Conejo’s Arrival……………#170 (80’s)


.  Gary discovering although Robert and Sandi were a year apart one would have thought they were destined to mirror the footsteps of the other in  pursuing their academic travel,  but not thus far in life.  Roberts first introduction to school was abrasive,  he experienced a chastisement from his kindergarten teacher,  Sally Forester,  an involvement in a jostling action taking place in class.  The newly accredited students  in line for an activity,  finding a disturbance among the six-year olds,  Robert accused of the instigation,  a notification finding Jan traversing to the school,  the matter being resolved.   Sandi’s advent in her school debut not nearly as climactic as Roberts,  her luscious disposition, always amiable and attentive to those around her, finding a total acceptance from her classmates.

.  It was a normal winter Saturday afternoon,  the temperature finally accomplishing the 32 degree level,  the sun basking the south side of the residence with its warmth,  Jan having fired the large ceramic kiln in the garage.   Gary stepping outside the craft shop door,  noticing a gray haze emitting from the garage aperture.   Approaching and opening the door,  he was immediately confronted with an intense blanket of smoke, a sensing of heat and a reflected glow of flames.   Hurrying back inside the house alerting  Jan to call the fire department,  the garage was on fire.  Returning and opening the side door entrance, unable to observe because of the dense smoke, but could perceive flames being emitted from burning boxes across the expanse on the far wall.  Without hesitation he traversed the distance back outside to where a garden hose was connected at the side of the house,  a prayer that the hose was no longer frozen from the overnight temperature.  Addressing the gate valve and dragging the stiff outlay to the garage door, turning on the nozzle,  his prayers being answered, kneeling beneath the layer of smoke  he proceeded to spray the inflamed containers,  encapsulating them with a mist of water.

.  The sirens announcing the arrival of the Kiowa volunteer fire department, Roger Robinson evoking a large fire hose toward the open side door. Gary immediately arresting his entrance,  asserting him not to employ the high pressure hose,  as it would cause havoc with the stored ceramic greenware yet to be fired.  The smoke beginning to clear, Roger and several others of the fire department entering the scene of what could have been.  Accessing that the fire was out, it was only then that Gary realized what he had done, besides spraying the flames, he had unconsciously stood on a wet floor with a 60 amp kiln still firing, shutting it off,  thankful he wasn’t greeted with 240 volts.  On closer inspection, it was decided that somehow the kiln sparked the fire.  Its place in the garage was kept totally free from flammable items, apparently there was an electrical malfunction that provided a high energy arc,  sending a charge across the width of the garage,  causing the boxes containing the ceramic items stored  to ignite.  Upon a closer examination Gary discovering the tell-tale signs of an arcing heating element.  With a trip to Wichita for parts,  the kiln quandary soon found its production life back in operation.

.  The  epoch of the everyday,  having settled into a normalcy,  with Robert and Sandi’s school attendance, the day no longer finding Jan burgeoning with young ones.   Her Stateline Crafts having reached the pinnacle of success,  and the recently acquired addition of the Apostolic Christian Church housekeeping positions that Gary and her shared was beneficial.   Marvin Ott,  a major principal and president of the Bank of Kiowa posting a notice in the Kiowa News for a bank teller position.  With Jan’s job as a stay-at-home  mom, for the most part having come to a conclusion, deciding to enter the pool of applicants for the opening at the bank.  Gary wasn’t surprised when  she was welcomed as a new employee.

.  Gary’s  fulfilling another harvest season at the Service Company, the combines sales having reached an apex and started to decline.   An unexpected new development,  Larry Foster the service manage being replaced, although portrayed as a mutual agreed upon resignation, it was questionable.  Larry wasn’t the only change to come about, Gary being asked to recede from his management position, Steve Miller soliciting Steve McCreary from the Wichita John Deere dealership to assume the parts department managerial position.  McCreary and his wife Tudy moving from Wellington were also to open a Mexican restaurant in the recently closed Daylight Donuts building.  Gary finding his replacement  a very personable, good nature and laid back person, portraying himself as just a fellow worker to help in the parts department.   Gary discovering working with Steve an acceptable experience, no longer having the responsibility and lassitude of endless paperwork and the oversight of inventory.  His three years, two in management was an applicable learning experience and  didn’t feel slighted at being replaced, it was more like a promotion since there was no change in his pay check

.  The opening of a Conejos’ found it resembling a Taco establishment rather than a purveyor of Mexican cuisine.  Steve’s wife Tudy, a member of the Conejo family,  an implied prosperous  name in Wichita,  the owners of a very large and successful demolition and trash transporting concern, plus financing several family own Mexican restaurants.   Gary questioning his own perception of events,  it was well known that Steve Miller had financed the purchase of the house that Steve, Tudy and their two children occupied, and in all likelihood it was part of the contract for their relocation.  Needless to say there were always those spreading  rumors of seeing Miller and Tudy together,  Gary chalking it up to small town residual chatter because of Steve Miller’s past notoriety and indiscretions.   The advent of  Conejo’s  was an overnight success, Tudy having a keen business sense,  having managed a family establishment in Wellington.  Conejo’s in their rise to prominence promoted a causality, having an undesirable effect on the Dairy Bar, the only other fast food endowment in Kiowa, the  concern being evoked that its operation would desist,  the rumor becoming fact,  its closure inevitable.

. With the passing of time,  the real world persisted and the newness of Conejos tapered off,  returning  like a Phoenix, the Dairy Bar took flight again,  the hamburger and ice cream parlor opening with new management, Monty and Kay Blunk,.  Gary concluding that the surrounding world wasn’t  changing, it was evolving.

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