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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

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

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

You would be wrong.

 

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

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pen To Paper

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Deep Freeze

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A Country Mile

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

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

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

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

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Whoa, Christmas Tree ! Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

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IMG_4595_resized

This is a tall Christmas Tree as it evident by the fact that those are real not “toy” jeepneys that seem to be “under” the Christmas Tree. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Whoa, Christmas Tree !

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

This public Christmas Tree puts new meaning in the word, “Creativity.” The idea is simple. The catch is you have to drink a lot of soda pop. Actually, you probably need your family, friends, co-workers and most of the people, who live in your zip code to drink a lot of soda like starting in January for this Christmas Tree.

 

This public Christmas Tree was set up, near a government office building in a city close to Manila. I took the photograph, during the Christmas 2011 Season.

 

Someone pickup your cellphone and send this photo to your friends, who work at Coca Cola and Pepsi. The ornate star at the top of the Christmas Tree is an arrangement of plastic soda pop bottles. Now, look closely at the beautiful green tree. The tree is a collection of green soda pop bottles.

 

Someone might want to give the staff at the Guinness Book of World Records a ring. It would be interesting to know how many empty plastic litter bottles went into building this Christmas Tree ?

 

Incidentally, the ornaments on the tree ? It looks like the ornaments are. . .you guessed it. . .empty plastic liter soda pop bottles. Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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In this close up photograph, you can see that the crafts people took care in constructing the frame and arranging the pop bottles for this unique public Christmas Tree in the Philippines. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Operation Birthday !

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After Action Report – A Success !

Operation Birthday”

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"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.

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

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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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

“All I Want For Christmas Is . . .A Washing Machine.” Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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“All I Want For Christmas Is . . .A Washing Machine.” Christy Warren washes clothes in Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.  It is a common sight to see Filipinas in the province washing their families’ clothes almost everyday.  In rural and remote areas, water lines and the infrastructure to supply water is not always readily available, even, when you live on an island in the middle of the ocean.  Christy had a Whirlpool washer and a Kenmore dryer in our home in the United States.  But, she made a decision.  In my lifetime, I have witnessed three women, who know the word, “family,” to be more than just a series of letters in the dictionary.  Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, Donna DeLong, my cousin, and Christy Warren, my wife.  In my lifetime, I have heard many people “talk” about “family,” but, these three women always moved “Heaven and Earth” for “family” and I witnessed it time and again.  When we retired, Christy had a dream that some day we would move back to the Philippines to be close to her “family”; it took a few years, but, it is difficult to deny the dream of a “Leo Lady.”  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Death Grief – A Personal Issue

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Death Grief

A Personal Issue

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

“Wishing A Loved One Back To Life Does Not Work – I Tried It.” When my mother died, I tried everything I could think of to understand, “Why ?” Obviously, Death is a natural end of Life, but, when personal tragedy arrives – logic is of little use. Peace Of Mind is an “emotional state” that has to be recognized and satisfied in order for Life to have any real meaning. I had to deal with my grief by trying to discover “What I Truly Believed About An Afterlife.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When a close loved one dies, family and friends try to help your emotional state of mind. It is nice that they try. It is nice that they offer advice. But, the truth is, we are all individual and unique.

While our bodies have the basic physical and chemical structure from person to person; it is in our minds that we are all truly unique. In our minds, despite what Sigmund Freud and his legions of psychiatrists and psychologists promote – we are unique. Culture, society, civilization may try to hardwire a certain perspective into our heads, but, the individual can “decide” to “buy” or reject the information or the fairy tale.

As humans, we learn “how-to-play-the-game” and we learn when it is important to “pay lip service” to popular ideas of our society, culture and civilizations. At the end of the day, “We are always ‘Free In Our Minds To Choose What We Believe.’”

When my mother died, family and friends were polite and expressed their sympathy. I did truly appreciate the gesture. Having grown up in the midwest, in the Ozarks, family and friends naturally “assumed” I believed as they did in the overall area of religion. They were wrong.

