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Warrior’s Welcome : Faithful 44

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Editor’s Prologue

January 25, 2015 — Philippines National Police Special Actions Force commanders enter the jungle to “Arrest” a suspected Islamic terrorist.  The PNP’s SAF commandos end up engaged in a firefight with “The Enemy.”

January 30, 2015 is declared “The National Day Of Mourning” to honor the memories of the brave men who engaged and fought the criminals and terrorists in the jungle.

I am a retired United States Air Force photojournalist and editor.  I am a pro-military writer.

Christy, my wife, is a Filipina.  My children, Samuel Ranilo Warren and Donna Junea Warren are Filipino-Americans.  My father, Samuel E. Warren served in The United States Army Signal Corps in the Philippines in World War II.  I was assigned to and served at Clark Air Base in the Republic Of The Philippines in the 1980s.

Needless to say, whenever anything happens in The United States or The Republic Of The Philippines, I and my family feel “Connected.”

I have been fortunate to meet and work with members of the Armed Forces Of The Philippines and The Philippines National Police.

I can understand and related to the grief of the families who lost loved ones in the combat in the jungle.

As a writer, I felt the best way I could express my condolences to the family members was to author a short story to celebrate the devotion, duty and dedication of the Philippines National Police Special Actions Force commandos.

Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One Warren Way

Barangay Baras, Republic Of The Philippines

Warriors Welcome: Faithful 44

FALLEN 44 Graphic e164b190-a820-11e4-b9c1-bf0dde9868b9_Screen-Shot-2015-01-30-at-9-32-29-AM

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Trumpets Of The Universe sound.  Planets in space reverberate. 

Comets and asteroids brighten for an instant and shimmer as the celestial symphony of sound passes them.

The solar bodies of stars glow with renewed radiation, which causes them to shine light Gold, Ruby and Lapis against The Eternal Charcoal Of The Universe.

For an instant, The Celestial Trumpets Sound and The Universe is a Crystal Of Courage And Compassion, which spreads throughout the infinite canvas of Eternal Night. 

Not a single scientific instrument on Earth or adrift in the Infinite Celestial Sea will record the miraculous music.

The Archangels and Angels, in their dress uniforms, stand in their positions, on both sides of The Red Carpet Corridor.

The Souls arrive at the end of the carpet and begin their measured step down the great corridor.

At the end of the red carpet is The Mystical Presence Of The Stranger.

The 44 Souls stroll the carpet past the formation of archangels and angels, who stand in Admiration and Respect.

The 44 Souls stop at about six feet away from The Mystical Presence Of The Stranger, which has the energy form of a human, but not the definition of flesh and form.

Before their eyes, the 44 watch The Transition.  The Stranger’s energy takes on a human form in a military dress uniform.

“Welcome To Valhalla !”

The words are spoken and emerge as English, Tagalog, Cebuano, and Waray.

The stranger smiles and nods.  “Call me, what you will, ‘ God’, ‘Mars’, ‘Ares’, ‘Thor’, I am your host for this ‘Welcome Reception.”

“You, Gentlemen, are ‘The Fallen 44 of the Philippines National Police Special Action Force’ we are assembled here, this evening. to salute, honor, witness and testify to your courage in battle.”

“You all perished in combat.  None of you made the conscious choice ‘To Die.’  All of you fought diligently and courageously to protect yourselves, your comrades-in-arms and to achieve your Mission.  No one in The Universe can question your courage and dedication.  You died in service to your country, your families and your fellow citizens.  There is No Greater Selfless Sacrifice In The Universe.”

“Tonight, this feast is to ‘Welcome You To Our Immortal Ranks.’  Tomorrow, you will witness from your positions here in Valhalla, ‘The National Day Of Mourning’ in the Republic Of The Philippines.  It will be a challenge for you.” 

“As Souls, you have your celestial bodies.  You retain the memories of Love for your families on Earth.  Grief, is difficult for humans to understand and express.  It will be difficult for you to watch your families grieve and it will be hard for you to accept and acknowledge the intense emotions.”

“Here, I have designed a way that you can welcome and accept the true emotions without you experiencing overwhelming grief for the families you have left behind.  Yes, your loved ones remain on Earth.”

“They are angry.  They are upset.  They are broken.  They are confused.  In time, they will understand your devotion and dedication to duty demonstrated your undying Love for them.  You sought to protect their Lives and an infinite number of lives around the globe by the successful execution of your Mission.  There was a definite valid reason for your sacrifice.”

“You, Gentlemen, are representative of what humankind was intended to be.  Caring, humane, selfless individuals who lived your lives in appreciation of each sunrise and helped other people on your journey through Life.”

“I salute you.  We salute you.  The Archangels and Angels Of The Universe salute you.  Gentlemen,  I welcome you to our ranks.”

“You, now, stand enshrined in eternity as “Heroes.” 

You out rank every prophet, saint, pope, ecumenical patriarch, archbishop, grand mufti, rabbi, ayatollah, imam, cleric, priest, preacher, or evangelist who has every lived, who lives or who will ever Live.”

