the assets of Healthcare Management LLC except for the corporate office in Madera.  A curiosity rising among the department supervisors as to what changes the new company would bring.  During a meeting Brad assured all that the transition would be amenable and would remain as temporary administrator,  also disclosing that he was the only Healthcare Management corporate executive ask to remain,  adding he would be assuming responsibilities as vice president in charge of Country Villa’s Northern Region which including their newly acquired facilities.  Gary being informed his position as Environmental Service Director would no longer be envisioned as Country Villa contracted  commercial management for housekeeping,  janitorial and laundry services.   Brad ensuring all current environmental service department workers would retain their employment status and wage seniority as employees with the new company.  Gary’s position the only one that was amended, relieved of his management responsibilities, retaining his duty as maintenance supervisor and safety director,  once again to join the ranks of the hourly wage earners.  His maintenance assistant Ray transferred to the janitorial department to retain employment under the new contracted service company.


 With the new corporate management changes would be a certainty and it soon became apparent when 17 assertive healthcare professional advisors from Country Villa’s southern California Corporate office ascended on the new acquisition.   Brad as interim administrator was somewhat candor,  giving the department’s supervisors a briefing about the assets of the Country Villa and the upcoming restructuring  and improvements.   One of the first projects on the agenda concerning environmental services was a replacement of the co-generation HVAC system installed in the 90’s under the auspicious Tobbie Bigelones Valley Air in Fresno.  Gary having  maintained a good relationship with the Fresno company and their northern area service personnel John and Brandon, the two giving Colony Park service calls  priority, Gary was relieved when the HVAC contract for the new system was accorded to Valley Air.   Six weeks into the Country Villa acquisition,  Brad giving notice of another change,  the hiring of a new administrator,  but saying he would still maintain an office in the building fulfilling his positions as a Country Villa Vice President for Northern California.

Rashmi Birla Administrator

     The reality setting in,  Brad not hesitating to give the supervisors a heads-up on the new facility administrator starting in June.  The incoming administrator would be Rashmi Birla, with past experience as an administrator for Nexion Health in Bayview Texas and a prior administrator for Country Villa Westwood facility in Los Angeles.   Brad making a point that this lady was an Alpha,  “type A”  on the Jacob Goldsmith theory of personalities,  aggressive,  ambitious,  business like, a competitive and time conscious person.  She  was married with two sons,  her husband Rajnish, a physician,  having acquired a position with Kaiser Permanente in Modesto.  Colony Park having been a prior training facility for corporate administrators under the tutoring of Brad, the supervising staff somewhat use to being approached by a designated administrator, but at the same time having developed an aura of independence in decision-making with Brad traveling to fulfilling his corporate duties.  With the new administrators arrival the only immediate noticeable change was her time schedule, Brad as administrator would arrive around 7:00 a.m., Rashmi with two young children to ready in the morning, arriving after 8:00 for the department supervisors 9:00 morning meeting.

       The new corporate management with their southern California oversight representatives and their monthly appearance beginning to have an effect, not only on Gary but the other department supervisors.  Gary recognizing the difference between the diminutive Healthcare Management Corporation and the prodigious Country Villa,  jokingly associating that department supervisors when working for HealthCare Management might be deem as  ‘big fish in a little pond’  but with the Country Villa Corporation as,  ‘little fish in a big pond’.  The advent of improvements to the facility, the Valley Air contractors parking a large semi-trailer with two 100 ton mobile chillers for use as they proceeded to disassemble the old  absorption AC units, cooling tower and co-generation system,  installing a new 120 ton system.  With the new management came changes, Brads monthly department supervisor recognition buffet followed by a brief trip to McHenry Bowl was no more, so was the out-of-town retreats to formulate constructive suggestions for improvement and most noticeably the monthly grill cookout for the employee’s, now limited to a social services activity for the residence. With the changes Gary finding his job less challenging  finding himself no longer responsible for the bulk of environmental service departments.  The fall of 2008 was approaching a new enigma presented itself,  a hard decision was in the making,  maybe it was time to retirement, Gary visiting with Fran, the two agreeing.  Gary keeping Brad and Rashmi abreast of his and Fran’s conversation, but having no time frame in mind,  offering to remain as long as necessary for them to find and familiarize someone to fill his position.

    Gary’s first knowledge that someone had been hired was when summoned to the administrator’s office, Rashmi introducing Tony,  he was somewhat surprised Rashmi hadn’t invited him to sit in on any of the interviews but accepted the circumstance.  Tony appeared to in his late twenties or early thirties,  relating that he had worked in maintenance at an apartment complex, Gary asking some basic questions about his electrical and plumbing experience.  It was soon discovered this personable clean-cut looking replacement possessed  a pretentious semblance, with little or no experience confronting problem consonant to a healthcare facility, but hopefully he was quick learner. His first detriment  was having difficulty understanding the importance documentation, recording plant equipment inspections required by the state and the need for a building morning walk thru to grasp the obvious or potential problems for the day.  Raul, a Country Villa corporate building operations coordinator having completed an inspection of the Modesto facility approached Gary with a list of state code requirement that needed immediate updating.  Apparently Colony Park exempt from the updates, able to ‘grandfather in’ these technical violations.  The first being the absence of (GFI’s) ground fault interrupter receptacles in the break room, kitchen and 32 restrooms, the second,  replacing the non latching window screens and other minor breaches.

     Gary began to notice Tony’s work related initiative was being redirected toward several of the young CNA’s,  somewhat unsure of how to approach the situation as there was a lack of contention from them . It wasn’t long before Tony’s extracurricular activities became manifold with his mentioning a separation from his wife and a discovery of him sleeping in his car.  Rashmi apparently made aware of the situation from the nursing staff,  a reprimand was enhanced.   With all that was going on Gary coming to the conclusion it was time to give a retire date, then the unexpected happened.  Rashmi calling him into her office breaking the news,  Tony had given notice, having enlisted in the Army,  asking if he would remain until another person could be found .

Brad Kikuta – a Country Villa Vice President

      The interviewing process enfolded once again,  Both Brad and Rashmi interviewing for a maintenance person, but this time the position of Safety Director  no longer included.  A second new hire selected, Alex and like Tony had worked as a maintenance person in an apartment complex.  Gary extending his stay another month this time determined without fanfare, would bid a farewell to Country Villa, a clock no longer to dictate the start of his day.  He was less than 90 days into his retirement when he received the phone call.  He recognized the voice, it was Rashmi asking if he could return and resume his position, adding that Alex performance was unacceptable and she had just terminated his employment.  What could one say, they both knew the answer, you never say no to a friend in need,  his 6:30 a.m. alarm reset for the third time.

