Archive for June, 2016

Marital Bliss……..#190 (the 80’s)

June 8, 2016

Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Denton

.  The couple having journeyed to Kiowa, 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 two 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 being 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,  the couple having chosen 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,  a pillar of intrepidity,  Gary reflecting on this moment in time, how young the couple looked.

.  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 family ensemble and friends to join the Bride and Groom at Harrigan’s,  a favorite restaurant of Chris and Marlo’s on Southwest 74th, 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, a young daughter, venturing into matrimonial adulthood and the experience of making their way on the road of life.

.  The Denton’s having settled, Chris and Marlo  having  leased the unoccupied half of Marlo’s  mother’s duplex.  The summer bringing the wonderful news of expectancy, the Denton’s announcing 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 6th, 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,  experiencing the radiance sanctity of an unscathed countenance, it’s  warm and soft presence instilling a sense of purpose and meaning. The book of life having introduced another meaningful  chapter.



Footprints In The Snow……#191 (the 80’s)

June 6, 2016

Kansas snow drift

.  Dorothy was right when she said “We’re not in Kansas Toto”.  The weather in Oz never resembled the  atmospheric prevalence of Kansas. A winter snow blanketed the southcentral part of the state. its display presenting a panoramic cleansing of the landscape,  an artistry to behold,  but an arduous venture for the farmers having to champion a nurture for their livestock.  their labor finding the rural section roads closed by wind driven snow drifts.

.  Gary awoke to the celebrated presentation, having evolved into a snowbound challenge.   The school superintendent yet to make his calling,  “a school day”,  or “a snow day”,  Gary would soon discern his decision,  his 4-wheel drive Isuzu having no difficulty traversing the snow-covered road and accessing the high school bus enclosure.   Glen Piper, the superintendent  having disclosed a means for notification of an unexpected school snow day for the custodian drivers,  “If my car tracks go to the bus enclosure gate, it signifies a school day and I’ll be at the Central Office if you have any problems.   Gary’s 5:00 a.m. arrival at the high school,  finding Glen’s school Chevrolet having left its footprints in the snow.

.  The school’s 4-wheel drive Suburban having no problems tracking the snow-covered blacktop to the Grade School,  Gary’s intuition expressed him to commence his suburban route 45 minutes early.  Before leaving,  placing a call to the David Meyer farm,  his first miring rural road stop,  a query about the snow conditions addressing the road to the farm.  David confirming what Gary suspected,  because of the north wind and heavy drifting,  the west arteries branching from the highway  blacktop may have  impassable drifts, but the north and south tributaries were passable,  David relating,   the ¾ mile east access to his farm from the northern trek of the river road was normally passable.  With the snow coming down the Suburban accomplishing the Medicine River Bridge without difficulties, turning west at the Girty’s residence onto the rut defined mile section paralleling the Medicine River,  the 8 inches of snow, could canopied up to 16 inch drifts, the twelve passenger Suburban,  its four actuating wheels  accomplishing the rising snow deposits.

.  The westward river road now curving north, the drifts having diminished,  the accumulated snow now a cushion.  Turning onto the easterly ¾ mile section towards the Meyer farm,  immediately encountering formidable drifts,  the 4-wheel drive transport having difficulty, losing traction,  its movement more lateral than  forward, the visibility marginal,  finally its proscenium burrowing into a 2 foot drift,  its forward dispatch coming to a halt. The lights of the Meyers residence could be seen glowing,  Gary hesitating, about to notified  Glen to call David,  he was within walking distance if they had snowshoes,  when the lights of a tractor snapped to attention.  David displaying equanimity, having surveyed the road situation, his John Deere tractor made ready to transport his daughter Loretta and the eldest daughter Sherrill to the drift halted vehicle, Gary able to reverse course backing up to the lightly drifted north and south road.