“This is Warrior Heaven.  This is Warrior Paradise.  You ended your lives on Earth trying to protect and save the lives of others, there is No Greater Love.  You perished in a thought for your comrades-in-arms, your families, your country and your world.  No God, No Goddess, No Entity In All Of Creation could ‘Ask’ more of any mortal in The Universe.” 

“I Welcome You To Valhalla !”

God salutes the assembled 44, who stand at attention proud, but, slightly uncomfortable at the celestial pomp and circumstance.

The Archangels and Angels salute.

God smiles and nods.  “Gentelmen, the Valkyries, Amazons and Archangels stand ready to help you settle into your quarters at the conclusion of our formal dinner this evening.  Saint Michael and Saint Samuel will show you gentlemen to your seats at the head table.”

God winks.  “Tomorrow, will be a challenge for you, gentlemen.  Tonight, you dine and rest to witness tomorrow’s activities on Earth.

God smiles and gestures to The Official Reception Line.  “Gentlemen, this concludes my official welcome speech.  Here in the reception line are The Ancestral Comrades-In-Arms who are anxious to congratulate on your acceptance into our ranks at Valhalla.”

“I believe, many of you, gentlemen are familiar with the combat records and historic valor of your hosts this evening.  Allow me to introduce General Emilio Aquinaldo and General Paulino Santos of the Republic Of The Philippines and General Douglas MacArthur and General Mark Clark of the United States Of America.”

God smiles and steps back to allow the 44 Souls in their dress uniforms proceed to the reception line.

God proceeds to His Throne at The Command Table and raises his glass to the assembled heroes, “Gentlemen, I salute, ‘The Fallen 44’ !”  God renders a salute.

God raises his glass at the table and looks at all of the honored souls in uniform and into their eyes : “I welcome you into my presence.”

“I welcome you into Valhalla.  I hereby confirm your immortal rank, honor and glory and welcome you, as the risen ‘Faithful 44 ! ’”

The End

Philippines National Police Special Action Force National Day Of Morning Jan 30 2015 Image

Philippines National Police

http://pnp.gov.ph/portal/

Philippines National Police symbol 1017742_710715138969745_6654143956528279625_n

Philippine National Police — Quezon City — facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pnp.pio

Fallen 44 Links

Acting PNP chief: Retrieving, treating casualties in Maguindanao clash a priority

January 25, 2015 11:48pm

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/416668/news/regions/acting-pnp-chief-retrieving-treating-casualties-in-maguindanao-clash-a-priority

At least 30 elite cops killed in clash with MILF

ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at 01/25/2015 7:18 PM | Updated as of 01/25/2015 10:57 PM

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/01/25/15/govt-milf-report-casualties-rare-clash

Editor’s Epilogue

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I am not a religious man.

I do believe it is logical that there is an intelligence in The Universe beyond the understanding and comprehension of humans.

Thus, I tend to believe in “A Spiritual Intelligence” in The Universe.

In my mind and heart, I believe, “Heroes”, especially “Military Heroes” are always honored for their selfless dedication to their country and their fellow citizens.

I choose to believe “The Fallen 44“ have an immortal place of honor in the ranks of all the military warriors who have always served their nations and fellow citizens.

I salute “The Fallen 44“ as “The Faithful 44“

Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Written by samwarren55

February 8, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

This small house beside Missouri State Highway 176 in Stone County, Missouri in The Ozarks can go unnoticed by passing motorists. This Old House served as The DeLong Family Home in the 1960s. Birthday parties, Fourth of July, Halloween Trick or Treat events,Thanksgiving Supper and Christmas Day Dinner celebrations were held in the three – room house, which had a Laundry Room built on in the 1970s. There was no inside plumbing. Uncle Joe built an Outhouse down on the hillside. While the house did not have the social comforts of some 20th Century homes in The Ozarks; it always felt like “Home” to DeLong family members, who returned to Stone County and the Missouri Ozarks anytime of the year. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home in my childhood was “The Ozarks.”

 

The Ozarks is one of the places in the world, where myth and reality live side by side.

 

You live your life in The Real World and sometimes it seems like you look up and see a wild,white-haired Mark Twain smiling down at you with his pen in hand.

 

The heavy snows of winter fall. The scene looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph on a china plate and then you feel the “bone chilling cold” enter your body. You see your breath. You trudge out of the knee-high snow into the warmth of your home.

 

You “warm” by the large, rectangular, dark brown “Warm Morning” gas stove and realize winter in The Ozarks means Christmas is usually just days away.

 

You get a hot cup of coffee and wonder why people think The Ozarks is “permanently stuck in an 1800s Time Warp.”

 

MV5BMTUzNzE1MjY0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE3MjU1MQ@@._V1._SX359_SY500_If you ever watched an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” you may believe the fictional characters represent “Life In The Ozarks.”

 

You would be wrong.

