A Visit To Oklahoma City……..#263 (the 2000’s)

Embraer 129

A decision to visit to Oklahoma and Kansas was made, Gary having worked out an itinerary for his and Fran’s journey.  They would fly round trip to Oklahoma City,  the couple renting a car and spending time with his son Scott, Lana and granddaughter Sarah,  daughter Marlo, Chris and granddaughter Allison and during this time Fran could fly to Texas for a brief visit with her daughter Donna and grandkids at North Richland Hills a suburb of Fort Worth.  On Fran’s return the two would traverse to Wichita in the rental car, spend a couple of days, visit with his son Rob,  daughter Sandra & husband Jeremy and on their return to Oklahoma City travel through Kiowa to acquaint the many friends he had made from his twenty years of haven in this farming community.  All was planned but Gary found that his well thought out itinerary was negated,  unbeknownst to him Fran had interceded, taking it upon herself to communicate with both of his son’s and both daughters about having a Oklahoma City family reunion that would include close friends Jerry Willis and Bob Wallace, two band members from Gary’s past.  Jerry agreeing to resurrect his Fender guitar that he hadn’t touch in twenty years, Gary reunited with his Fender Rhodes piano that he had given Scott and Bob Wallace to vocalize for a musical reunion from the past.  Gary acknowledging, sometimes life can play its own tune,  especially with the help of a loving wife.

The phone call to a Cab Company scheduled an early morning 4:30 a.m. journey to the Modesto Airport,  a distance under three miles, the couple having decided to depart from Modesto rather than drive to San Francisco for the scheduled for a 5:45 A.M departure. In line with less than a dozen boarding passengers, the Modesto TSA agent removing several personal healthcare items from Frans purse to her displeasure,  a Embraer 120 twin turboprop airliner awaiting,  the Embraer,  a Brazilian manufactured acquisition of United Express,  its new designation  SkyWest Air.   The turbo prop aircraft having a thirty passenger capacity,  but this morning having only twelve passengers boarding its flight time from Modesto to San Francisco less than 55 minutes.   Gary finding the bilious echoing  of the twin turboprops reviving up a melodious sound,  unlike the innervated sound of  modern jet engines.  The reverberations felt throughout the interior of cabin during take off was cogent,  the vibrations giving all aboard a hence of yesteryear,  a recollection of aeronautical experiences from the past.    Gary seated at a window was adherent as the aircraft rose,  a slow ascent,  it’s direction north for a distance, then banking west in the twilight of the morning, crossing over the familiar Altamont Pass, soon reaching the expanse throes of San Francisco Bay.   Aligning itself with the San Mateo Bridge banking right,  acquiring the bay viewed runway lights of San Francisco International,  the turbo prop craft setting down proclaiming another successful flight.   The Willson’s first leg of their airborne flight to Oklahoma City secured,  the journey to continue.

United Airlines 737

United Airlines 737

Boarding a United Airline 737 in San Francisco, the craft traversing east, an uninterrupted flight to Denver the morning sun providing a hologram of transparency in the morning sky. A transition of aircraft in Denver,   an opportunity for lunch, discovering  the Denver Airport having acquired a McDonald’s,  a welcome provider for the couple’s limited budget agenda.  The Boeing 737 ascending east from the Denver Airport,  Gary having traversed this travel several times before,  observing the terrain as they progressed eastward, noting the view as they approached Oklahoma,  the mile sections contour changing,  no longer the barren landscape of accord,  but a broadcast of cultivation activity,  the farming endeavours of Oklahoma giving its pronouncement.  The approach  to Will Rogers International Airport, calling for a southern accession,  a scenic reminiscence from  years past when the main runway paralleled Portland Avenue.  The original airport facility a contingency containing a control tower, a ticket agency,  restaurant and a boarding gate with mobile stairs for entry and exit to the aircraft, thoughts of nostalgia being remedied with 737  landing.

A remembrance – The OKC airport, the way it was.

