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Christmas In The P.I. 2012 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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After Action Report Christmas Eve 2012

 

Christmas

In

The

P.I.

Everyone sits down to the Noche Buena 2012 feast  at One Warren Way_resized

Noche Buena Feast 2012

The Warren and Saldana families sit down to the December 24, 2012 “Noche Buena” feast at One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I had a childhood full of Christmas Days, where I got up with goose bumps. I would dash to the old worthless stone fireplace.

 

I would stand with my back to the dancing flames on the wood. The cold draft of air down the chimney always seem to make the flames seem more like a child’s coloring book page than actual warmth.

 

I would spend a few minutes in front of the fireplace trying to warm up. Then, I would dash to the Christmas Tree . My cold fingers would rip at the Christmas wrapping paper to free the toys.

 

I learned to associate cold with Christmas.

 

CHRISTMAS IN THE PI PHOTO ONE THUMBNAIL PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JRYou would bundle up like “Nannook Of The North.” Swaddled in yards of flannel,cotton and wool, you would waver, walk and waddle to the front door.

 

Push the door open. A deep blanket of fresh snow always seems to rise a foot or two, pushed away from the door. A beautiful vanilla quilt that blankets the ground in all directions to the horizon.

 

Sunlight would always charge certain snowflakes to twinkle before your eyes. The twinkling diamond illusions would, for a moment, allow you to forget the bone-chilling air rushing toward you like an invisible tidal wave.

 

The next step always seemed to be that of a disoriented lunar astronaut. Your foot drops down into the snow and you are off balance for a moment. You stand in knee-high snow and look out to the driveway at the snow-covered pickup.

 

The heat of the running engine against the cold air creates wispy columns of smoke around the pickup’s hood. You lean forward to resume your “Moon Walk.” Through the deep snow, you finally reach and open the passenger’s side pickup door. You climb up into the truck and sit on the seat.

 

Momma backs the grumbling pickup out of the driveway and on to the ice-covered slick highway. You lean your head back against the seat and realize, “ We are headed to grandma’s house for Christmas Dinner ! ”

 

For the briefest of moments, you wonder why your mother didn’t just hook up the Alaskan Husky dog team to the sled. Then, you, remember this is the Missouri Ozarks and not the Yukon Territory of Alaska.

 

As you shiver from the cold, you wonder, “Is there really a difference in Missouri and Alaska in the winter other than temperature and wind chill factor?”

 

By adulthood, I have had so many cold, snowy Christmas Days genetically hardwired into my memory that by October 1, I would pick up a local newspaper to glance at the flag to check out the date and my location on planet earth.

 

Shop For The Egg Nog

 

A cold location means I stock up on the Hiland egg nog. I would snatch up my “Nannook Of The North” Official United States Air Force issue parka, grab my wallet and head to the Commissary to shop for “egg nog.”

 

The parka was always an ugly battleship gray with wide silver sewed on strips of a metallic duct tape material over the zipper front flap and around the cuffs. The synthetic white fake fur lining around the hood made you look like an old French fur trapper. You always looked like an inebriated alien wandering lost in the snow. Nonetheless, it was warm.

 

At the BX I would check for a good snow shovel to be ready to shovel open my front door.

 

A warm location means I lean back in the chair and smile:

Hallelujah ! No Snow for Christmas !”

 

There is a theory, that there are people in the world: “Who Like Snow”

 

I have no use for Snow.”

 

Christmas 2012 is not the first Christmas, I celebrated in the Republic of the Philippines. Christmas 1988 was my first Christmas in the Philippine Islands, which is a “Single G.I. Christmas Story,” I have yet to publish.

 

One major difference between the Philippine Islands and The Ozarks on Christmas is the dinner celebration. Filipinos target Christmas Eve. Ozarkers and Americans usually set their sites on Christmas Day.

 

In the Philippine Islands – “The P.I.” – “Noche Buena”, known as “The Good Night”, is the Christmas Eve Dinner.

 

In the 1980s on the island of Luzon, the cultural tradition of the feast is Filipinos attend Mass and then have dinner, which means you eat around 7 pm or 8 pm. Some families would attend Midnight Mass first, which means you sit down to supper around midnight or 1 or 2 am in the morning.

 

In the Philippine Islands – “The P.I.” – the “Noche Buena” Christmas Eve Dinner on the island of Leyte at One Warren Way, meant, “We eat when the cooks are finished preparing the dinner.”

 

The week before Christmas, every morning the kids would get up at “O – Dark- Thirty” and go to church before school. The sun would be rising and the rooster crowing, when they returned to get ready for school.

 

December 22, 2012 – Christy Warren and Leneil Saldana began preparing the “Noche Buena” feast. Christy got out her yellow legal pad and ink pen and sit down to come up with the holiday menu.

 

Christy, Leneil and Ramon went to the public market for fresh vegetables. Ramon and Mano Bito had the task of providing the meat for Christmas dinner.

 

In the United States, Christy had a kitchen full of appliances,a gas stove and oven, two refrigerators and an upright freezer to prepare birthday meals, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner.

