Archive for April, 2016

Augmented Impressions…………#209A(the 90’s)

April 30, 2016

Wichita’s Century II

.  It was a beautiful Kansa spring Saturday,  Gary traversing the highway northeast, the outdoor scenic province enhancing the 52 mile journey to the city of Wichita.  his ambition, Century 2,  the magnificent performing arts and convention center,  a conception  since 1969,  an adulation for the city.   Arriving at Century 2,  finding street parking on the Exhibition Hall side of the sphere shaped complex,  the entrance area where the virtuoso’s of proficiency,  the Wichita symphony orchestra conveyed the commodities of their trade.   Making a circulate walk to the multiple door entrance,  entering the foyer,  the visitor from Anthony adorned in a suit and tie,  the appropriate attire to coalesce with the patrician assemblage,  a brief abeyance to secure an accommodation ticket,  the usher directing him to his place of attainment to await the performance of the Symphony Orchestra.

.  Gary being no stranger to the Concert Hall at Century 2,  having attended several of the Wichita Symphony presentations, but being selective of the orchestra‘s concert series.   The 22 hundred seating accommodation hall was filled to capacity, reasoning that it must be because of the featured guest artist,  an opera tenor,  his selections from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s,  Don Giovanni.   The performance that was about to begin and included a long admired composition by Richard Strauss, his Suite from Der Rosenkavalier,  the paramount reason for Gary’s attendance,  the other concert works were secondary,  but still very much admired.  The lights dimmed,  the doors to remaining closed as was traditional for symphonic presentations,  no one would be admitted during the performance,  the melodic wondrous of a symphony orchestra began.

.  The intermission finding many of the classical music patronage partaking of the champagne and wine selections available in the foyer annex,  Gary reasoning it was a little early to indulge.   A familiar figure approached,  greeting Gary,  Jay Jolly,  the hospital administrator and his wife.  Gary being conscious that Jay’s wife Carol possessed a baccalaureate in music, and performed with the prestigious  Wichita Grand Opera.   The couple immediately mentioning the guest tenors outstanding performance, noting the fact that Gary had traveled from Anthony for the special event.   Gary asserting,  he often attends the symphony programs,  but finding it more discretionary not to give a more correct explanation of today’s appearance,  a predilection for Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier,  sustaining his employer’s augmented impression of his classical musical edification.   The sounds of the chimes announcing the culmination of the interlude,  the concert once again to commence.  With the performance concluding,  on his return to Anthony Gary was somewhat convivial,  accepting Jay’s respective acknowledgment to his concert attendance  and the perception presented.

.  She was one of those individuals,  when you saw her approaching in the hospital corridor,  her expression would afford whether a person would greet her with a smile and a  “Good Morning” or remain silent and pass on bye.   Dorothy Garancosky,  a somewhat elderly surgical nurse was responsible for supervising all aspects of the surgery department,  it was her domain, the surgery suites,  supply and sterilization rooms, ruling with an iron fist,  no one questioning her authority.   Gary as Plant Services Manager was responsible for acknowledging Dorothy’s requests,  his housekeeping department engaged in cleansing only the surgical suite scrub-room,  immediately after a surgery, the dominion possessing surgical nurse preferring to wipe down and sterilize the operating rooms herself and followed by a requisition to rise the boiler pressure,  enabling her to sterilize the surgical instrument in the steam actuated autoclave having them ready for another use.

.  A morning encounter finding Dorothy halting Gary,  requesting him to ‘gown-up’, meaning scrubs, shoe covers, head covering, gloves and accompany her to surgery to examine the hospital’s primary operating table,  during her cleansing, having discovered an oily substance beneath it.   Upon examination, the Plant Manager  discovering drops of  hydraulic fluid,  apparently seeping from the area of the lift cylinder which raised and lowered the table.  Gary concluding that the problem was serious, deciding to confront his long time maintenance employee Roy Stein,  questioning him about the situation.  Roy disclosing that it was brought to his attention in the past, and he had remedied the problem by applying a silicone adhesive to the leakage area.  Gary immediately coming to a conclusion,  Roy’s solution was totally unacceptable, realizing not only an endangerment to a person undergoing surgery if the table were to unexpectedly lower during a surgery procedure,  but also a possible legal liability.   Conferring with Dorothy,  discovering she had lobbied for a much needed updated table in the past, but because of budgetary restraints, her lobbying was to no-avail, Gary giving her an assurance,  he would resolve the problem.

.  Taking it upon himself he writing formal risk management report documenting Dorothy’s conversation and his findings, but after some forethought deciding not to follow protocol and wait on the Safety Committee,  but handing the report directly to Jay Jolly, the administrator.   Jay instructing Gary remedy the situation and get back to him.  Gary discovering the table was purchased through a medical supply company in Colorado. Placing a call,  then directed to the manufacturer for parts and service.  The factory rep. finding another liability question because of the age of the table,  suggesting that the hospital might be better served to replace the table rather than incur the expense of parts and a service call only to find that it should be replaced.    Gary relaying his findings,  including the representatives suggested replacement, Jay deciding that expediency was important,  deciding not to put the surgical table out for bids,  accepting the medical supply companies suggested replacement model,   Dorothy getting a new surgical table and Gary new respect from Dorothy.

A Kansas State Fair Experience….#210 (the 90’s)

April 30, 2016

Kansas State Fair – Hutchinson

The Buick was navigational correct, headed due north on highway 14 towards Kingman, then 10 mile east on US 54 and back north on state highway 17, the destination, Hutchinson and the Kansas State Fair.  For some unknown reason Gary suspecting that the earth’s magnetic field was misaligned in Hutch, having no difficulty driving to the Fair Grounds, but always getting his sense of direction turned around when leaving, having to rely on Jan to address highway 17 south.  The late Saturday morning journey finding the Kansas weather for the third week of September most cooperative, this time of year a smorgasborg of conditions, choose your day and your temperature, thankful for the passing of the summer’s sweltering heat.  On arrival,  Gary having no problems parking, the directing attendants on South Main St. and the parking area giving no options, you parked where directed.  Disembarking, everyone thankful for the open-air-shuttle ride to one of the entrance gates.   Once inside the family having no problems addressing the midway, just follow the flow.

