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New Year’s Eve 1962 Editorial by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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New Year’s Eve 1962

TICK TOCK TIME TRAVELERS_resized

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

A childhood memory can last a lifetime.

 

The impact of a memory can affect the way you view an issue in Life.

 

This New Year’s Eve memory provided the framework for my approach to celebrations, especially, New Year’s Eve.

 

The New Year’s Eve memory of childhood always inspired me to carry out my own memorable New Year’s Eve celebration through the years.

 

The Layout of 313

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, a tall brunette, and my mother, stands at the sink in the kitchen washing dishes.

 

The large kitchen has cabinets against the far wall. In the center, is the small window, that looks out over the backyard to the garage.

 

Underneath the window is a counter with a double sink. It is the 1960s, so the overhead cabinets and the counter cabinets are the same type of lacquered wood.

 

The counter top is a black vinyl with short silver lines erratically positioned throughout the counter top.

 

The linoleum floor emerges from under the counter and passes under the rectangular art deco table that seats six.

 

The dividing line across the top of the table allows for a drop in leaf that allows the table to expand to accommodate more people at the table. The black vinyl counter top pattern is repeated on the table.

 

A large Lazy Susan, sits at the far end of the table, usually it just collects misplaced envelopes and entertains a child’s imagination because the two large wood disks turn.

 

The six art deco chairs match the table;however, the back and the seats are a gaudy red material held in place by silver chrome hubcap buttons around the edges of the material.

 

The table sits East to West in the North to South kitchen, The obvious emphasis of the room is on the South. All the furniture and appliances seem to move toward the far wall.

 

Behind the head chair is a smaller art deco table under a two door white metal wall mounted cabinet that doesn’t seem to belong.

 

Under the cabinet is a shorter art deco table, that’s main purpose was usually to hold the electric gray AM radio.

 

Beside the table, is the large ice box. The wooden wall by the ice box extends at least eight feet under the cathedral ceiling to the wall into the formal living room.

 

About four feet away from the door of the ice box, sits the plastic, vinyl green sofa with a pattern of repeating octagons. The sofa sits the border for the living room.

 

The Boogeyman Door

 

The distant wall contains the door in the center into the formal living room.

 

The door in that far wall was always my nemesis.

 

Once the sun, went down I would not go through that door. Somewhere in my young life, I had heard “The Story Of The Boogeyman.” I was convinced at night, the Boogeyman waited on the other side of that door, waiting for someone to turn the door knob.

 

The corner of the far wall was the most important because a nightstand table supports the black and white TV.

 

Our Cathedral Home

 

The home at 313th East 26th Street is a large white shingled house with a screened in front porch.

 

The cathedral ceilings throughout the house towered above me and always made me feel at home. The irony is I was a small boy under ceilings usually used in omnipotent structures like the Westminster Abbey.

 

A curious construction technique had several columns of concrete blocks to rest in a surrounding pattern under the house.

 

The house may have been moved to this location and the block had yet to be removed. In childhood, it was interesting to be able to look under your home.

 

However, the horizontal three-step concrete step under the screened in porch, established that the home had found a port to drop anchor and ride out Life’s storms.

 

The large house dominated the lot. A small front yard and a small back yard were connected by an extremely narrow driveway.

 

The chipped and cracked shingles of the house were evidence that a driver had to be careful driving down or backing out of the narrow driveway.

 

The large structure at the back of the yard was the two car garage that never housed more than one car. The space to the right was storage and my large wooden toy box.

 

The cyclone fence around the property established the borders. A small gate, in front of the screened in porch allowed a visitor access to the front door, which was really the back door.

 

Two small standing metal lions faced each other on the tops of the double gate that protected the driveway.

 

Down the slender driveway, about six feet from the end of the house is the slender door, which is a screen door, in front of a wood and glass door.

 

The side door seems almost an after thought. The side door opens into the kitchen. Salesmen who knocked at the front door went unanswered.

 

Sunday, December 31, 1961

 

Night is in command over Houston, Texas. “Wagon Train” or “Rawhide” is not on, so the TV blabs on unwatched.

 

I am six years old. I have no concept of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

 

Momma washes the dishes. I sit on the floor, in front of the sofa, and play with my plastic cowboys, Indians and horses.

 

Momma and I had moved to the farm in Missouri. But, “The Dream House” dream kept us shuttling back and forth between Galena, Missouri and Houston, Texas.

 

Usually daddy came to Missouri. This year, we had celebrated Christmas in Houston and were getting ready to make the trip back to Galena, Missouri, after the New Year.

 

In Texas, when Daddy is working nights Momma would let me stay up until he comes home from his night job.

 

About 12:30 am., voices and laughter echo down the corridor outside the kitchen door. The pounding against the kitchen screen door causes momma to turn and look into the neighbor’s smiling faces.

 

Momma opens the door. Since the house is anchored on pillars of concrete blocks, people at the door stand about a foot below the entrance into the house. Thus, a visitor always has to look up at you.

 

Warrens and DeLongs are all long-legged, so stepping up to step in was never a problem.

 

The secret is the back door into the backyard and the screened-in porch door to the front yard usually got more use by the Warrens, who lived in the house.

Sunday night

and

new Year’s Eve

 

The culture of the United States has become more flexible in the area of religion through the years, but at the start of the 1960s conservative morals and ethics ruled the day, especially in the Ozarks and in the South.

 

It would be difficult to imagine that public celebrations would have been held on a Sunday, a traditionally religious day.

 

Nightclubs and bars would have had to had a celebration on Saturday, December 30, 1961 and kept their doors closed on Sunday, December 31, 1961.

 

In this era, states had “Blue Laws”, which did not allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday.

 

Of course, when you are six years old, it is just “neat” to be able to stay up until midnight.

 

 

New Year’s Well Wishers

 

Momma stands at the door talking to the festive neighbors. I naturally rush to see what is happening.

 

Thomas Jack Brinkley, in the traditional 1960s narrow lapel-ed black suit, white shirt and slender black tie, wears the black cardboard top hat bearing the silver glitter words: Happy New Year. He looks up and wishes momma, “A Happy New Year.”

 

He hugs his wife, Wanda. She is a statuesque redhead in a sequined midnight blue cocktail dress. Her hair is up. The cardboard silver glitter tiara brandishes : Happy New Year. Wanda’s red hair outshines the tiara.

 

Standing on the driveway, they look up and wish momma, “A Happy New Year.” Then, then launch into a detailed account of the evening’s exploits.

 

Tom worked for “Ma Bell”, the telephone company. Since December 31 fell on a Sunday, they must have came to our house from an office New Year’s Party.

 

Tom’s arm at the back of his wife emerges and grips a huge champagne bottle. Two plastic upturned champagne glasses dangle from Tom’s other hand.

 

My mind recorded the smiles, enthusiasm, joy, happiness and the waves of emotion that rippled forth, while Tom and Wanda told momma about their New Year’s Eve celebration.

 

My Challenge

 

When I became a young man and could celebrate my own New Year’s Eve, I always remembered Tom and Wanda in their New Year’s Eve attire and the enthusiasm they exhibited to welcome in the new year in style.

 

Likewise, I always attempted to embody the zeal, zest and optimistic enthusiasm that they displayed in their celebration.

 

Through the years, I’m confident I have met, and, perhaps exceeded, their level of celebration energy.

 

The lesson I learned is the beginning of a year should always be a monumental event. A monumental event always creates a memory.

 

The outcome of how the monumental event effects you depends on the energy, effort and dedication that you put into the event. The result is you end up with a positive or a negative memory.

 

In youth, New Year’s Eve celebrations seem to be celebrated with “A Spirit Of Wild Abandon.”

 

The World At Large has changed since the 1970s. Now, there are rules and consequences to partying and celebrations.

 

Celebrations overall are more toned down, less impulsive and spontaneous. In the US, cities make it a point to organize New Year’s Eve celebrations that they can control.

 

Future generations will learn to “party” and “celebrate” within a more reserved set of social guidelines.

The emphasis on global terrorism and security have done much to implement controls over public celebrations.

 

The change might not be a bad idea. Nonetheless, New Year’s Eve should always be considered monumental.

 

In my guru years, I observe the celebrations. I watch the youth take center stage. The unknown expectations of the future still seem to remain in the hopes and dreams of youth. The masses on television still exude the exuberance of hope in front of the TV cameras.

 

Celebrations’ Considerations

 

I have switched the tiny bubbles of sweet champagne for cold bottles of rum.

 

Alas, I still believe the spirit of most celebrations usually involves a certain amount of distilled spirits.

 

Experience reminds you to be responsible and aware in your use of distilled spirits.

 

Monumental Moment

 

The New Year should always be heralded as a monumental moment to set the tone of the days to unfold. Each New Year’s Eve celebration should be a positive memory maker.

 

When my New Year’s Eve event approaches, I always see Thomas Jack and Wanda Brinkley in their New Year’s Eve attire smile in my memory and I am ready to celebrate and face The New Year.

