Archive for April, 2016

Two Lawn-Boys And A Snapper…..#209 (the 90’s)

April 30, 2016


.  It was March 18th,  Gary’s birthday,  an observance of a half  century  endurance, the 50 year old reaching a milestone. A birthday celebration was in order but the cardinal day wasn’t the 18th of March,  but the 17th.   St. Patrick would also have to relinquish an acknowledgement  for it was Jan’s Mother,  Helen Murrow’s birthday.   Gary concurring her seniority should always take precedence,  having accepted the Murrow annual family event through the years as reality and a pinion of life.

.  His birthday was distinctive,  sharing a common bond with his Father,  both born on the 18th of March.  But a curiosity always lingered, an elevation of Kismet, Gary having remembrances of his birthdays during his youthful East Oakland ascendancy but never recalling a commemorative ceremony for his Dad.  His day was not without recognition on the 18th,  Jan providing a birthday cake and gifts to mark the occasion,  Gary’s receiving  acknowledgement for this day, a telephone call from his mother in California and a perfunctory birthday greeting from Jan’s family.

.  With the arrival spring having set forth, found the greening of nature in full bloom, another Kansas winter now a historic precedent.  The double corner lot hosting the residence,  its capacious area of lawn requiring weekly attention,  Gary’s 26 inch deck riding Snapper Lawn Mower accorded to him by his father-in-law,  having seen better days and was in need of replacement.   A decision being made to call upon Denny Callison,  a diesel mechanic friend at Kiowa Service Company,  the John Deere Dealership which inaugurated  Gary’s first Kansas employment.

.  The Kiowa resident maintaining a small assembled  inventory in his sideline business of refurbishing riding lawn mowers.  A telephone call to the mower entrepreneur,  Gary finding Denny was about to conclude work on a Snapper with a larger 32 inch deck and was willing to accept Gary’s well-worn mower in trade.   A complication of transporting the mower presenting a dilemma,  not wanting to impose on his father-in-law for use of his pickup, Gary having already made a decision to acquire a trailer for the purpose of cutting and hauling his firewood for the coming winter, it would also fulfill his mower transportation agenda.

.  The trailer search beginning,  Gary first approached Harold Madsen,  the owner of Madsen Automotive to have a trailer hitch installed on the 87 Buick and having noticed on one occasion a trailer displayed on Harold’s used car lot, inquired about them.  Harold asserting because of the farming community, the demand for trailers was high and adding that they were seldom part of a trade.   Gary left with one local option the classified section of the Anthony Republican newspaper and to his amazement  asserted  a one line ad,   “For Sale – 2 wheel trailer, $250.00” and a phone number.  Gary immediately directing a call of inquiry to the local number,  an elderly sounding gentlemen answering.

.  Gary’s first questions after inquiring about its availability was pertaining to its size and condition,  but instead any descriptive information about the trailer, the person on the other end of the line began a dissertation and explanation of its prior use in his  lawn mowing business.   Finally,  prodding the slow talking individual on the other end of the line,  being somewhat blunt, Gary asking again about its size adding the word dimensions.  The hesitant answer finally coming back   “Well I don’t know how big it is,  but it holds two Lawn Boys and a Snapper

.  Gary’s response was a simple okay, I’ll be right over,  asking for the address. which happened to be just across Main St on the south side of town.  The brief drive fulfilled,  he introduced himself to an elderly couple as the person who had called about the trailer.  The owner continuing where he had left off on the phone about his past lawn service, retirement and that the trailer was still in fairly good shape but he no longer had a need for it.   The trailer was of  heavy metal welded frame construction, approximately  8 ft. in length and 5 ft. wide.   The flooring was weathered  worn 3/4 inch plywood, boxed-in with ¼ inch thick metal rails, all sitting on a metal frame that fastened to a rear axle with 16 inch wheels.  It did have two wire frayed tail lights that resembled those on Gary’s traded 1951 Dodge pickup

.  Gary was satisfied but did question the elderly owner if the price was negotiable, receiving a one word answer,  “nope” .   The hitch ball fit and with its coupling the trailer found a new home at 602 N. Springfield, another undertaking accomplished.


Roberts Day Of Sports Acclaim……..#210 (the 90’s)

April 28, 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.


Augmented Impressions…………#211 (the 90’s)

April 26, 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 More Suitable Countenance…#212 (the 90’s)

April 24, 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.

