Archive for February, 2016

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

February 26, 2016

Sandra Willson receiving her High School Diploma

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

Sandra, Marlo, Chris & Garrett

Sandra, Marlo, Chris, Allison & Garrett

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

Sandra with her Grandmother and Grandfather

Sandra posing at home

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

Southwestern College, Winfield Kansas

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


A Bereaved Farewell….#240 (the 90’s)

February 24, 2016
Not a home, but a benefactor

Not a home, but a benefactor

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

It will be surely missed

Anthony Lake – It will be surely missed


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

804 Noble St. Alva Ok.

804 Noble St. Alva Ok.

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

Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor Carol Steinbock

Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor Carol Steinbock

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

Gary's Mom and Tom Fleming

Gary’s Mom and Tom Fleming

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

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

February 22, 2016

Robert Willson United States Navy

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

A common scene in the morning between Anthony and Kiowa

A common scene in the morning between Anthony and Kiowa

Bonner Springs Renaissance Festival

Bonner Springs Renaissance Festival

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

A memorable underground passage at O'Hare

A memorable underground passage at O’Hare

Home to 650 recruits - Great Lakes Naval Station

Home to 750 recruits – Great Lakes Naval Station

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

Freedom Hall - A true family gathering

Freedom Hall – A true family gathering

Reporting for duty

Reporting for duty

Brother and Sister Hugs

Brother and Sister Hugs

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

Caught with your mouth full

Proud father with son

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

The Field Museum

T – rex

Chicago Navy Pier

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

Tallest in the US – Sears Tower

View of Chicago from 1400 feet

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

Love that Chicago Dog

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

February 20, 2016
Missing from the hospital

Missing from the hospital med-room


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

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

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

Jan's new residence The Aspen Apartments

Jan’s new residence The Aspen Apartments

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

The Price Apartments

The scene from Gary’s balcony

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

Bill Duval and the challengin stairs.

Bill Duval and the challenging stairs.

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

Gayle and Jan In Renaissance character

Another Ren Fest entry

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

Caught on camera

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

February 18, 2016
Gary's premire model 2010 Marantz receiver and amplifier.

Gary’s première model 2010 Marantz receiver and amplifier.


A talented roommate named Yamaha

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

Dad happy to cosign

Dad happy to cosign

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

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

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

Lynn Martins published glamour photo of Jan

Lynn Martin photographed – published glamour photo of Jan

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

Bro. John Lehman

Elder Brother John Lehman

Apostolic Christian Nursing Home and Retirement Villiage, Sabeth Ks.

Apostolic Christian Nursing Home and Retirement Village, Sabetha Ks.

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

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

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

February 16, 2016

Robert and Opal Willson

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

Terminal C - O"hare International

Terminal C – O”hare International

Wedding Location Illinois Beach State Park

Wedding Location Illinois Beach State Park

Toasting each other

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

Mom looking on

Mom incognito looking on

Helen Murrow, Uncle Melvin and Aunt Leona Weyneth

Best Fiend Jeremy looking on

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

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

Norma Feaster

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

A final resolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Imperative Prospective………#245 (the 90’s)

February 14, 2016
A welcomed Windows 95

A welcomed Windows 95

The contingents of recent events having eclipsed, Gary deciding to venture into the innominate, the arrival of personal computers having an imperative perspective for his future.  Introduced to the world of computers in 1982 compliments of the John Deere Co. and at home with a TR 80 and later utilized a TI/99 at work, but yet to experience the expanded realm of the internet.  The local entrepreneur of the new age faction in Kiowa was the editor of the Kiowa News Rex Zimmerman,  whom was  propagating the application and installation of home computers.   Gary curious to the financial aspect,  discovering that to indulge into this new medium would cost an expediency in the neighborhood of $500,  not quite fitting into his budget, deciding to visit with Walter Fry,  the loan officer and vice president of the Kiowa’s First State Bank, confident of a resolution.   Gary having visited with Walter on several occasions during his employment at the Grade School,  supervising  Walters son during a high school summer work program, and during one of these visits discovering Walter was a graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State College in Weatherford Oklahoma, Gary sharing his  band experiences, playing at the college.  The day to finalize the loan arriving, the applicant discovering Walter Fry was not present but Jon Ott,  a reprehensible nemesis from Gary’s past.  Gary politely refusing to contract with Jon, mentioning he would wait on Walters return.  Gary placing his order with Rex and not well versed on the new computer technology and the Microsoft Windows 95 operating platform, leaving the specifics including the internet connection up to Rex.  The purchase having be made, Gary leaving his upstairs apartment unlocked  for Rex Zimmerman to set up his recent expenditure,  Gary arriving home after work to find a new experience waiting.