Sam

TICK TOCK TIME TRAVELERS THUMBNAIL

 

Links

 

New Year’s Eve

In The

United States

Time date.com

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/new-year-eve

 

His dates.com

http://www.hisdates.com/years/1961-historical-events.html

 

New Year On The Net

http://www.holidays.net/newyear/dates.htm

 

New Year’s History History.Com

http://www.history.com/topics/new-years

 

Historical Events

December 31st

History Orb

http://www.historyorb.com/events/december/31

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Sam And The Kids by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

with 2 comments

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Time To Be A Kid

Sam

And

The Kids

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

Warren One

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

New Year’s Resolution

Celebrate Life.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

I am The World’s Oldest Kid

 

I Beat The System.

I Always Stayed A Kid At Heart.

 

I am The World’s Oldest Kid.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Edu-ma-cated Experts

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

How To Play

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Share The Dreams

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Do 20 Questions

 

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

 

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

 

The Grapevine Is Still FREE

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

The Big Red M

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Parental ‘Brood Sow ‘ Mentality

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

People claim to be smarter than ‘brood sows.’

 

I’m The Older Kid

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Play Into Your Jobs

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A Job For “Uncle Sam”

 

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

 

This is a job for their “Uncle Sam.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Flight Line Time

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We, kids start to have fun.

 

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

 

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

 

Enjoy Life !

Fly With The Angels !

JUNEA TANAHALE PILOTS WARREN ONE PAST A COCONUT TREE THUMBNAIL

Sam

Radio Controlled Helicopter Wikipedia

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

 

Radio Controlled Aircraft Wikipedia

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

 

Experimental Aircraft List Wikipedia

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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

January 7, 2013 at 4:14 AM

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

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The Birthday Party

with 6 comments

Plan, Host, Entertain, Celebrate, Reminisce, Enjoy

 

The Birthday Party

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In preparation for the party, Christy Warren already has all the furniture moved to an arranged location on the porch. A tablecloth adds prestige to the rustic, rural coconut lumber dining table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr

The day of your birth is obviously the most important day of your life because that is the day your life begins. .

 

The average citizen calculates their year based on the current calendar from January 1 to December 31 each year.

 

Back in the 1980s,the United States Government determined their fiscal year would be from October 1 of one year until September 30 of the following year.

 

I have determined my calendar time-keeping system runs from October 30 of one year until October 30 of the following year. Therefore, my birthday is my yearly calendar.

 

The Most Important Day Of Your Life Each Year

 

My annual birthday anniversary each year is the most important day of my life each year. No one celebrates your birthday before you were born and it is unlikely anyone will celebrate your birthday, once you leave this life.

 

To celebrate your birthday, you need a party. Fortunately, in my life, I had a mother and I have a wife who understands the dynamics of planning and hosting a birthday party. I am a cake and ice cream person, which is all this 57-year-old man expected.

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The table settings combine the traditional American arrangement of the place settings of dishes with the daily arrangement of a Filipino table setting. The traditional large soup spoon and the fork, common daily silverware in a Filipino home, rests in the shallow soup bowl dishes.

 

The Pancit Canton in the plastic container is the Filipino food that symbolizes “Long Life” in the Filipino culture. Therefore, the noodles in the container are not cut during cooking. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Event Planning

 

Important, prestigious, social events demand professional planning and execution that is equal to, but, fortunately, not as crucial, as military operations. The success of any event begins months, weeks and days before “Zero Hour.”

 

Where the formal event – a party– is taking place in a boardroom on Wall Street or a diplomatic gathering at a building in a foreign nation’s capitol: the event has to be “right.” because it will be remembered and discussed for years to come.

 

Most people will not consider their birthday – a “Black Tie Affair At The White House.” I ain’t like most people. Daddy was a Texan. Momma had a sense of protocol that “There is a right way to do everything.”

 

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The dish, in the foreground, is barbeque pork sticks. The pork pieces are marinated for, at least, 24 hours and then placed on bamboo skewers to be roasted over an open grill fire.

 

The next dish is pork fried rice, Tiny pieces of pork, bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables are mixed into the white rice that is then fried.

 

The main dish is Pancit Canton. In the Philippines, there are two major type of pancit: Canton and Bihon. Bihon is the large, fat noodles. Pancit Canton is the extremely slender noodles that is cooked with a variety of vegetables.

 

The last dish is another plate of barbeque pork sticks. The pink plastic pitcher contains Pepsi Cola. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Southern Hospitality

Factor in my Texas aunts and uncles into my life and while I never refreshed with the mint julep, wearing my white suit and Panama Jack hat on the front porch of the plantation mansion – I still got the importance of Southern respect, hospitality, tradition and protocol.

 

Military Customs And Courtesies

 

Then, of course, Uncle Sam put me in numerous situation to work with and alongside protocol officers and sergeants and the diplomatic formal significance of events finally modified my DNA. “An event is always intended to be an Event. It is a moment of time that is intended to be remembered for years and, one would hope generations.”

 

Diplomatic Protocol

 

You do not have to be “The Ambassador Of The United States Of America” to a foreign country to host a memorable event. A birthday party should always be a memorable event because all of us only get so many. . .actually, so few, birthdays in our lifetime. Each birthday should be memorable.

 

If you really want to get formal with an event, then, you come up with a guest list and make sure the invitations go out in plenty of time for people to put the event on their personal business or social calendar. Naturally, you would either rely on your “Official” protocol people or hire a professional party planner.

 

In difficult economic times, you learn to do your homework and develop a to do list of tasks to be accomplished. Fortunately, for me, I married my “professional party planner”, who got exposed to military and diplomatic functions in the United States and overseas. Then, of course, my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren took great pride in briefing Christy on Warren and DeLong Family Traditions.

 

Know Your Surroundings

 

Christy understand the salad fork, lobster fork, soup spoon place settings and napkin ring holders for table settings. While she didn’t have an elegant American dining room to set the party up in, she knew the surroundings for the party location and knew hat had to be done.

 

Flexibility is a military reality and a common sense civilian virtue that always seems to get overlooked in planning.

 

In the United States, Christy had a gas stove, oven and air conditioning to be able to prepare a variety of dishes. She had the silver chaffing dishes with the sterno cans underneath to keep the food warm and she set the table to allow for buffet style birthday parties.

 

In the Republic of the Philippines, she had a two burner hot plate hooked to an RV sized hot plate, a wooden table serves as the kitchen island. She has some large pots and pans to cook in. A curved rebar rod on two small concrete blocks set beside the house will provide the makeshift camping stove that Leneil Saldana usually uses with coconut shell briquets to provide an extra cooking stove for an additional dish like pork sticks.

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Leneil Saldana

Coconut Shell Briquets

 

In the United States, portable barbeque grills using charcoal briquets and lighter fluid provide the fire for outdoor cooking. In the Philippines, the plentiful coconut shell gets busted up and set on fire. Like charcoal briquets, the coconut shells seem to burn evenly and slowly for a consistent fire and heat for cooking.

 

Temperature is a persistent and, sometimes uncomfortable, reality in the Philippines. The kitchen area is currently “too” open to allow an air conditioner to work in the kitchen area. October’s frequent monsoon rains provides a change in the humidity that makes it easier to cook that in August when the sun reigns supreme over the landscape.

 

Christy Warren always exceeds expectations, regardless of the conditions; which is the mark of a true “party planner.”

 

Fate’s Flexibility Factors

 

Fate loves to dabble in event plans, which is why, it is always crucial to remember – Keep The Plans Flexible. Fate is that mysterious entity always luring in the shadows waiting for the right moment to throw a wrench into your plans.

 

The Battle Of Leyte Gulf Anniversary Week and Tropical Storm Ofel were events that made the event a touch and go operation going down to the wire.

 

I had spent the week researching and writing articles on the 68th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Leyte Gulf because the dates of battles for “Freedom” rank right up there with birthdays in my world view.

 

Then, Tropical Storm Ofel decided to complicate matters by using high winds to knock out the power for six days. When the lights did come back on briefly for about 20 minutes on October 28; a transformer blew and darkness returned. When the power did finally come back on on October 29, I dashed to the laptop and began editing photos and polishing the copy for an article for my blog.

 

The sun rose on October 30, 2012 and once I saw that my Sam I Am Blog article was published. I could finally get a good night’s sleep. At around 8 a.m., I decided to get some sleep. “Happy Birthday to me.”

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Christy Warren – Party Planner

Christy The Birthday Party Planner

 

Meanwhile, Christy already had her own plans underway, My wife is a Leo, a Fixed Sign. Fixed Sign Zodiac people have their own way of doing things.

 

Leo is the one sign of the Zodiac that is “Born To The Spotlight.” More actors, kings, queens,princes, and princesses are born under the sign of Leo than any other Zodiac sign. In my experience, if a Leo is your party planner, you may as well take a “nap” because they have the situation handled from the git go.

 

While I slept, Christy went to the local market and bought the fresh vegetables for the dishes to be cooked. She directed the kids on where to move furniture and prepared the meal. When I awoke in the afternoon, after my Rip Van Winkle nap, the only task that remained for the party planner and our nephews was to set the table.