An Epistaxis Retirement……#269 (2009)

December 24, 2015
Colony Park/Country Villa - Gary's Building for the past 9 years

Colony Park/Country Villa the 99 bed skilled nursing facility – Gary’s Building for the past 9 years

      It was a warm that late Friday March afternoon,  Gary participating in his routine of breaking down the empty cardboard boxes deposited by Rosa Guzman.  Rosa responsible for ordering and stocking the weekly  delivered palates of patient care supplies, Gary depositing the disregarded boxes in the 10 yard compactor.  The sun giving notice, the sweat on Gary’s brow bearing witness, a brief handkerchief swipe of the forehead and face remedying the accumulated moisture only the white kerchief came back baring the red stains of blood, Gary noticing  a runny nose, only it was blood.  Going inside the maintenance shop he followed the prescribed procedure from his EMT days, sitting, head slightly forward, pinching the cartilage on the nose but after several minutes, no results the blood flow continued.  With handkerchief in hand he decided to see who was at the nurses station, discovering that Carolyn Hauser the director of nursing and another nurse was in her office.  Entering, Carolyn immediately recognized his predicament, listening as he related how he had tried to stop the flow, Carolyn telling a passing  CNA to go to the kitchen and get some ice in a plastic bag as she reached for a blood pressure cuff.   Gary noticing Carolyn expression changed as she murmured “that can’t be right” retaking his blood pressure a second time.  Gary curious asking what the reading was,  Carolyn not immediately answering as she reached for her purse saying we need to go to the hospital,  she would drive, then adding your blood pressure is 210/121.

Carolyn Hauser Director of Nursing

Doctors Medical Center being only four blocks from Country Villa, in her haste Carolyn pulled into the employee parking instead of the ER, realizing her mistake but leading Gary and the other accompanying nurse through the main entrance asking an office employee how to get to ER from the business office side.  In ER his nose bleed remained but his blood pressure began to come down Gary telling Carolyn that he could take it from here but would appreciate it if she would call Fran and tell her he would be late getting home.  After what seemed like an eternity a physician entered the treatment room, the doctor swabbing the inside of his nose with silver nitrate stopping the flow.   He was about to leave when to his surprise Fran entered the treatment room having taken a cab to the hospital, it was a comfort,  the two walking back to Country Villa to retrieve the car.

  The 6:30 a.m. Monday morning ritual was normal, Gary was about to step out of the shower discovering his nose bleed from the previous Friday had returned, only this time flowing with vengeance.  He found it difficult to hold a towel over his nose with one hand and dry himself off with the other and get dressed,  then soon discovering that you can’t tie shoes with one hand.  Once dressed he placed a call to Country Villa to give noticed he wouldn’t be in and by chance Gary’s previous boss Brad happened to answer the phone,  Gary explaining the situation but after hanging up the situation turned for the worse, the blood not only was exiting thru his nose but now down his throat causing him to gag. His condition wasn’t life threatening, he didn’t need to call an ambulance, what he needed was a ride to the hospital deciding to call Brad back and see if he could come by, Brad answering,  he was on his way.  Gary finally waking Fran making her aware of the situation.

Doctors Medical Center

Doctors Medical Center

 Entering Doctors Medical Center ER,   Gary signing in, told to be seated, the blood continuing its flow, his towels almost totally soaked, enough was enough, he approached the reception counter area once more only this time removing the towel letting the blood drip all over the counter, getting the attention of the person behind the glass, it worked he was immediately taken to a treatment room.  For the second time in three days his nose bleed was stopped, the noon hour having arrived deciding to walk the four blocks to Country Villa to see about a ride home, but no sooner had he exited the building his nose bleed resumed.  Returning inside, the process of waiting for his name to be called returned, a second doctor repeating the same process as the first halting the bleeding, Gary being told to remain in the treatment room.  Time passed he  thought they had forgotten about him as the evening hour approached and as before the bleeding once again resumed, only this time requiring suction to prevent the blood from entering the throat.  A third doctor performing a brief examination informing him that he was going to be transferred by ambulance to the Kaiser Hospital in Fremont, a distance of 75 miles as Kaiser Permanente was his HMO.  Placed on a gurney and he was moved to the ambulance entrance, surprised to find Fran standing there having just arrived by cab after being notified of his impending transfer, looking very concerned..

Kaiser Permenente Fremont

Kaiser Permanente Fremont

   It became evident that the AMR ambulance crew hadn’t made very many trips to Fremont as Gary heard one of the EMT’s tell the other he was at the wrong hospital.   Apparently the driver pulled into Fremont’s 269 bed Washington Hospital instead of Kaiser, but was relieved that the hour and twenty-minute ride was over.  Placed In a treatment room introduced to a young lady doctor,  it was approaching midnight the nosebleed had subsided to a trickle but was beginning to feel the stress of his long day.  He questioned the doctor about the procedure relating that the previous two doctors had used silver nitrate to no avail.   She said she would be using something different this time, it was medicinal cocaine, that it had vasoconstriction properties, in essence, the cocaine puts a chemical tourniquet on the blood supply to the septum.  With the  procedure completed, the bleeding stopped, Gary relegated to a wheelchair, the hospital unseemly quiet at that time of the morning, thoughts about how and when he could return home beginning and just when he thought all was well, his nose once again gave forth another notice as the blood once again commenced.  He was beginning to have a concern that he might have to have surgery, the lady doctor returning,  informing him that there was another non-surgical procedure and that an ENT from the Bay Area was on his way to administer it.

     Once again relegated to waiting only this time in a semi-darken secluded area seated in a wheelchair,  a night shift nurse finally breaking the solitude wheeling him into a treatment room. The door opened, stepping into the room was a short elderly Chinese man wearing a traditional white lab coat introducing himself speaking gingerly about procedure that would halt the bleeding.  On the treatment table were two rolls of packing, the doctor unwinding rolls, producing two 24 inch long strips,  saying this might be somewhat painful as he proceeded to insert a 24 inch strip into each side of his nostrils forcing them up into his sinus cavities.  The procedure completed, Gary’s reaction from having tensed up from  the pressure and insertion of the packing leaving him somewhat exhausted,  plus the biting reality of the past 20 hours.  The doctor informing him that he would have to live with the packing in place for the next ten days,  but at that moment it was of little concern,  returning home was foremost on the patients mind.  He was relieved after being told that the hospital had notified his wife and that she was making arrangements.  Concluding that admittance was totally out of the question asking if there was some place he could possible lay down while waiting and to his surprise his request was answered, a nurse moving him into what appeared to be a darken unoccupied ward room, the bed a welcoming sight. The doctor was right when telling him of the extreme discomfort that would come with the sinus packing, sleep finally settled in.  He was aroused by nurse with a food tray informing him it was noon, surprised at the hour as well as the food tray as he wasn’t an admittance.   Gary surmising was correct, Fran had called his mother who in turn contacted his sister Katherine in Groveland, the two finally arriving that afternoon.   Awaiting at home was a concerned Val Galindo and his wife Kay from Country Villa,  apparently Gary’s two-day absence and word of Brad taking him to the hospital must have gotten around.

March 26th having arrived, the ten-day stay at home with the packing had elapsed, Gary having an afternoon appointment with Kaiser Dr. Vijay Bais M.D. ENT.   Still somewhat puzzled at the parade of events, a simple epistaxis, better known as a nose bleed requiring attempts by 5 doctors and two hospitals to halt the flow from a cartilaginous nasal septum.  On his way to the doctors deciding he would stop at work as quip so they could see his swollen facial disfiguration from the packing, evidence of what he endured for the past ten days.  The expression on the business office manager Joanie Peels face was priceless.  Dr. Bais a very congeal elderly man, removing the gaze and flushing the sinus cavity, Gary recognizing a familiar  odor as the packing was removed, mentioning to the doctor the smell reminded him of human decomposition, the doctor smiling,  nodding in agreement.

