Archive for May, 2016

A Kiowa Exodus….#203 (the 80’s)

May 12, 2016

Hospitality accepted

.  The inaugural journey after acquiring the property in Anthony was one to articulate the many attributes and deficiencies that might have been inconspicuously overlooked,   because of the mesmerizing  spacious interior of the house.   The only peremptory  problem discovered,  the diligence in the winterizing it’s vacancy.  The basement water heater having succumbed to the freezing  temperatures.  The task of cleaning the  acquired dust from the year-long vacancy a monumental undertaking.  Even with Jan’s mother and Aunt Ester volunteering to assist,  there was a compelling decision to engage some local assistance,   Jan commissioning two local ladies versed in house cleaning.

.  Gary soon discovered  prospecting the property was educational,  the remnants of its history still viable.  The garage no longer  having electricity cabled to the house, still possessing the old knob and tube wiring mounted on the studs and joist,   On the west side of the  driveway,  discovering the capped pipes of two abandoned underground fuel tanks, and behind the garage what apparently was a cement covering for the remains of a septic tank.   The far northwest corner of the double lot provided another find,  a cement slab with a  hand dug well opening.   it’s circumference upper wall fashioned with laboriously laid bricks.  Gary curious about its depth, ingenuity manifested dropping a 50 foot garden hose down the opening to measure its depth,  the hose descending to 40 feet before halting,  it’s water level marked on the hose measured  27 feet.

.  The furnishings of the Dickinson Street residence in Kiowa were in transit,  the Yamaha piano,  kitchen appliances and larger furnishings finding transport in a borrowed horse trailer belonging to Mark Yazel,  who leased  a portion of Gary’s father-in-law Bud Murrow’s farm for his cattle business..  The rest of the abundant boxes of  sundry items finding carriage in the bed of a wheat truck.

.  Jan’s family all  helping with the  weekend move. The bedroom assignments were never formally allocated, but the firm voice of the youngest member in the family,  Sandi,  whom on her first encounter with the south bedroom,  with its chandelier light fixture and  glass French door giving passage to the sun-room  having  immediately announced her bedroom claim..   Robert settling for the other south room of similar size without addition of the sun-room.  The northeast master bedroom fulfilling Jan and Gary’s nocturnal excitation.

.  Gary’s  morning summer work day scheduled now allowing for the 30 mile drive to Kiowa,  his summer 10 hour school day from 7 a.m.,  to  5 thirty p.m.  The summer schedule provided a preview of the inevitable coming fall semester,  and it’s 12 hour work day with a 5 a.m.  school arrival,  the start of his day requiring a 4 a clock  wake up call.  A paradox beginning to muster,  proclivity of school employment beginning to wane.  A pondering to seek local employment was beginning to emerge,  Gary making an inquiry at the Harper County School District,  finding they had already fulfilled their employment agenda.   The Anthony John Deere Dealership another possible alternative,  then a deliverance,  the messenger being the same emissary whom had imparted the grade school employment opening.   The Angel of dispatch,  his wife Jan,  relating a workplace announcement at the Anthony Hospital,  an employment posting,  the Anthony Hospital was seeking a full-time maintenance assistant.

.Gary’s ponderous thoughts no longer rampant,  his decision solidified about seeking employment in Anthony.  Then the difficult parts to endure, the first being to serve notice to Glen Piper the school administrator of his intentions, when informed,  Glen smiling, acknowledging that it was no surprise and was to be expected.  Gary without hesitation submitting an application for the Anthony Hospital maintenance assistant position, discovering the second part to endure also difficult, the arresting wait for the hospitals decision.

A New Road Of Expectations……………#204 (the 80’s)

May 10, 2016

Hospital District # 6 – The Anthony Hospital

.  Gary’s juncture with the Anthony Hospital was about to be accomplished,  having received a phone call to attend a scheduled morning interview with the hospital administrator,  regarding his employment as a maintenance assistant.  Entering the administration domain,  the secretary cordially acknowledging his arrival,  ushering him into the Administrator’s office.   Gary somewhat surprised to find a younger person attired in a three-piece suit seated at a desk, raising, shaking hands and with a smile introducing himself as Jay Jolly, Hospital Administrator.    Seated in attendance was two other persons,  a diminutive elderly man,  whom Gary appraised as abutting 60 plus years of age,  the  other remaining person even more senior,  judging him to be in his seventies.  The Administrator introducing the younger of the two as Roy Stein,   the facilities maintenance facilitator,  the administrator asserting that Roy was present during the hospital’s  conception in 1967,  having participated in its construction,  returning later to preside in the maintenance department.