I believe in God.

But, I have never really believed in the “Traditional Christian God,” because after the Old Testament, the Traditional Christian God becomes an “Eternal Couch Potato Looking At The Big Screen TV Of The Universe And Not Getting Involved.”

Anytime I think of God, I put him “on the ground, in country, in the thick of the action, working alongside me, or on my behalf to solve problems. If He or She has to move back and forth between Heaven and the Real World, that is no problem and no big deal. After all, Creator Of The Universe, then, the whole Space and Time issues are irrelevant.

At my mother’s death, the whole issue of grief became apparent. While the Real World issues of Funeral and Burial Arrangements are at the forefront of your mind, your personal emotions are inside your head leaking radioactivity like a busted Three Mile Island nuclear reactor.

While people will offer you the traditional religious cliches of life, no one seems willing to help you with an in-depth soul search. Of course, you will find those “Soul Savers” in the society – “God’s Used Car Salesmen,” who regardless or the time of day or circumstance, these people appear out of nowhere and give you their “Save Your Soul” spiel; but, they don’t answer questions. If you start to ask questions that deviates from their scripted testimony, then, they get upset or back away and leave.

You can ask friends and family about their religious views, but, you have to approach the subject as though you are asking about the weather – in a light-hearted conversational fashion.

Personal Quest

Thus, if you try to work through personal grief using religion, then, it will be a personal quest. There is no way to know, where that quest will take you.

You just have to make the decision to want to find answers.

I have always had an open mind on religion.

Thus, I pulled out all the stops. No idea was too “off the wall’, “far out” or “really out there to consider” because the traditional ideas always seemed to raise more questions than they answer.

Thus, I pulled out my collection of various books, magazines and surfed the Internet looking for information on religion, the supernatural and the Afterlife. My solution to the grief is I had to create an Afterlife commanded by the Gods and Goddesses that I could relate to and identify with.

Naturally, each individual will have to come up with their own solution to the grief surrounding the Death and personal loss of a loved one. I could not endure society’s “Supermarket Religions” of processed and packaged prophets. Nor, would I endure the “psychobabble” of professional experts who justify their “mental guesswork” with society’s agreed upon “sheepskin credentials.”

Alas, Sigmund and the boys may just be well-dressed soothsayers dancing in the light of the moon after all. If you are curious, about my “Serious Soul Search,” then, visit my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog and read my article: “Momma’s Death – Required My Own Afterlife Solution” or use the link to take you there: http://www.samuelwarrenthewriter.blogspot.com/2012/06/mommas-death-required-my-own-afterlife.html

I appreciate feedback from readers, so, please, feel free to leave a comment on that blog or to return to my “Sam I Am Blog” and post your comment.

“The True Magick Of Life” is sometimes that forgotten lamp hidden on a back shelf of your mind, labeled, “Imagination.” Creativity and imagination maybe methods you can use to help you work through personal grief. Tools of The Real World can sometimes “spark” your mind to find a solution. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Thank you,

Sam

Life On Fast Forward

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LIFE ON FAST FORWARD
by Samuel E. Warren Jr

Coconut Commando Cruisers On Station On A Leyte Beach — Give a retired American G.I. a camera and the simplest moments in life become a Pentagon picture. Actually, these fishing boats reside on a Leyte beach, near Tacloban City, in the Republic of the Philippines. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When a man and a woman retire to a tropical island in the South Pacific to sit under the coconut trees, they look forward to laying back on the beach and feeling the warm sunshine on their faces. They want to stare up at an azure sky with cotton ball clouds and feel the cool breeze sweep over the waves of the sapphire ocean. Wiggle their toes in the gold dust sand. “Ah. Retirement. Umm. Hallelujah. Thank you, God.”

That maybe what we wanted. Welcome to life and reality.

China calls the waves of water – the South China Sea. The Republic of the Philippines calls the waves of water – the Western Philippine Sea. A piece of land in this part of the Pacific is called Scarborough Shoals.

