Sam I Am Blog

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Archive for December 2012

Tick,Tock Time Philippines’ Party Planners Press On

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Tick,Tock Time

TICK TOCK TIME_4070_resized

Philippines’ Party Planners Press On

mano bito places bamboo decor_resized

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ranilo Saldana is having a New Year’s Eve Party.  

Mano Bito secures one of the bamboo decorations to a column for the New Year’s Eve Party.

 

TIME TRIPPER_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized_resized

Time Tripper

Tick, Tock, each minute off the clock shortens the road to 2013.

 

  LEO THUMBNAILRanilo has invited his high school classmates to the party. Ranilo’s aunt, Christy Warren has accepted the challenge to host the party.   ARIES THUMBNAIL

 

Yesterday, she and Ranilo hooked up the speakers and did the sound check.

STEP UP TO THE MIKE_resized

The microphone is ready for aspiring singers to try their voices at karaoke.

 

AQUARIUS THUMBNAILThis morning, Mano Bito, showed up to handle the decorations. . . as in something to do with bamboo.  CANCER THUMBNAILS  CAPRICORN THUMBNAILS

 

LIBRA THUMBNAILChristy made her husband, Sam, put down the camera long enough to move four tall plants.

PISCES THUMBNAIL

 

SCORPIO THUMBNAILTick, tock, tick,tock and the minutes of 2012 tick off the clock. Meanwhile, the Saldanas and Warrens in Barangay Baras are racing the clock to be ready to host Ranilo’s friends later this afternoon – New Year’s Eve – December 31, 2012.

 

 

Tick,tock, tick,tock, – we continue our dance with the clock.

Sam

VIRGO THUMBNAIL

 

 

New Years Links

 

New Year’s Eve Times Square

New York City

http://www.timessquarenyc.org/new-years-eve/index.aspx

 

New Year’s 2013 Countdown

Around The World

Time and Date.com

 

http://www.timeanddate.com/counters/multicountdown.html

 

Countdown for New Year 2013

My Countdown.org

 

http://mycountdown.org/fullpage.php?cp3_Hex=0F0200&cp2_Hex=000000&cp1_Hex=FFFFFF&ham=0&img=-5&hbg=0&hfg=0&sid=0&fwdt=200&lab=1&text1=New%20Year&text2=New%20Year&group=Holiday&countdown=New%20Year&widget_number=3015&timezone=UTC

 

New Year’s Countdown

Application for facebook and other New Year’s Programs

Satisfaction.com

 

http://www.satisfaction.com/new-years-countdown/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Party Time ! by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Party

Time !

PARTY TIME DISCO LIGHT PHOTO ONE_resized

2013 Waits In The Wings

The Year 2013 is only a matter of hours away on December 30, 2012. At One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, the black strobe light disco ball needs a dusting before it is plugged in to

“Welcome The New Year.”

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The clock is ticking off the minutes until the Year 2012 becomes history.

 

At One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, the procedure to see the Year 2012 into history suggests a party is needed. The black disco ball probably could use a dusting before it gets plugged in for the New Year’s Eve celebration.

 

Ranilo and Christy spent most of the day performing “Sound Technician” duties to check the speaker set up and make sure the karaoke functions are ready, Ranilo invited his friends to this New Year’s Eve Party.

RANILO AND CHRISTY WORK ON HOOKING UP THE SPEAKERS_resized

 

Ranilo Saldana and Christy Warren work on speaker system connections.

This evening, December 30, 2012, we did the “Mike Check” and the “Sound Check.” All systems are go. Ranyiel took pleasure in checking out the microphone and crooning away at the lyrics as they appeared on the screen.

RANYIEL SINGS RANILO LISTENS AND WATCHES THE KARAOKE_resized

Ranyiel Saldana croons out some lyrics to check the microphone, while Ranilo watches the video feed on the monitor.

I took the microphone and tried the lyrics of “I Shot The Sheriff.” The microphone worked perfectly. My singing style is the reason I usually only “sing in the shower.” Somethings in life, apparently, do not always improve with age.Tomorrow, December 31, 2012, of course, “Aunt Christy” will wake up the rooster as she begins her cooking itinerary. Christy is really a chef at heart with the passion of a caterer.

 

As the countdown to the New Year continues, it is “Party Time” and the plans are underway to welcome Ranilo’s classmates to a New Year’s Party of their own.

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Christmas In The P.I. 2012 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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After Action Report Christmas Eve 2012

 

Christmas

In

The

P.I.

Everyone sits down to the Noche Buena 2012 feast  at One Warren Way_resized

Noche Buena Feast 2012

The Warren and Saldana families sit down to the December 24, 2012 “Noche Buena” feast at One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I had a childhood full of Christmas Days, where I got up with goose bumps. I would dash to the old worthless stone fireplace.

 

I would stand with my back to the dancing flames on the wood. The cold draft of air down the chimney always seem to make the flames seem more like a child’s coloring book page than actual warmth.

 

I would spend a few minutes in front of the fireplace trying to warm up. Then, I would dash to the Christmas Tree . My cold fingers would rip at the Christmas wrapping paper to free the toys.

 

I learned to associate cold with Christmas.

 

CHRISTMAS IN THE PI PHOTO ONE THUMBNAIL PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JRYou would bundle up like “Nannook Of The North.” Swaddled in yards of flannel,cotton and wool, you would waver, walk and waddle to the front door.

 

Push the door open. A deep blanket of fresh snow always seems to rise a foot or two, pushed away from the door. A beautiful vanilla quilt that blankets the ground in all directions to the horizon.

 

Sunlight would always charge certain snowflakes to twinkle before your eyes. The twinkling diamond illusions would, for a moment, allow you to forget the bone-chilling air rushing toward you like an invisible tidal wave.

 

The next step always seemed to be that of a disoriented lunar astronaut. Your foot drops down into the snow and you are off balance for a moment. You stand in knee-high snow and look out to the driveway at the snow-covered pickup.

 

The heat of the running engine against the cold air creates wispy columns of smoke around the pickup’s hood. You lean forward to resume your “Moon Walk.” Through the deep snow, you finally reach and open the passenger’s side pickup door. You climb up into the truck and sit on the seat.

 

Momma backs the grumbling pickup out of the driveway and on to the ice-covered slick highway. You lean your head back against the seat and realize, “ We are headed to grandma’s house for Christmas Dinner ! ”

 

For the briefest of moments, you wonder why your mother didn’t just hook up the Alaskan Husky dog team to the sled. Then, you, remember this is the Missouri Ozarks and not the Yukon Territory of Alaska.

 

As you shiver from the cold, you wonder, “Is there really a difference in Missouri and Alaska in the winter other than temperature and wind chill factor?”