First State Bank Vice President Walter Fry

First State Bank Vice President Walter Fry

Charity Smith

Charity Smith

Eva - Athens Greece

Eva – Athens Greece

 It was a new experience, not that wasn’t expected, Windows 95 was a quantum leap forward from a DOS OS,  Rex having installed Opera as a browser being of the opinion that it was the better than Internet Explorer.  Gary found it was soon apparent that any past computer knowledge should be left in the closet, the cut, copy and past of Windows 95 was a system unto itself,  but not rocket science.  Sometimes he would find himself somewhat captive in his one bedroom upstairs apartment, residing in town 90 miles from the world of activity, discovering the recent trappings of the past still very much present and still lingered within.  He had come to a decision to approached the internet not as something to experience but as a vehicle to provide  and possibly give his life a sense of direction.  Sharing the advent of his new purchase, it was Glenda Holdaway at work who first mention ICQ, the first world-wide network with real-time instant messaging, users could register and were assigned an eight digit number so others could contact them, developed in Israel in 1996 , the initials ICQ a homophone meaning  “I seek you”  derived from the Morse Code CQ.  It wasn’t long before  Gary was introducing himself to a host of new acquaintances, his evenings in his apartment no longer a perforate of solitariness.   A new advent of communication discovering others like himself eager to indulge in conversation,  finding that on the global spectrum he wasn’t alone.  A ICQ chatroom friendship developed with many throughout Europe,  Australia,  even in Asia,  one evening discovering  a South Barber high school graduate living in Japan, her name Charity Smith.  Gary remembering her from her school track meet endeavors,  the only girl on the high school track team to wear black tennis shoes, the  young lady now working with a  church organization.  Gary’s ICQ internet interest having expanded to over 30, mostly of the opposite gender.  A most interesting was Eva,  a German resident residing in Greece,  who worked for the German Consulate but also affiliated with the United Nations as a translator, besides english she was spoke fluent greek.   The two finding they had something very much in common,  the world renown new age composer and musician Yanni.   Eva having attended the world acclaimed presentation of his formidable score  “ Yanni Live At The Acropolis “  with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra  in the Herodos Athcus Theatre in Athens years earlier,  Gary adjudicating her musical knowledge..

Gary and his 97 Buick Skylark

Gary and his 97 Buick Skylark

The 1997 Christmas Holiday about to come to fruition, the  92 Buick Skylark having reached an age of interchange,  127,000 miles registering on the odometer,  Gary approaching Bill Bogner Buick, Chevrolet Dealership for automotive negotiations.   Bill having nothing on the lot that was of interest but Gary was aware of his  weekly Thursday flight,  piloting  his Cessna aircraft to Dallas to attend a wholesale auction of used General Motors cars.   Bill questioning the prospective buyer about his automotive aspiration, Gary having owned two Skylarks,  coveted the Buick,  preferably white, either a six or four-cylinder model would suffice as long as it was still under warranty.  Gary filling out a credit application for his long-standing automotive financer Southwest National Bank in Wichita.  Bill returning from Dallas calling Gary at home, relating the news that he purchased a white 97 Buick skylark, but for some reason the Southwest National  loan application he submitted for Gary was denied.  Gary failing to understand why the loan was refused, but accepted the commiseration, not sure of his next move when the phone rang again, it was Bill  calling back, saying he had submitted the loan contract to GMAC and it was accepted,  Gary’s car was being loaded on the transport would arrive from Dallas late tomorrow afternoon.  The Skylarks having arrived Gary signing the GMAC  agreement, but after arriving home he noticed a discrepancy on the contract that may have been the reason that Southwest National had turned down his loan application.  The original loan application read he submitted a $500 cash down payment, but on this application it read that he had submitted a $1500 down payment.   Bill apparently changing the amount on the contract to read $1500, not mentioning the change to Gary,  keeping his actions to himself and in all probability ensured  the loans acceptance.  Gary noting that Bill was indeed a friend or a shrewd businessman, it didn’t matter,  it was people and friends like him that made doing business in small towns meaningful.

Charles Terry - Better known as Unc.

Charles Terry – Better known as Unc.