 

Ranilo and Rayniel Saldana, my nephews, took their own initiative, and allowances, to select the chocolate cake, icing and the decorations to go on the birthday cake.

 

I heard Christy tell the kids the birthday party was “semi-formal”, which meant T-shirts, walking shorts and sandals were the attire for the Philippines’ afternoon heat and the dining area on the porch.

 

The tablecloth hid the rustic dining table’s humble rural coconut lumber origin. The plastic light green chairs replaced the usual wooden bench seating that goes with the table. The plates and the silverware setting were what you would expect for a traditional birthday party table.

 

Birthday Party Cuisine

 

The menu consisted of barbeque pork sticks, pork fried rice and, of course, pancit canton. In the Philippines, pancit canton is long, skinny noodles cooked with slices of carrots and other vegetables.

 

Pancit Canton is the food served to symbolize “long life,” so the noodles aren’t cut and you have a food that has those lengthy spaghetti style noodles that you either wrap around a fork or lift high up to get in your plate.

 

A couple of plastic pitchers filled with Pepsi Cola for the kids and, of course, coffee for Sam. While everyone ate and talked, I looked around the table at the faces and smiled because I thought of family and friends back in the United States.

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Family And Friends Faraway On a family outing to the beach, earlier this year, I shot the photo of these local fishing boats on the shore. The number of fishing boats on the beach are symbolic of a family. The Pacific Ocean in the photograph is a reminder of family and friends faraway.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Family and Friends Faraway

 

I thought of Cousin Donna and wondered if she would be going to play the slot machines in the casinos anytime soon and wished that we could check out the casino that I spotted on Clark Air Base.

 

I wondered if Ken Sexton is still working with the local Vietnam Veterans’ group and performing color guard functions for military funerals and at public events.

 

I imagined Wade Martin is still driving a Galena school bus and would be amazed to see that farming in the Philippines is a lot like farming in the United States. I was surprised earlier in the week, to stroll along and notice a Jersey heifer munching on the tall grass in a nearby barangay.

 

Nancy Campbell, a close friend of mine and my wife, Christy, had left Missouri and moved back to a small town in Texas. Every time I see a motorcycle in the Philippines, I am reminded of Nancy – there are a lot of motorcycles in the Philippines.

 

Nancy is one of those people you meet in life and would never imagine her “headin’ out on the highway . . . on a Harley.” But, Nancy said that in her 20s, she enjoyed the wind through her hair and the feel of the open road stretching out across the horizon.

 

It is nice to image, Nancy,in her Harley leathers riding along the open highway flashing past those square black signs with the proud white Lone Star State crest brandishing the highway numbers.

 

I wondered if T. Michael Ottens still lived in Elkins, West Virginia. We were classmates back at School Of The Ozarks, back in the days before computers, the Internet, facebook, twitter and cell phones. We didn’t have to use stone hammers and chisels to do our homework, but, typewriters, like their children the computer – weren’t always cooperative.

 

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Jake Slusher, my “runnin’ buddy” back at Kadena Air Base Okinawa probably is a grandfather by now living somewhere in the United States. . .or possibly, in the Philippines.

 

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Bobby Thomas, a “runnin’ buddy” and fellow Air Force newspaperman was putting down roots somewhere in Japan, years ago, when I caught the “Freedom Bird” out of Okinawa.

 

J.R. Baker, was my roommate, back in my Bossier City, Louisiana, days. I saw J.R.. years ago. and he had went into the United States Army and went up in rank. I would be surprised if J.R., did not retire as a United States Army command sergeant major because he always understood, “The System.”

 

Greg Pyron, my friend and classmate at School Of The Ozarks, I learned had become a grandfather. Greg always had the award-winning smile and his code of personal appearance each day, looked as though he litterally stepped out of the pages of “GQ” magazine. He became the living embodiment of “The Classic American FM Voice.”

 

Greg had the soft, distinct voice that merged with the air in a room full of girls and women. Greg would speak and you would see a change come over the women in the room. A twinkle would appear in their eyes and the emerging smile on their lips confirmed a flight of fantasy had begun in their minds along the lines of Harlequin Romance novels.

 

In college, at radio station KSOZ-FM, Greg helped me overcome my fear of “The Open Mike” and taught me ways to relax behind the microphone.

 

Michael Roy Truly Rogers, my contemporary hero and classmate at School Of The Ozarks, had a dream to work at radio station WLS-AM Chicago. I heard that Mike’s dream came true. Mike, a handsome man, took the 1970’s James Dean Rebel Approach to life.

James Dean, the young Hollywood actor, became “The Immortal American Teenage Rebel Symbol Of The 1950s. Mike Rogers’ approach to life took the basic “rebel” idea and slipped on the contemporary 1970s wardrobe. He usually wore T-shirts and denim jeans cut-offs. He had a distinct deep voice that had almost a James Earl Jones quality, with the Wolfman Jack energy.

 

In a room full of girls and women, Mike would smile,speak and the women be “mesmerized” into a Count Dracula state of hypnosis.

 

Little girls would bounce up and down like they were on pogo sticks, teenage girls would swoon, middle age women would have a motel smirk curl the smile of their lips and senior citizen “granny” women would smile.

 

The transition of “granny” age women happened in the eyes. You could watch them blink away the years, and the innuendo smile on their faces would suggest their minds were “rewriting” a fantasy that had Mike as one of their beaus, center stage, in their past.

 

The Ladies Men” – Mike and Greg

 

I always admired Mike and Greg because their “Radio Disc Jockey Voices” seem to give them an almost uncanny power “over” women or the audio quality to get through to women at any level, virtually any time they seemed to wish it. They had made “Star Trek’s Mr. Spock Mind Meld Technique”as easy and natural as breathing and it seemed “every woman on planet Earth was powerless against the suave, debonair voices of Mike and Greg each with their distinct traits.”

 

Mike always seemed more aloof and not as easy to become friends with as Greg. Mike was only about a year older than me, but, I looked up to him like he was a respected, revered, wise, sage elder. And, Mike also helped me to become relaxed behind the microphone and proficient, even skilled, at operating the controls of a radio station in the control room. At KSOZ-FM, we classified Mike as the living, breathing, embodiment of “The Classic AM American Rock Disc Jockey Voice.”

 

I like to imagine that Mike is still working as “an AM Rock Jock” and teaching legions of future broadcaster how to pull off a contemporary Wolfman Jack voice with such class and style that listeners tune in every morning to get the Walter Cronkite credibility and the adrenaline voltage to take them from their morning coffee and newspaper straight to the boardroom to close million dollar deals without batting an eye or breaking a sweat.

 

The Birthday Party Guests

 

My family and friends in the United States, weren’t seated around the table for the “birthday party”, but, the fact that they were in my mind ,reminded me, that I was grateful of the roles each of these people had played in my life and to me – it meant they were at the birthday party.

 

I looked around the table at Edwin Mora, Christy’s cousin and a local hog farmer, who smiled at his wife Babysel, who leans back in the chair to accommodate her prominent pregnant stomach. “The Babysel Watch” began October 26 and the “bouncing bundle of joy” is apparently taking his or her time to get their itinerary in order.

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Rachel Mora, smiles at me and drops down out of the chair to check on her little brother, Randolf Mora, Leneil Saldana passes her husband, Ramon, Christy’s brother, the platter of pork sticks. Ranilo Saldana concentrates on the pork fried rice on the plate, in front of him.

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Rafael Saldana,Christy’s brother and a coconut farmer, adds some more pancit canton to his plate. Nieces Vanissa Saldana and Junea Tanahale had errands to run with Virgie and Esmeralda, their mothers, so they were not at the party.

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Christy waves to her Aunt Pising walking by and she turns around and walks into the birthday party. Mano Bito, a local rice farmer, strolls into the party. Everyone is talking in Tagalog and Waray and I am truly enjoying Christy’s pork fried rice and “finger lickin’ good barbeque pork sticks”. Young Rayniel Saldana looks at the birthday cake and at me – I get the message.

 

Five-Star Birthday Party

 

Rayniel’s big eyes looking at me brought me out of my mind and back into The Real World.

 

English ?

 

Tagalog ?

 

Waray ?

 

Language is not necessary, when the cake remains to be cut and the containers of cold ice cream are placed on the table.

 

One nice thing about being a cigarette smoker, your lighter to light the candles is always in your pocket and ready to use. I lit the candle and made my wish. I blew out the candles on the first try. The cake and ice cream went around the table to the smiling hungry faces of the children.

 

Once again, Christy had planned, prepared,and hosted a five-star birthday party that became a successful reality. She created delicious dishes and provided the relaxed atmosphere for conversation and reflection that is needed for any event or party to be memorable.

Philippines’ Ponder Points

 

It has been less than a year,since we returned to the Philippines. Life has proven that you are never too old to learn. Your expectations overall don’t always work out the way you think they will – that is a “life lesson” that I seem to get reminded of each year.

 

My After Action Report for 2012

 

One of Uncle Sam’s requirements I have held on to. After important events, the United States Government always takes the time to reflect and collect data on an event to see if it achieved the goals.