 

By adulthood, I have had so many cold, snowy Christmas Days genetically hardwired into my memory that by October 1, I would pick up a local newspaper to glance at the flag to check out the date and my location on planet earth.

 

Shop For The Egg Nog

 

A cold location means I stock up on the Hiland egg nog. I would snatch up my “Nannook Of The North” Official United States Air Force issue parka, grab my wallet and head to the Commissary to shop for “egg nog.”

 

The parka was always an ugly battleship gray with wide silver sewed on strips of a metallic duct tape material over the zipper front flap and around the cuffs. The synthetic white fake fur lining around the hood made you look like an old French fur trapper. You always looked like an inebriated alien wandering lost in the snow. Nonetheless, it was warm.

 

At the BX I would check for a good snow shovel to be ready to shovel open my front door.

 

A warm location means I lean back in the chair and smile:

Hallelujah ! No Snow for Christmas !”

 

There is a theory, that there are people in the world: “Who Like Snow”

 

I have no use for Snow.”

 

Christmas 2012 is not the first Christmas, I celebrated in the Republic of the Philippines. Christmas 1988 was my first Christmas in the Philippine Islands, which is a “Single G.I. Christmas Story,” I have yet to publish.

 

One major difference between the Philippine Islands and The Ozarks on Christmas is the dinner celebration. Filipinos target Christmas Eve. Ozarkers and Americans usually set their sites on Christmas Day.

 

In the Philippine Islands – “The P.I.” – “Noche Buena”, known as “The Good Night”, is the Christmas Eve Dinner.

 

In the 1980s on the island of Luzon, the cultural tradition of the feast is Filipinos attend Mass and then have dinner, which means you eat around 7 pm or 8 pm. Some families would attend Midnight Mass first, which means you sit down to supper around midnight or 1 or 2 am in the morning.

 

In the Philippine Islands – “The P.I.” – the “Noche Buena” Christmas Eve Dinner on the island of Leyte at One Warren Way, meant, “We eat when the cooks are finished preparing the dinner.”

 

The week before Christmas, every morning the kids would get up at “O – Dark- Thirty” and go to church before school. The sun would be rising and the rooster crowing, when they returned to get ready for school.

 

December 22, 2012 – Christy Warren and Leneil Saldana began preparing the “Noche Buena” feast. Christy got out her yellow legal pad and ink pen and sit down to come up with the holiday menu.

 

Christy, Leneil and Ramon went to the public market for fresh vegetables. Ramon and Mano Bito had the task of providing the meat for Christmas dinner.

 

In the United States, Christy had a kitchen full of appliances,a gas stove and oven, two refrigerators and an upright freezer to prepare birthday meals, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner.

 

In the Philippines, the kitchen is still a work in progress. There is the double butane hot plate, which is the stove. She has no oven. There is one refrigerator. Cooking tends to be more of a “Never-Ending Camping Trip” than food preparation in a kitchen.

 

In my childhood, I had the rustic Ozarks environment and Grandma DeLong’s kitchen was the basics for the Ozarks. Now, in the Philippines, I find, we have basically a tropical version of a rural 1960s Ozarks kitchen.

 

My eyes and my mind do not appreciate the “Twilight Zone Reality Of The Kitchen,” so, I simply stay out of the kitchen, while the food is being cooked.

 

Meanwhile, the kids got to be kids, which meant they played and looked forward to Christmas. Me, I kept working to gather the data, words and photos to keep publishing articles in my world-famous, “Sam I Am Blog.”

 

Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012, Christy sat the table and Leneil began bringing in steaming platters of white rice. Family members began arriving and watching. Esmeralda, Christy’s sister, placed the platter of banana pancakes on the table.

 

Potato Pancakes

 

 

In the Ozarks, in the morning on the wood burning hot cook stove, you would hear the sizzle and Grandma DeLong would move the metal spatula to move the “Potato Pancake” around to brown in the cast iron skillet.

 

The Potato Pancakes were delicious, but they were slightly larger than an American silver dollar.

Banana Pancakes and a platter of steaming white rice for Noche Buena

 

Banana Pancakes and a platter of rice.

The steaming Banana Pancakes piled high on the plate reminded me of the trucker’s breakfast style pancakes of “The Hob Nob Cafe” in DeQueen, Arkansas.

 

The Hob Nob Cafe

DeQueen, Arkansas

 

Momma and I always considered “DeQueen” the halfway point between Houston, Texas and Galena, Missouri. The acres of statuesque Christmas Trees growing and rising into the morning mist meant the surrounding “Arkansawers” were “loggers.”

 

The plethora of semi tractor trailer trucks on the highway sporting huge logs and the empty flatbeds rushing along behind the groaning and moaning Kenworth, Peterbilts and Macks meant “forestry” is serious business in this section of the Ozarks.

 

The 18-wheelers would groan into a parking spot and the truckers in their straw cowboy hats and tractor baseball caps, in western shirts, or coveralls, and wearing cowboy boots or steel-toed work boots, would climb down out of the cab and bring their Texas-sized appetites through the door.

 

Breakfast at “The Hob Nob Cafe” was like Christmas Dinner in The Ozarks. The aroma of fresh scrambled eggs and omelets would tease your childish nose.

 

The mound of strips of fried “taters” with flour gravy, sausage, ham and bacon overwhelmed the senses. Then, a “short stack” or a mound of “flapjacks” would arrive and I would reach for the small pitcher of maple syrup for my pancakes.

 

Lechon

 

My Ozarks’ appetite ignored the white bowls of “blood pork” being placed on the table, but, I waited anxiously for the macaroni salad and the potato salad.

 

Anyone who has ever watched a Henry the VIII movie can appreciate “the pig on the platter” with the apple in it’s mouth. In the Philippines, “Lechon” is the whole pig prepared for special events like baptismals, wedding receptions and of course, Christmas. Mano Bito took charge of the pork preparation.

 

Instead of “the whole hog” ending up on the table, the pieces of cooked pork was also added to white bowls to place on the table.

 

Christy Warren places the silverware on the Noche Buena table_Photo 2

Christy Warren places the silverware to set the Noche Buena table.

Mrs. Warren – Christy had nieces, Junea and Vanissa put on the tablecloth.

Mrs. Warren placed the silverware around the plates before anyone got near the table.

 

In the rural areas of the Philippines, it is not uncommon to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with your fingers. In the States, of course, Americans have their “finger foods” like hamburgers and hot dogs for sporting events, backyard barbeques and the Fourth Of July outdoor picnics.

 

Mrs. Warren told the guests before they sat down at the table,

Merry Christmas ! Everyone this is Christmas. You will use the silverware.”

 

Christy has been in enough social situations, in her lifetime, to know it is the hostess’ responsibility to brief the “guests” on any questions of “etiquette” before the event begins.