Esther Terry - Family called her Atto

Esther Terry – Family called her Atto

The five hour journey to Sabetha Kansas in the 97 Skylark was a solemn occasion for Gary and his son Robert who was on leave from the navy,  the December winter day’s sombre overcast was representative of the occasion, the passing of Charles Terry.  Gary having 22 years of endowed feelings for Jan’s Aunt Esther and Uncle Charles and wishful to express his  feeling to Atto about her loss and say goodbye to Charles,  a loving friend and brother in the Apostolic Christian Church.  His passing wasn’t one of a long-term illness but one of an unsuspecting  short-term suddenness.  Unc as he was known by family was an exemplar of christian character,  he and Esther having celebrated 58 years together, deciding in 1987 to move to the Apostolic Christian Retirement Village in Sabetha.   Charles attributions in life included his two daughters, Eleanor and husband Chris whom Gary had meant when the Willsons accompanied a Murrow family outing to Peoria Illinois and a younger daughter Rita Ann and husband Delwin who resided in Sabetha.  Charles having been a long-standing employee of a CITGO oil company,  through the years a singularity employee in maintaining the Corwin Kansas pumping plant and without reservation also farming the acquired acreage from the Roth Family legacy.

Church Elder John Lehman

Church Elder John Lehman

 Gary and Rob arriving at the home of John Lehman  the Ministering Elder for both the Sabetha and Kiowa  Churches and also the CEO of the Sabetha Nursing Home & Retirement Village,  the two accepting an invitation  to prevail the night at the Lehman residency. The evening viewing at the mortuary found  the remaining Kiowa family entourage having arrived, Bud and Helen and the Johnson family joining many friends gathering to celebrate the reminisce of his life,  to bequeath their respects and say goodbye.  The morning breakfast with the Lehman family was a new experience for Gary who was aware of the tradition practiced at home by more ardent Apostolic.  Before every meal it was customary for a blessing, but in addition Gary was handed a bible asked to random open to a chapter and read a verse and in layman terms give an applicable meaning of the message.   Gary having taught sunday school for the past nine years was no stranger to be called upon for biblical verse explanations and offering prayer among the congregation, but never participated in a breakfast bible reading.   Upon his reading, looking about at the table with the Elder of two churches seated listening to his interpolation of the meaning of God’s word brought an awakening.  A sudden acknowledgement and understanding of the endowed vestige instilled to those called upon and anointed to proclaim the word of salvation.  Arriving at the cemetery,  Gary and Rob having been called upon to be a pallbearer on the Kansas overcast cold winter morning,  the weather still befitting for Charles Terry having lived his life in Kansas.  The morning commemorative graveside service found many in attendance,  it was noticeable to family before the service had begun that Jan was not in attendance, but her absence was soon dispelled, arriving just in time for the burial ceremony.   Gary was relieved and thankful she was there, that the circumstances of the Church sanctioning her affiliation because she initiated the divorce proceedings might for some reason inhibit her attendance.  The ceremony coming to a conclusion, upon leaving Gary paused, turning about, a final look at the burial site,  no this is not an enduring remembrance, having thoughts of Charles Terry the man,  a figurative person whose presence he took for granted,  a fixture during holiday meals or family gatherings,  never outspoken or complaintive just relating the pleasantries of his personality mixed with everyday events, this was Charles,  an identity but in reality,  a man for all seasons in the service of the Lord.

Father and Son having declined an invitation to attend a Church afternoon memorial dinner,  the 97 Buick back on the road journeying southwest, returning to Kiowa, Gary still having thoughts about the funeral, coming to the conclusion that  monuments are not what you engrave in stone but what is woven in the lives of others.

A Welcomed New Arrival……#246 (the 90’s)

February 12, 2016
Scott, Lana and Baby Sarah

Scott, Lana and Baby Sarah

Gary wasn’t unmindful when receiving a call from his eldest son in Oklahoma  City that there was an addition to the Willson heritage.  Scotts significant other, Lana Nowicki giving birth to Sarah Miranda Willson on August 29.   It had been some time since his last visit to Oklahoma City having been caught up in the throes of his personal life,  informing Scott he would be heading his way,  somewhat curious how his 34 year old son would address the responsibility of being a father.   This was Gary’s initial  visit to the couple’s N.W. 19th St residence and meeting Tad and Shylee, Lana’s two children from a previous marriage for the first time,  a realization that life can change so unexpectedly.