.  The introductions continuing, the eldest of the two introduced as Jim White,  a retired mechanical and industrial  engineer,   who in the past had been charged with the supervision of the City of  Anthony’s maintenance, road and public utilities department,  the Administrator adding,   he relied upon Jim as the Hospital Plant Consultant.   Jay acknowledging Gary’s application,  stating  with Roy’s concurrence,  he was turning the interview process over to Jim White,   and Jim would afford the tour of the building.   Gary was somewhat apprehensive, expecting a sit-down interview with an administrator and maintenance supervisor,  instead acquiring an audience and inquisition by a retired City of Anthony engineer.

.  Gary’s trepidation was soon put to rest,  Jim White’s outward commodious personality setting Gary at ease.  The touring  excursion commencing with an introduction to the hospital’s equipment complex, a large basement  housing all the environmental, utility and clinical  systems.   The hospital structure itself,  a unique solid concrete cold-war era designed building,  the concrete roof and walls integrity designated as an emergency fall-out and storm shelter.  The building constructed with a maze like  underground enclosed lighted labyrinth tunneling system,  allowing  passage beneath the hospital corridors and access to all plumbing and electrical utilities.

.  Jim introducing the physical plants industrial equipment in the basement, Gary having experienced boiler operation during his five-year tenure at the Kiowa school,  but never acquainting such a presence as the two behemoth natural gas/ diesel backup Superior High Pressure Steam Boilers.   Besides providing a heating exponent for the building, the boiler also provided steam used for autoclave sterilization  and laboratory sterilized water.  The basement complex also a station for the massive 100 ton Trane air conditioning compressor, its piping extending to the multiple bladed air circulating roof top condensers.  Another introduction, this time to  the impressive electric driven Ingersoll Rand vacuum pumps,  providing suction capabilities for surgery and in-room patient care.  Gary’s mechanical knowledge expanding as Jim explained the function of the various equipment, concluding with the  pumps for the multifarious zoned hydronic fan coil units that provided climate control for 48 bed acute hospital and adjoining Clinic.


.  The prerequisite walk-thru interview coming to a conclusion, a learning experience,  Gary having provided Jim with his logic based mechanical understanding of the plants integrated components,  emphasizing,  with Roy Steins additional in-depth tutelage,   he was thoroughly comfortable addressing the operation and maintenance of the equipment.  The interview concluding with Jim,  but before leaving it was conveyed, his wasn’t the only applicant.   Returning home,  the inevitable waiting for the decision commenced, Gary earlier having informed school superintendent Glen Piper of his intended interview, and asking about the necessity of a two-week notice, not wanting to generate any difficulties.  Glen’s reply was short and to the point, “don’t worry about it’.  The hospital call finally arriving,  requesting he meet with the H R person the following Monday at 9:00 a.m. for orientation and physical, his employment  confirmed and a new direction on the road of like.


Acquiring Responsibility…..204A

May 8, 2016


. As a new employee,  Gary soon discovering his supervisor, 64 year old Roy Stein was a very quiet person,  small in stature, soft-spoken, very direct,  never speaking more than a sentence.   A somewhat reclusive withdrawn person, having no interest in anybody’s business,  his twenty years of hospital service finding a methodical dedication to his work,  and to a small farm that his father bequeathed to him and to his rumored mail-order bride, Violet.   He accepted Gary’s presence,  not as a necessity or an expediency, but as a acumen of the Administrator, something Gary understood and accepted.

. The maintenance department having an on call responsibility after hours and on weekends.  Roy having singularly provided the service, compensated with a stipend,  $10 for weekday nights and $25 per Saturday and Sunday.  The weekend requiring a time clock documented morning and afternoon walk thru inspection.   Gary sensing some displeasure from Roy when the Administrator suggested,  Roy alternate his weekly on call duties with his newly acquired maintenance assistant,  Roy having an aversion to the idea, but accepted

.  Availability was an integral part of the maintenance department with a work-order request system.  The  departments and ancillary services  submitting a time dated work order request,  either in person, or utilizing the maintenance work order reception box. It was Roy’s quiet almost methodical way of going about remedying the problems submitted by the  hospital staff expecting an immediate response, but to Roy it was all mundane, prioritizing the problem, having seen it all before, his composer  impressing his assistant.   Gary’s observation of 64 year old Roy’s adroitness coming to the conclusion that knowledge alone would never trump experience.  