 

In the Philippines, the kitchen is still a work in progress. There is the double butane hot plate, which is the stove. She has no oven. There is one refrigerator. Cooking tends to be more of a “Never-Ending Camping Trip” than food preparation in a kitchen.

 

In my childhood, I had the rustic Ozarks environment and Grandma DeLong’s kitchen was the basics for the Ozarks. Now, in the Philippines, I find, we have basically a tropical version of a rural 1960s Ozarks kitchen.

 

My eyes and my mind do not appreciate the “Twilight Zone Reality Of The Kitchen,” so, I simply stay out of the kitchen, while the food is being cooked.

 

Meanwhile, the kids got to be kids, which meant they played and looked forward to Christmas. Me, I kept working to gather the data, words and photos to keep publishing articles in my world-famous, “Sam I Am Blog.”

 

Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012, Christy sat the table and Leneil began bringing in steaming platters of white rice. Family members began arriving and watching. Esmeralda, Christy’s sister, placed the platter of banana pancakes on the table.

 

Potato Pancakes

 

 

In the Ozarks, in the morning on the wood burning hot cook stove, you would hear the sizzle and Grandma DeLong would move the metal spatula to move the “Potato Pancake” around to brown in the cast iron skillet.

 

The Potato Pancakes were delicious, but they were slightly larger than an American silver dollar.

Banana Pancakes and a platter of steaming white rice for Noche Buena

 

Banana Pancakes and a platter of rice.

The steaming Banana Pancakes piled high on the plate reminded me of the trucker’s breakfast style pancakes of “The Hob Nob Cafe” in DeQueen, Arkansas.

 

The Hob Nob Cafe

DeQueen, Arkansas

 

Momma and I always considered “DeQueen” the halfway point between Houston, Texas and Galena, Missouri. The acres of statuesque Christmas Trees growing and rising into the morning mist meant the surrounding “Arkansawers” were “loggers.”

 

The plethora of semi tractor trailer trucks on the highway sporting huge logs and the empty flatbeds rushing along behind the groaning and moaning Kenworth, Peterbilts and Macks meant “forestry” is serious business in this section of the Ozarks.

 

The 18-wheelers would groan into a parking spot and the truckers in their straw cowboy hats and tractor baseball caps, in western shirts, or coveralls, and wearing cowboy boots or steel-toed work boots, would climb down out of the cab and bring their Texas-sized appetites through the door.

 

Breakfast at “The Hob Nob Cafe” was like Christmas Dinner in The Ozarks. The aroma of fresh scrambled eggs and omelets would tease your childish nose.

 

The mound of strips of fried “taters” with flour gravy, sausage, ham and bacon overwhelmed the senses. Then, a “short stack” or a mound of “flapjacks” would arrive and I would reach for the small pitcher of maple syrup for my pancakes.

 

Lechon

 

My Ozarks’ appetite ignored the white bowls of “blood pork” being placed on the table, but, I waited anxiously for the macaroni salad and the potato salad.

 

Anyone who has ever watched a Henry the VIII movie can appreciate “the pig on the platter” with the apple in it’s mouth. In the Philippines, “Lechon” is the whole pig prepared for special events like baptismals, wedding receptions and of course, Christmas. Mano Bito took charge of the pork preparation.

 

Instead of “the whole hog” ending up on the table, the pieces of cooked pork was also added to white bowls to place on the table.

 

Christy Warren places the silverware on the Noche Buena table_Photo 2

Christy Warren places the silverware to set the Noche Buena table.

Mrs. Warren – Christy had nieces, Junea and Vanissa put on the tablecloth.

Mrs. Warren placed the silverware around the plates before anyone got near the table.

 

In the rural areas of the Philippines, it is not uncommon to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with your fingers. In the States, of course, Americans have their “finger foods” like hamburgers and hot dogs for sporting events, backyard barbeques and the Fourth Of July outdoor picnics.

 

Mrs. Warren told the guests before they sat down at the table,

Merry Christmas ! Everyone this is Christmas. You will use the silverware.”

 

Christy has been in enough social situations, in her lifetime, to know it is the hostess’ responsibility to brief the “guests” on any questions of “etiquette” before the event begins.

 

Leneil Saldana removes pieces of the young coconut to be used as filling for the Coconut and Cheese Salad and the Mississippi Mud chocolate candy for the Noche Buena feast_Photo OneChristy and Leneil kept the hot platters of rice coming to the table. Esmeralda and Virgie Saldana kept an eye on the kids and made sure that they got food on their plates.

Leneil Saldana scrapes out pieces of young coconuts for Coconut and Cheese Salad and for the Mississippi Mud chocolate candy.

 

At dinner, I realized that Christmas Day would not be what I had hoped for this year. I could blame only myself for that part of the holiday, but, I decided I needed to put more emphasis on Christmas Day 2013 because I had not paid attention to the focus of the holiday for the kids.

 

After dinner, the kids spent time playing with their cousins until overwhelmed by The Sandman. They crashed out on palettes.