Tad and Shylee Nowicki

Tad and Shylee Nowicki

Scott and Sarah

Scott and Sarah

Before departing Oklahoma  City Gary visiting  his daughter Marlo, grandkids Garrett, Allison and a cordial meeting with his ex-wife Kaye before traversing to a Skilled Nursing facility in the Southwest part of the city to pay his respects to Kayes mother Helen, whose health had diminished.   The visitor having maintained a congenial relationship thru the years with his ex-mother-in-law,  visiting  her and Kaye’s grandmother Sarah before she passed at the age of 98 in 1987.  Gary not at all surprised that Sarah Miranda was named after her Great-Great Grandmother,  still cherishing the memory of the amazing lady who literally raised Kaye.   Gary enjoyed listening to the elder Sarah relate her turn of the century experiences, how her family moved from Missouri to Nowata Oklahoma by wagon in the 1890’s and how her father had to return to Missouri for the remaining family possessions.  Visiting with a nursing home bed ridden Helen discovering she was cantankerous as always, complaining about the care which Gary could understand as Helen was an active person when at home. She maintained and  cultivated a well-kept garden of herbs,  vegetables and also cultivated a well kept supply of cold Stag Beer, her favorite.   When  she attained forty years of  government service employment,  Gary and Kaye attended her retirement ceremony, the honor being held in the normally off-limits to the public,  Tinker Air Force Base  War Room where she worked,  the Tinker Field Bass Commander giving the presentation, Gary very much aware it was a precedent  that few would ever experience.   One last stop at Jerry Willis’s on S.W. 25th to say hello to his best friend before directing the Buick northwest back to Kansas.  The lack of avidity during the family visit was troubling,  Gary attributed this to his new-found station in life, living solitary, departed was a sense of communion and confronted with  having to look forward to a future with anticipation, but at the same time in many respects painfully  longing for the past.

Helen (Street) Vanlueven baby Sarah's Great Grandmother

Helen (Street, Grider) Van Lueven, baby Sarah’s Great Grandmother

Sarah Miranda's namesake her fathers Great Grandmother Sarah

Sarah Miranda’s namesake – Scott’s Great Grandmother Sarah

The news was startling, Kiowa’s  Dr. Christensen was traveling straight south on unobstructed US  281 from Medicine Lodge, when his car suddenly it careened off the highway,  the automobile and occupant coming to an abrupt stop,  the occupant no sure as to what had just transpired.  Word spreading rapidly as only in a small community,   “Dr. Chris“  Kiowa’s  eminent elderly physician was evolved in a car accident and the rumored prognosis was a question mark,  having suffered no physical injuries but when question about the event couldn’t begin to conclude the circumstances.   Still somewhat confused and dismayed the doctor deciding to taking a leave of absence from his practice.  The new rumor among the Kiowa Hospital and Clinic employees,  Dr. Chris may have suffered a minor stroke and because of  his absence for-over thirty days was giving rise to the speculation.  Gary being told that with his return to practice he would consult a medical journal about the patient’s symptoms and illness’ before seeing them, apparently showing concern that things weren’t quite normal.

Highway 281 south of Medicine Lodge

Highway 281 south of Medicine Lodge

Dr. Chris....

Dr. Chris

Gary was given notice that it was time for his annual employee physical arranging an appointment with Dr. Chris.  Gary finding nothing questionable about Chris, the physical appointment coming to a conclusion,  everything normal,  Gary verbally thanking the physician as he was leaving,  Chris responding  “you take care and I hope you start feeling better”.   Gary at first thinking it was just a slip by a preoccupied doctor mistaking a physical for an illness, pondering if he should relate the experience but decided to keep it to himself..   The 72-year-old Dr. Chris finally coming forward admitting he had a problem,  deciding it was  time  to retire from practice.  With his announcement Chris returning to remove his personal  effects from his office,  Gary offering to help him box the many artifacts and  medical books he had accumulated thru the decades of practice.  Gary noticing the number of boxes exceeded what would fit in Chris car,  loading the remainder in his Buick then following him to his residence.  Arriving the two began unloading the cars, Gary noticing the elder doctor starting to  pick up a heavy laden box of books,  stopping him with an offer  “let me carry that heavy box to the basement”.   Doctor Christiansen still hold the box, looked directly at Gary,   “It’s not my back that’s bad, it’s my head”.  Gary had to chuckle,  only Dr. Chris would candidly assert his reason for retirement.

