Archive for July, 2016

The Seeds Of Lamentation…..#173A

July 10, 2016


.  An inherent responsibility of the parts department at the John Deere franchised Kiowa Service Company, was to ensure the defective part for warranty were properly tagged, stored and the appropriate paperwork filed with John Deere for reimbursement.  The work order filed for replacing the part, a function of the service department.  With the hiring of Howard Williams as Service Department manager,  Gary soon realized defective parts and failures on inventory no longer under warranty, were documented as aspiring from tractors and combines still certified.  Included were other initiatives, Howard boasting that Steve Miller approached him with an  innovative way to boaster the number of hours on the hour meter of a leased combine, simply wiring  the radio to activate the hour meter when turned on.  It was discerned that many during harvest utilized youths to wash and detail the combines when changing locations, and in the process, the youth’s would listen to the radio, which would register on the hour meter.

. Battery warranties also became a concern, the John Deere warranty representative, better known as the Block Man,  would visually inspect the batteries for warranty,  marking them with red spray paint.  Gary observing a service department employee removing the marking paint with a high pressure hose,  enabling the battery to be submitted again at a later date for warranty.  It was rumored Howard’s  special talent was one that paid big dividends,  the reversing of an hour meter on a used tractors or combine,  done after closing hours so never witnessed, the changed hours silently confirmed by previous owners.   Gary confronting Howard about his warranty concern,  it’s miss application approaching the realm of theft, and at the least representing a defrauding of John Deere,  the Service Manager’s explanation being,  he was only complying with Steve Miller’s directive.

. Gary’s consternation about the warranties and misgivings of  Steve Miller’s directives began to sojourn on his conscience.   An unanswered question discovered Gary in Steve Miller’s office,  the parts person presenting his assertion of the impropriety of warranty exploitation.  Steve readily acknowledging its presence, but rationalized with an explanation,  gesturing to the small utility tractors positioned across the street,  imparting,  “Kiowa Service having never sold a single one, but they remain”.   Gary, understood the smaller tractor application was not marketable in a wheat farming community, but listening to the owners accordance.   Steve continued,  “John Deere requires I floor plan a number of their products,  whether they are marketable or not, and as a dealer I am given no choice.   Floor planning equipment that I can’t sell cost me money,  and I am only recouping my loss of income from John Deere.”    Gary acknowledging  Steve Miller’s annotation,  noting that his justification was not acceptable,  the age old adage coming to mind, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. 

.  Exiting the office discerning that the seeds of lamentation have been planted, the fruits of emergence soon to flourish, and the  commission of righteous employment to be adjudged.

Music’s Last Hurrah…………….#174 (80’s)

July 10, 2016

The Kiowa Supper Club

.  Music having been indelibly inscribed in Gary’s past life,  although dormant since his residency in Kiowa.  He still retained all the necessary band equipment to engage in a piano bar or bandstand presentation.  In Gary’s vision, Kiowa was currently disemboweled of performing musicians with exception of Larry Swonger,  who in the past had performed,  and Roger Powell,  having performed, recorded and complimented professionals, but currently was inactive.   The only establishments currently  with a Juke Box was the Uptown Recreation and The Supper Club.  Uptown Recreation was  a beer serving pool room,  providing sandwiches and accessories,  positioned on 6th Street, better known to the local town  inhabitants as Bruce’s,  Bruce Koblitz  the enunciated proprietor.  Entering Bruce’s  domain, one is immediately subjected to an atmosphere permeated with cigarette smoke,  centered in the room are two pool tables opposite a long bar addressed with stools.   Adjacent to the end of the bar was a small open cooking grill providing sandwiches.  Several tables with chairs fulfilled the remaining expanse, with a door leading to a unisex single restroom, the juke box positioned beside it.

.  Gary wasn’t evoked by Bruce’s,  having discerned public taprooms of its accord in his past music experiences,  but on occasion given the special circumstance,  he joined the other Service Company employees for round of beer.  The special circumstances was an expostulation  constituted by owner Steve Miller.  Friday’s were payday at the Service Company,  the weekly checks being dispersed between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. by management,  either John or Steve Miller or when neither were available, by Sandi Palmer.   Unlike Steve who was strictly business and punctual,  good-natured John Miller was not a temporal person and most Fridays was late in relinquishing the company payroll checks which for some reason got under his brother Steve’s skin.   Steve initiating an authoritative rule, if John was late with the checks he would have to provide a round of  beer at Bruce’s for all those wishing to participate..   It was soon realized one could look antecedently to an after work beer whenever John handed out checks.   Gary surmised that instead of a chastisement, John thought it was a vindication, thoroughly enjoying the Friday convergence on Bruce’s Uptown Recreation with the employees.