 

Tuba Time

 

Virgie Saldana Esmeralda Tanahale Leneil Saldana and Christy Warren have red wine and Tuba to relax after the Noche Buena feast of 2012

Virgie Saldana, Esmeralda Tanahale, Leneil Saldana and Christy Warren relax with a bottle of red wine after the Noche Buena feast.

Once the ladies cleared away the table, then, Mrs. Warren opened a bottle of red wine. Leneil Saldana, Esmeralda Tanahale and Virgie Saldana had some red wine and some of the ladies drank some Tuba.

Left to Right Jun Jun Tanahale Ramon Q Saldana Jr Rafel Saldana Virgillio Natividad Romel Barbosa talk and drink tuba_resized

Left to Right  –  Jun Jun Tanahale, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,Rafael Saldana (back to camera) Virgillio Natividad, Leneil Saldana’s father, and Romel Barbosa talk and drink tuba.

 

The men: Virgillio Natividad, Leneil’s dad, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,Rafael Saldana Romel Barbosa and Jun Jun Tanahale retired to The Christmas Tree area to talk and enjoy “Tuba,” the Philippines’ coconut wine.

 

I pass on “Tuba” because, even though it is drank with Pepsi as a “chaser”, to my picky palette the flavor has “too much of a vinegar whang. I always feel like I need a large chef salad in front of me to drink Tuba. Then, I am never sure if I should drink the Tuba or pour it over the salad as a dressing.”

 

I finished my coffee and put aside the cup for the night. I got to enjoy “My Christmas Present” – Tanduay Ice. Unfortunately, for “Romel”, when I sat down my frosty bottle of bright white rum, he snickered and added,”Ladies’ Drink.”

 

I told him, “Pirates weren’t wimps. They sunk ships and stole cargo and sailed the high seas for centuries. Sometimes the pirates were fired up on rum, so don’t snicker off my drink as a watered down ladies’ drink.”

 

I had not intended to defend the rum industry, but, I’m a Texas and Missouri country boy, so holiday civility and protocol aside, there are just sometimes when, “You need to set the record straight.”

 

My line of Warrens of Texas and DeLongs of Missouri are social, hard-working people, who welcome strangers under their roof as family to celebrate the holidays and social events.

 

Common Sense Social Etiquette

 

In the Hollywood movies, you will see a guest bring a bottle of wine as a “Housewarming Present” or as a “Gift” to the host or hostess for a dinner invitation. In “The Real World”, in civilian life, I have not witnessed this act very often.

 

In “The Military”, guests were always thoughtful enough to bring a bottle of wine for the dinner.

 

One idea of “Common Sense Courtesy,” is for a man or woman to talk to the host before the dinner and ask if they can bring a dish of some sort of food.

 

Some host or hostesses will suggest a dish you can bring, usually these are the “Pot Luck Suppers.”

 

Pot Luck Suppers

 

In The Far East in the 1980s, Asians would always smile, “You can tell if an American is hosting a formal dinner because they always want you to bring a dish for a pot luck.” I was told this comment time and again.

 

Pot luck style dinners are not popular in Asian cultures because if you are hosting a dinner then it is expected that you already have the food to host the dinner or you would not be hosting it and inviting people.

 

West And East Cultural Dinner Differences

 

In the West, around the 1970s, weight issues became frequent stereotypes for people. In the United States, for instance, if a person has a heavy weight they were considered as being “Lazy” and “not willing to work.” The stereotype, never took into consideration “medical” or “health issues” or even, “genetics.”

 

In the Far East, when I was stationed in the Pacific, in the late 1980s, the irony was a “heavy-set person” was respected for their wealth. The belief was that if someone had a lot of weight, then, they ate plenty and they ate often. Thus, heavy-set, chubby and obese people were seen as smart, industrious and wealthy.

 

The idea of the heavy-set person in the Orient explains why in Asian cultures the host or hostess is expected to provide all the food. If you can’t afford to provide the food; why are you having a party ?

 

Single Person Protocol

 

In the case of a single man or a single woman, who gets invited to dinner at someone’s home, it is not expected that a single person bring a bottle of wine, a gift for the host or hostess or even a dish.

 

The reason is usually in the case of a young person, who went away to work, went away to college or went away to serve in the military: the host or the hostess realizes this is a time in life, when a young person needs their money to pay bills and buy groceries,

 

Therefore, the host or hostess knows the single man or single woman would appreciate a “home-cooked meal” and usually all the single man or single woman is expected to bring is “your appetite.”

 

Life can be difficult for anyone at anytime. If something happens – an accident, a natural disaster — and a middle-aged or senior-aged person, experiences an event, that puts them “down on their luck”, then, when they are invited to a dinner or supper, they are just expected to bring “the appetite.”

 

The dinner or supper invitation to someone “down on their luck” is an act of human kindness that recognizes at “family times of the year” like Thanksgiving and Christmas, “no one should ever be or feel alone.”

 

Warrens Of Texas, DeLongs Of Missouri

 

The basic rule of the Warrens of east Texas and the DeLongs of southwest Missouri is: “ Guests are always welcome to make themselves at home. Common sense and civility is expected. And, guests should always realize,”My house; my rules.” If you don’t wish to observe my rules, “The highway, in front of the house, runs in two directions. Pick one.”