 

Leneil Saldana removes pieces of the young coconut to be used as filling for the Coconut and Cheese Salad and the Mississippi Mud chocolate candy for the Noche Buena feast_Photo OneChristy and Leneil kept the hot platters of rice coming to the table. Esmeralda and Virgie Saldana kept an eye on the kids and made sure that they got food on their plates.

Leneil Saldana scrapes out pieces of young coconuts for Coconut and Cheese Salad and for the Mississippi Mud chocolate candy.

 

At dinner, I realized that Christmas Day would not be what I had hoped for this year. I could blame only myself for that part of the holiday, but, I decided I needed to put more emphasis on Christmas Day 2013 because I had not paid attention to the focus of the holiday for the kids.

 

After dinner, the kids spent time playing with their cousins until overwhelmed by The Sandman. They crashed out on palettes.

 

Tuba Time

 

Virgie Saldana Esmeralda Tanahale Leneil Saldana and Christy Warren have red wine and Tuba to relax after the Noche Buena feast of 2012

Virgie Saldana, Esmeralda Tanahale, Leneil Saldana and Christy Warren relax with a bottle of red wine after the Noche Buena feast.

Once the ladies cleared away the table, then, Mrs. Warren opened a bottle of red wine. Leneil Saldana, Esmeralda Tanahale and Virgie Saldana had some red wine and some of the ladies drank some Tuba.

Left to Right Jun Jun Tanahale Ramon Q Saldana Jr Rafel Saldana Virgillio Natividad Romel Barbosa talk and drink tuba_resized

Left to Right  –  Jun Jun Tanahale, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,Rafael Saldana (back to camera) Virgillio Natividad, Leneil Saldana’s father, and Romel Barbosa talk and drink tuba.

 

The men: Virgillio Natividad, Leneil’s dad, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,Rafael Saldana Romel Barbosa and Jun Jun Tanahale retired to The Christmas Tree area to talk and enjoy “Tuba,” the Philippines’ coconut wine.

 

I pass on “Tuba” because, even though it is drank with Pepsi as a “chaser”, to my picky palette the flavor has “too much of a vinegar whang. I always feel like I need a large chef salad in front of me to drink Tuba. Then, I am never sure if I should drink the Tuba or pour it over the salad as a dressing.”

 

I finished my coffee and put aside the cup for the night. I got to enjoy “My Christmas Present” – Tanduay Ice. Unfortunately, for “Romel”, when I sat down my frosty bottle of bright white rum, he snickered and added,”Ladies’ Drink.”

 

I told him, “Pirates weren’t wimps. They sunk ships and stole cargo and sailed the high seas for centuries. Sometimes the pirates were fired up on rum, so don’t snicker off my drink as a watered down ladies’ drink.”

 

I had not intended to defend the rum industry, but, I’m a Texas and Missouri country boy, so holiday civility and protocol aside, there are just sometimes when, “You need to set the record straight.”

 

My line of Warrens of Texas and DeLongs of Missouri are social, hard-working people, who welcome strangers under their roof as family to celebrate the holidays and social events.

 

Common Sense Social Etiquette

 

In the Hollywood movies, you will see a guest bring a bottle of wine as a “Housewarming Present” or as a “Gift” to the host or hostess for a dinner invitation. In “The Real World”, in civilian life, I have not witnessed this act very often.

 

In “The Military”, guests were always thoughtful enough to bring a bottle of wine for the dinner.

 

One idea of “Common Sense Courtesy,” is for a man or woman to talk to the host before the dinner and ask if they can bring a dish of some sort of food.

 

Some host or hostesses will suggest a dish you can bring, usually these are the “Pot Luck Suppers.”

 

Pot Luck Suppers

 

In The Far East in the 1980s, Asians would always smile, “You can tell if an American is hosting a formal dinner because they always want you to bring a dish for a pot luck.” I was told this comment time and again.

 

Pot luck style dinners are not popular in Asian cultures because if you are hosting a dinner then it is expected that you already have the food to host the dinner or you would not be hosting it and inviting people.

 

West And East Cultural Dinner Differences

 

In the West, around the 1970s, weight issues became frequent stereotypes for people. In the United States, for instance, if a person has a heavy weight they were considered as being “Lazy” and “not willing to work.” The stereotype, never took into consideration “medical” or “health issues” or even, “genetics.”

 

In the Far East, when I was stationed in the Pacific, in the late 1980s, the irony was a “heavy-set person” was respected for their wealth. The belief was that if someone had a lot of weight, then, they ate plenty and they ate often. Thus, heavy-set, chubby and obese people were seen as smart, industrious and wealthy.

 

The idea of the heavy-set person in the Orient explains why in Asian cultures the host or hostess is expected to provide all the food. If you can’t afford to provide the food; why are you having a party ?

 

Single Person Protocol

 

In the case of a single man or a single woman, who gets invited to dinner at someone’s home, it is not expected that a single person bring a bottle of wine, a gift for the host or hostess or even a dish.

 

The reason is usually in the case of a young person, who went away to work, went away to college or went away to serve in the military: the host or the hostess realizes this is a time in life, when a young person needs their money to pay bills and buy groceries,

 

Therefore, the host or hostess knows the single man or single woman would appreciate a “home-cooked meal” and usually all the single man or single woman is expected to bring is “your appetite.”

 

Life can be difficult for anyone at anytime. If something happens – an accident, a natural disaster — and a middle-aged or senior-aged person, experiences an event, that puts them “down on their luck”, then, when they are invited to a dinner or supper, they are just expected to bring “the appetite.”

 

The dinner or supper invitation to someone “down on their luck” is an act of human kindness that recognizes at “family times of the year” like Thanksgiving and Christmas, “no one should ever be or feel alone.”

 

Warrens Of Texas, DeLongs Of Missouri

 

The basic rule of the Warrens of east Texas and the DeLongs of southwest Missouri is: “ Guests are always welcome to make themselves at home. Common sense and civility is expected. And, guests should always realize,”My house; my rules.” If you don’t wish to observe my rules, “The highway, in front of the house, runs in two directions. Pick one.”

 

In Tagalog, Merry Christmas is “Maligayang Pasko”, which is pronounced as, “MAL– Lee – Guy -Young, Pass – koh.”

 

Maligayang Pasko !

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

CHRISTMAS IN THE PI PHOTO THREE THUMBNAIL PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JR

 

Noche Buena Links

 

Hiland Dairy Foods Egg Nog

http://www.hilanddairy.com/products/egg-nog

 

History of Egg Nog

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/history.php

 

How To Make Egg Nog

Holiday Recipe

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/holiday.php

 

The Traditional Noche Buena

in the Philippines

Yahoo

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-traditional-noche-buena-philippines-4683911.html?cat=22

 

Noche Buena

Filipino Recipes

http://pinoyfoodblog.com/category/celebrations/noche-buena/

 

Nochebuena Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nochebuena

 

Pirates Piracy Wikipedia

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates

 

Captain Morgan Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Morgan

 

Captain Morgan Rum Website

http://www.captainmorgan.com/

 

Tanduay

http://www.tanduay.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Nature, Observances, Philippines, Photography, Photos, Tourism, Tropics

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Fast Christmas Coronation by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Personal Business Editorial

Fast

Christmas

Coronation

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When, my wife, Christy Warren and I first returned to the Philippines the exuberance and the pomp and circumstance ranked up there in the old black and white news reels with the Coronation Of Queen Elizabeth.