The lake a seldom used haven

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.

Gary’s attempt at a Bob Ross Technique.

The scent of paint thinner in the southwest corner of Gary’s N. Springfield Ave residence basement, its source,  the three gallon brush cleaning containment made from a holiday popcorn container,  a coffee can with a screen implant,  ala Bob Ross,  the renown PBS Happy Painter.   Gary finding Bob Ross’s wet tarpaulin technique, the gesso 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.

Gary’s 20-year-old band amplifiers

The apportioned corner of the basement,  home to his accumulation of visionary oil paints,  easel,  the airgometer exercise bike,  weight lifting bench,  his dormant band equipment and with  a resurrection of his PA and Bass equipment, with Kustom brand speaker cabinets,  each retaining two, 15 inch JBL speaker,  a 300 watt bass amp positioned to boost the sound from a cassette player and reel to reel tape recorder,  able to announce a concert hall sound.   The multiplex of diversionary sound appliances instilling an augmentation to his immutable reading constitution and a substitution for the omnipresence doldrums of television.   The opposite side, the  southeast corner of the expansive 1500 sq. ft.  basement was lent to labor,  a work bench constructed with 2 x 10’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 task of commuting the long neglected three-tiered  structured home seasoned exterior to a more suitable countenance.   Areas of dry rot were noticeable on the eves of the residential structure,  the aged assembly needing replacement  and a future mammoth undertaking,  a painting of the three-storied goliath,  Gary very apprehensive,  not looking forward to working on an elevated thirty foot high scaffold.

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 Testament To Intrepidity………#213 (the 90’s)

April 22, 2016

Scaffolding for a time consuming project

The decision having been constituted, blanket the exterior with a new coat,  the specifics presented a cauldron of details,  the longevity of the project requiring a constancy of enduring fortitude and a gathering of perseverance.    The first determination was advocated by Jan,  Gary’s true sentiment being sequestered,  giving his wife’s predilection precedence of the chromaticity of design.  Not surprisingly it was her adjudicate  that the residence at 602 N. Springfield Ave  be painted blue and a realization by Gary, that for the most part,  the ensuing labor endeavor would be a solitary commitment.

A remembrance from the past

Gary’s work ethic having been established at an early age, unlike Roberts and Sandi who were not saddled with a lack of monetary foundations to pursue their pleasurable pastimes, the youth establishing a vigil for enterprising  opportunities.   Gary was given a token allowance by his parents,  but it was minimal,  requiring a regimen of weekly chores.  Gary expanding his responsibility,  creating a yard mowing enterprise in the sixth grade,  establishing neighborhood customers.  The seventh grade finding a full-time commissioned charge delivering the Oakland Tribune, an obligation that would continue for three years, until his entrance to High School.   Gary attempted on several occasions to instill a work ethic on the children,  assigning them duties,  even to encompass Robert engagement in the perpetual upkeep of the yard, but to no avail,  the youth’s were more absorbed in their diversion with their friends.   A conclusion prevailed,  not a lack of discipline,  but of endurance,  it was less demanding to do it yourself.

Gary initiated his house painting project,  visiting his father-in-law Bud Murrow a Porter Paint distributor about securing paint,  Bud offering the emulsion at his cost.   An estimate in the number of gallons was difficult to envision, Gary disclosing a decision to inhibit a five step program, scraping to remove the old loose paint,  a sealer,  a primer, followed by two coats of a semi-gloss enamel on all wooden concordances.   The structures ship-lap walls having been  overlaid in the 1950’s with the installation of asbestos shingles which would require two coats of the semi-gloss product,  all to be enhanced by brush.   A visit to Home Lumber and Supply in Anthony to inquire about scaffolding, discovering the nearest procurer was in Wichita.   A telephone conversation with a Wichita construction equipment dealer concerning scaffolding rental came as a shock,  the cost was based on a per-day use.   Gary contemplating it would take months to complete his project, especially considering the added effort of repairing and replacing dry-rot wood and the scouring of the upper floor outside window panes,  their transparency hampered from generations of weathering.  Once again,  approaching his father-in-law,  questioning him about scaffolding,  noting some scaffolding remnants beside Buds shop,  but finding their number unusable for an application on a three-storied structure.   Bud mentioning he had access to a construction equipment provider he and his crew had used in the past, the provisional Wichita company leasing scaffolding by the job, with no time restraints.   Gary’s scaffolding dilemma was solved.