The Republic of the Philippines and China have both laid claim to the small area of real estate in the ocean. Diplomats are working on the issue.

Meanwhile, in Leyte, in the Republic of the Philippines, at One Warren Way – it is “Summer.” The 23 nieces and nephews are out of school. Most of the nieces and nephews are spending their summer with Tita Christy and Tito Sam.

May is Fiesta Month in the Republic of the Philippines. This motorcyclist travels under the banner announcing the fiesta for Barangay Cameri, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr.

The household goods packed up on December 16, 2011 in Galena, Missouri, actually were put on board an ocean-going vessel. It should have been a cargo ship, but, based on the condition of the furniture that arrived, the vessel might have been a Soviet fishing trawler from the days of the Cold War that tried to run a naval blockade somewhere on the high seas. At any rate, the beaten, bruised, battered boxes did arrive in the Port of Manila and where eventually trucked to Tacloban City, where a local shipping company, did carry the goods to our front door.

Even before, we began unpacking, the fact that May is Fiesta month in the Republic of the Philippines took hold. April 20, 2012, Christy opened the CSW Cafe at 128 Independencia Street in Tacloban City, so she has kept busy making sure her Filipino buffet style cafe has delicious food to offer her customers.

Meanwhile, back home, in Barangay Baras, at One Warren Way, the nieces and nephews were in a dance mode. The Patrick Swazye, “Dirty Dancing” movie and the Kevin Bacon, “Footloose” movie gave them some ideas for a dance routine to the Barangay Cameri Fiesta. I have done my best to keep double A batteries in a compact digital camera and to keep my Nikon charged because kids are “Non-stop Photo Opportunities.”

Rice farmers and coconut farmers in Barangay Cameri, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, take a break for a few days to host what Americans would call a county fair to meet, socialize and party with family,friends, neighbors and visitors at the Barangay Cameri Fiesta. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Unfortunately, my blogs, the Sam I Am Blog, and the Samuel Warren The Writer blog have collected dust in the electronic archives of the Internet since Life in the Real World seems to have gone to Fast Forward, during the month of May.

And, just when, I think, I can finally set down at the keyboard and pound out some poetic prose, the Internet connection drops out. The tall bamboo pole still stands with the waffle device pointed up into the sky. But, before the electronic bits reconnect the system, a couple of squads of costumed she males parade along the barangay road and the barangay hosts the 2012 Miss Gay beauty pageant.

Plus, the nieces and nephews take center stage and dance their way into the hearts of fiesta attendees. Keep the faith, dear readers, “Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” and hopefully in a day or so I should have some poignant prose to publish to my blogs. “Now, where did I put that compact flash card with the fiesta photos ?” Got it.

People line the road going to and from the Barangay Cameri Fiesta. The pervasive heat of the Republic of the Philippines gives the day an Ozarks flavor or sauntering along and taking your time to enjoy the day and company of family and friends. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Happy Fiesta ! While these two Filipino men smile at the American photographer strolling down the road, some others sip “Tuba,” Filipino coconut wine and chat with friends, family and neighbors. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Momma’s Death Anniversary – Editorial – Opinion

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Momma’s Death Anniversary

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Friday, June 11, 2004 – The sun would come up. It did not matter to me.

The beautiful sunrise through the curtains of a waiting lounge at Cox South Hospital blanketed a new day on the world. I was numb. I had been shoved into my personal twilight zone. The hospital chaplain sat beside me at the table and tried to use words to comfort me. I have no doubt he believed them.

I wasn’t too concerned about my friend, God.

The most devastating event in my life had only happened a few minutes before.

Momma had died.

I had been at my mother’s beside and watched the gleam of life in her eyes disappear. The breath of life had been exhaled quietly for a final time.

I was truly alone.

The End Of The World meant nothing.

I had a front row seat at My Own Personal Chaos.

To me, The End Of The World happened Friday, June 11, 2004.

Floodlights didn’t flash on. News media vans didn’t roll up on scene and bust out their crews and cameras. Military helicopters didn’t land to secure the area and begin to set up a perimeter to get help to the suffering and hold back the looters. Humanitarian agencies didn’t respond in tractor trailer trucks and vans to set up portable soup kitchens to help the hungry and begin compiling lists of the missing.

Former President Ronald Reagan had died a few days before, thus, the American, Missouri and Springfield flags were still at half mast. I liked Reagan. Today, though, I decided the half-mast flags acknowledged Momma’s reassignment from The Real World.

Momma’s boy

My wife and cousin were at the hospital, by my side, but, at this moment, my body sat in a chair at a table and my emotions lashed out at the Universe to question and curse any entity that remotely resembled higher intelligence.

I am a Momma’s boy. I always have been. I still am.

The pain was my Ultimate Mentor had departed.

Higher Headquarters had issued the orders for her Eternal Permanent Change Of Station. She had no choice, but to comply.

Momma had earned her Earth Retirement Ceremony.

Death Anniversary

In the Republic of the Philippines, there is a custom that is not practiced in the United States.

On the Anniversary of the Death Of A Loved One. You prepare a plate of food and sit either at the table or on a family altar. You sit a favorite drink by the plate. If the person was a smoker you put an unlit cigarette in an ashtray. The place stays undisturbed until 6 pm Then, a person shows up to recite some vocal prayers to the Universe.

Once the Professional Pray Person (I don’t know the correct name) recites the vocal prayers, then, they leave. The family then decides to let someone eat the food on the plate or to let it remain until the next morning. (Naturally, in the United States, there would be all these health concerns of leaving the food out – but, the point is not necessarily to eat the food, but to make a spiritual offering and to allow the family to come together to remember the Loved One.)

Death Anniversary - A family observance to remember a Loved One on the anniversary of the day of their death in the Republic of the Philippines. I adopted and adapted the ceremony for an annual remembrance of my mother. Photo taken June 11, 2011 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If a family member is a smoker, then, he or she smokes the cigarette. If there are no smokers in the family, then, the unlit cigarette is lit and placed in the ash tray to naturally burn and someone watches to make sure no embers land outside the ashtray and start an unintentional fire.

The Death Anniversary Ceremony, I am told occurs repeatedly without fail every year for at least ten years.

Bus Stop In The Twilight Zone

Moments after my Mother’s Death, I stood alone in The Twilight Zone of my mind. My body knew that necessary and official tasks had to be completed, but when The World Ends, who cares about dotting an I or crossing a t ?

The Major Concerns Of Daily Life, in an instant, had become insignificant.

Since I was big enough to appreciate reality – my momma had always been here. She was The Beacon Against The Universal Injustices In The Nights Of Humankind. No issue had ever been too small or too big for momma to appear in her battle armor and beat back the insanity of daily life. To say, she was my Rock is to bestow the highest compliment on one of the most common elements of nature.

Naturally, I had to appear to function in the so-called Real World around me. An Emotional Zombie is simply a Robotic Mannequin that moves through the World Of Men And Women to carry out the expected functions and perhaps someday return to Life as a human. I became the Zombie, who could function enough to handle all the asinine legal matters at hand.

I stood in the bus station of my Twilight Zone.

None of the activities going on around me, concerned me in the least. If Charon, the River Styx Boatman, had been dressed in a bus driver’s uniform taking tickets I would not of cared.

Arrivals and Departures did not matter. I stood in the middle of my mental bus stop and let life go on around me. At some point, I would have to walk out one of the doors, but for now, I stood in my mind and let Riders Of The Real World catch their buses along their roads of Life.

The Longest Day Of My Entire Life seemed to last for millennium

American Grief Counseling

I’m sure the experts like to think they have answers for everything – they don’t.

Death is still The Universal Mystery That Is The Sole Property Of A Higher Realm.