North American Midway Entertainment

Lake Talbott

Robert and Sandi, 13 and 12 years of age were given their freedom to roam the midway, but unbeknownst to them, dad when not accompanying them was keeping a watchful eye from a distance.  Gary having been acquainted with midway concessionaires years earlier in Oklahoma City was well aware of the means employed for them to show a profit.  He did capitalize on the barkers mistake at the target dartboard, the rule is to allow a customer only three darts at a time, the participant having to place three darts in the 50 cent size circle.  The concessionaire mistakenly giving Gary six darts, the added number allowing him to better align his aim with success, chalking up three hits and one large stuffed animal.  There were many permanent mainstays on the 280 acres of the Hutchinson State Fairgrounds, over twenty buildings, many open year round to provide for a variety of activities.  The grounds includes a small botanical garden and lake for rowing which was formed from a sand pit dug during the construction of the Fairgrounds Grandstand in 1928.  Lake Talbott, named for Joe Talbott, a pioneer teamster on the Medicine Lodge and Sun City cattle trails, who was appointed the first Fair superintendent on its inaugural opening in 1934.  Talbot went on to live until 1954, passing at the age of 101.  Gary finding the history of the Kansas Fair visualized by the exhibits, discovering the changes made thru the years and little known events such as the fair grounds landscaping and original buildings were built using prison labor and a portion of the ground was used as an internment camp for WWII German POW’s.

Miniature train provides a restful tour

Ye Old Mill – built in 191

Inside Ye Ole Mill gloomy cave

The two rides that Gary enjoyed were both permanent fixtures at the Fairgrounds.  The first being the miniature train that circled the large enclosed encampment.  The echoing sound of its whistle not only delighting the younger generation, but penetrating the memories of the older adults too.  The enjoyable ride not only furnishing a restful sit, but making it possible for the riders to view exhibits at the far ends of the grounds, enabling a decision whether to venture the distance.  The other exhibited ride remains the Fair’s oldest concession constructed in 1915, ” Ye Olde Mill “,  a water way boat trip thru a darkened cave like tunnel, the posted sign from the past written in the vernacular of the past, proclaiming  “A gloomy cave of gleesome gladness”.  Gary finding North American Midway entertainment pretty much the same every year, but this year a popular new exhibit, a swinging replica of a boat able to provide seating for forty people.  Jan and Sandi beaming to board ship and experience its pendulum progression.  Robert and Dad deciding to forgo the boat ride, opting for what they considered a more harrowing experience, the two person Wild Mouse.  An invitation extended, but Jan and Sandi declining to venture aboard this rickety looking contraption.

A pendulum boat ride

A pendulum boat ride

Can’t resist a funnel Cake

Gary and Jan when asked what was the best part of attending the Kansas State Fair, the answer was always the same, “the food”.   No hamburgers, hot dogs or french fries, not when you have Bavarian Smoked Sausage, a Hungarian Rhapsody on a toasted bun, deep-fried Vidalia Blooming Onions, funnel cakes,  a bounty list of delightful diligence, an array of substances never found in a restaurant.  A close second for focused enjoyment was the Grandstand entertainment, performers demonstrating their talent in concert, but the original purpose for the gathering still the biggest attraction of them all, the displaying of over 33,000 exhibits by people from every walk of life.  The ranchers and their animals, farmer and produce, the homemaker with their canning, the commercial exhibitors with a walk thru of RV’s, trailers, farming equipment, home products and business opportunities, as cornucopia of human endeavor.  Gary realizing why so many like his father-in-law,  stay in their travel trailer, spending up to a week encamped at the Fairgrounds.

Grand Stand performance - The Oak Ridge Boys

Grandstand performance – The Oak Ridge Boys

A last look before leaving

Gary noticing the midway crowd beginning to thin, it was nearing show time at the grandstand, the popular Oak Ridge Boys performing.  The rural Kansas family having determined which Grandstand feature they would enjoy.  The entertainment chosen on a rotating family basis, everyone in agreement with this year’s selection decided by Jan, The Oak Ridge Boys.  Gary in previous years discovering not everyone agreed with some of his choices, opting for Red Skelton and even television impressionist Rich Little, but one couldn’t go wrong with a Country & Western entertainer, Bud Murrow’s favorite, fiddle playing Charlie Daniels and the Charlie Daniels Band.  The evening concert beginning, Gary discovering another new addition to the Grandstand, two large projection screens on either side of the stage enabling a closer view for those sitting in the upper sections.  With darkness prevailing, The Oak Ridge Boys presentation coming to a conclusion, a tired family filing out, once again participating as members of the flow only this time exiting the State Fair and with no shuttle ride provided to the parking areas, a slow but tedious walk, concluding a fast but tenacious day.

A Sampling Of History……#211 (the 90’s)

April 29, 2016


.  Jim White was pansophical, a person who’s engineering logic was respected by all whom called upon him,  Gary distinguishing the 75-year-old unlike anyone he had ever encountered.   A little known communal aspect,  Jim’s induction of proficiency wasn’t limited to mechanical or integral engineering,  but also an intrinsic sphere of  many interest.  Jim displaying a vivid knowledge of  history,  literature and the arts, believing its interest to be a depleting trait not found in the new generation, a new circumscribed field of study dictating their lives.   The  Retiree,  his copious years as Anthony’s City Engineer giving him insight to city governmental functioning and acquiring community respect for his many engineering accomplishments, the foremost, the design and installation of three diesel-powered generators as an auxiliary power source for the city of Anthony.  Gary’s first experience with Jim White,  other than his employment interview at the hospital was one of crisis after the failure of  the hospitals 100 ton Trane Air Conditioning unit.  Roy Stein  having mentioned it was the hospitals original central AC Unit.  Gary as Plant Service Manager calling upon Jim after a disclosure from the Trane Company in Wichita,  stating they would be unable to make a service call for at least several days.  Jim’s analogy of the quandary when inspecting the boiler room located 100 ton monstrosity,  it had sustained critical damage,  and in his opinion,  it was not plausible to even attempt to repair this relic from the past.  Gary immediately surmising  his options,  asking Jim to accompany him to relate the problem to Hospital Administrator Jay Jolly.

