Archive for January, 2017

A Sense Of Inanition………….#86 (the 60’s)

January 10, 2017

The 1st nuclear missile The Corporal

Mission accomplished, the ten members of the corporal missile electric material maintenance class having accomplished 8 months of training, issued a certificate of proficiency from the Army Artillery Missile School, and a 214.1 M O S designation as a Corporal Missile Electric Technician,  But Private First Class gary willson was crest fallen,  a lone Exception and a sense of inanition prevailed.   the entire compliment of his corporal missile electric maintenance graduation class would traverse overseas to Germany,  but the soldier would remain, his new assignment, firing battery  2nd missile battalion  80th artillery,  one of two corporal missile units at Fort Sill.  His envision of a world adventure having been banished,   a relatively prosaic province having ascended and commissioned a prisoner

Reporting for duty,  the new arrival discovering the 2nd Missile Battalion building almost vacant,  being informed the unit was in the field on an exercise, but could find the duty officer in the mess hall..  Sitting in the mess hall was an elderly looking Warrant Officer,  the WO introducing himself as the firing battery’s technical advisor, and was aware that gary would be arriving.  The soldier retrieving his duffel bag,  following the WO to a large second floor bay, assigning an empty bunk and locker.  The WO continued his introduction to the unit with a brief walk thru, then requisitioning a jeep,  the two traversing to the battalions exercise location on the west firing range.  The jeep coming to a halt,  dismounting they approach a group of officers. Gary surprised at being introduced to the battalion commander, the WO later explaining,  Gary’s arrival filled the required compliment of four battalion missile technicians, two for each missile platoon.

Gary discovering a missile battalion size was  smaller than a field artillery battalion with 500 to 800 men,   the missile battalion slimmed down to a compliment of less than 300,  the battalion consisting of  a headquarters and service battery, a firing battery and Medical Section. The firing battery consisted of 2 firing platoons and a guidance platoon. The firing platoons included, assembly, testing, servicing and firing sections The headquarters & service battery are just what they implied, all the ancillary services, personnel section , mess, supply and maintenance section. The one element missing from a missile application found in a field artillery battalion was a combat support company giving it the ability to defend its location

The 2nd missile battalion 80th artillery was initially flagged the 246th Missile Battalion.  the 246th was one of the three original corporal  battalions inaugurated in 1956.   two being deployed to Europe and the 246th to Fort Bliss as a reserve unit, later redisignated and sent to fort sill.  The newly calibrated PFC entered his new surroundings,  anticipating an aura of proficiency and deference,  instead finding apathetic complacency prevailing,  sensing an impassive attitude, beginning to question if those who served with the battalion from the onset, might have developed a vexation for the battalions ongoing reserve status and the fact that the corporal was being replaced.  The trial of guard duty and KP once again infiltrated his established routine, spoiled by the 33 weeks of abstention during his missile training.  the fraternal atmosphere that inhibited the previous months of school having vanished,  replaced by authoritative territorialism

PFC Clark was married and living off post,  having completed CEMMC school the previous year, and appeared reconciled to receive the newly acquired  soldier.   Clark found his daily work rather mundane, appropriating it to  a 8 to 5 job, Gary could understand why, the cabling up practice drills were without challenge, but the missile battalion Unit concurrence was.   The battalion’s field exercises  were coalesce with artillery units presenting a show of force,  capturing the various battalion’s weaponry convoys, their parading numbers generating an acquisition of showmanship for an array of visiting VIP’s.

Specialist E-5  Crow was the peremptory of the motor pool and was diligent in his duty of insuring every truck returning from the field was properly imbued.   Upon instructions,  Gary was ordered by Crow to facilitate the wash-rack with his and Clark’s assigned  5 ton test-van.   The PFC un-ceremonially having to decline,  the consternation of the E-5 was apparent until being informed by PFC Willson that he didn’t possess a military driver’s license and it would be a violation for him to get behind the wheel.   Arrangements were scheduled, finding  Spec-5 Crow instructing the PFC to report for instructions and a driving test on the 5 ton.