.  Upon leaving the Meyer’s, Gary’s Suburban  returning on the snow covered northern 3 1/2 miles to the reaches of the black top pavement of  Gerlane Road still decorated with snow, then turning east his second stop, the Luthi Farm.   Gary pulling up to the house, recognizing the presence of his old 50 Dodge pickup having found employment running fence on the country spread, Gary having sold it to Dan Luthi years earlier.  Cassie Luthi was always ready, not just on time for her ride to school, but with a beaming attitude to greet each day.  Her father, Danny Gene Luthi  from Perryton Texas having attended Northwest Oklahoma State College in Alva, when he met Susan Beth Spicer from Hazelton Kansas.  Dan and Susan wed and moved to Robbins Tennessee when Cassie Elizabeth entered the world in Knoxville.  Dan was farming and raising cattle,  Susan was teaching school when Cassie’s Grandfather George Spicer convinced them it was time to resettle in Kansas.

.  With an ever smiling Cassie joining the more serious Sherrill and Loretta,  the chauffeur driven school suburban continued east on the snow packed Gerlane Road,  turning left onto the black top road enabling the 8 miles to Sharon Kansas, the first mile section cross-road discovering the farming home of Zachariah and Madison Tyrell Odell.   The two brothers, the sons of Brenda Lea (Spicer) Odell, the daughter of Don Spicer. The Odell brothers, like their cousin Cassie were pillars of exuberance, projecting a non-serious carefree world, enjoying the momentary events of  their surroundings.   The two boys reminding Gary of himself at that age, discovering the meaning of life in a single word, adventure.  The boys relating on their search for  coyotes den’s,  the time they let a skunk in the house, and their discovery of the  unforgettable Hot Rock tree.

.  The morning finding the boys ready as usual, the driver mentioning  “It’s too bad it’s not a school snow day”.  The Suburban continuing on  another 2 1/2 miles stopping at the Gene Pollock farm to pick up his oldest daughter before traversing onto highway 2  for the final two student stops,  and the 12 mile return  to Kiowa.  Gary was very cautious crossing the railroad tracks approaching  (Junior) and Vonda Domnick’s farm to gather their daughter Holly, but even more so when crossing back as the terrain has a blind spot and the passing train from the north can suddenly appear.

.  With the gathering of Holly, the last stop normally just a mile from town, the Girty residence, Dan and his younger sister Janelle just living far enough out-of-town to warrant a ride to school, but the last stop was subject to change with the addition of the Elliott family at the Chain Ranch adding another 14 miles to Gary’s suburban route..



A Chain Ranch Addition….191A

June 5, 2016


.  The addition of the Elliott kids at the Chain Ranch required some changes in Gary scheduled pickup, all the students on his rout up to this time resided north and west of highway 2 thru Hazelton, then jogging east to Anthony in Harper County.  The Chain Ranch location was the opposite direction, 10 miles due east of town and ¾ of a mile  south;  which was  in Harper County.  This led to a question, why were Elliott’s attending Barber County USD 2 fifty five in Kiowa and not a school in the Harper County school district.  Gary posed the question to school superintendent Piper, the explanation was reasonable, one of  accommodation, the distance of the Chain Ranch to Anthony was over 25 miles, to Kiowa 10. 

 Gary reasoned,  the order of his stops would remain the same,  he would pick up the student’s living north and west of town,  on return head east thru Hazelton and Corwin and south to the Chain Ranch, then due west to Kiowa.  He calculated the Elliott stop would add an additional 30 minutes to his rout,  informing all to be ready 30 minutes earlier than usual, except for the Girty’s, who after finding out they would be picked up first rather than last decided they didn’t need a ride.

. Gary beginning his new assignment picking up his north of town allotment then turning east at Hazelton on unfamiliar territory,  never having driven on the well pocketed , on and off again black top of what was known as The Corwin Road.   Although having been to Corwin twice, but approaching from the south on an ambulance run from Kiowa, he now had an opportunity to observe what had been said about this relic of history town with its few remaining remnants.  Corwin getting its name from Oscar Corwin, it seems back in 1883,  when Oscar applied for a Postmaster Appointment for the area, many times it was  given the name of the person applying for the position.  The Missouri Pacific Railroad was in process of spider webbing Kansas with spur lines, the Corwin siding  inhaled opportunity,  and sprung to life.  The town becoming an agricultural hub,  with a bank, hotel, lumberyard, church, restaurants, school, blacksmith,  livery stables and with Carrie Nation threatening to visit, in all probability having a saloon. 

