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Flip Flop Pitchers’ Contest Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Flip Flop Pitchers’ Contest

Elyza Tanahale dashes to claim her “Flip Flop.” Ranyiel Saldana, Elyza’s cousin watches in the background and awaits his turn.

Children have a knack for finding a way to entertain themselves. When Elyza, her brothers, sisters and cousins got together New Year’s Day in Barangay Baras, Leyte in the Republic of the Philippines, they found a way to entertain themselves.

“Flip Flop” is the nickname given to sandal footwear in the Philippines. Many of the “flip flops” that children and adults wear are the basic “shower clogs” that Americans wear getting into and out of the shower.

 

My Cousin, Bill DeLong, had a reputation in the DeLong Family of being a champion horseshoe pitcher.

 

My Filipino and Filipina, nephews and nieces “flip flop” pitching is basically the idea of horseshoe pitching, which is a popular past time sport in the United States. Instead of stakes, my nephews and nieces placed an empty tin can several yards away from the starting point.

Nikon Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Links

National Horseshoe Pitchers’ Association of America

http://www.horseshoepitching.com/

 

Horseshoes Wikipedia

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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

I Welcome Readers’ Comments by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

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Readers are welcome to write back

 

I

Welcome

Readers’

Comments

My Classic U S Air Force Photographers Camera and Flash Gun of the 1980s_3825 (1)_resized

 

Ready, Aim, Flash !

My Nikon F3 with motor wind, flash bracket and the Nikon flash gun is the basic photography setup that U.S. Air Force photographers assigned to base photo labs and as “Combat Camera” photographers carried to “shoot” photo assignments in the 1970s and 1980s.  Some of the photographers actually used a Sunpak flash gun.  I used a Canon AE-1 Program camera to shoot the majority of my military photography for base newspaper articles. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I love to write.

 

My Quill Pen ThumbnailI enjoy reading feedback from readers.

 

I know there are those Spam robots out in cyberspace that lock on and generate all kinds of junk.

Human Readers Welcome

 

Humans, real readers are always welcome to send me comments and I do reply.

 

My blog platform is Word Press. My theme is the FREE Word Press Journalist theme.

 

I let Word Press catch the majority of the spam and then check the folder to make sure, real comments aren’t being vaporized into oblivion.

 

If I have answered a particular question numerous times, then, I don’t respond because the answer or one exceedingly similar is already in the reader’s comment section of my blog.

 

I like to get feedback from readers. I like to know I inspired a reader or gave them an idea that they can use in their life.

 

 

 

 

Alien Readers Welcome

 

However, every few days I sit down and read my blog comments from readers.

I glance at the comments and the first ones that get deleted are the ones that look like a warehouse full of adding machines exploded because there are strings of numbers thrown into the message.

 

If an extraterrestrial intelligence is trying to communicate with me: “Dear Alien Life Form of Unknown Origin. My name is Sam. I ain’t a mathematician. Disengage your communications keypad and use the alphabetic one. Thank you.”

 

To all my friends at the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, i.e., SETI, if the Andorians, Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans or little green men email me, then, I’ll forward a copy of the email to you guys and NASA.

 

Relax, Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network, I’ll forward a copy of the same email to you and The Center For UFO Studies In Rockville, Maryland.

 

Back in the world of human readers, I do glance over every email comment that I get on my blog. Some are obvious “Locked On And Trying To Use Your Blog To Be A Spam Spreader,” which means when it is obviously a ploy to use the blog, then, I delete the spam.

 

Advertisers Buy An Ad

 

I watch for the advertisers that try to promote everything from ambulance chasing legal services to spiffy new SEO software to up your statistics to search engines. Those emails get vaporized by the delete key.

 

I’m An English Bad Boy

 

Bad boy that I am; I break English rules. I write English to communicate.

 

I do not write English to teach it.

 

As a child, English teachers engineered “All The Rules Into My DNA”

 

The English teachers hardwired the information by requiring me to “Diagram Sentences.”

 

Then, as a reporter, I had to memorize the “Strunk and White” gospel on grammar and nit-noy English to the extreme.