.  Gary’s realm of responsibility at work was beginning to advance,  Roy beginning to share his diagnosis ability and mechanical know-how,  the knowledge of the buildings idiosyncrasies,  to Roy it was automatic, a subconscious reflection consummated from twenty plus years of experience in its environment.  Gary soon discovering there were some assigned task that Roy didn’t mind relinquishing, the weekly transporting of a mobile mammogram machine, the Anthony and Harper Hospitals sharing in its use.  First thing on Thursday mornings Gary would back the Hospitals Suburban, attach the specially designed trailer, pull up to the ER entrance and load the electric driven mammogram machine in the trailer for the 10 mile journey to Harper, the Harper Hospital reciprocating every Monday morning with its return.  .  

. As an active member of the K H A, ( Kansas Hospital Association),  Jay Jolly regularly traveling to attend the organizations programs to keep abreast of  current industry innovations, and changes in state regulatory statutes affecting district hospitals.  Gary was surprised when Jay approached him with literature from the K H E A,  (Kansas Hospital Engineers Association),  an affiliate of the K H A,  questioning if he would be interested in becoming a member representing the hospital.  Gary surmising that his active participation as the newly appointed maintenance representative to the Safety Committee,  may have induced the attention of the administrator,  having written and submitted the maintenance department’s  policies and procedures for the recently enacted Disaster Plan.  Jay disclosing, although Roy was an excellent maintenance man, with his humble placid disposition, he  never contributed or initiated an opinion as a Department Head at any of the mandatory meetings, always in attendance,  but remaining quiet as an observer.  Gary was appreciative of his recognition, and welcomed an opportunity to expand his horizon and educational contingency and likewise didn’t hesitate in accepting Jays offer to participate in the Kansas Hospital

An Amiable Semblance……….#205 (the 80’s)

May 8, 2016

The Anthony House

.  Gary found there was something veiled about the three tiered monolith in Anthony,  and for some reason,  it gave him cause to stop, look and listen when entering.  It was a feeling that one gets when viewing a historical location or structure, when it’s past   over shadows it presence,  and it’s trying to communicate with a silent voice.  It may have been the placard stone dated 1904,  that gave rise to a sense of clairvoyance,  one would question why those constructing a private residence, in a small rural town,  would reference the construction date, unless there was a meaningful reason.

.  Gary surmising,  with the manor’s enduring months of both prevailing hot and frigid air,  finding abdication with the temporal tide.  An essence  of solace emerged within its walls,  it’s stately character no longer of the bourgeois,  but an edifice,  a victim of the couturier,  and with its recent purchase,  a new chapter was inaugurated in its log book of history.  With the introduction of a new family, the monotheistic residence exhibited ubiquity,  no longer standing solitary or as an unfrequented monument,  its warmth giving station renewed,  and once again became an enlivened benchmark in the plebeian community.  The living residence at 602 North Springfield attaining its generational mission,  the newly established family having immersed themselves in its heritage.

.  It was a city sponsored endeavor,  and Robert was animated about participating,  a swimming team activity,  composed of elementary age student,  divided by age groups to compete with similar competition from adjoining towns.  Robert and Sandi having discovered the Anthony Pool’s daily availability,  a journey of 5 blocks north on North Springfield, a convivial summertime excursion.   Robert’s team association requiring the discipline of structural authority, taken very serious by some,  but resolved as dalliance by others.   The competitive events taking place on weekends,  a host of parents and grandparents attending the community occurrence,  Robert doing exceeding well in his scheduled performances.   Jan first noticed the aggravation in the young boys eyes,  a slight swelling and redness prevailing,  the over-the-counter eye treatment finding little relief.   A visit to doctor Bonds town office providing an answer,  Robert having an aversion,  caused by the chlorine in the water,  its aggravation being enhanced by his competitiveness exertion.   After completing two competitions, Robert having to concede to his medical condition,  his racing desires squelched,  but  normal pool activity was permissible.

.  A commencement of the school year was upon the two students, an enrollment in Anthony Elementary,  Robert enlisting the sixth grade and Sandra abetting the fifth,  the school within walking distance on South Springfield,  two blocks across Main.   Gary finding the two tier schooling application in Anthony and Harper a compliment to the insight and integrity of the Harper County Board of Education.  It’s two elementary schools,  The City of Harper and Anthony,  each having a K thru 8th grade,  and mutually sharing the 1971 constructed Chaparral  High School,  grades 9 thru 12.  The modern structure stationed on the 10 mile stretch of highway,  halfway between the two communities.   The first day of school, Robert and Sandi expressing a slight indication of apprehension,  but understandable,  considering the circumstances, an inaugural day addressing an unfamiliar building, a host of new teachers, plus assembling with numerous unknown classmates.  Their introduction to the Anthony Elementary School  accomplished, the two young enrollees  established,  the  Byzantine path of education  awaiting.