Jim calmly addressing the situation to the administrator, and without hesitation responding with an innovative solution,  revealing,  his son,  a refrigeration engineers, owner of a commercial air conditioning company in Midwest City, Oklahoma,  offering to call and inquire about any serviceable used units that could alleviate the immediate problem.  Jim placing the call,  his son’s  company having two serviceable used 60 ton Carrier units,  each unit possessing a pair of 30 ton compressors.  The elderly engineer emphasizing,  that with Jays approval,  he could journey to Oklahoma for a 60 ton Carrier unit and confident it could be coupled into the existing system.  The following afternoon found Jim returning from Oklahoma, secured in the back of his pickup was the first of the 60 ton Carrier units.

.  Gary receiving questions of concern from the hospital staff about the air conditioning, relating,  it would be up and running soon, and fortunately there were two areas not affected with the loss of the main system,  the kitchen and surgery suites,  both possessing roof top units.   With the inoperative 100 ton Trane still in place it was necessary to install the first 60 ton unit outside adjacent to the boiler room,  its ground level windows,  allowing access to the circulating pumps water supply line from the idle unit. The first Carrier unit was up and running  two days after arrival. The next project entertained was the removal of the large Trane unit,  its voluminous size and weight was such, the only way for removal was to employ a cutting torch to reduce the unit into sections.  Gary experienced a hands-on use of an acetylene torch for the first time.   Expediency was not of an essence for the boiler room installed second unit,  but once completed,  the two units provided the hospital a cost saving cooling capability.  the  units provided power options, employing 30 to a hundred twenty tons,  according to necessity, but foremost for Gary  the knowledge there was redundancy,  no longer a lone solitary unit for cooling the 48 bed acute hospital and clinic.

.  Gary having taken some time off, seated in Jim White’s Buick journeying east on highway 160,  the elderly man having extended an invitation for Gary to accompany him to Oxford,  14 miles east of Wellington,  a small farming community on the Arkansas River.   The two entering the small hamlet,  exiting north on a dirt road appropriately named Old Mill Rd, soon coming upon a structure of another era, a paddle wheel powered  mill,  Jim mentioning it had been placed on the National Historic Registry in 1983.    The grain mill  was constructed in 1874  on the newly acquired land which was ceded by a 1870 treaty with the Osage Indians, a  state-of-the-art facility for its time.  It was  built by D.N. Cook and John Hewitt,  the two having a 3 mile rill dug parallel to the Arkansas River,  providing an aquatic flow to enable the paddle wheel to power a water turbine generator,  providing the mill with electricity for its operating function. The mill operation having a restoration program initiated  in 19 89 with  an addition of a small restaurant and gift shop complementing the revitalized structure.   Gary wondering the reason for Jim to share this part of Kansas history and the electricity dispensing water turbine generator, a remnant from a by-gone era.   Gary soon discovered,  Jim was responsible for restoring it to an operational status, although the water flow rate was no longer available for any practical function, Jim’s achievement was still impressive.

.  Before returning to Anthony, the two walked over to another grain and flour mill built in 1935,  and still actively producing its flour product.  entering the mill, Jim was well received by the employees, greeted by all, the elderly celebrity motioning to Gary to join him on a wooden slat conveyor to access the top of the structure.  Gary, Hesitant at first, not wanting to show his uncertainty, mirroring Jim, grasping the cable, stepping on the moving conveyor slat, an upward journey to a platform at the top of the mill.  Following Jim’s example upon reaching the top, stepping off the conveyor onto the platform.  The high platform  giving view to the integral working of the milling process.  Upon their departure the two visitors were presented with a five pound cloth sack of flour, a product of the mill.  Gary appreciative for the invitation to experience a sampling of Kansas culture and history in the company of such a multifarious individual, a commodity of yesteryear but still appropriately complimentary today.




The Foreseeable and the Unexpected ….#212 (the 90’s)

April 27, 2016


She was one of those individuals,  when you saw her approaching in the hospital corridor,  her expression would afford whether a person would greet her with a smile and a  “Good Morning” or remain silent and pass on bye.   Dorothy Garancosky,  a somewhat elderly surgical nurse was responsible for supervising all aspects of the surgery department,  it was her domain, the surgery suites,  supply and sterilization rooms, ruling with an iron fist,  no one questioning her authority.   Gary as Plant Services Manager was responsible for acknowledging Dorothy’s requests,  his housekeeping department engaged in cleansing only the surgical suite scrub-room,  immediately after a surgery, the dominion possessing surgical nurse preferring to wipe down and sterilize the operating rooms herself and followed by a requisition to rise the boiler pressure,  enabling her to sterilize the surgical instrument in the steam actuated autoclave having them ready for another use.

. In the past,  the east wing of the Anthony Hospital was employed for acute or swing bed patients, but times having  changed,  and the east wing was host to private pay long-term care residences with special needs.  Administrator Jay Jolly making Gary  aware of a forthcoming accommodation change for the wing, Jay disclosing a project that would require room modifications in preparation for a new clientele. The instructions were puzzling but quite clear,  a removal of the receptacle outlets that allowed access to the vacuum suction,  oxygen,  call lights, plus a disabling of breakers to all wall electrical outlets.  Gary complying,  the implementation in effect,  eliminated the rooms from any hospital application.  The hospital having secured a contract with the State of Oklahoma Department of Health Child and Family Guidance,  to provide live in accommodations for child counseling.   These were distressed youths gone astray, removed from their family settings and institutionalized for corrective guidance.     The arrival of the clientele gave reason for the vicissitude, all were teenage boys,  their age ranging from 13 thru 16 years.

. The new youthful inhabitants were not without causing a disturbance,  their stay giving  opportunity to explore ways of hindrance, finding it necessary to secure the windows from the outside to prevent an occasional exiting.  The clogging of toilets a regular activity,  the youths establishing a perplexing method that kept Roy and Gary confounded until discovery,  a pencil placed in the commode, once embroiled in toilet paper would flush, and could lodge in the narrower non-viewable trap area, causing a backup of toilet paper and excreta.  The ingenuity of the young continued,  Gary receiving a call from the hospital at 11:30 p.m.,  a call light activation from a room in the east wing was registering on the nursing call panel.   Gary knowing  the call lights in the east wing had been disconnected,  but realizing with these kids, the impossible could be possible.  With late night  journey to the hospital, the nursing staff relating,  the call light activation had ceased just before his arrival.

