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

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After Action Report Christmas Eve 2012

 

Christmas

In

The

P.I.

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

Noche Buena Feast 2012

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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

 

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

 

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

 

I learned to associate cold with Christmas.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Shop For The Egg Nog

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Hallelujah ! No Snow for Christmas !”

 

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

 

I have no use for Snow.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Potato Pancakes

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

Banana Pancakes and a platter of rice.

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

 

The Hob Nob Cafe

DeQueen, Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lechon

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Christy Warren places the silverware on the Noche Buena table_Photo 2

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tuba Time

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Common Sense Social Etiquette

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pot Luck Suppers

 

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

 

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

 

West And East Cultural Dinner Differences

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Single Person Protocol

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Warrens Of Texas, DeLongs Of Missouri

 

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

 

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

 

Maligayang Pasko !

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

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

 

Noche Buena Links

 

Hiland Dairy Foods Egg Nog

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

 

History of Egg Nog

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/history.php

 

How To Make Egg Nog

Holiday Recipe

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/holiday.php

 

The Traditional Noche Buena

in the Philippines

Yahoo

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

 

Noche Buena

Filipino Recipes

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

 

Nochebuena Wikipedia

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

 

Pirates Piracy Wikipedia

 

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

 

Captain Morgan Wikipedia

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

 

Captain Morgan Rum Website

http://www.captainmorgan.com/

 

Tanduay

http://www.tanduay.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

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

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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.

Christmas Day in the Ozarks 1966 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Childhood Christmas Celebration

 

Christmas Day in the Ozarks

1966

COUNTRY LAMPS

 

The Ozarks’

Kerosene Lamps

The Ozarks Electric Cooperative and White River Electric Cooperative were two Ozarks power companies that were working to provide consistent, stable electricity to the farms and homes of Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s. In the winter, Ozark’s snowfall would bring trees and limbs down on power lines and families would have to resort to kerosene lamps at night until the power companies could get back into the rural hills and hollers to repair or replace the power poles. In the southwest Missouri Ozarks’ snow is usually on the ground for Christmas Day,so these decorative “coal-oil” lamps were always an important functional holiday decoration to have ready throughout the winter. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Friday December 9, 1966

I come back home from school and Momma has a four foot Christmas Tree set up. The cedar tree looks impressive sitting in the three pound Folgers Coffee can in the center of the wooden office desk.

 

The heavy wooden desk had originally belonged to J. Frank Couch, of Gilmer, Texas. Papa Warren had bought it from J. Frank and given it to Momma, “for Sam Junior to do his school work on.” It is a beautiful, heavy flat top wooden desk, with a slender middle drawer and three deep side drawers on each side.

 

Gravel from the driveway is packed tightly around the trunk of the tree. This year, like the years before, Momma had walked into the woods, across the road, with her ax and cut down the tree.

 

I know I will have to “water” the tree to try and keep it alive until Christmas.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]The nice thing about our Christmas Trees is they were “FREE”. One plant, other than ragweed, that seems to appreciate Stone County, Missouri’s rocky soil is cedar trees.

 

Momma’s “Warren Land” and Uncle Richard’s “DeLong Land” kept the Stone County courthouse in Christmas Trees for more than a decade.

 

Late November or early December, someone from the county would “stop by” and ask Momma if the county could get a Christmas Tree off of her land or Uncle Richard’s. Momma’s standard response: “Take an ax and cut as many as you want.”

 

Momma had her box of Christmas decorations sitting on the floor by the desk. I reached in and got the little strips of flimsy aluminum that is suppose to represent icicles and put it on the branches.

 

Later, Reynolds Wrap aluminum from the kitchen will swaddle the coffee can to become the tree skirt. It will give me something to do after I finish my homework.

 

When I got home from school, the old white Chevrolet pickup was parked in the driveway, which meant Momma was home. I suspect that she is down on the hillside in one of the hog houses, which means one of the old sows is probably ready to have pigs.

 

A few minutes later, Momma came in and said, “One of the old sows is acting up. I put her in the shed. She will probably have pigs tonight or in the morning. Do you have homework ?”

 

Yes, mam. I know, take off your school clothes and get on your homework.”