Robert & friend talked into helping.

The inauguration began in May,  the assemblage of four tiers of scaffolding arising on the north side of the residence,  a point in the structure width where the roof peaked at its apical height.   Working alone presented a difficulty joining the scaffolding sections,  Gary’s inherent discomfort with heights giving him pause, especially when standing atop the final level of the 2×12’s that provided the narrow horizontal platform,  conjecturing a way to achieve a more agreeable method of assemblage.   Once the four tiers were in place,  the application strategy was elementary,  starting at the top, administer all of his five painting steps then move the placement of the four tiers horizontally completing another section,  all maximal surface’s attainable before descending its apex.   The west side with its three gables protruding from the steep incline of the roof,  presenting a new challenge.   This time the assemblage and rising of the scaffold was without difficulty,  Gary importing a second pair of hands,  a willing accomplice scurrying upwards without hesitation,  showing no concern for the height,  seemingly  enjoying  the upward journey.   With an able assistant to put in place the ascending sections,  assisting in its mounting and the anchoring of the crossbars, the intrepid confederate was his son,  Robert.

The view from the scaffolding was the view.

The top windows on the gables above the third floor were accessible by placing a twelve-foot ladder  on the 2×12’s of the fourth tier, Gary finding himself on a ladder approaching 50 feet above the ground.   The most vexatious moiety was mounting the inclined roof to scrape,  seal,  prime and paint the sides of the gables,  the inclines uncertainty causing Gary some concern about sliding off, not wanting to involve the roof in anyway deciding he could be reconciled by fastening a securing rope .   The labor was time consuming,  the carpentry,  the continuous removal of paint from a by-gone era and having to wait 24 hours between the various applications seemed to procrastinate a conclusion.   The summer months progressed,  Gary addressing his unobligated time,  accessing the long-lasting project almost every day after work and on weekends.   A relief from the scaffolding,  a welcome change,  the painting application of the two porches,  their pillars and structure a lower region,  accessible by stepladder,  finding some appreciative help from Jan,  Sandi and Robert,  whom invariably invited a friend to witness and experience the activity.

The final reaches of the project coming to a conclusion in October,  a final culmination to what at times seemed to Gary as never-ending.   The achievement leaving vestiges,  Gary recalling a memorable aspect,  his appearance on a 12 ft. ladder atop four tiers of scaffolding,  addressing the gables on the N. Springfield Ave.  side of the structure.   It was a weekend endeavor and he took notice of the continuous traffic flow on the street,  slowing and sometimes stopping to observe his precarious elevated perch on the frail looking ladder,  presenting a visual allocution for the Anthony community and the probable blather at the donut shop Monday morning.   A final assessment of the 4 ½ month long enterprise,  the sealer,  primer and paint totaling 37 gallons,  an integer far less than a spraying application.  Gary concluding,  his time and effort was a testament to the intrepidity of his character.

A Sampling Of History……#214 (the 90’s)

April 20, 2016

Deserted Flour Mill from another era

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.

Jim White

Gary’s first experience with Jim,  other than his employment interview at the hospital was one of crisis after the failure of  the hospitals 100 ton Trane Air Conditioning unit.  Gary as Plant Service Manager calling upon Jim after a disclosure a 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 Trane monstrosity was that 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 Jay Jolly the  Hospital Administrator.  The two meeting with the hospital administrator,   the elder engineer calmly addressing the problem and without hesitation responded with an innovative plan,  revealing that his son is a refrigeration air engineers and the owner of a commercial air conditioning company in Midwest City Oklahoma, then offering to place a call to Oklahoma to inquire if his son’s  company had 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 compressor.  The 75-year-old engineer emphasizing that with Jays approval he could journey and return from Oklahoma with a 60 ton Carrier unit and confident it could be coupled it 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

100 ton Trane Chiller

Gary receiving questions of concern from the hospital staff about the air conditioning, relating to those concerned that 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 proximity 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, Gary not schooled in welding watched as Jim and Roy Stein completed the pipe welding and wiring.  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 and hoist them out thru the boiler room door and with the project 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 two units provided power options, employing 30 to 120 ton, 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.

The Arkansas River from the bridge on highway 160 at Oxford

Oxford business district

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 1989 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, remnant from a by-gone era.   Gary soon discovered that 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.