Willson, tongue in cheek,  pleading  inhibition difficulties with the shifting of the 5 speed 3 speed brownie and 2 speed axle, a somewhat frustrated Crow looking at his watch, saying they would render further instructions that afternoon until achievement was accomplished. It was during the second journey of instructions, the PFC, the son of a truck driver,  deciding it was time to halt the ruse, relenting, double-clutching  thru the gears,  utilizing the 3 speed brownie and engaging the 2 speed axle, then thwarting the test van back to the motor pool.  Disembarking from his now washable charge, trying not to acknowledge the look on the face of an astringent instructor, realizing that he was now a marked man on Spec 5 Crow’s duty list.

The town of Lawton was imperceptible, now devoid of acquaintances, the CEM C-2 likeable menagerie having departed.  Gary as of yet hadn’t discovered any collective substitutes, but a long neglected keyboard friend was available, an understanding mentor of solace and a comforter of charge.  His fingers moved,  beckoning a response, questioning, would it still kindle recognition and free the bonds of certainty.   Immured not, it knew no horizon, lifting its inner confines to the outreach of Nirvana,  he harnessed the challenge contending its compulsion,  and alas, it was again instilled, his friend the piano acknowledging.

  

The Fort Sill service club and music room filled the PFC’s evenings several nights per week.  This particular night, a well dressed person in civilian clothes entered the enclosed music room, sitting, listening to various structured musical sounds emitting from the piano.  Upon conclusion, the person introduced himself, addressing the virtuoso about the possible financial reward for executing these very same expressions in town.

The young soldier sitting at the piano declined the offer,  but later, something within,  an intuitive feeling emerging, recalling a passage he had once read, “the past may dictate who we are,  but we  determine what we can become”.

 

Sequestered Certainty………………….#87 (The 60’s)

January 8, 2017

Air conditioning was a necessity during the many coalescent summer months at Fort Sill,  the stifling heat and humidity would search out the motorized vehicles utilized for transportation. The 5-ton Missile Test-Station,  a stationary presence when cabled for operation,  accommodating numerous telemetry  test panels, oscilloscopes, evaluating readout platforms and screens, all consisting of vacuum tube operated circuitry,  requiring a prostrate of lower temperatures to sustain tolerance levels, air conditioning an absolute requirement.   A quandary developed among the ranking personnel members of the firing battery when Gary was approached by the Warrant Officer, inquiring about security and adjudged to enforce a previous disregarded  regulation.

The Test-Van by directive was allocated to staff having secured a secret clearance,  which were officers and certain accessing personnel. but  Gary’s and his co-worker PFC Clark had adhered to their predecessors disregard, allowing all firing battery  NCO’s and Gary’s nemesis,  Spec 5 Crow to access the Van and partake of the air-conditioned atmosphere.  Upon manifestation of circumstance, a change was initiated, many of the line staff the NCO’s and others were not happy, as they could no longer experience a brief escape from the heat or help themselves to the presence of a coffee pot.

 

The 2nd Battalion 80th Artillery was deployed to the west range on a setup station adjacent to  a 8 inch howitzer battery,  the ground vibrating with every barrage ,  sending the visible 200 pound projectiles hurtling across the expanse.  During the multi-fold field exercises,  a sense of  competition prevailing between the  two missile firing battery platoons, on the time it would take to cable up, test and certifying the missile’s acquisition.   Gary discerning that his and Clark’s competitive counterparts in the 1st firing battery test van were E5  journeyman of the old 2 46th,  to exceed their proficiency would require a marked attempt by the younger two of the 2nd firing battery.

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Cabling completed, Clark opening the thick procedure manual preparing to read the power-up agenda, a step by step check list to verify all testing equipment was activated and functioning correctly. Gary intervening, mentioning the procedure was still indelibly imprinted from his daily test station powering up at school.  The PFC beginning to activate the procedure from memory, accelerating the equipment to an online status. Clark voicing a disapproval but acknowledging that the equipment was up and running in half the time.  The shortened procedure time didn’t win the competition, the more experienced 1st firing battery test station technicians were more seasoned,  Gary concluding not to use the memory power up procedure again, reasoning that expediency should only trump deliberation in competing sporting events.

 

Payback was suspect,  the Firing Battery having blundered with Clark and Gary, failing to issue a weapons upon their arrival,  both remaining silent about this anomaly.  Once a month at 16 hundred hours, always on a Friday, a cleaning and weapon inspection prevailed, but because the two were never issued a  weapon,  they were exempt from the roster, conveniently disappearing from sight.