Chris & Marlo

Departing the plane,  the couple being greeted by their son-in-law Chris,  the party of three having to follow a maze to retrieve their luggage and the parking area,  Chris explaining the airport was again being expanded with construction.   Once settled in Chris’s car  the disappointing news was exclaimed,  the couple being informed that their stay with the Denton’s would have to be postponed,  Chris relating that Marlo had contracted the flu.  Being very apologetic for such a short notice, that it would be better for the couple to find another source of residency for a couple of days, but countered with some good news, they could use his Honda Odyssey SUV during their stay.  Retrieving the Honda from a storage facility the couple’s immediate concern was securing lodging,  Gary deciding to check out a familiar area on South Meridian,  the Motel 6 across from a vacant area where the Holiday Inn West once stood.  Gary having played piano at the Holiday Inn’s  Pirates Cove Club during the late 60’s and early 70’s, but a time endowed renovation having removed all aspects of envisioned accomplishments of  Inn owner Lloyd Hobbs and construction contractor Carl Ware, both acquaintance’s from a thirty year bygone era.  The Motel Six hadn’t changed in over twenty years when Gary and a young son Robert would spend a night after visiting Marlo and other friends.  Gary was apprehensive knowing that Oklahoma City was designated as a play-off City for the NCAA Basketball National Finals, known as March Madness,  realizing that most Oklahoma City motel accommodations would be full, but Lady Luck smiled,  the motel having a single vacancy. Fran’s plan of a musical reunion beginning to unravel,  a phone call discovering  that long time musician friend Bob Wallace was under duress and wasn’t feeling well,  having just returned from the Vets, his dog of many years was on his deathbed, Gary understanding  Bob’s concern for his canine companion outweighed everything else.

A charming hostess Lana Norwicki

Scott and granddaughter Sarah

Tad and Shylee Norwicki

The couple first visit was to Lana Norwicki residence,  Gary’s ostentatious son Scott’s staying with his long time lady companion and the illustrious mother of Granddaughter Sarah.  The couple enjoying lunch with their hostess,  finally getting better acquainted with Lana and her two children Tad and Shylee.   The use of the Honda Odyssey was a blessing, affording Gary not only the opportunity to tour Oklahoma City but acquainting  Fran with places from his past and revisiting memories.  A bit of humor about to be injected during their journey, the couple now having two Chihuahua in the family, inheriting a documented Blue Chihuahua named Little Bit from Gary’s niece Mary Garrett.  Traversing on S.W 29th St. noticing an interesting establishment appropriately named The Chihuahua Bakery, a puzzling and unusual name for a bakery,  a documented picture taken.  A drive-by visit to various  places Gary had played during his 19 years as a musician in Oklahoma City,  the Horseshoe Club,  the old Hi-Low club now call the 50th’s Club  and what remained of Bob and Jerry’s Apartment Key Club on N. Hudson Street below the remaining the Sieber Hotel complex.  Continuing on to Gary’s friend of 35 years, Jerry Willis still residing on SW 25th St. , the best man at his wedding to Kaye in 1962 and duplicating his best man role in his 1976 second matrimonial event with Jan and now introduced to Fran.  Gary finding Jerry and his wife Shirley amiable as always,  having recognized that there were not many people in this world that propounded a Jerry and Shirley disposition, exemplifying the positive perspective of a meaningful life.  The visit with his friend drawing to a close, Gary deciding to venture a visit and introduce Fran to  Bob Wallace his musician cohort from the band who resided on the north-side of the City.   Arriving Gary finding the once six-foot slender 165 lbs Bob having gained an additional 50 lbs and from their conversation and appearance concluded he wasn’t in the best of health.  Gary recognizing that his friend was still very much concerned about the condition of his dog and wasn’t up to reminiscing about the past,  deciding to make the visit short.

Self explanatory

Self explanatory

Jerry Willis & Bob Wallace

Sandra, Rob, Fran and Scott

Sandra, Rob, Gary and Scott

The following morning  Gary placing a call to Marlo, his daughter relating that her session with the Flu had subsided and  now cordoned for them to stay at her SW 99th St. residence.   During the drive the couple deciding to pause at nearby Resthaven Cemetery the locations of Gary’s Grandson Garrett’s final resting place, this being Gary’s first visit to Resthaven since the memorial service.  Unable to find Garrett’s memorial asking the cemetery concierge for directions , the stop a conscience time of reflection before continuing on.   Marlo welcoming their arrival apologetic for the inconvenience that her illness had caused,  pointing out the extensive remodeling her and Chris had just completed and from the time frame Gary humorously suspected that the conclusion of her flu illness may have corresponded with the drying of the bedroom paint.