.  Gary’s wife Jan’s Uncle,  Charles Terry,  having retired from a life time of employment with Cities Service Petroleum and Gas Company pumping station at Corwin.  Cities Service  having completed the nation’s first long distance high pressure natural gas transportation system, a 24-inch pipeline,  stretching some 1,000 miles from Amarillo to Chicago.  Gary able to picture Corwin’s past,  remaining were the broad width of the streets,  where businesses once flourished, the vacant lots where homes once stood, the remains of the school and still in business,  the turn of the century grain elevators, adjoining the rail spur line that he knew were still in use, the BNSF locomotive and grain cars serving the Kiowa east grain elevators, with the  tracks that journeyed south from Corwin thru Kiowa into Oklahoma.

. It never ceased amaze the Suburban Driver of what mother nature had to offer, especially  on the river road morning Suburban rout,  having witnessed a variety of the animal husbandry readying themselves for the day.  A mother opossum with her little ones walking in the center of the road after a night of scurrying for food, a doe,  running up an incline with two coyotes in pursuit, and on some mornings,  when ahead of schedule,  pausing to watch the opalescent kaleidoscope that adorned a Kansas sunrise.   

. Gary having developed a cordiality with David and Carol Sue Meyer, having visited with David on several occasions, discovering they shared more than just opinions in common,  their birthday’s,  the same month, day and year,  and both entering the military in the spring of 1959.   David having a reputation as a community activist,  participating in Public Service,  serving as Moore Township trustee,  attending  City Council and Hospital Board meetings,  and having been elected to the school board of USD 2 fifty five.   Gary found that David was an inquisitive school board member,  instilling a concerned credibility to the position,  the only board member to actively visit the three schools on a regular nonscheduled basis throughout the year, not only visiting with the teachers and Administrative Hierarchy,  but with the non-certified personnel as well. 

Gary having admired Carol Sue’s driving expertise, piloting her car on her way to work at her mother’s,  DeAlva Clark’s Fabric Shop, actively traversing the mud endowed river road  to town.  David was from Cheney Kansas, the Meyers having retained a section of Carol Sue’s grandfather Reece Clark Senior’s  original land purchase of 18 83.  Gary on numerous occasions having to commence his Suburban school rout early when expecting weather adversity, but when not encountering it,  would summarily arrive ahead of time at the Meyer’s farm.  Carol Sue, noticing the unexpected early event,  extending Gary an invitation to a breakfast roll and a hot cup of coffee. 

. Gary having discovered his rural suburban rout created a special bonding with the kids,  a respected cordiality from the parents, and was a God sent blessing. 


Encompassing Tranquil Surroundings..#192 (the 80’s)

June 4, 2016


.  It was early evening, the summer sun still hours away before the consumption of its effervescent rays giving way to the seraphic starlit Cimmerian,  the celestial sphere of the rural Kansas night sky.  Seated beside Gary in the Isuzu Pickup were his two confederate youngsters,  Robert and Sandi,  their expedition fishing paraphernalia stationed in the bed of the picayune transport.  This journey in all probability, a last foray to the paramount aquatic basin belonging to family friend and church brother, Marvin Ott.   The elder Ott after the closing the Bank of Kiowa,  finding it would be in his best interest to transfer the ownership of the illustrious fishing location property to his son Jon.

.   Gary politely phoning the new proprietor to acquire permission for he,  and his two siblings to acquaint the Ott’s fishing arena as in the past.   Jon in an antagonistic voice agreeing,  but his affirmation having a reluctant tone which wasn’t surprising to the prospective angler.  Jon’s reputation was one of antipathy, unlike his older brothers Doug and Brad, who’s presence was always one of congeniality.

