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“Happy Birthday, Marife !”

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Happy Birthday, Marife !

May 29, 2012

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Birthday Girl – Marife Saldana Roa, the birthday girl, opens her birthday cards. The kids and Tito Sam used their best creative efforts to make some birthday cards for the special day. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Marife Saldana was about 14 when she came to Angeles City and her sister, Christy, enrolled her in Dau Academy.

The Sisters — Christy Warren and Marife Saldana Roa, the sisters, talk and joke for a fe moments, before the birthday party gets underay. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I met Marife, when she was the teenager.

Like her friends in the school’s white uniform blouses and required green skirts they talked about the things teenage girls talk about like: boys.

It was the late 1980s, so cell phones had yet to be invented, thus, classmates talked about things on the way to and from school

“Girl Talk” — Pina Gempis and Marife Roa talk in the kitchen. Pina spent the morning, cooking spaghetti and pancit canton for the birthday party. In the Filipino culture, pancit canton is the Filipino dish you expect to find at a birthday party because tradition states that pancit canton is a symbol of a long life. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

and on weekends because “texting” had yet to be invented.

May 29 is Marife’s birthday.

Even as a teenager, Marife had a smile and a quiet personality. In 2012, Marife is married to Ninoy Roa and the mother of four boys: Gilbert, Glen, Chrismar and Mac Mac.

“Happy Birthday to you.” — Christy Warren lights the candles on the birthday cake.
Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Today was a milestone, other than age. The last time Christy bought a birthday cake and had a birthday party for her sister, Marife, she was 16. Christy returned to the Republic of the Philippines in December 2011, and this was the first opportunity, she had to have a birthday party for her sister Marife.

Although Marife Saldana Roa is my sister-in-law, I have always believed, “She is the daughter I should of had.”  As a teenager, Marife was always respectful to her elders, did well in school, and never hesitated to use her English skills to tell me what was going on in school.  As a teenager, she always treated me like a father and since our return to the Philippines, Marife continues to be the daughter I should of had.

The Good Morning Bakery Birthday Cake. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

May 28, Christy went to the “Good Morning Bakery” in Palo and ordered the birthday cake. Christy looked through the pictures of the birthday cakes and picked out the design.  The selection of the birthday cake became a Major Military Operation because I went along to order the birthday cake.  I’m one of those people, who as a child was always “picky” about the kind of food I ate and “where I ate.”  As a senior citizen, I remain “picky” about my food from birthday cakes to anything I eat.

While the bakers were discussing the cake with Christy, I had questions about the size and flavor.  Christy remembered that Marife like vanilla.  One of the baker’s assistants brought out a cake pan to show up the size.  I took one look and figured three people would get birthday cake and everyone else would watch them eat.  I smiled and asked bigger.  The assistant then explained that they had a cake pan about twice the size.  I nodded, “Texas size.”

When selecting the novelty to place on the cake, Christy remembered as a teenager that Marife liked the TV show, “Darna.”  Darna is a Filipino super heroine, whose American counterpart is “Wonder Woman.”  Like “Wonder Woman” in the United States, “Darna” is a character in the Philippines that is always portrayed by the most beautiful Filipina actresses of every generation in the movies and on TV.  Darna has always been a positive role model for Filipina girls.

Back in the 1980s, whenever a Darna TV show or movie came on, I plopped down on the sofa beside Ramon and Marife to watch.  Thus, the Darna super heroine doll stood tall in a corner of the cake.

The Good Morning Bakery birthday cake was pleasing to the eye.  I was impressed by the taste.  The vanilla cake was moist to the tongue.  Regardless of where I have been in the world and had birthday cakes or wedding cakes, one thing I always remember is that sometimes the cakes are dry.

Once the cake comes in contact with your tongue you dash like a man in the desert for the nearest source of liquid to quench your steel wool thirst.  Christy overcomes the dryness problem with cakes by using butter to keep the cake moist.

