Blameless Fortuity………#238 (the 90’s)

Sandra Willson as Kendra Star

From the day she was born Gary called his daughter Sandra,  Princess,  a namesake suited to her countenance, a beacon of satiation to everyone.   Sandra attaining her senior year at Chaparral High School in Anthony,  an outstanding academic student,  surmounting her older brother Robert in many respects.   A social protector,  in that she was an advocate for her friends defalcations, always projecting a caring beam of aspiration to those whom surrounded her.   As an after school activity continuing her cheerleading ambition acquired in Grammar School, becoming a  member of the Anthony High School Cheerleading team, but  discovering she was not always in favor with the high school sponsor,  the facility member citing her for smoking off campus.   Before a Friday Night school football game, the facility sponsor excluded Sandra from participating with the Cheerleading team.  Her Mother affronting Kris Kastler the principal of the school before the start of the  game,   Jan demanding an explanation for Sandra’s non participation, forcefully stating that her infraction was off campus and shouldn’t have any application to her appearance.  The principal agreeing with Jan, reprimanding the faculty sponsor for her indiscretion,  Sandra making her cheerleading presence known.

Gary having recognized Sandra’s enactment talent as early as Norma Feaster’s 2nd grade class in Kiowa ten years earlier.  Her senior year, Sandra performing the featured role of Kendra Star in the Jerome McDonough Play “The Addict”  a presentation by The Performing Artists of Chaparral.    The production portraying  the detriments of  youth’s in a community and their adherence to the addiction of drugs.   Gary and Jan traveling to Wichita to witness Sandra and the members of the performing Chaparral ensemble present a celebrated presentation for the members of the Kansas Congressional body, including the state’s Lieutenant Governor.

1992 Buick Skylark

1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Sandra was impressive in her use of the 1982 Toyota, a natural with the manual five speed transmission and never complaining about the family transportation heirloom.   Gary coming to the conclusion that his Princess’s  transportation needed to be upgraded making decision to relinquish his cherished 89 Oldsmobile Cutlass to her,  retiring the Tercel Wagon.  A visit to Bogner Chevrolet in Kiowa finding Gary bargaining with Bill,  the reliable Toyota Tercel Wagon having chauffeured his wife to Pratt during her college years,  as a trade in.   Gary deciding that a 1992 Buick Skylark would serve his needs for the time being  presenting his daughter with the Oldsmobile for her discretionary drive to school.

Gary awoke early on a Saturday morning, the first weekend after entrusting Sandra with the Oldsmobile Cutlass expecting to find its presence outside the home,  but discovering that it was nowhere to be found.   Going upstairs to Sandra’s room finding her responsive to his inquisition about the absence of her car, Sandra looking puzzled asserting she had  parked it out front.  Hearing voices admitting from the third floor above, discovering  that two of her friends whom apparently had been playing pool during the past night concurrently were still present upstairs.  As they descended they gave an explanation that they had fallen asleep and spent the night on the third floor.   Gary once again checking for the presence of the car, to no avail,  turning on his scanner to the Anthony Police Channel, hearing there was activity about an overturned car on rural NE 10th Avenue,  an unimproved road paralleling Highway 2 north to Harper.  The police on the scene transmitting an automotive description,  Gary immediately proceeding north to the location, finding no sign of law enforcement but the 89 Cutlass overturned in a ditch,  the keys still in the ignition.   His emotion was without description,  a wonderment to see an exponent of his material life destroyed without explanation.

Anthony Chief of Police John Blevins

Returning home Gary questioning  the two boys, the two remaining adamant that they had no idea of what could have transpired about the missing car, still maintaining they had fallen asleep upstairs as John Blevins,  the Anthony Chief of Police arrived.  John an acquaintance of Gary and more so of wife Jan,  a classmate of her Kiowa High School Graduation Class.   John Blevins was a professional,  having spent twenty years as a police officer  in Wichita, retiring from the larger city force to take a leadership position in Anthony.   Interviewing the two boys with a skeptical look on his face,  asking Gary to take him to the third floor where the boys had spent the night.   Gary was shocked at what he saw as they entered the large third floor ballroom, home to the pool table. The room disheveled, almost a remnant of a bar, empty bottles and cans including  alcoholic beverages spewed about, a perplexed look on Johns face, Blevins questioning about its appearance.  Gary was truthful in his answer,  stating it had been more than a week since he had ventured to the  third floor adding that he never bought or would provide any alcoholic beverage to his children or anyone underage, hesitating then adding that his Kiowa High School classmate may know more about that subject than he does.   Returning to the main floor, Chief Blevins took both youths to his patrol car, returning a short time later,  stating  the car theft mystery was solved.   The youth admitting that they found Sandra’s car keys, drove to Harper to buy more liquor  and on the way home wrecked the car  and walked back to Anthony, resuming their presence on the third floor of the house.