 

If the event is an annual event, then, what needs to be done next year to make sure the event Is a success. Watch your Hollywood movies and the actors playing government officials, diplomats, generals and admirals are always talking about their “Sitreps” – situation reports – and their “After Action Report.”

 

I sat at the table, lit a cigarette, sipped my coffee and thought about “My After Action Report” for the current year.

 

Overall, though, when I stop to remember the day we arrived at the airport in Manila and looked at where we stood on October 30, 2012, like they say, in the old commercials, “You’ve Come Along Way, Baby.”

CHRISTY AND VANISSA_6205_resized

  Christy Warren, and our niece, Vanissa Saldana stroll, in front of< Robinson’s Place in Tacloban City to go “shopping.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

  NIKON D 100 Photo 0010_by Samuel E Warren Jr  Junea Tanahale, our niece, makes a flower arrangement. “Aunt” Christy Warren, one summer morning, instructed Junea and Vanissa Saldana on the way to do the formal place settings on a table and instructed them on making flower arrangements. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Christy and I have learned a lot in less than a year. There are obvious similarities between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States and there are some significant differences between both countries, even if you lived in a rural area of the USA.

 

I could look around the table at the faces and remember moments from earlier in the year when we bought the refrigerator, but it was only delivered to the side of the road because the yard was too soft for the truck to take it all the way, so family members carried it to the house.

 

Life’s On The Job Training

 

Ramon, my brother-in-law has always been more like a son to me. When I was a young G.I., Ramon lived with Christy and I,in Angeles City, near Clark Air Base, and went to school.

 

Now, Ramon is a man with a family of his own. A mechanic, Ramon has become a self-taught carpenter. He built a wall-mounted shrine for the living room. Then, he used bamboo and concrete and built an impressive hog house..

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HOG HOUSE

in this photograph the second pen of the house house is still under construction. The first pen already had two hogs rooting around the pen. Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., built this hog house. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

SARI SARI STORE BUILT BY RAMON

SARI SARI STORE built by Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.

Ramon is a self-taught carpenter. He built a hog house and, then, built a Sari-Sari Store in Barangay Baras. In this photo, Ramon and a visitor sit in front of the small store. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

We had been fortunate to go to the beach and go swimming a couple of times this year. We had all survived. My Canon EOS 40 D camera didn’t. An accidental dip of about 30 seconds in a big wave must have been too much for the onboard sensors. Fortunately, I had a Nikon on standby.

 

Division Downsizing

 

A US Army-sized division of distant relatives had greeted us at the airport in Manila and a battalion of distant relatives had escorted us to Leyte. As the fiscal budget year wore on , Christy and I didn’t always sign off on proposals like the Manila based 10-wheeler cargo trucking line to Leyte.

 

The companies of disgruntled, distant relative began their own “downsizing” and “redeployment” back to the island of Luzon and the municipalities of Angeles City and Manila.

 

Warren-building

 

While the United States Government, Iraq and Afghanistan continue their “Nation-building” of governments, infrastructure nad cultures, Christy and I have been involved in Warren-building on the island of Leyte. I have concentrated on my photography and writing articles for my blog. Christy has concentrated on the renovations to turn One Warren Way from an unused rice mill building into a home.

 

Christy got her dream of the CSW Cafe in Tacloban City. Eight kids began the school year at One Warren Way, Four kids went “Republican” and exercised an “Exit strategy” to “retired” to somewhere else on the island of Leyte.

 

All in all, it has been an exciting year of challenges, successes and a couple of disappointments. Christmas is beyond Halloween, so that future operation is under Christy’s chain of command.

 

My significant shortfall, this year, is that I didn’t plan far enough ahead for the kids to have a “Halloween Party.” I had hoped they and their friends would be able to have the Halloween costume party at the house. The Halloween custom seems to be catching on in Manila, but, has, yet, to make it to rural Leyte.

 

My Holiday Is Halloween

 

Halloween is “my holiday” and is the other day of the year I look forward to each year. I have my mother to “Thank” for the Halloween Party memories.

 

As a small boy in rural southwest Missouri in the 1960s, “birthday parties” were an uncommon idea. There were no McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, or any other fast food restaurants to offer birthday party plans in nearby Branson, Missouri in 1960. Silver Dollar City had just recently opened their gates and the old white clapboard Abesville grade school stood across the gravel road from the brick school house.

 

The old Abesville Grade Schoolhouse was the classic small white schoolhouse with the steeple and red roof that you see in the Hollywood movies; it had retired as a schoolhouse and had become the meeting place for the Abesville 4-H Club.

 

Halloween And Birthday Party Tradition

 

Beginning in the first grade, my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren set a precedent: my birthday party.

 

Kids in rural southwest Missouri really didn’t have birthday parties in the fall and winter months. Your classmates didn’t live blocks away; they usually lived miles away.

 

School District Logistics

 

The Galena RII School District would have kids who lived a few steps from the Reeds Spriing school district get on the yellow bus to made the arduous commute to Abesville Grade School or Galena High School each morning.

 

Meanwhile, kids in Wheelerville, Cross Roads, and Jenkins would watch the yellow school buses of the Crane School district pass by their farms, while they waited patiently for their Galena school bus.

 

Thus, Galena school students from, near Reeds Springs, and from near Wheelerville, Cross Roads and Jenkins, were like American G.I.s because each morning they had to “deploy” for the long bus ride to and from Abesville or Galena

 

The students might spend about two hours on the bus each morning before they ever arrived at school and then two hours each night before they ever reached home. The School District Logistics Of Travel each morning and evening worked against the childhood opportunities to attend a birthday party.

 

Weird Weather

 

The fall weather, in October, was always as uncertain as the promises of a politician; the weather changes quickly in southwest Missouri in autumn.

 

The weather for Halloween in southwest Missouri is usually like a Wes Craven or John Carpenter horror movie where the London fog meets the Seattle rain. Some years, the skeletal bone-chilling cold would sink through your coat and speed your steps The tips of your nose would tingle in the cold. You could feel the sting of the biting cold bite into your ears, The weird weather of Halloween seemed to exercise demonic persecution of children, who just wanted to get a few pieces of candy.

 

It seldom snowed on Halloween, in my childhood, but, the dismal, eerie, cold. Damp, depressing feel of the weather always kept children close to home. If you were lucky, your parents might drive you to Galena, so you could go “Trick Or Treat” at a few homes.

 

By the 1980s, officials at the Stone County Courthouse had arranged a Halloween Party to allow the kids to “Trick Or Treat” in a more fun and less “survival expert” way to celebrate Halloween.

 

Momma’s Miracle – My Birthday Party

 

In the 1960s, in southwest Missouri, the idea of autumn and winter birthday parties and Halloween Parties were as vague as the dream of the Internet.

 

My mother talked to Mrs. Russell, my first grade teacher, My birthday party and the class Halloween celebration became an annual event that continued each year for seven years; right up until my classmates and I entered the eighth grade at Galena High School.

 

Momma would bring the big vanilla sheet cake that always had my “Happy Birthday” greeting and “Happy Halloween” lettered in icing on the cake. The Kool-Aid with the cake gave me the reason to look forward to my birthday and the other kids commented that when they saw the cake they knew it was time for Halloween.

 

At 57, I can look back on a successful birthday party, remember the fun parties of childhood, and make a note to plan for the nephews a Halloween Party for next year. Then, again, I think I know a party planner up to the challenge of hosting a Halloween party: “Christy, honey, what do you say, for next year, we plan,for the kids, a Halloween Party?”

 

Christy ?”

THE CAKE_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 029 - Copy

The Birthday Cake

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

November 4, 2012 at 5:41 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Observances, Opinion, Philippines, Photos, Stone County History

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“The Exorcist” October Creature Feature

with 12 comments

OCTOBER CREATURE FEATURE

 

THE EXORCIST

 

The film that transformed an obscure Church ritual into a sought after global profession

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

In my lifetime from October 1955 through mid-December 1973,in the United States, if you needed an “Exorcist”, you would have few real options.

 

You could buy a plane ticket to go to the Vatican and try to convince a priest or the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

 

You could try and find someone who knew a root worker or conjurer in New Orleans, Louisiana, who might be willing to help you.

 

You could try and contact someone who had a friend, who lived out in San Francisco, California and was into “The New Age Movement.”

 

If you seriously needed an “Exorcist” before 1973, in the United States, you really had to look under every stone to find one and hope you could find someone who had an understanding priest in the Roman Catholic Church, who would take you seriously enough to actually look for an “exorcist.”

 

The Real Deal Exorcists

 

William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, “The Exorcist,” had aspects that were inspired by the actual Exorcism of Roland Doe in Maryland in 1949. Jesuit Priest, Father William S. Bowdern and Father Walter Halloran were the real exorcists.

 

There have been television shows that talked about the original exorcism and one fact all seemed to agree on is the family basically had to beg the church for an exorcism. The practice of exorcisms had become essentially a ritual that had been left in the past.

