The Torpidity Of Prospects……..#100 (the 60’s)

The Medicine Park Hotel

Upon their return to Oklahoma the Untouchables experiencing a lapse in full time bandstand opportunities, the American Legion, VFW, Am Vets, Elks and Moose Lodge were available but all weekend engagements, additional efficacious bookings required delving into uncharted quarters, Gary and Glenn paying a visit to the operators of the Medicine Park Hotel.  The hotel, a defunct cobblestone and wood resort at the entrance to the 60,000 acre Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge that borders on the North Firing Range of Fort Sill.  The elevated floors having been condemned for residency, but the cardinal ball room of this historic structure still having a purpose.  On a given weekend upwards of 400 patrons would endow a dollar to enter the hotel portals,  dancing and quenching their thirst for music and the amenities. Preparation included the acquiring printed hand bills, distributing them in the commercial parking areas of Lawton and outlying areas to broadcast their upcoming appearance.  The Medicine Park location with its proximity adjoining the wilderness of the wildlife refuge was secluded but still  accessible to the local constabulary and the thousands stationed at Fort Sill.   The results of their visit, the two making a cover-charge percentage agreement, the band providing a weekend musical interlude the cover charge gratuity far  exceeding expectations from a large diverse attendance.

Well guarded but not secret

The night life possibilities of Altus still a viable prospect, the town being representative of most military towns, Gary and Jerry having performed at two non military affiliated clubs with the Rythm Tamers, the Colony Club and the Pink Elephant.  The band approaching the base NCO and Officers Clubs about bookings, discovering they were contracted months in advance and essentially used on-post groups, but the VFW and America Legion remained a mainstay engagement on Friday and Saturday nights.  Gary questioned whether it was their prominent music or the clubs augmented game room that solicited the crowded weekend customers.   Inside the American legion, positioned at the entrance to the clubs game room was seated an uniformed deputy  in full regalia  representing the Jackson Country sheriff department, inside lining the walls,  the much sought after Las Vegas style slot machines.

GoodKnight Park Chattanooga Ok. scene of a Labor Day rodeo

GoodKnight Park Chattanooga Ok. scene of a Labor Day rodeo

The musicians were on the road again situated aboard Jerry’s 53 Ford,  the band was traversing to Chattanooga Oklahoma,  26 miles southwest of Lawton.   This small community of five hundred was hosting their annual barbecue and rodeo.   Don  “red-eye”  Kinder,  a benefactor of Troy Elledge and the succumbed Rhythm Tamers having contacted the Untouchables to replaced the defunct Tamers, the band to  perform for the daytime rodeo & barbecue event and the out-of-doors evening moonlight dance.   The band setting-up station on a flat-bed trailer adjoining the erected  rodeo circuit arena  to address the gathered array with  several appropriate country songs.  Don Kinder presiding as the public address announcer for the rodeo event beginning with a welcoming announcement to all in attendance, naming the dignitaries responsible for this annual showcase occurrence.   It was the final announcement that froze Glenn, Gary and Jerry,  over the public address system came a proclamation   “would you please stand as the band plays our national anthem”.  The two musicians looking at each other, never having been ask to play the national anthem, Gary taking stock of the situation telling Glenn to play a continuous drum roll, looking at Jerry saying “the key of C” then reaching back to his childhood days when he played at home for family gatherings, the anthem returned, “Red Eye” Don Kinder contributing a novice vocal attempt seeming to have satisfied the country folk rodeo crowd.

Don “Red Eye” Kinder

 Glenn was having difficulty with his home life and Jerry was seeing more of Frederick leaving the rental house he and Gary shared.  Gary too having found other interest spending more time with Raydel Hennessy, better known as Jackie,  the two having got reacquainted from meeting over a year ago.  Jackie introducing the pianist to her mother and young son from a prior marriage,  the relationship having its ups and downs but was one of mutual understanding, both without a clear vision of a future and not speculating,  but accepting  each other.  A monotony was building, the bands progression was almost at a standstill, Gary becoming solace in thought with questionable answers,  his world becoming an aposiopesis,  beginning to have doubts he could change the status quo.  Realizing the diversity of the situations, the uncertainty of his relationships with Jackie,  the apparent stagnation of the band,  being handicapped without transportation,  imposing on Jackie’s estranged father Ray Carpenter spending nights at his house,  meaningful  life was in checkmate,  both personal and professional, the torpidity of prospect issuing him  a summons,  return to California.

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