 

In Tagalog, Merry Christmas is “Maligayang Pasko”, which is pronounced as, “MAL– Lee – Guy -Young, Pass – koh.”

 

Maligayang Pasko !

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

CHRISTMAS IN THE PI PHOTO THREE THUMBNAIL PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JR

 

Noche Buena Links

 

Hiland Dairy Foods Egg Nog

http://www.hilanddairy.com/products/egg-nog

 

History of Egg Nog

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/history.php

 

How To Make Egg Nog

Holiday Recipe

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/holiday.php

 

The Traditional Noche Buena

in the Philippines

Yahoo

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-traditional-noche-buena-philippines-4683911.html?cat=22

 

Noche Buena

Filipino Recipes

http://pinoyfoodblog.com/category/celebrations/noche-buena/

 

Nochebuena Wikipedia

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

 

Pirates Piracy Wikipedia

 

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

 

Captain Morgan Wikipedia

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

 

Captain Morgan Rum Website

http://www.captainmorgan.com/

 

Tanduay

http://www.tanduay.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Nature, Observances, Philippines, Photography, Photos, Tourism, Tropics

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Fast Christmas Coronation by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Personal Business Editorial

Fast

Christmas

Coronation

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When, my wife, Christy Warren and I first returned to the Philippines the exuberance and the pomp and circumstance ranked up there in the old black and white news reels with the Coronation Of Queen Elizabeth.

 

Christy was returning to her native Leyte and the pomp and circumstance had all the trimmings of The Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Dianna.

 

CHRISTMAS STAR THUMBNAIL LOGOI stood at the airport in Manila and for the briefest instant expected to see a royal carriage pulled by white horses trotting up the taxi lane in front of the airport .

 

We were both anxious to get to our final destination of the island of Leyte. However, family members were intent on their “meet and greet” ceremonies in Manila.

 

Then, of course, our royal itinerary had changed to add an unofficial “Goodwill Visit To Angeles City.”

 

Queen Christy Warren, Her Royal Majesty, was being treated to all the honors and accolades that she deserved. Prince Samuel of The Ozarks and The Duke Of East Texas was smiling and doing “the wave.”

 

The only thing missing from the royal entourage was The Official Press Corps. In the back of my mind, I knew the royal budget had the letter W associated with it and the name would not be Windsor.

 

The Strange American

 

On the ground, in Leyte, the procession of “Well-Wishers” came with the exuberance of visitors to Buckingham Palace for an “audience” with “Queen Christy” and a chance to see “The Strange American.”

 

Is he taller or shorter than General MacArthur ?”

 

He’s a Texan, right ?”

 

Where is Missouri ?”

 

What is the Ozarks ?”

 

Hillbilly is that a religion or a political party in the US ?”

 

 

Between Tagalog, Waray and English, I would hear strange questions whispered about me. Maybe, I should of cared, but, as long as they were the old, “Who is this guy ? ” question, then, I just smiled it off.

 

By January, it was obvious that most of the attendees at the mythical Christmas Coronation weren’t family members grateful that Christy had returned home.

 

The name Warren had proven not to be the name Windsor and no one from the “palace household” followed up on the holiday requests.

 

The Warrens Of The Ozarks had no serious intent to become Lloyd s Of London and the domestic policy issues involved The Saldana Family. Christy had come home to be with her family.

 

Any community initiatives and ongoing economic development that concerned the Warren Family in Barangay Baras would have to involve the overall Saldana Family.

 

Local people seemed to have had envisioned a British Monarchy arrival, but, the reality is the family approach was more a Joseph Kennedy Hyannis Port, Massachusetts Family approach.

 

Blood And Biology”

 

A person is more than his DNA, RNA, chromosomes and biological compounds. The members of a family are more than people who share “Blood And Biology” traits.

 

Saint Samuel’s Basilica

 

I have always been interested in heraldry,chivalry and genealogy, but, for the Christmas 2011 celebration, there were just too many people at Saint Samuel’s Basilica.

 

We didn’t have the pilgrims in the square awaiting the annual Christmas message, we had people who rushed through the jungle courtyard of Saint Samuel’s Basilica to seek an audience with Christy. I assumed the role of the concerned cardinal.

 

Cardinal Samuel nodded a lot and smiled a lot. But, I was interested to see were the well wishers and “faithful” were headed in their Christmas interpretations I looked forward to December 26, 2011. I wanted to know if “The Spirit Of Goodwill” was “The Real Deal” or just “Christmas Cheer.”

 

As the new year of 2012 approached, it became clear Saint Samuel’s Basilica would have to accept a more secular and business approach. Relatives were leaving and the shift in the idea of “family” day to day was becoming more like Missouri weather – changeable.

 

One Warren Way

 

By March 2012, it had become obvious that the Christmas Season was past and One Warren Way was a private home with it’s own “family” agenda. The opportunists went somewhere else. The family wannabe lobbyists had made their travel arrangements to return to other destinations in the Philippines.

 

In April 2012, Christy opened her CSW Cafe and got her dream to own and operate her own cafe. She provides good food to the community at a decent price. She became a business woman, who provided jobs.