 

The “resurrected” ritual of exorcism did much not only for The Church, but for all churches. William Friedkin’s film, “The Exorcist” based on Blatty’s novel put God back up on the marquee that got people going back to all kinds of churches, temples, synagogues and mosque because Satan was real again.

 

Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Omen” were child demonic films of the late 1960s and early 1970s that also got people’s attention.

 

What always got me about “The Exorcist” was how such a “normal” little girl could be possessed ?

 

Effective Evil Effects

 

There were no Hollywood Computer Generated Images for movies in the 1970s, production and special effects people had to do create the effects the old fashioned way ‘– “They had to be creative.” Now, people smile at the “pea soup” that gets shot out of Regan’s mouth in the movie, but, it was one of those “Wow” moments in theaters in the 1970s.

 

The fashion sense, or lack there of, of the 1970s does much to make a film look dated, but, the story, the actors, actresses and effects did such a magnificent job Regan MacNeil, the possessed girl, is one of those Halloween characters in the shadow between vampires, mummies, Frankenstein and zombies that no one wants to think about because she just might be “The Real Deal after all.”

 

Face it, no one wants to have to tell their father or mother, “We won’t be coming home for Christmas because your granddaughter is possessed by Satan.”

 

The real fear of The Exorcist movie is that maybe, just maybe, your child could be possessed by Evil. The movie really does turn that parental fear into the worst case scenario by the use of suspense and the creative use of effects. It is little wonder why this movie has become an American Cult Classic.

 

You factor in the notion that you have a veteran priest, who has dealt with and faced Evil at various times and is ready for the battle. Then, you add the young doubting priest to the mix, who believes he is more “a man of science” than “a man of the cloth.” Basically, he let the Church pay for his education, so he could become a successful psychiatrist. Stepping into the ring, Satan has the upper hand and the odds are all in His favor.

 

Temptation Of Teenagers ?

 

Ellen Burstyn, who plays the actress mother, wants the best for her daughter. Linda Blair, who plays Regan Mac Neil, the daughter, is the average All-American Girl for the 1970s.

 

I grew up on a hog farm in the conservative Midwest of the United States of America, known as the Ozarks, right smack dab in “The Bible Belt.” My family, friends and neighbors went to the Baptists and Pentecostal churches. Some crossed the line into Taney County to go to Branson or into Greene County to go to Catholic churches, Lutheran, Methodists and Presbyterians.

 

The preachers and pastors of Stone County, Missouri took their “hellfire and damnation” lessons to heart and knew they were the First Line Of Defense against Satan and His Demonic Legions.

 

Thus, in the Ozarks and the Midwest, you never expected to see Satan walking down the highway or shopping for groceries in the local supermarket. But, in the 1960s or 1970s, if you are writing a story, script or play – how would you get Satan or any of his demons to realistically appear in the literary work ?

 

Demon Dare

 

As decadent and liberal minded as New York City was suppose to be in the 1960s and 1970s; there had to be a way to get Evil into the script and the movie. The All-American Fall Guy – the Ouija Board.

 

In the US, in the 1960s and 1970s, it seemed there were only two real ways for Evil to show up. Teenagers had to figure out some way to do “Satanic Rituals” or go to the store and pretend to be nave enough to buy and use a Ouija Board.

 

In this film, the Ouija Board is the culprit that is “The Three Mile Island” incident that starts demonic radiation leaking into the MacNeil home and poor Regan glows with it.

 

Use of the Ouija Board, helps explain how an East African demon gets through US Customs without a passport and visa. Then, again The Department Of Homeland Security is a story that doesn’t happen until the beginning of the 21st Century.

 

Max von Sydow, who stars in the role of Father Lankester Merrin really does come across as the devout veteran priest, who is ready to stare the demon in the eye and send it back to Hell.

 

Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras does an excellent job as the young priest, who really believes he is a long lost psychiatrist in his soul. One of the story twist is suppose to have the young priest broken up about his mother’s death. I didn’t get the message in 1973 and I haven’t gotten it since.

 

On screen the first time you see the aging, invalid mother, the film mom is sort of already a citizen of “The Twilight Zone” looking to move into “The Outer Limits.” Without more details or a back story to show the mother and son relationship, that story line to me wastes film. I’m a Momma’s Boy, so I’m critical.

 

Actor Titos Vandis, in the role of the young priest’s uncle works with Miller to pull off the story line, but, that is an area where I believe the movie falters and probably gets forgotten about in the overall bouts with the demon. In this movie, the mom character was dead before she was written into the script and she seems just as dead up on the screen.

 

Exorcist Era Excitement

 

This is the movie that “Really Did Start It All.” The obscure term, “exorcist” smoldering in the Vatican archives, “purified” the way for an American religious revival in Catholic and Protestant Churches and created battalions of televangelists and legions of lay (and lame) exorcists throughout the globe.

 

Satanic Seventies ?

 

The ongoing, relentless, never-ending Vietnam War had made young Americans jaded, cynical and skeptical. Grandparents and parents looked at the grandchildren and children and wondered if maybe “alien astronauts” had abducted” and switched their kids because “The Generation Gap” was the real deal.

 

Generations of Americans spoke English to one another in their homes and yet the message was like “A Day At The United Nations Without Translators “ – No one understood ‘nuthin’.

 

America’s politicians in the 1960s were the kind of leaders that people rushed to build statues to. By the 1970s, Americans politicians seemed to be like “used car dealers that you couldn’t get rid of.”

 

The Godfathers

 

America had the traditional movie and sports celebrities of their generation in the early 1970s, but, the “Godfather” movies did “the kinder, gentler dance” for Organized Crime. J. Edgar Hoover had gotten long in the tooth and the organized crime bosses of America had their own brash, public style that had to be the envy of America’s “stale bread politicians of the early 1970s.”

 

While American underworld figures weren’t holding their daily press conferences at their mansions, they were out and about and people couldn’t get enough of their exploits in the streets of America. The irony is the Crime Rate in America was pushing people to believe “Vigilante Justice” might not be such a bad solution as long as you don’t get caught. “Dirty Harry” had become the ideal lawman of America.

 

Nix on Nixon

 

Nixon had no use for the American news media and the American news media had no use for Nixon, other than the political cartoonists, who thrived on daily demonizing his facial features.

 

After Watergate, nothing Nixon said really mattered. The press didn’t seem to believe a word he said and his approval rating with the American public dropped faster than a bad day in the stock market.

 

 

 

Then, of course, Men in America actually got to wear something other than white shirts and black ties. Unfortunately, the Men’s Fashion Scene of the 1970s “overdosed” America’s fashion sense – too much, too soon. Wide ties, wide lapels, bright colors for men’s suits, white belts, white shoes, hounds tooth sport coats thrown into the mix with polyester and wide collars on mien’s shirts. Plus, there was the jogging suits to wear, even if you never intended to go jogging. And denim flared jeans and denim flared bell bottoms were still on the drawing board for the seventies fashion scene.

 

The early 1970s had America’s scurrying like mice on an exercise wheel – they just weren’t sure where they were suppose to be running to.

 

Demonic Days

 

If you look back at 1973, you wonder if someone on Satan’s staff had decided to literally “set the stage” leading up to the release of “The Exorcist.”

 

January 22, 1973 – US Supreme Court rules on Roe versus Wade and overturns states’ bans on abortion.

 

The Vietnam War “Officially Ends” January 27, 1973 with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. Nixon tries to take credit for the peace agreement. The American news media and many Americans actually see Dr. Henry Kissinger, America’s First Jewish Secretary Of State as the man who got the deal.

 

November 5, 1973, the term, “Shuttle Diplomacy” entered the American culture and described the efforts that Secretary of State Kissinger made in the Middle East at the end of the Yom Kippur War to help keep the region stable.

 

Despite Secretary Kissinger’s hard work to keep the Arab states and Israel living in a somewhat peaceful existence – some religious critics started shouting that Secretary Kissinger could be, “The Anti-Christ.”

 

March 29, 1973, the last United States soldier leaves Vietnam.

 

May 17, 1973, I wear the cap and gown and graduate from Galena High School, Galena, Missouri. It should have been a proud moment for God and Satan. It was a proud moment for me. By June, I was in college at the School Of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri.,

 

The US bombing of Cambodia ends June 1.

 

July 12, 1973 – The National Archives Fire – The entire 6th floor of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis Missouri is destroyed by a fire. Countless US Navy and US Army records are lost, which will affect World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War military people and their families for generations to come in the area of honorable discharges, military retirement pay and documentation of earned and awarded military decorations.

 

Egyptian and Syrian military forces attack Israel, September 11, 1973, to start the “Yom Kippur War,” in the Sinai Pennisula and the Golan Heights. I am working at KSOZ-FM, to work my way through college. I look through the large plastic window at the huge gray Associated Press teletype thrusting down the keys to announce the start of the War. I’m excited about the story.

 

I rip off the yellow sheet of news copy and hand it to someone in the newsroom. They nod and comment, “Another War in the Middle East.”

 

I understand now, why no one rushed to get it “on air” as breaking news. It was the 1970s, and there was always bad news coming out of the Middle East.