 

She smiles and nods.

 

Sam Junior’s Hot Dog Sandwiches

 

A couple of hours pass. I go in the kitchen and take wieners out of the ice box.

 

I know how to cook one thing – hot dogs.

 

I turn on the gas stove and heat up the water in a white enamel quart sauce pan. Once the water, steams and boils like a witches’ cauldron,then, I would dump in the wieners.

I come from a family that does not believe in “Raw Meat.” We cook our food. I would always wait until the steaming water bubbled like sulphuric acid.

 

I would watch the wieners boiled in the pan. Usually, I would take them out before they ruptured. Sometimes I would allow the hot water to rupture the wiener. Then, I would pour the hot water down the sink.

 

I had laid out slices of bread on the counter. With a layer of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on the bread. If the wieners had not ruptured, then, I would take a butcher knife and slice the wieners lengthwise.

 

Once sliced, I would position the wieners on he bread and fold out the sides so that the wieners looked like tall, pink butterflies.

 

Two wieners on a slice of bread would fill the slice. I would spoon on relish. Then, I squirted on catsup and added a slice of cheese before using the other slice of bread as a top. On Momma’s hot dog sandwiches, I would add a squirt of French’s mustard.

 

In the dark ages, before the invention of the microwave, you had to be able to at least cook a little.

 

Hillbilly Hog Hospital

 

HOG HOUSE LANTERN THUMBNAIL 1Momma comes back to the house. She had a couple of hot dog sandwiches. Since the first grade, Momma has asked me what we had for lunch at school today. Usually, I remember. Today, I can’t remember.

“It is Friday, which means it is the weekend. She tells me about her day and I really don’t have anything interesting to tell about my school day. After a few minutes she heads back down on the hill to wait for the old sow to have the pigs.”

 

When you have three or four old sows, there is the likelihood that a couple of old sows may “pig” on the same night. When your herd is expanding toward the number 25, rest assured there will be days and nights when you feel like a nurse in a maternity ward rushing from one sow to another.

 

If Momma had a couple of old sows in “delivery mode”, she would keep an eye on one and I would “play doctor” for the other.

 

When a pig is born, the important function is to clear away the afterbirth from the nostrils so the little squealer can breath. Keep an eye on the sow, because a squeal from the newborn pig will have the old sow trying to get up to check on her baby.

 

Every now and then, Momma would have a “mean old sow” that would rather fight than have her pigs. You always kept your distance from an old sow in labor.

 

Momma comes back to the house. She has another old sow that will probably haveHOG HOUSE LANTERN THUMBNAIL 1 pigs tonight. She has already got that old sow in the lower shed. I just need to get ready and go down on the hill. She will keep an eye on the old sow in the upper shed. I get to watch the old sow in the lower shed. Daddy has the sheds wired for lights. The light in that shed usually works.

 

My old sow is not suppose to be mean. The sow Momma is watching is usually mean, when she starts to pig. I will just have to watch my old sow and make sure she doesn’t lay down on any of her pigs by accident.

 

A severe labor pain can cause an old sow to “jump up.” When an old sow jumps up from labor, she is fighting the pain and anything nearby that could be the source of her pain becomes the target.

 

Snorting and grunting the old sow will come at you. I was taught there is only one way to “Stop” an old sow or boar that is charging at you.

 

Farm stores don’t sell tranquilizer guns. Pharmacies don’t sell farmers Novocain or any type of livestock muscle relaxer drugs. The farmer has to rely on his God-given common sense and the shared knowledge from other farmers.

 

You pick up a stick of wood, a shovel, a hoe, an ax handle or any type of tool handle you can get your hands on. Then, you swing it down as hard as you can across the hog’s snout, That will stop the hog in it’s tracks” Momma told me time and again.

 

HOG HOUSE LANTERN THUMBNAIL 1Momma explained that you busted the item over the hog’s snout to stop it from charging at you. You can slap a hog on the side and it will shrug off the blow like a nuisance house fly. Hogs go through brush and saplings in the woods, so they just shrug off the scrapes and keep going.

 

I don’t know if the procedure would work for everyone, but the procedure always worked for me to stop our Yorkshire, Duroc and Hampshire sows. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do it too often.

 

My old sow had 12 pigs. Momma’s old sow had 15. My old sow had a runt, but he looks okay.

 

Momma’s old sows averaged 12 to 18 pigs by the time she put the two bulk hog feeders out in the field. The bulk hog feeders were the science fiction equipment on any hog farm.

 

Take Me To Your Feeder”

 

By the early 1970s, Momma had bought two bulk hog feeders. The two fat, cylindrical tubes were connected to their respective oversized metal bowls that had a series of lids that hogs could raise with their noses.

 

Whenever I stood out in the field and looked at the bulk hog feeders they always looked like two strange fat, short, landed UFOs.

 

I could always imagine a tiny green man asking me to take him to my leader. I just always hoped I got to the little alien before one of the old sows went rooting around and decided that he looked more like a root than an alien.

 

Sunday, December 18, 1966

 

Daddy arrived from Houston early this morning. I love it when I see that blue and white fleet side half ton pickup pulling into the driveway. It means daddy is home for a couple of weeks.

 

Aunt Bill sent me one of her German Chocolate Cakes. And, the white coffee can tin with the gold shape of the state of Texas was packed to the brim with Aunt Bill’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. She packed the cookies in wax paper in the can,so they did not crumble. I love these cookies.

 

When daddy came home for the Fourth of July, he didn’t go by Aunt Bill’s house before he headed for Missouri. Daddy said Aunt Bill got on to him for not stopping at her house first, because she had some chocolate chip cookies to send to me. This time, daddy said, Aunt Bill didn’t take any chances. She made sure she and Uncle Audrey went by the house the night before daddy left out for Missouri. Thanks to Aunt Bill, we got the cake and the cookies.

 

I don’t know if we will go Christmas shopping in Springfield tonight. I know daddy is tired from the drive, but I hope we get to go.

 

I did get to go Christmas shopping, The trip from Houston to Galena always wore you out. I know daddy had to be tired, but he knew that I looked forward to him coming home for the holidays. We looked everywhere for the Operation game. We spent every night going shopping before Christmas.

 

Monday, December 19, 1966

 

I didn’t have to ride the bus from school tonight. Daddy and Momma picked me up once school let out and we headed to Springfield to do more Christmas shopping. I really want the “Operation” game for Christmas. Store after store in Springfield said they had it, but it sold out fast.

 

Last weekend, I even talked Momma into going to Springfield and going “down on the square.” Momma doesn’t like shopping on the square. It is always a pain for her or daddy trying to find a place to park to shop on the square.

 

Earlier in the month. Momma and I went to Aurora to the stores, to try and find the game. No luck.

 

I didn’t get the Operation game for Christmas. That year we left no stone unturned trying to find the game.

 

In the 1960s, The Ozarks seemed a remote location “right smack dab in the center of the United States.: If something “new” in terms of fashion, toys or technology got released or announced in New York City or Los Angeles it meant that it would be at least six months and probably a year before the item would be released and available for purchase in The Ozarks.

 

December 2011, I was curious about the types of toys the stores are selling for kids at Christmas. I strolled into the toy aisle of the Wal-Mart store in Branson West Missouri, there in the games section were plenty of brand new “Operation” games waiting for parent and grandparents to purchase them.

 

 

Home Sweet Hen House

 

I started school at Abesville Elementary in 1960. Momma and I arrived and she was looking for a small place to buy, so I could go to school in Missouri. If I started school in Missouri I could start at age five. If I were to start school in Texas I would have to wait until age six.

 

Momma already owned her land in Missouri that she and daddy planned to build their “Dream Home” on when he retired. Time and again, I heard her tell people we were just looking for a place we could, “batch.” I understood it to mean a “temporary” location.

 

We ended up with a house about a quarter of a mile down the road from Grandma and Uncle Richard. It was a weird house. It had a weird design. US houses in Missouri had gabled roofs.

Our house had a “Hen House” roof. Technically, the roof style is called a, “Shed Roof.” However, in Missouri in the 1960s, when people built their chicken houses they seemed to use the slanted roof.