Memories of Christmas Laudation…#206 (80’S)

May 6, 2016

Hmmm…..who is he trying to impress.          (Gary’s Grandson Garrett Denton)

The Christmas season having arrived,  the religious holiday steeped in tradition  with  Jan’s Family, her mom and dad, sister Gayle Robb & Husband Steve from Iola, Kiowa residing Lynne and Shawn Johnson, her  Aunt Esther & Uncle Charles Terry and the collective children of the Johnson, Willson, and Robb all customarily in attendance.  The location for the Christmas Eve Gift Exchange each year alternating between the  four Kiowa households, the occasional exception,  the Christmas Day dinner for the most part, the Murrow household retaining a predominance.

Sarah Johnson, Sandi, Robert, Jamie Johnson and the cookie house

Upon entering the Murrow residence thru the kitchen back door which was customary,  situated magnanimously on the breakfast nook table was  a traditional representation of Jan’s Mother‘s artistry,  a carefully constructed editable cookie house,  it presentation a focal point an outstanding delight for her Grandchildren.  in addition to the cookie house found the house an ornament of Yuletide decorations with the Christmas Tree in the living room.  The Christmas Eve’s family assembly able to partake from a bountiful filled table of variety of homemade candies,  cookies,  bowls and plates of delicious snacking comestibles.  With the evening hour for the gift exchange about to commence, a sound of bells echoed from outside the front door  and a voice could be heard, a boisterous proclamation,   “Ho Ho Ho…Merry Christmas.   Entering thru the door,  a portly,  white bearded  bespectacled man dressed in a booted large buckled red suit and cap,  a large cloth sack positioned over his shoulder.   The youngest of the children,  enthusiastically exclaiming his name,  Santa Claus!!!,  as he reached into his mystical bag,  distributing gifts to the excited youths.   Bud Murrow,  once again successfully providing the essential quantum Christmas character, fulfilling the tradition for a Murrow Family Christmas.

A greeting from Santa

Gary’s benefaction was his Apostolic Christian Church Sunday School class’s participation in the Christmas Service’s.   In concert with the church’s traditional beliefs,  the sunday school classes  presentation before the congregation was not a costumed pageantry or surrogate performance,  but a class gathering,  each young disciple heralding their voices in song and reciting either from scripture or an appropriate written Christmas accolade or poem in celebration of  the birth of Jesus.   With the completion of the Christmas service, the three classes assembled for a gift exchange,  the names previously drawn,  the colloquium and their families remaining to fellowship with an abundant supply of suppliant treats enthralled in the dining room.

Robert and Sandi – A very merry Christmas


Christmas Day at the Murrow residence,  a welcoming of Uncle Raymond Roth and Aunt Laverne the patriarch of the Roth family, with visits from the Guthrie’s and other long-standing friends. A myriad of activity in the kitchen,  the women busy addressing Christmas Dinner,  the men, their appetites boosted by the ambrosia of the dietary rewards absconding from kitchen.   The three seated areas for meal consumption,  the bench laden kitchen breakfast nook for the youngest,  a small table adjoining the dining room for the older children and Lynne and Shawn.  The Johnson’s the youngest parental family,  voicing their annual question,   “when can we sit at the big table with the rest of adults?” and the expansive dining room table set  to accomplished the seasoned adults.   The dinner prepared,  the recipients entering the kitchen,  its stature,  a host for a buffet style serving achievement.   The banquet celebration fulfilled,  the women, again attaining the kitchen to resolve the afflicted extent of the meals preparation.   The children finding activity outside or in the basement play area.   The men seeking retirement and solace in front of the television,  a football game providing the means to acquire a dozing state of dormancy,  another family holiday accomplished.

Garrett Christopher Denton a late Christmas gift

Garrett Christopher Denton a late Christmas gift

The first Christmas in Anthony was accomplished,  but a late Christmas present was yet to arrive,  the well packaged gift expected at anytime,  its delivery post, Oklahoma City.   The gift, a celebrated conception presented to the world on January 6, 1989,  the endowments appellation,  Garrett Christopher Denton,  a premier son born to Marlo and Chris and the transcendent Grandson of Gary and Marlo’s mother Kermece.  The event giving focus to the realization of heritage, Garrett’s introduction to the ambiance of life,  insuring a future of endearment for the inaugurated couple to adjoin in the future joys of his nurture,  a presence providing a common fulfilling ambition to sojourn together on a gifted guided life.