.  The other established conception, a definitive contrast, the Supper Club, occupying the remnants of an old hotel on Railroad Avenue,  bordering the Santa Fe Railroad tracks,  across from the defunct relic of the once prestige’s  Kiowa Railway Station.  The Supper Club,  a unique dining and lounge facility with a full service kitchen, dining room and special catering area, a separate lounge component opening in the afternoons.  The regal upstairs hotel accommodations,  a thing of the past having been obstructed and excluded long ago,  Lynn and Gerva Harget having opened it in 19 78,  the amicable title holding host.  The lounge radiating a warm but not overly plush atmosphere, a small dance floor and jukebox adjacent to entry,  both sides of the room adorned with booths, the center section with tables, the far end of the room hosting the bar and stools.  The Supper Club and Lounge not an overt  atmosphere of sophistication,  but one of small town contentment.

.  Gary having retain his band equipment, it lying dormant stored away in his residence, discovering an opportunity to resurrect it from it dormancy. recalling his musical background in Kiowa, his first acquaintance 9 years earlier, Judy Jantz  hiring his band for the Chamber of Commerce Labor Day Dance,  appearing as The Persuaders.   Gary visiting with Larry Swonger about forming a trio , acquainting the  Fender Rhodes piano,  affording the bass octave,  Larry on guitar and his high school son Doug on drums.  The trio’s inaugural presentation accorded an acceptable performance, the Harget’s impressed,  Gary, Larry and Doug continuing with several weekend engagements.

.  Once a musician always a musician,  even when sequestered.  Gary’s  activity as a trio having come to a conclusion, but on occasion he would slip off to the Supper Club on a Friday or Saturday night, there was something inherent about the atmosphere of a well addressed nightclub.  The 19 year association in the realm of Wurlitzer and Seeburg having not only provided a means of livelihood,  but a bonding with a profession that was shared by notables throughout history.  The Supper Club sporting an upright piano placed off to the side of the dance floor,  the musician when asked,  demonstrated  the eighty-eight keys still retained its functional heritage.  It was a quiet evening at the Supper Club, the far and few between after dinner patrons who ventured into the beverage half of the Supper Club having left.

.  Gary having been asked to play a couple of songs and was in process of leaving when he noticed that his brother-in-law Shawn’s mother, Iva Beth and another lady entering,  seating themselves in a booth.   Iva whom Gary was acquainted with, approached the piano,  asking if he knew the Bette Midler song The Rose,  Gary responding  that he had seen the movie and was familiar with the song and then adding,  if you can sing it, I can play it,  thinking the comment would end the conversation, but he was wrong, Iva saying okay, I’ll be right back, I have the words at home.  Iva returning with a note pad with the words written on it.

.  Gary recalling the unusual two note right hand intro to the song, Iva beginning “Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed”, the rest all fell into place, the voice and the piano blending as one, Gary having accompanied many stellar professional vocalist in the past, but this was totally astonishing,  Iva was The Rose.  The musician somewhat mesmerized by what had just transpired, bidding Iva Beth and her friend goodbye, but before leaving asking a favor of Iva,  could he have her handwritten words to the song.  what wasn’t said was,  it would be kept, a remembrance of the night he accompanied The Rose.


.  It was by invitation only,  the provincial Kiowa farmers not solicited,  Steve Miller extending a welcome to clientele from surrounding states and locations, providing the availability of his Cessna  as transportation.  The celebrated event an appreciation of their sponsorship in his John Deere business endeavors, but an attendance dismissal administered to the local community.  Steve very much aware of Gary’s music background,  presenting an overture, asking if he could provide the music for the 75 people invited to the event at his residence.  The petitioned musician placing a phone call to Oklahoma City,  questioning if the guitarist sax player and friend Jerry Willis would make the drive for a Saturday night appearance in Kiowa with him,  Larry and Doug Swonger.

.  The night of the event, the h’orderves,  cocktails,  beverages of every imaginable genus flowing,  served in the outdoor area adjoining Miller capacious indoor pool.   A curiosity beginning to prevail, Gary cognizance that there was no provision for a meal, but that was soon to change.   Steve Miller approached asking to use the microphone.  All expecting a flourishing announcement about the attendance of the loyal customers but instead there was  a pronouncement.   Steve relating that dinner would be served at the Supper Club,  the Clubs complete menu at the guest disposal, compliment of their host.  Steve Continued enumerating,  a petition from the Supper Club’s Lynn Hargett,  requesting the assemblage interval their convergence so as not to overwhelm the kitchen and  to better serve the entourage.  

