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“Have A Green Christmas” by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Have

A

Green Christmas”

GREEN CHRISTMAS LEAD PHOTO_Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Have Yourself A Green Christmas !

If Christmas Day this year is “too close” to put the”green” in your stockings and brighten up the gifts under your Christmas Tree,then, a simple act of “saving” should be the shine on your Christmas tree and keep more bills in your wallet for next Christmas. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I always got my “Letter to Santa Claus” request.

 

Regardless of the economic conditions at the North Pole and in “The Lone Star State”, Mom and Dad always made sure I had a “Merry Christmas.

As a child, I simply came to expect that I would have a wonderful Christmas. After all, both of my parents were workaholics.

 

My mother left “public work” to stay at home and “raise me.” I appreciate her decision. Throughout my childhood, my dad ALWAYS worked a second job. In 1960, momma and I moved to the farm in Missouri.

 

My mother was one of the few “Women Hog Farmers In The United States Of America”, especially in 1960. Momma raised hogs and used the money to provide for my every need from grade school through college.

 

Daddy stayed on the job in Houston, Texas to “maintain his seniority” and continue working toward a retirement plan.

 

Like most kids, I knew, the vast majority of my toys on Christmas morning came from the money in daddy’s wallet and the cash in momma’s purse.

 

The Big Picture

 

What I never saw was “The Big Picture” of earning a living on a daily basis.

 

The reason the wrapped, brightly colored boxes, sporting bright bows, under the Christmas Tree made my home look like Santa Claus’ North Pole Showroom and a Toys R Us store is because my mom and dad were “bound and determined” that I would have a better childhood than they had.

 

I did.

 

Dirt Poor Childhoods

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, was born in a small house in Peach Tree Holler, near Reeds Springs, Missouri. Opal’s mother, Martha, and father, Charley, loaded their personal belongings and their son, Richard, into the covered wagon and moved from Versailles, Missouri to a place, near Reeds Spring in Stone County in 1907.

 

All the rest of the DeLong children were born in Stone County. Richard began farming as soon as he was big enough to do the farm chores. The other boys: Willie, Hobert and Joe didn’t go to school very long.

 

Opal DeLong liked school and graduated from the 8th Grade. Every year, Martha, her mother ordered three dresses a year for Opal out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog to wear to school. She rode a pinto-mix horse, named,”Shorty” to the Wilson’s Creek School in Bear Den Holler.

 

Samuel E. Warren, my father, went to school in Perryville in east Texas. Joseph Samuel Warren, his father, was a tenant farmer, which meant J. Frank Couch, owned the land that “Papa” Warren farmed.

 

Dirt Poor” is an accurate financial description of my parent’s childhood years.

 

To add insult to injury, Fate unleashed The Great Depression around the time of their teenager years.

 

Daddy’s Short Range Financial Plan

 

Daddy adopted the policy of “Live For Today ;Tomorrow Will Take Care Of Itself.” The major flaw in his long-range financial plan is “In Order To Spend Money – You Have To Earn Money. The More Money You Spend, The More Money You Need To Earn To Keep Your Comfortable Lifestyle Going.”

 

Green Christmas Photo 2 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.At the end of the day, Daddy’s financial plan meant, “He had to be a ‘workaholic’, in order to keep earning money to spend. The irony is you spend so much time working,you never have “any fun” spending your money.

 

I remember, Monday through Friday, he would arrive home from work at about 4:30 p.m. He would sit down for supper and talk about his day. He could only relax a few moments and then, he would have to start getting ready for his “night job” as a bartender or bouncer.

 

His gray pressed Cameron uniforms would hang in the wardrobe beside his double breasted suits and neckties. By about 6:30 or 7 p,m,, the pickup would ease down the narrow driveway to take him to his “part-time job.”

 

Sometimes momma would wake me up about 2:30 or 3 am, so I would be waiting for daddy to come home from work. The headlight beams would dance down the narrow driveway and in a few minutes I would smell the aroma from a box of a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts, which daddy usually would stop and pickup on the way home.

 

Daddy did make a lot of money. But, he met himself coming and going.

 

Daddy always had “a wad of bills” rolled tightly that looked like a short, fat, pill bottle, with a rubber band around them that he carried in his front jeans pocket. In addition, to the roll of bills in his front pocket, he always had several bills in his wallet.

 

The roll of bills was one of those “Games Of Life” that when you take it out to pay a bill, people notice and they just naturally assume you are some kind of financial genius.

