Sam I Am Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘birthday

Princess Junea of the Philippines Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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PRINCSS JUNEA OF THE PHILIPPINES

Princess Junea

of the Philippines

 

Jun Jun Tanahale places the tiara crown on his daughter, Junea to celebrate her birthday. My philosophy of life states that every person who has ever lived, who is alive now, and who will be born is future years is a unique person. Every person should always celebrate their birthday – the anniversary of the day of their birth. Every girl should always feel like a princess on her birthday. Every boy should feel like a prince on his birthday. In the adult world, a woman should always feel like “Queen For A Day” on her birthday. A man should always feel like “King For A Day” on his birthday. Saturday, February 16, 2013, at One Warren Way in Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, Junea Tanahale celebrated her birthday with family and friends. Her Uncle Sam in observing the long standing tradition of women worldwide and is NOT publishing her age. And, a birthday party on the weekend is a Real World acceptance that it is easier for family and friends to be able to attend family events like birthday parties on the weekend, thus, her actual birthday is in the days ahead.Happy Birthday, Junea ! Nikon D 70 Photo by “Uncle Sam”uel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Opal The Business Woman Welder by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Parental Portrait for Christmas

 

Opal

The Business Woman

Welder

OPAL M DELONG WARREN_resized

 

Opal

Opal M. DeLong Warren was born in 1920, the year women got the “right to vote” in Missouri. Opal never claimed to be a feminist or a women’s libber, but, she bought land in Missouri in her own name at a time, when a woman usually had to buy land in her father’s name or a husband’s name. She bought land in Texas in her own name, when usually a woman had to purhase land in a father or husband’s name. When it came to “business”, Opal didn’t take risk. Her financial secret was, “she learned to save and manage her money.” During World War II, Opal worked as a welder in the Todd-Houston shipyard.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, began telling me her “business stories” as soon as my young ears could add meaning to sound.

 

Like my father, Samuel, my mother, Opal, had grew up “dirt poor.”

 

Aries Entrepreneur Grandfather

 

Charley Herman DeLong, my mother’s father, had been born an Aries. He apparently was an Aries man, who never succeeded in a business of any kind.

 

He had tried several different business enterprises in his life and never found his niche.

 

Grandpa DeLong didn’t make it as a farmer, but, his eldest son, Richard the Capricorn learned how to plant crops and raise livestock.

 

Grandpa had a short career as a fur trapper. But, he never made any money selling animal pelts, so his old animal traps got inherited by momma.

 

Missouri Moonshine Manufacturer

 

 

Grandpa DeLong even tried his hand at alcohol production. Not a wise decision, in the years, when “Prohibition” was “The Law Of The Land” in the United States.

 

One of momma’s earliest memories is that her father would have her stay in a holler, during the day, while he went to work deeper in the holler at an undisclosed location,

 

Of course, if their was any “commotion” in the woods, young Opal had been told to yell and run frantically through the woods screaming.

 

Grandpa like other “moonshiners” kept his still hidden in the woods. Unfortunately, the brewing process creates smoke that rises into the sky and can be seen for miles away, especially by the sheriff and deputies looking for the still.  THE LITTLE BROWN JUG OF STONE COUNTY MISSOURI_4584_resized

 

Momma told me she did remember Grandpa staying for a time in the courthouse at Galena. As a young girl, she got to “visit” him for awhile.    

This little brown jug belonged to Charley Herman DeLong, who tried his hand at making Missouri “Moonshine.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Stone County, Missouri courthouse records reveal “Grandpa DeLong” was a “guest of Stone County and The State Of Missouri.” He had been caught at his still and didn’t have money for bail.

 

Momma always told me she was “a daddy’s girl.” While momma respected and admired her father, she must of known in her heart that his lack of success in a legal business had to be one of the reasons it was difficult for the family to “make ends meet.”

 

Grandpa DeLong’s

Great Business Decision

 

Grandpa DeLong tried throughout his life to find a successful way to make money for his family. He made one great business decision that stood the test of time.

 

His signature is on the yellowing Bank of Reeds Spring “loan” paperwork where he signed for five dollars to “buy” a pear orchard. The Land joined Land already owned by the DeLong Family.

 

In The Great Depression, the purchase of the pear orchard was a “wise” decision. Commercial cattle and hog feed had not been introduced into rural southwest Missouri farms beyond Greene County. Even if farmers knew about the feed, they would not of had the money to buy it. Cattle had to live off acorns and the pasture grasses and perhaps, some hay in the winter.

 

Hogs find food by routing their snouts in the soil and finding what they want to eat like roots, worms and snakes that slither away too slow.