 

I saw the War as a possible start to “Armageddon.” Everyone else in the newsroom just saw it as more bad news from the Middle East to be read after the day’s latest Watergate story.

 

The Yom Kippur War ends October 26, 1973.

 

October 10, 1973, “The Saturday Night Massacre,” Richard Milhouse “Tricky Dick” Nixon fires Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus.

 

No matter What Nixon did – The Watergate Break-In June 17, 1972 – would not go away and each day’s newspaper brought a new “Watergate” headline in the continuing scandal.

By December 23, 1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, had doubled the price of crude oil at the pumps – just in time for “Christmas.”

 

American theaters flip the switch and Warner Brothers “The Exorcist “ flickers on to movie screens December 26, 1973.

 

By November 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini labeled “America, The Great Satan: in a speech. Khomeini was the 1970s version of Al Quaeda’s Osama bin Laden.

 

In the early 1960s, Khomeini used his criticism of the Shah of Iran Pahlavi to rise to power among his Muslim followers. The Shah exiled him and he spent more than 14 years in exile between Paris, Turkey and Iraq. Khomeini did not like that the United States Government had close relations with Iran and that the Shah had moved to modernize Iran.

 

When you look back at 1973, it seems like God had gotten dropped off for church bingo and Americans weren’t sure if they were going to pick Him up or hand Him His “Pink Slip.”

 

Satan At The Box Office

 

The film brought in $66.3 million from theaters in the United States and Canada. It currently stands as “The Top Grossing R Rated Film Of All Time.”

 

The Exorcist” movie proved to be the “shakeup” that got God back in His penthouse and kept Him on as the CEO Of Heaven. “The Exorcist” woke up and scared Americans.

 

Before the movie appeared in theaters, many Americans were like Actor Lee J. Cobb in the role of New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant William F. Kinderman, something is wrong and you just can’t put your finger on it.

 

The approach worked for Cobb’s detective’s role in the movie and outside the theater in the streets of America, “something was wrong and no one knew how to put a finger on it.”

 

The Medical Men

 

Arthur Storch, in the role of the psychiatrist and Barton Haymen as Dr. Samuel Klein are the classic American “Medical Men” of the 1970s, “Of course, Science has an answer for it.” But, when Regan’s condition doesn’t respond to medical treatment, one of the doctors blurts out something about an “exorcist.”

The time devoted to the “Science” and “Medicine”approach in the movie is smart because by the 1970s doctors and scientists had taken to their academic pulpits and “preached” to anyone who would listen that science and medicine would find the cure for all the ills of humanity.

America’s New Prophets

America’s Psychiatrist were on a roll. Sigmund Freud had got them out into the limelight. People seemed hungry for the latest development from the psychiatric world. Hollywood didn’t let the fad pass by; they cranked out movies as fast as they could about doctors and psychiatrist saving the day.

Psychiatrists were America’s New Prophets. It did seem doctors, scientists and psychiatrist had an answer for everything.

The Supernatural” remained the chink in the psychiatrist’s armor. The responses of : “superstition”, “imagination”, and “all in your mind” worked until something happened before your eyes.

Find An Exorcist In The Yellow Pages

Before the movie, your best bet to find an “exorcist” would be to seek permission to search the Vatican archives for a vague reference to an “exorcist.”

After the movie, “Exorcists In America were thicker than hairs on a dog’s back.” At the current rate of growth in a few years America will probably be turning out as many exorcists as we do lawyers and doctors.

No doubt, none of the televangelists of the 1970s and 1980s will ever give “The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Omen,” or any of the other religious horror TV or movie spin-offs an honorable mention, but without “The Hounding Hell Horror Of The Satanic Silver Screen,” some of those preachers would of stayed on cable TV and still be going through the Ozarks trying to arrange “Brush Arbor Revivals” and church pie suppers.

A 21st Century Exorcist ?

Hollywood is silly if they don’t already have plans to do an updated version to compliment, but not compete with the original movie.

A new version could not compete because Linda Blair’s Regan MacNeil character had her unique unspoken, “I’m not going away. . .ever” look, near the end of the movie.

The silly 1970s wardrobe makes “The Exorcist” dated, but, hey, even in the 1970s, “We had to wear clothes.”

Casting Directors – Stellan Skarsgard has earned the right to be Father Merrin in an updated version. In Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist,” Mr. Skarsgard became the role. In “Exorcist:The Beginning”, he became Father Lankester Merrin, Roman Catholic Archaeologist Priest.

Now, if the Department of Motor Vehicles could just get Mr. Skarsgard ‘s name on his new license right and the Vatican would quit sending him offers for another exorcism overseas.

Darling Demonologists”

In another more contemporary version, it would be nice if the screenwriter could write in a way to bring in a senior ranking demon with more established credentials in religious history, which would allow for even more suspense, special effects and (probably) a bigger budget.

And, since the “Name Of The Game Is Horror”, a senior ranking demon could up the on screen body count to stress the possibility that today’s dog walker shouldn’t count on being tomorrow’s “Darling Demonologist.”

Exorcist 2013 Script Session

Quick, get Warner Brothers on the phone. I’ve got it.

Camera Fade In: Regan’s granddaughter graduates from Oxford and returns to the US to visit “granny.” They are doing the girl, “shoot the breeze” conversation routine. Suddenly, Regan’s youngest granddaughter comes up out of the basement with something in her hands.

You guessed it, America!

Sometimes the old literary devices are the best. All together now, “Ouija Board !”

They chuckle. Of course, granny has had a wonderful life and completely forgot about the initial possession (and probably The Exorcist” spin-off movies after the original).

They open the box, take out the board and begin to play.

Too late “Granny” remembers.

The granddaughter is now “possessed.”

Granny whips out her cell phone hoping that she still has an exorcist priest on speed dial.

The granddaughter does her contortions routine, while the youngest granddaughter jumps up and down screaming.

From here on out. . .it is up to the Hollywood screen writers. You guys and gals run with it. But, go for a demon, who usually gets top billing, with “name recognition.”

800px-Petersdom_von_Engelsburg_gesehen_AB

St. Peter’s Basilica from Castel Sant’Angelo showing the dome rising behind Maderno’s facade. Public Domain Photograph

 

Exorcists Resurrection

The Vatican is now admitting, “Exorcists exist” and is training them. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, a group of British school girls seem to be blurring the line between Fact,Faith, Fantasy and Fiction.

Based on the “Darling Demonologists” ages, someone should hand them an old mystic text and point to the section on teenagers,hormones and, “Oh, Look ! Puberty and Poltergeist ?”

Five Star Rating

The Exorcist” is an American Cult Classic, as it should be. Hands down I give it a Five Star Rating and remind viewers it carries an R rating.

For your Halloween viewing this is definitely a movie to watch on All Hollow’s Eve or the night before.

Incidentally, when you swing by Wal-Mart to pick up your Twizler’s and Junior Mints, you might want to make a quick stop at the church to make sure you have a crucifix and rosary beads handy. May, as well pick up a little Holy Water. . .to be safe.

Sam

 

 

Exorcist Information Links

 

Exorcism of Roland Doe

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

Father Walter Halloran

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

The Story of a Modern-Day Exorcist

By Gilbert Cruz Monday, Mar. 16, 2009

 

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1885372,00.html


British School Girls Exorcists

We’re not like normal teenagers’: Meet the exorcist schoolgirls who spend their time casting out DEMONS around the world


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024621/Meet-exorcist-schoolgirls-spend-time-casting-demons-worldwide.html

 

 

 

 


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

October 18, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Creature Feature, Editorial, Movies, Opinion

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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

Uncle Sam Restaurant 009 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The familiar silhouette of Uncle Sam on the sign above the streets of Tacloban City advertises a restaurant with a truly American cuisine.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed the silhouette of Uncle Sam. The words: . . . wings, burgers, shakes and floats had flashed pass my eyes. By the time, I turned my head to look, the van had moved on and I could only remember the famous name: “Uncle Sam.”

On trips to Tacloban City, I kept looking out the passenger window looking for the familiar image and the words, “Uncle Sam.” I could not remember the street. But, I definitely knew that I wanted to stop in and look at the menu.

Saturday, March 3, 2012, I glance out the passenger window and see the famous silhouette. “Here ! Stop, here,” I shrieked !

Uncle Sam Restaurant 011 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

If you stroll along Santo Nino Street in Tacloban City, the bright red paint is the first indication that you have found the Uncle Sam Restaurant.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy, Ninoy, Marife, Ranyiel, Mac Mac and Chrismar entered the restaurant behind me.