Glenda Holdaway

Glenda Holdaway

Brad Holdaway

Brad Holdaway

Finding the solidarity of  bachelor life in Kiowa Kansas not always entertaining,  Gary accepting an invitation from Brad and Glenda Holdaway to join them to watch the weekly television boxing broadcast.  Brad having worked most of his life for the railroad including the physical demanding road gangs was an avid fight fan and  known to venture some distance to partake of a deserving bout.  Gary having grownup sharing an interest in boxing,  he and his dad sharing the televised legendary Gillette Friday Night fights of the 50’s.  Brad although younger,  displaying knowledge of the names and records of many of the prominent boxers of that era,  the two able to visit and share comments about the broadcast.  Glenda an admirable friend, whom like Gary was employed at the Hospital always providing something  special whether  homemade cookies or an enterprising desert,  the weekly visits brightening Gary’s life, giving a one evening ‘sense of family atmosphere.

The Power Of The Press……#247 (the 90’s)

February 10, 2016
Doctor "D"

Doctor “D”

The daily morning edition of the Wichita paper was provided by Dr. Marcia Drewry, Dr. “D” as she was better known,  when she entered the clinic east door which was the hospital’s old ambulance entrance and adjacent to the kitchen backdoor in the morning.   Most mornings  along with the paper  she would deposit a box of donuts from Val’s donut shop on the picnic table that resided there for the noncertified staff.  The Thursday edition of  the Wichita Eagle Beacon would include what was designated as a social page,  where a person could submit at no charge an introduction of themselves to the public, leaving a phone number for those of like interest to enjoin an introduction.  The brief format mostly filled with men and women seeking a commencement for association.   On a lark,  seated at the picnic table during the morning break, Gary with help from Arvetta Starzyk in dietary, Judy Reed and her housekeeping staff during their morning break formulated a novel idea.  The assembly forthcoming  with the idea to post a social resume of Gary’s personality subsistence for the Eagle Beacon social page.  Gary wanting to submit his interest in classical musical,  his hospital occupation not leaving out his Kansas Hospital Engineers Association Presidency and conclude with a brief physical description., but the ladies would have no part of it coming up with a right to the point brief descriptive ad.  Gary placing a call to the Eagle Beacon society page editors number, a lady answered cordially taking the prescribed ad,  then posing a question, “how do you want it titled?”   Gary was somewhat perplexed at the unexpected question, hesitantly he replied he didn’t know, what do you think?,  the lady replying, “well, you sound like A Prince Charming, how about that”.  The week-long wait was finally over the Thursday morning paper arriving, there in bold print, the lady true to her word.

Ad in the Wichita Eagle Beacon

Ad in the Wichita Eagle Beacon

 Gary’s answering machine having several messages from the opposite gender briefly introducing themselves leaving their number.  A response from a lady in Salina sparking Gary’s interest,  conveying she owned a ranch and raised horses,  in addition  owned a bail-bond business.  Gary was intrigued, but not enough to drive to Salina,  the two agreeing to meet  in Wichita for lunch on Saturday.   His new acquaintance to be,  Sally arriving in a new Cadillac, the two entertaining  lunch at a Carlos O’Kellys mexican restaurant at Town East.  The afternoon finding the couple exploring the realm of Old Town, discovering the lady from Salina also was very familiar with Wichita, knowing the location of several thrift stores, explaining that this is where she did her bargain hunting when down way.   Gary was somewhat taken aback,  her educational presentation and personality, a new car and  proclamation of business ownership all seemed appropriate,  but the thrift shop searching gave way to questions.   The Saturday afternoon coming to a conclusion, the lady extending an invitation to meet again only this time in Salina,  Gary acknowledging  he would have to reference the ambulance schedule and get back to her but it  was already questionable,  having doubts about driving over 3 hours to acquaint someone for lunch let alone start a 170 mile driving distance relationship.