.  The enjoyable evening accomplished,  Gary’s band equipment once again finding solace in its storage capacity,  making  a decision to bid a farewell to the provisional giver of captivating musical memories,  acknowledging the road of life having taken a new direction,  the Steve Miller presentation his music’s last hurrah.

USD 255 – A Beginning…#175 (80’s)

July 8, 2016

Glen Piper Superintendent Of Schools

.  Two major concerns in Gary’s life were beginning to weigh heavily on him, the first was the enlightenment of the Apostolic Christian Church, and a never before spiritual  calling to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.   Gary approaching Church Elder Ronald Nelson,  questioning him of the prerequisites of becoming a brother in the church, Ron explaining the cleansing rites of repentance, its time frame, acceptance and the role of an Elder. His second concern was work related and in direct conflict with his first, one of being involved in the falsification of  warranty paperwork at Kiowa Service as prescribed by owner Steve Miller.

.  Gary having realizing there was no way he could compromise his commitment to the Lord.   Entering Steve Miller’s office, a decision to terminate his employee status at Kiowa Service having been determined.  The conversation was brief, Gary communicating his abrogation about leaving,  according Steve a two-week notice,  affirming a stay to the first of July, fulfilling  the final consummation of the harvest season.  Steve raising from his desk,  presenting an understanding, having discussed the parts person discernment of his warranty position in the past, and was aware of Gary’s affiliation with the Apostolic Church. He thanked his departing employee for his service,  offering his hand,  aspiring him well in his future endeavors.  Gary leaving, relieved, his resolution accomplished, with a wonderment persisting of what the Lord had in store for him.

.  The final two weeks brought a paradox of emotion,  having sojourned at the Service Company for over five years, sometime experiencing twist and turns on this enlightening journey thru this agricultural John Deere environment.  The forty-three years old Gary, unemployed,  and bolstering a layman’s resume of jack of all trades, a master of none,   experienced in everything from a 33 week army missile electronics school and the arming circuit of a missile nuclear warhead to providing,  the correct shears for a 12 bottom John Deere plow,  was now seeking an employment opportunity.  Gary contemplated the possibilities, Humphrey Implement,  acquainted with three of Bud Humphreys four sons, Jim, Kim and Sam, and with other prospective  employers encompassing his contingency list, including  the City of Kiowa and Barber County.

.  Gary realized  another option existed,  but would be very reluctant to impose it, Murrow Construction, discerning  difficulties could prevail working for his father-in-law.  His quest was about to begin when his wife noticed an ad published in the Kiowa News, Jan pointing out,  USD 2 55,  the Kiowa’s School District was accepting applications for three custodian/driver positions to fill vacancies at the Grade School and Hardtner Middle School.

.  The next morning,  Gary entering the USD 2 55 office on Main Street,  introducing himself to the lady seated at a desk, making the acquaintance of Wanda Eckert,  the Superintendent’s secretary.  Gary mentioning the Kiowa News ad about the openings for custodian/drivers, leaving with application in hand, thanking her saying he would return.   The application information completed,  Gary once again returning, with a smile Wanda motioning him towards the open door to the superintendent’s office.   Sitting behind his desk was Glen Piper,  the newly commissioned superintendent of schools who Gary was acquainted with.   Glen and his wife Donna sometimes attending the Apostolic Christian Church with Donna’s family member,  plus Gary having assisted Glen and his two son’s, Ty and Troy, at the Kiowa Service securing parts during harvest, Donna’s family having a farm at Burlington.  Glen welcoming him,  beckoning Gary to be seated,  the superintendent handed the application , apprising that Gary was applying for a position as a custodian/driver,  then glancing  briefly at  the application,  looking up at Gary and without hesitation asserting,  “you have the job”.The first reaction from Gary was one of  speechlessness,  then a acquiescent  “thank you”.   Piper continued with an annotation that as policy the notice in the paper would continue for one more edition,  followed by a notification to applicants of their acceptance or failure for the position,  at which time it would become public. Leaving the district office Gary understood the unsaid message, the ensuring events of the morning having been thrust upon him without forethought,  sensing  mixed feelings, one of accomplishment,  but another of humility and most of all an overriding essence that a higher authority had intervened.