. Gary probing the darken east wing with a flashlight, not wanting to waken the apparent sleepers, finding the call light cover plates were all in place.  Returning home, Gary answering the phone for a second time, it was the hospital, the call light in that room having once again broadcast it’s presence,  entailing another venture to the hospital.   Again,  the signal had ceased by arrival time,  questioning the nursing staff to why they didn’t investigate that particular room immediately.  Checking the room for the second time, the occupants still resembling somnolence,  but this time finding a clue,  on the floor beneath the call light plate,  a discovery of sheet rock dust,  someone had removed and replaced the screws holding the covering plate.   Removing the plate, finding the plastic wire capping’s  having been removed,  apparently, the youths discovering they could activate the call system by touching the low voltage bare wires ends together.  A quick  remedy,  Gary positioning the wires further down inside the wall and out of reach of prying hands.

.  With the advent of the Oklahoma disadvantaged student protocol,  the Kansas state government deciding to get involved, a new regulatory requirement was instituted,  a provision for designated of classrooms other than the patient rooms available in the east wing.  The Hospital Board voting to renovate part of the unused basement storage expanse beneath the wing,  the area to provide  classrooms and a large conference room.  Gary receiving an assignment to make the area ready for the contractor.  The basement designated area, was cluttered, containing a never-ending supply of stored boxed documents, Gary estimating over 500 boxes of hospital records, the exception,  patient medical record stored in a small locked safe room.  It was apparent that no one had shredded the countless documents in years, some having  permanent retention, others having none or an expired retention date. 

The monumental task was initiated,  records requiring retention put aside,  the remaining majority stacked for shredding,  the only difficulty,  the hospital’s shredding capability consisted of a single small individual office shredder.  Gary assaying the situation,  conferring with Jay,  providing a unique solution.  He approach two Wichita office equipment suppliers about purchasing a commercial size shredder,  providing the distributors would allow a 30 day trial period and delivery.  The shredder deliveries ensued,  the requested two commercial shredders arriving,  the shredding process beginning, Roy and Gary realigning their work schedule, every day allotting as much time as possible for the shredding endeavor.  The process coming to a conclusion, taking the full 30 days to exhaust supply of documents to be shredded, both shredders were well worn, but the better one being purchased.  Gary, not normally inquisitive, but on occasion,  finding the shredding of confidential material sometimes enlightening,  providing an insight to behind the scene negotiations and decisions by the hospital board,  but adjudging the information was obtained surreptitiously,  a decision,  it would forever remain arcane.  

Roberts Day Of Sports Acclaim……..#213 (the 90’s)

April 25, 2016



The game of basketball was conceived in 1891 for the YMCA in Springfield Massachusetts by James Neismith,  and has been transformed thru the years, but the objectivity remains the Same.   it’s annotation of Character an arena for Participation,  a platform of resolve for  the exemplars of integrity and skill which demonstrates the contestants caliber of accomplishments.  A 94 by 50 foot designated placard portrayed on the mezzanine  with a 18 inch diameter metal copula besieged with a lattice,  posted 10 feet in height on a raised  6  by 3 and 1/2 lath addressing both ends of a playing concourse.   The attending aficionado accomplished on elevated staging,  enabling one to view the court to observe the event that was about to unfold.  the contesting designates,  each a five member contingency, to place a 9 point 3 inch diameter inflated sphere thru the opposing teams guarded hoop. Let the game Begin.


Gary mounting a mid-court  third row seat in the gymnasium bleachers at the Anthony K thru 8  School,  a familiar setting,  having attended the Hornets basketball games in the past,  his son Robert a member of the team.   Gary was never critical of his son’s basketball prowess,  having established a pole-mounted backboard and hoop beside the driveway at their home,  shooting baskets with the youngster,  encouraging him to practice.   Gary having spent his youthful days in high school as  sports editor on the school paper, attending and writing about almost every school sporting event for a year and a half and was well acquainted with the ascribed outstanding school athletes and was very much aware that some team members lacked the natural athletic ability of the others.   It wasn’t Roberts  lack of physical attributes,  his stature was equitable to those his age, but the absence of a focused desire for competitive athletics, something which is paramount in those who excel in aggressive sports activities.


Today’s game was one of special interest,  Anthony was playing Kiowa,   Gary familiar with all the Kiowa South Barber Tornado team members, having worked at the Kiowa school for  five years before the family moved to Anthony and most were past classmates of Roberts.    Robert’s game time was negligible,  as in most school sporting events,  the starters playing most of the game time,  the less proficient members of the team activated for an obligatory period.


The game was in progress, the two teams keeping pace with each other with Brad Rathgeber and Mark Zimmerman making outstanding baskets for Kiowa.  Roberts playing time against his previous alumni was very minimal, the game progressing each team trading baskets,  the scoring was equitable,  the clock winding down to less than a minute,  Kiowa seizing a one point lead,  the Anthony Coach calling a timeout.


With the team returning to the floor  to Gary’s and the assembled arrays amazement,  Robert,  a non-starter taking to the court and more astonishing,  the ball was in-bounded to him.   Robert slowly dribbling the ball up the court,  a grin on his face,  the Kiowa team,  his old classmates  waiting for him to cross the mid court line before ambushing his forward progress.   Stepping up his dribble,  zeroing in towards the Kiowa goal,  the clock down to less than ten seconds and about to expire,  Robert launching the ball,  its path off its mark,  missing the hoop,  a disappointment,  but at the same time the sound of the referee’s whistle echoing in the Gym.  The referee pointing to Kiowa,  during the attempt to block the shot Robert was fouled,  two attempts at free throws to ensue.