 

Uncle Sam demanded that I “memorize”, live and breathe, “The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual.”

 

I see correct and proper English in my sleep.

 

English To Communicate

 

I am not on Her Majesty’s official staff and I am not writing a book for publication, so I write to communicate.

 

I write for fun.

 

Two – Ton Type

 

One of the major rules of English that I break often is the “Old All The Same Thoughts In One Paragraph Rule.” Back in the days of Shakespeare that silly rule might of made sense.

 

Then again, Will Shakespeare didn’t have a cell phone.

 

Poor Shakespeare, he never got a facebook account or got to type: LOL.

 

Legions of lawyers, doctors, academics and others who love those bureaucratic English paragraphs with their 40 sentences and the jargon bloated sentences don’t realize that all the professional vernacular words are weighing down their eyes.

 

The two tons of type that scholarly documents and legal paperwork rely on to make a point are a format technique that scares off readers. When your eyes scans a page and there are thick blocks of type, your eyes want to jump somewhere else.

 

Two tons of small artistic squiggles on a page tells your brain this is going to take some digging to get through all this type and make sense of it.

 

English Always Fashionable

 

I use the journalism layout technique.

 

Reporters know the eyes dance over words.

 

Important words get uniforms and ball gowns, which translates to big point size type and fancy fonts.

 

Too many sentences in one paragraph is a badly tailored suit. It doesn’t appeal to the eye and suit the mind.

 

English has to be “fashion conscious” to be read and understood. Words have to tempt the eye to get the reader.

 

English In A Bikini

 

I try to put my English in a bikini.

 

I go for short sentences. If the idea is too long and too many sentences start to fill out the paragraph, then, it is breast augmentation time for the paragraph.

 

English In A Bustier

 

If the paragraph starts to look to busty to my eye, then, I step into the literary closet of my mind and look at the wardrobe. I space between the sentences. If the paragraph still seems busty, then, I will add line art or a photo.

 

If I can’t find the appropriate art or photo I step back into the literary closet. I look at the sentences and chose a nice bustier.

 

After all, the right subhead pushes the copy up and out at the reader.

 

The point of any article is to get the words in your face and before your eyes so they will be noticed.

 

Comma Conversion

 

I like commas. They are cute and cuddly in their own way. English teachers do not like comma splices.

 

The cuddly comma outlines a series of words and sets off phrases for the eyes.

 

I worked in a radio station and sometimes we had to splice tape to splice out “Ah,” “Umm,” “Dah,” “Ur,” “Er”, and other unintelligent sounds. I like commas. I like splices.

 

Samuel E. Warren Junior English

 

The English speaking countries of the world have their own take on how to use, communicate, spell and arrange English to make sense in their countries and cultures.

 

Americans spell theater with the er. British spell theatre with the re.

 

Americans spell Manila one way. Filipinos spell there capitol city, Maynila.

 

English is a global language because it is flexible and adapts. English never lets silly rules drown out the language’s natural communications ability.

 

English’s flexibility is the reason why English thrives.

 

English as a language adapts.

 

Even a writer can tweak the Commandments Of English and “Yea, though, thou, might offend scores of English professors; who cares ?

 

If the message gets through to readers and your communication is understood, then, English as a language did what it is designed to do – it communicated !

 

In the 1970s, IMHO scribbled on paper would not mean anything to anyone.

 

Thus, like the BFF teenagers with their text messaging cell phones, I tweak English to suit my communication needs.

 

Warren Wonder Words

 

I like words.

 

Some words like War, Death, Land, Life, Love, and some others are not suppose to be capitalized because they are not “Nouns”, which, a noun is “a proper name of a person, place or thing.”

 

I capitalize War because War kills people, destroys property and lays Land to waste for decades to centuries.

 

I capitalize Death because it comes to us all.

 

I capitalize Land because the bloodiest Wars in history are always fought over Land, whether the War is a domestic Civil War or a foreign War, the bloodshed and Death toll demand that Land not be trivialized as lower case.

