A Citation For Honesty………….#234 (the 90’s)

Rob’s pride

The time having arrived,  Gary’s son Robert having attained the age of automotive responsibility,  satisfying the  vision and  written examination requirements,  receiving a state issued learners permit, the youth excited with the prospects.  Gary recalling at that age, his father insistence that the 1940 Chevrolet Pickups non synchromesh transmission four speed be the endeavor to acquire his first driving experience.  Gary’s Dad a Teamster by trade able to drive everything from a World War II  Army M-4 tank to a 500 series Caterpillar Road Scraper,  always emphasizing the use of the clutch as the most important exchange to extradite the performance of opportunity.   Gary insisting that Robert’s first learning experience would be in the 5-speed manual shifting 4-wheel drive Toyota Tercel Wagon.   Robert having no difficulty with the shifting of gears,  acquiring an immediate dexterity after two driving  sequences.  Dad allowing his son the helm of the Chevrolet Blazer Sport,  also being a manual shift,   Robert finding a natural comfort behind the wheel of motorized transportation.

The endeavor was orthodontist appointment,  Rogers, Duncan & Dillehay at 1821 North Rock Road in Wichita,  a dental establishment renowned for their expertise in frontal teeth alignment.  Robert fulfilling his scheduled sixth month check up,  wearing a correctional appliance retainer since 1993.  The Father and Son seated in the Blazer,  only this time Gary sat in the passenger’s seat,  imparting the driving to Robert.  Dad having total confidence, sitting back watching as Rob nonchalantly started the Blazer displaying a I’ve done this before deposition, ready to incur the 54 mile drive to Wichita.  Departing Anthony the hour-long journey consisted of rural highway 2 and 42 into Wichita,  the Blazer turning north on West St, then east on West Kellogg the main thoroughfare through Wichita.   Gary keeping a watchful eye because of the Saturday Traffic and the many stop lights, Robert progressing across town  his Dad impressed with his driving performance, the two arriving at Rogers, Duncan & Dillehay.  The appointment task completed, Gary opting to drive back, Robert’s first long distance drive a success, the only somewhat negative response was from his mother who apparently wouldn’t have entrusted him to make the drive.

Tom Farney

The day at the Kiowa Hospital started like most,  Gary fulfilling his normal routine when approached by a fellow Apostolic Christian Church brother and close family friend, Huber Farney.   The Farney’s,  a Kansas wheat farming family under the craftsmanship of Huber’s son Tom farmed sections of acreage spreading across the state line into Oklahoma.  The elder Farney disclosing that Gary’s son Robert,  whom Tom had employed for a summer job had endured an accident with the Blazer.  The accident occurring near the Stateline on the Burlington Road,  Huber firmly emphasizing that Robert wasn’t injured.   Gary questioning Huber about the damage,  his elderly friend hesitant about providing any information, only conveying that Gary needed to avail himself to the scene.   The weather not being congruous,  a very cogent thunderstorm blanketing Kiowa and the surrounding area,  Gary immediately giving notice at the hospital,  he was leaving to inquire about his son’s dilemma.

The wind-driven rain was coming down in torrents,  the lightning discharging from the towering cumulus, the thunder resonating with an earthshaking sound.  Gary arriving at the scene  finding he Blazer off the road, upright,  but the roof line was bent at an angle,  as if something had pulled the vertical post to one side  leaving the rest of the car intact.   It was apparent the car had been laid over on it side, sliding during its venture off the road before up-righting itself.   The left rear wheel having been literally ripped from the axle, but although bent at an angle, the rear window frame and glass remained intact.  Approaching his son who was seated in the inert vehicle,  the deluge of rain still persisting,  Gary joining him in the front seat.   Rob was shaken, almost to the point of tears, but holding his composure.  Gary assuring him that his only concern was that he wasn’t injured,  the damage to the car was of no immediate importance, circumstances happen.   The inevitable question had to be asked,  what happen?.  Robert slowly replying,  he  really didn’t know,  it all happen so fast,  only that it started to rain and suddenly  the Blazer was sideways in the curve, then an impact and a silence,  the vehicle coming to rest.

Stateline cement marker and the curve.

Oklahoma – Kansas Stateline cement marker and the curve.

The thunderstorm continuing, the deluge continuing, the rain cascading from the sky,  Gary surveying the situation amidst the downpour,  noticing how close his son had come to hitting the cement pillar that marked the boundary between Oklahoma and Kansas,  thanking the Lord for what could have been a desolating experience.   Gary entreating Huber to return to Kiowa to inform Keith Rathgeber at D & W Auto of the incident and ask him if he could retrieve the Blazer with his tow truck.  Gary visiting with his son  discovering that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol had been on the scene before his arrival,  writing Robert a citation for honesty,  asking him if he was wearing a seat belt and the young driver answering truthfully, no.

D & W - Kiowa

D & W  Body & Repair

The Blazer finding a new home for the next six weeks at D & W Body & Repair,  the extensive repairs a low priority on the shop’s schedule.  Scott Rathgeber giving assurance he could rend the top back to its normal position providing the window glass remained intact,  something Gary thought impossible.   The  torquing of the roof  post back to a vertical position  was a success,  a new rear left axle, wheel and  brakes fulfilling the remaining damaged parts and with touch-up paint,  a total cost of $1300 put the Blazer on the road,  Robert once again able to host his grandfather’s gift, the Blazer briefly down but not out.

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