Archive for August, 2016

Succession Of Heritage……………….#160 (80’s)

August 10, 2016

The Willson family reunion

The call was unexpected,  it was Gary’s sister Nancy in Modesto California, his first thoughts being that something was wrong as he couldn’t remember her ever calling him.   The call was to inform her brother about a family reunion to be held at her home  in Modesto, the event would be a first and possibly the last, a reminder of what he already knew,  the Willson’s were not a close-knit family.  Gary’s main concern was the suddenness of the event, the fact that his oldest son and daughter lived with their mother in Oklahoma City,  plus his requesting time off from work  and throw in the financial concern.  Gary calling his ex-wife about the situation,  Kaye assuring Gary that 16-year-old Scott was capable of looking after his younger sister if they traveled by bus.  The arrangements were not exactly ideal for Scott and Marlo, but considering the circumstance it would have to do.   Gary consider all the means of transportation but because of work and the time element,  leaving on a Friday and returning on Monday,  there was but one choice,  a departure from Wichita’s Mid Continent Airport.

.  It was a first for Gary, Mid Continent seemed compact compared to Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, their Flight from Wichita to DFW uneventful.  Arriving in Dallas the family boarding  a luxurious wide-bodied Lockheed 10 11 for L A X, the second leg of their journey.   The family seated in the five seat wide center section of the craft, Gary somewhat disappointed as he knew Robert and Sandi would have enjoyed a window seat,  able to view  the passing earth below.  Once airborne Gary ventured to the rear of the 10 11 and coming upon something he would have never imagined.  The area at the rear of the plane where the seating ended was host to five lavatories in a semi-circle, and centered in front of the area was a small beverage bar,  but more important, on both sides against the outer wall, below the windows were long benches for seating.  Gary immediately realized, Robert and Sandi have found their viewing seats.

.  Once arriving in Los Angeles,  the Willson’s made their way from the Delta to the PSA and  Western Airlines terminal.  The Boeing 7 27 trip was uneventful until the approach to Oakland,  Gary having buckled Robert in the window seat,  the usual return to your seat announcement having been made,  the craft beginning its descent, Gary able to feel the slight vibration and distinguish the echoing hydraulic moan as the wing flaps were rotated down into position.   Young Robert looking out the window over the wing, being observant of what was going on, in a sudden and loud voice exclaimed   “Daddy,  the plane’s broke”.   After giving an explanation, Gary reasoned,  certainty can be a deception,  but acknowledgement is reality, especially from a four-year old.

.  Gary’s sister Kay having volunteered to  shuttle her arriving  brother and family to mom and dad’s house on McRitchie Way in Modesto,  having sold the families childhood home in Oakland.    Gary pleased to find that Scott and Marlo had already arrived,  and were staying at his sister Nancy’s house with their cousins Brian and Sarah.  The valley weather in Modesto was persistent with a shrouding damp presence fog, Gary recalling how frugal his dad was during the his youthful days when it came heating the house.   His mother acknowledging the below normal atmosphere of the house,  saying  his dad had never changed.  Gary’s sister Nancy’s foundation was exclamatory in her unmitigated preparation for the reunion,  espousing everything from dietary convenience to engaging a photographer to encapsulate this once in a lifetime momentous event.

.  Savoring the moment, taking stock of the assemblage,  the Ove’s, Katherine, husband John, their daughters,  Cindy,  Mary, Brenda and Sally.  His sister Nancy, her son and daughter, Bryan and Sarah Crowder.  Gary’s  four espoused children,  Scott,  Marlo,  Robert, and the youngest  Sandi.   The Bob and Betty Willson’s motley crew of aggrandized fortitude,  their presence an acknowledge of ancestral antecedent and the continued  succession of their Willson heritage.

.  Gary having mixed emotions about the reunion,  sensing he was more of an observer that a participant, it may well have stemmed from the fact,  he removed himself from the vicinity of the family enlisting in the Army after finishing high school and in a sense has never returned.  Gary shared and understood  his Dad’s solitary constitution,  his dad a victim of circumstance, Gary by choice.  His dad having lost his mother and father at an adolescent age, the family of seven siblings separated, the girls remanded to convents,  the boys raised in families as  wards of the state. His dad being turned out on his own when the $20 a month benefit,  ceased unable to finish high school.