 

The Slop Bucket

 

In the country, before the 1970s, homes didn’t have waste cans and trash cans. The Slop Bucket sit on the floor. Old dishwater, vegetable peelings, fruit rinds and old meat got dumped into the slop bucket.

 

Before nightfall, the slop bucket was taken down on the hill to the hog pen and poured into the trough. Hogs, “The Almighty’s Ultimate Shredding And Recycle Machines” would consume the kitchen garbage.

 

Hogs are “Bulldozers With An Appetite” because they drop their snouts in the soil and bulldoze away at anything that slips between their teeth.

 

Like people, hogs eat pears. While people pick the pears to eat right off the trees. The pears can also be chilled for use in a dessert. Grandma and other women, would save the pears for the “canning” process to save the pears in Mason jars.

 

Ozarks women were skilled at canning the fruit and using different fruits for preserves, jams and jellies.

 

Through the years, the pear orchard provided the DeLong Family, the hogs, and local neighbors with bushel baskets of pears for food. While the DeLong Family, to my knowledge, never charged anyone for picking pears, there are commercial orchards in the United States where the farmers charge people to pick the fruit,

 

The pear orchard is an excellent example of a piece of land that always paid for itself several times over until it was sold with the rest of the land in 2007.

 

Martha

My Virgo Agribusiness Grandmother

 

Grandma DeLong, a Virgo woman had to earn a daily living for the family. She would gather the chicken eggs, milk the cows to churn butter and then walk miles to a local store at Sack And All City, a rural grist mill and country store, or to Reeds Spring to sell them to a larger grocer.

 

In spring through autumn, Grandma and Uncle Richard would take the buckboard wagon into the woods to cut down trees for two weeks at a time, They would take the logs on the wagon to Reeds Spring to sell to the Union Pacific buyer, who bought the logs for railroad ties.

 

On the DeLong Land in Stone County, Missouri, Grandma DeLong always “put out” a large “truck patch” garden. She would use her “Ladies’ Birthday Almanac” to plant the vegetable seeds in the “sign.”

 

Blackberry Season and Gooseberry Season, Grandma DeLong would “fetch” her bucket and head off down over the hill into the hollers to pick the berries for pies, cobblers and canning.

 

The Tree Tragedy

 

On one of these annual berry-picking trips, one of grandma’s sisters from Springfield had come to visit for the day. Grandma’s sister went into the woods with the rest of the women to pick berries. A tree fell on the woman.

 

An obituary in the Springfield newspaper recounts the tragic accident. The old tree simply fell and the woman was unable to move out of the path of the falling tree.

 

The Land Plan

 

My Virgo grandmother with the help of Richard, her eldest Capricorn son always made the ends meet to raise the rest of the family whether they lived in a holler, near Reeds Spring, or out on the highway between Galena and Abesville.

 

Grandma and Uncle Richard raised the livestock and the crops that paid for the DeLong Land between Galena and Abesville. Uncle Richard worked with an extension agent to get two ponds dug and stocked on the farm with catfish.

 

Human Shock Absorbers

In his younger years, Uncle Richard would break the ground by Highway A and plant rows of corn. One year, Cousin Donna and I sat on the disk harrow that was attached to the back of the John Deere A Model tractor.

 

A huge rock surrounded by bailing wire was tied to each end of the harrow to try to keep the metal frame weighed down close to the soil. I and Cousin Donna were the human weights that sat on the plow.

 

The slender metal disc points went down into the soil and kept digging up rocks of all sizes from Stone County’s rocky, dusty, light gray soil. By day’s end, Cousin Donna and I looked like we were covered by the volcanic ash of Mount Pinatubo.

 

The soil had been broke to plant the corn. We had sat on the plow, which had been dragged over the acreage to break the soil. The Life Of A Human Shock Absorber is not a job I ever wanted after being bounced around over the countryside for 12 hours.

 

Farm Ponds For Fishing

 

The ponds provided water for the cattle, hogs and a few head of horses and mules. Uncle Charley Ball, of Springfield, Missouri, always looked forward to the visits to “Richard and Marthy” because he could take the fishing rod out of the back of his green 1952 Chevrolet sedan and go sit on the pond bank to fish and smoke his pipe.

 

Grandma and Uncle Richard’s agricultural business decisions allowed the DeLong Family to farm and own 360 acres, on both sides of State Highway 176 in Stone County, in southwest Missouri from the 1930s until 2007.

 

Opal’s First Public Job

 

Opal had always been tall for her age. She went to school and learned to cook for her brothers, who were out in the fields farming, near Reeds Spring and later, near Abesville, Missouri.

