Ceremonial Events……..#197 (the 80’s)

Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Denton

Gary’s memory prevailing with thoughts of the past recalling the last time he had visited with his daughter Marlo and her friend Chris.  The couple having journeyed to Kiowa,  arriving in a 1953 Chevrolet spending the day, both the couple and the classic Chevy having made a lasting impression,  Gary drawing a conclusion that they would soon be united in marriage   The wedding announcement of Christopher Gene Denton and Marlo Cherise Willson wasn’t without expectation, but the telephone call from Marlo’s Mother was, her call was to inquire if Gary would help with the cost of the wedding, the couple having elected a Wedding Chapel Ceremony. Gary agreeing to pay for  all expenses incurred by the Chapel and Ceremony, Kaye relating that the couple had elected to be married on Sunday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day.  The matrimonial time-table having been set, Gary, Jan, 10-year-old Robert and 9-year-old Sandi making the Sunday morning trip to Oklahoma City.  The family arriving early at the Chapel, Gary unsure of his role in the ceremony, the Father of the Bride discovering he would be ask to stand and present the rhetorical answer to the question “who gives this women”.  The ceremony beginning with Richard Wagner’s traditional Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, the groom awaiting the flowering bride, the presentation very artistic as was Gary’s daughter Marlo in her bridal gown and Chris attired in his formal white tuxedo standing, a pillar of intrepidity,  Gary reflecting on this moment in time, how young the couple looked.

Chris and Marlo

A favorite of the Bride and Groom

A favorite of the Bride and Groom

The ceremonial conclusion being  announced by Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, a radiant glow emitting from the couple as they exited, giving credence to a blessed event.  Gathering outside the Father of the Bride wasn’t surprised at the large number in attendance considering the affluent personalities of the Bride and Groom.   An invitation being extended to the wedding ensemble of family and friends to join the Bride and Groom at Harrigan’s,  a favorite restaurant of Chris and Marlo’s on SW. 74th St., the establishment having made provisions for the gathering.   The joyous event of the afternoon coming to a conclusion,  a sense of melancholy was evident on the return drive to Kiowa, Gary for the first time putting his station in life and age in prospective, raising a young family, and experiencing another venturing into adulthood and making their way on the road of life.

Sandi with Chris and Garrett

Garrett – Chris and Marlo

The Denton’s having settled, Chris and  having  leased the unoccupied half of Marlo’s  mother’s duplex.  The  summer bringing the wonderful news of expectancy, The Denton’s announcing that January would bring more than a new year.   Behold the newest 6 lbs 2 oz. addition to the Willson legacy, Garrett Christopher Denton making his presence known on January 6, 1989.  Gary inheriting a new status, grandfather, discovering   a quiescence engulfing aura was present when embracing Garrett. his Grandson a reflection of innocence and purity.   Holding the reflection of innocence and purity, experiencing the radiance of sanctity of an unscathed countenance of his grandson, it’s  warm and soft presence instilling a sense of purpose and meaning.

A symbol of attainment

A symbol of attainment

“There’s a time for joy,  a time for tears,  a time we’ll remember through the years,  we’ll remember always graduation day“,  the lyrics of the Four Lads promulgating the up-coming event,  Jan’s commencement exercise at Pratt Community College, having accomplishing a Associate of Science Degree in Nursing.  Gary was surprised when she inquired if the emeritus musician would provide a piano accordance for the nursing class graduation occurrence.   At first somewhat hesitant but then agreeing,  questioning as to what his participation entail, discovering he was to provide a prelude then the entrance processional  followed by an interlude and upon the conclusion the recessional.  Gary having no difficulty selecting what he would play for the processional and recessional  but discovered the Preeminent of the Nursing Departments Jeanie Walsh was paramour to a song from the 1972 Broadway musical,  A Little Night Music,  established in 1975 by folksinger Judy Collins,   “Send In The Clowns“.   Gary immediately finding a humorous countenance in the title,  especially to be perform as a prelude before an assembly of soon-to-be nurses.   He had decided the  processional would be a composition for his wife, Jan at one time having mentioned her high school class graduation song, it too was from a Broadway production,  the 1965 musical,  The Man From La Manche and one Gary was acquainted with,   “The Impossible Dream“.

Cathy Coxs Grade School Music Instructor

Gary vaguely recalling the Judy Collins song,  having never attempted to play Send In The Clowns and not possessing a recording for his musical ear to posture as an auscultation, discovering he would be compelled to purchased the sheet music.  Once purchased another discovery, the score was written in a 9/8’s temporal signature,  a study of its structure was initiated,  the double waltz time beginning was perceptible, but the bridge presented a problem, it wasn’t registering with the resurrected musician.   The always reliable plan B was initiated,  Gary calling upon the Grade Schools music Teacher Cathy Cox,  approaching her after school with a request for her to play the composition for him.  Cathy seated at the piano somewhat apologetic as it was her first time sight-reading the musical score.  Her first attempt was elucidating, Cathy’s performance exacting,  providing the missing bridge connotation needed for Gary’s educated ear.  The pianist now confident with a few personalized brush strokes he could flourish the composer’s artistic musical  painting.

Jan’s graduation program (click to enlarge)

Graduation Time

The evening of Pratt Community College graduation ceremony having arrived,  the gymnasium was suffused with friends,  family and all the consolidated graduates of the class of 1988 from  the divergent career majors.   A vocalist and pianist commenced the program,  followed by multifarious address’ from college and guest dignitaries,  followed by an acknowledgement of the graduating students with a replica of diploma’s for their accession.  The student gathering diverged,  Jan’s diminutive sized nursing class assembling in a lecture auditorium with a stage and raised seating,  Gary taking notice of a Yamaha grand piano positioned to one side of the stage and a large movie screen centered as a backdrop.  Seated with  Jan’s parents Bud & Helen Murrow, her  aunt and uncle, Charles & Esther Terry,  the class to be seated in  the forefront before a podium.   Gary removing himself from the group,  ascending the stage,  seating himself at the piano, beginning the prelude, then followed by the  The Impossible Dream as the classes entered.  The program continuing, the introduction speeches and acknowledgements, Gary remaining at the piano.  The lights beginning to dim, a projector coming to life,  highlighting the screen with photos of the past,  accounts of class outings and events,  scenes of the class members close two-year affiliation.    Gary beginning to play appropriate emotional background music,  some of which forged tears of melancholy,  the pianist knowing the erstwhile class comradely and their educational ascendancy,  a vision that would forever be anchored in their memory.  The ceremony coming to a conclusion,  Gary’s choice for the recessional, a fitting one “Chariots of Fire”.

Her formal college perquisite fulfilled,  Jan preparing for the virtual final exam,  a real test of her two years of accumulative nursing knowledge,  the Kansas State Board of Nursing Exam.  Each graduate having to pass the state board exam to be licensed as a Registered Nurse, Gary having little doubt  his wife would accomplish her goal.   Gary reflecting on Jan’s amelioration,  her progression from a small town  indigenous twice married clothing store employee, to a pillared mother of two,  attaining a prerequisite  college degree for a Registered Nurse.   He reasoned,  his intransigent apportionment was just one of many segments providing a foundation for Jan to attain her sequestered ambitions.    His resolute encouragement a mitigating essential  when others questioned her passion for a career in nursing, but it was her perseverance and determination that emancipated a final accomplishment,   “Jan Willson, R.N.”

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