.  The three new custodian/drivers given their official employment notification, were instructed to join the two prevailing high school custodian’s, Joe Cox and Craig Ragan to meet with Superintendent Piper at the district office.  Gary having made the acquaintance of Joe and Craig, but was introduced to Pam Cooper and Bud Winters,  both residence of Hardtner.  Glen giving a presentation about his expectations from  the group,  adding they were to answer to the principal of the school,  and like the academia, they were still subject to his discretion and supposition, meaning in reality,  they worked for him. Continuing,  he gave the building assignments, Bud Winters securing the  middle school position at Hardtner,  Pam Cooper would join Gary at the Grade School in Kiowa,  and Joe and Craig to remain at the high school.

.  With the school custodial assignments in place, the new employees would have to fulfill the second part of their custodian/driver positions, that of bus drivers.  The State of Kansas requiring all school bus driver to have a valid class B driver’s license,  and attend prescribed mandatory driver safety and first aid classes.  The first order of business was to obtain their class B license,  five member from USD 2  55 were to go to the DMV in Medicine Lodge for the written and driving test exam.  The assemblage composed of a recently hired South Barber tennis coach,  a high school teacher, Veda Holt,  the new grade school music instructor, Cathy Cox, and new custodians Pam Cooper and Gary,   Bud Winters being exempt having already licensed.  The drive to Medicine Lodge was anything but subdued, Gary discovering that Veda Holt, who was more or less in charge, was quite a conversationalist keeping everyone entertained with South Barber related anecdotes.

.  Arriving and completing the written exam, the group filing outside accompanied by a driving examiner,   leading him to the school suburban they had arrived in,  the examiner halting the procession shaking his head,  letting them know  the suburban didn’t meet the test requirements for the class B license.  A perplexed Veda Holt returned inside with the DMV instructor to place a call to the school district office.  Wanda Eckert  transferring the call to Glen, the superintendent assuring Veda that he would take care of the situation.   Twenty minutes later, a Medicine Lodge 16 passenger school bus arrived, the superintendent having contacted the district office at Medicine Lodge about borrowing a bus.  The five complying with the license driving requirement, all that remained was their attendance in the Driver’s Safety and First Aid classes which also to be held in Medicine Lodge.

.The suddenness of events in one’s life finding Gary’s sequestered uncertainty beginning to make itself visible, with his involving communion with the Load.

A Grade School Introductory……….#176 (80’s)

July 6, 2016

Kiowa Grade School

Kiowa Grade School

.Gary’s first inner structure acquaintance with the South Barber Elementary School, commonly referred to by the populace as,  The Grade School,  was an engrossing colloquium from the past,  built by the WPA in the 19 30’s.  It was inherit from his childhood,  people, places and events of the past instilled some sort of haunting mystical spell, especially the inner walls of a  domain from an earlier era, one that absorbed,  listened,  and witnessing the initiation that was the foundation of those years.

.  From the street the building appears to be a single story structure with the exception of the gym,  but in reality the educational facility has a lower level.   Beneath the east portal and wing resides the cafeteria, kitchen and classrooms.  Beneath the southwest portal is the library,  boiler room and beneath the gym stage on the south resides the girls and boy dressing rooms, on the north the music room.  Normal access to the school was by the Main Street entrances or the Miller street south teacher walkway.  The two west side gym doors allowed access for school bus traffic.  Remaining was a stage exit door, two others on the east wing, the kindergarten being the only classroom to have its own exit door to a sand playground on the south.

.  Gary’s first accordance, entering the building on his first day was the abandon silence.  After a brief search,  discovering a lone person in the building, introducing himself to Shirley Sieber.  Shirley and Ed Hermon being the two departing custodians,  with Shirley agreeing to defer her exit until Pam Cooper  was available, Pam asking and receiving a delay in her starting date.   Shirley very well versed in her duties,  explaining the assignments to be completed during the summer months, most of which had already been accomplished.   The first project Gary was called upon was to assist Shirley in the stripping and waxing of the kitchen and cafeteria floors,  Shirley was well adept in the procedure,   having already accomplished her appointments of classroom floors.  Gary discovering the assignment laborious and somewhat coalescent,  the Kansas summer heat having taken up residency, the buildings window mounted air conditioning units not being allowed to be activated until the teachers arrived at the start of the school year.