Gary had no affection over the event,  more of a disappointment in his daughter for her lack of discretion in acquiring friends. The  loss of the Cutlass,  plus a balance still owed after insurance remuneration of $1300,  the underage boys taken into custody would be tried in juvenile court, Gary not expecting any monetary restitution.   The event finding Sandra in need of an automotive replacement, Gary noticing a television commercial of an auto auction at Century II, the ad finding him on his way to Wichita.  The auction was unique, the elder Willson discovering a 1956 Oldsmobile StarFire at reasonable price,  a dream of a car, but it was his dream not Sandra’s, so practicality prevailed.  A 1993 Mercury Topaz under warranty was offered,  although a stick shift, the price was right and the decision was made to buy, Gary deciding to leave his Buick at Century II,  driving the Topaz back to Anthony.   Upon arrival at home, presented Sandra with the Topaz and after spending the day in Wichita didn’t feel up to making another 110  mile round trip to get the Buick,  asking Sandra if she and her friend September Porter would return to Wichita in the Mercury and have  September drive Gary’s Buick back to Anthony.

Damage Mercury Topaz

Gary waiting patiently for Sandra and September’s return from Wichita when the phone rang.   It was Sandra explaining they were still in Wichita and there had been an accident, she had rear ended her dads Buick with the Topaz, adding the front of the Topaz had been damaged and water was coming from underneath the front,  but the Buick seemed alright.  Gary weary of the events, telling the girls to find a convenience store and park the Topaz and drive the Buick home.  The girls having arrived Gary deciding t0 return to Wichita to survey the damage to the car he had just bought. Once in Wichita he found the damaged Topaz not parked at a location that was on the way back to Anthony but on the other side of town.  Gary deciding not to make an issue of it as his daughter was already to the point of tears considering the loss of two cars in two weeks.  The good news was that the damage looked to be minimal, mostly to the front grill and the radiator.  The next morning a Sunday, Gary approached Harold Madsen at his home located behind  his Automotive Repair establishment to see about transporting the car from Wichita.   Harold telling Gary the family had plans and he couldn’t retrieve it till tomorrow,  but he would be more than happy to loan Gary his pickup and auto trailer if he thought it necessary.   Taking advantage of the opportunity,  Gary was soon on the highway in Harold pickup and trailer making his third trip to Wichita in two days.  The Topaz loaded and arriving back in  Anthony he parked the pickup and trailer with the car still on it to await Harold’s attention.

The cattle won, Jan’s Dodge Shadow lost

Every Wednesday night was reserved for services at the Apostolic Christian Church,  Gary driving from Anthony,  Jan often saying she would bee working late, meeting him at the church when returning from Share Medical Center in Alva. The church service having concluded, Gary proceeding back to Anthony, Jan saying she would be following right behind him.  Gary arriving in Anthony deciding to stop at Larry’s Home Town Market to pick up a few things when he heard the wailing of the ambulance siren heading west out-of-town and for some reason he had a premonition, a feeling something was wrong.  Once home he turned on the scanner,  discovering the ambulance had been dispatched to an accident a mile west of town, the feeling continuing, he had to go, deciding to drive to the area.   Arriving at the scene, immediately recognizing Jan’s Dodge Shadow convertible with a crumpled front end,  noticing that the airbag having been deployed, Jan was nowhere to be seen, the ambulance that had been called having left for the hospital.  Gary hastily driving to the Hospital finding his wife up and about in E.R. very much shaken but apparently not incurring any major physical damage except the trauma of the airbag deploying.  Jan relating that coming downhill off a raise a mile west of town,  the cars headlights failed to pick up a herd of cattle that had wandered thru a broken fence onto the highway, the Dodge Shadow plowing into the herd with  brakes locked, several of the herd being struck and  not surviving.  From the looks of the car and impact, Gary very much thankful someone above was watching over his wife as the results could have been far worse..

Gary questioned the responsibility outcome of the accident, the sheriff’s department report stating that there were several reports of cattle being out at this location, but the rancher claiming that the fence was intact and that a reported mountain lion in the area spooked the cattle causing them to break the fence.   Gary coming to the conclusion that events that unfold in one’s life have a meaningful purpose,  giving one a residual of patience and understanding not always acquired by self, but sometimes its implication were fleeting.

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