Omniscience Was Contemporaneous…#185 (80’s)

Pratt Community College

The closing of the Bank of Kiowa was a detriment to the community,  but Jan Willson’s loss of employment was a life changing accession to a new trajectory, enrolling at Pratt Community College, acquiring an associates of science nursing degree with the goal of becoming a R. N..  Gary was totally committed to his wife’s ambition but several obstacles were manifested mainly regarding finances.  The tuition,  fees,  books, could be reconciled with the application of a Pell Grant and  student loan, but the most prevalent encumbrance would be of addressing  Jan’s transportation means for the 120 mile round trips to Pratt, especially during the adversity of winter.   Gary pondering for a solution, realizing that Jan’s gas guzzling New Yorker would have to go, and at the same time desiring to rid himself of the ill-fated Ford Van.  Being the lone wage earner since the bank closing, although Jan had visited with the Director of Nurses Sharon Ragan about working part-time as a nurse’s aide at the hospital,  Gary was having some doubts about getting a loan approval to finance a car for Jan.  For the very first time he approached his father explaining Jan’s desire to become an R.N.,  the families financial shortcomings  including her transportation needs.  The Elder Willson didn’t hesitate, Gary could hear it in his voice, the prospects of having an R.N. in the family meant his approval.   His Dad posting a check doubling the amount Gary thought sufficient and when sending back the excess amount, his father tore up Gary’s check, the Murrow family still questioning their daughter adjudication.

82 Toyota SR-5 Wagon

Robert & Sandi with Gary’s 79 fwd Isuzu in the background

  It was Jan who first to prompted Gary’s attention to a 1983,  red,  4-wheel drive SR5,  Toyota Tercel Wagon stationed at the corner of Bill Bogner’s Main Street dealership.  Gary wasn’t enthralled about Jan’s choice but agreeing to test drive the Tercel, the couple driving east of town discerning  a slight grinding sound oscillating  from the rear wheels. Gary suggesting they look at Bogner’s other automobile endeavors at the old Jacks Ford establishment that Bill had purchased when Steve Miller relinquished all his Kiowa Service properties.   Gary having already spotted  a small fwd,  4 speed Isuzu pickup,  branded as a Chevrolet that had been traded in by Brad Ott.  Gary having inquired with Brad as to its condition and reason for trading, Brad confirming, the pickup was in good condition and the reason for trading was his desire for a larger pickup.   Gary could see Jan’s heart was set on the red Toyota, deciding to  approach  Bill about a duel trade,  the New Yorker and the Ford Van for the Tercel and the Isuzu, with the provision that the Toyota’s  possible wheel bearing problems would be alleviated.   The trade-in agreement was consummated,  Jan’s school transportation accomplished,  Gary finally disposing of the collateral damaged  misrepresented Ford Van, the couple both now suited with 4 wheel drive vehicles. .

Bill Duval emerging from the smoke

Gary watched as Bill Duval emerged

The family was visiting the Murrow’s, Gary’s stepping outside briefly to retrieve his ambulance radio from the car noticing black smoke rising from what appeared to be downtown Kiowa.  Remarking as he entered the house  there must be a fire  downtown,  no sounding of a fire siren as customary in the past,  the  volunteer fire service recently making a decision to no longer alert the citizens when they were called, the fire department having been appropriated funds to equip each member with a  radio.   The family  continuing with their visit, Gary once again departing outside questioning what he had seen earlier,  a concern starting to materialize with the continuing rising presence of a billowing  black smoke cloud,  the families curiosity must have spiked as they soon joined him in observing the display.   The curiosity was too much for him,  deciding to appraise the situation,  driving the short distance discovering the Kiowas Fire Department on the scene at Bogner Chevrolet.  Gary noticing that they had yet to block off Main Street and it appeared the fire was in basement automotive service area and from the amount of smoke and heat there was no doubt that several cars must be engulfed,  Gary also suspecting that the fire was being  fed by the assumption of  grease and oil below.   He watched as Bill Duval retreated up from the flame ridden below ground level, emerging out of the  smoke giving notice to the others the possibility of an explosion and  that they would have to approach cautiously, unable to acquaint the flames directly.  Gary returning to the Murrow residence, going to the kitchen sink for a glass of water discovering almost no water pressure giving evidence of his apparition,  the family starting to realize the seriousness of the situation and a reason for concern.

Gary’s ambulance radio echoed a call,  not a health application, but a station call for the ambulance  to be employed at the fire scene in readiness.   The fire having grown intense, its effulgence broadcasting skywards casting an increasing glow on  the horizon in the diminishing light as darkness began to prevail and reportedly could be seen from the aspects of Alva and Anthony thirty miles away.  The inferno consuming Bogner Automotive spreading east to the adjoining buildings  continuing its havoc, spreading to the building with the 2nd floor Masonic Lodge.   The congruous structure an emblematic town fixture a personal concern for some of the citizens as they watched the building and artifacts, historic in nature, being engulfed in flames.   The fire continued seemingly unabated,  its flames reaching ascendancy, a call for additional assistance being extended to the other townships, Medicine Lodge,  Anthony and Alva Oklahoma answering the call.   Kiowa was soon without water pressure,  the local residence finding a trickle in their facets, the water tower supply being prostrated.   The arrival of tanker trucks  from the outlying communities began resourcing the extraction of water from the Medicine River and journeys to the local farm ponds to supply the much  needed inhibitor.

The battle-line of resolution was drawn at Gamble’s Hardware Store, the firefighter struggling , a ladder truck from Alva arriving  conveying its affluent stream of water from a higher elevation,  preventing a breach of the building’s  firewall.  The pyre was halted , the combatants finally staying the four-hour fire carnage,  Bogner Chevrolet and the Masonic Lodge at a total loss,  Gambles surviving with smoke damage.   A consensus,  the town was blessed,  the normally strong Kansas winds were silent that night,  omniscience was contemporaneous in the Kiowa community.

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