.  He joined the CCC , Civilian Conservation Corps as a youth,  stationed and working in the forest of Siskiyou County building firebreaks and roads,  becoming a medic on the units ambulance service until meeting the future Mrs. Willson.  The elder Willson seemed somewhat disinclined with the effervescent of activity of the event,  almost as if not recognizing the reason for the assemblage.  The family activity with its youth was almost overwhelming at times,  the patriarch seeming to shy away from participation, but Gary’s Mother was in heaven, her extroverted presence flowing on high, elated with the convention of her family, soaring amongst the gathering,  ever absorbing the essence of this fleeting moment.

.  The reunion was in the element of conclusion,  Gary agreeing that the Willson’s were a motley crew with aggrandized fortitude, but still a symbol of  enduring heritage.  Gary and family once again traversing on a flight to Los Angeles rediscovering a  Lockheed 1011 waiting to expedite them  to Dallas.   Entertaining the flight Wichita,  Gary having thoughts about all that had transpired, concluding, a family reunion is more than a family get-to-together, it’s also a way-stop in life to “acknowledge the past” , “recognize the present” and “forecast the future”.

A Murrow Thanksgiving……#161 (80’s)

August 8, 2016

.  It was a Thanksgiving at the Murrow’s in Kiowa, the multifarious convergence of family on this day would alter each year,  the annual  location hosted on a yearly family residence  rotation.  The Willson family in attendance,  not surprising, the decorative meal was traditional,  a turkey with all the trimmings, inclusive with a baked ham, attesting to Bud Murrow,  the patriarch of the Kiowa family having a diversity about eating any form of poultry.

.  The  Murrow’s, Bud and Helen and their immediate family assembling with the vestiges of the Roth endowment and its Apostolic Church heritage for this celebrated day.   Gary enlisting the churches doctrine that Thanksgiving was a day of acclamation for the Lords relevance and blessings,  a proclamation for families to assemble and acknowledge their fellowship with the Lord and in doing so giving testimonial of his residency.

Included in the gathering from Kiowa was Jan’s sister Lynne and husband Shawn Johnson, their two daughters Sarah and Jamie.  Adhering from Iola Kansas was older sister Gayle, husband Steve Robb and their children, Todd and Jeanette from a previous marriage, and Shawna, Steve and Gayle’s young sibling.  Others in attendance included Uncle Raymond Roth, a Minister in the Apostolic Christian Church, wife Laverne and from Kiowa, Jan’s Uncle Charles Terry and Aunt Esther, their daughter Rita, and husband Del Meyer.

 Visiting from Metamora Illinois, Uncle Melvin Weyeneth, a direct descended of Benedict Weyeneth, the 1847 founder of America’s first Apostolic Christian Church in Lewis County New York and his wife, Leona, better known as Noni.  Also traversing from Illinois, commonly referred to as, Aunt Sis, was Helen’s sister Delma and her husband Bernard Zigenhorn from Peoria.   The congenial patronage making for a covenant of like-minded ancestry,  all having at one time partaken in  the vestiges of agriculture,  save of course the younger generation.

The regalement of comestible was capacious, a buffet line in the kitchen, enabling the abundance to be presented.  Once acquainting with the ample endowment, the adult recipients acquired seating at the two extended  provisional dining room tables with the exception of Lynne and Shawn, because of a lack of space, their presence residing with the children.  Lynne remarking, that someday she would be able to sit at the adults table.  The meal completed, the children relegated to adorned the basement, engaging in playful exercise, the women, once the kitchen duties were fulfilled, occupied the breakfast alcove adjoining the kitchen in a chronicle of conversation.  The husbandry assembling in the living room, finding complacency in a chair to lounge, revealing little interest in the annual Thanksgiving Day bastion of the National Football League, the Dallas Cowboy,  their opponent the Chicago Bears.