Dr. Don Ransome

Dr. Don Ransome

Prat Reginional Medical Center

Pratt Regional Medical Center

R.N. Patty McNamar

R.N. Patty McNamar

The following morning Gary awakened with excruciating abdominal pain,  at first attributing it to the Mexican food he had consumed Saturday afternoon but the pain was increasing in intensity he  recognizing it was something more serious deciding to drive the short distance to the  Hospital.  Entering he was greeted by a questioning  R.N.,  Patty McNamar,  Gary briefly explaining his condition, Patty immediately notifying the on-call physician Dr. Stranathan.  Dr. Sid arriving,  hesitant of making a diagnosis after Gary related that he had no appendix and that Dr. Ransom had recently done a colonoscopy and all look well.  Dr. Sid placing a call to Dr. Ransom in Medicine Lodge asking the surgeon if it might be best for him to come in.  Dr. Ransom suggesting because of the severity of the pain Gary should be immediately transported  to Pratt Medical Center for a CT Scan.  Dr. Sid telling Patty to notify the Ambulance but before she could Gary stopped her, noticing that Bob the newly acquired Lab Tech,  who resided in the same Price Apartments that Gary did and just happened to be at the hospital Gary asking Bob if he would transport him to Pratt iff he promised not to die on the way,  Bob agreeing, the two traveling in Gary’s Buick to the Pratt Regional Medical Center.   The Pratt Medical Center emergency room staff having been notified, arriving the pain just about incapacitating, Bob assisting  Gary filling out the paperwork,  the hospital staff immediately readying a CT Scan.  The last Gary remembered was a requirement to drink several glasses of some liquid and entering of the Scan.  Awakening three days later in ICU,  the first thing he noticed was the sub cubicle IV’S, knowing their meaning from experience,  sub cubicle IV position was used for major surgical procedures but more often for those with a life threatening prognosis.

R.N. Debbie Duvall

R.N. Debbie Duvall

Removed from ICU to the surgical recovery floor,  the performing surgeon approaching Gary welcoming him back to the real world,  explaining that he had an acute colon rupture and he performed a conventional surgical colectomy.   The surgical procedure entailed  opening his lower cavity,  abstracting his colon and surgically removing 27 inches of the damaged area, doing a complete cavity cleansing so he would be free of any peritonitis infection.   The Doctor giving  further assurance relating he himself was the subject of  a similar operation years earlier without any complications.  Gary soon discovered a concern, he was having difficulty breathing,  the surgical anesthesiologist when visiting remarked that it was the result of having an adverse reaction to the anesthesia being the main reason for the time spent  in ICU and then had to add that he may not survive its use in another operation.   During his stay in the hospital, having just two visits, Bob the lab tech and a two brothers from the Apostolic Christian Church, Huber and Tom Farney.   The eighth day in the hospital found Gary getting restless,  the doctors still not wanting to release him, but as a hospital employee he knew the secret of how to exit confinement.  He had been walking the halls,  spending  time at the Nurses Station,  knowing they would convey this to the doctor and it wasn’t long,  his release was assured.   The timing was right,  Gary placing a telephone call to the Kiowa Hospital at afternoon shift change time,  RN. Debbie Duvall answering,  Gary asking if she could talk someone into picking him up at the Pratt Hospital,  Debbie replying, she was on her way.

Locomotives at the Great Plains Transportation Museum - Wichita

Locomotives at the Great Plains Transportation Museum – Wichita

Dr. Jean Picard phd. in socialogy Wichita Univesity

Dr. Jean Picard – stop before Omaha.

It had been over a week and Gary still awaiting a doctor’s release to return to work, deciding to  visit  an acquaintance in Wichita,  Dr. Jean Picard, PhD.,  a sociology professor at Wichita State University whom he had meant thru his new social endeavor and visited with on ICQ before his medical mishap.    Gary discovering that  Jean was a railroad  groupie,  she loved  trains,  their presence,  their cultivation in American history,  asking Gary if it would be too much for him to drive her to Omaha so she could travel the scenic route west thru the Rocky Mountains to Grand Junction Colorado on the California Zephyr. Once arriving she would rent a car visit the Colorado National Monument, spend the night and retrace her travel back but this time continuing on to Chicago to visit relatives.  Gary wondering about the gravity of her thinking, a turn around trip to Colorado seemed a little much, but after giving it some thought and with nothing better to do agreed to drive her to Omaha.   The two meeting at Jeans residence near the University Campus, their morning spent touring the little known Great Plains Transportation Museum, a small hidden building with many photo’s of the state’s extensive railroad endeavors,  the building was not the main attraction but the locomotives that were exhibited on the sidings next to the no longer used main line.  Gary not as enthused about trains as Jean anxious to get the Buick headed north on Interstate 135 toward Salina, never having driven to Omaha before.   Traveling north the couple finally saying farewell to the 4 lane I-135, at the junction of Interstate 70,  the highway designation returning to US 81, a two lane blacktop known as The Harvest Trail, the historic highway from Ft. Worth to Canada still anointing many of the small rural farming communities.  The couple making a brief stop at a small roadside sandwich shop at Bellville, Jean posing  a question,  would Gary be interested in accompanying her on the journey to Grand Junction and back until she continued on to Chicago?