 

At a young age, Opal worked for a few weeks cleaning house for a woman in Galena, known as “Grandma Stewart.” She lived in a white house, across the road, in front of the Warren Lumber Yard. “I made 25 cents a week. I got paid to clean her house,” said Opal.

 

Opal’s First Public Job of earning a regular salary was in northern Missouri.

 

Brother Willie decided to become an “outdoors man” and lived off the land, near Reeds Spring and James River, hunting and fishing. Willie had a son, Harold, and a daughter, Reva. His life ended abruptly at a country wedding reception, near Reeds Spring, in the early 1930s.

 

A gunman began shooting people and Uncle Willie was fatally wounded.

 

Brother Hobert moved to a farm near Abesville. He and his wife, Mary had two sons, Bill, Bob and a daughter, Donna. Uncle Hobert always had the reputation of being a “marksman” and an excellent hunter. He would always return from the woods with “a mess of squirrels or rabbits” for dinner.

 

Brother Joe went to work for the Burlington Northern railroad and later retired back to Stone County, Missouri. He had a daughter, named Darlene, who lives in Michigan.

 

Opal, my Pisces mother, learned how to drive by sitting in a Ford Model T and having one of her brothers push the vehicle at the top of a hill. “As the vehicle rushed down off over the hill on the rough, gravel farm road, the engine would start. I would hold on to the steering wheel and turn it to keep the Model T in the road. That is how I learned to drive,” said Opal.

 

At about age 16, Opal hitchhiked up to northern Missouri and got a job on the Illinois and Missouri border, near St. Charles, Missouri. She was tall for her age, so no one asked for an I.D., and momma got her first job as a clerk in a “liquor store.”

 

She only worked at that job a few months, but, in the process, discovered “relatives” on her mother’s side that she never knew existed.

 

Carol Jane Bellamy

Sagittarian Family Banker

 

My great-grandmother and my mother’s grandmother,Carol Jane Bellamy, a Sagittarius woman, had left northern Missouri and moved to Stone County, Missouri sometime near 1900.

 

Great-grandmother Bellamy the Sagittarian, outlived her first husband. When her second husband didn’t want to leave northern Missouri. My great-grandmother embraced the Sagittarian passion for travel and the maternal love for her daughters and son and left her husband for a chance at a better life in Stone County, Missouri.

 

It was the right decision. Grandma Bellamy raised her children and became a financial role model for her Pisces granddaughter, Opal.

 

Momma always remembered, everyone was poor, but, Grandma Bellamy never went hungry and she kept her children from going hungry by always having enough money for food.

 

Long Lost Relatives

 

A woman who walked past the liquor store thought my mother looked familiar. She went in and talked to her, A few days later, the woman returned with a photo album. She asked momma if any of the people in the photographs looked familiar. Momma recognized a maternal aunt in one of the photos. Suddenly the family connections to northern Missouri cousins became clear and obvious.

 

You Have To Earn Your Way In The World

 

A young woman of The Great Depression, momma knew “You have to earn your way in the world,” Momma loved to remind me, “The world will not ‘give’ you a living; you have to ‘earn’ your way in the world. Work for what you have and want. No one is going to give you anything other than a hard time.”

 

Hospital Cook

 

Opal left northern Missouri and returned to Greene County, in southwest Missouri. For a brief time, she worked as one of the cooks at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

 

The old nuns on staff at the hospital were jealous of all the young girls on the staff and in the nursing school. They had all kinds of rules that made work and life difficult because they were always looking over your shoulder,” said Opal.

 

The cooking job at St. John’s didn’t pay enough to put up with that kind of silliness from the old nuns. I quit and found another better paying job that allowed me to make my own decisions about my life,” said Opal.

 

Railroad Bar And Grill Waitress

 

Then, momma went to work at a bar for railroad men, near Commercial Street in Springfield Missouri, and close to the Frisco railroad yard.

 

The railroad men worked hard and would come into the bar for something to eat or drink. I never had any problems being a young girl and working there. Times were tough. No one really had any money. You usually made enough just to get by from week to week,” said Opal.

 

The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor

 

I’ll never forget the day World War II started for the United States. I was sitting in a theater in Springfield, Missouri. They stopped the movie. The house lights came on. They made the announcement over the loud speaker that Pearl Harbor had just been bombed,” Momma said.

 

I was a young woman in Springfield. At the time, I was engaged to Lowell Wilson, a young Marine. His parents owned the Cortez Motor Court in Springfield. I really wasn’t ready to get married.”

 

When the war broke out, I talked to some other young women, who had joined the Army and the Navy in Springfield. I had my heart set on joining the Army for a time. There was an Army camp in Springfield. You could join up and serve, without ever leaving Springfield they told me,” said Opal.