Robs Navy Achievement Award

Fran’s planned desire for this Oklahoma City visit to be a musical event between Gary, Jerry and Bob now totally disheveled,  but his wife’s plan B of a family reunion was put into effect.  Gary’s son Rob and his lady companion Dawn journeying from Wichita as did his daughter Sandra and husband Jeremy,  both couples arriving at Lana’s and Scott’s residence Saturday morning.   The family entourage deciding on a breakfast get together, three of Gary’s four children in attendance, Marlo declining.   The late morning gathering was short-lived, Robert having to recess back to Wichita, leaving for Afghanistan early Monday morning.  Rob having fulfilled his five-year naval enlistment but still  very conscious of his country’s call having enlisted with a tactical support civilian company utilizing his service related training.  Rob having received the Navy, Marine Corps Achievement Medal for providing exceptional maintenance and administrator support for two patrol squadrons while forward deployed in Bahrain, additionally he expertly managed two sites of 50 personal computers, two local area network systems and global command and control systems.

Ally and Fran

The End of the Trail

Sunday found Gary and Fran on an excursion with their Granddaughter Allison to the Cowboy Hall of Fame on N.E. 63rd.   Gary having been present during the inaugural of its construction watching the magnificent structure raise to prominence.   Entering ‘The Museum of Time’,  journeying thru the halls of western history,   impressed not only with the displayed accolades of  Western Hollywood Stars  portrayed by the cinema,  but more so with the hallway devoted to the travel of the Lewis & Clark expedition in 1804,  never realizing such an exposition of their travels could be so vividly presented and graphically displayed.    Having witnessed the magnificent museum from its conception and through past years of expansion, taking stock that it had finally matured into a marvel of historic precedent,  giving a latent chronicle of western heritage.   Gary lagging behind his wife and granddaughter could auscultate the sounds of their echoing laughter ,  Fran and Ally coming upon exhibits that resulted in humorous comments,  the two finding a mutual compatibility which resonated throughout the sparsely populated corridors.  Gary finally according them both at an exit, hearing Ally say  “ Don’t tell Nana,  but you’re my favorite Grandma“,  not surprised at the comment because together the two were in perfect concert.

Ally, Fran and the wind

Ally at the Bass Pro Shop

And Mickey Mantle

Chris and Marlo extending their hospitality according the visitors to Bricktown,  Gary having watched the development of the antiquated buildings through the years noting that the project had finally come to fruition.   Water diverted from the North Canadian River giving rise to a canal thru the once desolate area of town,  the  waterway canal boats giving vestige to the arising of refurbished structures.  Brick Town providing a showcase of shops and a tourist attraction,  a massive Bass Pro Shop,  the new AT&T Bricktown Ballpark adorned with the statue of Mickey Mantle proclaiming Mantle’s Oklahoma heritage.  Gary very much impressed having lived and frequented this area of Oklahoma City forty years ago.  Recalling the past with his friend Glen Froman,  the two walking the streets of this once unproductive part of Oklahoma City now was a beneficial attribute,  contributing to a city in wonderment,  its antiquity having risen,  a foresight that Gary could have never envisioned.

The Winesburg family - Randy, Donna and the Grandchildren

The Winesburg family – Randy, Donna and the Grandchildren


Fran having made plans to spend two days with her daughter Donna, husband Randy and Grandchildren in Richardson Texas before returning home, taking a morning flight from Will Rogers World Airport.   With Fran’s departure, Gary enjoying time with his daughter, being introduced to Ally’s dance studio and a congenial visit from Marlo’s mother Kaye, Gary not having seen or talked to ex-wife in several years.  With Fran’s return, a final night in Oklahoma City,  Chris providing an early morning ride to the  airport, the couple having discussed a layover in Denver. Fran having a friend, John Madden a practicing attorney in Denver.  The two meeting in 1960‘s  when he was a member of  the renown folk group the Serendipity Singers, the two having corresponded through the years.  The returning couple giving thought about the possibility of a layover until their arrival in Denver, finding the weather deteriorating with a forecast for snow plus not having made any reservations for a stopover,  both weary deciding they would continue, a Denver trip postponed for another day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: