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Sam And The Kids by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Time To Be A Kid

Sam

And

The Kids

093Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. JT3D CU2 DSC_0092_resized

Warren One

Junea Tanahale pilots this radio-controlled helicopter past the coconut trees of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. Saturday, January 5, 2013 is the first time my niece ever “flew” a radio-controlled aircraft. She “logged” this third flight after only working the controls for less than 30 minutes. She made her “Uncle Sam” proud. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I was a kid. I still remember what it was like to be a kid. I had fun. Life was great. I enjoyed Life. I still enjoy Life. Adults tell you you will “Grow Up.” You do. Soft of . . . grow up. You get taller and you celebrate birthdays.

 

WARREN ONE SAILS PAST A COCONUT TREE THUMBNAILYou learn to do all those “Adult” things like get a job and earn a living. Somewhere along the way, the Adult world expects people “To Forget” what it means to “Be A Kid.”

 

Grown ups are not suppose to walk down a street in a major American city and just “start dancing along the sidewalk to the corner.” I’ve done it.

 

In a military uniform and in a business suit I’ve broke into a spontaneous dance routine on a sidewalk. People look at you weird. A few always just smile because they remember what it meant to “Be A Kid.”

 

The point is – in Life everyone takes themselves and their jobs “way too seriously.”

 

New Year’s Resolution

Celebrate Life.

 

Naturally, if you are in one of those public jobs where appearance and protocol is   WARREN ONE SAILS ALONG THE BARANGAY BARAS ROAD THUMBNAIL important you aren’t going to suddenly burst into the board room doing your best Gene Kelly “Singing In The Rain,” improvisation.

 

You will not walk into a meeting of global government leaders dressed in sequined jacket, pants, a half cloak and broad a broad smile to sit down at a baby grand piano. The G-8 leaders probably would not appreciate your Liberace showmanship.

 

Nonetheless, even adults can hum in the elevator. You go to another city on a business trip and after your meetings find a place you will probably never, ever see the people again. You get the karaoke microphone or borrow a guitar and sang Hank Williams or Hank Williams Jr., all night long.

 

If you don’t sing, dance and celebrate life every now and then; why do you get out of bed in the morning.

 

Maybe, you can’t be Robert Preston singing “76 Ttombones. . . “, but, you can enjoy life and remember, what it was like or suppose to be like to “be a kid.”

 

Obviously, if you are under the hot lights of an operating room carefully performing a delicate operation in the midst of brain surgery on a patient, you will not break out into a chorus of “The Happy Wanderer” and you will not be tapping your foot and singing out the words to “Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business”, or bust out into a rendition of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.”

 

After the operation, the brain surgeon or the heart surgeon can go home, find that boxed up “Operation” game and put it on the desk and realize and remember that life was simpler when you were a kid. For the record, there is, nor will there ever be a law in any nation that will outlaw you “Being A Kid At Heart.”

RANYIEL WALKS AND FLIES 035Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. FLIGHT 3 LANDING DSC_0034_resized

Rayniel Saldana, my nephew, displays serious concentration in working the radio controls. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I am The World’s Oldest Kid

 

I Beat The System.

I Always Stayed A Kid At Heart.

 

I am The World’s Oldest Kid.

 

I am an Adult. I grew up. But, I stayed a kid at heart. Now, I get to enjoy time with my nieces and nephews.

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, Adults let kids be kids.

 

In the 1970s – the World Went Stupid. The World Is Still Stupid.

 

But, there is always hope the World will “Wise Up.”

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, kids usually had a chance to play, enjoy their childhoods and grow up. There were adults on the job, who dealt with the American Civil Rights Movement, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Korean War, messed up the Equal Rights Amendment, sabotaged the American Woman’s Rights Movement.

 

Suddenly, realized there were more than “two genders” in humanity and these people were ready to step out of the shadows of history and into the sunlight of their lives.

 

Sex, drugs and rock and roll woke up America in the 1960s. America still had the Cold War, Fear of the A Bomb, and leaders were still trying to make sense of The Vietnam War. When the Stupid Seventies arrived only the morons wanted to inherit the earth.

 

Edu-ma-cated Experts

 

By the 1970s, the hard working and intelligent adults stepped off the world stage long enough to grab a hot dog, have a beer and smoke a cigarette.

 

By the time, the leaders were ready for Round 2, the bummers and losers were on the World Stage strutting and cackling about “Political Correctness.”

 

The morons had inherited the earth and no one ever took the time to “check on the kids.”

 

They were tons of “Edu-ma-cated Experts” with initials before and after their names with all kinds of advice about “raising kids.”

 

In the 1950, Dr. Benjamin Spock published a book about raising kids. My mom had a dog-eared, well worn copy, but she used her God-given “Common Sense” and let me “Be A Kid.

198Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.VSTF1 DSC_0001_resized

Vanissa Saldana, my niece, cautiously works the controls of the helicopter. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

How To Play

 

Through the years, I have watched kids. No one shows them “How To Play.” I have seen an adult hand a kid a box with a toy in it and walk away. The adult never lingers long enough to see if the kid goes on line and tries to sell the toy on ebay or tries to bully another kid into buying the toy.

 

The adult never stops long enough to notice if the kid tries to “re engineer” the toy to cause it to blow up or watches long enough to make sure the kid doesn’t use the toy as a weapon on his or her younger brother and sisters or the family dog or cat.

 

People ignore kids are “small versions of adults.” Parents just assume their kid is not going to grow up to be the next “Jack The Ripper.”

 

Yet, adults in the late 20th and early 21st Century seem to treat their kids like “rental equipment” like canvas tents to place in the yard for a show and social function.