 

I grew up in the Ozarks and I never ate possum.

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

Uncle Hobert DeLong was a “dead on shot” with a rifle. Every time he went into the woods, he came back with a “mess of squirrels” and sometimes “a mess of rabbits.”

 

Of course, no one remembers Jed, granny and the rest of the Clampett were supposed to have been from Bugtussel, Tennessee and the characters get associated with The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

 

Cartoonist Al Capp made a large fortune drawing the comic strip of Lil’ Abner for 43th years that reached 60 million readers in more than 900 American newspapers.

 

Capp’s newspaper comic strip was one of my mother’s favorites. Capp put the characters in Dogpatch, Kentucky, but as a kid everyone though if you were from The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, then, you must be like Lil’ Abner.

 

I never went to a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dance.

 

Dancing wasn’t allowed at Galena High School in the 1960s. It was an issue that came up with every senior class wanting a “Prom.” The Baptist and Pentecostal churches of the 1960s in Stone County were vocal in their objections and they kept the prom dance out of school.

 

I graduated in 1973 in a “Graduation Exercises” ceremony, but there was “No Prom” because the churches still didn’t allow dancing in school.

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

No matter how incorrect the “hillbilly” stereotype is about The Ozarks. Americans and foreigners seem to cling to the dumb hayseed and lazy cartoon and television stereotypes of “The Ozarks Hillbilly.”

 

The irony is that the Ozarks is pretty close to the center of the United States and it has always seemed like an “undiscovered country” to foreigners and other Americans.

 

My geographical calculations of “The Ozarks” begins from the southern city limits sign of Jefferson City to the southern city limits sign of Little Rock, Arkansas, which is what I always considered to be, “The Ozarks.”

 

Stone County, Missouri is in the southwest section of the state and borders Arkansas, which means, “reckon I grew up one of them thar’ Ozarks’ country boys.”

 

Missourians in the Ozarks joke, “If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will change.” There is truth to that joke. The weather doesn’t always change every 15 minutes, but in a 24-hour day, the weather can change several times in a day.

 

Pen To Paper

 

To put pen to paper and write a story about Christmas in The Ozarks, I will have to set the stage.

 

There are many famous Missourians from United States Army Generals of the Armies John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing to “The Most Trusted Man In America” Walter Cronkite, but, usually the celebrities are known as Missourians and not necessarily, “Ozarkers.”

 

Neosho, Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton put his brush strokes on canvas to paint pictures; I will try to paint a word picture of life in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

Life in “The Ozarks” in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s was like “Tom Sawyer on a tractor and in a pickup truck.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Midwest buckboards and stagecoaches were replaced by 18-wheelers, Greyhound and Continental Trailways buses.

 

Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie dolls could be still found in toy stores in the Ozarks. Overall, Life in southern Missouri had not changed all that much since the days of Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose O’Neill.

 

The Tomato Factories” of Reeds Spring, Abesville, and Galena in the 1930s had been replaced with “The Garment Factory” in Reeds Spring and Crane and Crane had a “Casket Factory.”

 

Fasco in Springfield, Missouri employed several people from Stone County. In 1960, Silver Dollar City was just beginning operations. Branson, Missouri in 1960 was “no threat” to country music in Nashville, but, Nashville musicians would begin to head for Branson, during the 1960s. In the area of economics, “times were tough”, in Stone County and southwest Missouri in 1960.

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

Every nation has an economy. Money flows around in the metropolitan and urban areas, but in rural areas the ocean of money flows into a narrow stream that sometimes becomes a dry creek bed. In Stone County, it seemed even the rocks in the creek bed were usually “bone dry.”

 

After The Great Depression and World War II, the United States economy was strengthening. In the rural areas of the Ozarks, being “poor” is still a way of life.

 

In the early 1960s, the local power companies were working hard to provide, stable and reliable electricity.

 

Stone County, Missouri had a reputation of being one of the poorest counties in The Show Me State.

 

Traditionally in Missouri, statistics reveal “Mining” is the major source of manual labor income for the state. Farming comes in second. There were caves in Stone County, but no working mines.

 

Farming is hard work. Even with good weather and the money to buy seeds, livestock and equipment, farming is a full-time job to make a living.

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

Grandma DeLong like to sum up an economic situation as, “I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on an old settin’ hen with all her eggs rotten.” The purpose of this country statement was to point out that someone was “financially broke.” It was a common financial phrase that you heard in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

By 1960s, some farmers in Stone County had had it with “life on the farm.” Some people sold their farms and moved to other states. Some people stayed on their farms, but tried to get a “public job” at Silver Dollar City.

 

When it came to money in Stone County, Missouri and The Ozarks in the 1960s “people minded their Ps and Qs” and sometimes the lack of money was described as “Trying to get blood out of a turnip.”

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

Corn and tomatoes were the big income producing crops in Stone County, Missouri in my childhood in the 1960s. There were always stories of some of the corn being used to produce “moonshine” and “white lightning.”