I know the chaplain had his job to do. I did appreciate his sincere effort.

I had psychology classes in college, so I know all the educational gobbledygook, brouhaha, pig Latin jargon rhetoric and professional terms that go with A Major Life Changing Event.

What the Freud types don’t realize is sometimes in Life your Soul become intertwined with another human being and there is no way to acknowledge the person’s passing without realizing that a piece of your Soul is no longer in the Real World.

Obviously, the intent of Grief Counseling is to help keep Survivors in The Real World.

Naturally, bills still need to be paid, the real occupation has to be performed for anyone to keep their job and family members in the Real World have to know that some part of you is still attached to The Real World. It is all nice and logical. But, that day all of the nice logic meant nothing.

I have no doubt that Grief Counseling does work for some people. This article is not intended to Declare War on Medical Authorities and Psychiatrists. In the Legions Of Humanity, there are those of us, who seek more than a medical diagnosis, traditional cliches, and want a personal understanding that might defy the logic and rationale of The Real World.

When did Death ever sign a document to play by the rules of

The Real World Of Humankind ?

A Candle To Light Your Way

The intent of the article is to recognize that Death refuses to be trivialized and categorized. Death strands in front of you and demands that you look into his or her eyes and come to your own personal understanding.

Each reader Lost In Grief, should seek the help of family, friends, loved ones and if need be, the professional medical community. My article states the traditional approaches did not work for me. I had to find my own way through the darkness. If you feel as helpless as I did, then, perhaps, my article will be the candle you can use to light your way.

The Dumbest Grief Statement Of All Creation —

The Dumbest Of All Statements To Make To Someone In Grief Is: “You have to go on.”

Naturally, people are trying to comfort you, but, the old “You have to go on” is one of the dumbest statements of all time to fall out of the mouths of anyone. Forget the statement.

For me, it would have been better if someone would of just smiled at me, patted me on the shoulder, squeezed my hand or said, “There are no words at a time like this.”

There are no words at a time like this,” is a true statement, which maybe a cliche and states the obvious – but that statement does not insult your intelligence or belittle and trivialize the life of the lost love one.

Land Of The Living

Naturally, Psychiatrists Of The Universe should have been happy – because in time, I did appear to Return To The Land Of The Living. But, I did it without, “Letting Go.”

All the so-called “experts,” with their framed sheepskins and years of professional experience always seem to parrot “Let Go.”

All the psychiatrists like politicians always forget One Distinctive Quality Of Human Nature – Every Individual Is Just That An Individual – and Generic Sugar Pills For The Masses Never Works For The Individual. I didn’t need a Placebo. I needed an Answer.

My Mother was too significant a force in my personal life to ever “Let Go.”

My Own Path In The Grief

Christians would have cardiacs because you are suppose to realize that someday something about being with your loved ones at some far off time in the future comes about. It is nice that some people can find comfort in their religions.

But, I’ve always Dissected Religions and could only come up with my own Spiritual Beliefs, so the standard religious cliches fell on my deaf ears. I tried to be respectful to the hospital chaplain and nodded politely. I appreciated his efforts. But, I knew I had to find my own path in the grief.

Ancestor Worship

In the Pacific, some cultures have customs of Ancestor Worship, that respects and recognizes the sacrifices of family members who lived before.

My personal method of dealing with Being Left Behind is a combination of techniques that I have accumulated from my experiences in life, researching books and surfing the Internet. In a Life Changing Moment – all ideas were on the table in my mind.

Vision Quest

My personal understanding of a Vision Quest means that it is a journey only you, the individual can take. Only you can find the answers you seek. This would not be a Real World ritual sit out in the boondocks that required physical survival as well as spiritual insight. This would be a personal Vision Quest in The Real World that would reach inside my Mind and examine the needs of my Soul.

Critics And Skeptics Be Damned!

In dealing with my personal grief, I pulled out all the stops.

If I could of stood in a Great Marble Hall In The Depths Of The Universe and stood before God Almighty and Satan and asked, “Why?”