 

You call the company and they come pick up the tent. Kids had parents that used them as props. Once the show was done, the kid got to “wing it through life until the next social function.”

 

Share The Dreams

 

Parents don’t seem able to share imagination and their dreams with their kids anymore. Manners, common sense, civility were actions that parents once taught their kids. Now, it seems kids are basically creatures that survive on their own in the wilds of life. No one takes the time to respect and teach the kids.

 

Kids are left to “fend for themselves” like humanized wild dogs. Kids walk upright and grumble, rather than foam at the mouth. All of the Edu-ma-cated Experts of the 1970s did was make kids “accessories” for “older kids who needed to play parents for their careers.”

 

In the early 21st Century, it is even easier for the adults, they hand the kid an electronic gadget. The light comes on and the kid is mesmerized like a deer in the headlights. For minutes to hours, the kid gets “sucked in” to the electronic abyss and passes their time.

 

Parents still don’t check on their kids’ so they don’t know if the kid is using the gadget to gain knowledge and work on hand and eye coordination or if the kid is trying to become a “drug courier”, or is using the knowledge to build a pipe bomb in the basement.

Do 20 Questions

 

My mother always “played 20 questions” with me every afternoon when I came home from school. I had to try and remember what I had for lunch. She wanted to know if I had homework. What kind of homework ? What kind of day I had ?

 

Momma’s “Nightly 20 Question” routine was all about teaching me to be responsible and reminding me of what I had done during the day. It let me know I had a mom, who loved me and cared about me. After my afternoon debrief, she would usually head back down on the hill to check on an old sow or we might go to some kind of social function.

 

The Grapevine Is Still FREE

 

It never did any good to with hold information from momma. In the prehistoric days before facebook, twitter, yoono, linked in and all the other social media networks; In The Ozarks, there was still “The Grapevine.”

 

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, relatives, friends and neighbors always talked about the kids. Everyone knew “The Good Kids” and everyone knew “The Bad Kids.” If you acted up at school, someone made a phone call and you were “busted” before you ever walked in the door.

 

If I had acted up at school, I had to stand tall and explain, “My Side Of The Story.” If it was one of those nights, I had homework, she would check the cattle across the road or check on an old sow, but, she always made a point to “check on me.” I never felt like a neglected or “discarded kid.”

People always love to talk. People share the stories about their kids. If you are a grandparent or parent just let people know you love your kids and you want to hear about them. People will make the telephone or cell phone call to let you know. With or without the social media networks, the grapevine still works and it is still FREE.

 

The Big Red M

 

Grandparents and parents should remember to listen to the kid’s side of the story. Momma always listened to my side and weighed all the facts before she responded.

 

I knew I was a “Momma’s boy on a mission.” In the years ahead, I would figure out my mission, but, in childhood – I got to be a kid, have fun and be treated with respect.

 

I never saw “The Big Red M” on the chest of a super heroine costume in one of momma’s closets. I never found “The Big Red F” on a super hero costume in one of daddy’s business suit wardrobe. Regardless, I had “Super” parents because they loved me, respected me and let me “be a kid.”

 

I had a Mother, who knew the M word was more than six letters in an English dictionary that meant a little girl becomes an older girl and swaps out her plastic dolls for a personal miniaturized biological lifeform.

 

 

 

Parental ‘Brood Sow ‘ Mentality

 

Having Kids” and “Raising Kids” is not the same thing.

 

I grew up on a hog farm in Missouri,”any old ‘brood sow ‘can have kids. You put her with an old boar for a few days and then in a few weeks, she has her kids. Most of our old brood sows were good mothers. They looked after and took care of their kids.

 

Shame on me I didn’t check any of them for “Postpartum Depression.: I didn’t have to. They knew what it meant to be a mother and take care of their kids. 

I grew up on a farm in the Missouri Ozarks, where mothers and fathers took care of their kids and they didn’t rely on the American psychiatric community coming up with a new form of depression to explain that Life is tough and requires work.

 

When it came the time to wean the pigs, I didn’t have to drag a TV out to the hog shed or the barn and tune in “Jerry Springer,” “Oprah,” or try to call “Dr. Phil.”

The old sows, of course, already new “how to teach” their kids A Fundamental Life Lesson parents in The Ozarks always told their kids of my generation: “Root Hog Or Die.”  In the political correct vernacular of the early 21st Century, it means, “Life is tough; deal with it !”

 

Animals and wildlife still knows what it means to be “Mom and Dad” and let the kids, “Be Kids.” Humans we forget.

When an old brood sow in Missouri does a better job of raising her kids than some people, then, a parent needs to toss the books from the “Edu-ma-cated Experts” and make a cell phone call to Mom or Dad.

 

People claim to be smarter than ‘brood sows.’

 

I’m The Older Kid

 

I respect and admire my nieces and nephews they are great kids. I know I give them more advice than they want. 

But, hey, I am “The Older Kid.” I am the five year old kid with 52 years experience. I have the seniority and the rank of age. I have been there. I have done that. I have all the T-shirts and all the hats.

 

My goal as their “Uncle Sam” is to love, respect, and help them enjoy their young lives. The day will come soon enough when they have to do “The Silly Adult Thing” of working to earn a living. They will have to “Take Themselves Way Too Seriously.” 

No doubt, they might even have a bad boss that makes will make their life miserable. They might even forget that being a kid meant that you are suppose to learn How To Love And Enjoy Your Life.

 

Play Into Your Jobs

 

Any job will give you money to put food on the table and pay your bills. Find the job that you enjoy.