Spec5 Crow,  Gary’s nemesis encountered the discrepancy augmenting the electronic technicians with 30 caliber carbine,  Gary mentioning to crow that they hadn’t qualified with the 30 caliber carbine, but with the 30 odd six  M1 Garand in basic training    The E5 wasn’t deterred, checking their 2 oh 1 file,  arranging for the two to qualify with the carbine and additionally, the  army holster-bearing, Colt 45,  a required test van weapons.   Crow making arrangements, the two  transported to the post small arm firing range.  The PFC’s with their newly acquired weapons qualifications, not only having their names now posted on the cleaning and weapons inspection roster but serving double duty with two weapons to service for inspection,  all to the recreational gratification of Specialist 5 Crow.

 

The person whom Gary incurred at the service club music room months earlier, making reference to his piano nimbleness had returned.   His name was Loren Glenn Froman, an artillery unit supply clerk and soon to be civilian.  Glenn proclaiming music credentials as a lyricist and drummer,  having in the past submitted material to various artist before being drafted in Indiana for his military calling.   In the service club music room, again questioning the pianist about his music and this time a possible consideration to play the piano with two other musicians in an impromptu session, just to see the possibilities.     Gary was content with his monogamous conversation and collaboration with the piano’s narrative portraits,  but Glenn’s question spurred an interest, hesitant but finally accepting his proposal out of curiosity, having never played with accompanying instruments and conceivably would enlighten the shadow of a long-standing question concerning a possible sequestered music certainty.

Glenn having arranged for the four to meet Sunday afternoon at Chester Burke’s Diamond Horseshoe Club, 5 miles west of Lawton, the club having a piano.   Gary being introduced to Jimmy Clay, a rhythm guitar player with a Neil Sedaka repertoire and Carl Wright, a Korean war sergeant from fort sill.  Carl a somewhat lead guitar player and vocalist.  With the arrival of the two,  Glenn on drums, and Gary at the piano, the impromptu session began. Gary finding no difficulty with the simplified chord structure of the commercially popular songs. The session may have been impromptu, but Glenn apparently was an anomalous promoter having arranged to get the four together at a private club with a piano, on a Sunday afternoon and the club owner present.   the proprietor was impressed upon hearing the group, making a financial offer.  The group agreeing to perform  the subsequent Friday and Saturday nights and arranging to get some rehearsal time at the club prior to the weekend.

Friday night the impromptu musicians making their debut,  Gary abreast of the turn of events and the apparent new direction it was headed, an unexpected page suddenly appearing in the book of life, questioning whether to remain steadfast on his course or venture down this unexplored path.

A Prompting Inducement – Ft. Sill Pt.7 #88 (the 60’s)

January 6, 2017

The 6:30 a.m. Army reveille formation was adhered to but because of his off-post endeavors the PFC sometimes standing in civilian attire which was permissible, his military activity beginning to  assume the portrayal of an assignment rather than a duty.   The new-found music involvement having attracted the scrutiny of the units hierarchy and their disquisition was communicated with an overt direct aversion to his off base participation.  The military superiors instilling  discipline in many forms of accessory duty to compel compliance with their appraisal.   The soldier tolerating the aggravation , accepting  what amounted to calumniatory punishment, finding his name three-fold on the KP and Guard duty rosters, Gary assuming  the professional soldiering upper ranks were  prejudicial about enlistee’s nonmilitary activity.

Gary’s introduction to the anomalous world of Glenn Froman and the subsequent forming of a musical 4 piece band was just a beginning.  With Glenn’s active military duty about to expire,  he entertained a joint partnership with Gary to lease a small vacant 3 2 beer nightspot called the Baltimore Club,  located in the basement of the Baltimore Hotel,  located on the southwest corner of 1st & C.    The club,  across the street from the negro section of Lawton,  with a whites only sign posted above the outside downstairs entrance door.  Lester Prestige,  the owner allowing the two to operate the establishment on his 3 2 beer license.