 

Family members were offered the opportunity to work in her cafe. A few to date have accepted to work with Christy and her dream. Some did not.

 

By the Warren Fiscal Year of October 1, 2011, God was still in his Heaven, Sam and Christy were headquartered at One Warren Way with “Family.”

 

Holiday Historian

 

The Government of the Philippines dealt with their daily challenges of 2012, The Government of the United States tried to deal with international business and the carry on the traditional “Presidential Campaign” fiesta of every four years.

 

The major entertainment of any democracy relies on the Presidential or Prime Ministerial Election. The Warren and Saldana Family of Leyte settled down to the day to day business of life in Barangay Baras.

 

I have had a lifelong interest in all types of history. I got enough college hours under the belt to know how to do the data collection, compilation and analysis routine to examine an issue from all angles. I had collected the data from Christmas Day 2011 and examined the photographs I had taken.

 

I had enough data to take on the role of “Holiday Historian” and render a verdict on Christmas Day 2011 and the irony is the Christmas Season of 2012 provided the hours to complete the task.

 

Home For The Holidays

 

By October 1, 2012, I looked forward to my birthday, October 30, Halloween, October 31 and the end of 2012.

 

Christy looked forward to Christmas, December 25, 2012 and the New Year of 2013.

 

Christy decided to close the CSW Cafe for the Christmas Season of 2012 to spend some time at “Home For The Holidays.”

 

A year has passed, since we returned to the Philippine Islands. I have had time to reflect and look at The Fast Christmas of 2011. The photographer’s habit of having a camera growing out of the end of your hand provided valuable snapshots of time throughout the previous year.

 

Fast Christmas Fiscal Fiasco

 

The Life Learning Lesson of Fast Christmas 2011 is simple: people are people. We all have our good points and our bad points. Human nature goes beyond flags, passports and visas.

 

Some people will take advantage of you, regardless, what day of the year it is. In a perfect world, you would always be able to count on “Family.” The world is not perfect and some family members do not see “The Big Picture.”

 

In the early 21st Century, the “Fast Food” and “Fad” psychology of “Instant This,” “Instant That” and the evolving technology of “Upgrades” and “Real Time” has convinced people to focus on the “Short Haul” to try and plan for their lives. The end result is “people live from payday to payday without a plan to reach a comfortable retirement.”

 

To some people Christmas is simply another day to try and rip people off. To some people, “Family” is simply a six letter word in an English dictionary. To some people Christmas is just a holiday to be used to try and set up “pie-in-the-sky” business deals.

 

Fast Christmas had not been about Christmas at all.

Fast Christmas was various attempts to use Christmas Day 2011 to setup a mood of trust by friends, acquaintances and some family members.  Then, in 2012 the trust could be called upon to support series of changing, financial ventures to profit a few people.  Human nature being human nature some people will try to point the finger and try to make you feel “guilty” to get their way.

 

Some friends and family members had their own ideas about what Christy and I could do to help them. But, they didn’t have any ideas that would benefit the entire family or the surrounding communities as a whole. The “flash in the pan” business brainstorms didn’t work because my wife “The Boss” is a business woman, who always considers “The Big Picture.” 

Christy’s husband, “Sam the Cynic” needs to be able to visualize a “Real World” result.  I have an imagination.  However, I grew up in Missouri and you have got to “Show Me.” Unless I see three or four colts galloping in the field, I’m not going to invest in a “Unicorn Farm”, I don’t care how good the presentation is.

 

 

 

Mentor Mothers

 

Nenita Quezon Saldana told her daughter, Christy, “Keep The Family Together.” Opal M. DeLong Warren told her son, Samuel, “Family Is Everything.” Both mothers were right about their beliefs in family. Both mothers, knew their daughter and son would understand the changing nature of “Family” and “Business.”

 

To me Christmas is about watching kids have fun with their toys, brothers, sisters, cousins and to be able to set down to a table of delicious food and drink and feast like Henry the VIII, my favorite English king.

Henry knew, “How To Party Down !”

 

Other family members are welcome to apply their own meanings to Christmas to celebrate the holiday in a manner of their own choosing.

 

Fiscal Christmas Of 2011

 

Christmas Day 2011, I lean back in the chair at the table and loosen two notches on my brown leather western belt. “That hit the spot. Wonder what kind of feast Cousin Donna cooked this year back in Missouri,” I said aloud to Christy’s Cousin Romel sitting across the table from me.

 

Christmas Eve 2012, I put away the “Demonyo Itlog” – deviled eggs – macaroni salad, potato salad, rice, and enjoyed Mississippi Mud chocolate candy with my coffee. The women cleared away the table and sit down to a bottle of Christy’s red wine and the Philippines’ “Tuba”, coconut wine.

 

The men after dinner adjourned to the area by the Christmas Tree to enjoy Tuba and an evening of conversation.

A glance at Christy’s cell phone revealed an absence of “Blood and biology family” Christmas wishes for the holiday, which confirmed what I suspected that “Fast Christmas of 2011” was really “Fiscal Christmas of 2011.”