Joanie Peel – Office Business Manager

  Once again returning to work,  a renewed effort being made to retire,  an interview for a replacement was at hand , this time one with applicable experience.   Scott Hensley having worked at Manteca Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and  also possessed a state contractor license.  Gary took an immediate liking to his replacement but when questioned about the plant systems and appliances he enumerated the Manteca facility had contracted all the servicing out.   Six weeks having passed, Gary satisfied with Scott’s progress, it was time for the 68-year-old to approached Rashmi that his last day would be Friday, May 29, 2009.   That final day was much like most keeping busy,  approaching 4:30 he entered the business office to cede a farewell to Joanie Peel the business office manager.  After nine years, Joanie was almost like family, Gary having employed her son Michael and daughter Karen in the past.  Saying goodbye he was about to leave, Joanie stopping him,  imparting that he shouldn’t leave just yet,  grabbing him by the arm  leading him to the closed-door of the conference room.  Seated inside was Rashmi and all the department supervisors and many others, a large cake and refreshments adorning the long conference room table.   Gary was taken aback,  caught without words, the reception unexpected, but the real unexpected gift was not just their presence but their acknowledgement he would be missed.

A Journey – First Stop Texas ……….#270 (2009)

December 22, 2015
The first stop - Rob and Nancy Ft. Worth Home

The first stop – Rob and Nancy Ft. Worth Home

Gary receiving an unexpected call from Columbia,  his 89-year-old mother proposing a trip east to see her great-grandchildren in Oklahoma and Kansas,  Sarah,  Allison, Hollyann and Brennan.   Gary acceding to his mother’s desire, asking Fran to accompany them, but his wife declining saying she would stay home and accommodate the other two members of the family, Sammi and Little Bit.  Gary’s sister Nancy making a very rare trip to convey their mother to Modesto to spend the night  for the early morning flight.   The two boarding a United Airlines SkyWest,  Pratt & Whitney powered twin turbo propped Embraer 120 in the twilight of the morning, this being a third time for Gary traveling on the 30 seat turboprop non-luxurious aircraft.  The morning flight as in the past,  a tour over the wind turbines Altamont Pass,  San Francisco Bay coming into view,  a descent and an alignment with the San Mateo Bridge,  the circumnavigating craft banking right for its approach to SFO the San Francisco International Airport and a its final quay.   Gary having made this landing dozens of time at home on his computer utilizing a Logitech joystick,  enjoying the Google Earth flight simulator,  the scenic view on Google Earth a realistic visual depiction, a marvel of modern science.

Google Earth flight simulator screen when landing at SFO

Google Earth flight simulator screen when landing at SFO

Marvelous view from 37,000 feet

Marvelous view from 37,000 feet

Embarking from the Embraer on the ground level mobile stairs to the  SFO upper terminal  awaiting a 7.56 a.m. departure time for the 1460 mile nonstop journey to DFW, Dallas/ Ft.Worth International Airport.    Commencing a United Airlines 757, their seating arrangement providing Gary with a window seat  enabling an animate visual view from aloft.  The aircraft raising to its cruising altitude of 37,000 ft. on a southwesterly course,  a flight time of 3 ½ hours,  their arrival at DFW expected at 1:45 p.m. central standard time.   Thirty minutes into the flight,  the cabin lights dimmed and a host of  TV screens descending, the in-flight movie to begin.  Gary vigilant,  noticing that everyone seated before him pulling down their window shades,  the featured, the animated movie “Up” about to start.   The interior of the aircraft now shadowed in darkness,  Gary, to the duress of many of the other passengers,  the only person to allow the acquiesce glowing signature of nature  to abide,  leaving his window unadorned with a shade,  the blue sky and bright sun giving presence to the majestic lapsing earth below.

Rob, Grandma and of course Lilah

Rob, Grandma and of course Lilah

Dealy Plaza

Dealy Plaza

Rob and Grandmother Willson

Rob and Grandmother Willson

The Boeing 757 airliner discerning its station,  the two disembarking  descending to the unsecured lower level,  Gary’s son Rob and his crew cab pickup awaiting for the trip to the recently purchased home on Shady Glen Court in Fort Worth.   Gary very much impressed with Rob’s and Nancy’s home,  although not completely furnished,  the beginning of a showcase, Dad having always recognizing that his son was perfectionist.  The father  recalling Rob’s youthful days in high school,  when given his grandfather Chevrolet Blazer to drive school,  keeping his namesakes pride  immaculate.  Arriving, dad and grandmother introduced to the soon to be family member Nancy, the lady sporting a radiate smile and cascading personality.  The couple having a third member of the family.  a five month old Boxer pup named Lila, another charisma in the family.   That evening another introductory, an introduction to Nancy’s  mother Sanjuana and two younger sisters Daisy and Lucy, the families having dinner at a charcuterie food establishment.   Gary  having been delinquent in having any meaningful time with his son in the past ten years,  partly because of Rob’s military career,  but acknowledging Rob’s forethought for this an analogous introduction to Nancy’s family.

The Historian

The morning finding a decision to journey to Dallas to experience Dealey Plaza, the Texas school book depository and the grassy knoll where circumstances lead to President John F Kennedy  final  destiny.  Gary having prospected this realm 25 years earlier, but a first for Rob,  Nancy and his Mother.  Approaching the upper cemented pillars of the grassy knolls concave, the two couple joined some others mesmerized by a local elderly historian relating what transpired on that monumental day.  The person professing to be an eyewitness to the unfolding events of November 22nd,  able to name those who attested as witnessing the event.  The historian affirming that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone,  concluding the assassination was a conspiracy and that Oswald was duped,  being the fall guy.  The elderly narrator was very convincing in his dialogue,  Gary observing people acknowledging their wallet including his mother contributing a token of gratitude for his mesmerizing discourse.   Gary suspect that this animate elderly person having found a livelihood,  arraying himself on the grassy knoll each day, articulating and describing very convincingly the scene of this historical event,  his narration a profiteering enterprise.   A walk to the Texas School Book Depository Building,  the sixth floor from which Lee Harvey Oswald, according to the Warren Commission’s Report fired the fatal shots,  the entrance and sixth floor now a museum, the cost of observation being $13.00 per person,  although interested, the group deciding against participation.   A sandwich lunch at a local bistro fulfilled,  the four returning to Rob and Nancy home  preparing to leave on  the 3 hour, 200 mile excursion to Gary’s eldest daughter Marlo and her family in Edmond a suburb of Oklahoma City.