Christy Warren serves up a helping of birthday cake and pancit canton to Edwin Mora. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I do not know how the Good Morning Bakery kept this cake moist, but it passed my tongue test and I enjoyed the cake.  Naturally, I would of liked the cake to be a tad more moist, but, when it comes to food I am “picky.”  I am a Scorpio, but, when it comes to food, my taste buds and stomach are obviously Virgo in the extreme – my eyes and digestive system give new meaning to the phrase, “Attention To Detail” and the word, “Perfection.”

The smiling faces of the attendees and the second-helpings were a testament to the flavor of the birthday cake.  And the icing was a favorite with the adults as well as the kids.

Marife is not the only Saldana relative, who celebrates May 29 as the birthday. Randy Abano, a second cousin, is a close family member, who also shares the Gemini day.

All Western astrological signs have their positive and negative values and Gemini is a sign often considered to be “moody.”  However, Marife and Randy remind me of  the famous American Gemini, who served as a United States Navy PT boat commander, who went on to become a great American President – John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Before the birthday party began, Ranyiel Saldana handed one of the pet pigeons to Randy Abano to examine. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Randy is a quiet young man, who is always ready to help out.

Perhaps, he is “picky” about dating because he is still a single man.

Before I conclude this birthday article, I leave my readers two points to ponder.

Point Number One

In my lifetime, at birthday parties, I have always noticed that usually it seems the birthday boy or the birthday girl is expected “to cut the cake.”  Why is that ?

The birthday is the day of days, when the individual can truly celebrate the anniversary of their birth into this world.  It is the one time every year, when every man, woman and child should be respected as one of “God’s unique gifts to the Universe.”  While family and friends usually do try to honor the person, the glitch always seems to come at cake time.  Instead of a family member or friend stepping up from the ranks to do the honor, the birthday boy or birthday girl is usually left positioned behind the cake to decide how to cut if, while the fate of the Free World and human civilization hangs in the balance.

Someone hands them a knife, and leaves the birthday boy or birthday girl to decide, “How do I cut the cake ?”

On my birthday, I always smile, step back and would hand the knife to my mother, Cousin Donna, or my wife, Christy, and reply, “I do a lousy job of cutting a cake.”  I knew my talents in life did not include cake cutting, thus, one of my trusted love ones had to have a more precise skill of cake cutting than I would ever master.

In my experience, most people usually stand there bewildered until some hungry family member takes pity and decides to step up to assist.  I am no protocol person, but on someone’s special day, the goal is to honor and celebrate their birthday.  Thus, it should already be decided long before the traditional song is sung, who will step up to assume command of “The Cutting Of The Cake.”

Point Number Two

Most often a Wedding is an expensive personal ceremony that ranks right up their with Presidential Ignauration Ceremonies.  All the planning, pomp and circumstance goes into planning weddings as though it were a re-enactment of “The D-Day Landing.”  After the traditional “cutesie moment” of the bride “smushing” cake into her new husband’s face and him doing likewise to his new wife, then, the marvelous machinery of the wedding celebration rockets into high gear and the wedding cake is quickly distributed to the masses.

Unfortunately, Birthday Celebrations are sometimes one of those “Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants” events that suggests you are making it up as you go along.  The best birthday celebrations always seem to collapse like a fallen cake at serving time.  One reason maybe the absence of the ingenious device – “The Cake Server” – a utensil shaped like a pizza slice with a laid back L shaped handle that allows the utensil to slide in under the cake and raise it triumphantly in one piece up into the atmosphere.

Without the cake server, people’s stomachs always override their sense of logistics and spoons and forks are stabbed at the cake like prehistoric cave people trying to free the charbroiled dinosaur bone from the family flame pit.  It is a given, that the piece of cake will wobble and collapse like a badly constructed tower, near, and sometimes actually in the plate.  My solution is to use a knife and a fork or spoon to actually “balance” the piece of cake to the nearby plate.  My crude forklift tactic usually prevents the cake from becoming a Tower of Babble re-enactment.

