An Agglutination Of Meaning …#156 (70’s)

An unwelcome sight during harvest

Occupancy achieved,  the Willson family crowning  a residency at 324 N. 11th st.,  Jan and Gary rendering the front downstairs bedroom, Robert and Sandi,  residing in the two upstairs berths.  The turn of the century non-insulated,  draft prone structure,  providing a quandary in maintaining an acceptable temperature disposition.   An upright gas heater now located on the dining room wall  a replacement for the main heat source floor furnace. Gary immediately began a caulking exercise on the established vintage window frames  providing some relief from the temporal audacity and blusterous Kansas winds.  The two-story edifice, once a family icon was moored  a scant eight feet from the rear property line, a  single electric hot wire strand separating the house from the adjacent acreage.  In addition the acreage was  a provisional residency for seasonal grazing cattle and the couple learning that during harvest the property was aptly named the Thoroughbred Trailer Park providing hookups and RV parking  for visiting Custom Cutters.

Chuck Payne’s acreage as seen from Gary’s house

The owner of the property on the north and east of  the Willson’s newly acquired residence belonged to Chuck Payne, his house residing on the northern section of a pasture, Jan having been acquainted with the Payne’s, their son Kent a member of her high school class.  Payne by profession was a well established plumbing, heating and air contractor working out of his shop located adjacent to his home on N. 11th St..   Gary found it was rumored that Chuck had a reputation for his abruptness and was held with little esteem by most of the community mainly an antecedent of his required plumbing fees and his gruff nature.  Gary was assessing the backyard or what little there was of it,  when a slight balding older man approached introducing himself as Chuck Payne, mentioning his acquaintance to Gary’s father-in-law Bud Murrow, then  acknowledging the Willson’s new residency.  During the conversation Chuck with a concerned look mentioned  the cattle hot wire,  telling Gary he would move it further away from the house so the family could have a little more room.  Gary finding Chuck a very pleasant person, thanking him for the consideration and within,  acknowledging something  about the man,  something others may have failed to recognize,  compassion.

Jan's 76 Chevette - No back seat but a provision for business - car seat and basinette

Jan’s 76 Chevette – No back seat but a provision for a child’s car seat and bassinet

He knew this day would come, with the budding family there was a need for an additional vehicle.  Gary inquiring at work if anyone knew of an inexpensive car for his wife to get around in, discovering that Chuck Payne had a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle for sale.  Gary visiting with Chuck found him hesitant in selling it, noting that it had what he called an irregular problems, most of the time it ran find, but there were times when it would just die.  After a test drive, the excursion went well,  Gary considered what Chuck had said and the implied risk, deciding it’s considerably low price was an over-riding factor.   The German-made conveyance proved to be non-compliant, Jan with two little ones on a trip to Alva having car trouble, Gary deciding to replace it finding that  Keith Rathgeber at D & W Body and Repair was willing to take it off his hands.  The couple once again in need of a car deciding to venture to Wichita in search of a more appreciative application.  Traversing E. Kellogg known as automobile row  probing for an inexpensive  but reliable mode of transportation.  The endeavor successful,  Jan returning driving a small red  1976 2 door Chevrolet Chevette  hatchback. The  1.4 liter,  53 hp, 4 cylinder.,  4 speed manual, front seat only, Chevette wasn’t exactly what they wanted but the good news about the compact, besides being air-conditioned, the rear compartment was perfect for mounting a platform that would accommodating a bassinet and child restraining  car seat.

The haste before the storm

With the approach of wheat harvest Gary discovering a new demeanor prevailing at the Service Company and within the abounding farming community.  An aura of concern, with the readiness of the wheat,  a meaningful watch of the sky,  the elements now dictating their time-table for garnering the fruits of their labor.   Gary exposed to a new experience  witnessing a whole community bonding with nature to complete the harvesting cycle, a prerequisite for an agricultural ambition.  What the rural community took for granted the new John Deere employee found engrossing, the word livelihood used in context to a farmer was more than just a descriptive word,  the  label fulfilling an agglutination of meaning and encompassing the effort and toil of the farmers.

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