It would have been enough to have an answer and risk whatever punishment would of come from my personal audacity and arrogance to have the strength to ask such a face to face question of the two most powerful entities in the Universe.

I might not find the answer. But, I had to arrive at some level of understanding for Life to continue to make any sort of sense. All types of information would be looked at and examined. My Mind and Soul needed something other than cliches, fairy tales and wishful thinking.

I knew I would not find any detailed commentaries of dead people who had come back and done in depth interviews. I had to find some type of information that would speak to my Mind and Soul and say, “Relax. There is a Method to the Madness of Life.”

The issue was not a Quest For Self Discovery – I know Who I Am. The issue was not Fear Of My Own Mortality. The issue was Life Beyond The Personal Grief – I demanded a clue that Momma’s Life did not end in a hospital bed.

I had to find some type of information that would give me the peace of mind to understand and believe that Life is not just A Flashbulb Flash In A Universal Night.

All ideas were on the table. No idea was too ludicrous. Whatever works – works. Critics and Skeptics be damned!

Religion deals with The Supernatural, or as people in the late 20th Century preferred the more scientific sounding term, The Paranormal. I tried to find answers – not cliches – not theatrics – not theories: Answers.

Born a Scorpio, the Universe had hardwired my appetite for Mystery and The Unknown and programmed my Curiosity into my first breath.

No Concrete Answer.

Wake Up The Old Gods And Goddesses!

But, there were ideas and techniques that helped me.

The traditional interpretation of God, Jehovah, or Allah is a single supreme male entity, who sits high above humanity and looks down upon the industrious ant-like mortals. I have never believed that God was simply an Immortal Kid With An Ant Farm or An Immortal Scientist Obsessed By His Collections Of Lab Rats Locked In The Perpetual Maze.

I’ve been exposed enough to modern religions to know that they come up short. The only current religion that ever held any interest to me is the Buddhist. But, I was not on a quest of Self-Enlightenment. I wanted some tangible assurance that Momma was in an Afterlife.

I appreciate anthropologists.

Humankind has existed for Millennium. Current Society usually shrugs off the contributions of Ancient Humans like a cold, rain through a leaky umbrella. But, the people who lived before left us had a wealth of knowledge from science and mathematics to funeral customs and recopies for beer and pharmaceuticals.

Ancient Men and Ancient Women survived droughts, floods, wars, and plagues in their daily lives so they had to be doing something right. Did they have any insights into an Afterlife?

I’ve always admired Native American cultures and Ancient Egypt, so I did review their beliefs.

Magick is usually seen as an entertaining pastime for children. You take a kid to a local magic show or they watch a magic movie about beings wielding wands and searching for magic cups. Society likes to ignore that some icons of science had an interest in different approaches to knowledge and understanding.

Thus, I could flip through my magick books or surf the Internet and study up on Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, Samuel Mathers and others for indications of any revelations of an Afterlife.

Ancient scientists, philosophers, doctors, astrologers, mathematicians sought answers and guidance – these people might have been in their imaginations or maybe they did go beyond the traditional confines of the Real World, but they had ideas of Magick that reveals a Faith beyond The Real World.

In 2011, people usually snicker at The Old Gods And Goddesses Of Mythology. One distinct advantage of the Old Gods and Goddesses – they were “hands on” with mortals. They had Real World issues, even on Mount Olympus, in Valhalla, in Asgard or Shangri-La. They had dysfunctional families and they lived like mortals.

Wake Up The Old Gods And Goddesses !

If you take away their bath robes, give them shaves, haircuts and send them to tailors for business suits, denim jeans and cocktail dresses – then, some of the Ancient Greek, Roman, Norse mythology suggests that an entity can relate to us mere mortals of earth.

The concepts of Wicca as a Nature religion suggests, as I understand, looking outside oneself into the Universe. The rituals serve to focus the mind to seek guidance beyond the Real World.