.  With Shirley’s departure and Pam’s arrival, the two working together began restoring the rooms to accessibility,  a classroom appearance once again attained, the hall floors the last to be addressed with an effervescent shine.   Glen Piper’s arrival in the building found him presenting a walk thru inspection and an introduction to Juanita Smith,  the newly appointed principal.  The Grade School having done without onsite principal’s in the past, Misses Smith to continued her commission as a fourth and fifth grade english teacher,  as well as the dual role of Grade School principal.  Gary’s work day schedule was a first, an anomaly,  a 50 hour week during the summer months, and the normal school year requiring a 60 hour work week, 12 hours per day,  5 days a week. The school district having found a way of getting around the required overtime.

.  The School buses were gated at the high school,  six 40 passenger Bluebird coaches,  one standard  54 occupancy bus, and three 12 passenger 4 wheel drive Chevrolet suburban’s.   The bus driving assignments were dictated by location, high school custodians Joe Cox and Craig Ragan would provide for the middle school transfer route to Hardtner utilizing 40 passenger buses.   Bud and Pam, both residence of Hardtner would drive suburban’s securing  north and east of highway 281 in Hardtner,  their routes included the non-blacktop  rural roads.   Gary was appointed the longest route, his 1974 Suburban the oldest,  a maroon and gray 4 wheel drive,   his journey encompassing 38 miles,  with 10 miles of dirt road,  supposedly maintained  with the township road grader.  Just prior to the start of school,  Gary notified Glen  he was going to run his route several time to make sure he introduced himself to the parents of his charges, and at the same time projecting an arrival time, enabling the students to be promptly available in the morning.

.  The teachers began arriving before the start of the school year, making ready their classrooms, the Two custodians meeting with Juanita for any additional instructions.   Gary having taken the time to assemble a diagram,  similar to a blueprint of the school, designating all the rooms and areas of the building, presenting it to Pam to discuss  the work responsibility within the building.  Pam glancing at the diagram, apparently having already come to a decision,  immediately asserting she would be responsible for Misses Cantrell and Misses Golliher’s 3rd grade rooms, misses Albright’s 2nd grade room and the Special Ed room.   In addition she would do the girls restrooms,  the administrative offices,  cafeteria floors,  the stairwell and east section of the hall,  then  turning away,  saying it was all she would do

.  Gary finding he had inherited two thirds of the building, with 8 classrooms, Mrs. Forester’s Kindergarten, Mrs. Hills and Thomson’s first grade rooms, …..Mrs. Feaster’s second grade, Mrs. Elwood’s, Millers, Smiths and Mr. McGee’s 4th and 5th grade classrooms, plus the  teachers’ lounge,  the gymnasium, its floor three times daily, stage, bleachers, downstairs dressing rooms, Cathy Cox’s music room, Mrs. McKinley’s library, and three-quarters of the upstairs and all of the downstairs hallways.

.  Additionally he had  two city blocks of yard mowing and edging, plus  the building’s heating system, maintaining the manual fill, low pressure steam boilers,  also replacement duty for the abundant fluorescent lights and ballast, responsible for the school crossing light and the privilege of rising and  lowering the National and State flags on the flag pole each school day. Gary questioned whether the time allotted for his bus route,  the school and its grounds would be sufficient,  the answer would arrive with the start of school.


A Thankful Predication ..#177 (80’s)

July 4, 2016

Low pressure steam boilers – the school’s heat

.  Gary’s school day began at 5 a. m. unlocking the gate to the fenced security area accommodating the school buses at the high school,  accessing his Suburban for the journey to the grade school.  The custodians first assignment,  for a winter’s day, the firing of the two large low pressure steam boilers, otherwise,  his attention then given to the vacuuming of the library, the cleansing of two male restrooms,  finishing with his upstairs rooms desk tops  and the classroom chalk boards returned to an unused appearance, followed by the dusting of all horizontal surfaces, an unlocking of the entrance doors,  an activation of the Main Street flashing crossing caution light and the posting of the flags all to be accomplished in an hour and forty-five minutes before the 7:00 a.m. bus route embarkation.  In addition to his morning and afternoon regular suburban bus route, Gary inheriting a noon route,  providing the return of the rural morning Kindergarten students to Hazelton and east of town.