Americana Decor

Beneath my feet, I stood on a blue and white checkerboard pattern. Around me, red and white stripes unfurl around the walls. Above me, I stare up into a star spangled sky. Uncle Sam Restaurant A001 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The feeling of being in an American Graffiti restaurant in the 1950s came over me.  For an instant, my “ride”. a 1957 Plymouth, I call “Christine” is parked outside.  Teeny boppers in ponytails and poodle skirts pop their bubble gum and fidgeted with their pony tails.  The smell of Brylcream fills the air as the combs of young men pass through their slicked down hair and they do their best Marlon Brando impression to flirt with the young girls. The sizzling of thick, juicy hamburgers gives way to  Wolfman Jack screaming through the radio about the latest 45 to top the charts.  Then, the jukebox whirls and the Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll” sings. I glimpse out the window to make sure Suzanne Somers is not driving past in a white 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

A portion of the Star Spangled Sky of the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City stretches out over the customers. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I stand smiling, for a moment. I look again at the walls I feel at home in the new surroundings. For an instant, I feel like I’m back in the “Good Ole USA.” The center wall montage immediately catches my eye. Uncle Sam stares out of the center flanked by the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the space shuttle, the Las Vegas sign and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 001 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

“Uncle Sam”,the classic American icon that Political Cartoonist Thomas Nast created to represent the American people is the centerpiece of this United States montage that honors national landmarks and challenges customers’ sense of history as to the significance of the national symbols.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Impromptu History Lesson

The waiter came to take our order, but I had dashed to the center wall to look at the familiar images. I called to the boys to come look at the wall. Poor kids. It is Saturday and their uncle suddenly bursts into an American history lesson.

I pontificated how Uncle Sam had been a Chicago, Illinois meat packing inspector named Sam, who put the letters U.S., on the crates. Then, how American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast came along and began drawing Uncle Sam as a character for newspapers. And, how that popularity carried on and in World War I, the United States Armed Forces began using the image of Uncle Sam on military recruiting posters.

While the boys looked around at the décor, like an excited history teacher, I explained how the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to celebrate America’s 100th birthday and then, I pointed out George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore.

My wife, Christy, looked at the menu. She smiles and shakes her head – she knows how I enjoy talking about history. The boys looked at the large screen TV, which had been switched to the Cartoon Network.

 

Uncle Sam Restaurant 002 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

 

This wall in the Uncle Sam Restaurant hosts the photos of famous American celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and, of course, the famous historical photo of United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and the official party wading ashore in the Leyte Gulf, a few kilometers, outside Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Hollywood History

However, their “Uncle Sam” called to them to point out the Americana on the walls. I explained to them that the young Marlon Brando photo had the actor playing a rebel on a motorcycle and it made him an “American Bad Boy.” The photo of James Dean was of a young actor, who earned the title of being “The Rebel.” I point at the Frank Sinatra photo and explained that the actor and singer, was known as, “Old Blue Eyes.” Marilyn Monroe was the blonde screen goddess of the United States in the 1960s.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 004 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized 

 

This wall of the Uncle Sam Restaurant contains framed movie posters of some classics of American cinema from “Pretty Woman” to “Titanic.”  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

I pointed out Madonna and Ranyiel recognized, “Michael Jackson !” Riding the history wave, I directed the boys to the photos of American films on the walls from “Meet Joe Black” to “Titanic.” Of course, I added my movie critic comments for each of the framed movie photos. Uncle Sam Restaurant 012 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

This red sidewalk with gold stars is the “Walk Of Fame” that leads you to the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Finally, I freed the boys from my impromptu history class to allow them to take their seats, watch cartoons and wait for their meals.

I am no food critic. But, I was smiling when I looked at the American dishes on the menu.

Christy and the rest of the family ordered the Buffalo Wings. And, I ordered the Very Berry Strawberry shakes for everyone.

Righteous Ribs, Superb Sauce

I enjoyed the ribs. I’m one of those people who considers ribs “a finger food,” so my silverware sat untouched as I used my fingers to pull apart the tender, succulent meat. My polite nephews and their parents diligently used their knives and forks, despite my suggestion that “ribs is one of those foods best enjoyed by using your fingers.”

Uncle Sam Restaurant 005 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

Ribs, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.  Back in The Ozarks, my folks, would call this dish a good “home cooked” meal.  This dish at the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City was delicious.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love the taste of the sauce. I loved the taste of the sauce so much, that I did something completely out of character for me . . . “I licked my fingers.” I describe the meat as righteous ribs and superb sauce as the waiter trades my white napkin for a fresh red one.

The corn of the cob tasted as fresh as if it had been picked off the stalk and cooked.

Mashed Potatoes

Country boy, that I am, I was ecstatic to see “mashed potatoes” on the menu.

Potatoes in the Ozarks is like rice in the Philippines because a meal is not a meal without that dish. While rice is used in many dishes in the Philippines, the same is true of potatoes in the United States. I went through the door with my mouth watering for a “home cooked” big, juicy hamburger. But, my eyes focused on the ribs and “mashed potatoes.”

I’m sure Emeril and the great French chefs would not consider “mashed potatoes” a dessert, but, they haven’t gone for a couple of months without being able to plunge a spoon into steaming mashed potatoes and have the mashed potatoes melt in your mouth.

I could not help but smile when the waiter told us that the restaurant opened for business on “The Fourth Of July” 2011.

My appetite for “home cooked American cuisine” had me smiling as I put the napkin to my lips. I raised my hand to call the waiter for the menu.

My intent was to feast my eyes on their menu once again. Christy spoke up and reminded me that we still had some errands to run. I nodded and promised myself to return with a hearty appetite in the near future. 

Uncle Sam Restaurant 006 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

My wife, Christy Warren, ordered the Uncle Sam Restaurant’s Buffalo Wings, rice pilaf and the grilled tomatoes. If you have a Texas size appetite for a thick juicy steak or some ribs, then, you should definitely visit Uncle Sam in Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I did return

I did return – Tuesday afternoon. My wife, Christy ordered the mango shake. Fe ordered a banana split. Ninoy and I ordered the Angus Beef Burger. For a country boy, who grew up in rural southwest Missouri in the Ozarks, surrounded by Black Angus, Red Angus and Brangus cattle, the juicy hamburger brought back memories in every bite.

Uncle Sam Restaurant A002 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The succulent Angus Beef Burger satisfied my appetite for a thick, juicy hamburger.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City is on Santo Nino Street. The Uncle Sam Restaurant is my five star choice when I want American cuisine.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 008 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resizedFor the latest information about the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City, Republic of the Philippines type in your computer search engine: facebook Uncle Sam Restaurant or click this link: Uncle Sam Restaurant, Tacloban City, Philippines  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If after you read this article and you stop by the Uncle Sam Restaurant for a meal tell them, “Uncle Sam” sent you.

Uncle Sam”uel E. Warren Jr.

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Warren Land Sells !

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Warren

Land

Sells !

American flags at the Main Gate of Warren Land, beside State Highway 176, in southwest Missouri, between Abesville and Galena, in Stone County, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
3 WARREN LAND MAIN GATE PHOTO BY SAM  ND40 S7A_sized for Internet

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My Official Date Of Public Release – October 30, 2011

3 WARREN LAND MAIN GATE PHOTO BY SAM  ND40 S7_sized for InternetThree years ago, I asked the question, “Is it possible to sell farm land using the Internet ?”

Now, I have my answer.

No.”

Warren Land, the 70 plus acres of farm land in southwest Missouri, sold in August 2011.

I waited until my birthday, October 30, to answer this question because I wanted to take the time to answer this question based on my experiences.

The Pessimists

The pessimists and naysayers all snickered that our 70 plus acres of farm land would never sell.

Warren Land had traditionally been used as pasture land for breeds of cattle ranging from Black Angus and Polled Herefords to Red Angus. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND CATTLE IN ONE OF THE PASTURES_DSC_3192_sized for Internet


Childhood Change Inspires Confidence

I was a boy in the early 1960s, when the land in Taney County, known as Branson, was going for about a nickel an acre. The Baldknobbers had just started regular music performances in Branson and Silver Dollar City had just opened their gates. Ideas like “The Nashville of the Ozarks” and a tourist attraction of how people lived in the 1800s had yet to catch on.

As a boy, I had seen the land in neighboring Taney County and I knew the cliffs and bluffs made it

Rock cliff face on Warren Land. Missouri is known as a farming state, but the Show Me State also brings in major revenue in the form of mining. While Stone County has rock cliff and bluff faces, the rock cliff an bluff faces of neighboring Taney County was credited as one of the normal reasons for low real estate prices in the 1960s. The rock bluff in the photograph is located in one of the hollows of the property. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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difficult for farmers to raise livestock. There were even stories that sometimes a cow would stumble and fall to her death at the bottom of a cliff. I had seen the hills and knew there could be truth in the falling cow stories.

As a youth. I, Michael Cutbirth and Jack Gordon joined the Ozarks Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, which would meet for six months at a time in the Forsyth Masonic Lodge and six months at a time in the Branson Masonic Lodge. In attending these meetings, we had to travel on average about 60 miles round trip from Galena, Missouri to either Forsyth or Branson. Thus, I had a front seat to the changes that happened in rural Stone and Taney counties from the 1960s through the 1970s and had traveled the highways long before the Missouri Department of Transportation began major highway projects to widen the roads, install overpasses or bypasses.