.  A journey thru Hazelton, turning west on Gerlane Road, then turning north at the Dan Lew thee Farm,  passing the powell spread,  the abstracted Chevrolet pickup fulfilling the last 2 miles on the dirt entrenched roadway.  Coming into view a familiar sight,  a 100 yards down the sloping terrain, a small unpretentious lodging adjoining the first of two ponds.  The lower pond, a bass enriched dominion with its diminutive water landing dock sporting a  yellow paddle boat.

.  Disembarking, the family novice fisherman anxiously anticipating the challenge of the bass filled aquarium,  the paddle boat,  their perfect platform of dispatch,  providing an oracle for their venery.   Robert, pole in-hand,  casting off the right side of the paddled endowed vessel,  Sandi,  non-au courant when regarding casting, her line with hooked worm and bobber attached trolling from the aft quarters of the aqua platform.   The pond waters providing a respectable collection of bass, each of the three having success producing a sufficient product of quantity for their efforts, enjoying the quiet serenity of the gentle waters and the encompassing tranquil surroundings.

.  The aura of solitude was broken,  Gary distinguishing a pickup truck on the crest of a nearby hill,  a person at its forefront peering at them.  The person with the prying eyes was recognizable,  it was Jon Ott,  participating in a surveillance from a distance,  his conspicuous actions, traveling off-road across open fields to scrutinize the Willson family pleasure,  his veiled appearance projecting  an impression of distrust.   Gary’s benefit of the doubt towards Jon’s credibility,  a sense of disdain beginning to subsist, Jon verisimilitude of character would  forever be questioned.

.  The fishing venture coming to a conclusion,  Gary keeping his observance to himself,  the sun beginning to wane in the west, highlighting the exiguous cirrus clouds with shades of pink and ribbons of purple, giving a credulous to Kansas, the land of opulent sunrise’s and sunsets.  Robert and Sandi returning with an auspicious display,  their fishing expedition another joyous experience.

.  Scientifically speaking,  cannula embodiment was a deception,  in reality it’s was a conduit,  aggregating the wondrous effulgence dispatched from a boundless infinite realm of the night time sky.   Its presence,  a stature of prominence in the chronicles of revelation, introducing an acuity of knowledge,  a prescription for discovery and a gifted glimpse of the community tenants populating the vastness of the universe.   In other words, in plain english,  the 5.12 inch Celestron reflector telescope  having found a place of honor and lodging with Gary.   His youthful excursions to the Chabot Observatory,  the telescope viewing of the planet Saturn with its majestic yellow rings and a dwelling into the realm of Scinece Fiction authors Robert Heinlein,  Isaac Asimov culminating with a monthly in person acquaintance with Poul Anderson and Rog Phillips,  at the Elves, Gnomes’ and Little Men’s Science Fiction, Chowder and Marching Society monthly meetings in a Telegraph Ave private library in Berkeley,  all contributed to Gary’s propensity for the nocturnal sky and its celestial  inhabitants.

.  The brilliance of the moon casting earthen shadows, silhouetting the landscape with a metamorphosis of symmetry, Gary acquainting the telescope to a  family gathering at the Bud Murrow residence.  The astronomer organizing a viewing order, first Jan and her sister Lynne, and Brother-in-Law Shawn,  the children, Robert, Sandi, the Johnson girls,  Sarah and Jamie the youngest.   Finally with some encouragement,  Jan’s mother Helen,  and her Aunt Esther and Uncle Charles Terry,  Bud remaining contentious, an inherent demeanor,  above placing his eye to a magnifying lens.  The elder Murrow missing an opportunity to inhale the breathtaking view of the Moon,  Jupiter and its ever-increasing number of discovered satellites, but Gary understood,  that was just Bud expressing his congenital aestheticism.

.   Gary’s asseveration was a lifelong desire,  a camera mount for a telescope to envision his own photographs of the celestial essence found in the nocturnal sky, but discovering that his Minolta 35 mm. camera’s aperture wasn’t conducive for the undertaking. When mentioning a camera he noticed an immediate accession in his Buds interest suddenly was exhibited.   Bud a camera enthusiast offering to loan his expensive but authoritative Cannon 35 mm. camera to accommodate Gary’s purpose.   The event exposing the eldest Murrow’s hidden but true interest in photography, not the end results, but the challenge in obtaining them,  exhibiting the nature  of  a  true construction engineer.   Gary not amazed at the response from the group, remembering the lasting feeling from a first time viewing of the celestial world we live in.