.  Soon after being seated before the television, the first quarter of the game having  expired, Gary discovering he was attentively alone in one respect, save for Uncle Raymond.  The adjoining living room chairs were occupied, but without a remnant of alertness,  the stoutly male members of the family, including Shawn the youngest, all journeying into the slumber land of Nod,  a rhythmic protrusion better known as snoring penetrating the aura as they dozed.  The traditional football game in conclusion,  the Cowboys winning 10 to 9,  the Murrow Family Thanksgiving also in conclusion.

.  Gary finding his presence auspicious, accomplishing an inspiring family acquaintance, experiencing the bonding of kinship, a representative model of continuity from a bygone era,  realizing in many households the garnering of family was seldom found.  The Murrow Thanksgiving, a banquet of like-minded serenity,  displacing the facades of worldly vanity,  a presence  worthy of everlasting memory.

Reason Of Purpose……..#162 (80’s)

August 6, 2016


.  The wheat harvesting season for the John Deere affiliate having slowed to a trickle Gary having decided on  a weekend journey to Oklahoma City to visit his daughter Marlo,  the trip being the inaugural road trip  for his 1950 Dodge pickup. Having never utilize the Dodge for traveling out-of-town  he garnered some concern,  not about its endurance or any unforeseen mechanical problems but obtaining the necessary  rate of advancement.   With its low-speed axle and wide open in fourth gear, the Dodge might be able to muster 55 mph,  possibly 60 with a tail wind.  It was  the temporal longevity of being on the road that was a perturbing factor, not wanting to spend an extra hour getting to his daughter house.   Deciding to embark after work on a Friday evening,  the warm Kansas summer wind blowing in as he crossed the Railroad tracks a mile south of Kiowa into Oklahoma . The steady sound of the engine keeping him company, the westward sun presenting an effervescent glow on the remnants of the once flowing fields of wheat painting a peaceful and solace picture.

.  Gary turning east at the eight mile corner onto highway 8 through Burlington, then south to Highway 11  electing to abort the alternate means thru Cherokee.  Proceeding on the unimpeded highway paralleling the north side of the Great Salt Plains Lake,  past the popular natural water flowing artesian well just off the highway.  Being familiar with its history, in 1954 Eddie Brickman, the owner of the property deciding he needed an irrigation water source,  hiring a man to dig a well.  Both the owner and the well digger being pleasantly surprised after going down only 25 feet, discovering a continuous flowing artesian water source.  Through the years, even though on private property,  owner Eddie accommodated passing visitors an accordance to fill containers with the unblemished water.

.  The jogging south 132 turnoff being noted,  the grain elevators giving notice of highway 64 and  the community of Nash Oklahoma,  a one block way stop with a convenience gas station, bar and restaurant.  Two mile east back on 132 south,  the vastness of the Oklahoma plains  encompassing the horizon until another jog east,  making an accordance with highway 81,  the southern dictate to Oklahoma City.   The Dodge was performing admirably,  the six-cylinder  flat head,  2 18 CID engine at a resonant rpm,  an appreciated motion driving breeze flowing thru the open windows as the pickup circumvented downtown Enid.  Gary on familiar territory, through Waukomis, Bison, approaching the proud community of  Hennessey,  once a booming oil town spewed with multiple yards of field equipment, nodding donkeys and an oil refinery,  it’s every present gas burn off flame lighting the night sky.

.  An article in Motor Trend magazine documented  Dover Oklahoma as a ‘speed trap’ town,  the 65 mph speed limit reduced to 25 within a quarter of a mile,  the local denizen well aware of the imperilment, a quandary to new visitors passing thru.  Entering Kingfisher with its booming 2000 population, having experienced the demise of the oilfield exploration,  but reinvented with an influx of Oklahoma City affluent personage to bolster the local economy, revitalizing the town as a  manicured and attired citadel,  complete with all the condiments of fast food, and expediency of organizational pride.