 

The stated “Big Picture” was daddy and momma were working to build their “Dream Home” on land momma bought in 1938, near her mother and father.

 

The Coffee Service

 

Daddy told me he offered the coffee service in his shop “at the plant.”

 

From 1960 until his death in 1978, daddy always made two trips a year to Missouri. One vacation trip always came for the Fourth of July. The second vacation trip depended on the vacation schedule at Cameron’s, which meant his two weeks began either at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

 

Whenever he came to Missouri, he would stock up on three-pound cans of Folgers coffee. He said it was cheaper to buy the coffee in Missouri. About once a year, he would buy a huge coffee pot that could make about 50 cups of coffee. Daddy wasn’t a shopper. He went into a store, picked up what he needed and paid the cashier at the checkout register.

 

However, if Sammy walked past Craftsman tools, he would stop and browse slowly at all the tools. Daddy loved Craftsman tools and bought all kinds of Craftsman wrenches, vise grips and other tools.

 

One trip each year, daddy would “shop” for a new coffee pot to take “to the plant.” He would shop around at the different stores and compare the features of the coffee pots.

 

I have, no doubt, there are people who bought bass boats with less research than daddy put into buying the right coffee pot. Despite his dedicated “shopping around for the right coffee pot”, he always ended up with the same type. And, he would buy a huge cardboard box full of Styrofoam cups to take back to Texas.

 

I remember the huge coffee pots because their shiny silver cylindrical design made them look like huge vacuum tubes that went into the back of a radio.

 

I get to the plant in the morning and I make the coffee for the shop. I have a coffee can with a slit in the lid. The guys know that coffee is 25 cents a cup. They put a quarter in the can. If they don’t have a quarter, then, they put in some change. I don’t really worry about it because the guys are honest. At the end of the week, I take the coffee can of coins home. Monday morning I always bring in a new empty coffee can for that week’s coins,” said Daddy,

 

In 1978, daddy was suppose to leave at the end of June for his Fourth of July trip to Missouri. He never arrived. The Houston Police Department notified momma of daddy’s death at home.

 

A few days after daddy’s funeral, momma and I made the trip to Houston. We found Folgers coffee cans stored in rooms around the house. Each can was filled to the plastic lid with mixed change from pennies to half dollars and a few silver dollars. The cans all had coins and none of the coins had been wrapped.

 

Momma asked Wanda Brinkley, a next door neighbor for help in wrapping the coins. Wanda had momma take the coins next door to her mom and dad’s house, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Pippins. Momma ordered the pizzas.

 

All day until after midnight, Momma, Wanda, Mr and Mrs Pete and I wrapped coins. Wanda’s two daughters, Donna and Debbie also joined the coin wrapping adventure. At this point in US history, American banks did not accept coins unless they were wrapped in bank wrappers.

 

Using the bank coin wrappers that daddy had on hand and some of the wrappers that Wanda had, we all wrapped coins all day and until well past midnight, It was after 2 am, when we finished.

 

Bank Robbery ?

 

The next day, Wanda, Momma and I went to the drive thru lane of the local Reagan State Bank. Wanda would put about 10 rolls of coins at a time up to the drive thru teller’s window.

 

You have a lot of coins,” remarked the teller.

 

My husband, Sammy had the coffee concession where he worked. He died recently. We just discovered, he never wrapped any of the coins from the coffee fund,” explained Momma.

 

The teller nodded. A bank guard showed up with a dolly. The teller seemed to slow,at one point, in tallying the amount of coins. We sat in the car at the drive thru for a couple of hours.

 

After about an hour, the bank guard emerged from a side door with the rolls of coins in the familiar purple bank sacks stacked neatly on the dolly. He pushed the dolly slowly across the several lanes of the drive thru into the rear entrance of the main bank.

 

The bank guard made about four more trips with his dolly from the drive thru to the bank.

 

A couple of days later Wanda spoke to a friend, who worked at the bank. The friend had heard about all those sacks of coins that came through the drive thru. The friend laughed and told Wanda it was not uncommon for people to drop of rolls of coins at the drive thru and she told Wanda the rest of the story.

 

Then, Wanda Brinkley, telephoned momma.

 

When we dropped those coins off at the bank. The bank got worried and called the local office of the FBI. They told the FBI why they were calling and asked the bureau to check for recent bank robberies because they could not believe that anyone would save that amount of coins.  

 

      FBI LOGO_resizedWhile we were waiting in the drive thru lane and the teller seemed to be taking the time tallying up the coins, they were waiting for a call back from the FBI to tell them if there were any reports of bank robberies where a large amount of coins had been taken,” Wanda explained and laughed.