One of the attributes of the club was an old upright piano, Gary updating his repertoire from the jukebox.  When questioned about his ability he referred to himself as an apprentice professional, knowing that an apprentice professional is a misnomer but still an accurate chronicle of self-appraisal, the  assessment of a non-existent product until realized  should be perpetually addressed,  instinctively corrected,  consecrated without interruption to the ambiance.  The young musician finding this a precedent in his musical ambition,  freedom of expression wasn’t commissioned  but structured,  he was a novice to the vocation,  but authoritative in his craft,  waiting for the edict to emerge.

The tall lanky sandy haired musician Troy Elledge and his lead guitar player Jerry Willis introducing themselves to Gary at the Baltimore Club.  Troy mentioned that they had sampled the pianist ability one night while he was performing weekends at the Golden Horseshoe Club with  Glenn and Jimmy Clay,  and was wondering if he would be willing to sit-in with them,  explaining that their band,  The Rythm Tamers’ was competing in a talent contest broadcast on Lawton’s  KSWO  TV,  Channel 7, on  Saturday afternoons.   The band having prevailed in the first preliminary contest,  and the addition of a pianist would enhance the band in the next round of competition.  There was  no hesitation from Gary, affirming confirmation, it was an inducement to experience a degree of professionalism with a local,  but imminent established  band.

The Rythm Tamers’,  with Gary’s addition,  now a  sextet for the contest, winning the second series of the televised talent contest, but on the third  competition losing the write-in ballot vote.  The Pianist discovering a new resolution having the opportunity to work with this accomplished group, making an inquiry about the Rhythm Tamers’ base of operations and how often they performed.   The community of Frederick being the residential home for Troy and Jerry, the band engaging in musical enterprise on weekends but with  occasional week day gigs, their music expertise centered around country,  blues and of course Rock.   Troy the featured vocalist playing rhythm guitar,  accompanied by a Chuck Berry Fender man emulator,  lead guitarist Jerry Willis, with  Floyd Davis on bass,  Winly  a serviceman stationed at Altus Air force Base on tenor sax and an accompanying drummer.

The provocation of the fast changing events was at an essential stage, Gary suffering a privation of conscience, a need to remove himself from the situation,  applying for leave, planning a trip home to pause and reflect.   Tom Holt, a Rickenbacker guitar playing friend also in the military at fort Sill  offering to lend Gary his 1949 Ford,  but noting that when returning from a recent visit to his home in Minnesota,  the Ford started to burn an excessive amount of oil,  a quart to every tank of gas, stating he doubted the car would make it to California.  Gary hesitating but accepting Toms offer, filling the trunk with and an ample supply of bottled recycled oil, and extending an invitation to Penny, a lady friend from Cement Oklahoma who had worked at the Baltimore club as a waitress,  to join him on this impetuous journey

 

The Ford providing an uneventful mode of transportation on the non-resting journey until reaching the California border.  the  six cylinder engine refusing to start unless pushed or stopped on a downhill slope. Once this began, the remaining venture to the Bay Area found the car having to remained running when purchasing gas and adding oil.  Gary’s arrival with his undisclosed companion causing some family consternation,  but Penny’s presence was accepted

Their stay was brief but satisfying, joining the family for an extended weekend at their Pioneer cabin building site on Highway 88.  Gary recalling his boyhood ventures in this sierra mountain eminence of tranquility.    The couple’s stay about to conclude,  Gary looking into the fords problem, replacing a missing valve spring keeper, the car effectively had been operating on five cylinders, but Like Tom, Gary was skeptical about the ford able to make another 16hundred mile journey.

Approaching Fresno,  the Ford began acting up again,  a decision was made, the ford would best remain in California.  Arrangement with Tom for the title transfer and a sale could come later,  Greyhound would empower the return  to Oklahoma.

Arriving in Lawton the travelers finding the trip somewhat exhausting,  Penny continuing  on to Cement, Gary undecided whether to spend the night in town or return to base.  The experience of playing with the Rythm Tamers’ weighing heavy, Gary awarding a decision to journey southwesterly to confer with Troy in person about his addition to the band.  At the Frederick turnoff south of town, Gary having no trouble finding a passing rural farmer to provide transportation to the small rural Oklahoma community. The towering grain elevators  blossoming on the horizon, the small township coming into view.   Frederick, once a bustling Mecca during the second world war,  a home for  The Frederick Army Air Base,  a training facility for twin-engine aircraft pilots.  this once prestigious town now just a small sleepy rural agricultural placard like many others in Oklahoma.