.  The final rural vestige before Oklahoma city was Okarche,  a one traffic light event community.  Gary satisfied with the Dodge’s performance,  anxious to see an end to the time consuming journey,  suddenly noticing a red flashing light in his rear-view mirror.    Aborting his progression,  pulling over to the curb,    a young police officer approached, Gary getting prepared to show him his license, insurance and registration,  but instead the young officer wanting to know where Gary was coming from and where he was going, finally asking ” Do you know why I stopped you?”.   Gary exhibited his perplexities, discerning that he wasn’t speeding, but realized he had a Kansas plate, responding that he lived Kiowa and was on his way to Oklahoma City to visit his daughter, and had no idea why he was stopped.

. The young representative of the law in a lectures voice,  asked if he was aware that the pickup was missing a tail light.  Gary thought for a minute,  then rendering an explanation, the Dodge was built with no turn signals and only one tail light,  in Kansas the pickup was legal.   The officer was hesitant,  removing himself back to his vehicle, Gary could see him in the mirror engaging the radio, returning he rendered that he had  called dispatch and  indeed Gary was right, the old Dodge with one tail light was legal.  The  ride to Oklahoma City was uneventful until venturing onto the six lane 2 40 bypass south, the Dodge at maximum speed attaining all of 55 mph,  the traffic coming up behind him at 75,  staring at the driver of the  slow-moving pickup with Kansas tags as they went around.   Gary smiling the whole time,  just knowing that in all probability,  they thought he was “farmer Brown  coming to town in his old pickup’ ,

.  Deciding to check in at the $16.95  a night Motel Six across  Meridian Ave from the Holiday Inn West.  The Holiday Inn,  Gary’s home away from home a decade ago spending four years of his life playing keyboard and piano six nights a week at the Pirates Cove Club.  Placing a call to Kaye and Marlo letting them know of his arrival, asking if there was anything special they wanted to do.  Kaye relating that Marlo had an all-girl Little League baseball game scheduled for tomorrow and thought that he might enjoy watching his daughter play.

.  The Saturday found Gary seeing his good friend Jerry Willis, wife Shirley and visiting his ex-mother-in-law Helen.   During the ballgame Gary  seated, his ex-wife pointing to lady seated some distance from them, asking if he recognized her.   Gary scrutinizing the person, finally shaking his head saying that he couldn’t place her.  Kaye laughingly saying it was Sue Mason, the girl he broke up with 18 years ago to go with her.  With another look Gary saw the resemblance, the main difference  was the weight, 17 years ago Sue and  Kaye were both a petite 105 lbs. and where Kaye remained a petite 105 , Sue had managed to add a lot of  carry-on baggage.  The trip to Oklahoma City to see his daughter provided a confidence in the Dodge, but that wasn’t his intent, concluding the reason of purpose thwarts an act of attainment.

A Departing Craft………………………#163 (80’s)

August 4, 2016

Gary was position behind the parts counter at Kiowa Service when the person approached and asked if he could place a poster in the window.   Across the street,  the Bank of Kiowa deployed a similar broadcast,  a survey of the town,  the Daylight Donut Shop,  Randy’s Corner Drug, Gambles,  Paxton’s Drug Store,  the Ranch House restaurant,  all exclaimed the same proclamation and when the Kiowa News presented a quarter page ad,  the announcement was communicated to all,  the Ford Brothers Circus was coming to Kiowa.


An excitement inhibited the township,  a performing large tent extravaganza,  small but nation-wide traveling circus would acquaint the auspicious diminished Barber County Community.   A caravan of trucks converged on the old unkempt abandoned Kiowa High School track and football field south of town.   A subliminal message expounded for persons interested in helping with the capacious tent the assembly, the Ford Brothers Circus,  a remnant of a past era,  one of the few remaining small traveling hippodromes.