 

As a kid, if you sat on the floor with a play cash register and get all excited about counting your play money, then, when you grow up you probably will enjoy being an economist, stock broker or banker. Go for it.

 

One of the best things about childhood is you get to “Play Into Your Job” that you want in Life. You don’t have to be the President of the United States of America or the President of the Philippines to sit on the kitchen floor and remind your action figures or your dolls, “ I’m in charge ! ”

 

If you wanted to be an astronaut; why are you working as a landscaper ? Turn in your trowel and live your dream. Fine. You may be too old for NASA. Maybe you don’t have enough or the right “Edu-ma-cation.” Big deal.

 

Use the brain God gave you. Use you Common Sense. Find a way to live your dream. Gene Roddenberry wrote some scripts and remarked that he had an idea about “Wagon Train to the stars.” It worked out well for him. Star Trek is a factor of global cultures.

 

Robert Goddard, an American kid, who built rockets in his yard followed his dream that led to Mercury, Gemini , Apollo and made human spaceflight possible.

 

The Chinese built their firework rockets centuries ago, but it took a kid with a dream to realize “How To Ride A Rocket To The Moon And Back.”

 

Everyone is always more capable of doing things than they give themselves credit for.

 

A Job For “Uncle Sam”

 

Over the holidays, the kids have been keeping themselves occupied. They seem bored.

 

This is a job for their “Uncle Sam.”

 

I didn’t really need the radio-controlled helicopter in the bright and shiny box. But, I never had one as a kid.

 

A few months ago, I had an experimental prototype helicopter , but the kids didn’t get a chance to fly it. We decided to see if “Saldana One” would fly.

 

Being “The Older Kid” I handled the January 2, 2013 refueling operation. It burst into flames. The plastic housing of the cockpit burned away. I was left with the charred radio controlled gadgets on the fuselage frame and the twin alloy tail rotor booms. I overcharged it.

 

Unfortunately, “Saldana One” was experimental from the git-go because it was an “Impulse Buy” that I reacted to, rather than researched. I re-designated the aircraft “Saldana One YX.”  Reclassified as an experimental aircraft I could feel better about placing the rotary wing aircraft in my backyard “boneyard” to become part of the ecology.

Plus, I could not justify to my wife, Christy, my version of Congress, the needed “budget expenditure” to add a model aircraft into my “inventory.”

 

I decided Sam and the kids needed to get in or get out of aviation.

 

Gee, retired Air Force; I wonder what my decision will be ?

 

I spent two hours in the Gaisano Central toy department. The sales girls were looking at me funny. I considered braking into a chorus of “Off we go into the wild blue yonder.” Instead, I smiled, put down the big box and picked up a box with a tiny muddy camo colored helicopter

 

The tiny camo chopper didn’t “sing” at me. I looked at the egg beater that fires plastic rockets and realized they would be lost in the front yard for future archaeologists to discover.

 

The plastic G.I., on the retractable line from the whirlybird looked cool, but, I decided to start the kids with civil aviation.

 

The news chopper really caught my eye because it had the built in video, which was obviously a camera lens on a platform below the fuselage, but it had a boring white paint job.

 

The beautiful metallic red and blue choppers sat at the bottom in big boxes. I read all the information on the front back and sides of the box. These rotary wing aircraft “sang to me.”

 

A Filipino man, who had been studying the model aircraft inventory pointed at the white chopper. “This helicopter has video,” he smiled.

 

It really is cool,” I replied. He looked at the white chopper.

 

I held the red chopper box and looked at it. “Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight.” The words echoed in my ears. I glanced down at the blue helicopter hangar-ed in the box.

 

I put the big boxed red chopper back and picked up the big boxed blue helicopter. Words came to mind: “Jolly Green Giant”, UH-1, “Huey”, “Apache”, “Air Wolf”, and I saw my grin reflected on the plastic window of the box.

I looked at the metallic blue chopper for a moment and recalled a UH-1 chopper flight I had had the opportunity to board a 13th Air Force helicopter from the parade ground out of Clark Air Base. 

The wind in my face and the whirling rotor blades made me feel like at last I could fly with the angels.  I could look out across the horizon at the checkerboard pattern of rice fields until we touched down in Manila.

I stepped off the Huey in my blue uniform with my camera in hand and familiar song lyrics singing in my mind.  I looked back down at this blue model helicopter in the box.

 

I bought the big blue boxed helicopter and strolled out of the store with the familiar song lyrics singing in the back of my mind.

JUNEA AT THE CONTROLS 128Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.JTPF1M DSC_0127_resized

 

Junea Tanahale “pilots” the controls of “Warren One” as the chopper rises to fly in the Philippines’ sky, while Vanissa, her cousin, watches. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Flight Line Time

 

Today, I’ got to  “Be A Kid.” Rayniel and I did the preflight check and maintenance last night. We put the eight double A batteries in the helicopter. Junea and Vanissa looked at the helicopter manual. I charged up the chopper, earlier in the day. The movie, “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl” just ended.  Aunt Christy and the kids watched the movie, while I wrote this editorial.

 

Rayniel carries the aircraft. Vanissa and Junea fall in step behind Rayniel toward our imaginary “Red Horse” runway.

 

I grab my Nikon camera and follow the kids. Rayniel does his preflight of the helicopter on the Barangay Baras road and takes the radio control unit. I zoom in on the chopper. The rotors spin.

 

We, kids start to have fun.

 

The chopper starts to rise. I begin to take photos.  The blades are rotating and the chopper is singing.  Over the digital camera shutter, I hear the familiar song lyrics singing in my mind,and the song lyrics sing in my mind:

 

,”. . .nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force.”