On To Oklahoma and Kansas – #271 – (2009)

December 20, 2015

Chris & Marlo

Rob, Gary’s son putting the pedal to the metal,  the crew cab Ford pickup radar detector on guard duty,  the 200 miles of Interstate 35 route to Edmond Oklahoma, normally a 3 hour journey captured in far less time.  Dad and Grandma Willson, along with Nancy, Rob’s soon to be wife,  on their way  to Gary’s eldest daughter Marlo’s house .   Rob and Nancy  staying but briefly desiring to return to Texas, Gary bidding a heartfelt goodbye.  Chris and Marlo’s Edmond residence was impressive, the swimming pool,  its acreage,  the creek flowing below the house, a spacious kitchen and living room, all a marvels,  but most impressive was his two Granddaughter,  Allison and Hollyann, both gleaming pyramids to the family.  Settling in for a brief stay, Ally having a weekend rehearsal for an upcoming school event,  Marlo providing dad and grandma a tour of the exclusive private Cassidy School.  The school with its uniformed students,  80 acre lake, spacious grounds resembling a small college campus, the school recognized as one of the foremost educational facilities in the nation.

Marlo, Ally and Hollyann

Marlo, Ally and Hollyann

Hollyann - pool side

Hollyann – pool side

The Denton's driveway

Marlo and Mom on the  driveway

Sarah and Hollyann

Sarah and Hollyann

Sunday morning Gary and Grandmother Betty accompanying the family,  with the exception of Chris  who was on duty at the fire station,  to the Edmond Baptist Church.  Gary most impressed with the visiting minister,  the President of Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee.   Having heard many latitudes and sermons in his lifetime, this being one of the best.   Accompany the visiting speaker was a quartet of musicians from the University playing and vocalizing an outstanding performance,  giving amplitude to character of this University.   The Sunday afternoon at the Denton’s, found a reunion,  his son Scott,  Lana Norwicki and Gary’s Granddaughter Sarah,  along with Tad Norwicki and his fiancé Kelly whom Gary thought bore a striking resemblance to Jennifer Aniston,  Gary’s mother finally having the opportunity to meet more of the Oklahoma faction of the Willson’s and their lineage.   The following day,  Gary had the opportunity to telephone his Oklahoma City friend of over forty years,  Jerry Willis.   Jerry driving to Edmond,  the afternoon spent with this remarkable guitarist and twice the best man at Gary’s weddings,  the two reminiscing their days as musicians in the 60’s.

Jerry Willis

Gary and his Mom

Gary and his Mom

The evening providing and excursion,  Chris  providing a tour of his work place fire station and  a one of a kind national acknowledged  Children’s Safety Village complete with a city park,  buildings, streets with traffic lights, the attraction a show place to educate the youth about safety.   Chris broaching that the Children’s Village had educational school district’s from throughout the State of Oklahoma busing their students to this applauded safety inducement.   Before leaving, Chris acknowledging the name Garrett Way,  posted on one of village’s street signs,  a tribute to Gary’s only grandson who had joined his Heavenly Father at the age of 12 on April 7,  2001.   The night ensuing the family enjoying a fiesta meal at a Mexican Restaurant,  Gary discovering why it was chosen,  a group of firefighter from another station were seated at an adjoining  table,  this establishment a favorite of these communities guardians.  Another sortie the following evening, the group briefly acquainting the familiar Brick Town for a short duration,  Chris pointing out its new boardwalk and the waterway canal that flowed towards the recently name changed North Canadian River, Gary questioning why the state would change this historic rivers name to a new bland non historical name,  The Oklahoma River.  Before leaving an introduction to a specialty,  a self-help ice cream parlor presenting their product not sold by the scoop, but sold by weight, one able to sample a variety of flavors, a scale at the checkout stand providing the cost

Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson

Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson

It was time to journey to Wichita, Gary’s eldest son Scott offering to navigate the elder Willson north on Interstate 35,  the 160 mile trip a  2 ½ hour venture.   Gary reluctantly having to relate a farewell to his daughter and grandchildren,  especially Hollyann, her vigor a paramount architecture bringing new meaning to the Denton family.  His departure bringing forth an overwhelming sensitivity of  loss, this part of  his life missing.   Traversing north in Scott’s aged Nissan the afternoon hour beginning, the threesome halting at Blackwell Oklahoma to partake of a McDonald’s,  a halfway stop.   An arrival at the Birzer residence on W. 18th in Wichita,  his daughter Sandra a welcoming sight.  Scott desiring an immediate U-turn,  having to work that night,  Gary grateful for his eldest son’s assistance,  Scott having lived in California being the only family member making annual trips to Modesto thru the years to visit Dad.

Brennan not much into the food.

Brennan not much into the food.

Father and Son

Father and Son

The Birzer home was inviting,  a two-storied structure with a superbly finished basement entertainment and office room with a large screen LCD screen,  a large sectional and Jeremy’s desk.   Great Grandma delighted with Brennan  who was just beginning to walk, knowing that this new-found experience fun,  his  smile a lively exponent reflection of Jeremy and Sandra.   The morning found Sandra desiring to shop for Brennan,  Gary and his mother about to enter Sandra BMW mode of transportation,  when Gary noticed that above the rear fender of Jeremy’s pickup parked in the driveway,  a bullet hole.   Gary questioning his daughter about the abnormality,  Sandra laughing,  replying she wasn’t suppose to say anything about it,  but during a visit by Rob,  his concealed handgun fell to the ground discharging,  resulting in a bullet hole in Jeremy’s pickup, Gary saying he wouldn’t tell anybody.   Sandra with Brennan firmly position in his car seat,  she proceeded to take dad and grandma on a tour of Wichita.  Gary discovering  Wichita had changed,  it being almost 10 years since his days of frequenting this majestic city.   The evening found his son-in-law adorning his culinary expertise, providing an outstanding specialty meal,  including an adorning glass of wine.   Jeremy securing a day off from work entertaining all for a luncheon engagement at a favorite bistro adjoining Old Town,  a pavilion that mimicked Brick Town in Oklahoma City.  Gary remembering when the area was first resurrected from the old abandoned warehouse district and now a showplace bordering the Arkansas River.

Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson

Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson

With a solemn feeling,  departure time and a return to California having descended,  Gary once more having a feeling of loss, a farewell to the meaningful people in his life.   Jeremy providing transportation in the morning hour to Wichita Mid Continent Airport,  Gary and his mother boarding a United Airlines flight for their return journey to Modesto.   Unlike the Boeing 557,  nonstop flight to Texas,  the smaller 737 was destined to Denver,  a connecting flight to San Francisco awaiting.  The delay in Denver was short-lived,  but during the escalator travel between gates Gary noticing that his mother didn’t look well.  Questioning her about her medication,  finding that her nitroglycerin patch that she was required to apply at high attitudes was never exercised,  a brief halt was made,  the stubborn matriarch Willson complying.   Gary enjoying the flight from Denver, having traversed this journey many time before,  never a monotonous journey,  the scenic view from above an august array displayed below the buoyant aircraft.   A gentle touchdown at the San Francisco International Airport,  a two-hour delay before a welcomed boarding on SkyWest to Modesto.   The traveling couple finding an interesting display at SFO,  an exhibit of the history of gambling slot machines,  the walkway between terminals lined with these historical relics from the past.  Both finding the history absorbing,  stopping and reading the placard that accompanied each exhibit.   The short Embraer 120 flight to Modesto was enhanced,  upon arrival  expecting Gary’s his sister Nancy to meet them and return her mom home to Columbia, to his surprise it was Gary sister Kay and husband Donald.  The transient adventure fulfilled,  Gary sad in one respect that it wasn’t shared with Fran but happy to be back.  Giving his mom a loving parting hug, thanking her for the time they spent on their journey and their togetherness, his sister and brother in law’s short visit ending before continuing on and as they left,  Gary mentioning to Fran that  this was only the third time in nine years that his sister Kay who lives only 70 miles from Modesto had ever visited,  he guessed she didn’t have much to say.