Gary and Roberts First Kiowa Christmas – Great Grandmother Martha and Grandmother Helen

Sequestering Vindictive Tirades….#207 (the 90’s)

May 4, 2016

Anthony Hospital Administrator Jay Jolly

.  The families first Anthony winter was in recession,  Gary was in route to Jay Jolly’s office,  the hospital administrator having summoned him, the maintenance personage pondering a reason for the audience, a myriad of possible scenario giving question.   Arriving, he was asked to be seated,  Jay inaugurated the conversation with a notice that he was changing the organizational structure of the maintenance, housekeeping and linen control departments.  He was removing the current maintenance and housekeeping supervisors, instituting a singular position of Plant Service Manager to oversee the physical and environmental elements of the hospital, including responsibility for the three departments.  Gary nodding his understanding,  but was a gasped at what ensued,  the administrator continued,  promulgating his aspirations, asking  Gary to fulfill the newly commissioned position of Plant Services Manager.  Gary was awe struck with  Jays pronouncement being totally unexpected,  speechless when asked if he would undertake  the position,  his only reply was to accept.

.  Jay proceeded to assert a list of  expectations compliance with the new regulations,  requiring, Material Safety Data Sheet records,  written policies,  procedures and documentation for both Housekeeping and  Maintenance departments, including detailed logs for equipment inspections,  safety,  and a annual budget agenda incorporating plant utilities,  housekeeping supplies,  linen expenditures,  equipment replacement and repairs.   Gary listened to the administrators contemplation’s with gathering certainty,  owing to a significant perception,  his respect for Jay Jolly and his confidence,  Gary could accomplish the assignment.   The meeting concluding,  a monetary question never entering into Gary’s thought process until the administrator initiated the wage compensation,  acknowledging he had reviewed the compensatory amount that similar facilities conferred for the position, and would commensurate accordingly.  Gary exiting the office, finding his maintenance assistant salary having just double

.  Arriving home,  the news of his appointment bursting to be released,  his incitation rising as he revealed to Jan his meeting with Jay and his ascendancy to a new position.  When acknowledging his new compensatory wage,  expecting an enthusiastic congratulatory presence,  instead acrimony,  Jan going into a vindictive tirade.   Gary was totally taken aback, never in the past years had he ever experienced this aspect of her personality.   Her reasoning was without logic, erupting into a dissertation on the audacity that his new hourly wage now exceeded hers and that of embarking nurses.  Gary immediate inclination was to abstain from the confrontation until a more phlegmatic disposition prevailed,  Jan’s perplexing response was now indelibly inscribed and a hidden clandestine cultivation forever exposed.

.  Gary experiencing Jan’s tirade prepared him for the inevitable at work,  having to confront his supervisor Roy,  and the Director of housekeeping   Ed.  The encounter with Ed was the most difficult,  harboring a vindictive resentment of Gary,  similar to what he had heard at home,  Ed’s concerned  wasn’t so much about compensation,  but the loss of his supervisory position,  Gary assuring him a continuance of employment.  Another encounter from an unsuspecting source,  Frank Hodson,  the Ambulance Director,  voicing a negative opinion of the change,  especially about Ed.   Franks objection being,  Ed provided another function as E M T on the ambulance service,  allowing him to take call during his hospital hours without any reservations,  his position as a supervisor not interrupting the housekeeping departments dispensation.  This would change with Ed’s new position as a scheduled staff member,  no longer endowed to leave his assigned tasks uncompleted from an ambulance run.   Gary’s quandary with Ed coming to resolution,  after three days,  Ed resigned his hospital employment.

.  Roy Stein presented a totally different circumstance,  his years of experience and knowledge of every nook and cranny of the building was invaluable.  Roy was elusive, his quiescence demeanor and non-communicative disposition making it difficult to extract an assessment of his supposition about the abrupt developments.   Gary finally asking him to sit down and listen to what he had to say,  clarifying,  the only changes would be in Gary’s administering the required documentation,  relieving Roy of departmental representation,  and the embody accountability to the Hospital Administration.   Gary, strongly emphasizing,  Roy would remain in a perfunctory maintenance position,  his salary remaining the same,  but with a new job description and new title, that of Hospital Engineer.

.  The atmosphere in the hospital seemed somewhat different, the change in plant and environmental management was meant with congratulatory acknowledgement by most of the  hospital staff,  Gary sensing his management skills and capability in the new position would be on trial,  recalling an axiom apropos to his new position,  rank does not confer privilege or power,  it imposes responsibility.

A Kansas State Fair Experience….#208 (the 90’s)

May 2, 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.