 

Opal and another waitress at the railroad bar talked about the war. Then, on a whim, they went to the Greyhound bus station. They looked up at the destinations and chose Texas.

 

Momma and her friend, knew no one in Texas.

 

The Bus Trip

 

The decision was one of the craziest things I have ever done. I still don’t know why I did it. My friend and I were just tired of living and working in Springfield. We had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. We just went for a bus ride. We got on and off at the different stops,” said Opal.

 

We got off the Greyhound in Dallas. We looked around. She liked the look of Dallas and didn’t get back on the bus. I got back on the bus. When the bus, stopped in Houston, I got off and decided I liked the looks of Houston,”said Momma.

 

I walked out of the bus station and had no idea what I was going to do. I only had a few dollars left in my purse. I got a room at a boarding house, near the bus station for two dollars a week. The next day, I went out looking for work. I saw a newspaper ad that they were hiring welders at the Todd-Houston shipyard,” said Opal.

 

Bread And Water

 

I didn’t have any money for food. I just had a few cents left in my wallet, so I bought a couple of slices of bread. Water was free. I got a glass at the boarding house and got me a glass of water to have with my bread,”said Opal.

 

The heat in Houston would wear you out just walking up the street. There was an old electric fan in the room. I drew a tub of cool water and took my clothes off. I got in the tub, ate my bread and drank my water,” said Momma.

 

She had an overnight bag and a small suitcase to put in the boarding room closet. “I got up and got dressed the next day to go out looking for a job. I had a nice white satin blouse I wore. I got the job and they sent me straight to welding school the same day,” said Opal.

 

The Satin Blouse

 

Arc welding throws off sparks that hit my blouse all over. By the end of the day, I had all these tiny burnt pinholes all over my blouse. I was so embarrassed. I hunkered over in the bus seat. I kept my head down and my arms folded hoping that no one would notice how my skin was showing through the blouse. That was the longest bus ride home that night,” frowns Momma.

 

Anyone who ever met Opal M. DeLong Warren knew she was not the type of woman to act on a “whim.”

 

Youth can trump logic and common sense. The optimism of youth can shrug off the “Fear Of The Unknown.” Young people don’t fear the future; they challenge it.

 

Opal stayed on the job at the shipyard throughout the war building ships for the United States Navy, United States Merchant Marine, United States Coast Guard and welding on the “liberty ships.”

 

We were always so proud whenever we finished one of those big, beautiful ships. We would attend the christening and watch the ship slip down the rails of the dry dock into the water. Then, I would get sad. I would think about all the boys, who were going to sail on that ship into war,” said Momma.

 

The FBI Special Agent

 

Another welder at the shipyard, introduced himself to Opal. “He was a lousy welder. You would always have to go back, chip away at his welds and brush away the slag metal. Then, you would have to run a good bead of metal over the work. I couldn’t imagine why the bosses at the shipyard didn’t fire this man. We always had to go back over his work,” said Opal.

 

FBI LOGO_resizedHe invited me for a cup of coffee a couple of times. I always turned him down. “Then, one day, he came clean. He admitted he was an FBI agent working under cover. At first, I thought he was pulling my leg.”

 

A few days later, he did show me his badge. During the war, there was always the fear of saboteurs. There were posters all around the shipyard and the bosses and the foremen would always remind you, ‘Loose Lips Sinks Ships,’”said Momma.

 

He told me he had been sent there to look for someone. He didn’t get specific. I didn’t ask questions. He wanted me to introduce him to some of the workers around the shipyard and I did. He must of got whoever he was looking for. A few weeks later, we gave him a going away party as a welder, who was leaving,” said Momma.

 

Dollar Document

 

She reaches into her purse and takes out a one dollar bill. Carefully, she holds it and a portion of the dollar folds back. “I had never seen anyone split a dollar bill this way. At the party, he asked me for a dollar. I watched him move it between his fingers, until it started to separate. Then, he had people at the party sign the inside of the dollar bill. He laughed and told me, now, I had a souvenir to remember him by.” Momma laughs,”I still remember, he was a lousy welder.”

 

Lousy Painter

 

Opal became a shop steward at the shipyard. “I met your daddy at the shipyard. After he got his honorable discharge from the Army, he got on out at Todd-Houston as a painter. A friend set me up on a blind date for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t impressed.

 

Your daddy was a lousy painter. A friend told me later that the first time Sammy seen me, he told his friend, ‘I’m going to marry that woman.’ I accepted his invitation for a second date. We started dating. Then, in January of 1947, we got married,” said Momma.