Inaugural Events…….#272 – (2009)

December 18, 2015

1217 Blue Daisy Way

There must have been meaning in the statement, ‘the third time is the charm”  Gary finally  having retired,  able to subjugate his daily activities.  Reading was a priority,  attempting to be a extravagant reader through most of his life now able to reread many of the books from his childhood days that constituted and established many of his acquired values.   Fran finding a 24 volume set of the Walter R Brooke’s  “Freddy” series,  on E-bay,  the classic’s beginning in 1927,  the series a prize for a young fourth grader.   An enjoyment to reread and reflect on Brooke’s writings knowing  that it was a contributing factor to his character and moral standards.  Fran searching again able to find the missing editions in his collected 15 volume set of Robert Sidney Bowen’s’ 1941 – 1946 World II epic series of Dave Dawson on E-bay.  With the new Bowen additions his collection complete save one,  the 15th novel in the series,  “Dave Dawson at Truk”,  the seller asking $700 for the edition.   As a youngster the wartime adventure series sparked Gary interest along with the Japanese military items his father had acquired during World War II in Saipan, Okinawa and Korea.  In the early 60’s having read William Shirer’s ‘The rise and fall of the Third Reich, his World War II interest was again aroused pursuing a military history ambition subscribing to the Military History Book Club at a time when every retired German or Allied field grade officer authored a book of their WWII experiences.  Having one more literary collectible desire,  Fran again searching and finding the 54 volume edition of   “The Great Books of the Western World“.   A display of the works of Plato,  Homer,  Aristotle, Archimedes,  Newton,  Shakespeare, Tolstoy,  Marx and many others, the list goes on,  the writing of those in history that formed the course of western civilization.

Dave Dawson – The 54 volume Great Books of the Western World

It was almost a year into retirement when he received the call from Country Villa,  Gary picking up the receiver somewhat apprehensive, but this time it wasn’t Rashmi asking him to return,  but Scott Hensley his replacement.  Scott having a problem changing the two pipe fan coil units from heat to air conditioning asking if Gary would come by and resolve the problem.   Arriving adjudging the situation Gary addressing Scott’s predicament pointing out the procedural sequence and  the valves to redirect the flow of water from the boiler into 120 ton  cooling unit.  In some ways he missed this work environment,  the mantle of responsibility and the satisfaction that came with remedying a problem recalling the retirement idiom about stepping aside for a less experienced and less able man.

Marlo & Parker – Hollyann & Parker

Gary for some reason wasn’t surprised, daughter Marlo announcing she was once again an expectant mother,  a prodigious acclamation for someone who had reached the age of forty.   Parker Aaron Denton gracing life with his appearance on July 8th 2010, an equanimity in that Chris and Marlo were once again blessed with another son  after experiencing the tragedy and loss of  Garrett.

 Jeremy, Brennan . Sandra, Nancy, Rob - Jan and husband Burton

Jeremy, Brennan, Sandra, Nancy, Rob – Jan and husband Burton

Rob and Nancy Willson

Rob and Nancy Willson

It was expected, Gary’s son Rob called announcing that he and Nancy would be getting married and to expect an invitation in the mail.  Receiving the October 3, 2010  summons, Gary apologetic telling his son that he and Fran would be unable to attend mainly because of financial reasons,  the reality being Fran’s health had taken a turn for the worse and although she prodded Gary to go he was steadfast in remaining with her.  Those in attendance that Gary knew was daughter Sandra, husband Jeremy and son Brennan,  Rob’s mother Jan and husband Burton Smith.

Sandra & Karsen – Brennan & Karsen

 In 2011 the communique from Wichita Kansas was a surprise,  arresting and prodigious,  Gary’s youngest daughter Sandra was expecting again,  having imparted but to a few that she was again with child.  August 18th 2011, Karsen Nikola Birzer,  weighing 6 lbs. 5 Oz,  announced his debut to this world.   Gary blithe with the announcement, Brennan now having a younger brother,  experiencing the closeness of his son Robert and daughter Sandra,  their birth dates being a year and a little over three weeks apart,  the two growing up in accordance, be able to share many of the adolescent  joys of childhood.

Gabby 2 days old

4 month old Gabby

Another new addition to a Willson family,  a first for Nancy and Rob,  Gabriella Grace weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz., 20 inches at 1:43 p.m. arriving on May 26, 2013,  Gary’s grandchildren totaling 7, Fran’s numbering 8.

Dad at Sunset View

Dad at Sunset View

Life was attenuated in Modesto,  Gary having adjusted his retirement life style continuing to chronicle an autobiography of his life starting with his first recollections and remembrances as a child.  With both he and Fran somewhat subject to a solitary life the distance of their  immediate family for the most part remaining over a financial horizon except for an occasional trip to visit his sister Nancy and mother in Columbia.  Memorial Day remained special, the couple and their canines would journey to Sunset Cemetery outside of Jackson in Amador County to visits Gary’s father final resting place.   The drive north on highway 99,  turning east on highway 88, had special meaning,  Gary having honored his father every year since returning to California,  the placing of dime coins around his father’s place marker, a ritual performed,  its meaning initiated by his Dad’s esoteric assuetude started in 1947 by embedding dime coins in the branches of the youthful weeping willow tree at their Greenly Drive home in Oakland to mark it growth.  The symbolic placing of coins never-failing to bring a tear, a symbolic tribute to an everlasting childhood memory and the consequential fact of his  failure to find time to know his Father  and what could have been,  should have been, never prevailed.


Non-Attentive – #273…..(2012)

December 17, 2015
Fran & Gary's 2004 Jetta

Fran & Gary’s 2004 Jetta

It happened on a Sunday afternoon April 8th,  2012,   a 41 year lapse between occurrences, but the results the same.  Desiring to have her hair done, Gary’s wife Fran requesting a ride to Modern Cuts in the Oakmoor Plaza shopping center just past the Briggsmore crosstown expressway on Oakdale Rd. less than five-minute from home.  Fran disembarking their 2004 VW Jetta at Modern Cuts, Gary mentioning he needed to go Savemart and pickup a few items and on his return would park where she could see the car.  Returning from Savemart,  stopping in the Oakdale Rd  left-hand turning lane entrance to the shopping center,  the two lanes of oncoming traffic was at a standstill backed up by the traffic light at Briggsmore.  The halted traffic moving just enough to allow the Keep Clear entrance to the shopping center accessible before stopping again.  A white panel van blocking the view of  the curbside lane, the driver in the van noticing Gary wanting to cross, appearing to look at his passenger side mirror and then motioning Gary that it was clear to proceed in front of him into the shopping center.