 

Ernest Cloud build our house. Everyone always talked about the beautiful work Ernest did as a cabinet maker. The story is that whenever there were leftover pieces from construction jobs that he worked on, he would use those materials and built the house that we lived in.

 

In The Ozarks, in the 1960s people were building homes out of beautiful red brick. Older homes that used the giant rocks belonged to the 1930s, 1940s and a few to the 1950s. The rock houses had huge rock and a wide white line between the stones.

 

Alas, our hen house was a rock house. It had a garage attached, which only served to continue the hen house look.

 

In the beginning, even though we lived by the state highway, there were so many trees in the yard, the house was almost completely hidden from the highway.

 

A slight pig trail through the trees was the only indication that there was something in the woods.

 

At dusk, the slender, anorexic trees blocking the way looked like a Hollywood movie setting for a horror flick. In the sunlight, we were still so far back in the boonies from the main highway, “God had to pump in sunshine.”

 

Momma bought some hair goats for the brush and sprouts. Then, she bought a chain saw and the trees began to disappear. Suddenly, the hen house sat close enough for everyone going by to see.

 

While I was in the United States Air Force in the early 1980s, the roof of the hen house fell in. Momma got a trailer and put it on the property until she could get what she wanted. The remains of the hen house got bulldozed down on the hillside.

 

Thank God for the invention of the bulldozer.

 

I never liked the house that we lived in because most of the rooms seemed slightly larger than a Ma Bell phone booth. These series of phone booths had simply been joined together to resemble something like a house. The kitchen was so small you had to go outside to change your mind,

 

The fireplace collected soot and weary birds. In the winter time, the fireplace was more of a huge draft that let in cold air, rather than a fireplace. Momma finally blocked off the fireplace and got a large gas heater stove to shut out the cold.

 

If you have ever saw the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, then, you have an idea of the hen house that we batched in. The movie house was a nice, prestigious looking building; our house didn’t look that good and it had the hen house roof.

 

Operation Christmas Tree

 

Sunday, December 25, 1966

 

In Houston, I would bolt out of bed and rush through our huge old house toward the Christmas Tree. The house had cathedral ceilings. It was an old home, but it was majestic.

You rushed down the hallways and it was like being a kid and running through Westminster Cathedral. You were celebrating being alive and you wanted all of God’s creatures to know it.

 

In Galena, the house was small. It was cozy because it was cramped. The still green Christmas Tree sat on the desk. Brightly wrapped boxes were positioned around the tree.

 

Tonka Pink Surrey Jeep

 

Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey always sent me something for Christmas. I ripped open theTONKA PINK SURREY JEEP THUMBNAIL 1 wrapping paper and got through the outer box to the toy box. I got the Tonka Pink Surrey Jeep that I had wanted since I had seen it.

 

Elvis Presley in the movie, “Blue Hawaii” had drove this type of jeep. I learned to dance watching Elvis Presley on TV as a kid.

On a family outing to Galveston, Texas, a couple of years later, a Pink Surrey Jeep had passed us on the highway.

 

Aunt Bill always listened to me. I had told her about the Elvis-type jeep that had passed us on the way to Galveston. Of course, I told her I had seen the jeep toy in a store. I had even forgotten about the jeep until I saw the box. As always, Aunt Bill came through.

 

1960s Secret Agents

 

Once I saw Patrick McGoohan in the TV show, “Secret Agent”, I became intrigued with the ideas of “secret agents.” Roger Moore was “The Saint.” Sean Connery became “James Bond” the famous “007.” Dean Martin did the tongue in cheek, “Matt Helm” movies. James Coburn was “Flint.”

 

While the 1960s were about “The Space Race,” The Cold War remained a reality. The Americans didn’t trust the Russians. The Russians didn’t trust the Americans. Nobody trusted “The Red Chinese.”

 

In America, China was a Communist country and the location meant it was the “Far East”, which meant, “The Orient” and in the 1960s there weren’t that many Americans, other than Chinese-Americans, who spoke Chinese.

 

The Russians didn’t seem in the Cold War days to trust the Chinese. Russia had Lenin Communism. China had went with Trotsky Communism under Mao Tse tung. Trotsky had to flee the Soviet Union and the Russians, evidently didn’t appreciate the fact that one of their “political exiles” had influenced a neighboring government.