Gary finding a pay phone at what appeared to be the remnants of a once vibrant bus station,  knowing  Troy was steadily employed and a family man with children, deciding to place a call to Jerry Willis the Rythm Tamers’ lead guitarist.  He was somewhat hesitant in calling Jerry,  the two having only worked together on the television talent show.   Jerry answering,  offering to pick him up,  relating that they would have to wait until Troy returned home from his day job.  The two returning to Jerry’s parents residence, Jerry living at home since fulfilling his navel enlistment.  Meeting in the late afternoon with Troy,   The pianist professing his admiration for the band and his desire to play with the Rythm Tamers’,  the Band Leader without hesitation giving an affirmation,  never questioning Gary’s proposal.  The young musician aware of his conflicting military circumstance,  but for the time being accepting the path of consequence,  willing to chance a venture down destiny’s road,  a sequestered certainty beginning to make itself visible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Derailed Conclusion………#89 (the 60’s)

January 4, 2017

video at:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yahDweWBA28

Troy Elledge & The Rythmn Tamers


Frederick Train Depot

It was a night off for the Rhythm Tamers band in Frederick, Gary, guitarist Jerry Willis and a wanna-be vocalist named Harry Babich, were  somewhat indecisive of how to spend the evening.   The town of Davidson, two miles from the Texas line, was an exiguous twelve miles south and the Oklahoma hamlet of Manitou, eight miles north,  both on Highway 1 83,  the musicians were not interested in the boulevard that aphotic night,  but in the spur line of the M-K-T, better known as the Katy Railroad.   They were planning an escapade,  contingent upon Jerry’s 1952 Oldsmobile and the M-K-T railroad tracks.

M-K-T Locomotive makes a good tow truck

1952 Olds

It was a little known reality, the 1952 Olds wheel base was compatible with the width of the rails addressing the Missouri Kansas Texas line.   The three harlequins were about to accost a crossing in Frederick and attempt to position the four-wheeled transport, the 1952 Olds, on the tracks, either heading south towards Texas,  or north to Manitou.  A discussion deciding that it might be better to remain in Oklahoma,  the decision being confirmed,  Jerry aligning the vehicle on the tracks in a northern direction.   A final procedure remained,  lowering the tire pressure to allow the tread to better augment the tracks, the car fitting perfectly.

All three aboard,  the Oldsmobile making that clickety-clack sound reminisce of the rhythmic posturing of a train.  The three vagabonds traversing north, the scenic view of the farming landscape all bathe in the twilight of the setting sun passing in review.   Jerry, hands clear of the steering wheel, leaving their four wheel transports acuity to the amaranthine rails.   The group knowing there were six mile-section crossing between Frederick and Manitou, a discussion about exiting before entering the Manitou trivial station was entertained.  A more novel approach would be to cruise thru Manitou, waving and sounding the horn, seeing the reaction of the station master,  but a decision was already applicable.

Then it was noticed, looking down the tracks the brilliance of a large approaching light, its  distance was closing, an oncoming train.   The next mile-section found the opportunity to disembark from the tracks, but hesitating they noticed that the suspected locomotive had chanced to a standstill.   It was discerned,  the engine must have paused at the Manitou station, the three acknowledging it was either time to get off the tracks or remount the rails heading south back to Frederick.  The decision was made, remounting the tracks once again, the clickety-clack resonated as the Oldsmobile picked up speed and all seemed well.   Suddenly there was a jolt and all that could be seen was tall grass advancing by the car door windows and then an eery silence as the Olds came to a halt.

Gary and Jerry

Jerry and Gary opening their doors the two surveying the situation and it appeared arduous,  the rear of the car extended over the tracks,  the front reclining against an embankment.   There remained no driveable exit, the car was caught between a rock and a hard place.  Jerry was anxious, walking back and forth repeating several times,  “the train, the train.  Searching the horizon, a light in a farm-house was determined just across the bordering pasture, Gary suggesting to Jerry that he arouse the occupants and inquire if there might be a tractor available to extract the car from its precarious position. Jerry hasten up the slight embankment and immediately headed toward the country abode.  It was then Gary noticed, the large arrested light down the tracks was again acquiring adjacency, the train had resumed it travel.