Old Market Town - Omaha

Old Market Town – Omaha

The California Zephyr

The California Zephyr

The early evening finding the couple arriving at  the Omaha Amtrak Station five blocks from the Missouri River.  Gary having decided to accompany Jean deciding to secure a coach ticket, Jean having already made reservation for a  Berth compartment.   With several hours before departure, the two deciding to  explore The Old Market  Town just north of the train station.   The area much like Old Town in Wichita with converted warehouses with sidewalk cafe’s and shops, the two enjoying some native India cuisine at an outdoor restaurant before their 11:05  departure to Grand Junction.   The iconic California Sante Fe Zephyr  known for it Chicago to Emeryville (Oakland)  California scenic journey arriving.   Gary ready to settle for the night in the lounge car, but Jean mentioned he could utilize the upper berth in the compartment.  Gary discovering a major problem when attempting to climb into the upper berth,  halting and asking if he could  occupy the bottom berth as it had only been a week since his release from the hospital and his abdomen was still stapled together from the colectomy surgery.  Gary noticing a change in her attitude,  reluctantly agreeing but her classroom authority was beginning to show.

Union Station in Denver

Union Station – Denver

The damaged California Zephyr in Denver

The damaged California Zephyr in Denver

Experiencing a very uncomfortable night, Gary realizing his bad judgement in attempting the trip like this so soon, but was determined to make the best of it.   The two finding the dining car for breakfast, Gary seated facing the rear of the train when suddenly noticing some large debris passing by outside the dining car window and before he could say “did you see that” the train immediately coming to a sudden halt.   The conductor giving the passengers notice that they had  struck a vehicle pulling a trailer at a crossing.  Soon more word about the event, the driver uninjured but the horses, numbering seven in a large trailer not surviving, the train setting motionless for two hours while the local Eastern Colorado authorities investigated the accident.  Once resuming the Santa Fe conveyance finally arriving in Denver over two hours late and then another delay in Denver,  Amtrak having to located a replacement locomotive for damaged Zephyr engine.  The travel to Grand Junction finally resuming the train no longer pulled by a sleek lined passenger engine but a work-horse freight locomotive.

A Amtrax view of the Rockies

Amtrak view of the Rockies

Able to view the front from the back

Able to view the front from the back

mesa west of Grand Junction

Mesa west of Grand Junction

Gary was more than impressed with the scenic panoramic view that the majestic Rockies provided between Denver and Grand Junction,  the winding tracks of yesteryear hugging the mountain through the gorges,  the sparkling rivers down below,  the narrow railway tunnels reamed out of bedrock by the workers of a bygone era.    Arriving after dark in Grand Junction,  the two taking a cab Jean having made a prior hotel reservation, Gary getting room more than ready for a night’s rest.  After breakfast Jean trying to maintain her original schedule, leasing a car to explore the Colorado National Monument, the prestigious canyons and mesas west of where two magnificent rivers the Gunnison and the Colorado acquaint each other.   Gary finding the excursion enlighten, but found it exhausting,  having difficulty walking and preferring solitude in his painful discomfort not wanting to say anything that might hamper Jeans agenda.  The late afternoon found them boarding the train for the overnight return ,  Gary deciding he would be more comfortable dozing seated in the lounge car than laying down on hard surface of a berth.   The morning  finding Gary having breakfast alone not wanting to disturb Jean, but having lingering misgivings about the trip, later meeting with her in the observation car.  It was a late morning arrival in Omaha, Jean continuing on to Chicago,  Gary’s only concern was the drive home, but once on the beckoning road feeling  the comfort of his surroundings,  noting the state line sign “Welcome To Kansas“,  the experience although unexpected would be a memorable as would the acquisition of a preface to Dr. Jean Picard, PhD.

You Can’t Take It With You………#248 (the 90’s)

February 8, 2016

A comedy in three acts

It was a surprise invitation by Doris Hermon a fellow EMT on the Kiowa Ambulance Service  approaching Gary to join the cast of the Borderline Theater in their bi-yearly stage presentation in Kiowa,  Doris having performed in many of the production since its conception.   Gary no stranger to a stage with 19 years of music entertaining performances,  but a novice to acting,  declining the allurement of Doris’s offer.   Doris was insistent,  the play to be enacted was   “You can’t take it with you”,  a three act play by Moss Hart and George S Kaufman,  also produced as a movie in 1938  starring Lionel Barrymore,  Jimmy Stewart and Ann Miller.   Doris knowing Gary’s background as a musician and accomplished on the vibraphone as well as the piano for many years could collate a featured part in the play requiring someone to play a xylophone.   With Doris’s insistence, Gary being lead to believe he would have a minutiae of  lines,  finally agreeing to be present for the introductory rehearsal at the Kiowa Community Center.