 

In the early 1980s, I was “home on leave” from the military and a family friend unscrewed the lid on a Mason jar and asked me if I wanted some of the clear liquid.

 

I thanked him, but decided not to drink the “white lightning.”

 

The geography of Stone County had some cliffs and bluffs in the landscape of the hills and hollers. When the soil was too rough, rocky or poor to raise any other crop, usually the farmer would sew cane and other pasture grasses.

 

Fertilize was not all that expensive, but, the amount needed to nourish the soil and get crops to grow was sometimes too big a chunk of money out of a farmer’s budget.

 

Uncle Richard had one field beside State Highway 176, that the family called, “The Cane Field” because it was too rocky and the soil too poor for any other crop. The cane was used to feed to the cattle in the winter time,

 

Spring and summer usually the crops grew well and there was plenty of pasture to feed the livestock. Farmers didn’t get rich, but they made “the ends meet.”

 

Deep Freeze

 

Winter in southwest Missouri in the 1960s was always Armageddon. Fields were buried under blankets of deep snow. The important contribution of the deep snow and cold temperatures is the weather would kill off chiggers, ticks and snakes as long as farmers burned the brush in their fields and hollers in the early falls.

 

Burning the tree leaves in the hollers that fell kept deep leave beds from filling up the hollers. In the winter time, chigger, ticks and snakes would burrow into the deep leaves to try and wait out the winter until spring.

 

Southwest Missouri’s picture postcard “snows” were efficient in freezing farm ponds, which stayed frozen unless you broke the ice with an ax for the cattle to get a drink.

 

The weight of a Black Angus, Polled Hereford, Jersey or Holstein cow would sometimes shatter the ice and a cow could drown trying to get a drink of water in the winter.

 

Later in the 1960s, someone invented a device to stick in farm ponds in the winter to keep the water from freezing.

 

The deep freeze of the Ozarks in winter would freeze trees. The weight of ice on the limbs would cause the limbs to fall and take down electric lines. If you were lucky, you would be without electricity for a day.

 

On average people usually went without electricity for two to three days usually two to three times,during winter from October through April. The worst case scenario meant you would go without electricity for one to two weeks during the winter.

 

A Country Mile

 

The strength of my childhood came from my family in the Ozarks. Momma, Grandma DeLong, Uncle Richard, Uncle Hobert, Aunt Mary, and Cousin Donna were my family in the Ozarks.

 

In Houston, Texas, I could step out in my front yard. Donna and Debbie Brinkley from the house next door only had to walk out their gate and a few feet to walk into my yard for us to play.

 

In the Ozarks, neighbors always seemed to live a country mile from your front door.

 

Thelma Thomas was my closet neighbor in 1960 and she lived about a tenth of a mile from my front door on top of a hill. Her kids were grown with families of their own.

 

The Galena School District usually included Jenkins and Wheelerville, Missouri, which was only a few miles from Crane, Missouri. And, Crane, Missouri was 10 miles from Galena.The district would extend south to almost Reeds Spring, which was about 15 miles from Galena.

 

Many of my classmates would have to do chores before catching the school bus in the morning. The bus ride for some of the kids meant they were on the school bus for two hours before they arrived at Galena Elementary or Galena High School. After school, they would spend two hours on the bus once it left the school.

 

You would see classmates in school, but the distances and the rural road conditions to their parents’ farms meant that “visits” and social interaction was almost impossible, except for possibly on the weekend.

 

Crane, Missouri was only 10 miles from Galena and we usually only went grocery shopping in Crane on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

Children of the 21st Century will think I grew up in The Dark Ages because there was no Internet, no facebook, no twitter, no computers, no X box, no play station and no cell phones.

 

Yes, there was “Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics.”

 

Fire had been discovered. My father always carried his Zippo cigarette lighter.

 

We didn’t have to use stone tablets and chisels because there was an archaic device called, a typewriter that used ribbons, bond paper and carbon paper that helped people put words on paper for future generations.

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

Telephones were being installed in homes, near Galena and Abesville, Missouri.

 

In order to have a telephone in your home if you lived near State Highway 176, you had to be willing to be on “a party line”, which meant when your phone rang, your neighbors telephone gave off a jangle sound,

 

There was one public telephone booth in Galena, Missouri. The phone booth was on the sidewalk by the US Post Office, next to Floyd’s Barber shop, which was next to Rose’s beauty shop, which was next to the Hillbilly Cafe and sat across the street from the courthouse. In 2011, that area is now a parking lot for The Stone County Judicial Center.

 

The reason why the telephone was so important in 1960 was it allowed Momma to call Daddy in Texas and he could call her from Texas. Grandma and Uncle Richard never had a telephone. DeLong and Warren family members, who lived in other states could call us and we could call them.

 

In the 21st Century, when it seems children own a cell phone as soon as they learn to speak; it may be hard to imagine the importance of a telephone in your home, but, imagine for a moment that you lived in the snow and ice of the South Pole and you were trying to make a phone call to your grandparents in the United States.