 

Enjoy Life !

Fly With The Angels !

JUNEA TANAHALE PILOTS WARREN ONE PAST A COCONUT TREE THUMBNAIL

Sam

Radio Controlled Helicopter Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-controlled_helicopter

 

Radio Controlled Aircraft Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-controlled_aircraft

 

Experimental Aircraft List Wikipedia

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

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Written by samwarren55

January 7, 2013 at 4:14 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Observances, Opinion, Patriotism, Philippines, Photography, Sam I Am, The Ozarks, Tourism, Tropics

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Singing Sensation–The Discovery–by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Record executives get ready for “The Voice”

 

The first international singing sensation of 2013, “a son of a Filipino rice farmer”

 

The Discovery

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

American and Filipino record company executives wake up ! I have your first major singing sensation for 2013.

 

Chrismar Mora, 16, of Barangay Cameri, is a young man with a voice that will amaze record company executives

 

Ranilo Saldana, Chrismar’s first cousin, held a New Year’s Eve party. They plugged the microphone into the holiday karaoke setup. Years rolled away and youth returned compliments of “The Voice.”

 

Chrismar sang the words on the screen and his voice reminded me that I once loved and enjoyed listening to music.

 

I worked at KSOZ-FM in college. I “spun a few discs” back in the days of vinyl 33 1/3 and 45s. A few 78s got spun for the format, but we didn’t play a lot of these platters as a rule.

 

The National Public Radio station had a classical music format, which meant we aired The Texaco Metropolitan Opera with Tony Randall on Saturday afternoons. We aired more than our fair share of operas for even the most sophisticated New York City theatergoer. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture still echoes in my ears.

 

We did a lot of classical, some jazz and some blue grass broadcasts. Our station manager had no great love of rock and roll, so the :Ad Lib Itum” time slot was late at night before sign-off – for an hour or two of rock and roll.

 

I enjoyed playing “disc jockey”, but I was a print journalist at heart. So, I put my third class FCC license in the closet and put on the US Air Force uniform.

 

Since retirement, I leave “music” CDs, sound systems and the gadgets to my wife, Christy and our nieces and nephews going through their teenage years. Ranilo;s New Year’s Party woke me up.

 

On Air”

 

I could see myself back in the studio, sitting at the board. I lean into the hanging microphone and reach out to the turntable with the first record cued up. I glance up at the clock overhead. I let the turntable go and the first notes echo in my headphones. I choose my words quickly and carefully, so I don’t “step on the intro.”

 

My words end, a second passes with the music and the singer begins to sing. Usually, this is the point, where you take off the headphones and drop them on the desk. This time, I lean back in the chair and close my eyes. The voice starts a video of memories in my mind.

 

Chrismar Natividad is a name that the International record company executives want to jot down on a notepad.

 

Record executives you should seek out this young man. He took the microphone to sing karaoke. I truly enjoyed listening to his voice. As we say, in the Ozarks:

He can sing.”

 

Christy told me he has performed on “Leyte Idol”. She explained “Leyte Idol” is an IBC local televised entertainment show broadcast out of Palo, here in the Republic of the Philippines.

 

Nonetheless, Manila and Hollywood record scouts, agents and publicists get out your cell phones and have your assistants call the travel agent to book you on the first Philippine Airlines flight to Leyte.

 

This young man can sing ! ”

 

The karaoke songs on the monitor were Tagalog love songs and English love songs and his voice brought emotion to the words on the screen. Your mind noticed the colorful video footage on the screen, but your ears locked on to his singing of the song.

 

His voice stirred my emotions and then eased into my soul to satisfy all my senses. His voice cleanses your soul I had the sense of being happy to be alive. I felt the feeling of life being lived around me

 

Taxi Time To LAX

 

Capitol Records, Artista, and Atlantic Records, you guys and gals wake up ! Grab the briefcase of paperwork and head for the airport. Here is a young singer, “too good” to go undiscovered.

 

On the way to LAX, you should make a cell phone call to “Billboard”. They might want to get a reporter and photographer on the same flight or the next flight to Leyte.

 

Here is a young man with a voice that will have young women doing the Beatlemania screams of their great-grandmothers at the airport and passing out at a glimpse of the singer. Think about the “Beatles” first trip to the United States when they got off the airplane and young girls went wild.

 

If you weren’t in the audience or watched the TV coverage then fire up your iPad to search it out on line.

 

Record studio executives in LA, you do not want to miss out on this young man’s talent. Book that flight to Leyte, now. If you hesitate, the record company executives in Manila, may hop a ferry and grab a fast jeepney to the province ahead of you.

 

Sam

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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/

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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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Too Old For Toys by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Too Old For Toys

TOY ROBOT PHOTO ONE_resized

Toy Robot

I bought this toy robot in the 1990s. I was amazed at all the fuctions. It can walk, talk and grumble. It can dance. It doesn’t do “Gangnam Style” dancing, but, it does a nice “Ah, ha” and moves in a robotic dance fashion. There comes a time, when adults tell kids, “You’re Too Old For Toys.” What the adults are trying to explain to kids is when you get ready to go to the “Prom” your prom date isn’t going to want to sit down on the floor in her ball gown, while you set down on the floor in your tuxedo “to play with your toy plastic Army men.” Adults “forget” that “Toys Are Tools Of Imagination And Creativity” that keep toy companies in business, are symbols of your childhood, and are models that inspire stories, novels, movies, and creations in “The Real World.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]In living Life we learn many lessons. Grandparents, parents and other relatives pass on their wisdom and advice by their stories and their actions. A person’s actions does not always match his or her words.