The derailed Oldsmobile was about twenty yards from the mile-section crossing and it was apparent, the lower profile of the tracks in the intersection more than likely contributed to the derailment.  In the moonlight Jerry could be seen returning,  crossing the field with another person,  Gary going to the mile-section crossroad waiting to flag the slow-moving freight to a halt.  The approaching train coming to a standstill, the farmer and Jerry arriving as the engineer and fireman disembarked, both appraising the circumstances with a humorous grin.  Not the case with the conductors’ arrival, a harden look on his face, commencing a dissertation on the legal infractions and threatening a radio invitation to the highway patrol.

The Katy-line crew huddling, the conductor instructing the engineer to maneuver the locomotive to within ten feet of the car,  producing a length of chain from the train, fastening one end to the Engine the other to the rear bumper of the Olds.  With the car in neutral, the lumbering locomotive slowly backed toward the intersection,  dragging its captive.  The conductor continued with his articulation,  penning Jerry name and information in a notebook,  finally the forlorn auto was clear of the off-road tracks now residing at the intersection.  The conductor serving notice that if he ever confronted them again the results would be different.

The M-K-T diesel locomotive with it host of cars once again resuming its journey  south,  the two musicians thankful there were no casualties.  But still something wasn’t right, with all the excitement they suddenly remembered, they were missing someone, having totally forgotten, a questionable look on their face, “Where’s Harry!?  From out of the bushes a disheveled Harry Babich appeared, having remained in hiding throughout the precarious incident.   Later with some forethought about the episode,  Gary concluded,  irresponsibility can accommodate a derailed conclusion.

Entertaining Transgression……………#90 (the 60’s)

January 2, 2017

      

Frederick Oklahoma’s Cal Rector was an itinerant big man, 6′ 2” 298 lbs, with a good portion of his weight displayed around his waist.  The Rhythm Tamers bandleader Troy Elledge and  lead guitarist Jerry Willis having known the local man forever.   Big Cal was a town fixture and sometimes would accompany the band as a roadie, helping load and unload the musical equipment.  It was 2:00 a.m, Gary and Jerry consummating a Saturday night engagement at the Pink Elephant club in Altus.  Troy and the other members of the Rythm Tamers having departed, Big Cal joining the two for a ride back to Frederick.

      

It was a typical warm summer Oklahoma night,  Jerry chauffeuring the 52 Oldsmobile with windows down,  traversing  the zig-zag coarse thru Tipton, turning  south then east towards  Frederick.  The pungent smell of fresh-cut hay filling the moonlit night sky,  the mellow silence broken by the hushed  muffled sound emitting from the cruising transport.   The steady drone of the muffler was broken  as Jerry slowed the car,  volunteering a question, “Do you smell that?”   the aromatic bouquet engulfed the effulgence shrouded  night,  bequeathing recognition to its source,  the perception was answered,  “watermelon”.

 

    

   

The plan was simplistic in satisfying their new-found appetite,  the only obstacle was the presence of a farmhouse 100 yards up the road.  It was decided the two musicians would disembark to retrieve the flavored melons,  Cal was to drive past the farmhouse, up the slight raise, turning around out of sight and returning to recover the performers with their agricultural gifts.  Jerry and Gary exited the car,  Cal now  occupying the driver seat, the conception was initiated,  but immediately the two encounter a problem.  The fence surrounding the watermelon endowed field was barbwire and difficult to traverse.  The two finally entering the field,  hastily securing the assets,  but then it was noticed,  although Cal had bridged the rise to turn about, the cars headlight beams struck the farmhouse reflecting a presence.  The sound of a dog barking pierced the muted night and the farmhouse lights suddenly appeared given notice of an awakening.   Muscling their water melon burden thru the barbs,  the musician noticed a figure emerging from  the farmhouse, haste was of consequence.   With the cars arrival,  their bounty secure, they drove a hastily exit towards Frederick,  mission accomplished.