A restored Oxford Old Mill

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 onto a plat form. the high above giving view to the integral working of the milling process.  Upon their departure the two visitors were each presented 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.

Wichita Century II Convention Center

Jim White was on the telephone, inquiring if Gary would be interested in going to Wichita and attend a program featuring the (WTO) Wichita Theatre Organ at Century II.   Gary interest was piqued with curiosity, aware of the history and prominence the theatre organ played in the silent movie era, without hesitation accepting the invitation.  The scheduled night arriving, Jim’s residence conveniently located around the corner and a 1/2 block north on Anthony Ave.  Gary having every intention for the two to traverse in his car, but soon discovering Jim was insistent upon driving.  Opal, Jim’s wife,  taking Gary aside with Jim absent from  the room,  in hushed tones asking that he keep an eye on Jim’s night-time driving, that normally she accompanied him but wasn’t feeling well and was grateful Jim had someone to accompany him.  Seated in the Buick, Gary soon discovered the journey to Wichita would be a history lesson starting with the acquisition of the Theatre Organ and the WTO organization.  Jim as a youth, among other endeavors was a theatre projectionist growing up in the era of silent movies and theatre organs.  Jim again proceeding to enlighten Gary’s historical cognition,  Richard Simonton the founder of ATOS,  American Theatre Organ Society was born the same year as Jim, a study of music and audio engineering finding Simonton acquiring the skill to tune pipe organs and later installing sound systems in the once silent movie theatre.  In 1934 Simonton convinced the Muzak Corporation to franchise its recorded music product with immediate success supplying wired music for retail stores, restaurants, hotels and workplace environments, thus the term elevator music.  Simonton continuing his entrepreneurial endeavor as a licensed engineer,  developing systems for RCA and also being an avid historian  ventured on another  project, purchasing a rundown Mississippi Riverboat, restoring the Delta Queen to a touring Pavilion.  In 1955 Simonton organized a group of organ enthusiast forming ATOS to preserve these organ icons of the theatre.

Wichita’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” Theatre Organ

In 1968 the historic Paramount Theatre at 43rd St. and Broadway in New York City  had set vacant for two years awaiting renovation by the New York Times Publishing Company, the building to be part of the Times expanding publishing business.  Simonton aware that still remaining in the building was what was known as the greatest organ ever built, this organ given the name the Mighty Wurlitzer.  Simonton purchasing the organ for installation in the Belmont Theatre in Los Angles, but the deal fell through. The ATOS members in Wichita approaching and obtaining the organ but during its storage during a break in vandals set fire to the console.  Not dissuaded,  using original Wurlitzer blueprints and schematics,  volunteers undertook a time consuming  exact restoration of the organ.  On December 12, 1972 at Century II, the Mighty Wurlitzer once again enveloped the atmosphere, breathing life, proclaiming its voice in the world of music.

Ranks of organ pipes

The Buick’s early arrival in Wichita having a purpose, Jim explaining he and Opal always stopped for supper a the Country Buffet on W. Central Ave.  Gary couldn’t help but notice the age of the clientele and from past experience was able to determine in all probability the quality of the meal would be on the bland side, but he was in Wichita not for the cuisine, but to experience a Theatre Organ.  Jim continuing his narrative on how he come to be involved with the WTO members.  A friend who regularly attended organ programs contacting him about having difficulty replacing a blower motor on the organ.  His friend knowing that Jim was somewhat knowledgeable about the functional operation of an organ, its stops, tracker, pneumatic relays, wind regulator, but more important his expertise in motor RPM and pump PSI output that supplied the “wind” to the organ.  Gary curious about the pipes, discovering that the original 1926 pipes were untouched by the fire, posing a question to Jim as to the number of pipes.  Jim replying he was unsure but that organ pipes were  grouped in what they called ranks.  The Tibias rank that sounded the lowest notes having pipes that measured 16 feet in length and there was 97 pipes in a rank and that other ranks held pipes as small as 4 inches in length.  The Wichita Wurlitzer being only the second Wurlitzer to have been manufactured to utilize 58 ranks and because of the pipe size and number, Century II was the only building in Wichita having a large enough area to provide a home for the organ.   To complicate matters, the only time the theatre organ organization can schedule a program is on an evening when the rest of the 200,000 sq. ft. Convention Center is vacant, the vibrancy of the organ being felt and heard throughout the complex.