 

Samuel E. Warren made a smart decision to marry Opal M. DeLong. His second smart decision was to marry her on his birthday, which meant he would never “forget” his anniversary.

 

Family Is Everything

 

Momma always stressed the importance of family to me in her business conversations. “You get many things in life. The only thing that matters is family. You get one mother. You get one father. Your brothers and sisters can’t be replaced. Once they are gone – they are gone. Always love and take care of your family. Family Is Everything,” she would emphasize time and again.

 

Momma told me that wherever she worked, she always sent money home to her mother. The psychology of the Ozarks at that time would never view the money as “charity.”

 

People in the Ozarks have a stubborn “work ethic.” The money was simply money from family for the family. And, family always takes care of one another.

 

Balancing The Books

 

As a kid, I would always smile whenever money changed hands in the DeLong Family. They always took a simple act of human kindness in the family and made it seem like Federal Reserve bankers accounting for each coin and currency in a US Mint shipment.

 

If Momma went to a grocery store and saw food or drink that grandma and Uncle Richard liked, she would buy it. Grandma DeLong always made Momma get her “change purse” and take out the money to pay for the groceries.

 

Uncle Richard always did the same thing if Momma picked up groceries or farm supplies for him.

 

It never mattered if the cost was a few cents or several dollars, Grandma and Uncle Richard always made sure Momma got paid back any money she spent for them.

 

Birthdays and Christmas were the only times that you could give Grandma DeLong or Uncle Richard a “gift” because they had the Ozarks belief that “You Pay Your Way In Life.”

 

Save And Manage Your Money

 

When Sammy and Opal got married,for a time, they lived at Opal’s apartment at 1414 Austin, Houston Texas. Opal M. DeLong Warren in her business stories always emphasized “Family” and “Save Your Money And Learn To Manage Your Money.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 7:35 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Editorial, Family, Money, Opinion, Stone County History

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Christmas Ops Underway One Warren Way

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Christmas Ops

Underway

One Warren Way

banner 3_resized

Big, Bold, Banner

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

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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

 

The year was 1955.

 

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

 

My birthday is my important and favorite holiday.

 

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

 

I leave the Number Two Holiday slot blank.

 

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

 

I quit getting “toys” for Christmas.

 

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

 

My childhood ended.

 

Christmas Christy

 

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

Christmas “IS” For Kids

 

My belief is Christmas is a Global Holiday For Kids.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Christmas Ops

 

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

Watercolor of christy cuts Fotosketcher_resized

Commander-in-Chief Pacific Operations for Christmas

One Warren Way

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ROY THE RHODE ISLAND RED ROOSTER THUMBNAIL

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

 

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

Banner photo 1_resized

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

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

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

 

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

 

I was a blessed little boy.

 

I was a spoiled little boy.

banner 2_resized

 

Write On !

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

Mission Success

 

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

 

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

banner 4_resized 

 

Commander Christy’s Christmas Commandos’ Creative Craft

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

 

My Christmas Wish

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Birthday Party

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Plan, Host, Entertain, Celebrate, Reminisce, Enjoy

 

The Birthday Party

1_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 002

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.

2_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 005

   

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.”

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  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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Operation Birthday !

with 6 comments

After Action Report – A Success !

Operation Birthday”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME CRYSTAL_1259_resized

"Happy Birthday To Me Crystal !"  –  Christy Warren dug up this crystal out of the ground in Arkansas, August 19, 2005, on her 40th Birthday  The crystal came from the ground near a crystal mine close to the Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  When Christy dug the big crystal out of the earth, she smiled and sang, "Happy Birthday To Me !"  The crystal still shines in her home in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.  Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Cooking. The reason Christy Warren was not looking forward to any birthday celebration this year came down to one word: “cooking.”

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Rinald cooks a dish for Christy Warren’s birthday.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Through the years, Christy, has always been the person, who almost always does the “cooking” for family and friends birthday celebrations. And, when “Her Day” arrives, she was the person, who did the “cooking” for her own birthday celebration.

Born a Leo, Christy, like all Leos, likes “being in the spotlight.” It helps to share your birthday with a famous American president: William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, born August 19, 1946. Christy Warren entered this life, August 19, 1964.

Like all Leos, Christy has the natural inclination “to keep an eye” on a project that she is in charge of. In her case, that usually means that she steps in from the “sidelines” and actually does the job herself. Military concepts like “Unity Of Command,” “Span Of Control,” and “Delegation Of Authority,” doesn’t conform to her “hands-on-do-it-yourself” approach.

Sunrise, August 19, 2012, while she had her morning coffee, I once again brought up the subject, “. . . so, what do you want to do for your birthday ?”