 

Christy was returning to her native Leyte and the pomp and circumstance had all the trimmings of The Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Dianna.

 

CHRISTMAS STAR THUMBNAIL LOGOI stood at the airport in Manila and for the briefest instant expected to see a royal carriage pulled by white horses trotting up the taxi lane in front of the airport .

 

We were both anxious to get to our final destination of the island of Leyte. However, family members were intent on their “meet and greet” ceremonies in Manila.

 

Then, of course, our royal itinerary had changed to add an unofficial “Goodwill Visit To Angeles City.”

 

Queen Christy Warren, Her Royal Majesty, was being treated to all the honors and accolades that she deserved. Prince Samuel of The Ozarks and The Duke Of East Texas was smiling and doing “the wave.”

 

The only thing missing from the royal entourage was The Official Press Corps. In the back of my mind, I knew the royal budget had the letter W associated with it and the name would not be Windsor.

 

The Strange American

 

On the ground, in Leyte, the procession of “Well-Wishers” came with the exuberance of visitors to Buckingham Palace for an “audience” with “Queen Christy” and a chance to see “The Strange American.”

 

Is he taller or shorter than General MacArthur ?”

 

He’s a Texan, right ?”

 

Where is Missouri ?”

 

What is the Ozarks ?”

 

Hillbilly is that a religion or a political party in the US ?”

 

 

Between Tagalog, Waray and English, I would hear strange questions whispered about me. Maybe, I should of cared, but, as long as they were the old, “Who is this guy ? ” question, then, I just smiled it off.

 

By January, it was obvious that most of the attendees at the mythical Christmas Coronation weren’t family members grateful that Christy had returned home.

 

The name Warren had proven not to be the name Windsor and no one from the “palace household” followed up on the holiday requests.

 

The Warrens Of The Ozarks had no serious intent to become Lloyd s Of London and the domestic policy issues involved The Saldana Family. Christy had come home to be with her family.

 

Any community initiatives and ongoing economic development that concerned the Warren Family in Barangay Baras would have to involve the overall Saldana Family.

 

Local people seemed to have had envisioned a British Monarchy arrival, but, the reality is the family approach was more a Joseph Kennedy Hyannis Port, Massachusetts Family approach.

 

Blood And Biology”

 

A person is more than his DNA, RNA, chromosomes and biological compounds. The members of a family are more than people who share “Blood And Biology” traits.

 

Saint Samuel’s Basilica

 

I have always been interested in heraldry,chivalry and genealogy, but, for the Christmas 2011 celebration, there were just too many people at Saint Samuel’s Basilica.

 

We didn’t have the pilgrims in the square awaiting the annual Christmas message, we had people who rushed through the jungle courtyard of Saint Samuel’s Basilica to seek an audience with Christy. I assumed the role of the concerned cardinal.

 

Cardinal Samuel nodded a lot and smiled a lot. But, I was interested to see were the well wishers and “faithful” were headed in their Christmas interpretations I looked forward to December 26, 2011. I wanted to know if “The Spirit Of Goodwill” was “The Real Deal” or just “Christmas Cheer.”

 

As the new year of 2012 approached, it became clear Saint Samuel’s Basilica would have to accept a more secular and business approach. Relatives were leaving and the shift in the idea of “family” day to day was becoming more like Missouri weather – changeable.

 

One Warren Way

 

By March 2012, it had become obvious that the Christmas Season was past and One Warren Way was a private home with it’s own “family” agenda. The opportunists went somewhere else. The family wannabe lobbyists had made their travel arrangements to return to other destinations in the Philippines.

 

In April 2012, Christy opened her CSW Cafe and got her dream to own and operate her own cafe. She provides good food to the community at a decent price. She became a business woman, who provided jobs.

 

Family members were offered the opportunity to work in her cafe. A few to date have accepted to work with Christy and her dream. Some did not.

 

By the Warren Fiscal Year of October 1, 2011, God was still in his Heaven, Sam and Christy were headquartered at One Warren Way with “Family.”

 

Holiday Historian

 

The Government of the Philippines dealt with their daily challenges of 2012, The Government of the United States tried to deal with international business and the carry on the traditional “Presidential Campaign” fiesta of every four years.

 

The major entertainment of any democracy relies on the Presidential or Prime Ministerial Election. The Warren and Saldana Family of Leyte settled down to the day to day business of life in Barangay Baras.

 

I have had a lifelong interest in all types of history. I got enough college hours under the belt to know how to do the data collection, compilation and analysis routine to examine an issue from all angles. I had collected the data from Christmas Day 2011 and examined the photographs I had taken.

 

I had enough data to take on the role of “Holiday Historian” and render a verdict on Christmas Day 2011 and the irony is the Christmas Season of 2012 provided the hours to complete the task.

 

Home For The Holidays

 

By October 1, 2012, I looked forward to my birthday, October 30, Halloween, October 31 and the end of 2012.

 

Christy looked forward to Christmas, December 25, 2012 and the New Year of 2013.

 

Christy decided to close the CSW Cafe for the Christmas Season of 2012 to spend some time at “Home For The Holidays.”

 

A year has passed, since we returned to the Philippine Islands. I have had time to reflect and look at The Fast Christmas of 2011. The photographer’s habit of having a camera growing out of the end of your hand provided valuable snapshots of time throughout the previous year.

 

Fast Christmas Fiscal Fiasco

 

The Life Learning Lesson of Fast Christmas 2011 is simple: people are people. We all have our good points and our bad points. Human nature goes beyond flags, passports and visas.

 

Some people will take advantage of you, regardless, what day of the year it is. In a perfect world, you would always be able to count on “Family.” The world is not perfect and some family members do not see “The Big Picture.”

 

In the early 21st Century, the “Fast Food” and “Fad” psychology of “Instant This,” “Instant That” and the evolving technology of “Upgrades” and “Real Time” has convinced people to focus on the “Short Haul” to try and plan for their lives. The end result is “people live from payday to payday without a plan to reach a comfortable retirement.”

 

To some people Christmas is simply another day to try and rip people off. To some people, “Family” is simply a six letter word in an English dictionary. To some people Christmas is just a holiday to be used to try and set up “pie-in-the-sky” business deals.

 

Fast Christmas had not been about Christmas at all.