On the way back a brief discussion ensued, the decision was affirmed, the three would journey to Troy’s house in Frederick and share the fruits of their labor.  Troy and his family were quartered as caretakers on a large farming estate a mile north of town.  They resided in a two bedroom abode above a six-car garage adjourning the vacated manor-house.  The Oldsmobile entering the long sweeping drive into the estate grounds, the lights from Troy’s residence a sign that they were still up.  With their arrival the group assembled,  Troy and his wife Shirley joining the outside festivities to partake of the ill-gotten gains,  the juice from carving of the melons spotting the pavement.   The atmosphere was convivial, exuberance reigned in relating the episode of retrieving the melons, when they noticed a pair of headlights turning off the highway entering the long sweeping drive entrance.   It was a Black and White,  the Highway Patrol.

Immediate pandemonium, watermelon chunks,  rinds,  pieces, all hastily gathered and deposited in the bushed out of sight from the approaching eyes of the law.  The hard evidence was dispersed, but the tell-tale liquid from slicing the rinds was visible.   The hesitant group stood disconsolate as the police cruiser halted, the car door opened,  the officer approached to relate his presence.   The two musicians suspecting,  that somehow the melon farmer had noticed the license plate on the Oldsmobile and reported their actions.   Expecting the worse, the patrolman smiled and politely began disclosing, a neighbor noticing the lights and activity was concerned about Troy’s wife Shirley,  knowing that Troy was absent weekend nights.

   

 

The highway patrolman culminating his explanation.  As the patrol car traversed up the sweeping drive,  the groups exuberance for watermelon had been quenched, Gary concluded from the experience, a subtle reminder that transgressions brings consequences.

The Heavens Descending….. #91 (60’s)

January 1, 2017

The wrath of nature lighting up the night sky

Mom’s 24 hour Cafe in Altus was the concluding  gig  for some members of the Rythm Tamers Band after playing the Pink Elephant or Colony Club.  The band found  the name of the  pleasant elderly lady  behind the counter,  who everyone addressed as Mom,  was very fitting.   Most often the band members  would enjoy breakfast, including Mom’s famous  “Sop’in  gravy”,  before beginning their highway travel.   It was nearing 3:30 a.m., the weather remaining stormy,  tornado watches having been in effect thru most of the night.  Guitarist Jerry Willis having made a decision to travel home to Frederick instead of returning to Lawton,  providing Gary could determine a means of  transportation.  The Pianist concluding with the rain abating,  he could thumb a ride at  the junction,  four miles east of town, where Jerry would turn south towards Tipton and Frederick.

 

Disembarking at the Junction,  watching as the tail lights of Jerry’s recently purchased Ford Convertible faded  from view.   Gary taking notice, the  wind beginning to gather some momentum and a rumbling in the distance, the sound of thunder giving notice of another  approaching disturbance.  Confident of thumbing a ride,  the only destination of consequence traversing  east on highway 64 was Lawton and with a presumed certainty,  he knew that availability would soon appear.

   

Across the highway standing solitude was  the remains of a once proud service station,  its reason and purpose forgotten,  the pumps long ago removed,  a shattered building still erect,  standing watch over its domain.  On the corner by the station rested a derelict wooden wagon, standing barren,  its tongue affixed,  hounds still fastened,  a reminisce of a by-gone era,  yet still baring witness to reality.   The night sky suddenly coming alive,  a crackling,  the forked spears of lightning cresting the shadowed clouds with their transient illumination.  A blue flash,  a bolt  having struck nearby,  the atmosphere vibrating with a thunderous sound, a wind filled gust,  blatant movement being disclosed, the regal wagon regaining  its heritage and beckoned before the wind to signal its  display of esteem.

 

Sequestered on the highway,  the rain once again resuming  the night sky a showplace,  natures caliber on exposition, the figure still awaiting passage east but to no avail,  then twice the approaching glow of headlight, but traversing west the direction he had departed from.  The volley from the heavens descending its fury with rapture, the musician scurrying,  seeking  shelter,  the relic from the past, the remnants of the gas station according  hospitality, an  asylum from the liquid profusion.   The structure shuttered with the gale, the sky perforated with suffused streaks of radiant spears,  the resolute wagon continuing to stay its post,  the scene finally broadcasting a conclusion.

 

 

Another hour having advanced and again oncoming headlights, but as before approaching from the east, a quick decision made to acknowledge an excursion back to Mom’s Cafe.   Once again at the cafe, the ascendancy of sunrise finding Gary having no difficulty securing transportation to Lawton.  ‘Mother nature having indelibly inscribed a lasting presentation.