 

We wrapped about 20 three-pound coffee cans of coins to take to the bank. Momma also brought about 10 cans of unwrapped coins with her back to Missouri. It was two or three years before I ever wanted to wrap rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters,half dollars and silver dollars.

 

My father died at age 52. The Harris County, Texas Corner’s Report listed the cause of death as a “possible ‘double heart attack.’” Daddy had literally “worked himself to death” through the years.

 

Momma’s Big Picture Financial Reality

 

 

Momma would never be a “Victim Of A Global Financial Crisis.” She had a poor childhood and realized ”Money Has To Be Managed.”

 

Momma always put aside a few dollars to have when she needed it. “Save” wasn’t a word, it was a philosophy and a way of life.

 

People would tease my mother that she probably had the “First Dollar” she ever earned. Momma would smile and shrug off the comment.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren was “never broke.” Maybe, she didn’t have a lot of money in her wallet or handbag, but, Momma was “never broke” financially.       

 

Momma loved to remind me “I bought the first car, your daddy and I ever owned. And, I paid cash for it. I bought the first home, your daddy and I ever owned. I bought the land in Missouri, under my own name with my own money, before I ever met your daddy.”     

 

All the claims were true statements. Momma’s message was not that she was a Green Christmas Photo 3 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.suffragette or a women’s libber, but that she knew “How To Spend And Save Her Money.”

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren is the woman, who went to the Reagan State Bank in Houston and arranged for the money to “buy the home in Houston at 313 East 26th Street.”

 

Stubborn Sammy

 

During World War II, US Army doctors had told daddy that he had contracted “malaria in the Philippines.” In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Veterans’ Administration wasn’t always able to convince Congress to provide medical care and decent pensions to veterans.

 

In the early 1950s, momma found out that daddy was eligible for VA medical care payments thanks to the hard-nosed efforts of Texas Congressman and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Sam Rayburn.

 

Daddy told Momma, Uncle Sam had sent him into World War II and, “I don’t want nothing else to do with the ‘Damn Government.’”

 

Momma reminded Daddy that some days it seemed difficult for him to get out of bed to go to work. Grudgingly, Daddy did the paperwork and accepted “Uncle Sam’s Official Help”, which didn’t last that long. By then, daddy’s health had improved and he did go to work everyday.

 

Momma The Family Banker

 

Martha Lou Marcum DeLong, my grandmother, kept her coins in a coin purse and her dollar bills in a sugar bowl in a plain white dish cabinet in the living room.

 

Everyone knew Grandma DeLong had worked hard all her life, but, Missouri’s “old age pension” provided her the money to live out her senior citizen years.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren had the reputation in the DeLong Family, Stone County, Missouri, Upshur County, Texas and among neighbors in Harris County – Houston, Texas of “Saving For A Rainy Day.”

 

The Burial And The Banker

 

When daddy died in Texas, I asked momma if we could bring his body back to Missouri for burial. I went to the bank with momma. She told the banker, “I need money to bring my husband’s body back to Missouri for burial. I don’t know, when or how I will pay you. But, you will get your money back.” I watched momma tell the banker those words.

 

In the 21st Century, most bankers would find a polite way to show the widow to the door out of their office.

 

In 1978, the banker nodded, “Okay, Opal. When you know how much you need for sure, let me know. You’ll get the money,” I heard the banker tell momma.

 

I was already a college student, so I was impressed that a banker would listen to a widow without demanding various forms of collateral.

 

The banker was not going out on a limb. He knew momma owned her “80 acres” of land and owned the other “10 acres” of land that she lived on. He knew she still “owned her home in Houston, Texas.”

 

The banker wasn’t gambling; he was investing.

 

The worst case scenario would be the bank would end up with Missouri real estate and maybe Texas real estate. Real estate in a city is usually more valuable than farm real estate,

 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was an active real estate market in Missouri and Texas.

 

But, everyone from Stone County, Missouri throughout southwest Missouri knew “Opal Warren always pays her bills.”

 

Samuel E. Warren was laid to rest in Yocum Pond Cemetery, near Reeds Spring Missouri. The financial cost of moving daddy’s body from Texas to Missouri was $7,000. The bank let momma borrow the money. Momma paid the bank off ahead of time.

 

Momma used money she already had saved for the associated funeral expenses and the double headstone. Uncle Sam provided the “foot marker” that was placed at daddy’s grave.