 

 

 

A Yuletide Toast To Henry VIII

 

I sit down with the men to celebrate Christmas Eve 2012 and loosen the waist of my walking shorts. I grin at Ramon, “I bet Cousin Donna has started cooking Christmas Dinner in the States. She always starts a couple days ahead of time, And, when I start to chow down on the hot biscuits she serves, I have to remind myself to leave room for pie.”

 

Kuya Sam, Merry Christmas.”

 

Merry Christmas, Ramon.”

 

I raise my tall coffee cup, “Merry Christmas to Henry the VIII,” I grin.

 

Henry the VIII, Kuya Sam ?”

 

I laugh.”Long story, Ramon. One of my favorite English kings, who knew how to enjoy a great meal and good conversation.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion, Philippines

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hell On Earth For Single People Christmas Day Editorial

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Single people can “survive” Christmas Day

 

Hell On Earth

for

Single People

Christmas Day

Christmas Bazaar in Tacloban City 2012 Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr 005_resized

 

Shop ! Shop ! Shop !

Shop Until You Drop !

 

Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles are in the front lines of the annual shopping campaign to buy presents for the kids to open on Christmas Day. This Christmas Bazaar in Tacloban City in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines offers a variety of merchandise for the Christmas shopper. A single man or a single woman can enjoy Christmas shopping because it is the time of year when you buy yourself that item that you have wanted all year long.  Merry Christmas !Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you not married and Christmas Day is approaching, then, this story is for you.

 

Single people have to work hard to survive all the brouhaha of the Christmas Season. The purpose of this story is to help you make it through “The Holidays” sane.

 

Single man and single woman, look at the calendar. If it is only a couple of days until Christmas, you might want to consider Grocery Shopping.”

Single or married, in the United States, “The Holidays”, i.e., Thanksgiving and Christmas are “Food Days.” Time to Feast !

 

CHRISTMAS STAR LOGO PHOTO THUMBNAIL TWOCommon sense, of course, reminds you, if you have health issues, then, you should obey the medical advice that you are paying for.

 

Regardless, of what anyone tells you, “Christmas is a holiday for kids.”

 

Kids love Christmas. They should – everyone else worries about Christmas Day, on their behalf.

 

Christmas Day evolved into a religious holiday.

 

In the 20th Century, the overwhelming marketing, advertising and publicity campaigns have turned Christmas Day into the “Ultimate Gift Day.”

 

The major problem with Christmas Day is the “Insane Emphasis Of Buying Gifts To Celebrate The One Day.”

 

Married people focus on buying Christmas presents for their kids.

 

Single people are the “fatalities” of global society on Christmas Day. In the commercial and religious “hype” that leads up to Christmas Day, single people are essentially “non-people.”

 

On Christmas Day, a single man or a single woman is, “A Ghost In Your Own Life.” People see you and they shrug you off because. . .perhaps, married people really believe “single people” can’t relate to Christmas.

 

I have had more than my fair share of “Single Christmas Days.”

 

Each “Single Christmas Day” was “Hell On Earth.”

 

The Global Psychology Of Christmas

 

The Global Psychology Of Christmas is that it is suppose to be a time of happiness, The amount of movies, television shows, advertising, marketing, publicity, including radio broadcasting to newspapers and magazines can leave you “trapped” in “A World At Christmas.”

 

I grew up a secular person, so the religious emphasis of the holiday can only add to your frustration.

 

If you don’t like a politician, then, it is annoying every time you turn on the TV, if someone is extolling the virtues of that politician. The Christmas Season can be like watching the same political ad over and over from Thanksgiving Day through “The Old Christmas” holiday, which ends after the first week of January.

 

In my life, I discovered the complete annual Global Psychology Of Christmas can create a massive sense of “loneliness” and “depression” in my life.

 

If this time of year is really getting to you, then, it is time to contact a medical professional and seek their help in helping you make it through the holidays.

 

Single And Proud

 

As a single man, for years, I worked various ideas through the years to try and survive the active 12 to 24 hours associated with Christmas Day.

 

First, regardless, what you believe about religion, you may as well admit: “Christmas Is A Holiday For Married People.”

 

Second, be who you are.

 

The Christmas Season seems to be a time when people intentionally or unintentionally “look down their noses at you for being single.” Do not allow anyone make you feel guilty about being single.

 

Newsflash !

 

Not everyone in the world wants to be married.

 

Not everyone in the world wants to have kids.

 

 

If you are one of the people, who do not want to be married or do not want to have kids, then, don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty.

 

You can express your opinion, but, be careful — the traditional global society policy comes down in favor of marriage and raising kids.

 

Expression of unpopular policies in public opens you to criticism from family, friends and all types of people with their own personal agenda.

 

Working Christmas Day ?

 

In my single years in college and the military, I discovered that the Christmas Season is a wonderful time for single people to get “dumped on.”

 

If you are single, on the job, bosses will usually just assume that you will be ready to work Christmas Day. The same overall mindset seems to be a reality in the military.

 

If you don’t want to get “stuck” working Christmas Day, then, around December 1, make it a point to find a polite way to tell your boss, “I don’t want to work Christmas Day.”