 

Listen to what people say and always pay attention to what they do.

 

In school, teachers, coaches and professors are paid to teach children basic knowledge as well as specialized knowledge that is used to earn a living working a job.

 

Community leaders usually represent some level of authority. Authority, as a rule, is a system that gets the majority of people to be able to live together in a manner of “public order”, i.e., people learn to get along and live with one another in a fairly friendly and helpful manner.

 

Life overall never plays by society’s rules.

 

On a day to day basis, we all have our place in the global status quo and we live our lives.

 

The 12th Christmas

THE TOOL TRAY OF MY ANTIQUE TOOL BOX_4979_resized

 

Tool Chest

This is the tool chest that I got for My 12th Christmas. It came in handy for minor projects around the house and the farm, but I never built a house with it. I never renovated a house with it. I never even worked on an automobile engine with it. When we decided to move to the Republic of the Philippines it was one of the items that ended up in a yard sale, rather than, the household goods. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In childhood, my greatest disappointment was when I was told, “Your are ‘Too Old For Toys.”

My 12th Christmas would be “The Greatest Disappointment Of My Childhood.”

 

No organization on the planet currently publishes a global instruction that states: “Children Of The World you will be required by law to give up your toys at age______.” Of course, some level of authority will decide a number to put in the blank.

 

In The History Of The World, apparently global society had been “winging it” for centuries, when the time comes to tell children to “Give Up Your Toys.”

 

I had turned 12.

 

Maybe, there is an “age” when a child is suppose to quit playing with toys, but it isn’t publicized.

 

Maybe, parents know. Then, again, maybe, parents just “wing it” and decide on an age.

 

In life, people usually only give up actions, when they become tired or those acts or some level of authority “forces” someone to change.

 

In farming, farmers learn when to “wean” livestock. There comes a time based on the Real World financial reality of the farmer.

 

Sometimes the parental livestock know when the time has come to “wean” their kids. In my childhood, young farmers starting out would talk to older farmers to determine how to go about “weaning” different types of livestock. One method is to learn to read an almanac and use the information.

 

Kids aren’t livestock. Parents try to learn how to help their kids made important decisions in life.

 

Perhaps, people just assume when you start looking at “The Big 1 – 3”, you are suppose to know this.

 

This Kid Loved His Toys

 

I was a kid, who loved his toys. I was a kid, who enjoyed playing with his toys.

 

I was an ‘only child’ so it wasn’t like I had brothers and sisters teasing me because I still played with toys. I was an ‘only child’ so I didn’t always have other kids to play with, especially when I moved to the country.

 

As the 12th Christmas approached, Momma hinted that I was becoming “too big for toys.” I didn’t take the hint.

 

Finally, she said, “Son, you are becoming too big for toys.”

 

I didn’t think I had grown that much, during the previous year. “Son, you are becoming too ‘old’ for toys.”

 

There is an age,” I thought ?

 

One of the wonderful characteristics about my mother is if I didn’t understand something, I could ask her a question and she would always give me an honest answer.

 

Teenagers Don’t Play With Toys”

 

You will be a teenager soon. Teenagers don’t play with toys,” she explained.

 

As a child, I knew many teenagers. I saw none of them as a future Einstein. I missed Momma’s point entirely.

 

Of course, I had no doubt that she was right. It is just, when you are young there are things you take for granted. You know the day will come when you quit playing with toys, but, it is not some issue that gets publicized and advertised.

 

What Do You Want For Christmas ?

 

A day or two passed. “What do you want for Christmas ?”

 

Ah, the irony of life, first, you tell a kid, he has to give up ‘toys” and then you ask him what he wants on: “The Biggest Toy Day Of All Creation ? “

 

I had wanted an electric train set for Christmas.

 

Now, I didn’t know what I wanted.

 

Christmas is the global holiday about toys, presents and gifts.

 

People will tell you Christmas is about many things. Listen to their words, watch their actions and make your own decision.

 

To me, Christmas is a day about toys for kids. When I was told I was “too big for toys” the significance of the holiday quickly began to loose personal meaning for me.

 

Without toys, What Is Christmas Good For ?”

 

Without toys, What Is Christmas Good For ?”

 

Christmas was coming. People give presents at Christmas.

 

What kind of holiday is Christmas without toys ?

 

Kids focus on the toys at Christmas. The other information about Christmas is ether that will over time be absorbed into their gray matter. In the 1960s, there were no electronic sources of information like computers or the Internet to turn to.

 

The Suggestion

 

Momma suggested “A tool chest.” Daddy worked at the plant and he was an electrician. He had lots of tools. He should have been a “Craftsman” stockholder, because he was a loyal Craftsman tool buyer.

 

I didn’t really think about the tool chest suggestion I just kind of nodded and went with the flow.

 

Psychology In The Ether

 

Dr. Benjamin Spock had written his popular “baby” book that parents used in the 1950s.

 

But, I didn’t know of any books written by any doctors entitled: “The Kid’s Guide To Growing Up”?

 

People were still “experimenting” with psychology in the 1960s. Sigmund Freud looked very official. He was a snazzy dresser for his day and age. The cigar was a nice prominent publicity prop to get people’s attention. Throughout history, the successful showman always needs a working gimmick or prop to serve as a logo.

 

Freud choose to “work with the mind” to earn a living. A risky job choice.

 

Before Freud, people who tried to understand and work with the human mind were usually labeled: charlatans, frauds, confidence men, confidence women, bunko artists, scammers, grifters, snake-oil salesmen, and phonies – just to mention a few of the terms.