 

Of course, in the never-ending debate of forms of government, “The A-Bomb Paranoia” loomed large in the back of everyone’s mind. The Americans were afraid the Soviets would launch their Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles. The Russians were afraid the Americans would launch their ICBMs. Then, around 1964, China announced they had “Nukes.”

 

Spy flicks and novels were all the rage in the 1960s because “The Nuclear Politics Of The Cold War” had every country worried about their neighbors. Of course, the “spies” were the guys who always brought the world back from the brink on TV and in the movies.

 

Secret Sam

 

Topper Toys came out with one of the best “secret agent” toys, “Secret Sam.” Instead of using suave, debonair,handsome men to advertise their toy, Topper put kids in trench coats. Suddenly, America had legions of the worlds smallest spies ready to save the world.

 

I was ecstatic when I opened the wrapping and saw my “Secret Sam” briefcase.

 

MY SECRET SAM BRIEFCASE_Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Secret Sam

The Atomic Bomb fallout of World War II created a Global Paranoia that pitted every nation in the world against one another in a never-ending Olympics of Cold War politics in which countries were suppose to choose up sides and go with one of the Super Powers: The Americans, The Soviets, or The Red Chinese. The only escape from the persistent paranoia was television and movie stories of brave espionage agents, who were always battling in the shadows,“The Bad Guys.” Topper Toys noticed that kids wanted to be “Secret Agents”, so they started selling this toy espionage kit with the periscope, message missile, pistol, silencer and the camera, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

Secret Sam is a futuristic looking pistol with several attachments like a periscope. There is the message missile, where you can put a message inside and slip the orange sleeve on the rod. Then, you shoot the missile. The whole briefcase amazed me. I liked the function that you could push the circular button to shoot a plastic bullet out of the briefcase. The plastic peg on one end you press down to take a picture with the camera concealed in the briefcase.

 

Secret Sam quickly became one of those toys that allowed kids to become Peter Graves or one of the “operatives” in the “Mission Impossible” TV show.

 

MY SECRET SAM BRIEFCASE _closed_Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

In this photograph the “Secret Sam” briefcase toy is closed. The circular indentation is the side button you pushed to launch plastic bullets. There is a plastic peg that you push down to take a picture with the concealed camera in the case. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Operation Christmas Tree 1966 is over. You carefully replace your equipment in your briefcase. You hum the theme to “Secret Agent” and stroll confident toward the door. Your next port of call ?

 

Bucharest ? Budapest ? London ? Moscow ? Beijing ? Tel Aviv ?

 

Grandma’s house for Christmas Dinner.

 

Sam

 

Sam’s Wonderful World

of Toys Links

 

The robot that my mother and father bought me for Christmas 1959 was the Marx Electric Robot. It was not a handsome robot, but, the Morse Code functions and it’s ability to move amazed me. Of course, I was only about four years old at the time. The website below has more information on this unique robot toy. The other toy links are to remind you there should always be “a little child inside of all of us, when it comes to toys.”

 

Doc Atomic’s Attic Of Amazing Artifacts

http://astoundingartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/09/electric-robot-marx-1955.html

 

Toy Robot History

Daryl aka The Robotnut

http://www.robotnut.com/history/

 

Toys You Had

http://www.toysyouhad.com/

 

Antique Toys

http://www.antiquetoys.com/

 

Collectors Weekly

Toy Robots

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/attack-of-the-vintage-toy-robots-justin-pinchot-on-japans-coolest-postwar-export/

 

 

Alphadrome Toy Space Helmets

http://danefield.com/alpha/forums/topic/13898-toy-space-helmets/

 

Tootsie Toy Company

http://www.tootsietoy.com/

 

Louis Marx and Company Wikipedia

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

 

MARX Toy Museum

http://www.marxtoymuseum.com/

 

Mattel Toy Store

http://www.matteltoystore.com/

 

Hasbro United States

http://www.hasbro.com/?US

 

Hubley Wikipedia

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

 

ERTL Farm Toys

http://www.rcertl.com/

 