The music of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Cast Your Faith To The Wind” flowing from the 2004 Jetta’s CD player was interrupted by a sudden impact, the conscious crunching sound of metal on metal and an abrupt change in the cars direction.  In a brief second the Jetta path of entering the shopping center was altered.  In a blink of an eye a collision moved the car thirty feet to the left of the entrance coming to a halt on the sidewalk facing the Renter A Center retail outlet store.  Gary realizing what just happened, but at a loss of what had hit him, one second crossing in front of the panel truck, the next second the sound of impact and then facing the RAC building. The Jetta’s engine was still running as was the CD player, turning the key off he attempted to open the door but it refused. He could see a girl looking at him through the driver-side window, asking if he was alright,  replying that he needed her to pull on the door.  Once out, somewhat shaken, trying to get his composure, glancing up Oakdale Rd, noticing a group standing by a black Ford Mustang with its front crumpled, water dripping from the radiator.  Walking toward the mustang, a substantial crowd of onlookers beginning to assemble, he was approached by a young lady with a cell phone who said she was the driver and that she had called 911 to report the accident and that the police would be responding

Accident scene.

(the scene) OakMoor Shopping Center

Gary still somewhat taken aback from what had just happened,  the unforgettable crunching sound of the impact still firmly embedded in his head trying to sort out what to do next, deciding to walk down to Modern Cuts and tell Fran, mentioning to the driver of his intentions.  Fran still in the midst of getting her hair done, Gary giving her the blunt news, he had a wreck pulling into the shopping center and when she was finished he would be with car waiting for the police to arrive.  A young motorcycle officer arriving, Gary handing him his license, registration and insurance verification, the officer taking them, leaving to visit with the driver and another young lady who apparently was a passenger.  The officer returning handing him his papers and  from all appearance the Jetta would have to be towed,  Gary asking about a tow truck,  the officer stating he would notify Modesto Collision Center.  Waiting for the truck Gary surveyed the damage to Jetta, the right front fender and wheel having absorbed the impact, at a glance he knew why the driver-side door was difficult to open, in all probability the front end part of the frame was bent, the left font fender pushed back just enough to prevent the door from opening properly.

Fran joining him as the tow truck arrived, Gary asking her if she knew their next door neighbor Julie’s phone number, a mute question knowing Fran’s  impeccability for memorizing numbers, then turning to the mustang driver  asking if he could borrow her cell phone to make a call, handing the phone to Fran.  With Julie’s arrival, Gary noticing the tow truck driver pushing Jetta off the sidewalk easement by hand to make his hook up, the Jetta having no problem rolling, Gary thinking “a hopeful sign”.  Once home the reality set in, Gary experiencing an emptiness, the garage was vacant of the Jetta, a feeling of being stranded and the remnants of impact sound still resonating as a reminder of his failure to be more attentive.  The following morning, placing a call to  his AAA  insurance agent on Coffee Road informing J.P. of what had transpired, questioning  him about a rental car,  J.P. assuring him that he would arrange for one to be available that afternoon at the Airport Car Rental, then calling on his neighbor Julie about a ride to the airport.  Placing a call to the collision center to check on the status of the Jetta, being told it would be another day before the estimate would be completed.   The estimate was in, the cost of repairing the damage would exceed an unbelievable $9000,  AAA concluded the cost of was excessive and would settle for $9531.13 minus the $1000 deductible.  The couple making a farewell trip back to the Jetta both dishearten removing some personal items and at the loss of a pristine 2004 Jetta with only 62,000 miles on it.

The insurance check arriving on the 16th with a week left on the rental Gary beginning to feeling somewhat pressured to find a car.  Having bought the Jetta in 2008 from Central Valley VW  was aware of their used car markup and at the same time questioned the reliability of the numerous smaller used car dealer cars.  Visiting with his truck driving, shade tree mechanic across-the-street neighbor Rob Rodriguez about his dilemma, Rob offering help him find a car.  It was time to return the rental when his Rob called, his son Bobby who in the past had bought several cars on the internet having found a 1999 Honda Accord with an asking price of $5000 that might be of interest to Gary.  Rob stating that he had called the seller and from their conversation thought it might be worth a drive to Woodward to look over the car adding he would call the seller to set up a time and place for them to meet.

Jack in the Box - Woodwar

Jack in the Box – Woodward

 Gary, Rob with his wife Lisa accompanying them, embarking to Woodland, a town of 56,000 about 25 miles northwest of Sacramento on Interstate 5,  a noon meeting to take place at the Jack In The Box on E. Main St. at I-5 exit. It wasn’t long when a pristine metallic color four door Honda Accord pulled into the parking area, a middle-aged man entering introducing himself as Jesse Galindo,  Gary immediately identifying with the name, his good friend at work Val was another Galindo.  The group going back outside, Jesse starting the car, lifting the hood, Gary liking what he saw, the motor was immaculately clean as was the interior the car apparently having  been detailed.  With it’s  moon roof, CD radio, full power seats, windows, naugahyde leather looking seats he realized it was an EX.   Jesse relating it was bought for his wife in 2005 with the odometer reading of 85,000 miles and the odometer was presently at 172,000.  He continued that it had been regularly serviced by the Honda Dealer in Davis, handing Gary a large folder with the service, repair and parts records for the past seven years.  Jesse wife Toni arriving adding a comment, contributing that the car was part of her life and it was like saying goodbye to a friend, Gary could identify with that, he knew the feeling when he traded Ole Blue his Ford pickup in 1976.  With the signing of the title, Jesse not hesitating to accept a check,  the transacting was consummated.

Fran and Gary’s new mode of transportation

 Gary addressing Rob again about compensating him for time and gas, then stating that this might sound a little strange, would it be too much for you or Lisa to drive the Accord back to Modesto, that since the accident he was a little gun-shy about driving,  especially on the freeway, and for some reason he didn’t feel comfortable.  Rob not questioning, stating that it wouldn’t be a problem, Lisa could follow and beside he knew of truck-stop on the way back where they could gas up.  Home the car in the garage, no longer a perception of being a captive without the means to escape,  but the physiological effect of the accidents playing heavy on his mind, his judgement failure having resulted in an unforgiving occurrence.  The impact of the collision, the crunch of metal on metal remained embedded, but the adage  “when you fall off a horse you have to get  back on” came to mind,  recognizing that trusting his judgement would come with time.

Life Threatening………….#274 – (2012)

December 16, 2015

Kaiser Permanente Hospital Modesto

Gary having spent a restless October night, the previous day having experienced increasing abdominal discomfort but attributing it to gas caused by something he may have eaten.  Raising in the morning, the pain continuing to increase finding no alleviation with over-the-counter antacids or gas relief tablets. The pain ever intensifying, Fran awaken showing concern, Gary contemplating driving to the hospital, but a new onslaught, he was having difficulty breathing.  The incessant abdominal pain now radiating to his back and  upwards to his chest and lungs, realizing he wouldn’t be able to drive.  Fran asking if she should call 911, Gary now uncertain of what was happening,  as an ex-EMT questioning himself about a possible heart attack although not experiencing any of the text-book symptoms.   Fran dialing 911 asking him what she should tell them, Gary starting to relate about the abdominal pain radiating up to his chest and the difficulty breathing but stopped, just tell them that you think I’m having a heart attack.