 

If your grandparents lived in a city like Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, it would be easy for them to place a call. But, if you lived in a remote location at the South Pole, there might not be phone lines or cell phone towers, so you might not get the phone call.

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

This old spring is on Warren Land in Stone County, Missouri. The Ozarks area of the United States has always been difficult for “people to live off the land” because the soil is poor and rocky. If you need rain; you will get a drought. If you need sunshine;you will get a flood. Nature seems to enjoy working against farmers. Wildlife and insect pest can have a negative effect on crops. The Old Traditional Ozarks Hillbilly concept portrays citizens as dumb and lazy. The truth is an Ozarks Hillbilly is one of the smartest and hard working people, you will ever meet because they use their elbow grease and common sense to work a “Miracle” on stubborn pieces of land to earn a living and raise their families. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

When you think of “The Ozarks” in the 1960s; you understand the word, “Miracle” is a reality.

 

The Ozarks’ lunar style geography of cliffs and bluffs, poor soil, an over abundance of rocks, moody weather, predator wildlife like wolves and coyotes as well as insect pests; it is a “Miracle” that people were able to live, earn a living, and sometimes prosper in this section of the United States.

 

When you are a child, you open your toys on Christmas Day. Underneath the Christmas Tree, you begin to play with the toys.

 

As a young man, you can find yourself trying to decide if you want to go “Home For The Holidays.”

 

As a senior citizen you can sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of egg nog and remember the toys and the celebrations. When you look back long enough at your childhood, you really begin to understand and appreciate the sacrifices that your parents made for you.

 

At last, you can understand, the challenges, costs,hard work and the effort that your parents made to make Christmas seem like a “Magickal Holiday” that simply happens.

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Crafts, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Nature, Opinion, Patriotism, Rocks, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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“Blackouts In Leyte” — The Electricity Editorial

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Blackouts

In

Leyte

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In the United States, when the lights go out, people shout, “Blackout.” In the Philippines, when the lights go out people shout, “Brownout.”

Perhaps, the term, “brownout” seems more politically correct or suggests that the power outage may not last as long as a “blackout.” Despite the political correctness of words, I like the term “blackout<” because when the lights go out – day or night – you are “in the dark.”

The major drawback to life on the island of Leyte, in the Republic of the Philippines is obviously “electricity.”

Frequency Of Blackouts – “Preposterous, Ridiculous,

Nonsense”

The frequency and the number of “blackouts” since December of 2011 until the day I started to write this article, August 8, 2012, brings the words, “preposterous”,“ridiculous”, and “nonsense” to mind. Sometimes the “blackouts” last several hours as in 12, 16 or a whole day. Sometimes the “blackouts” only last a few minutes. What is frustrating about the “blackouts” is the frequency. Hardly, a 24-hour period goes by that there is not at least one “blackout.”

Government Seeks Answers

A couple of months ago, the Philippine government announced that they had questions about the high electric bills that citizens on the island of Leyte had to pay. I haven’t seen anything in the newspapers recently on the situation.

The most frustrating factor of daily life in Leyte is the unreliability of electricity. The electricity is as unreliable as the political campaign promises of an American presidential candidate. I could appreciate the circumstances if I knew that electric company officials were working to solve the problem. But, I haven’t seen or heard anything in the news media to suggest that anyone is doing anything.

Rural Missouri Blackouts

As a boy in Missouri in the 1960s, I knew that come the winter months, there would be probably a couple of times during the winter, when we would be without electricity for two to three days. Snow and ice would collect on tree limbs and either the limbs or trees would fall on power lines and then the electric company would have to locate the tree and try to repair the line. By the 1980s, power outages in winter time in rural southwest Missouri had become one of those events that usually belonged “to the memories of childhood.”

Why The Blackouts ?

I don’t know why there are so many “Blackouts” in Leyte ?

I can theorize that the island infrastructure presents a challenge to maintaining a consistent and persistent supply of electricity. I have, no doubt, that weather situations like typhoons and monsoon rains bring havoc to power lines. I even imagine the number of household that rely on the electricity and the appliances and devices that they use are taking a toll on power consumption and supply. I am more than willing to give the power company the benefit of the doubt. I can understand and appreciate these limitations.

But. . .

On a sunny day, when it has not been raining and the power goes out – then, you wonder, “Why ?”

More than an annoyance or frustration, the “blackouts” are probably taking their toll in credibility. Leyte is a beautiful island, which should attract herds of foreign investors seeking to do business in the Philippines.

Profitable Population

This eastern visayas paradise – Leyte – offers a culturally diverse population. Chinese immigrants were among some of the first settlers to this island, so there is several Chinese businesses in Tacloban City.

Of course, the significant Spanish history and influence of the Philippines for more than 400 years is reflected in the Waray and Tagalog languages as well as cultural ideas and lifestyles.

The American presence at the beginning of the 20th Century, though World War II and until Mount Pinatubo brought the closure of Clark and Subic in the 1990s accounts for the wide use and understanding of English.