A hushed silence fell over the gym,  the crowd silenced with the turn of events,  the Anthony Hornets Coach  standing smugly with his arms folded.   Jim Jacobs,  the Kiowa Coach was pacing,  the remainder of the Kiowa bench sitting in silence,  the Anthony team,  enlivening confidence to Robert that he could make the baskets.   The referee handing Robert the ball,  both teams lining up on the key in anticipation for the first free throw attempt.   Standing at the free-throw line,  the young man dribbled the ball in place several times,  raised the ball,  sending it soaring towards the hoop,  rebounding off the backboard,  a banked shot addressing the hoop,  the basket tying the score,  with another free throw remaining.  The ball once again in Robert’s hands,  this time a concentrated effort could be fathomed from the expression on his face.   Gary wondering if his son remembered a past demonstration of concentration with a basketball,  it was in the Kiowa gym,  an after school exhibition for Robert,  the father validating  a consolidation of effort,  a backwards,  over-your-head,  half court basket,  not once but twice in a row.  All eyes were on Robert,  bouncing the ball just one time,  his hands grasping it,  giving the push shot its rotation,  sending the possible game winning sphere arching towards the hoop.

The Anthony team


Gary questioned the coaches decision to insert Robert into the game,  down by one point and with less than a minute remaining,  was the coach proclaiming a confidence in the boy’s  ability or just maybe a psychological reason,  knowing the relationship between Robert and the opposing team,  conjecturing that the youth would be emboldened to rise to the occasion, only the coach knew.  The Kiowa team was stunned,  the crowd exuberant,  Gary experiencing a spine-tingling perception of pride, as he watched the ball swishing thru the net, a contest winner for  the Hornets and Roberts day of sports acclaim.

Paradoxical Events….#214 (the 90’s)

April 22, 2016


.  With the advent of summer, the school year coming to a conclusion with a final celebrated occasion,  family and a host of parents assembling to witnessed Robert and the eighth grade class of the Anthony School elevated to the auspices of Chaparral high school.   The event sponsoring a formal dress, Roberts sister Sandra,  a reflection of a teenage young lady,  glowing at the opportunity to be present at her brothers commencement.  The Kiowa Murrow family in attendance, and an unexpected visitor, Janice Bahr , an inimitable exponent of influence for Robert and Sandi.  Janice a stalwart employee of the First State Bank,  a sister in the Apostolic Christian Church,  her church activity included administering the tutelage of the middle-school age Sunday School class,  her husband Jeff, eight years Janice’s junior, an energetic young agriculturist,  farming with  his father-in-law, Joe Frieden,  also answering a call, serving as a recent addition to the Church Ministry Pulpit.

.  Her Anthony  presence was a gratifying surprise for Robert,  Gary having experienced her pivotal role,   working with her as a fellow church Sunday School teacher,  he conjectured her appearance as a shining quality of her persona,  this was Janice.The convocation concluded,  the family returning home  acknowledging  Roberts attainment.   Gary recalling his experience upon his midterm, January graduation from the 9th grade in Junior High,  finding an easy transition to the larger 2500 student Oakland Castlemont High School,  his two best friends Hank Ball and Don Bryant,  both high school sophomores,  their presence making his inauguration to a new school affable and fluent.  Gary knowing his son would have no difficulties coalescing..

.  Gary was somewhat disconsolate, when the Anthony Hospitals began seeking a new administrator, Jay Jolly bestowing a notice of departure, a quest to expand his career ambitions near the rural mountain reaches of Montana, accepting the Administrative position at St. Luke’s Community Hospital in Ronan Montana.   Jay a community applauded individual, personally and professionally and  well-respected by the Anthony public.  Gary’s admiration for Jay was prodigious, a congenial deference for the departing Administrator’s commitment to the hospital and the community.  Gary able to acquire an insight to his personality and political concepts that the hospital staff wasn’t aware of, ensuing harmonious social visits to Jays office after hospital business hour, Jay administering a 9-6 work day, the Business Office staff exiting at 5.00 p.m.

.  Gary was introduced to Jay’s parents whom resided in Freeport, a once thriving community of 700 from an earlier era,  its population now numbering 8,  documented as the smallest incorporated town in the nation.   The town’s remaining storefront now boarded up consisting of a single active building,  its primary cartel,  the US Post Office and the corner entrance Freeport State Bank,  The building located across from a grain elevators operated by the Danville Coop.  Jay’s mother Joyce,  discharging the duties of mayor,  his father Russ,  ministering a far-reaching congregation of 60 at the Freeport Presbyterian Church.  A youthful Russ Jolly meeting his future wife Joyce,  a native of Harper County,  while fortuitously  visiting an aunt and uncle in Chicago.  Jay being raised in Chicago, his father Russ employed by NBC,  a University Professorship followed, then answering a call to the Presbyterian Clergy for  13 years before accepting the agrarian Freeport Church position in 1981.  The Presbyterian position enabling a move to Kansas, Jay  mother returning to her Harper County roots, having graduated from the Anthony High School.

.  Besides a Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration,  Gary very much aware that Jay was an accomplished musician,  his wife Carol,  vocally prodigious with a baccalaureate in classical music.   The Hospital Administrator,  a polished baritone horn artist,  a performer in The Down Home Dixieland Band,  a local Anthony  group mostly  composed of senior citizen musicians,  who exhibited their musical talents in civic events promoting the community.   Jay previously inquiring if Gary would be interested in joining the company of Dixieland proponents  when the current elderly keyboardist retired because of ill-health.  Gary giving the opportunity serious consideration,  but concluding otherwise,  his work related commitment an envelopment,  but still the thought produced a remembrance of a by-gone day,  giving a rise to a lingering sequestered aspiration.  Gary no longer a craftsman of music,  enjoying Jay and the bands participation in the Anthony Veterans Day Parade,  their musical entourage trucking down Main Street aboard a trailer,  the swells of dixieland jazz cascading to the delight of those lining the street.  The departure of Jay Jolly from Anthony would find a vacuousness  not only at the hospital,  but in the Harper County community.   


A More Suitable Countenance…#215 (the 90’s)

April 20, 2016


.  Anthony Lakes assimilation of tranquility, the quiescence was meaningful,  a temporal escape from the exigency of the work environment,  Gary desiring to escape the inveterate monotony of accepted activities,  not an aversion,  but a diversion.   The sun beginning its departure in the west,  the introduction of shadows silhouetting the embodiment of the tree line horizon,  the compass of the surroundings void of populace to ail natures ambiance.   The silence and aura of the nocturnal presentation,  a reprieve from the circadian family and work related responsibilities,  to aught a reflection of brevet,  but rather to assimilate the tranquility of the moment.