Gary watchful as the Modesto Fire Department and the American Medical Response ambulance arrived at the same time, the difficulty breathing and pain continuing, but deciding to step outside as the fire department responders approached with a questioning look.  After a brief explanation, assuring the AMR responders although unsteady and in pain he was capable of walking to the ambulance.  Once there he addressing the gurney, the paramedic beginning the same basic protocol Gary had performed on numerous occasions as an EMT.  The ambulance still stationary Gary questioning which hospital he was to be transported to, the paramedic responding Doctors Medical Center.  Gary vocally adamant that he didn’t want to go DMC, previous experiences leaving him with a detrimental impression of the facility.  Stating that he preferred  Kaiser Permanente, the paramedic relating that it was policy to transport suspected cardiac patients to DMC.  Switching tack a very shaky uncertain Gary reintegrated that his pain had started 24 hours earlier and that he didn’t believe he had a cardiac problem. The paramedic remained hesitant, then began placing EKG monitoring patches on his chest, a decision was in the making. The electrocardiogram taken in the ambulance showing no cardiac anomalies, Kaiser Permanente could be it’s destination.

Ambulance Portable EKG

Arrival, the paramedics transferring their charge to a Triage ER nurse who almost immediately provided pain medication and Gary’s physical world took on a soothing warm glow, the 10 mg. of morphine engulfing the intense pain.  Having spent 20 plus years working in a healthcare environment he was well aware that time to the seriously ill under medication day and night was irrelevant.  The time in the treatment room seemed like an eternity, the ER doctor having visited and when asked about a diagnosis volunteering that he was waiting on lab results.  Gary’s only visitor he was aware of  was when the ambulance paramedic who performed the EKG poked his head in the room mentioning that he was getting off work and just wanted to check on him, which Gary thought was somewhat unusual but later discovered that Fran had checked on him having arrived by Dial-a-ride.   Gary wasn’t sure of the gurney trips for scans, thinking there was three, probably a MRI and CT, but definitely remembers the Ultrasound, the lady technician asking if he had any past abdominal surgery because she discovered what appeared to be anchor pin.  Gary related that he had 27 inches of his colon removed years ago but that was first he had heard of having a pin inside, then she asked when, where and the name of the hospital.

It had to be late afternoon or early evening it was hard to tell with the intravenous morphine being administered every four hours, the ER doctor finally returned to inform him they were transferring him to the third floor.  Gary asking about the diagnosis, the doctor replying Acute Pancreatitis, then  Gary ask about the prognosis, the doctor responding as he left the room, “It could be life threatening”.  The third floor room was comparatively peaceful to the open door noticeable traffic of ER, Gary perceiving that every time he woke from dozing there was a nurse in his room.  Apparently it must have been morning as an elderly doctor looked in questioning how he felt and explaining the seriousness of his condition and like the ER doctor when questioned mentioned that it could be life threatening but not a word about treatment. Having never been acquainted with anyone who may have suffered from acute pancreatitis Gary was pretty much in the dark about the cause and effects with the exception of knowing that it provided the necessary enzymes for food digestion and insulin to regulate the blood sugar glucose.  Lying in bed with a vital monitor and IV he was still somewhat cognizant to what was going on,  giving weight to what had been said so far it didn’t sound very life threatening to him.

IV therapy

The pain never completely leaving but muted by 6 mg of morphine every 4 hours, Gary questioning a concerned nurse who looked in on him every hour asking her if she had any idea what was going on, when a doctor entered the room.  He introduced himself as gastroenterologist and in a matter of fact way proceeded to say the lab amylase and lipase results were at an acute level and the only way to correct this was literally is to give your pancreas a vacation.  We’re going to put you on total parenteral nutrition, you’re going to be NPO, not going to eat or drink anything for the next ten days, your nutrition will be intravenous.  No sooner had the doctor left, Fran entered relating that surprisingly a doctor had called to tell her that her husband was going to be there for a while.  The doctor wanted her to know the reason, stating that some of the test results had come back immeasurably  high and that basically severe pancreatitis of that significance would require intensive care because of possible complications including pulmonary and renal failure.  Gary thought it somewhat ironic the doctor telling Fran but not him, and as she was leaving asking if she should notify his family, Gary not hesitating, replying no, he would rather wait.

Fran’s visit informing him that he was considered an intensive care patient provided an answer to Gary’s question about the frequency of the nursing staff visits.  The ten-day journey beginning, the first thing he noticed was that without meals being delivered to ascertain the intervals of the day, time became totally irrelevant.  The pain starting to subside, the intravenous morphine reduced to 4 mg., the new discomfort prevailed,  the dryness of his mouth and the crusting of his lips, finally asking the doctor if he could at least have some ice chips,  the doctor giving him a look of disapproval but verbally agreeing.  He sot and received permission to use the restroom; given the ok but nursing refused to disconnect the bed alarm which required their summons, it was minor incidents that began to trouble him a sign that he must be getting well.

The doctor itinerary coming to fruition, on the evening of the 10th day a tray arrived the start of a clear liquid diet,  followed by a soft liquid, then a soft food diet.  The IV disconnected Gary elated that he was no longer leashed,  able to move about the room and slowly venture down the hall.  Mentally he was ready to go home, physically somewhat shaky, the bland soft food diet didn’t impress him, aware that his release couldn’t  be prodded, but also aware that he had the final word, but having visited with a representative of the Kaisers Medical Assistance Program, being told his name had been submitted, he didn’t want to jeopardize the possibility of their generosity as he could only assume that the placard amount of his two-week stay would be exorbitant.

On restriction

The day of reckoning,  Fran arriving in the morning riding out with neighbor Rob in the Accord now deposited in the parking lot, Lisa Rob’s wife having followed to provide him a ride home.  Gary was ready,  anxiously waiting on the doctor who for some reason was delayed, giving him time to thank and hug the day shift nurses who cared for him.  The doctor arriving, briefing Gary on  instructions of do’s and don’ts to prevent an occurrence, most of which he had already read in the literature provided, realizing  acute pancreatitis is somewhat of a life style changing event.  It was now a given, a zero tolerance for imbibing all alcohol beverages and its companion, his smoking on again off again habit for the past 55 years. The worse yet to come a restriction on trans and saturated fats and its residual nutritional culprit, butter, bacon and a host of processed foods.  Exiting the hospital thankful for the chauffeured wheelchair ride to the parking lot, Gary acknowledging his doubt about walking that distance and an acceptance that the past two weeks had changed his path in life.