The Airport Of The West – Western World Ways

Thus, the Philippines in the Asia realm is “The Airport Of The West”, where people can land, stretch out, relax, rest and be ready to try and relate and communicate with a major section of the world that does not always understand, appreciate or have a way to communicate and relate to Western World Ways, in terms of ideas, or the English language.

People in the Philippines truly understand “The West.” The major reluctance of the use of English by Filipinos seems to be a “cultural shyness” in the use of English. Other English speaking citizens: Americans, Australians, British, Canadians and South Africans – are quick to “criticize” the use of English words and phrases.

Thus, the availability of a population that is accustomed to tourist, foreign business people and other languages should have foreign business investors beating down the door to offer employment to the population. Then, of course, “the lights go out.”

International Reporters and Photographers – Power Up !

If your editor sends you to cover breaking news in Leyte or another island of the Philippines. Before you dash to the airport, check your laptop battery and consider buying or packing another digital camera battery. Electricity is as reliable as an American politicians’ campaign promises – it isn’t !

In country, in Manila, Tacloban City, Tanauan and other large cities in the Philippines you can find the voltage regulators to handle the American 110 volts, but, if you get off a chopper, hop off a jeepney or a trike into the small villages and towns, the American laptop or American digital camera will have to use the power it has.

Remember, Canon and Nikon, are Japanese cameras that make American models to handle US voltage. Laptops bought in the US market are not designed to handle Asian 220 voltage. Know your gear, before you plug it into an Asian electric outlet. You might consider packing a small battery alarm clock and a small battery flashlight in with your camera gear to handle “blackouts.” Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


Voltage Regulator

The voltage regulator in the photograph was purchased at Citi Hardware in Tacloban City. The 578 Emporium and the Gaisano stores in Tacloban City usually have the voltage regulators for sale. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Big Hole In Your Wallet

My wife, Christy opened her, “CSW Cafe” in Tacloban City, near Leyte Normal University. Like any small businessman or businesswoman, she meets the daily challenges of business. Her cafe provides buffet style Filipino food in a bistro atmosphere Fortunately, in Tacloban City, the “blackouts” don’t seem to be as frequent as “out in the country” where we live.

But, when the power goes out – the air conditioning goes off and the tropical temperatures of the Philippines sends you looking for a shade tree or a cooler place to wait until the power comes back on.

Blackout” or “Brown out” – whatever you call the situation. The unstable state of electricity is more than frustrating or annoying – it comes down to “The Big Hole In Your Wallet.”

The Electricity Gamble

This morning, – “Blackout.” It lasted for five to ten minutes, while the kids got ready to go to school. Fortunately, the kids had already had their breakfast. Unreliable electricity is no doubt one reason, why people rely on small canisters of propane and a large hot plate appliance to cook meals, rather than an electric stove.

 

Camera
NIKON D100
Focal Length
58mm
Aperture
f/11
Exposure
1/30s
Camera
NIKON D100
Focal Length
58mm
Aperture
f/11
Exposure
1/30s

 

Gas Stove ?

The large appliance is a two burner hot plate. The line runs to a Recreational Vehicle-sized propane canister and is, essentially, a gas stove in Leyte. I have not seen any electric stoves and the frequency of “brownouts” and “blackouts” would explain why electric stoves, ovens and ranges are extremely rare, if at all. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The afternoon past without a “Blackout.” This evening – from now until midnight is still “a flip of the coin” because electricity in rural Leyte is “a minute to minute and hour to hour gamble.”

Without unreliable power, it makes it difficult for all businesses to do business. Unstable power means farmers and fishermen really have to rely on the daylight, in order, to be sure they can earn their day to day living.

Families in rural Leyte, seem to have adopted a “slot machine attitude toward electricity.” You realize some days are like pulling down the arm and watching the machine “hit”, “Three Across !” The dials click into place and you listen to the jingle and jangle of coins clanking into the tray.

Electricity Is A Slot Machine Gamble In Leyte

Pull the arm of any “One Arm Bandit” slot machine and watch the dials whirl. If the mechanical or computer programmed machine “hits” then you get a “payout” of tokens or coins.

 

Daily electricity in Leyte is like playing a slot machine. From second to second, minute to minute and hour to hour the dails whirl. Somedays in Leyte, the only “payout” of electricity is a persistent “blackout” that can last for minutes to several hours and there can be several “blackouts” on a given day.

 

And, like slot machines, it seems the electric bills can consume major portions of your wallet for an erratic payout of electricity over a month’s time. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Other days, you pull the arm and the dials spin. Clunk ! Clunk ! Clunk !

Nothing on the three dials match and those are the days, when the electricity may be on and off again several times throughout the day or the electricity may be out for several hours during the day or night. You almost have to have – A Slot Machine Attitude – because from sunrise to midnight, you never know what the celestial spinning of the dials of the cosmic electric slot machine is going to “payout.”