.  Gary found Mrs. Elwood’s math,  and Mr. McGee’s downstairs Science 4th and 5th grade classrooms,  conveniently vacated during the last period of the day enabling him to accomplish their room before the end of the school session.  The floors of Gary’s other six rooms and the hall were managed upon returning from his bus route as was the gym floor, it having been done in the morning,  and on an as needed basis,  especially during weather activity with the student utilizing the gym at noon, and while waiting for their bus transportation. The custodians goal was to have his eight classrooms in pristine posture at the beginning of each day when the teacher entered the room.  The other custodian, Pam Cooper,  evoking another tact, cleaning her classroom during the day, while the students participated at recess,  music or other out of classroom activities,  the teachers and students never really experiencing a primeval  classroom accomplishment.    This being his concluding task before the ending his day at 6:00 p.m. with the return of the suburban to the high school.

.  The grade school retaining the original Superior Boiler Works Pawnee boiler, one of two installed when the school was built in 1936,  the second boiler,  a kawanee,   slightly smaller in capacity,  both boiler having never been fitted with automated water level controls and had to be filled manually,  but having at least one safety device, fitted with an electric sensor that would shut the system down if no flames were detected.   The steam boilers providing the only source of heat for the entire building,  every room including the gym having fixed radiators.  The radiators speaking up when first experiencing the steam,  with a clanging sound out of a movie script.  Their clamor and clanking resonating throughout the building,  caused by non-returning  condensation, when the heat from the steam was applied to a cold convector.

.  Directed by Glen Piper,  Gary journeyed  to Wichita  attending  a two-day steam boiler operations, maintenance and safety class, his only operational knowledge was limited, coming from Ed Hermon the departed custodian.  The two-day boiler indoctrination provided an insight to the maintenance aspects, the checking and replacement of steam traps, the large industrial return pumps,  the inspection of the boiler tubes for leakage and the cleansing of the oxidation formed on the numerous tubes and seals.   Also included was the proper monitoring of water  level and pressure, Gary realized,  although the boilers were a remnant from a past era,  it was interesting that an another precipitous realm was making his acquaintance.

.  The daytime experience found the yard endeavor time consuming,  the only grass cutting appliance was a five horsepower Snapper mower with a 32 inch swath.  Mowing during the school day required scheduling, as there was an access restriction to certain areas dictated by the presence of students.   The grounds encompassed two city blocks,  including the little league baseball diamond,  which was always in a state of request for attention. The Main Street and sidewalk enhancing the length of the building,  each with four entrances, demanded an ongoing edging application.

.  The most arresting situation confronting the teachers, one that could cause untold frustration,  the failure of the copy machine.  Gary finding some staff members mechanically inclined,  able to remedy minor obstructions,  others obliging their ignorance,  calling upon him for assistance.   The lone copier having an antiquated backup, something the custodian hadn’t experienced since his Burckhalter Elementary ascendancy in Oakland,  an ink filled,  hand cranked mimeograph machine, the throwback to the  past,  seeing limited use.  Superintendent Piper approached Gary with a solution to the copy machine down-time quandary,   asking if he would be interested in working with the contracted vendor,  whom was finding it difficult to respond from Wichita every time a problem developed with the machine.   Gary agreeing to work with the serviceman,  the two meeting at the Grade School on a Saturday afternoon.   The technician  field-stripping the copier down to its component parts, Gary observing, taking notes, comprehending  their function,  and how to determine and resolve any problems.   The vendor satisfied with Gary’s hands on approach, his acknowledgement of the equipment’s operation,  and discernment to diagnose the cause of a malfunctions.

.  Glen asking about  the Wichita vendor,  questioning if their Saturday meetings came to resolution and the results, Gary relating the event was successful, expressing confidence that he could resolve most of the grade schools copy machine problems.   Glen continued, asking if he would be susceptible in performing this service for all the district copiers,  and if so,  he would see that he receive a monthly stipend as compensation.   Gary was somewhat hesitant in accepting Glens offer, considering the added responsibility, but also witness to  the inconvenience caused by a down copy machine, deciding to accept the undertaking.



A Muddy Road Entrapment……..#178 (80’s)

July 2, 2016

The rumblings aloft announcing the coming event.

.  The twelve-hour work day fulfilled, a quiet evening at home,  then calling it a night,  the rumblings aloft announcing a coming event.  Gary distinguishing the quiescent  patter of rain starting to fall,  not unusual for late September in Kiowa,  a welcome sound providing a relief from the enduring hot summer.   An wakening at 4:30 a. m.,  the rumble of thunder projecting thru the darken morning environment, the rain still descending from lightning silhouetted clouds, not drawing any concern.   Leaving his residence for the high school,  his school Chevrolet Suburban arrested behind the locked fenced  enclosure,  the rain still descending.  Gary proceeding to his appointed morning tasks at the school and by its sound, noticing a definite increase in the rain.   A concern with the weather starting to formulate,  a subconscious thought beginning about the condition of his dirt roads.  The newly acquainted school employee having never experienced the advent of a large amount of rain on his route,  but being an imparted optimist, surely the rain wouldn’t be a detriment to the  four wheel drive suburban in keeping his route schedule.