The day of performance having arrived,  Gary, Jan, Robert, Sandi and the Murrow’s  journeying to the large tent exposition,  a bountiful crowd filling the canvas shelter to capacity.  Scaffold wooden seating arrayed the ramparts of the single center ring,  with trapeze rigging adorning the scaling heights of the canopy covering.   An expectation,  an aura of anticipation could be sensed, the multitude filling the expanse of the arena,  the aroma of popcorn mixing with an air of sawdust and the odor originating from the animal husbandry.   A hushed silence,  then the Ringmaster with top hat and microphone, the resonance sound of a shrill whistle commencing the program,  the hushed silence coming to life with the Calliope music and a long standing circus presentation.


A parade introduction, commencing with the elephant’s and a very noticeable lady mounted on the world’s largest living land animal,   followed by an equestrian array of prancing regimented  horse’s,  and a disposition of pony’s, interacting with performing dog’s.  the parade continuing it’s march around the center ring, a circus automobile complete with bevy of clowns making an appearance, concluding with a scantily clad lady of the trapeze.  The Show was Inaugurated.


Gary somewhat familiar with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus in Oklahoma City, having been privileged to a guided backstage tour with his son Scott, having meant the rigging supervisor for the Flying Caceres, an Argentine trapeze coterie a, while playing piano with Jan Lawhon at the Pirate’s Cove Club.  He found the Ford Brother Circus unique, realizing it was the essence of a dying profession and like the era of vaudeville  it would soon disappear never to return, but would remain a hallmark in the memory of many.   He discerned the duplicate roles of each performer,  the same individuals appearing in multiple presentations, their love of performing very apparent.   Robert and Sandi, awed by the enlighten performance’s,  the bareback riding,  the agility of the performing dogs,  the skill requirements of the trapeze and the antics of the clowns,  an appreciative approval by all in attendance.



The conclusion found a PA announcement for volunteers to help with the disassembly and promoting that an outside animal ride enterprise would be available for those of the younger generation.  Exiting towards the ride  concession, finding an elephant and pony rides.  Gary questioned Robert,  asking him if he wanted to mount the pachyderm, to his surprise  Robert wanted no part of being seated on an elephant,  the Father  persisted,  but no amount of coaxing would coerce the young man into addressing the trunk-laden animal.   Then a voice,  “Daddy, I want to ride the elephant”,  it was Sandi without hesitation stepping forward.  Once being helped aboard  the large ear endowed pachyderm,  a proud wide grin of satisfaction and accomplishment adorning the youngest and most likely the bravest Willson.


Gary concluding  the Kiowa presentation  of the Ford Brothers Circus was a lasting accomplishment for a deserving community and the Kiowa appreciative reception an abiding compliment to a departing craft.



E.T. Found A Home……………………#164 (80’s)

August 2, 2016

E.T. star of stage, screen and Stateline Crafts

Jan Willson’s Yarn Basket didn’t acquaint its expectations,  Jan finding once you’ve fulfilled a yarn customer’s satisfaction, it might be an extended time before their application needs are apprehended again.  A diversification to the business enterprise was in discovery,  a new sweeping interest was found and with it a booming empiric bodega for its products,  the world of ceramics.   Jan’s interest was spiked,  a purchase of a small kiln,  finding in her a resonant talent, utilizing the kiln’s application  a production of ceramic items was ably produced and with it an artistic capacity for painting and glazing, a natural-born endowment was present.   With a desire to expand her knowledge and ability Jan making inquiries discovering a Wichita enrollment for professional tutelage, an enlistment in a structured class  sponsored by Duncan,  the most renowned name in ceramics.   Upon completion of the instructional classes in Wichita, a certificate of professionalism was  issued, a recognition by  Duncan as a Certified Duncan Ceramic instructor.

.  The expansion of Jan’s success  presented a manifold of complications for Gary,  his enthusiasm for her accomplishments never waning,  and with it a discovery of a larger kiln,  its use discontinued by a community center in Medicine Lodge,  a Paragon,  three stage, 22 point  5inch inner diameter,  96 hundred watt 240 volt acquisition,  requiring a 60 amp breaker,  a paramour of a kiln.  Once acquired a discern was apparent,  the application would have to be stationed in the garage, and their residence didn’t possess a 240 volt appendage.  One advantage of residing in a small community is that you pretty much know everybody, Gary visiting with Alan Hargett,  the proprietor of Alan’s Electric,  the two agreeing to meet in Gary’s  11th Street residential garage.  Alan wanting to see exactly what he had to work with and to discuss the expenditures for applying a 240 volt application for the kiln.

