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

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.  Scott’s significant other, Lana Nowicki giving birth to Sarah Miranda Willson on August 29, 1998.   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

Scott and Granddaughter Sarah

Before departing Oklahoma  City Gary visiting  his daughter Marlo, grandchildren 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 the previous year.  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.

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

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 always 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 thirty eight years of  government service,  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 Air Force Base 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 the future with anticipation, but at the same time painfully  longing for the past.

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

The news was startling, Kiowa’s  Dr. Christensen was traveling straight south on unobstructed US  281 from Medicine Lodge, when his car suddenly careened off the highway,  the automobile and occupant coming to an abrupt stop,  the occupant unsure to what had just transpired.  Word spreading rapidly as only in a small community,   “Dr. Chris“ Kiowa’s eminent elderly physician was in a car accident and the rumored prognosis was a question mark.  The first Gary heard was he having suffered no physical injuries but when questioned couldn’t conclude the circumstances why.   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 being that Dr. Chris may have suffered a minor stroke after an absence of thirty days it was giving rise to the speculation.  Gary being told that after 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.

South on US 281 from Medicine Lodge

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 returned 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 Chris 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

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 an evening ‘sense of family atmosphere.

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