 

You may not get your wish, but, at least, you have politely reminded your superiors not to “assume” that just because you are “single” that you don’t have plans for the holidays.

 

Plan To “Survive” Christmas Day

 

As a single man in college I didn’t mind working Christmas Day because it helped the day to pass.

 

In the military, I would get tasked sometimes to work Christmas Day, again, it helped to get the day over with quickly.

 

If you are “single” on Christmas Day, have a plan to survive the day.

 

Christmas Dinner

 

First, if you get invited to Christmas Dinner at someone’s home accept the invitation.

 

Never turn down a FREE Meal.

The social surroundings in a friend’s home will help the day to pass quicker.

 

The holiday decorations, kids and people provided the surroundings of “family” to my cynical, skeptical, jaded young “single mind.”

 

Even in The Real World sometimes it seems it is important for “the mind” to be able to “role play” some situations in life.

 

If you don’t have “a family” on Christmas Day, then, I found it helps to find “a family-type situation” that will “ do the ‘stand-in’ in your mind long enough to make a single person feel like part of a family.”

 

The Thanksgiving Memory

 

Although my “Stand-In Family Day” was a Thanksgiving celebration, it worked for me.

 

At The School Of The Ozarks, I had made the “bad choice” not to “go home” for Thanksgiving.

 

I got an invitation to the home of Robert Anderson, the S of O Librarian. It was a “Norman Rockwell setting.” There was family. There was warmth. There was plenty of delicious food.

 

A Hollywood director could not have arranged “A More American Christmas Setting.” It was perfect. The beauty is it was honest. These were real people in their home on Thanksgiving celebrating the holiday with their family.

 

After dinner, the men in the family did the traditional “American male custom” of going into the living room and watching the football bowl games on TV.

 

Whenever I become cynical or skeptical in life about family holidays, I remember “The Robert Anderson Family Thanksgiving” and I realize sometimes people in a family can enjoy the company of family members during a family holiday.

 

The day helped me to remember how much I was missing my traditional Thanksgiving celebration at Grandma DeLong’s and Uncle Richard’s.

 

I have always been grateful for having had this opportunity to share the Robert Anderson Family Thanksgiving.

 

The Thanksgiving Memory always reminded me whenever I had a chance, “Never, ever willingly ignore your family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration.”

 

After that Thanksgiving, every time I had the opportunity to “Go Home” for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I was on the first airplane or bus headed “Home For The Holidays.”

 

Whatever happened to what-is-his-name . . .?

 

Colleagues and friends will always have plans for Christmas Day. If you are single, then, you will be “alone” Christmas Day unless you have a definite agreement with a friend that they will show up Christmas Day to help you celebrate . . .or survive. . .the day.

 

Play Catch Up

 

Third, Christmas Day is a wonderful day to do all the things you put on the back burner all year long. Plan to do those house or apartment chores that you have put off all year long.

 

Shop Early For Your Menu

 

Fourth, I am a skinny person, but, I love food.

 

If you live in a rural or remote area, remember, a week or so before Christmas Day to “stock up” on TV dinners, microwave type meals and an assortment of snacks. Jot down your shopping list before you go to the grocery store.

 

Never shop for food on an empty stomach. Whenever I have shopped for food while I was “hungry”, I always bought too much food and paid more than I normally did for groceries.

 

Now, I have a candy bar or a sandwich before I go shopping for food and it helps to keep some green in my wallet at the checkout counter.

 

Being a skinny guy, I have never had to count calories. As a senior citizen, I am too old to worry about counting my calories. I have no problem “stocking up” on junk food.

 

Single people with health issues should pay attention to what kinds and types of food they buy and never forget to use your common sense.

 

Since Christmas Day is suppose to be a celebration, then, you might consider a “gift” to yourself by “buying” a type of food that you would normally decide was “too expensive.”

 

Enjoy Relaxing Activities

 

Christmas Day for a single person is the day that you read the books you haven’t had time to read. It is the day, that you watch the movies you didn’t get a chance to watch.

 

If you are not in the mood to celebrate Christmas, then, put the Christmas TV shows and Christmas movies on DVD aside until you have friends over that will watch the movies with you. If you watch the movies alone, then, there is a good chance the feelings of “loneliness” and “depression” will catch up with you.

 

For a single man or woman, Christmas Day can make you feel like “The Last Man On Planet Earth” and “The Last Woman On Planet Earth.”

 

The secret to being single and surviving Christmas Day is not to allow the feelings of loneliness and depression to overwhelm you.

 

I am no psychiatrist. I am telling you my experiences and what worked for me.

As a single man, it was always the “loneliness” and the “depression” that got to me on Christmas Day where I was alone in my dorm room in college, my barracks room in the military or an apartment that I lived in off base.

 

Christmas Day as a single man, for me, was always “depressing” because the world at large does such a global publicity number for the holiday that can start as early as November 1.

 

The Single G.I.’s Christmas

 

 

If you are a single American military man or woman, then, by all means plan on going to Christmas Dinner at the mess hall anywhere in the world.