.A decision to digress early from the school was decided on, the adornment from the sky having increased to an incessant downpour.  Seated in the suburban engaging the journey,  Gary well aware that he had never before driven the dirt artery to the David Meyers farm in such weather conditions.   Crossing the Medicine River bridge, proceeding northeast on the glistening blacktop of Highway #2 towards Hazelton, finding the visibility difficult thru the downpour searching for the second mile section turnoff.  Stopping at the turnoff,  exiting from the suburban  in the cascading effusion to manually engage the four-wheel drive,  accessing the front wheels,  rotating the four-wheel drive lock on each wheel.  Employing the four-wheel drive shift lever, adroit in confidence, Gary entered his plight thru the nebula of precipitation   The visual acuity sporadic with each pass of the wiper blades, the 4 wheel drive front wheels attempting to assert its authority,  plowing forward on the peaking crown center of the road,  its stability causing a concern. .

.  The rear of the Suburban processing a will of  its own,  sliding towards the bordering edge of the road  but the enabled front wheel drive exhorting its call,   somehow pulling it back on course.   Its wheels in rotation traversing the quagmire at a crawl,  the vehicle continued, then inevitable happened.  The slick lateral slope of the road was too much to overcome, the rear of the car sliding off the avenue into a mire of cataclysm, followed by the front.   Several attempt being made with the 4wheel drive in low, but the suburban remained a captive of the unforgiving quagmire       The sound of the rain pelting,  the swish of the windshield wipers,  the vehicle idling,  a glow from the dashboard lights in the darkness,  providing a resonating aura,  a sense of dejection starting to prevail,  but it was short-lived,  an awakening.

.  Gary reaching for the two-way radio,  knowing that Glen Piper would be at the District Office, the Superintendent always steadfast at his station during inclement weather.   Glen acknowledging the driver’s dilemma, then coming right back with,  having placed a telephone call to Keith Rathgeber,  relating that D & W  would be arriving in a tow truck to remedy his plight.  It wasn’t long till Gary could see the headlights in the rear-view mirror,  rescue was in sight, the tow truck approaching

. Embarking from the winch mounted vehicle in the pouring rain was Keith and Scott Rathgeber evaluating the situation,  pulling the cable towards the front of the Suburban,  finding the large towing eye bolt fastened to the frame beneath the bumper,  hooking the cable,  the vehicle ready to commence its appointment.   Scott sitting behind the wheel of the truck encouraging it forward, Gary remaining in the Suburban,  also attempting to edge its movement.   The towing vessels straining,  its wheels spinning,  and then a sudden jumping lateral movement,  the towing venture sliding sideways off the road joining the Suburban in the quagmire,  its wheels spinning, unable to muster any traction at all.  With both vehicles now disabled, Keith and Scott seemed perplexed at what to do,  Gary once again addressing the two-way radio,   communicating with Glen,  explaining the situation, suggesting he might call David Meyer and make him aware of what was going on.

.  Glen coming back on the radio, just gotten off the phone, David was on his way.  Ten minutes having expired when the lights of the tractor could be seen advancing toward them, as it neared Gary could see that it wasn’t David’s  4430 John Deere, but his cab-less old 4020,  a John Deere mainstay from 1963 to 1972.  David stopping,  face drenched and  water streaming off his poncho, without hesitation fastening a rope to the truck as Keith unhooked the Suburban.  With  Scott aboard the tow truck, the 4020 having little trouble pulling it back onto the muddy road,  Keith and Scott acknowledging they could make from there, David saying he would see that Gary and the school vehicle would get to the blacktop. Fastening the rope to the Suburban, Gary steering they proceeding 1 1/2 miles to the Meyers farm, David’s two daughters Sherrill and Loretta boarding the Suburban more concerned on being late for school than the weather.

. The towing journey continuing,  the two vehicles in tandem for the remaining 3 1/2 miles before reaching the blacktop at Gerlane Road.    A very wet and soaked David Meyers was understanding,  not admonishing the inexperienced mud driver,  but enlightening him,  that during inclement weather, whether it be rain or snow,  always take the alternative river road by Girty’s and approach his place from the west.  Then adding the secret of staying on a mud slick road, always drive in the ruts from the previous traffic.  Knowing that he would once again encounter the mud when returning the girls after school,  Gary was indebted to the farmer for the lesson, he would journey the river road route with an appreciative  thank you to David Meyer.