A Classic Silent Movie

Gary discovering the inaugural journey and introduction to the Wichita Theatre Organ was the first of many, the most memorable one being a presentation of the 1927 silent movie Wings, complete with the accompanying organ score.  Gary enjoying the time spent with his knowledgeable friend and mentor, amazed at discovering Jim was a treasure of knowledge in every respect.  Gary discovering Jim who was four years older than his father in some respects fulfilled a paternal void in his life.

Acquiring A New Respect ….#215 (the 90’s)

April 18, 2016

Hospital Surgery Supply room

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.

Hospital Operating Room

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 long time maintenance assistant 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,  plus 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 an assurance,  he would resolve the problem.   Taking it upon himself he wrote a 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.

Oklahoma Department of Health Child and Family Guidance

 In the past the east wing of the Anthony Hospital was employed for acute or swing bed patients, but times had changed and the east wing was host to private pay long-term care residences with special needs.   Gary was made aware of a forthcoming accommodation change for the wing,  the administrator disclosing a project that would required room modifications in preparation for the new clientele. The instructions were puzzling but quite clear,  a removal of the receptacles 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 arrival of the clientele gave reason for the vicissitude, all were teenage boys,  their age ranging from 13 thru 16 years, distressed youths gone astray, removed from their family settings and institutionalized for corrective guidance.   The hospital securing a contract with the State of Oklahoma Department of Health Child and Family Guidance to provide live-in accommodation for child counseling.   The new youthful inhabitants were not without causing a disturbance,  their stay giving them opportunity to explore ways of hindrance, finding it necessary to secure the windows from the outside to prevent an occasional exiting,  even this application was averted when a chair thrown thru a window,  the panes had to be replaced.   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 would lodge in the non-viewable trap area and halt the passage of toilet paper,  otherwise it flush correctly.  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 that the call lights in the east wing had been disconnected, but realizing with these kids, the impossible could be possible.  The late night  journey to the hospital, the nursing staff relating that the call light activation had ceased just before his arrival. Gary deciding to probe the room and the rest of the darken east wings rooms with a flashlight not wanting to waken the apparent sleepers, checking  each room finding the call light cover plate all  in place.  Returning home, Gary answering the phone for the second time, it was the hospital, the call light having once again broadcast its presence,  entailing another venture to the hospital.   Again,  the signal had ceased by the time Gary arrived,  questioning the nursing staff to why they didn’t investigate that particular room immediately.  Gary checked 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 unfastened the screws holding the covering plate.   A quick plate removal,  Gary finding the wire nuts capping the wires having been removed,  the youths discovering they could activate the call system by touching the low voltage bare wires.  A quick  remedy,  positioning the wires further down inside the wall out of reach of prying hands.

30 days of use -Two Commercial Shredder

30 days of use -Two Commercial Shredders

With the advent of the disadvantaged student treatment,  the Kansas state government decided to get involved, a new regulatory requirement was instituted,  a provision for separate designated classrooms other than empty rooms available in the wing of the hospital.  The Hospital Board voting  to renovate the unused basement storage expanse beneath the east wing,  the area to provide  classrooms and a large conference room.  Gary receiving an assignment to make the area ready for the contractor it was a necessity to relocate the boxes, enabling the contractor to commence.  The basement storage area in reality was disaster area, containing a never-ending supply of stored documents, Gary estimating over 500 boxes of hospital records.  It was apparent that no one had shredded any of the non retentive documents in years.    The monumental task was initiated,  records requiring retention put aside,  the 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 administration, providing a unique solution.  He would approach two Wichita office equipment suppliers about purchasing a commercial size shredder,  providing the distributors would allow a 30 day trail period and delivery.  The shredder deliveries ensued,  the requested two commercial shredders being arriving, the shredding process beginning, Roy and Gary realigning their work schedule, every day allotting as much time as possible for the endeavor.  The process coming to a conclusion, taking the full 30 days to exhaust supply of material to be shredded, both shredders were well worn, but the better one being purchased.  Gary, not normally inquisitive,  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.