Jared Hiltner (Donald) Tot Babcock (Director)

Gary Willson (Ed) Krista Hill Pollack (Essie)

An arrival at the Community Center being greeted by many acquaintances and introduced to others that have participated in past play presentations.   Tot Babcock,  an elderly little lady was the director,  a charter member of Summer Theatre of Empire State University,  having acted in and directed many plays at the college level,  her daughter Bea a Thurman, the Thurman’s a prominent farming family in Kiowa.   Members of the cast included locals from Kiowa and Hardtner, Doris Hermon,  her husband Ed as lightning director,  Kiowa Hospitals Dr. Marcia Drewry’s husband,  David Worsdell,  Bob Sterling owner of Yur Place and the Sterling Barn restaurant in Hardtner,  Bob having the primary role played by Lionel Barrymore in the film production.  Other included Tommie Jo Hyde,  a clinic nurse whom lived in Kiowa,  Lisa Wahl a dispatcher for the Harper County Sheriff’s department,  Bob Thomas,  a rural mail carrier in Hardtner,  Bruce Bryan the manager of Tuckers Farm Store,  Donna Dyar whom was a substitute teacher and Krista Hill Pollack whom would play Gary’s wife in his role of Ed, plus others complimenting the cast.

Bob Sterling (Grandpa)

David Worsdell Jr. (Mr. De Pinna)

The first rehearsal was an introduction to the play’s premise and a gathering of the full cast,  Dramatist Play Service  script books distributed to each cast member.  Gary discovering that Doris’s description of his part as Ed having just seven or eight lines was in error,  finding over 47 speaking lines in the play.   A bonus for the rehearsal was having Bob Sterling in the cast,  his ownership of Yur Place restaurant and the catering Sterling Barn facility found him arriving for each rehearsal with boxes filled with morsels of sandwiches and snacks.

Doris Hermon (Penelope Sycammore)

Jennifer Hedges (Reba)

Weeks of rehearsals began for the three act play,  the stage props being acquired,  Lloyd Jacobs and Leon Eckert providing the stage construction,  Mildred Farney and others assisting with costumes.  Ed Hermon possessing a pickup, Gary and Ed  traversing to South Barber High School to garner the music departments xylophone that they had generously loaned,  a key component to Gary’s character and the play.   Gary,  at first somewhat hesitant to the progress,  but once the cast was conversant to their lines  was astounded to see the continuity of the scrip beginning to coalesce  like a well written musical score,  each actor an instrument providing its articulation.   The cast spending the latter days of rehearsal ameliorating the interfacing concert of the script,  the cadence of the play crucial to its conception being fulfilled.

Scene from act I

Scene from act II

Scene from act III

The three act performances wasn’t without incident.  If one  performer failed to give the right lead in line,  it left the next performer in limbo,  waiting for their cue.  Gary discovering it was better to memorize,  not just the lead in line  but several before,  enabling him to be ready.  Behind the curtain off stage, was Tot,  with the total script available to cue a cast member if for some reason they had a lapse in remembrance.   The total on-stage cast numbered 19,  with a director,  stage manager,  lighting and sound technician and 9 others contributing to the pre-performance activity.   Gary’s role as Ed Carmichael, was to deliver Essie’s candies,  operate an (antique)  printing press, ( supplied by Rex Zimmerman,  editor and publisher of the Kiowa News) and play the xylophone so Essie (Krista Hill Pollack, whom had taken ballet) could leap and pirouette across the stage.  Gary adding some non scripted humor when operating the printing press,  pulling out a dollar bill and placing it in the press.  Tot, the director not apprehending his antics, but the audience availed.

Curtain Call

The scheduled run of the play was for consecutive Saturday and Sunday performances,  the final Sunday  a dinner theatre presentation, all performances playing to a capacity audience.   At the conclusion of each presentation,  a stage introduction of the performers,  followed  by the cast lining the exit to greet and  be greeted by those in attendance,  mostly Barber County residence.    Gary acknowledging many  acquaintances from his many years of employment at John Deere,  The Grade School,  Kiowa Hospital and his service on the Kiowa Ambulance.  Gary enjoying the experience of once again ascending a stage after a twenty year vacuity,  even in a different venue,  not exactly the musical foray of the piano as in years past  but the new endeavor of theatre.  The Border Line Theater production of 1937 Pulitzer Prize Play, “You Can’t Take It With You”  was another consummating episode in his life.

Theatre medallion presented to the cast with a personalized inscription on the back