Fast Christmas was various attempts to use Christmas Day 2011 to setup a mood of trust by friends, acquaintances and some family members.  Then, in 2012 the trust could be called upon to support series of changing, financial ventures to profit a few people.  Human nature being human nature some people will try to point the finger and try to make you feel “guilty” to get their way.

 

Some friends and family members had their own ideas about what Christy and I could do to help them. But, they didn’t have any ideas that would benefit the entire family or the surrounding communities as a whole. The “flash in the pan” business brainstorms didn’t work because my wife “The Boss” is a business woman, who always considers “The Big Picture.” 

Christy’s husband, “Sam the Cynic” needs to be able to visualize a “Real World” result.  I have an imagination.  However, I grew up in Missouri and you have got to “Show Me.” Unless I see three or four colts galloping in the field, I’m not going to invest in a “Unicorn Farm”, I don’t care how good the presentation is.

 

 

 

Mentor Mothers

 

Nenita Quezon Saldana told her daughter, Christy, “Keep The Family Together.” Opal M. DeLong Warren told her son, Samuel, “Family Is Everything.” Both mothers were right about their beliefs in family. Both mothers, knew their daughter and son would understand the changing nature of “Family” and “Business.”

 

To me Christmas is about watching kids have fun with their toys, brothers, sisters, cousins and to be able to set down to a table of delicious food and drink and feast like Henry the VIII, my favorite English king.

Henry knew, “How To Party Down !”

 

Other family members are welcome to apply their own meanings to Christmas to celebrate the holiday in a manner of their own choosing.

 

Fiscal Christmas Of 2011

 

Christmas Day 2011, I lean back in the chair at the table and loosen two notches on my brown leather western belt. “That hit the spot. Wonder what kind of feast Cousin Donna cooked this year back in Missouri,” I said aloud to Christy’s Cousin Romel sitting across the table from me.

 

Christmas Eve 2012, I put away the “Demonyo Itlog” – deviled eggs – macaroni salad, potato salad, rice, and enjoyed Mississippi Mud chocolate candy with my coffee. The women cleared away the table and sit down to a bottle of Christy’s red wine and the Philippines’ “Tuba”, coconut wine.

 

The men after dinner adjourned to the area by the Christmas Tree to enjoy Tuba and an evening of conversation.

A glance at Christy’s cell phone revealed an absence of “Blood and biology family” Christmas wishes for the holiday, which confirmed what I suspected that “Fast Christmas of 2011” was really “Fiscal Christmas of 2011.”

 

 

 

A Yuletide Toast To Henry VIII

 

I sit down with the men to celebrate Christmas Eve 2012 and loosen the waist of my walking shorts. I grin at Ramon, “I bet Cousin Donna has started cooking Christmas Dinner in the States. She always starts a couple days ahead of time, And, when I start to chow down on the hot biscuits she serves, I have to remind myself to leave room for pie.”

 

Kuya Sam, Merry Christmas.”

 

Merry Christmas, Ramon.”

 

I raise my tall coffee cup, “Merry Christmas to Henry the VIII,” I grin.

 

Henry the VIII, Kuya Sam ?”

 

I laugh.”Long story, Ramon. One of my favorite English kings, who knew how to enjoy a great meal and good conversation.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion, Philippines

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Fiscal Christmas of 2011 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Personal Business Editorial

Fiscal

Christmas

of

2011

CHRISTMAS BUILDING_DSC_6193_PALO LIBRARY 2011_resized

Santa’s Southern Workshop

If Santa Claus has to make a pit stop on Leyte to feed his reindeer or resupply his big, bright red Christmas Presents sack, then, it looks like the Palo Library is his stop over location based on this holiday photo of 2011. The snapshot was taken through the windshield of a moving vehicle, which accounts for the heavy coloration at the top of the snapshot and the circles reflected on the building and is a reminder that sometimes in life what we see is not always what we think we see. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

As a little boy in the United States, I have several memories of “Christmas In The Ozarks.”

 

As a young man in college, I have several memories of “Christmas On The Job.”

 

CHRISTMAS STAR LOGO PHOTO THUMBNAIL TWOAs a man in the military, I have several memories of “Christmas Around The World” or, more correctly, “Christmas In The Pacific.”

 

Christmas 2012 is not the first Christmas, I celebrated in the Republic of the Philippines. Christmas 1988 was my first Christmas in the Philippine Islands, which is a “Single G.I. Christmas Story.”

 

My wife, Christy Warren and I returned to the Republic of the Philippines in December 2011, which resulted in a “Fast Christmas.”

 

Extended Family Concept

 

The Philippines is one of those nations that practices the “Extended Family” concept. Americans tend to think of “Immediate Family,” which is Mom, Dad, the kids, and sometimes grandpa, grandma, and the aunts and uncles.

 

The Philippines’ “Extended Family” concept is exceptional because it takes into account other relatives, which can be distant aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

 

Taken to the extreme, the concept is like taking a Manila telephone book and expecting everyone listed under A to Z to show up on Christmas Day.

 

Unleash The Relatives !

 

As Christmas 2011 approaches, it becomes apparent that Christy Saldana Warren is related to most of the past, present and future delegates of The United Nations.

 

By Christmas Eve 2011, apparently the only person in The Republic Of The Philippines that Christy was not related to is The President Of The Philippines.

 

It seemed that everyone who could walk, stagger, hire a pedicab, tricycle, jeepney or hitch a ride had passed through the doors for the “Home For The Holidays” celebration. A few people took the time to identify themselves as “friends”, while many just smiled, nodded and socialized with other family members.

 

Christmas Eve 2011 and Christmas Day 2011 proved to be a wonderful celebration. People, food, kids, joy, excitement, storytelling, socializing. No script writer in Hollywood or Manila could come up with a script for a more joyous family holiday celebration.

 

Christmas Glitch

 

Every nation has those situations and conditions that allow some people to profit at the expense of others. In the Philippines, the cultural “Extended Family Concept” is an ideal situation to be taken to the extreme to take advantage of people and the overall compassionate message of humanity at Christmas.

 

Jet Lag, Time Drag

 

The Fast Christmas” celebration took advantage of the fact that we stepped off the airplane in the middle of December. It would take a couple of days for us to travel from the island of Luzon to the island of Leyte. While we would spend a couple of days in Manila before a quick Christmas trip to Angeles City, our bodies were still suffering from “jet lag”.

 

Our minds were adjusting to the “International Date Line time difference of 14 hours between the Philippines and Missouri because The Show Me State was on “Daylight Savings Time”, which added an hour to the normal 13-hour time difference.

 

I had looked forward to the trip to Angeles City as “My Military Mecca Pilgrimage”, I could return to my beloved Clark Air Base and see the changes since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Unfortunately, this was one of those “side trips” that you make to say, “Hi” and “Bye.”