The Royal Imperial Professional College of Birthday Cake Taste Testers — of any country is kids. The Saldana and Roa kids enjoyment of The Good Morning Bakery of Palo’s birthday cake quickly attained a positive five-star rating from the M &Ms, to the vanilla flavor and the icing. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Of course, Marife and Randy’s birthday party went off without a hitch because Christy Warren is a natural born protocol officer.  I suspect my wife must have been a protocol officer at a Royal European Court in one of her past lives.

Thus, when it came time to blow out the candles Marife and Randy made their wishes and blew out the candles.

The Birthday Dignitaries – Marife Saldana Roa and Randy Abano gather around the birthday cake, while Ann Ann Natividad watches in the background. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Happy Birthday, Marife ! Happy Birthday, Randy !

Sam

Life in the Ozarks Snapshots Feature – SUMMER DAYS ON HORSE CREEK

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Life in the Ozarks Snapshots Feature

SUMMER DAYS

ON

HORSE CREEK

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The far cattle gate of Warren Land is just a skip, hop and jump from Horse Creek Road , as the crow flies.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is one of the first views you see after turning off of MIssouri State Highway 176 on to Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Usually when someone mentions “Horse Creek,” you think of the church that holds regular religious

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

services as well as weddings and funerals. I even took my camera and shot a wedding at the Horse Creek Church around 1986.

Visitors and tourists to Missouri sometimes have a different reason to “go down Horse Creek” : James River.

The Missouri Department of Conservation maintains the H.L. Kerr Access down on Horse Creek Road, which has a boat ramp that allows people to be able to put their boats in the James River. During the Spring and Summer, traffic passes the house and turns off the main highway to “go down Horse Creek.”

The Horse Creek Swimmin’ Hole

One of my fond memories of Horse Creek is I almost drown in Horse Creek as a child. Uncle Richard had taken, my cousin, Donna and I to Horse Creek to “go swimmin.’” It was in the early 1960s and, basically, Horse Creek was just a local “swimmin’ hole. People knew about “float fishing” on the James River, but Horse Creek didn’t have the popularity it has in 2011.

In the 1960s, the orange life vests weren’t that popular for use up and down the James River. Table Rock Dam had only been up and running a few years. Southwest Missouri had yet to become associated with water sports. Fisherman and professional anglers came to Galena to go “float fishing” or to fish for bass and catfish, but canoes and kayaks were not usually associated with the James River in and around Galena. Fishing and not boating was the allure that brought people to Galena and the James River.

Us, Stone County kids went wadin’ into the water to look for minnows and tadpoles. We, local kids called it “swimmin’, but, basically, we would sit on our backsides in a shallow spot in the river and lean forward so that our heads stuck just above the water. We’d move our arms and pretend to be swimmin’.

I hadn’t learned to swim.

Donna, really knew how to swim.

Donna and I were playing on old automobile inner tubes, near the shore. I hadn’t been paying attention to the current in James River, which had carried me farther from the shore than I needed to be.

Needless to say, I paniced! I hooted like an owl ! I screeched like a banshee ! Donna was in the water near the shore.

Uncle Richard had been “hard of hearing” since birth. I’m screaming my lungs out ! I’m scared. I’m frightened. I’m frantically waving my arms. The river current has carried me from the safety of my shallow spot. My feet aren’t touching the bottom anymore !

Donna saw me and must have thought I was fooling around in the water. She just looks at me. I’m waving my arms like a puppet with broken strings and screaming. Suddenly, she starts to slowly swim toward me.

I had gotten a whistle out of a box of Cracker Jacks, which I wore on a string necklace around my neck. I’m screaming ! I’m blowing the whistle fiercely for help. I’m bobbing around in the water like a fisherman’s busted bobber.

I go under !

I come up!

Water in my eyes blurs my vison, which only frightens me more. My hands thrust out. I slap the water ! I go down into the water again. When I come up, the toy whistle is full of water. All I’m blowing is wet air.

Donna is swimming toward me. I’m reaching out and shreiking ! I’m about six or seven years old, so I’m freaking out !

I see Uncle Richard, on the bank, at the back of the old black 1952 GMC pickup – naturally, he has his back to me. I look and Donna is swimming faster toward me. I struggle to stay afloat.