 

Fortune tellers, psychics and mediums were usually considered frauds. Society expects educators to educate and certify people for jobs. God is not suppose to interfere with the global education process, otherwise words like “superstition” and “religion” get tossed around.

 

In the early 1960s, in the United States, people would notice psychiatrists on talk shows, but society wasn’t jumping up and down to to create a new profession, especially one that throughout history had been controversial.

 

Psychiatrists were doing the talk show circuit and making public appearances to ensure the population at large that psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists were just “Fortune Tellers In Business Suits.”

 

The “Know It All Psychiatrists” wouldn’t start to be popular until the 1970s.

 

And the idea of support groups would have to wait until around the 1980s and allow the psychiatrist and psychologists of the 1970s to prove they weren’t just fortune tellers in business suits.

 

In the 1960s, Americans weren’t rushing to “shrinks” for advice or to be patients.

 

Newspaper Advice Columnists

 

There were newspaper advice columnists, In the 1800s, a girl named Virginia had wrote an editor a letter about Christmas. He had answered.

 

In the 1960s, newspaper advice columnists seemed to focus on place settings and matters of the heart from letter writers like “Heart-broken In Houston.”

 

I couldn’t see a columnist choosing to answer “Toyless In Galena.”

 

When you are a kid, you do not have the “Adult Thought Processes.” Thank God for Gut Instinct.

 

The initial shock to my mind of no toys for Christmas was: “Now, what ?”

The surprise became confusion, which became numbness as I tried to imagine life without toys. When you are a kid, your toys are important symbols and realities of your day to day life.

 

In a few days of trying to think through the situation, I came to grips with the idea of “No More Toys.”

 

Still. “Once you take away the fun stuff of Christmas; what is left ?”

 

Trading Tools For A Train

 

A bright, shiny, new crescent wrench just didn’t seem as exciting as flat cars, box cars, locomotives, cabooses, transformers, tracks, and scenery layouts.

 

I would tell myself the tools would come in handy. I couldn’t get a picture of me looking at blueprints, in front of the rising wood skeleton of a house.

 

I could not get a visual imagine in my mind of me lying under a Plymouth Barracuda with socket wrenches spread out on the ground by my head. I ease out from under the car stare down at the engine and wipe my hands on the oily pink work rag. “Yep. I need to see if I can’t get a bigger motor.”

 

My mind kept blurring the image of me in a crawl space, wearing a tool belt, reaching up to look in the junction box at the electrical wires. My mind just would not “light up that image.”

 

I’ll learn to use the tools I told myself.

 

A faint voice in my mind, snickers, “Yeah, right.”

 

Dreaded Derailment Day

 

 

Wednesday, December 25, 1968

 

My 12th Christmas

 

The dreaded 12th Christmas arrived.

 

The Christmas Tree was another brightly decorated cedar tree. Daddy had used his Thanksgiving vacation. At least, he would not have to witness my disappointment at the packages under the tree.

 

The days of the Dick Tracy Cop Mobile, the Wham-O Monster Magnet, the Batman Utility Belt and all the other great toys and games were all behind me.

 

The whole adolescent issue is rough on a kid.

 

You open the Christmas presents. There is no need to rip into the boxes. The childish excitement and expectation is gone. After 12 years of being a devoted player of toys; what can possibly replace them ?

 

Of course, in the 1960s all the electronic gadgets, gizmos and golly gee-whiz devices are still about 20 years in the future.

 

You smile.

 

Clothes.

 

I did my best “Thank you.” It was right to be polite. I just didn’t have the energy to make it seem heartfelt.

 

When your heart and your emotions are numb, it is dumb to even try to “wing it.”

I was a closing Broadway play that never even bothered to open. I just wanted the day to end.  I always remember Christmas Dinner.  That year, I don’t even remember Christmas Dinner.

 

Clothes Controversial Choice ?

 

In the 21st Century, I still hear parents and relatives talk about giving kids clothes for Christmas.

Yes, we all wear clothes.

 

Clothes are a part of society. Parents and relatives buy kids clothes. Christmas is a holiday that focuses on a child’s reaction at the Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree is a family theater production of drama and comedy.

 

In my lifetime, I have never seen clothes work as a Christmas present on Christmas Day under a Christmas Tree.

 

The reaction of the child is like an adult , who gets an expensive bill in the mail. You know it is coming and the arrival is always annoying, frustrating and usually devastates you based on the large amount of money demanded by a utility company, phone company or other business.

 

Personally, I never give clothes to children for Christmas. A gift should have meaning and mean something to the person giving it to the child. Clothes are a necessity; not a gift. Unless a child asked me for clothes for Christmas, I would not consider it as an option for a Christmas present.

 

A Big Deal

 

The whole “Too Old For Toys” and “No More Toys For Christmas” became “A Big Deal” for me because in adolescence being a kid you do not grasp the meaning of concepts like “roll with the flow” and be “flexible.”

 

When you are a kid and someone tells you that “Effective Immediately, this major change is being made to your life. Oh, and, incidentally, you have absolutely, no say, in the matter.” I remember as a kid, “I would freak out.” My mind and my emotions would rocket into the stratosphere as I tried to understand, “why would a grown-up do this to a kid ?”

 

In my mind, the whole issue became a “Big Deal” because I did not understand, “Toys Are Tools.” Your Tools that you work with changes over the course of life.

 

The natural flow of humanity forces us to give up our “toys”. But, life relies on us to keep a flame of imagination and creativity burning. We keep our fantasies in our minds, read them in books, watch them on TV and in theaters.

 

Yet, imagination and creativity is important in our adult lives because it reminds us to have hope and have faith in ourselves in our lives.