I accepted some of the ideas and rejected a lot. My quest was not to find a personal religion. Nor, was it to adopt a Personal Dogma Of Spiritual Beliefs. I wanted more tangible evidence of an Afterlife.

Spiritual Research years before had suggested: I give God a partner – Goddess. No one – not even a God should ever be truly alone in any exsistence called Life.

Work The Grief – Find Your Answer

After the funeral, I had time to devote to this Afterlife Quest. Whenever it felt as though I was strolling into my Twilight Zone Bus Stop, I knew I should pick up a book or surf the Internet to find some information. Working The Grief in The Real World is a personal issue, that requires you to put one foot in front of the other.

On a day to day basis, If I’m walking down a city street or through a field and want to talk to Momma, then, I do.

If I want to put together some personal ritual to practice across the road in the pasture to attempt to enhance communication – I do.

I realize my mother’s physical presence is gone from The Real World.

Life Can’t Be Pointless !

Life can’t be pointless. I have always rejected the notion that people come into this life to work like work horses, raise children and then simply die and disappear.

Lucky people leave tales of their lives as authors of novels or can be found in history books. By the late 20th Century, most people were fortunate to be recognized with an Obituary in a newspaper.

But, I believe the overall intent of a Human Life does not end at a Cemetery Headstone or a Funeral Urn.

Find Your Own Path In Grief

Society teaches people to bury their deceased loved one and then to get back on The Gerbil Wheel Of Life. After all, your absence is bound to affect the economic output of the Universal Work Force.

Nonetheless, as a human, you need time to live in your grief. If Society’s theories work, then, use them.

If you have to find your own path – then, find your own path.

No matter how Society At Large attempt to generalize the individual human life – the Universe realizes each individual is unique and makes their contribution in their own way.

Loved Ones will try to help. But, you live in your skin. You have to find your answer.

If you look for information or a path outside of what Society At Large considers – “normal” – be careful about talking to people about it. We all have different experiences in Life and people who profess open minds will sometimes seem confused, dumbfounded, skeptical, or, “at a loss for words.”

Loved Ones can provide Emotional Support. But, Mental Support, my definition, means you climb inside your head and look around. Of course, if you believe in professional counselors or psychiatrists, then, seek them out.

If you feel it is a personal journey that only you can make, then, do so, but do not retreat from The Real World or Loved Ones.

In the Practical, Logical, Rationale Real World, no one really understands the individual who feels as though the Universe has turned against you and brought Death to someone you do not want to leave your life.

Thus, whether you decide to Let Go of your Loved One or wish to keep their presence within arm’s reach the rest of your life – it is your decision.

Your Own Afterlife Procedures

If you wish to keep the Spiritual Presence of your Loved One near, then, you will have to come up with your own procedures.

I did not find any guarantees of an Afterlife. But, my gut instinct tells me there is one. Religion would call the instinct: Faith.

The idea of stepping, “Into The Light,” is poetic and provides for easy special effects on television. I can believe we step or pass into another dimension, but, I need to believe that I can send thoughts and feelings to that dimension.

I need to believe Loved Ones in that dimension can sense, feel, watch and find a way to send back love and guidance.

“Rest In Peace” on headstones to me, means beyond the reach of politicians, bureaucrats, power companies, cell phone services, telemarketers, satellite carriers and others who complicated our daily lives. But, I also believe, RIP means I can be with my Loved Ones in whatever dimension of Time and Space.

I will stand at a Cemetery Headstone and talk.

I see the Cemetery Headstone as A Supernatural Computer Terminal In The Real World. You speak your mind and believe that your words are being saved into a Universal Email that goes to the Person’s Spirit.

My gut instinct tells me Human Life is more than A Match Flame That Dances Briefly Against A Universal Breeze – each life has meaning that transcends the physical body – and, I believe, lives on.