 

Sad Story Singers

 

Christmas The Season is the time of year when “Everyone On Planet Earth Has A Sad Story To Tell.” One of the other 364 days of the year, people might ignore your story, but, the Christmas Season gets into a person’s psychological makeup and the whole “Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men” scenario kicks in and a person listens to “the sad story.”

 

If you are born to a rich family, then, you probably have to really dig into the family history to find a sad story to sing. The rest of us, just think back a couple of months and find a sad story. Some people truly do have a sad story in life that begins around Day One.

 

Many people are just disappointed not to have been born to a mom or dad listed in the Fortune 500 with a fat bank account and a portfolio that list numbers with several series of zeroes after the numbers.

 

Sometimes a Sad Story maybe true. Sometimes a Sad Story is a ploy with a fiscal ending aimed at your wallet or purse. One example is the man, who told me, “My son could use a computer for his education.” No doubt.

 

Of course, smiling at someone, during Christmas Season and replying, “Get A Job”, would probably be considered politically incorrect and downright callous. Nonetheless, I am too skinny to ever be mistaken for Santa Claus anywhere in the world.

 

I came from hard-working parents and the “work ethics” of the Ozarks and Texas is hardwired into my DNA, so “I will try to help people, who help themselves”, but , I remember the old Ozarks’ saying, “ Charity starts at home.”

 

Find The Family

 

I retired from the military in 1997. Christy and I had left Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines to go to another assignment only a few months before Mount Pinatubo solved the whole “US Bases In The Philippines” debate in clouds of volcanic ash.

 

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo cut off all communications between Christy and her family in the Philippines for the next 18 years, both of us tried everything we could think of to locate her family in the Philippine Islands.

 

In 2008, we got lucky and communications were reestablished and she began talking to the family on a regular basis. We considered moving to the Philippines.

 

Parents, Plan, Priority

 

Before we left the US, Christy and I discussed that a “rice mill” might be a good idea in a country setting in the Philippines. At the time, all the family members in the Philippines seemed to agree.

 

Everyone knew the family story that essentially Christy s mom had made Christy swear an oath to do everything possible to “Keep The Family Together.” Everyone knew that my mother had taught me, “Family Is Everything.” The pledges to our parents were the type of ploys that could be used to try and make a person feel guilty.

 

Christy had made it known to the family that her priority was that the family work together to succeed, so that everyone would benefit in the long run through the years ahead. The concept of “Teamwork” seemed to be an idea that everyone was willing to work for.

 

Business Banter

 

Christy had come up with a business plan that would allow every member of the family to have a role in the family business. Before we left the States, it seemed everyone was anxious to hit the beach at Leyte and do the family business of running a rice mill.

 

Before we left the States, a rice mill had been built in Barangay Baras. Christy and I discussed other ideas for a family business. Family members, offered up their own ideas.

 

In the United States, the idea of involving relatives in a family business began to disappear around the time of the American Civil War.

 

By the 1900s, Americans were known around the world as the people who tell you “Never Ever Involve Family In A Business You Own.” I had heard that admonition my entire life. From what I had witnessed in life, it seemed like sound advice.

 

However, my wife, Christy is a Filipina and we were returning to the Philippines. I had, no doubt, if everyone was willing to work with Christy everyone would succeed.

 

The Boss

 

I had been the military man. I remain the reporter and photographer. My wife, Christy, like my mother, was obviously the business woman. I had the luxury of “Being Married To The Boss.”

 

The drawback to any business is “Everyone wants to be the chief and no one wants to be just one of the braves.” The braves forget, in a business sense, “the person with the wampum makes the rules.”

 

As the year wore on, it became obvious that some family members had not been all that excited about the original idea of the rural rice mill. Christy being a woman in a traditionally “macho” culture did not help in her trying to win over family members.

 

In the Latin-based cultures, like the Philippines, the eldest male child is expected to “take charge” and call the overall shots for the family. Then, of course, you factor in the Asian cultural concept of “Save Face” and women usually stand in the shadows in a “be seen, but not heard role.”

 

Men don’t always appreciate working for a woman. In the US, men not being able to work with a woman is an idea that has really disappeared since the 1970s.

 

But, there are places in the world, where men really have problems when “The Boss” is a woman. It seemed some of the men really didn’t want to think of Christy as “The Boss.”

 

Blame The Americans – Everyone Else Does

UNCLE SAM

 

Thank God for The United States Of America !

 

Without the US to blame, for everything from bad weather to the price of tea in China, many citizens of the world would have to find something or someone else to blame if good old Uncle Sam wasn’t around. Thus, the US got some of the blame when Christy and I didn’t jump at a business idea. Someone would grumble, “Christy spent too long in the US.”

 

Christy The Filipina

 

Christy Saldana is an independent woman, who had her own ideas about life before I ever married her and she stepped off the airplane on to US soil. People who tried to “blame the US” knew nothing about Christy or the United States.

 

Christy is one of those people, who has worked for and earned everything she has in life. She had earned her own way in life. When I met her, I was impressed by her confidence and ambition.

 

Side Trip Shaft

 

After the Angeles City holiday pilgrimage, we were back on the road headed to a ferry for the island of Leyte. Our bodies still dealt with the prolonged “jet lag” and our minds were still adjusting to the “time drag”

 

My first major disappointment since returning to the Philippines came with the “side trip” to Angeles City. Too much time had been wasted on trying to get everyone together.

 

We ended up going to Clark Air Base “too late” for me to be able to enjoy looking around the base. We didn’t have time that night to see the base. We didn’t have time to spend a day or so in the area, so that we could visit the base. This is one of those decisions that did not sit well with me.

 

I had looked forward to the visit to Clark. Anger is the emotion that I felt at being denied the opportunity to take my time and look around the base. Resentment is the other emotion that stuck in my craw. And, the word, Mad, is an accurate description of how I felt when we left Angeles City.

 

Back On The Road

 

Naturally, we were trying to get to Leyte to be able to rest after the long plane flight and to celebrate Christmas.

 

The ride to the ferry off the island of Leyte was a long ride because I was mad. Nonetheless, I was ready to finally kick my shoes off and unpack my suitcases. Fast Christmas had kept us off balance and on the road.

 

If you want to do business on Christmas Day, then, tell the people you want to do business with. If you want to promote a business idea, then, you have to be willing to put some of your own money on the line.

In the ideas that were being suggested to us, everyone wanted to be “the idea man” and leave all of the investment of money to Christy and Sam.  If you try to wrap up and slide a fiscal agenda into the holiday all you will get for the year is a bundle of switches and lumps of coal in your fiscal plans.

