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

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.


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