More importantly, I do not accept my Mother’s Spiritual Presence vanished without leaving a Universal Call Forwarding Procedure or a Universal Email Address to maintain surveillance, communication, or the oldest of all procedures: – A Mother’s Love.

My Death Anniversary Ceremony

Saturday, June 11, 2011 – This morning, Momma was not sitting at the kitchen table with her cup of coffee and her cigarette burning in the ash tray.

But, tonight at 6 pm, I can sit a cup of hot coffee on the table. I can light a cigarette and place in the ash tray. I can even light a candle and place in a holder by her coffee cup. I don’t have the Filipino Professional Pray Person to call on for guidance. I can sit look at the area and think my thoughts or open my mouth and speak.

Momma will not magickally step from the ethers and sit in the chair to talk, drink her coffee and smoke her cigarette.

But, I can sit across the table for a moment and look at the empty chair. I can smile and remember, the countless times she passed on her advice without me asking for it I can sense those numerous times in childhood and adulthood that Momma “came to my rescue” and saved me from myself or reminded me of ways to avoid similar traps in the future.

Pity The Poor Psychiatrist

Pity the Poor Psychiatrist, who “Lets Go.” Do psychiatrists really believe that cliche ? Do they parrot, “Let Go,” because it is part of the accepted training ?

In my country boy opinion, Only a Fool Lets Go A Loved One.

Who would undergo Open Heart Surgery and ask a surgeon to cut away half your heart to “let go” a loved one. You accept the Emotional Sword Slash Into Your Heart and realize that you must live with the wound.

I reject that “Time Heals All Wounds” – it is a tired cliche, best left with dinosaur bones.

You realize that you must “Solider On In Life.”

For me, I had to find a technique or belief that would allow me to get out of bed each morning and step back into the petty cares of the insanity of The Real World. For now, I remain engaged in The Flow Of Life In This World.

In the brief moments of the Annual Death Anniversary Observance for me, Momma is alive again in the Real World.

Momma’s presence may only be in my Mind’s Eye, but she is Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Mother Teresa and The Virgin Mary all enshrined in the vision of my mother. She may only speak through a sensation of emotions in my mind, but the awareness of her presence somewhere in the Universe is all I need to know that I am not alone.

The woman who always smiled at my accomplishments and reminded me, “Don’t brag son.Noonelikes a braggart.” I never had to – Momma always took pride in my accomplishments and told the details to friends, neighbors and family members.

Momma would “lecture” me on issues: How To Know If A Member Of The Opposite Sex Loves You, Find A Way To Set Aside Money For Emergencies. Learn To Save Money. Family Comes Before Anything In Life: You Can Always Find A Husband Or Wife – But, Family Is Family And Above All Else. While I didn’t always listen, when I should of; momma’s advice keeps coming back in The Trump Cards Of Live – She is still Aces And Spades. And, still holds The Winning Hand.

Today, Sunday June 11, 2011, is another of Momma’s Death Anniversaries. I don’t know if my experiences will help anyone in grief.

It is not my intent to “lock horns” with the American Medical Association or to fire an opening salvo into the Legions Of Global Psychiatrists.

My country boy intent is to recognize in our rationale world of expert answers: Death Stands In Front Of The Veil And Smiles You Have To Find Your Own Way To Understand Me. I would hope that my article will help someone standing at the brink of The End Of Their World – lost in grief, will find a way to step back and find a way to recognize the personal loss and develop a way to put one foot in front of the other each day to continue their life.

For me, I will observe Momma’s Death Anniversary by adapting the Republic Of The Philippines custom to work for me. I will remember the stories and the advice that I learned from my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren.

I am the son of the six-foot-one, Missouri brunette, who spent her life sacrificing for me.

I am still a work in progress.

But, the hillbilly wife of a Texan, had stubbornness and determination hardwired into her Soul, so she still watches and finds a way to keep in touch beyond The Real World.

A little thing like Death, is a nuisance, but not even The Great Wall is nothing more than an annoying obstacle to a Mother’s Love.

Thanks, Momma.

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