Branson Blossoms

Bulldozers gave Branson a facelift and redesigned the farm terrain to go with the ideas of creative citizens and suddenly unnoticed farm land had a new lease on life. The Plain Jane of Ozarks Real Estate was suddenly the supermodel in training. Of course, the opening of Table Rock Lake also served as a necessary augmentation to boost interest in the local real estate market.

Having witnessed Branson, Missouri blossom, in my lifetime, and go from wall flower to debutante, I didn’t put much faith in the pessimists and naysayers’ warnings. If the forgotten farm land of Taney County could transform into a Midwest mecca of country music, then, Stone County, next door, should also be able to shake off real estate puberty and gain a place in the sun.

Seek Out A Successful Real Estate Agent

The tough decision was to part with land that had been in my family since the mid to late 1940s.

60px-Coat_of_Arms_of_the_PhilippinesMy wife, Christy and I decided to sell the 70 plus acres of farm land in southwest Missouri in an attempt to return to the Republic of the Philippines, where we could be surrounded by her large family.

Once the decision was made, then we decide to look for a real estate agent. Like most people we begin looking at newspapers, browsing the internet and talking to people trying to find a realtor or real estate agency. At the start, it came down to a yellow page in the phone book.

Dismal Real Estate Setting

The October 3, 2007 American Financial Fiasco described as the collapse of “Big Banks on Wall Street” became history, but the effects of that financial catastrophe were still being felt when we decided to try and sell our land. People were complaining that banks weren’t loaning money and so people couldn’t or wouldn’t buy real estate. Even though, we didn’t list our land for sale until 2008, people were still complaining that the banks were not loaning money to people to buy real estate.

Find Your Land’s Selling Points

A butterfly lands on a wild flower on Warren Land. Selling farm land is never easy because there is an emotional investment in the land. Thus, you should work to be objective and be honest about the land’s strengths and weaknesses. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Be honest with yourself about the land. I grew up playing in the hills and hollers of Warren Land, so I knew I had an emotional investment in the property.

This white steer calf is symbolic of generation of cattle born and raised on Warren Land in southwest Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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But, what would a buyer want in the land ?

Goldie and Sarge play around the main farm pond on Warren Land. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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There is one big pond and two small ponds on the property.

There were no phone lines or electric lines

This small farm pond lies hidden in a holler on Warren Land and serves as a source of water for cattle and wildlife. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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on the property.

Several acres at the back of the property had been used to raise tomatoes commercially for about three years in the 1970s. In the 1960s through the 1980s, The Christmas Tree On The Stone County Courthouse Lawn either came from Warren Land or the adjoining DeLong Land – cedar trees love the soil of DeLong Land and Warren Land.

In 2010, about 17 deers were taken during the deer hunting season in Stone County and based on what hunters told me, basically, 10 of those deers had been taken on Warren Land.

From the 1980s through the 1990s, my mother had also let hunters hunt wild turkeys on Warren Land.

Hidden Spring on DeLong Land. DeLong Land and Warren Land have available water sources. Both DeLong or Warren Land was used to supply The Christmas Tree for the Stone County Courthouse Lawn from the 1960s through the 1990s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Warren Land contains a multitude of walnut, black and white oak trees that were cut over the years to sell as lumber. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Every three or four years from the 1980s through 2003, my mother, would contact a local logger and allow them to go in and cut down trees.

This skidder pulls logs over the terrain of Warren Land. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Logs from Warren Land were destined to be milled as lumber. One log was selected for a local wood sculptor. Another log reportedly was selected to be shipped to China to be used for a dining table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Thinning out trees allows young ones the chance to grow. The last time walnut logs were taken off Warren Land, one was selected to reportedly be sent to China to be used to build a dining table.

There are some crude All Terrain Vehicle trails on Warren Land. There were four gates on Warren Land and three of those gates opened out on to the main highway: State Highway 176.

The Choice Of The Wrong Realtors

At least, a local real estate agency should seem like a good idea because they know the local area and should be familiar with the local property. I made all the wrong decisions in selecting a real estate agent. It was little comfort that I picked the first agency out of the yellow pages of the telephone book.

I should have realized that the selected agency was perhaps, too close, to Table Rock Lake, which should of suggested that they are probably more interested in selling lake front property than farm land.

Although the first real estate agents smiled when I told them about the history of the land and how tomatoes had been raised there and logs were cut for building and furniture; I should of realized that the realtors seem more interested in selling residential or commercially developed land or lake front property than farm land.

I also should have realized that when everyone starts singing the same song – I should listen to who is singing the song and how often they sing it. The realtors gave me the classic Top Ten response of the day about, “You do realize that in this economy property is not selling.”

I heard the song and dance about property not selling so often it should have been one of Billboard’s “Top Ten.”

The first real estate agency produced no results.

My Own Real Estate Initiative

You Can’t Sell Anything If You Don’t Tell People. The first realtors put up three signs around the property and they posted a small photo on their Internet page. Time passes and the realtors don’t call us to tell us of any offers. The phone does not ring.

I take my Nikon camera across the road and spend several days off and on shooting photos of the property. Then, I burn the photos to a CD. I thought outside the box, so I went on line and searched out the addresses of companies that I thought might be interested in using the property to build a warehouse or for other development.

Wal-Mart, Google, Yahoo, Paramount, and Walt Disney Pictures were some of the corporate entities that I thought might be seeking a location in the Midwest and rural land to develop for their own concerns. Then, I mailed out around 40 CDs.

I got a nice letter from Walt Disney Pictures that thanked me for thinking of them.

None of the other businesses bothered to respond.

My idea may have been a long shot, but when you consider the foundation stone was laid for the White House in Washington D.C., the original property was reported to be a swamp, so prime real estate is not always a consideration for building. Since Warren Land, already had a history of being successful agricultural land, why couldn’t it be used as a shooting location for movies made in the Midwest or as a warehouse facility for a corporation ?

The first real estate agency produced no results.

My Next Bad Decision – The Second Realtor

My next bad decision was to go with a national real estate agency. Again, the realtor sang the old, “real estate really isn’t moving in this economy. And, it will probably be a year or two, at least, before we see any property start to move” song. The realtor posted a small photo of the land on their Internet website.

Time passes and I called the realtor a couple of times. By the second time, I had called the realtor, the person talked “down to me.” Country boy that I am, it did not set well with me that the person’s tone of voice sounded like a school teacher scolding me.

The year passes.. The national real estate agency gave us no results. National advertising on television, in newspapers, on billboards and on the Internet should never be confused with the success of the realtor. I was glad to be rid of them.

Low Opinion Of Realtors

By the third year, my opinion of American Real Estate Agents ranked right down in the gutter with national Republican political candidates, the American Republican party, in general, and poisonous snakes in the Ozarks, in particular. I have no use for snakes, very little use for Republicans and American realtors overall were quickly battling in my mind for a spot between the snakes and Republicans.

Still, I believed what my mother had told me that land is an investment.

The Right Realtor

By the third year, Donna, my cousin, asked if we really wanted to sell the land. I told her yes. Then, she said, I have the name of a real estate agent for you. Donna looked me in the eyes and said, “If you really want to sell the land, call Katie. If the land can be sold, Katie can sell it.” I made the phone call.

When Christy and I began we knew nothing about realtors or real estate agencies. Three years later, Christy and I were being to feel like Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents responsible for doing in-depth sensitive personal background checks. We were to the point that we didn’t want smiles, promises and the standard catch phrases. We wanted to find a realtor that wanted to make a sale.

This time we knew the questions to ask and we expected honest answers. We didn’t want to hear the old, “Woe Is Me This Is A Bad Economy,” song. We didn’t want to hear the old, “American Banks Are Afraid To Loan Money To Buy Land” song.

Katie Philipps, our realtor, called us with two different offers within about a month. In three months, Katie had us a buyer ready to buy the land. Thus, the 70 plus acres of Warren Land in southwest Missouri sold. We found the right realtor.

The Sign Of The Right Realtor To Sell Warren Land. Among my initiatives to try and sell the farm land, I cleared away sections of tall grass on the highway embankment and tried to landscape a noticeable space to draw attention to the real estate signs from three different realtors in three years. This sign proved to be the right sign of the right realtor. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Epilogue

The naysayers were wrong.

The pessimists were wrong.

No, I don’t believe in 2011 the Internet is a good choice at this time to sell farm land.

Blackberries begin to ripen in a psture of Warren Land that was used to raise acres of commercially -grown tomatoes in the 1970s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you talk to a realtor, who gives you the “Gloom and Doom” song about “this is a bad economy to try and sell land in” – then, you should seriously consider looking for another realtor. In 2011, it maybe a “bad economy,” but times change and sooner or later people will start buying land again.

While Warren Land – proper- the 70 plus acres sold, the Warrens still live on the few acres of Warren Land across State Highway 176.

Open Air Photography Studio - One added benefit of Warren Land through the years was Warren Land always provided a variety of natural settings for photography. Whether the goal was to shoot landscape, livestock, wild life, wild flowers or bring a prop into nature Warren Land always proved to be the Ultimate Open Air Photography Studio. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The moral to the story is if you have farm land to sell : talk to people and get yourself a good real estate agent if you want to sell your farm land.

Sam

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