.  Gary perceived the lack of concurrence and interest the residences of Anthony found in the city owned 153 acre lake.    Ascertaining in the late evening hours thru the week,  its rural setting,  a scant 1 ½ miles north of the city limits,  for some reason its providence normally abandoned except for an occasional solitary figure and  in all probability exhibiting the same reputable proclivity as Gary.   Much of the lakes activity was in the summertime,  weekend visitors from Wichita and outlying communities participating in boating,  skiing and a utilization of the recreational hookups.   The fishing benefaction,  disconcerting,  the stocking of species very minimal,  but adjoining the lake the added convenience of a nine-hole Municipal Golf Course and Gun Club,  giving credence for additional activity and a provisional catalyst for out-of-town visitors.

.  The scent of paint thinner in the southwest corner of Gary’s North Springfield residences basement.    its source,  the three gallon brush cleaning container made from a holiday popcorn c can with a screen implant,  ala Bob Ross,  the renown PBS Happy Painter.   Gary finding Bob Ross’s wet tarpaulin technique, the guess so covered canvas providing a foundation for painting landscapes,  conveying an immediate depiction of the intended likeness.   The canvas,  like the piano keyboard,  an expression of conveyance,  giving  external interface to the inner person.   The novice artist finding the greatest difficulty, the arresting of creativity,  when to conclude and pin a work as finished.

.  Besides  his accumulation of visionary oil paints,  easel residing  in the corner was his airgometer exercise bike,  weight lifting bench, and dormant band equipment able to boost the sound from a cassette player and reel to reel tape recorder to a concert hall sound..  The opposite side, the  southeast corner of the expansive 15 hundred square foot  basement was lent to labor,  a work bench constructed with 2 by ten’s,  addressed with a mammoth vise and grinder,  a station for various electrical and manual carpentry appliances,  with a host of mechanical wrenches and drivers.  Gary preparing for the future task of commuting the long neglected  home  to a more suitable countenance,  plus a future mammoth undertaking,  a painting of the three-storied goliath

Jan,  an apostle of repertory trappings,  having accumulated over 32 boxes of miscellaneous items,  some never un-laden from prior changes of residency.   Gary determined to find an organized habitat for the disarray that was stacked in the basement,  aspiring that someday she would inventory her questionable, but treasured collection.   A solution commenced with a journey to Anthony’s Home Lumber & Supply on  W. Washington,  the mill ripping  8 ft. 2×4’s  into  2×2’s to be used in the construction of open shelving to contain the abundant storage boxes.  The project concluded,  Gary  having constructed a 32 ft. long,  4 ft high shelving structure,  able to station the boxes,  three tiers high off the floor,  the storage console fashioned against the east wall,  the organized storage area providing the basement with a presence of symmetry.

The laundry chute from the second floor bathroom to the basement was a perfect conduit for Gary’s next project,  Robert and Sandi desiring a telephone and television acquaintance in their  bedrooms.   Gary discovering the basement playing host to the entrance of the phone and television circuits for the residence,  employing an extension from the basement wall phone and a connection to the television cable,  finding little effort to link them both, to the bathroom laundry chute as a conveyance to the second floor.   The proximity of the bedrooms to the chute,  requiring little aspiration for the completion of the project,  both bedrooms accessing the new convenience.   Gary concluding, it was not a professional employment,  but the concept absolved the application.

A Grievous California Summons ……#216 (the 90’s)

April 16, 2016

Never forgotten

Never forgotten

.  The Friday of May 22 1992 was adherent as most,  Gary returning home from his quotidian pursuit at the Anthony Hospital,  initiating a new home project,  having received a mail order garden-supply catalog,  subsequently ordering 300,  12 inch  bare root hedge plants to designate a separation from his neighbor’s yard on the north, and the city access alley on the west.  The early evening having arrived, Gary about to resume his outdoor project,  the family having seen Robert off for a weekend with a friend, a journey for an extramural adventure at a campground and lake in western Kansas.  The sound of the phone interrupting his return to the yard work, the call was from California,  his mother on the line,  Gary detecting a somber inflection in her voice, then the disclosure, his 73 year old father having passed away that morning at the cabin at Pioneer.

.  The call was brief,  the initial shock silencing,  the reality and affliction of  what had transpired was starting to emerge,  but a acumen of rationale emanated,  first things first.  Robert needed to be notified and return from his travels,  Jan placing a call to the Highway Patrol,  relating the campers travel and destination,  requesting the Authorities intercept and inform them of the situation.   A short time later,  a telephone call, the travelers having been notified of the circumstances,  Jan proceeding west to retrieve Robert.  Saturday morning Gary placing a call to the new Interim Hospital Administrator,  informing him of the circumstances and that he and Jan would be absent from their duties,  Jan having been established as Director of Nurses the previous fall,  the two hospital employees yet unable to give the Administrator any definitive time frame for their return.

.  Gary disclosing his family would arrive as soon as round-trip flight reservations could be obtained,  but his Mother was forthright,  insisting that he make one-way reservations,  wanting him to take possession of his Fathers Chevrolet Blazer for his return to Kansas.   This was troubling,  it was not an easy to say no to his Mother,  especially at this junction in time,  after several attempts to persuade her otherwise, he agreed.   Gary proceeded to communicate with his children in Oklahoma City,  securing they were appraised of the circumstances in California, discovering all were mindful,  his daughter Marlo, husband Chris and Grandson Garrett,  as well as his oldest son Scott,  deciding they would foster the road trip and drive to California.

.  The sequential calling of airlines began,  presenting some difficulty,  never at any time in his flight experience had Gary ever attempted to make reservations on such a short notice and was totally a gasp at the pricing for one-way tickets.   To his dismay,  another setback,  every airline having cancelled its bereavement fare policy because of the airline industry’s economic difficulties.   The airline reservations finally accomplished at a premium cost,  Gary’s father-in-law,  Bud Murrow, agreeing to provide the families transportation to Mid Continent Airport in Wichita.   The grievous California journey having commence.