 

The Jet Lag, Time Drag, Slide Trip Shaft, and the On The Road, factors are the lumps of coal that pushed Christy and I into Christmas Day 2011. I considered Christmas Day 2011 a Fast Christmas. The result is the day became the Fiscal Christmas of 2011.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 29, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion, Philippines

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Barangay Baras Flight School by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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1_SALDANA ONE_Rises one_resized

Saldana One

The remote control helicopter lifts off of the Barangay Baras road in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines to rise into the sky. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Barangay Baras

Flight School

7_RANILO LIFTS OFF SALDANA ONE

Ranilo Saldana throttles up and allows Saldana One to rise to the sky. 

Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Saldana One rises into the sky. I work the controls. I land the helicopter into a nearby coconut tree. The tree was not my idea of a heliport. A smiling coconut farmer neighbor climbs up the tree to rescue the helicopter.  A neighborhood coconut farmer climbs the tree to rescue Saldana One.  Saldana One, the toy helicopter, drops down. . .to the next coconut tree leaf.  Once the coconut farmer drops the toy helicopter to the ground. I decide to let the kids handle the flights for the rest of the day.  Ranilo Saldana displays his aviator skills.

The Barangay Baras Flight School was a one-day operation.

Christmas Day 2011.

SALDANA ONE_ready to fly thumbnail_

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The Queen Of Christmas Cousin Donna by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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The Queen

of

Christmas

Cousin Donna

Christmas Stars in Tacloban City 2012 Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr 021

Christmas Star

Cousin Donna DeLong has always been kind of camera shy, so here is and arts and crafts project that she can relate to. The blue rice paper covers a bamboo framework to create this Christmas Star that was for sale in Tacloban City , Leyte, Republic of the Philippines for the holidays of 2012. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

Martha Lou Marcum DeLong was the Matriarch of the Charley Herman DeLong Family,

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]In my childhood, my grandmother, allowed those matriarchal duties to pass to my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren. Momma inherited the task of planning and preparing for the family social celebrations like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

While I was on active duty in the United States Air Force, the matriarchal duties of the DeLong Family were passed to my cousin, Donna DeLong.

 

Momma had used the training of her life experiences in Texas to plan and host the annual family Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.

 

Likewise Donna used her life experiences that made the annual family Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations a big hit with Aunt Mary and Momma.

 

Once I experienced Donna’s interpetation of the annual holidays, I christened her:“The Queen Of Christmas.:

 

While I was in the US Air Force, momma would tell me about “Christmas at Donna’s” over the telephone.

 

Life after the United States Air Force meant I returned to “my home of record” and retirement in Stone County, Missouri.

 

Momma’s “Polio Syndrome” from her younger years had returned. Her cane gave way to a walker that eventually had her in a wheel chair by the end of the 1980s.

 

 

 

Aunt Mary DeLong

 

Aunt Mary” DeLong, Donna’s mother was always a creative person. When Donna and I were kids we would walk along the shoulder of the road and pick up pop bottles and Hamm’s aluminum beer cans.

 

We took the empty pop bottles to the Keithley General Store in Abesville, Missouri and got some “spendin’ money.”

 

The Hamm’s aluminum beer cans went to Aunt Mary, who would take her scissors and cut the aluminum into strips to curl to create a Louis XIV chair for a pin cushion.

 

Aunt Mary used dark purple yarn to crochet over pop bottle caps and connected them together to create a bunch of grapes to hang on the wall.

 

Aunt Mary really was one of those Ozarks’ women who could make ‘a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.’

 

When I would come home “On Leave” from the US Air Force , I would hear stories of Cousin Donna doing crafts type projects. Momma always made a point to brief me at length about “Christmas at Donna’s.”

 

Just Another Day

 

My mother was one of those people who always referred to “a holiday – any holiday — as just another day.”

 

Momma always “pretended” not to be interested in holidays and social events. When you watched her reaction; it was obvious that Momma actually enjoyed birthday parites, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day celebrations.

 

A few minutes into any celebration, Momma would say, “Son, get in the cupboard there and get my little camera and take some pictures.” Momma always kept an inexpensive 35 millimeter camera loaded with film in a kitchen cupboard to take pictures of family celebrations.

 

The Kitchen Table Magick

 

At Grandma DeLong’s house conversations always began at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee. Entire afternoons and evenings would pass with family discussing and conversing about the day’s events at the kitchen table.

 

When family came Home For The Holiday, family members would settle at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and would talk about their trip and things that had happened in their lives over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table.

 

In the Opal M. DeLong Warren Family Home, the kitchen table still had the “magick” that allowed family and friends to sit down at the kitchen table and talk about the events of the day.

 

Momma’s Review

 

When I made my telephone calls from overseas back home, Momma would tell me what was going on back in Stone County. But, when she took the time to comment on an event at length I knew it had made an impression.

 

Momma would tell me the smallest details that she could remember about Christmas Dinner at Donna’s. It was obvious that she had enjoyed the day and was already looking forward to next year.

 

Momma always enjoyed her Birthday Party” planned and hosted by Christy. She always looked forward to “Christmas At Donna’s.”

 

Snowed In

 

One year, while I was in the Air Force, Momma had went to Donna’s for a Thanksgiving or Christmas and the weather turned so bad, so suddenly, that she had to call for a ride home over the icy roads and through the deep snow.

 

Momma candy apple red 1980 Chrevrolet fleet side pickup did not have chains on the tires. Sometimes in the winter, in the southwest Missouri Ozarks, rain or a light snow will freeze on the pavement and before the road completely “thaws out” then, inches of snow will fall and blanket the road, which hides the icy layer that is still slick and slippery underneath the snow.

 

According to Momma’s story, the road was clear and free of ice, but, the sudden snow fall came so fast and heavy that the county road plows did not even have a chance to get out on the highways before a thick blanket of snow had covered the highway and had drifted in the hollers.

 

Momma was one of those Ozarkers who always remarked, “I like to sleep in my own bed at night.” Thus, she called for a ride home.

 

Christmas Creativity

 

Cousin Donna, I describe as a “Christmas person.”

 

As kids, Donna was always the person who would raise a runt pig or baby goat on a bottle. And, she taught some of Grandma DeLong’s baby goslings to swim. . .sort of. I decided to help and I accidentally “drown” one. Obviously, Donna knew more about baby geese than I did.

 

As kids, Donna had a “Green Thumb” and she is only person I know who raised “A Pineapple In Missouri.” I never would of thought it possible. Pineapples are a tropical vegetable and Missouri’s moody temperate climate can be a challenge for plants that normally grow under the southwest Missouri Ozarks sunshine. I saw the pineapple, so I know it is possible.

 

Donna’s Decorations

 

When Christy and I returned home after the Air Force, Donna showed Christy how to make floral arrangements for Memorial Day. Donna showed Christy how to wire wrap stones to create fashionable jewelry. And, then, Donna and Christy went Christmas shopping for Christmas decorations.