Fortunately, this year, there were options to the traditional birthday celebration. Rinald, a cook was available to cook for the celebration. Family stood ready to help: Marife, Christy’s sister, Ramon, Christy’s brother, Lanail, her sister-in-law, Ann Ann, a neighbor, and, of course, Christy’s husband, Sam.

One major factor in the Philippines, that isn’t always a issue in the United States with it’s “temperate climate” is “heat,” which is the hot and humid temperatures of the Philippines that always steps into place at sunrise. Air conditioning is not always as prevalent in the Philippines as it is in the United States.

Thus, the people working in the kitchen will have to endure the daily temperatures, as well as, the heat that the process of cooking gives off. Thus, imagine trying to prepare food for a birthday celebration in a sauna and you understand a major effort that goes into preparing the food.

Christy admits that one factor in her decision to move forward with the birthday celebration is Mac Mac Roa and Glen Roa. Mac Mac had a birthday, August 6. Glen had a birthday, August 8.

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Liraniza Abano, Christy Warren’s second cousin, and Catalina Saldana Mora, one of Christy Warren’s aunts visit with Christy before the party.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Unfortunately, daily activities did not allow for a birthday celebration, so I explained to the boys, that we would have to “postpone” the birthday celebrations. Thus, with Christy’s Birthday: we now had a chance to “set the record straight” and celebrate all three birthdays.

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Rachel and Randolph Mora and their mother, Babysel Mora, visit with Christy before the party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While the cooking staff began their preparations, Ramon, Gilbert, Ranillo and I are ready to go to a bakery in Palo for the birthday cake. Once, we start to travel down the Barangay Road, I tell Ramon, that I want to check out a bakery in Tacloban City.

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Nelda Lago . a neighbor, visits with Christy before the party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

We go to “Pannys” for the mocha birthday cake. Then, aware that children like “surprises” for their birthday parties, I come up with the idea of the Piñata. We head for the “578 Emporium” to find a “Piñata.” A salesgirl shows me the Piñata that has to be filled with toys and candy.

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Christy’s Aunts, Magdalena Patanao and Catalina Mora supervise the birthday buffet line, Jimmy Navoa and Kmar Patanao, Christy’s first cousins, start off the birthday buffet line.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

while supervise When I describe the slender wood tic-tac-toe device that I had in mind, she replies, “You want a Pabitay (pronounced “pah-bee-tie).” She points at the box of oversized tic-tac-toe wooden frames at the end of an alise. You still have to find the toys to tight to the pabitay, but, I was now one step closer to my idea.

Christy Warrens Birthday August 19 2012_Nikon D 100 Photo 0024_by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The kids “jump” up to get the toys that hang from the pabitay. 

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy Warrens Birthday August 19 2012_Nikon D 100 Photo 0025_by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

Gilbert and Ranillo help me shop for the trinket toys to tie to the pabitay. Whistles, yo yos, a couple of packs of balls and jacks, and a couple of small bottles of bubbles as well as Dragon ball trading cards compose the trinkets for the pabitay.

I always like to try and add some things that will catch the eye and inspire the kids, so I find a set of metal racing cars at a good price, a couple of magnetized chess travel sets and, after a quick visit to the nearby, Gaisano store, a die-cast metal miniature friction motor 747 airplane.

The toy manufacturers of the world really don’t seem to be all that creative in creating small trinket type toys for girls. Fortunately, I like a challenge. Since I remain “a kid at heart,” I know I will find something. I stroll into the doll section and begin the intense browsing procedure. I find a package of plastic rings and a card of play makeup for girls with two tiny lipsticks and a small compact.

Back at home, I ask Gilbert and Ranillo to put the toys into bags to tie to the pabitay. While they go to work in fixing up the pabitay, family and friends begin to arrive to help Christy celebrate her birthday.

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Andres Cinco, Analyn Natividad’s husband, looks over the pabitay.  He raised and lowered the pabitay to allow the children to “jump” up and get the birthday surprises.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Time for “Sam The Photographer.” I pick up the Nikon D 100, format the media card, and begin looking for moments that will become memorable photos.

Renald, the chef, prepares the Pancit Bihon, which is a classic Filipino dish that at birthday celebrations always symbolizes “the wish for a long life.” The Pork Asado, Filipino Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Rice are some of the dishes that find their way to the birthday table. Years of celebrations, suggest that the most efficient way to serve a large number of people quickly is to set the dishes and silverware at the end of the table and to allow the guests to select their own choices like in a buffet style restaurant.