.  The airline flight concluding,   the family’s being meant by Gary’s sister Kay for transportation to Columbia, his sister’s Nancy’s residence. With his  Fathers previous heart problems, Gary’s mom and dad spent the winter months in his sister Nancy’s Modesto rental house,  returning to their secluded mountain Pioneer home in the spring.  Gary was desiring knowledge of the circumstances,  his Mother discerning the saga of the tragic event.    Rising in the morning, returning discovering his dad not breathing and unresponsive.  Immediately calling 911,  the responder questioning her,  dispatching an ambulance,  and a verbal attempt to explain the CPR procedure to the very distraught 71 year old.  A futile effort was undertaken but to no avail, Gary’s mother alone in the silence of her surroundings, the torturous waiting, the ambulance having to traverse a time consuming 16 miles of highway from Jackson,  and locate the Pioneer Township secluded residence.   The concluding EMS ambulance written report addressed some vital signs during the run to the hospital,  stating the patient expiring after arrival.

.  Gary having spent years with the Kiowa Ambulance Service,  summon two annotations,  the first being the Unwritten Golden Rule of EMS,   “No one dies in the ambulance”,   EMS personnel proceed with CPR until they reach their hospital destination.   The second,  but little known annotation,  most ambulance protocol dictates that  EMS personnel when finding the response person deceased, are to remain until the coroner, or an authoritative person arrives.   Gary surmised that his father had passed long before the ambulance arrived. The logical explanation,  the Jackson EMS may not have been subject to the protocol,  so they initiated a transport,  administering CPR, and documenting their induced vitals.

.  Gary acknowledged the summary of his Mother’s experience,  but it was no vindication for the inner pain he experienced with the loss,  performing an endogenous audit of himself,  concluding a consequential fact,  thru the years, a failure to find time to know his Father,  the son abiding in a self-interest world for the past thirty-three years.  Gary accepting the mounting anguish within,  enduring  the self-accusation,  of what could have been,  should have been and now,  will never be.

A depiction Of Closure………..#217 (the 90’s)

April 14, 2016

Gathering to pay tribute

Gathering to pay tribute

.  Everything in life has a meaning,  once this is accepted,  a semblance of reasoning can prevail,  the embroidered family members beginning to arrive, an altogether acknowledgement of the architect of the Willson’s,  Gary’s dad.   The presence of Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren giving a buoyancy to the milestone,  inaugurating a celebrated festive aura, to what otherwise may have been a solemn occasion.   The assemblage of youthful Grandchildren having been inaugurated only once before, the passing years giving a contrasting presence,  most no longer ascribed with adolescence,  a number having found adulthood inherent with family countenance.

.  The late May weather providing a warmth,  the sojourning family accumulation accepting the attraction of Pine Mountain Lake.   Katherine and Don DaValle,  Gary’s sister and brother-in-law,  extending an invitation for those desiring to journey Priest Grade to Groveland,  and experience the realm of their Pine Mountain Lake addition.    The lake front house giving access to a sandy beach,  the water playing host to those with children,  their water-borne activity a gladdening entertainment,  the apperception of youth a joy to behold,  except for the axiomatic reason for the assemblage

.  The day of desideratum was approaching,  the funeral home acknowledging a viewing schedule,  Gary querying his mother and sisters in accompanying him to bestow his last respects.   His sisters Katherine and Nancy adamant in their refusal,  the antediluvian aphorism,  they want to remember him as he was,  not as he is this day.   Gary applying persuasion,  his mother finally agreeing to attend,   Scott and Katherine’s step-son Eddy also in agreement to his request.   The Chevrolet Blazer journeying north,  Scott and Eddy following in Scotts car on  the winding two lane highway 49,   the 45 miles not an ardent passage,  Gary questioning his inner-self,  his response to seeing his Dad for the last time.   Entering the funeral home viewing room,  approaching a flag draped open casket,  Gary accepted his Father laying at rest,  an expression of peace reflecting his countenance.

.  A chapel observance,  family members and a scattering of friends in attendance,  the sound of Bob Willson’s favorite song,  Danny Boy,  interwoven amidst the recorded music discoursed before the brief service, and a brief abeyance in the solemn atmosphere,  something bringing a comforting smile to those in attendance, knowing great grandfather is also smiling.  little great granddaughter Katy dancing to the music around his coffin.  The coffin remaining closed,  a request of Gary’s mother and sister‘s,  the elder son not in agreement,  but his supposition invalidated.   The entourage  leaving the chapel,  proceeding up the Jackson grade,  a déjà vu moment,  a picture of a young boy named Mike,  sitting beside his father,  a 1940 Chevy pickup climbing the grade,  befalling the notwithstanding Argonaut and Kennedy mines to the east.   The fleeting 4 mile journey to the Sunset View Cemetery,  a newly established necropolis dedicated in 1989,  the gates of the pavilion an entrance to a diminutive but well-manicured eternal resting place.

.  Among the green field of markers,  a lone flag draped casket,  a cardinal of consciousness,  the military honor guard from  American Legion Post 108 administering a final salute to a comrade in arms,  the bugler’s sounding of taps,  a fitting farewell to a fellow veteran and soldier of life.   Words were articulated,  but needlessly for those who knew Robert Willson,  his character spoke for itself,  humble but luminous,  arbitrary but reverent,  solitary in appearance but with compassion and benevolence dwelling within.   The honor guard performing the traditional folding and presentation of the flag to the widow concluding a final tribute to the heritage foundation that enabled the Willson’s.

.  The gathering at the Columbia home of Nancy was memorable,  the solemn of a reflective experience lifted,  succumbing,  a concealed relief with its conclusion,  the abiding throng of family and visitors conversing with alternative regards,  the cloud of despondency evaporating.   Gary having the opportunity to acquaint himself with a person whom he hadn’t seen in 38 years,  his first cousin Lorraine,  the daughter of his Aunt Grace,  the only known Willson relative from his generation.   The bustle of the afternoons activity coming to a close,  the gradual departing of friends expressing condolences,  the families segregating to spirit their travel,  the evenings arrival,  a solitude , Gary, his family remaining with Nancy and his mother.  The day coming to an end,  The cloud scored golden sun,  its colorful hue descending in the west,  a Cimmerian shade of darkness starting to prevail,  a depiction of closure.