A Cub Scouting Experience…………….#179 (80’s)

July 1, 2016

Robert in Uniform

Robert in Uniform

.  Robert having made a decision, the young man aspiring  to become a Cub Scout.   Gary recalling his venture into Scouting,  according a benediction,  but also remembering the encumbrance of attendance and participation,  sometimes not always a convenience when other contingencies presented themselves to a nine-year old.   The attire of a uniform always presenting a presentation of self-esteem regardless of the person’s perspective.

.  The Kiowa Den meetings being embraced in the Scout Hut.  The hut  located across the street from the Grade School  on 10th Street, the upstairs utilized by the older Boy Scouts,  the basement pavilion relegated for the younger Cubs.   Keith Hoffman, a diesel mechanic at Kiowa Service abiding in lieu of a Den Mother,  tinctured as a Den Father, his son, Kenny, the same age as Robert, with Gary having volunteered as assistant Den luminary.   The young cadre ready to accomplishing the Cub regiment of scouting beginning with the rank of Bobcat, followed by attaining the requirements in the Wolf and Bear Manuals, and the final accolade, a Webelos accomplishment before acquiring the scouting entry arrow of light, all prerequisite before advancing into the plaudits of mature scouting.

.  Gary finding Cub Scout guidance was a gratification,  the communion with the younger understudies providing a forbearance of a previous era,  the adventurous ambitions of an insouciant time of life,  his son Robert prevailing with an attitude for accomplishment.  The program to encourage elective projects, understandably finding the association of boys not very innovative when left to a decision,  parental guidance was found to be the operative.   Gary recognizing Robert’s  indecision on choosing a project,  likewise  he and Keith  realized that most of these first undertakings would probably be parental ideas.  With Roberts indecision,  Gary presented a proposal, having introduced Robert and his sister to the realm of the night sky,  utilizing a five-inch reflector telescope he had purchased through a Spiegel catalog.  Submitting his novel idea,  a constellation sphere of the night sky projected by inserting strings of miniature Christmas tree lights  thru a blackened cork framed board,  the figurative  outline of the sky’s well-known constellations illuminated in a darken room. The two proceeding with this novel idea,  using illustrations from a star map,  the miniature lights substituting for the stars. The Den displaying their projects, Robert’s project was by far the most unique, of course that was his dads opinion.

.  A second opportunity for the young impresario’s of the Cub Scout accumulation, a project more attuned to the Den members approval, a 12 by 4 by 4 inch block of pinewood,  to be carved in the shape of a racing car,  and fitted with the packaged provided axle and wheels.  The finished product enabling the boys to enter a competition,  entertaining a raised platform drag strip,  the Cubs releasing the sculptured models in paired contention, the models racing down the elongated runway,  concluding the fastest car in an elimination race.  Each participant allowed two attempts, Robert first competitive appearance a loss, taking his disappointment in hand ready for the second performance. This time  finding his car finishing first, Gary having applied a coating of graphite to the axles,  enhancing the model racing expenditures mobility.  Robert’s car continued to excel, the over all winner, Gary recognizing, at that age acknowledgement is important but fleeting.

.  Gary was apprehensive about the overnight field outing the Den was about to experience.  He and Robert to journey a mile west of town,  then 3 miles north to a camp ground near the Medicine River,  an area employed by the Scouts.   Arriving they found Jerry McNamar,  the Kiowa District Scout Leader in uniform,  and expediting the campgrounds provisions,  three large tents and a number of smaller canvas shelters providing the overnight accommodations.  Roger Robinson,  his son Paul  a Scout, setting up a spit mounted already partially cooked pig on a hand operated rotisserie, the pork endeavor  final dispatch to be completed over a grill by the ordained scouts.  Gary having just returned from an expeditionary journey,  exploring the Medicine River, when his attention was drawn by a commotion originating from a group of Cubs in one of the tents,  Entering the now empty tent, looking about,  suspiciously according its contents, Gary apprehending a magazine emitting from the sleeping bag of John Thomas.  , Gary not surprised at his find, especially among the ascension of inquisitive boys  when billeted together. the encompassing  magazine in question, none other than Playboy,  Gary retreating outside, deciding to cede his find as,  undiscovered.

.  Gary concluding the world would be a far better place if all mankind would adhere to this oath On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.