 

Inspired by Donna’s decorations, Christy soon had her own way to use crafts materials to transform the sun room into a branch of Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole and a small Christmas Cathedral style in the living room.

 

It would not be right to reveal Cousin Donna’s “Christmas Secrets.” The reader will simply have to meet and talk to Cousin Donna.

 

It is fair to say Donna always decorated a huge Christmas Tree. And, Donna always arranged the activities that would keep guests talking and entertained until dinner.

 

Donna understood her mother and her “Aunt Opal”, so in her Christmas shopping Donna would find “bargain items” to wrap as “gag Christmas gifts”, while she cooked dinner. Aunt Mary and momma would open a couple of their gag gifts.

 

The sheer genius of this Christmas activity allowed Aunt Mary and momma to always be surprised. They would talk and compare their gifts for several minutes. Usually the process would remind them of a Christmas story of earlier celebrations.

 

Christmas Cuisine

 

Food is one area of life people should always talk about. Cousin Donna is a great cook.

 

I am a food critic at heart. I love to eat. I enjoy food.

 

Anyone can “nuke” food.

 

I “nuke” TV dinners and noodles in the microwave – that isn’t cooking – that is snacking.

 

My mother was a good cook.

 

I make no distinction between chefs and “great cooks.” Cousin Donna is a great cook.

 

Cousin Donna’s Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners always featured the traditional Ozarks cuisine of mashed potatoes, candied yams, i.e., sweet potatoes, green beans, turkey and honey glazed ham cooked with pineapple slices on top.

 

Donna would add homemade biscuits or rolls and usually add a pecan or pumpkin pie. Donna made a wonderful fruit salad that I could never get enough of. She made a green pea casserole that my wife, Christy loved.

 

The Secret Of A Delicious Turkey

 

One clue of a great cook is Turkey. Many cooks serve up a “dry turkey.” One taste and you dash for a glass of water.

 

A great cook knows the turkey is never dry.

 

And a great cook, usually has their own way to keep the turkey juicy or moist. A great cook knows turkey has to be moist, tasty and the meat falls apart on your fork and in your mouth.

 

Donna always serves a turkey that is “Ambrosia – the food of the gods.” I have always been a “picky eater.” Often at social functions, I nibble on food like a baby bird.

 

At Donna’s house, I always “pig out.” I go back for “seconds,” “thirds” and sometimes “fourths” in the number of servings of food.

 

Leftovers Left Over

 

The nice thing about the Texas’ Warren Women and the Missouri Ozarks’ DeLong Women is they always put enough food on the table to serve a platoon of hungry United States Marines, just in case, for whatever reason, Uncle Sam sends the troops through the door on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

 

Usually food is always left over. But, the Warren and DeLong food motto is food never goes to waste. Thus, the food goes in the ice box and ends up as ham sandwiches and turkey sandwiches, which usually last a week.

 

Momma was right.

 

From 1997 to 2010, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners at Donna’s house. I always had to loosen at least one notch in my belt to accommodate my full stomach.

 

Donna’s Christmas Dinners

 

One major factor of Cousin Donna’s Christmas Dinners were she continued the DeLong Family Traditions “For The Next Generation.”

 

Someday in the future, her grandson,Michael can tell people about his Grandma DeLong’s great Christmas dinners and traditions. And, Michael’s Grandma DeLong, will be called, “Donna.”

 

In our lifetimes, as kids, Cousin Donna and I had those Ozarks family dinners that read like a movie script straight out of the 1800s. The small rustic house in the country, with no indoor plumbing. The outhouse was down on the hill side.

 

Donna,Ronnie, Bert and I could climb up on the old tree in the yard and sit on the trunk or climb up the branches and play, while the grown-ups would talk and cook dinner inside the house.

 

By the time, I retired from the Air Force and returned home, the natural processes of life was removing the family members of our parents generation.

 

Donna like my Grandma DeLong makes great biscuits from scratch. Momma had added black-eyed peas to the traditional Christmas menu. I always looked forward to Donna’s “Fruit Salad” and my wife, Christy, always looked forward to her “Green Pea Salad.”

 

What I always appreciated about Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner’s at Cousin Donna’s Home is like the Ozarks Christmas Dinners at Grandma and Uncle Richards’ I always felt “Home For The Holidays.”

 

Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2012, Barangay Baras, Republic of the Philippines, members of the Saldana Family have come to our home for the annual Christmas Eve Dinner celebration, “Noche Buena”, which is a part of the Filipino culture’s traditional Christmas Celebration.

 

I am dining on a large plate of steaming white rice and deviled eggs. Leneil Saldana, sits to my left, and my wife, Christy Warren sits to my right, at the table.

 

I glance at Christy’s watch and notice it is 9:30 pm.

 

It is already Christmas Eve in the States,” Christy tells Leneil. “Donna will be fixing Christmas Dinner. She usually cooks food for two days before Christmas. Umm. I love her green pea salad. Then, she would have a fruit salad. And, pie. If I know, Donna, she will bake a pie. Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie. And, if she has time, maybe, another pie. I always loved Christmas Dinner at Donna’s,” said Christy.

christy sets the table_resized

 

 

Christy Warren sets the Christmas Eve Dinner Table. In this photograph, in the foreground, banana pancakes are shown, In addition to the steaming platters of rice is the octopus in the white bowls. The Ozarks’ Christmas Dishes of macaroni salad and potato salad will find their way to the table along with pork before the table setting is finished. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Family Traditions” is when you can travel half-way around the world and sit down to dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and have a crisp, sharp memory of the “Home For The Holidays” celebration underway on the other side of the globe.

 

In my mind, Cousin Donna will always be:

 

The Queen Of Christmas.”

 

Merry Christmas, Donna !

 

Sam

 

Christmas Links

 

One estimate states 400 million people each year worldwide celebrate Christmas. Here are some links to get you started on your search for more information about Christmas and holiday menus.

Christmas Stars in Tacloban City 2012 Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr 007_resized_resized

 

This Christmas Star that is a series of star was on display for sale in Tacloban City, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, during the Holiday Season of 2012. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Holiday Menu Food Network

http://www.foodnetwork.com/holiday-central-menus/package/index.html

 

Holiday Menu Kraft Foods

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/holidays-and-entertaining/holidays/holiday-how-to-center/holidayrecipesmenus.aspx

 

Holiday Dinners Southern Living

http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/holiday-dinners-00400000033202/

 

Christmas Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

 

All Things Christmas

http://www.allthingschristmas.com/

 

Christmas.com

http://www.christmas.com/

 

North Pole. com

http://www.northpole.com/

 

Merry Christmas.com

http://www.merry-christmas.com/

 

My Merry Christmas.com

http://mymerrychristmas.com/

 

Christmas Catholic Encyclopedia

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

 

Hanukkah Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah

 

Kwanzaa Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

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