Scale Model

http://www.scalemodeltoys.com/

Toy Farmer Magazine

http://www.toyfarmer.com/

 

Kenner Products Wikipedia

http://www.antiquetoys.com/

 

Dinky Toys Dinky Site

http://www.dinkysite.com/

 

Toy Collector Magazine

http://www.toycollectormagazine.com/

 

Auburn Rubber Company Auburn Toys Wikipedia

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

 

Tonka Trucks Wikipedia

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

 

Buddy L Toy Company Wikipedia

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

 

Structo Toy Trucks TNT Toy Trucks

http://www.tnttoytrucks.com/Structo.html

 

Toy Trucker & Contractor

http://www.toytrucker.com/

 

Wham-O Toys Inc.

http://www.wham-o.com/

 

Ideal Toy Company Wikipedia

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

 

Remco Wikipedia

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

 

Topper Toys Wikipedia

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

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Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Food, Holidays, Money, Nature, Observances, Photos, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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The Warren Christmas Chronicles

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The Warren Christmas Chronicles

DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS_JEWELRY BY CHRISTY PROMO PHOTO_1A_resized

 

Christmas Shopping

During 2010, my wife, Christy Warren decided to try an online business. She made jewelry to sell over the Internet. She had a shop on Etsy. Christy diligently worked using the various stone cabachons and wrapping them in gold filled wire to create necklaces and earrings. I would photograph the various types of merchandise she had for sale in her “Jewelry by Christy” shop. This photograph is an example of one of the photographs that I took to promote and advertise her jewelry. There are many “success” stories related to Etsy. We tried different cabachons. She tried to wrap the stones in different styles. I tried many different ways to photograph the merchandise. She did sell a few items through her Etsy shop, but, ours was not a success story. In 2011, she went “off line.” The photograph is a reminder that sometimes in life you try some business ideas and no matter what you try; sometimes, you simply do not succeed. Photo by Samuel E, Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Christmas is the time of year, when writers write several stories. Often the stories range from holiday decorating and recopies to the “I remember when. . .childhood Christmas story.

 

I take pride in not being a traditional writer.

 

I try to write about events and situations that people don’t normally consider.

 

This Christmas season, I sat down at the laptop to write “a” Christmas story. I thought I would write “one Christmas story” and be done with the holiday.

 

I was not in a Charles Dickens mood. I started typing and the story started to expand to epic proportions like Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”

 

I have always been a “wordy” writer.

DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS_JEWELRY BY CHRISTY PROMO PHOTO_3A_resized

 

Unfortunately, the story was becoming an entity. I was beginning to feel more like an expectant father than a writer.

 

The story was taking on a life of it’s own on the electronic page before my eyes.

 

The story had begun to read like a child Christmas laundry list of toys beginning at October 30, 1955 and growing before my eyes to December 25, 2011.

 

I stopped writing and read over what I had written.

 

What had started as a story was now a three volume manuscript for Encyclopedia Britannica on the word, “Christmas.”

 

Rather than post my Library Of Congress collection of Christmas novellas to my blog, I decided it was time to cut, paste and delete. Before I hit the delete key, I looked at the writing one last time.

 

Sections !

 

I realized my fingers in “type” mode and my mind on “flow” had yielded different periods of time in my life that came down to different Christmas Days in different locations at different times.

 

Wordsmith Warren word work time !

 

I read over and decided the sections were a series of articles on Christmas through the years of my life. The end result is there should be something in “The Warren Christmas Chronicles” for readers with different taste in literature.

 

The first articles in “The Warren Christmas Chronicles” are: “Have A Green Christmas”, “Sammy, The East Texas Country Boy Workaholic,” “Opal, The Business Woman Welder”, “Opal The Hog Farmer,” and “My Lone Star Christmas Story.”

 

My faithful readers should check back everyday until Christmas for a new story in the “Warren Christmas Chronicles.”

Sam

DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS_JEWELRY BY CHRISTY PROMO PHOTO_3A_resized

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The Answer Is . . . Ranilo’s Star

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The Answer Is. . .

RANILOS STAR_resized

Ranilo’s Star

RANILOS STAR PHOTO TWO_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

December 3, 2012, I published two photos and asked readers to guess what was the object in the photograph.

