A Realm of Justice…………..#138 (the 70’s)

Bob Wallace

Kenny Kannada

  Gary’s good fortunate was short-lived,  Jerry Connell was having family problems.  Jerry’s wife Donna wasn’t happy with Jerry’s Derrick Club affiliation and gave him an ultimatum resulting in him apologizing to Gary but bowing out of the Derrick venture.   With Jerry’s departure, Gary and Bob began a duo Monday thru Thursday, Jerry Willis still on the Bandstand Friday and Saturday nights.  Gary would arrive at 10 a.m. every morning to ready the club for it 12:00 noon opening, early one afternoon a guitar conveying  six-foot two Stetson adorned musician named Kenny Kannada entered  asking Gary if he needed a singer, Gary replying there was always a need for a good vocalist.  Without hesitation, brandishing his guitar Kenny took to the bandstand, Gary activating  the P.A. system the Stetson adorned musician demonstrating his talent.  A bouquet of sound enhancing the atmosphere,  the guitar playing singer hosting the songs of country music icons with just enough impersonation in his voice to give them recognition, without a doubt the pianist recognizing an immediate hire.   Gary soon discovered the lanky musician retained an essence of humility,  a warmness of personality prevailing in his character, a trait that would be recognizable and retain an immediate acceptance from an audience.  Gary was astonished how providence could change from a need to an abundance.

The Derrick Club on Broadway in Edmond

The Derrick Club on Broadway in Edmond

The Oklahoman adjoining  community of Edmond,  population 16,000, was a closed environment to interlopers in the beverage dispensing business,  a hierarchy status was established, the established bars and clubs resenting the sudden procrastination of the Derrick club.    Gary was a believer  in innovation advancing the advent of a live radio broadcasts from the club, a first for Edmond.  The KWHP radio truck accompanied by a search light flooding the nighttime sky,  it’s beacon giving notice, a drawing card for club that in itself had become an attraction.  As advertised on the radio that night,  upon entering each customer would receive a numbered ticket stub, a drawing to be held  for five hundred dollars for the lucky person. The drawing to be held the following afternoon at the radio stations location, hosted by Dave and John, the broadcasting sales representatives who initiated the idea.  Gary was opposed to the idea because of  financial reason, he didn’t have $500, but taking him aside Dave and John explained the drawing was a scam, it was engineered, the winning ticket would be palmed by Dave, the person winning would be a employee or an acquaintance whom would receive a nominal fee for her deceptive participation.   Gary still didn’t like the idea but a justification was pronounced from the broadcasting reps, unbeknownst to the public, deception  was common practice in the advertising profession.  The Derrick Club’ beginning to have an adverse affect on the competitions,  the  success of the club causing some consternation, Gary concluding it was the addition of Kenny Kannada and Bob Wallace that was making the difference.  With the success of the club came a continuous  scrutiny and  pressure from local law enforcement and now the state ABC Board  apparently having been instigated by the long established competitors.

Nationwide Oklahoma based Kerr-McGee service stations

The narrower State Highway Bridge across the Ohio River at Paducah Kentucky

The narrower State Highway Bridge across the Ohio River at Paducah Kentucky

The eighteen wheeler was accomplished behind the Derrick club,  Paul Ambrose the responsible pilot,  a cousin to Gary’s long time friend the anomalous Glenn Froman.  Paul was inhibiting the accolades of the Saturday night entertainment  awaiting a departure hour to direct his transport east,  his trip a journey of frequent stops,  the final destination Indianapolis.  In the past, Gary having made his Master Charge credit card available for Paul to use, especially after spending too much of the company traveling expense money at the club.  Paul making an offer for Gary to accompanying him on his delivery escapades,  to experience  the vivacity of an  ‘over the road driver’ and visit his good friend Glenn whom had returned to Indianapolis.   Gary concluding he need a break from his routine and being Saturday night the club could do without him until Tuesday, yes he would accept Paul’s invitation.   At 3:00 a.m. the Kerr McGee Corporation big rig loaded with a cargo of antifreeze pulled out, the two were on their way to Indiana with stops in Arkansas and Tennessee.  Gary impressed with highway perspective from  the Freight Liner, its panoramic view, with the CB  on channel 19  there was a continuous vocal narration from highway transport navigators.  Paul ascending his first stop in Conway Arkansas, Gary recalling that the music icon Harold Jenkins Harold borrowed the city name,  knowing him as Conway Twitty, the name Twitty also borrowed from a town in Texas.  Memphis was the second stop, Paul unloaded a portion of his load at a Kerr McGee station, a local convenient distribution storage point, before continuing northward crossing the Ohio River at Paducah Kentucky.  Paul entering the bridge approach when discovering he was not on the 4 lane interstate bridge crossing, but on the narrow 2 lane  State Highway 45  crossing.   Oops! he was already consigned to the bridge when he noticed the sign, ” trucks wider that 96 inches prohibited”,  it was too late, there was no area for a turnaround,  continuing across the bridge the good-natured Paul making light of the problem, noting that it was funny that they hadn’t seen any truck traffic on the approach to the bridge .  The consigned delivery completed, the two travelers soon accosting the Indiana state line and Indianapolis, Paul dropping Gary off at Glenn’s. Gary somewhat disheveled and tired from the lack of sleep making every attempt to enjoy a night-life excursion provided by Glen The following afternoon a weary traveler achieving flight reservation, not sure how to evaluate his experience, leaving it at that an experience.

Glenn and Gary

A pungent smell of gunpowder

Upon his evening arrival at Will Rogers World Airport, Gary placed a phone call to the Derrick, canvassing  for an available person to retrieve him from the airport,  his pickup still deposited at the club,  a club waitress volunteering to drive to the airport  to retrieve him.    Resuming his presence at the club, later Gary found himself alone in the process of closing, a known patron Donny Sledge entered with a look of disdain.  Approaching Gary  demanding an explanation for his girlfriend picking him up at the airport,  followed by an accusation of an illicit relationship.  Gary was perplexed,  explaining he had just returned from Indiana and  had no idea who was going to pick him up at the airport.  His explanation having  no avail,  Sledge evolving a handgun,  wavering it in a threatening manner, then discharging it, the projectile rifling overhead  striking the wall just above the musician.  The explosive sound reverberating in the empty premises,  the pungent smell of gunpowder adding to the complexity, Gary momentarily shocked at the action of his assailant was at a loss for disposition.   Sledge  retreated to the door,  his final words before exiting,  ‘if you mentioned this you’ll be goner’.   Gary hesitating unsure of what to do, then administering a call to a club acquaintance,  a retired lieutenant from the Edmond City Police department,  awakening him relating the accusations and actions of Donny Sledge.  Indecisive,  Gary asking whether or not to report the incident to the authorities, a negative response from the ex-lieutenant telling him to remain silent,  giving Gary assurance that he would resolve the incident.  The musician  discovering two days later that Donny Sledge was  stopped for an alluded traffic violation and was arrested for  weapons possession,  a direct violation of his parole.  Gary concluding there still exist a realm of justice.








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