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The Birthday Cake for Mac Mac Roa, Glen Roa and Christy Warren.  Mac Mac blew out the candle on the cake.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

After the birthday dinner, while the adults visit, the pabitay is hung up, so that it can be raised and lowered to allow the kids to “jump up and grab at the toys.” The kids get the toys and the destroyed pabitay is put aside for the recycle pile.

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Mac Mac Roa, Junea Tanhale and Vanissa Saldana play chess after the birthday party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While the adults talk, the birthday celebration stretches into the evening hours. Christy has managed to stay out of the kitchen all day and allow other family members to do the “cooking.” For “a hands on person”, like Christy, to be able to “delegate authority” to allow someone else to do a job is not a common condition.

Later, Christy logs on to facebook and reads the birthday wishes from some family and friends.  Those birthday wishes and the nieces and nephews birthday cards really added to the overall success of Christy’s birthday, this year, Sunday, August 19, 2012.

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Surprise of the Day  – While I had tried to plan all the surprises for my wife’s birthday party; my nieces and nephews delivered the surprise of the day.  They had created birthday cards for their Aunt Christy.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Looking around at the guests, I rate “Operation Birthday – A Five Star Success !”

Sam

The Most Important Holiday Of All–Your Birthday

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The Most Important Holiday Of All

Your Birthday

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My wife, Christy Warren’s birthday is August 19. This, August 16, 2012, I asked her if there was anything special that she wanted to do to celebrate her birthday.

“We have never really celebrated it before; why should this year be any different ?”

Granted, active duty military responsibilities had disrupted some birthday celebrations.

Even retirement is no guarantee of a successful birthday celebration.

Despite her comment to “cancel out” all of her previous “birthdays, I remember, her 24th Birthday, when friends and family gathered in Angeles City to celebrate her birthday. It was a great party, a lot of fun and a lot of photos.

After approaching the birthday issue from every conceivable angle,CHRISTY_ID_001_resized she admitted it was the experiences of past birthdays that had made her take a “let it pass” approach. Previous celebrations had her plan, prepare, cook and clean up the dishes afterward for her birthday celebrations. The annual tasking of preparation and responsibility had simply caused her to say, “Enough.”

Christy Warren

I Will Have My Day !”

I am a birthday person. I don’t believe anyone should ever blow off their birthday,

My birthday is the one day a year that I plot, plan, program, schedule and come up with methods to guarantee that “I Will Have My Day.”

In a 365 day year,(or a 366 day leap year) you would not think that the “freedom to celebrate on one day” could be such a major universal glitch – and, yet, bosses are not always quick to let someone off to celebrate their birthday. Thus, in the military, I learned to put in my “leave” paperwork to make sure I got the day off to celebrate my birthday.

I have never had a problem with working nights, weekend, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or through the World Series or the Super Bowl – but – my birthday is The Supreme Holiday.

Christmas, and Easter are all holidays that were celebrated for hundreds of years before I was born, and, no doubt, will be celebrated hundreds of years after I’m dead and gone from this life.

Thanksgiving is simply an American Lincoln Republicans’ holiday that says the end of the year is coming and many hard working Americans are going to get “pink slips” before Christmas, so they can start the new year broke and unemployed ( Look at US History – notice how often companies lay off or fire people between Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Look at all the days of the year and look beyond the brouhaha, propaganda and commercial schemes of holiday celebrations – Your Birthday Should Always Be The Most Important Holiday of All.

_____________________________________________________

“Before you were born, no one celebrated your birthday. When you’re dead, no one will celebrate your birthday. In your lifetime, you only have so many birthdays to celebrate the anniversary of your birth. Rejoice in your birth. Always Celebrate Your Birthday.”

– Samuel E. Warren Jr.

_______________________________________________________

Christy’s Birthday is approaching over the horizon of time,as I write this, Saturday, August 18, 2012. I can’t believe she simply wants the day to pass like “just another Sunday.” Guess it is time to call in “The Big Guns – six nephews, two nieces, her brother, Ramon,and her sister, Fe,” to see if we can get her in a more “birthday aware mode.”

Your birthday should always be too important to discard like a used hamburger wrapper in the nearest trashcan.

You are in the daily battle of life to earn a living. You withstand anxiety, frustration, depression, criticism, controversy, crisis, and essentially everything your fellow man, woman and the universe can throw at you in a 24-hour period for unrelenting weeks at a time.

Your Birthday should always be “Truce,” “Cease Fire” or in the best case scenario, “The End Of All Hostilities” – at least for the day,to allow you to celebrate “Your Place In The World.”