 

WHAT IS IT ?

I know some people like brain teasers. I believed the original photographs would entice the eyes to look closer. I was surprised that I did not receive any emails or feedback on facebook where I ask readers best “guess.”

THE PROTOTYPE PHOTO 1 THUMBNAIL LOGO_resized

 

I suggested a possible answer.

Hollywood Starship 3D Prototype ?

THE PROTOTYPE PHOTO 2 THUMBNAIL LOGO_resized

The possible answer gave me an opportunity to provide readers with an actual clue to the identity of the object in the photographs : A Star.

 

Ranilo Saldana used bamboo wood and yarn to create the five-point Christmas Star as a project for school. Alas, it would appear my readers do not like brain teasers and puzzles.

 

Sam

 

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The Christmas Shrine Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Christmas Shrine Photo 1 by Samuel E. Warren Jr 040

Christmas Shrine

The Virgin Mary statue is the centerpiece of this outdoor Christmas Shrine on the porch. The Santo Nino and two ceramic angels share the wooden shelf. Transparent yellow lace-like cloth drapes down over the wooden dowel rod above the statue.

 

The material flows down over the edges of the shelf to create the triangular pattern. The material is tied together in a bow to complete the pattern.

 

A candlelabra sits on the shelf, but is never lit because the cloth material is flammable. The angels and the nativity scene on the Christmas Altar completes the Christmas Shrine design.

 

Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., Christy’s brother, built the shelf attached to the wall for the Christmas Shrine and positioned the wooden dowel rod.

 

Christy Warren designed the overall Christmas Shrine arrangement. She believes, “You use what you have”, when it comes to crafts projects.

 

Her vision is responsible for the artificial exterior grotto, which observes the sacred nature of the season.

 

The bottom photograph reveals that a lace tablecloth serves to conceal the inexpensive aquamarine plastic table of the Christmas Altar.

Christmas Shrine  Photo 2 by Samuel E. Warren Jr 036

This photograph demonstrates that the Christmas Shrine serves as a centerpiece to the porch design and becomes a focal point for the small Christmas Tree and the accompanying seating area.

Nikon D 70 Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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Deck The Halls Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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LENEIL AND CHRISTY AT THE TREE_resized

Deck The Halls

December 5, 2012 — Leneil Saldana sits near the recently “built” Christmas Tree and cleans an angel figurine. She talks to Christy Warren, who is preparing the foreground for the Christmas altar. Christy’s Christmas Angels on the table wait for their "dusting" appointment.

Nikon photo by Samuel E, Warren Jr.

FOn The Christmas Altar by Samuel E. Warren Jr 035_resized

 

Christmas Altar

The nativity scene. in the foreground,is surrounded by the Christmas Angels from Christy’s Angel collection. The blue velvet and blue satin pieces of cloth are usually in Sam’s camera bag to be used as photography backgrounds.

Nikon Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Christmas Ops Underway One Warren Way

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Christmas Ops

Underway

One Warren Way

banner 3_resized

Big, Bold, Banner

Ranilo and Rayniel Saldana, Junea Tanaale and “Aunt Christy” Warren created the “Merry Christmas And Happy New Year “banner, which is proudly displayed over the archway entrance of One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Republic of the Philippines. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I came into the world in Gilmer, Upshur County,Texas, United States of America.

 

The year was 1955.

 

I am a “Halloween Baby”, born October 30, one day before Halloween

 

My birthday is my important and favorite holiday.

 

I roll Halloween into the birthday celebration, so both days become my favorite Number One Holiday.

 

I leave the Number Two Holiday slot blank.

 

Christmas ranks a distant Number Three Holiday in my ranking system.

 

I quit getting “toys” for Christmas.

 

The “true” importance of Christmas ended for me December 25, 1967, my 12th Christmas.

 

My childhood ended.

 

Christmas Christy

 

My wife, Christy Warren, is a Leo lady, who loves the holiday. I stay out of the way and allow her to make all the decisions that relate to Christmas and the holiday season.

Christmas “IS” For Kids

 

My belief is Christmas is a Global Holiday For Kids.