In the 21st Century, it is ridiculous for any citizens to have to try to farm, do business or live like 12th Century peasants. The peasants had daylight and candlelight. They used the daylight to accomplish the majority of the day’s tasks.

Keep The Candles Handy

Thus, somewhere on planet Earth, in the 21st Century, someone should hold “The Secret” or the knowledge to help the power companies of Leyte to figure out “How To Keep The Lights On” and make “Blackouts” a historical footnote of the past. Until then, don’t forget to keep your candles and box of matches from the sari-sari store handy.

Keep The Candles Handy

Local sari-sari stores in provinces in the Philippines are numerous and usually have a ready supply of candles and small boxes of matches. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Rocket’s Red Gare Over Galena Pride. Politics, Patriots

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Rockets’ Red Glare – Over Galena

Pride,

Politics,

Patriots

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Galena, Missouri is one of those Norman Rockwell towns that seems best represented by oil paint on canvas.

Galena, Missouri, a small town in the Heartland of America that gets immortalized by a Ralph Waldo Emerson or a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Galena, Missouri is the kind of small town that has New York City, Boston, Hollywood, teenagers in big city high school English classes smirking, “Yeah, Right, dude. Galena. Missouri – Like some small town like that ever existed Maybe, on Paramount’s back lot or in one of those writer guys’ imaginations.”

Galena, Missouri does exists

The Situation Report

Galena, Missouri is a small town of about 500 people in southwest Missouri. We are 78 miles from Joplin, Missouri, which makes us less than a hundred miles from the famous city in Kansas, named Galena.

There are actually eight towns or cities in the United States of America named Galena.

Galena, Kansas is a famous mining town.

Galena is a precious mineral used in lead and used in making ammunition.

The irony of Galena, Missouri is that an early explorer supposedly saw a mineral in the river that he identified as Galena and thus, Galena, Missouri would be born.

This Galena is a small town, which for decades boasted about being “The Float Fishing Capitol Of The World.” The Bill Rogers Motel on the the shores of the James River would welcome hunters and fishermen from throughout the United States.

Table Rock Dam went operational and people quit coming to Galena to go “float fishing.”

Hidden In The Hills

Most of Galena’s businesses in 2011 are out on the shoulders of the state highway. But, if you turn off the highway and go around the hillside or up the road into the city, you will find Galena. Missouri.

The 1920 Stone County Courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places is the hardest working tourist attraction in America because the building has offices, where work still gets done. The Bank of Galena Museum is the other tourist attraction in town. Outside of the funeral home, bank, medical lab, and the Masonic Lodge – basically, county government moved in to take over the abandoned storefronts of the square. The Baptist Church sits near, but not on the square. The new library is in town, but off the square proper.

Y Bridge Park

Over the railroad tracks, you find the Y Bridge Park, which sits directly across from a private home, which was Dick Lebow’s DX Service Station in 1960.

July 4, 2011 — In the city park, people began stopping by to see what the Galena Park Board was up to. The annual fireworks display is set up on the Y Bridge and people can watch from the park.

Mother Nature’s warm attitude sent people strolling into the snow cone concessions on the park grounds. Some grandparents looked for comfortable places to sit up their lawn chairs or a spot to sit on on the ground, while anxious parents rushed around making last minute preparations.

The dunking booth caused a few youngsters to limber up their arms for a possible future in the St. Louis Cardinals. Some kids smiled to show off their face painted kittens and flags. Meanwhile, parents, especially mothers, rushed about with wide pieces of ribbons and long stemmed flowers.

The long lowboy tractor trailer trailer sit front and center and commanded the center stage spot. Hidden behind patriotic pennants and beneath a humongous American Flag, the presence of keyboards, drums and displayed guitars suggested, “the band isn’t in the house – yet.”

An arched white metal trellis entwined in vines sprouts up on the flatbed trailer and like a fairy godmother, the young master of ceremonies seems to magically appear.

Tiny Tots Time.

Stone County’s smallest citizens make their debutante debut. The little girl’s stroll out on to the portable stage. The emcee asks questions and the youngest girls stare back at all the people in the crowd. Judges make their decisions and trophies are awarded to Stone County’s young future Miss America Contestants. Then, the band steps on stage and entertains with a variety of rock and roll and country and western music.

Meanwhile, Bingo is going on under the rural pavilion with the baby blue telephone poles. While the band plays, a few children dance to the music. Everyone is enjoying the sunshine and waiting for the fireworks. I wander around and take some photos for prosperity and my blog.

Then, I get asked if I want to call out Bingo numbers. Why not ?

The Aquamarine Compote

Back in the mid-1960s on the courthouse lawn, during a Stone County Fair, I and some devoted Bingo players settled in to a long highly polished dining room table to play Bingo, on the east lawn of the courthouse. They probably loved the game.

Me, I had my eye on an aquamarine compote to give my mother. That Bingo game lasted until midnight because I still remember how tired everyone seemed, when the person in charged announced the time and said that was the end of the night’s bingo.

I never did win the compote.