Never A Farewell To Memories…..#218 (the 90’s)

April 12, 2016

A receding presence

.  A journey to Sacramento’s Metropolitan Airport from Columbia,  a necessity for Jan’s return to Kansas,  the Anthony Hospital’s Director of Nursing making a decision to return home early rather than accompany the family on their 1600 mile journey in the Blazer.  Gary discovering a schedule for the return to Kansas was contingent upon whether his mother accepting his request that she accompany the family,  the son concluding a pause and change of atmosphere would be appropriate for her,  considering the tumultuous events of the past week.

.  An arduous event unfolding,  a return to Pioneer and the scene of the heartbreaking occurrence,  Gary,  his mother,  Robert and Sandra,  arriving at the listless residence.  The son sensing when  entering the devoid structure,  the coolness of night still present within,  the walls once a repository of vitality now silent with an aura of solitude,  a lingering semblance of something lacking.  The stillness,  an imperious bone chilling feeling and a recognition,  the once thriving entity having its essence of life removed.

The task at hand proceeding,  Gary’s mother gathering personal possession of applicable concern,  the removal of items essential for her immediate necessity and items best not ceded to a no longer inhibited residence.   Gary accommodating his Mother,  placing incidentals in the Blazer,  among them a rifle and his fathers World War II,  Japanese Nambu 8 mm. pistol,  a memento from his service in The Pacific Theaters of Saipan,  Okinawa and Korea.   An acquisition of his fathers wallet,  his mother discovering an accumulation of 13 one hundred dollar bills,  banded with a note,  “gambling money”  and tucked away on a closet shelve,  rolls of coins,  including silver dollars, an uncovering and revelation of the mans frugality.

A final commission before departing,  Gary’s mother voicing her concern for the property,  requesting the initiation of a project his father was about to commence, the scathing of the premises weed growth which rebounded every spring,  only to dry out in the summer heat and present a fire hazard,  the single strand Weed Eater brand appliance being put to use, a final calling to address the land.   The family instilled in the Blazer,  preparing to depart,  the envisage of  past  memories firming imbedded in the journals of Gary’s conscientious.   A farewell gaze, the pine of remembrance,  a retention of recollections,  a young Mike exploring the realms of hidden bounty in the woods,  real or imagined.   The toting of piers with his father,  to bear the structure,  placing them in their designated position. The assemblage of the outhouse with the celebrated Pop Graham present and the many bonfires at night,  the young family singing familiar songs from a by-gone era,  but above all, the platonic surroundings and standing  the visionary edifice, a fulfillment of his father’s dream.   The transport in motion,  a final glance in the rear view mirror,  a station of wondrous adventure and treasured times in Gary’s life receding,  a final farewell to its presence,  but never a farewell to the memories.

A parting to Gary sister Nancy and her Columbia home, the Chevrolet Blazer  traversing the highway, destination Las Vegas, an unexpected turn of events on the families return to Kansas,  Gary’s Mother,  an accomplice on the return  providing the detour incentive.   The family discovering the illuminating city prosperous with visitors,  having difficulties acquiring a vacancy in any of the prestige’s hotel accommodations.   After several unsuccessful attempts to find suitable lodging,  a final resolution,  the night’s rest would have to be employed at a motel,  but the lodging didn’t arrest the newly arrivals from patronizing the celebrated casino’s.  A fulfilling buffet meal at the Excalibur,  Robert and Sandra off to a mezzanine shopping floor,  the casino’s hypnotic slot-machine sound according an invitation to Gary’s Mother.   As a bystander,  Gary observing as his mother deposited an ample concert of silver into the dollar machine.   A ringing of bells from the one-armed bandit,  Gary’s mother watching as a bountiful supply of coins were released,  a raise in excitement,  the container overflowing with $240 in silver coins.   Gary immediately absconding $200, announcing to his beaming mother,  he would exchange the coins for $100 dollar bills,   so she could leave  the casino a winner.  Gary scurried to find the exchange counter and by the time he returned she had consigned her remaining winnings back to the machine.  The hour was getting late,  children to meet them at designated time and place in the casino for their return to the motel.   Gary couldn’t help but grin as the group traversed leaving the casino gambling floor,  his mother trailing behind,  stopping at every chance to deposit the loose change she retained in her purse,  still hoping to be another winner.

Stopping for breakfast,  then leaving Las Vegas,  attaining highway 93, the blazer journeying to the Hoover Dam.   Gary giving thoughts to stopping and engage in a tour of the magnificent structure,  but was torn between allotting time for sightseeing and his hasten to return to Kansas.   A compromise,  a decision was constituted to stop at the viewing overlook,  then continue on their trek.   Entering Kingman Arizona, an unheralded community founded in 1883 and named after Lewis Kingman a surveyor establishing the Needles Ca. to Albuquerque N.M. Atlantic-Pacific Railroad line,  when Arizona part of Nevada Territory was the 48th State was to join the Union.  A distant view from  Interstate 40 of the famous Aircraft graveyard, littered with hundreds of the “carriages of the sky”, their above ground storage a silent burial.

  A familiar passage,  the four lane highway now providing a celerity, a halting at Flagstaff for lunch before crossing into New Mexico and the high plains town of Gallup with its large railway yard, over a 150 trains traversing daily.  The family having one more provisional stop before concluding their journey, an overnight stay in Albuquerque. The sunlit morning again finding the Blazer occupants on the final span of their journey,  leaving interstate 40 at Tucumcari,  traversing northwest on highway 54,  across the panhandle of Texas,  thru the town of Guymon,  noted as the weather capital of Oklahoma,  because of its gateway location and the swift arrival of extreme weather traversing from the Colorado Rockies.   A turn eastward,  a recognizable posted highway sign,  Highway 64,  a straight 150 mile projectile to Alva,  then North thru Kiowa  and the family’s residence in Anthony,   a welcome abatement to the road weary travelers.