 

Now, I just step back and watch the kids, “Enjoy Christmas.”

 

As long as, there is plenty of food and a hot pot of coffee on the table, then, I will have a “Merry Christmas.”

 

Christmas is a a Global Holiday For Kids and the second objective of Christmas is as a “Family Holiday’, in my opinion.

 

Christmas Ops

 

The Christmas Season is underway at One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.

Watercolor of christy cuts Fotosketcher_resized

Commander-in-Chief Pacific Operations for Christmas

One Warren Way

Christy Warren carefully cuts out some of the letters for the banner. This watercolor of a photograph was made using the Fotosketcher computer program.

 

Commander-In-Chief Pacific Operations Christmas (CINCPACOPSXMAS), of course, is Christy Warren.

 

Christy is one of those people, who “believes in family.” She always does her best to “bring the family together.”

 

I know, Christy’s Strategic Plan of Operations for the holiday will focus on bringing the family together to celebrate Christmas.

 

Her “troops” are our nieces and nephews. It seems they share her vision of Christmas.  CHRISTMAS TREE LOGO PHOTO TWO THUMBNAIL

 

Christy’s “troops” built their own Christmas Tree to get the holiday underway. Their next major “Civic Actions” project was a holiday banner.

 

They have cut out the letters for the words “Merry Christmas And Happy New Year.”

 

ROY THE RHODE ISLAND RED ROOSTER THUMBNAIL

The Rhode Island Red rooster began crowing before sunrise – he always does.

 

By sunrise, Ranilo, Rayniel and Junea were working on the letters. Saturday,December 8, 2012, they missed the broadcast of their usual “Saturday morning cartoons” to began work on the banner.

Banner photo 1_resized

Ranilo Saldana sketches out the letters by hand on bond paper. Junea Tanahale straightens the banner on the all purpose dining room-board room- crafts’ projects – kitchen table. “Aunt Christy” pastes the W. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Camera in hand, I watch Christy and the kids cut out the letters for their banner.

I watch and thought back to Christmas Day, December 25, 1959, when I would tear through the wrapping paper and into the boxes underneath the Christmas Tree, of 313 East 26th Street, Houston, Texas.

 

I would glance up. Momma and daddy stood there smiling at me, sipping their coffee,in their pajamas and red bath robes. That “Kodak Moment” got framed in the photographic gallery of my mind.

 

I was a blessed little boy.

 

I was a spoiled little boy.

banner 2_resized

 

Write On !

Rayniel Saldana diligently composes North Pole correspondence based on the guidelines his Uncle Sam gave him about a “newspaper editor”, “Santa Claus.” and a little girl named, “Virginia.” Meanwhile, Junea Tanahale works around Rayniel to adjust the plastic string inside the banner, while the letters dry. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Mission Success

 

I watch Christy and the kids cut the letters with the focus and precision of a New York City jeweler, who carefully facets a diamond. They are meticulous and precise in their use of the scissors on the paper.

 

Christy has taught her “troops” well. If they don’t have the materials they need; they become flexible and find the supplies that will work in their project. The troops carry out their “mission objective” in style.

banner 4_resized 

 

Commander Christy’s Christmas Commandos’ Creative Craft

The troops carry out their “mission objective” in style. The red letters were first traced on white bond paper and then cut out of red Japanese rice paper. The white background is several sheet of “typing paper” glued together over a flimsy green plastic wrap that is usually stretched to create a string that is often used to wrap packages and boxes in local grocery stores.

 

My Christmas Wish

 

My Christmas Wish is Christmas Day, December 25, 2012 that the kids notice Uncle Sam and Aunt Christy stroll out on the porch to watch them release their “inner kid” on the brightly wrapped boxes under the Christmas Tree.

 

My Christmas Wish is the kids realize that their aunt and uncle wants only “the best” for them that Life has to offer.

 

It would be nice, if they only have to pause, long enough to capture a “Kodak Moment” that they can place in the photo folders of their minds to hang on to in the years to come.

 

Early in the morning, Christy and I will both be sipping from hot cups of coffee.

 

Of course, Uncle Sam will his camera ready to take a few snapshots.

Sam

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