 

Toys To Tools ; Tools To Toys

 

The 12th Christmas served notice I would no longer get toys for Christmas to play with.

 

I had come to understood the 12th Christmas to be “The Death Of My Imagination And Creativity.” My toys had been taken away.

 

I had really wanted an electric train. I never got the electric train as a toy for Christmas.

 

I would be in the military before I realized I had a couple of great “toys to play with: a typewriter and a camera.”

 

Christmas Epiphany

 

December 1989, in the Republic of the Philippines at Clark Air Base I was strolling through the Branch Exchange not looking forward to a “Single G.I.’s Christmas” as the days of December counted down to the “Big 2-5”. I had a girlfriend, Christy, this year.

 

It would not be an “alone” Christmas.

 

I had no idea where the Christmas celebration would go on Christmas Day.

 

The Republic of the Philippines is on the global record of breaking out the big, brass bands and doing their best to make Christmas, “The Day Of Days.”

 

Over The Top,” is the way many Americans would describe the traditional celebration of Christmas in the Philippines. As early as October1, Filipino children in Angeles City, outside the gates of Clark Air Base, would begin “Christmas Caroling” and expect a few pesos for their songs.

 

After My 12th Christmas, I had become Ebenezer Scrooge incarnate. My solution to Christmas in college and the military was usually to get through it as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

 

Walking Wounded

 

Christmas Day celebrations as a single man from college into the military had left me “Walking Wounded.”

 

Christmas Day had to be dealt with like a hangover the morning after.

 

I knew Christy wasn’t going to let me “86 out the side door on this celebration,” at some point, I would have to “Be Present And Be Accounted For.”

 

I looked up and noticed my stroll of boredom in the BX had taken me into the toy section. I smiled and turned. My eyes were awash in gaudy, glitzy, over the top, attention designed colors and artwork of toy boxes designed to get a kid’s attention.

 

My eyes scanned a familiar looking word in the distance. I walk toward the word :T-R-A-I-N.

I pick up the box off the shelf and read the descriptions. Meanwhile, my mind remembered “You never got the train as a toy.”

 

Inside Sam’s Head

 

I could imagine the tiny employees of my mind scrambling around their enclosed mental work stations. No doubt, the klaxon horn was blaring loudly. The huge red interior warning light would have been in strobe mode and flashing erratically.

 

The tiny civilian commander, she would have yelled, “Flash, Level 1 ! Unsatisfied childhood desire ! Strap in ! This will be a bumpy ride !”

 

She slams her palm on the big red button to stop the annoying klaxon blaring.

 

The data input from my optic nerves would of flooded the gray matter circuits. The tiny civilian employees would be earning their mental pay.

 

Bio systems ? On line “

 

Heightened state of awareness !”

 

Emotional systems ?”

 

Lit up like a Christmas Tree !”

 

Emotional,” emphasizes the commander. “Mam. . .he is intently reading the description on the box. Emotions maxed out, but maintained. How is that even possible ?”

 

The tiny mental executive looks around her. “Relax. Sam is in his curious mode. Back to your stations.” She presses the button to stop the mental strobe warning light.

 

I start to place the box back on the shelf.

 

Then, my feet move me toward the checkout counter.

 

I imagine the tiniest female voice in my head, “Christmas is coming.”

 

I pay for the American Flyer train set at the register and smile.

 

I get to my off base quarters and set up the train underneath the Christmas Tree.

 

All Aboard !

 

Since 1989, a Warren train of some kind, size, color description, with an alternating cargo of cars has made the Christmas run around the tree.

 

In 2011, we had to pack away the train for shipping. Christmas 2012, I have yet to discover, where I put it.

 

In life, you get too old to sit on the floor and “play with toys.”

 

But, in life, you should NEVER get too old to rely on your imagination and creativity to move you through the daily tasks of life.

 

By Christmas 2013, I expect: “The Train and Christmas will be back on track.”

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

TOY ROBOT THUMBNAIL ONE

Toy Train

Tracks

 

Kids – Here are some links to get you started if you are interested in researching “toy” and “model” trains and railroads.

 

IF you ever have the opportunity to go to a “Toy Show” – go.

 

Try to talk to one of the toy dealers and ask them questions about the different types of scale like HO and O.

 

If you are interested in model cars, trucks and tractors, then, ask the toy dealer questions about the types of “scales” like 1/16th, 1/32nd, and 1/43rd.

 

Kids, take care of your toys. Some of the toys from my childhood in the 1950s and 1960s have been sold through the years and have resulted in some people being able to put a nice amount of money in the bank for the future.

 

Yes, toys can be an investment in your future.

 

Sam

 

Lionel

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

American Flyer

http://www.americanflyertrains.com/

 

Lehmann Gross Bahn

LGB Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGB_(Lehmann_Gross_Bahn)

 

Bachmann Trains

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/index.php

 

Bachmann Big Hauler

Trainweb.org

http://www.trainweb.org/girr/tips/tips1/big_hauler_tips.html

 

Aristocraft Toy Trains

http://www.aristocraft.com/

Collectors Weekly American Flyer

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/model-trains/american-flyer

 

Collectors Weekly Marx Toy Trains

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/model-trains/marx

 

Model Railroader Magazine

http://mrr.trains.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Toy I Lost . . .At Sea by Samuel E. Warren Jr

with 8 comments

Common Sense procedures will protect your fleet of toys

 

The Toy

I Lost . . . At Sea

TEXACO TOY TANKER_1961_resized

Texaco S.S.North Dakota

Toy oil tanker by Wen Mac Company

In 1961, the Wen Mac Company produced this wonderful toy for kids. I got to enjoy my ship for about two hours. The majority of that “play time” was worry. I watched it bob about on the waters of the “Wild Warren Sea” in the southwest Missouri Ozarks.