Fortunately, Donna reaches me.

I survived that day on Horse Creek in the James River.

Birthday Party At Horse Creek On James River

My childhood friend, Jack Gordon had a birthday in August. His mother, Loretta, and my mother, Opal, were friends. Thus, for a year or two Jack would have his birthday party at Horse Creek and all us kids would wade or swim in the James River.

One of the nice scenic views of Horse Creek is the massive bluffs that tower over James River at that location in the river.

People come from around the United States to “float fish” or canoe the James River. Still, as a child, I only went down Horse Creek to go swimmin’.

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m sure, the Missouri Department of Conservation has rules and guidelines on safety in and around Horse Creek, which would be posted on their website.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see traveling along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Take the advice of a Stone County Old Timer, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation websites and their blog. Read and pay attention to the information, so when you visit Horse Creek and James River you’ll have an idea of how to go about wisely and safely enjoying your time on the river.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 2 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. The bend in the left hand side of the road shows trees that were damaged in the thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 3 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. The trees on the right hand side of the road in this photograph were damaged during a thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri is 78 miles from Galena, Missouri, but the thrunderstorm collapsed at least six turkey houses along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road. One person reported witnessing two funnels touchdown and pass through Abesville, Missouri, which is about four miles from Horse Creek Road. The trees damaged in this photograph reveals another location along Horse Creek Road where the violent winds of the thunderstorm made a path through the trees, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 1 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. The trees in this photograph were damaged during a thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri is 78 miles from Galena, Missouri, but the thrunderstorm collapsed at least six turkey houses along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road. One person reported witnessing two funnels touchdown and pass through Abesville, Missouri, which is about four miles from Horse Creek Road. The trees in this photograph reveal the brutal violence of the thunderstorm that spawned the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. The force of the winds that past through Stone County that evening twisted, snapped and even peeled some of the bark from these trees on Horse Creek Road. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Today, when I stroll over across the road into the cattle pastures of Warren Land, my farm dog, “Sarge”, sometimes likes to chase squirrels, raccoons and groundhogs through the cedar trees to near Thelma Clines old homeplace. Then, Sarge, dashes further into the woods to take a dip in the hidden cattle pond in the holler. I keep strolling through the pasture and Sarge knows that I’ll be waiting in the far cattle pasture by the end gate.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

At this gate, I can lean over the gate and watch vacation traffic round the curve and slow down to look for the turn off to Horse Creek.

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car window.. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In 2011, I can stand at the gate and watch the large recreational vehicles slow down to look for the county road turn off, Fancy dual wheel “babe magnet” pickups, pull their shiny, expensive bass boats, but, they too, slow down to look for the turn off. The brake lights come on and I know the vehicles are making the turn to “go down” Horse Creek to James River.

I pat Sarge on her head. “Time to head to the house, Sarge. Those people are going fishing on Horse Creek.”

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Right or Left ? Stone County’s Horse Creek Road merges into Missouri State Highway 176. If you turn left on to the state highway you will pass through Abesville, Missouri. If you turn right on to the state highway you will drive over James River and pass by Galena, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

HORSE CREEK – JAMES RIVER – LINKS

Horse Creek Road – Missouri Department of Conservation H.L. Kerr Access http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=6413

Hootentown – H.L. Kerr Access http://hootentown.wordpress.com/kerr/

Missouri Department of Conservation Fishing Prospects http://extra.mdc.mo.gov/fish/prospects/?m=14

Missouri Department of Conservation Missouri Watersheds http://mdc.mo.gov/landwater-care/stream-and-watershed-management/missouri-watersheds

Missouri Department of Conservation: Missouri Outdoors http://missourioutdoors.blogspot.com/2011/04/missouri-department-of-conservation_14.html

James River Basin Partnership http://www.jamesriverbasin.com/

Galena Y Bridge – Table Rock Lake Vacation Guide http://www.gotablerocklake.com/table-rock-lake/galena-y-bridge/galena-y-bridge.html

Southwest Missouri Conservation Areas List http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Missouri_conservation_areas_-_Southwest_region

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