 

I capitalize Life because we all live it.

 

I capitalize Love because it is a significant human emotion.

 

From time to time, I will capitalize those English words known as articles and prepositions like The and Of. In a phrase, I want the words to stand out. When I put the word The with a word like car, I want the reader to know I am writing about The Car and not simply a car someone on the planet.

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These two cabins are in Galena, Missouri on the banks of the James River in the Missouri Ozarks.  Galena, Missouri in The Ozarks is the sight of The Last Official Public Hanging In The United States Of America and The Show Me State Of Missouri.  Famous United States 7th District Congressman Dewey Short is a native son of Galena, Missouri.  Galena gained notoriety in the 1930s as The Hometown of George Leonard “Shock” Short one of the most successful bank robbers of The Depression Era because his O’Malley Gang robbed banks throughout the Midwest and is one of the only gangs to successfully pull off two bank robberies at the same time. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ozarks English

 

 

I grew up in the Ozarks. Thus, if I am in my country boy mode: “Reckon I is gona’ go and write them thar little ole’ words any way I darn well please. If’n ya don’t like it. Well, yous don’t have ta’ read my article. I hain’t gona loose none of my shut eye time over it.”

 

cabins in the Ozarks thumbnailAl Capp made a living poking fun at The Ozarks and “The Beverly Hillbillies” made the TV studios money poking fun at The Ozark hillbillies.

 

I grew up in The Ozarks, so if I want to use, talk or write “Ozarks’ English”, I reckon I have a better right than the people who never set foot in The Ozarks.

 

Spelling

 

Spelling, I believe is important. However, I will misspell an English word to make a point.

 

Magick – I always spell the word magick with a k.

 

Aleister Crowley’s spelling idea works. With the k on the end of the word, then, the reader knows that you are writing about supernatural, paranormal, or universal unseen forces in Life, which I call, “magick.”

 

When I write the word, “magic” it means I am writing about entertainment or stage magic.

 

I usually am a good boy when it comes to spelling. I might do the old Photo or Foto word switch every now and then,but usually I do not “purposely” misspell a word.

 

Spiritual English

 

I, God and Satan are “old drinking buddies.”

 

From time to time, I write about my immortal friends.

 

I will capitalize He when I write about Satan. After 21 Centuries, He has earned a captial H and daily headlines, show He isn’t retiring anytime soon.

 

God understands that I am one of those people that believes every object in Life has to have at least two parts. Everything in Life, at some level, is at least, one half of a whole.

 

Genetics reveals, all little boys genetically are first little girls. If the genetic material moves in a certain direction then the little girl is born a little boy – so, much for “The Macho World Concept.”

 

God grins when I capitalize the S and put it in front of he to create She. I sometimes write about Him, The Creator Of The Universe, in a Her sense.

 

Incidentally, when you are a Supreme Being; you don’t have “gender” and “orientation” issues. God asked me to pass that along the next time I did some religious English writing.

 

Now, that I have told readers to feel free to email me there comments, your writng is up to you.

 

English Professors Chill Out

 

I have outlined my use of English, so that the English Professors Of The World canMy Quill Pen Thumbnail relax with a glass of sherry or port and curl up with their favorite leather bound Shakespeare play or Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland” tale.

 

English Professors relax and chill out. English is a language that changes. The beauty is English can change and still communicate ideas that are understood.

 

I have outlined my approach to spelling English words, which means I know how to use my “Spell Checker” software and usually I do.

 

However, alas, I am still a mere mortal, so I make mistakes. Sometimes a word sneaks by me.

 

Oops, I’m human.

 

I have outlined my religious and spiritual approach to English, so “The Holy People In The World” can go ahead and bad mouth me.

My On Duty Camera Bag Thumbnail

 

 

 

 

I am Sam The Writer. I am Sam The Photographer.

 

If you want to send me comments about the articles and photos in my blog, I am sure I will enjoy reading them. I do reply. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate the readers, who take time to comment.

 

My Nikon F3 setup thumbnail

Sam

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.

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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.

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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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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_

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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.
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