 

These fleets of wonderful toy ships sometimes ride anchor on the virtual ebay sea. Aspiring young captains and first mates set course to surf or sail the cyber sea over to ebay for more information.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

 

The beauty of my childhood is there were great and affordable toys that parents could buy for their kids. There were numerous toy companies in the United States and toy companies overseas that shipped toys to the United States.

 

There were all types of great and interesting toys. The toys were rubber, pressed tin, metal, plastic, battery operated and early remote control toys. The electronic toys, gadgets, gizmos and computer games were still 20 to 30 years in the future.

 

Kids in the 1950s and 1960s still had to rely on their imaginations, creativity and the manual labor of sitting on the kitchen floor or in the yard to play with your toys.

 

My toy box in the garage had become a miniature salvage yard of toy cars and trucks that had failed the child stress test of playtime. I didn’t abuse or misuse my toys. Like Real World automobiles and aircraft, sometimes the advertising does not live up to the realities of day to day use.

 

I had some toys that I was particular about because I enjoyed playing with them and they were fun to use. Usually those toys, ended up in the house. The toys I was extremely particular with went in a refrigerator-sized cardboard box in a corner of the laundry room. Those were the special toys that I only brought out when other kids came to play or at special times. The games were on top.

 

I knew I was a lucky kid. I was also an only child, which meant I didn’t share my toys on a day to day basis. I did not have a lot of ships in my toy inventory.

 

When we moved to the farm in Missouri, I “forward deployed” the toys I didn’t want to live without. The yearly trip to Texas, more toys ended up “deployed to Missouri.” The pedal car, pedal tractor and the tricycle, eventually got “reassigned” to Missouri.

Daddy’s two trips a year, he would bring me toys, especially as presents at Christmas.

 

Samuel E. Warren arrived in Galena for his Fourth of July visit in 1961. Daddy brought me a beautiful plastic toy ship. I opened the box. It was a beautiful Texaco tanker ship, the .S.S. North Dakota.

 

The red body wide hull displayed a wide ribbon of black around the top of the vessel. The white wheelhouse and accessories on the deck made the ship look like a real ship.

 

I put the D batteries in the ship and rushed over the rocks to the farm pond.

 

Common sense means I should have taken the time to read over the manual. I should of waited until I had “brand new” D size batteries for the ship. I should of gotten a good night’s sleep and then went to the pond to “christen” the ship with her maiden voyage.

 

I turned the ship on, the tiny propellers spin. I set the ship in the water. Ripples of water stream around the ship.

 

On her maiden voyage she was underway across the wide cow pond. I watched proudly. In the middle of the pond, the ship slows and seems to drop anchor. The engine had quit. The batteries were wore out. The ship sat in the middle of the pond, “dead in the water.”

 

I should of used new D batteries. I made a dumb decision.

 

In childhood, patience is not something that comes naturally.

 

Momma had always told me not to throw rocks in the pond. After all, you pay someone to dig a deep hole to let the rain fill up for cattle, so you don’t want rocks back in the water. Sometimes lime would have to be added to the soil to help maintain the water in the pond.

 

This pond had always been a problem. It just didn’t seem to want to hold water. I looked at my “elite of the fleet” vessel “lost at sea” in the middle of the pond. The afternoon sun was thrusting out the last rays of daylight. I tried to weigh my options.

The pond was deep enough to swim a horse, I couldn’t walk out and get the ship. From time to time, in this farm pond,you would see a snake swimming along.

 

 

A ripple effect should generate enough energy to push the ship forward toward the shore. The theory seemed practical.

 

I threw rocks in the water to create ripples to guide the ship to shore. The ship bobbed about on the artificial waves I kept picking up and tossing in rocks. The ripple effect worked for awhile.

 

Black Angus and Polled Hereford cattle strolled to the pond to drink. Some wondered out into the pond and created ripples that helped to sail the ship. Then, the cattle went back ashore.

 

I became anxious and picked up bigger rocks to toss in the water. Unfortunately, some of those rocks generated intense ripples. My rock shelling of the ship was a bad decision.

 

My rescue operation had turned into an accidental aerial bombardment. The rocks plopped into the water and generated large exploded splashes of water around the ship’s bow and stern.

 

The rock flak wasn’t generating ripples; it was creating seismic tsunamis that were lashing into the toy ship’s hull. The plastic tanker was bobbing about. I didn’t think it would be a problem. I thought, the toys was naturally correcting it’s course based on the nature of the water.

 

I should have relied more on science and my common sense than my optimism. I saw the ship was shifting in the water. I made the bad decision to keep “shelling” rocks at the toy ship.

 

Wide webs of water splashed against the ship’s hull a few more times. Then, the ship listed over on it’s side. I stopped throwing rocks into the water. The ship laid on it’s side in the water for a few moments. I hoped it would move closer to the shore.

 

A few moments passed. Suddenly, I watched the toy ship slip beneath the waves.

 

My North Dakota tanker slipped beneath the water of The Wild Warren Sea.

 

As of December 2011, the toy Texaco tanker ship the .S.S. North Dakota still rests on the bottom of that farm pond in Missouri.

 

The moral to the story is: “Play with your toys and enjoy them.” If you take care of your toys like any tool, you will have them for years to come. If you abuse or misuse your toys, then, all you will be left with is a memory.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 24, 2012 at 7:29 PM

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