A Graduation Overture…….#193

June 2, 2016

“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 Freshman promulgating the up-coming graduation event.   Gary’s wife Jan having concluded a two year educational journey, accomplishing an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Pratt Community College.


Gary not surprised at his wife’s steadfast resolve in pursuing a nursing career,  as this is who she is, remembering when she answered the communities call,  becoming an EMT on the ambulance service. but also remembering the words of her mother, questioning why she would want to leave her current position at the bank and become a nurse.  Her decision was inn reality a revelation, because on July 17th 1986, the FDIC regulating commission closed the Bank of Kiowa, Jan enrolling in the Pratt Community College nursing program.


Gary was surprised when she inquired if he would play the  piano  for the nursing class graduation ceremony.   At first somewhat hesitant, but realizing this was Jan stellar moment in life, he couldn’t decline,  questioning as to what his participation would encompass,  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 discovering the Preeminent of the Nursing Department, director Jeanie Walsh,  was paramour to a song from the Broadway musical,  a little night music,   Send In The Clowns,  made popular by folksinger Judy Collins.   Gary immediately finding a humorous countenance in the title,  especially to be perform as a prelude before the assembly of soon-to-be nurses.   He had decided the entrance processional would be a composition for his wife,  Jan at one time having mentioned her high school class graduation song was  The Impossible Dream,  it too from a Broadway production,  The Man From La Moncha


Gary vaguely recalling the Send In The Clowns song, and not possessing a recording for his musical ear to posture,   realizing he would be compelled to buy the sheet music.  Once purchased,  another discovery, the score was written  with a 12/8 temporal signature.    The up’ed  waltz time beginning was perceptible, but, the bridge presented a problem,  it wasn’t registering with the non sight reading musician.


Where there’s a will, there’s away.  Gary whom worked at the Kiowa grade school, asking  music teacher,  Cathy Cox  if she would play the song so the bridge would register with him.   Cathy seated at the piano, somewhat apologetic, as it was her first time sight reading the send in the clowns musical score.   Her first attempt was elucidating,  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.


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 all class program,  continued with multifarious address’s 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 diverging,   Jan’s diminutive sized nursing class leaving the arena,  to a lecture auditorium,  addressed with a stage and raised seating


Gary taking notice of a  grand piano positioned to one side of the stage, a podium,  and a large movie screen centered as a backdrop.  Seated with  Jan’s parents, her sister Gail, and  her  aunt and uncle, Charles and Esther Terry,  the nursing class to be positioned in the forefront before the podium.


Gary removing himself from the group,  ascending the stage,  seating himself at the piano, beginning the prelude.  The processional beginning to  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 the appropriate background music, noting some of the assembly forging tears of melancholy,  the pianist knowing his selection  moving,  their erstwhile comradely during their educational ascendancy, would forever be an anchored memory.


With the ceremony coming to a conclusion, Gary’s beginning the recessional,  Chariots of Fire,.  a befitting tribute to those about to journey as care-giving professionals who’s profession is one of caring for others, and  bear witness to the beginning and the ending of life.  Her formal college perquisite fulfilled,  Jan preparing for state,   the Kansas State Board of Nursing Exams,   a real test of her two years of accumulative nursing knowledge.  Each graduate having to pass the state exams to be licensed as a Registered Nurse.   Gary having no doubt she would accomplish her goal. He reasoned,  his intransigent apportionment was just one of many  providing a foundation for her to attain her destination.


His encouragement, a mitigating essential,  when others questioned her passion for a career in nursing.  On occasion Gary even enrolled in her off campus college course’s so it would meet the student quota for credit.   but it was knowing,  that her perseverance and determination would emancipate a final accomplishment,   “Jan Willson, Registered nurse