 

The cooks, who are really “military chefs,” pull out all the stops and offer a feast that would be the envy of Henry the VIII.

 

Skinny man that I have always been – some of my best friends were Air Force cooks, who went out of their way on Christmas Day to provide a selection of food that makes a hungry G.I., eat until he or she simply can not eat another bite of food.

 

At Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas, Senior Airman Wayne Agee, a friend of mine was a cook at the chow hall. I considered Agee a chef.

 

People who cook meals for large institutions have a challenge to try and cook delicious food that meets the taste of everyone. The organizations are always aware that some people have health issues with items like salt, so cooking for large number of people without seasoning is a challenge.

 

Whenever Agee was one of the cooks at “Midnight Chow”, I would always go to midnight chow. If he was one of the cooks for Christmas Dinner at the chow hall, then, I was in the front of the line waiting for the mess hall to open.

 

You always remember “The Great Cooks” and “The Great Chefs.”

 

Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes are just some of the items that usually start off the traditional chow hall menu, which also usually included vanilla ice cream and chocolate or strawberry syrup.

 

If you get an invitation to Christmas Dinner at a chow hall on a US military base – accept the invitation. Your appetite will thank you for it.

 

If you get an invitation to Christmas Dinner at a chow hall on a US Air Force base – definitely, accept the invitation,and if at all possible, try to get a good place at the front of the line to wait for the doors to open.

 

The Dark Side Of Christmas Day

 

Christmas Day is the one global holiday that will get under your skin and overwhelm you if you allow the loneliness and depression to get the best of you. If you start to feel “Sorry For Yourself”, then, it is time to do something positive.

 

There were Christmas Days as a single man in college and the military were I felt “sorry for myself.”

 

When you start to feel like you are “crying in your beer” be careful that you really are not crying into the beer mug,in front of you, on the bar.

 

There were a couple of years where I went to the NCO Club on Christmas Eve and “drank like a fish.” Christmas Day I had a really bad hangover, which only made me feel worse.

 

One Christmas Eve I slept so long on Christmas Day I missed Christmas Dinner at the chow hall. Usually Christmas Dinner was served from like 10 am until 5 or 6 pm.

 

A Good Rule Of Thumb to remember if you drink alcohol – Never drink alone.

 

If you are alone and depressed, then, you should not drink alcohol.

 

I learned that when I was depressed and drank alone that I always drank much more than I should of. The empty bottles on the table, the next morning were always the evidence that I drank more than I thought I did.

 

Welcome “The Day After”

 

Life has taught me to appreciate December 26, Hallelujah ! The importance of “The Day After “ Christmas Day means you “survived”, yet, another Christmas Day.

 

I survived all my “Single Christmas Days” by sheer dumb luck.

 

I got married because I found a woman I loved.

 

In the military, I did not like the idea of “marriage” because the dedication required for one person is not always easy for another person to understand.

 

Uncle And The Spouses

UNCLE SAMOne of the most annoying situations in the military is when you hear a “civilian spouse” complain their military spouse “spends too much time at work.” Too bad, Usually, it is not a personal decision. Uncle Sam never asks the wife or husband’s permission to require the military person to do the job they are being paid for.

 

During World War II, the story is told that United States Marines would tell the younger troops, “If Uncle Sam had wanted you to have a wife, he would of issued you one.” The point is at the time the United States Government didn’t really pay much attention to disgruntled family members.

 

By the time, I retired in 1997, Uncle Sam had done a lot to make family member feel comfortable living on a military base or in the surrounding community.

 

But, “when push comes to shove”, Uncle Sam signs the paycheck, so he wins.

 

If you are a civilian woman or man, who wants a spouse with a normal job and normal hours, who will usually be home after work consider marrying a banker.

 

If you are a civilian woman or man, who wants a spouse with “normal” hours and a “normal” job, then, don’t marry someone in the military, in law enforcement, or a person who is a fire fighter. Some jobs simply require not only the devotion of the person, but, that of a spouse as well.

 

The Christmas Season was one of those times when spouses would “whine” about their military husband or wife having to work on Christmas Day or being deployed away from home on Christmas Day.

 

The reality is “On duty, when Uncle calls, you answer.”

 

Countdown To New Year’s Eve

 

I would hope my experiences provides a plan to help single men and women, who aren’t all that fond of Christmas survive the holiday.

 

I am a writer, who appreciates hearing from and getting comments from readers. If this article, helped you get ready to “batten down the hatches” and survive Christmas Day, then, please, leave a comment on my blog.

 

I would hope my mistakes in Life, helps people to avoid and not make the same or similar mistakes that I have made. Enjoy your Life !

 

As a child, I loved Christmas. What was not to like; I got a ton of toys every year.

 

As a single man, who had to earn a living, Christmas was an annoying holiday that created unnecessary expenses.

 

Incidentally, Single Men And Women Of The World, look at the bright side – It is only a few days until New Year’s Eve – time to ring out the old year and ring in the new year.

 

As a married man, I get to watch my nieces and nephews enjoy the Christmas Day. Me, I ‘ll grab a clean plate and go for the food on the table.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 22, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion

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