If no one joins you for your celebration – so be it. You should be able to look yourself in the mirror and be glad that the Universe picked this day, your birthday, to introduce you into this life. You should always celebrate “The Anniversary Of Your Birth.”

Allow me to wish you a “Happy Birthday !”

Thus, it is time for me to go back and try some “word work” with my wife to try and get her to open her eyes to the Universal significance of her birthday.

In the spirit of one of my favorite United States Navy Admirals, John Paul Jones, “I have just begun to fight!”

Batten down the hatches! Full Speed Ahead ! Operation Birthday Is A ‘Go’”!

Sam

Written by samwarren55

August 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Philippines Commencement Photography for grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins

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Philippines Commencement Photography for grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins


Glen in Cap and Gown in Ornamental Frame.jpg

Glen Roa, a 2012 Juan Villablanca National High School graduate in cap and gown. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ornamental photo frame graphic by Photo Frames Online.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m a photographer. My mother loved the “Kodak moments” of life. I don’t believe a family birthday, anniversary, wedding or graduation ever passed that momma didn’t slip a camera out of her purse and take some snapshots.

It took me a few years to inherit momma’s photography habit, but, I did. I have also noticed in life sometimes when those monumental moments happen, grandparents and mom and dad get so wrapped up in the event they forget to bring a camera.

I don’t know if the relatives of Mohon Elementary, Pitogo Elementary and Juan Villablanca National High School remembered their cameras for these commencement exercises for the 2012 school year. There were a multitude of cell phone photographers and videographers at each of the events.

Mohon Elementary School Graduation Exercises March 27 2012_resized_A1199 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr

 

At JVNHS there was a professional photographer, wearing a khaki AGFA vest, who photographed the students in the Saint Francis of Assisi Parish church mass to the students leaving the stage at the JVNHS auditorium.

I trained as a news photographer, so I shoot photos like a reporter and not an official portrait or wedding photographer. Thus, for those family photos to frame and hang on the wall or to place in family photo albums, people will want to seek out the official event photographers.

 

Leniel Saldana smiles, while her son, Rayniel Saldana poses for a photograph at the Mohon Elementary School Graduation March 27, 2012.  This photo is an example of one of the photos that I lightened using software, before posting the photo to the web.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

My Canon EOS 40 D camera and I were at Mohon, Pitogo and Juan Villablanca because Uncle Sam had nephews graduating. In case, grandparents, mom, dad, aunts, uncles and cousins forgot their cameras, then, you can visit Picasa Web Albums Samuel Warren or facebook Samuel Warren to see the photos

My wife, Christy Warren, also took some of the photographs at Pitogo and Juan Villablanca National High School..

There is a variety of photo sizes in the posted photographs because my camera is not a full frame 35 millimeter that usually prints out the 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 prints. I am a newsman, which means when I look at a photo I always see it through an editor’s eyes – thus, I tend to crop out distractions such as people walking into or out of a photo as the shutter snaps.

In all photographic situations, I take the light into account. After all, photography, is actually two Greek words that translate into “writing with light,” thus, I am always aware of the lighting conditions.

I use Irfanview and PhotoScape in working with photographs. I edited some of the Mohon and all of the Pitogo photos for light, which will explain why the Pitogo photos should appear brighter. If you glance at the Mohon photos, you should be able to tell that I only made the time to lighten up three or four.

Pitogo Elementary School Graduation Exercises March 27 2012_A1011 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr

 

 

Mac Mac Roa whirls like John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”, during this dance number at the Pitogo Elementary School Graduation Exercises March 27, 2012.  This photo is an example of  trying to crop the photo to bring attention to the dancer.  In group photography situations involving movement, it is always a challenge to try to isolate the subject or subjects without getting obvious distractions in the background of the photo. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I have explained my photography editing routine for any relatives, who want to download any of the photos. Be aware that the photos are different sizes if you plan to download a photo to a printer.

While I have used software to compensate for lighting in the photos, a relative may wish to use their favorite software program to enhance a photo that they would like to keep for a memory.

The Mohon Elementary School Graduation Exercises and the Pitogo Elementary School Graduation Exercises have already been posted to the web addresses I mentioned above. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise and I should have the Juan Villablanca National High School Commencement Exercise photos posted in a few days.

I’m a naturally curious person, so if you do download a photo, a few photos, or all of the photos, for your scrapbook or to post to your blog, I would ask that you send me an email to samuelwarren55@gmail.com because I’ would just like to know if the photos were important to a mom or dad, who might of forgot the camera.

Visit my blogs, the “Sam I Am Blog” on Word Press, my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog on Blogger or my “The Knight Writer” blog on Tumblr for articles and photographs on life in the Republic of the Philippines.

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