But, the man in charge of that Bingo game allowed me to pay ten dollars to buy the compote. At least, I got the compote for my mom.

Bingo Baby Boomer

This Fourth of July, I was willing to try my talents at calling out the numbers. I do have one of the best of all qualifications – I have a big mouth.

Most of the players seemed to be smiling and winning, so I kept calling out the numbers until the game ended before the fireworks started about nine p.m.

The people in the park seemed in a festive mood as I strolled out of the park to find a location to shoot fireworks photos. The number of people in the park reminded me of my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s: Election Night.

Election Night in the 1960s and 1970s, people would come to Galena for election results.

Give Me That Old Time Politics – Election Run Up

Politics in Stone County and Galena, Missouri in the 1960s was like being Neil Armstrong ready to step on the moon – it was an adventure. The excitement in the air was like taking the enthusiasm for the Academy Awards, the Miss America Pageant, The World Series and The Super Bowl and rolling it into one event called: Election Night.

In the 1960s, Independents were like wood nymphs no one could prove they existed – and no one cared.

In the 1960s, there were Democrats in Stone County, but, they were covert.

Democrats were like CIA agents – everyone suspected them of being Democrats, but know one knew for sure. Unless a Stone County Republican died in office and a Missouri Democrat Governor appointed a Stone County man to serve out the term – you never knew.

In the 1960s, Stone County still celebrated Galena’s favorite son, Dewey Short. The congressman had gotten Galena the Y Bridge and gotten Stone County Table Rock Dam and the United States Navy even named a ship, the U.S.S. Stone County. Thanks to Congressman Short’s popularity, no Republican would dare pass up Galena or Stone County.

Congressman Gene Taylor campaigned at political rallies in Stone County. I listened to State Senator Emory Melton at one of the political rallies. I even attended a political rally and fish fry at Shoals Motel for a Republican challenger to Sheriff Tommy Walker. Most of the aggressive, get out the vote, campaigns of the 1960s were not against Democrats, they were Republicans squaring off to take the county nomination in August for the November election.

Crane, Missouri – 38th Parallel Of Missouri Politics

The Crane Broiler Festival was always an important Political Demilitarized Zone: The 38th Parallel Of Missouri Politics. By the broiler festival in late August, Missouri Republicans had earned their local and county party nominations, showing up at Crane to make speeches always helped to bring hold out hardliners into the fold and to remind the people, who said, “I vote for the person; not the party” – that they weren’t in Kansas in ruby slippers – they were in Stone County, Missouri – where even Jesus Christ was expected to vote Republican!

In more than 50 years of life, I never recall a Democrat or an Independent ever speaking at The Annual Crane Broiler Festival.

Election Night In Stone County In The 1960s

Come Election Night, you knew collectively Stone County voted “A Straight Republican Ticket,”; what you didn’t know was how the rest of America voted?

Election Day people would begin drifting into Galena to wait for “the fireworks.” Once the polls closed, then, information would start to find its way around the square. There was always a carnival atmosphere in town. Galena, Missouri has always been a town that “rolls up the sidewalks after 4 p.m.,” but – election night people would sit on the courthouse lawn, camp out in one of the businesses on the square and wait.

A pickup would be parked on the street in front of the courthouse. In those days, the Stone County Health Center was Gene Hicks Cafe and Pharmacy. You could sit in the cafe and watch someone in the back of the pickup scrawling the changing election numbers on to the two joined and tepid blackboards. Some of the local old timers would camp out on the church style pew benches leaned up against one of the trees.

Everyone always waited for the results of two elections: The President Of The United States Of America and The Sheriff Of Stone County.

All the results were yelled out from the back of the pickup before the figures were scrawled on the board, but usually people only seemed to really care about who got the White House and who gets to be The Sheriff Of Stone County.

Sometimes some people would be concerned about who became The Governor Of Missouri and, in later years, some people seemed interested in who won election as County Clerk or one of the county commissioners – Usually, though, in Stone County – the President and the Sheriff were the Big Dogs that kept people on the edge of their seats.

While the fireworks exploded over head to announce the crescendo to this Fourth of July, I realized America Politics will be no less explosive in the 21st Century. The thunderous roar of the blasts served as a reminder that the political apathy that we tolerate keeps us as spectators on the bleachers in our own political processes.

We have to watch our politicians, listen to their words and watch their actions. We have to hold politicians accountable to maintain freedom. When we shrug off those responsibilities, then, we get less than we deserve. We get whatever is let at the bottom of the barrel.

Freedom should always be celebrated by the explosions and fireworks overhead. The loss of American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current state of America’s economy suggests that we may have shrugged off the political process once too often. We need to get back into the fray. We need to support Americans with vision for freedom and the future.

Generations of aspiring young pitchers and Miss America contestants have the right to expect more from the inherited legacy of their nation. Freedom should always be protected and celebrated, which is, no doubt, the lesson that The Founding Fathers intended to leave enshrined in our hearts.

Sam

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