A Grievous California Trip ……#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 in length bare root hedge plants,  their diameter very minuscule,  to be instituted on property lines  to designate a separation from his neighbor’s yard on the north and the city access alley on the west.   The northern  boundary already displaying a sparsely spaced hedge and the western property line requiring  75 feet of implants,  the driveway and garage providing the remaining alley border,  the novice landscaper comfortable with the procured quantity of saplings to be spaced 6-8 inches apart.

The early evening having arrived,  Gary about to resume his outdoor project,  the family having seen Robert off for a weekend with 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.   The call was brief,  the initial shock silencing,  the reality and affliction of the 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 communicating with his mother,  to inquire about the funeral arrangement and its scheduling,  discovering the American Legion was organizing a Military Funeral.   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 and employ it 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 that 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.

Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport

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 with the family’s arrival at Columbia,  Gary’s sister’s residence.   His sister Nancy providing an auxiliary home for his parents since his Fathers previous heart problems, their secluded mountain Pioneer home affording the elder Willson’s occupancy during the more desirable seasons of late spring,  summer and early fall.   Gary was desiring knowledge of the tragedy,  his Mother discerning the saga of the tragic event.   An awakening in the morning of both parents,  his mother the first to rise to use the sanitation facility,  her return to the bedroom,  discovering her husband not breathing and unresponsive.   She immediately called 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 the 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 many years with the Kiowa Ambulance Service,  summon two annotations,  the first being the 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,  ambulance protocol dictates that  EMS personnel are to remain with a discovered deceased until the coroner,  or an authoritative person arrives.   Gary surmised that his Father had passed  before his mother returned from the bathroom, long before the ambulance arrived.   The logical explanation,  EMS didn’t want to allocate their morning waiting on the coroner,  so they initiated a transport,  administering CPR, and documenting their induced vitals.

A reflection of his father’s memory

Gary acknowledged the summary of his Mother’s experience,  but it was no vindication for the inner pain he experienced with the loss.   Gary performing an endogenous audit of himself,  concluding a consequential fact,  thru the years his  failure to find time to know his Father,  the son abiding in a self-interest world for the past thirty-three years.  Gary accepted 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 Willsons,  something he never received in life.   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.

Pine Mountain Lake

Pine Mountain Lake

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 a to journey to Groveland to 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.

Gary's grandson Garrett - Brenda's daughter Heather - Sandra, Brenda and Mary in the background

Gary’s grandson Garrett – Brenda’s daughter Heather – Sandra, Brenda and Mary in the background

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,  his children Robert,  Sandi, 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.   The words were not conveyed for other to hear,  but he was certain that his Father was waiting to hear them,  they came from within,  deriving from the heart,  words he had never spoken before,  “Dad I love you“.   The trip back to Columbia found mostly silence,  with occasional small talk about the arrangement and the flowers,  Gary relating to his mother the words of Eddy when speaking to Scott at the funeral home,   “We’ve lost our best Buddy”.   Gary finding an aura of comfort with his decision to say goodbye, the morrow bringing a final resting for his Dad

A final rest

A final rest

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.   The flag draped casket 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 red 1940 Chevy pickup climbing the grade,  befalling the not withstanding 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 Willsons.

Scott, their Grandmother and Robert returning

Scott, their Grandmother and Robert returning

Gary's Mother and Cousin Lorraine

Gary’s Mother and Cousin Lorraine

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.   His youthful recollection,  recalling her as very tall,  remembering she was a member of the 6 footers club of Santa Clara County, Gary still questioning its ambition.   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 Oklahoman bound contingency, the Denton’s and Scott to leave in the morning.

Gary performing an endogenous audit of himself,  concluding a consequential fact,  thru the years his  failure to find time to know his Father,  the son abiding in a self-interest world for the past thirty-three years.  Gary accepted the mounting anguish within,  enduring  the self-accusation of what could have been,  should have been and now will never be.   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.   The first undertaking was one of communications,  contacting the various jurisdictional institutions, social security, insurance company and others concerning his Father’s passing on behalf of his Mother.   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.

Las Vegas

Hoover Dam








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.

Kingman Arizona’s aircraft graveyard

A 150 Burlington Northern & Santa Fe trains per day through Gallup

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.

Gary was in concert with his Mother’s decision to accompany the family to Kansas,  concluding it would allow her time to reflect upon the aspects of the past events from a distance,  rather than be a captive of its surroundings.   A time for her to develop her own awareness,  an inner search to reconcile any misgivings and without forethought, most of all to endure through this troubled time.