Never Had A Chance To Say Goodbye……#275 (2014)

December 12, 2015

Frances Marion Willson – A memory ad infinitum

The month July is always eventful,  July 27th, 2014 the 35th birthday of Gary’s daughter Marlo, the seventh month of the year also hosting birthday dates for his two son’s Scott, Rob, daughter Sandra,  Mom,  sister Kay, Grandson Parker, his wife Fran birthday on the 15th and concluding with the couples 15th wedding anniversary on the 30th.   The afternoon temperature having acquired the 100 degree mark, Fran having changed into her swimming suit declaring she was going in the pool, Gary who was seated at his computer  in the spare bedroom working on a Inquisitive Quest chapter revision relating he would join her.  With Gary’s arrival, the cool water refreshing, Fran as usual having situated herself in her large inner tube floating, taking in the sun.  The two continuing, Gary finally deciding to go in, take a shower and resume his project on the computer, Fran saying she would be in shortly.

Gary was on his computer when Fran poked her head in saying she was going to the shower as she entered the master bedroom across the hall closing the door behind her.  Gary continuing his undertaking, the time passing, then it occurred to him that it had been twenty or thirty minutes and he hadn’t noticed or heard Fran come out of the master bedroom.  Getting up, the bedroom door was still closed, entering he walked towards the open bathroom door, there lay Fran, having removed her clothes in preparation for her shower, face down on the floor.  Immediately trying to get a response but to no avail, she wasn’t breathing, his first thought was chest compression’s, but the narrow  confines of the doorway prevented him from turning her over.  He rushed across the hall to a phone dialing 911 as he returned giving his address , telling dispatcher that his wife was unresponsive.  The dispatcher beginning to asked questions, Gary responding that he had to get her out of the door way to turn her over and couldn’t talk anymore.  He began his attempts to pull her out of the bathroom, but to no avail, Fran was heavier than him and because of her total relaxed restriction he couldn’t get any leverage  to move her, he needed help.

Brian & Julie Canfield

Running next door, Julie answering the door, Gary briefly saying he needed  her husband’s help that he found Fran on the floor and she wasn’t responsiveness, Brian coming to the door.  The three rushing back, and were in the process of moving her into the bedroom when the ambulance responders made their presence known, the ambulance having arrived from its parked station on County Center St. eight blocks away.  Gary watching as the paramedics beginning as the fire departments rescue unit arrived taking charge continuing the protocol, a fireman looking up, the look in his eyes confirming what he already conceived , she was gone and with her his world.  Taken aside the responders asking if they could continue their protocol even though she was gone.   Nodding,  at that point nothing mattered,  the reality of what was happening was blanketed with a numbing detachment of actuality.   It was the muffled sound of Fran’s little Hope’s barking at the responders from beneath the bed  that finally got Gary’s attention and awakening him to reality and the necessity to grasp the situation.

Little Hope

Fran & Gary

It was six o’clock when Eaton Family Funeral and Cremation Service departed with Fran, Gary having called Eaton’s about their service making an appointment to meet with Michael Eaton to discuss arrangements the following day.   As of yet  not making an attempt to notify any family, waiting until the traffic cleared from the house.   The activity having ceased, alone with his thoughts, the stillness in the house unveiling a cloak of solitariness, Gary in silent prayer asking the Lord for the endurance to cope with the task set before him.   The process of calling beginning,  with some difficulty finally able to reach Fran’s two brothers Ray and Bob, daughters Jeannette, Donna, a call to his mother, followed by his son Robert, daughter Marlo knowing they would convey Fran’s passing to the rest of the family.  The following afternoon Gary meeting with Michael Eaton at their Downtown Modesto 12th street sanctuary, relating his desire to abide with his wife’s wishes to be cremated with no service.  Michael providing an explanation of what documents needed to be secured, who to notify,  concluding with the mortuary’s cost and a final resolution time frame.

Fran and Gary’s children

A feeling of  despair prevailing, Gary thankful for the companionship of Carli and little Hope, at least he wasn’t alone,  the two joining him to the county records office on Scenic to pick up copies of the death certificate and to  the social security  office on N. Carpenter.  Having conveyed Fran’s desires to Donna in Cloverdale Oregon, referencing the numerous family items and collectibles, a seeming endless array of 45 & LP record,  clothes and other items including Fran’s mothers china that she proudly displayed in a china cabinet.  The difficult subject of Fran’s interment remains inaugurated, Gary aspiring to do what was acceptable to the family,  adding that Fran’s only request was that the ashes of her beloved dog Sammi who had passed the year before would be with her.  Donna expressing that she and Randy would bring Fran home with them and determine a suitable final resting place at a later date.

Fran’s daughters: Donna, Karen and Jeanette

Randy, Donna, Karen, Jeanette, Eric and Dick

Fran’s daughters arriving Tuesday, Donna, husband Randy;  Jeanette, husband Eric;  the youngest Karen and surprisingly Fran’s first husband, Dick Wilcoxson, the girl’s father.  Gary having acknowledge Dick’s presence once before in Florida, Dick happening by as the couple prepared for a garage sale, Fran having mentioned that his mother resided up the street on Granada Drive.  The family bringing in boxes, spending several hours packing and loading a lifetime of accumulated possessions, filling a trailer they had arrived with. Gary deciding not to witness the activity,  he,  Carli and Hope remaining out by the pool.  The following morning their foraging having been completed,  Jeanette, Eric, Karen and Dick would be returning to Jeanette’s residence in John Day, Donna and Randy to wait on the interment remains scheduled to arrive Thursday afternoon .  Gary making his final journey to the Eaton Family Funerals location for Fran, Donna and Randy patiently waiting, somewhat anxious to get started on their return to Oregon, entrusting them with the stewardship of Fran and her loving Sammie’s interment remains.  He watched as the car pulled away, once again adrift in the world traumatic reality of the past events, a sense of desolation shrouding him, alone except for the companionship of Carli and little Hope, still unable to release the withheld emotional grievance within.

Rob & Gabby

A first Modesto swimming lesson

Gary daughters Marlo, Sandra having called earlier in the week, his son Rob calling asserting he and 14 month old granddaughter Gabby would arrive Friday from Fort Worth explaining his visit would be brief having to return Sunday, relating he had secured hotel reservation, thinking it was best  because it was the first time he and Gabby had traveled alone and as a novice not knowing what to expect.  The following day the three journeyed to Columbia,  Gary’s mom rejoicing at meeting her newest great-granddaughter.  Saturday evening the son and granddaughter enjoying the pool, Gary declining, the pool  a reminder of his last afternoon with Fran and the many “if’s” that questioned within that might have made a difference.  Rob’s visit was short but a blessing, bringing a much-needed relief from the concealed sadness and the silent emptiness that one feels when part of you is gone.  Gary alone in his thoughts, questioning his station, thankful for the support and condolences from his friends and family with exception of his oldest son Scott who never called or in any way acknowledged  her passing.

 At times the house on Blue Daisy Way would take on a stillness and in its silence Gary found Fran still there, the residence was her domain, the chosen furnishings,  the yard sprinkler system and patio stones a result of her labors, the peg board in the garage, the arrangement of every shelf, even the presence Carli and Hope all results of Fran.  With time the the inner feeling of loss lessened but never subsiding, she was the first and only person in his life he was able to totally assimilate with and most likely the reason he always presented her to others “as the smartest person I know”.   Their meeting filled a void in his life  but her unexpected passing left a emptiness that knew no bounds and sadly…… he never had a chance to say goodbye…….