.   A circumstantial  happening,  Alan taking notice of Gary’s golf clubs in the garage,  the uniqueness of the pull-cart and club arrangement.  The cart, a 24 inch wide appliance that held two rows for clubs,  each individually pocketed,  with side and rear zippered compartments,  totally unlike a normal golf club cart,  which resembled a bag with wheels.   Alan was intrigued with the cart and the matched set of clubs,  offering to purchase them.  Gary golfing was nil since moving to Kiowa and he could see  Alan’s intense discernment with the golf inducement made a proposal,  the clubs and cart in exchange for the 240 volt garage installation and kiln hook-up.   Gary with a sense of melancholy sadly  exchanged his past memories of the cart and his golfing experience for the envisioned projection of his wife’s auspicious ambition.

.  The remnants of the Yarn Basket remained,  but a new designation was enhanced,  Stateline Crafts,  the endeavor fulfilling unimaginable success.  Jan’s expertise acquiring prospective students,  her work ethic surmounting an extensive inventory of the artful achievements.   Gary now involved making  numerous journeys to Wichita to purchase gallon containers of liquid slip,  the substance issued to the mold,  when solidified inundates a product, and with the increased business,  the frequent 90 mile vestige beginning to becoming a burden.  Gary coming up with a  solution rather than having to drive to Wichita,  surmising why not amalgamate his own slip by purchasing the contents of the product in bulk form, Talc,  Feldspar,  Soda Ash,  Sodium Silicate,  all available in twenty-five pound discharges.   With the purchase of the slip ingredients, his next concern about a mixing vat was answered, the original house bathtub having been replaced and was still present at the rear of the property, he had found a mixing vat.   A blending formula secured,  the adroit process of an electric drill the source of coalesce, Gary having accomplished his goal.

.  He admittedly could never achieve the proficiency of Jan in the cleaning,  sculpturing,  painting,  glazing and firing of the product that she had attained.  The blending of slip was his first art,  adjusting the ingredients,  professing an almost porcelain clarity,  the local ceramic participants aspiring his product superfluous to the commodity they could buy in Wichita.   A further endeavor intrigued Gary, the manufacturing of Molds,  again research found an acknowledgement.  His first attempt was a request from Jan’s best friend Pam Ott, Pam having brought a handled adorned soup bowl,  questioning if Gary could reproduce it.   Using the one of a kind bowl as the subject,  the three stage initial process beginning with the use of  wooden frames, molding clay and plaster, a mold was accomplished, but the final test was yet to come.  Pouring the slip into the mold to solidify, the time of reckoning, finding the mold  giving life to solidified extraction of a handled soup bowl from its cavity,  slightly smaller but an exact reproduction to be cleaned and  fired,  a new frontier was accomplished.

.  The movie E.T was the most talked about current cinema attraction, Gary having the opportunity to take Robert and Sandi during its presentation in Kiowa.  The memorabilia depicting the extraterrestrial portrayed in the film was a bestseller,  including the figurine of his likeness.  An inquiry was made at Starlight Ceramics,  the Duncan mold distributor in Wichita about E.T.,  discovering you could purchase an unfired greenware product, but because of the copyright and patent assignments, a mold of the lovable E.T. was unavailable for reproduction.   The couple proceeded to purchase an unfired greenware replica,  an unspoken concept being formulated involving Gary’s newly discovered skill of Mold production.

.  Gary always knew there was some buccaneer in him,  without hesitation,  accepting the recently fired and finished E.T. figurine from Jan,  proceeding carefully to pirate a mold for reproduction.   The mold was established, E.T. became a reality and with the purchase of brass rods, switches, cords, lamp shades  and some  expertise,  Stateline Crafts produced a host of E. T.’s and E.T. lamps,  a paramount item at the craft expositions, E.T. found a home.