 

Save And Manage Your Money

 

Through the years, relatives would have financial issues come up in their lives. When they had no one to turn to, they would turn to “Opal.”

 

If a relative was out to buy a big screen TV, then, they were on their own.

 

But, if it was a valid emergency like a mortgage, insurance, food for their kids or medical bills then momma would “loan” the money. A few of my relatives paid Momma back. The majority did not.

 

Momma had a better financial plan than daddy. Momma never invested in the stock market. I had the debate with her several times and she always told me, “Son, I hang on to my money.”

 

Momma quit farming around 1982. The only “risky investment,” momma ever made, other than her son, was in Land.

 

Land That Pays For Itself

 

But, she always said, “Invest in Land, that will pay for itself.” Her Land did pay for itself because she “rented the pasture to other farmers for their cattle to graze on” and “loggers would cut some trees off the Land every three or four years for lumber.”

 

The Other Land

Through the years, momma would tell me that people had called her and tried to sell her land in Galena or elsewhere in southwest Missouri. I asked momma why she passed on the offers.

 

I have the land I want. The land I have been offered isn’t land I would want to buy at any price,” Momma would answer. Momma lived on one parcel of land. She could open her front door and look across the road to see the land that she had bought back in the 1930s.

 

Momma is one of the few people in the world, I know of, where bankers would call her and try to persuade her to move her money to their bank. She would smile, “The Bank Of Crane has always done right by me. Until something changes, I will stay with my bank.”

 

At age 84, momma left “The Real World” in 2004. She had a double wide home that had central heating and air conditioning. She never went hungry and there was always food in the ice box and the pantry. She always had her coffee and cigarettes. When she went to the doctor or the hospital, she could always pay her medical bills.

 

Momma’s Financial Secret, “She Learned To Save Money And Manage Her Money.”

 

Momma and daddy made sure I always had a wonderful Christmas. I got enough toys to outfit a museum.

 

I was an “Only Child”, which meant I had to play by myself most of the time, but, I had a huge wooden toy box in the garage full of toys to choose from each day.

 

In Missouri, every other weekend or so, my Cousin Donna would be at Grandma DeLong’s and Uncle Richard’s. I would of brought toys with me or we would go off in the woods to play. In Missouri, the toys were in a big cardboard box in the garage.

 

Samuel E. Warren Jr., the senior citizen, realizes now, Momma’s ability to always put “The Green In My Christmas” came from her daily financial sense of saving and managing her money. Thanks to my mother, “My Merry Christmas” was always “A Green Christmas.”

 

Merry Christmas, Momma .”

GREEN CHRISTMAS LEAD PHOTO_Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 1:53 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Stone County History

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She Males Pass In Review

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She Males

Pass In Review

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Life is always full of surprises, especially in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Eyes right !”

Eyes front !”

Yes, I see an exotic, woman, in an island headdress, slender bra, short grass skirt, and translucent high heels strut flamboyantly down the rural barangay road.

Saturday, May 12, 2012, the Barangay Cameri Festival is underway. Family and friends have found their way to One Warren Way. Everyone gets them a plate of food and something to drink.

The adults crowd around the long coconut wood dining table and settle on one of the two matching benches. The kids take their plates of food and drinks and head outside to find a log or rock to sit on and eat. Everyone gets comfortable to eat, drink and talk.

Mano Bito, Junbean and I are sitting at a small wood table talking and smoking Philip Morris cigarettes. Junbean and I are drinking our San Miguel Pale Pilsen beers. The nieces, nephews and their cousins rush past us laughing and giggling into the dense jungle vegetation of the front yard. My wife, Christy, tells me the kids are excited about the “bakla” parade. I smile and take a swig of my cold San Miguel.

A few minutes later, I glance out at the road. I turn back and raise my San Miguel bottle. It is beer number two and three-quarters of the cold brew sloshes in the bottle. I look at the coconut trees and they are not blurred.

My mind and eyes are fine.

A tall island woman appears to have stepped out of an Aztec island culture and sashays along the road.

The tall, slender, exotic woman is no hallucination.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The tall, slender, exotic woman is not a figment of my imagination.

Each footstep wobbles the monolithic peacock feather headdress. A long statuesque leg rises and rustles the grass skirt out of the way. Sunshine glistens into a star burst off the toe of the clear, plastic, acrylic high heel. And, the thick platform sole shoe steps on to the asphalt barangay road.

My mind reminds me : Plastic and acrylics weren’t around in island cultures at the time of Ferdinand Magellan.

My mind suggests: “There is a story here.”

Hermaphrodite, Cross-dresser,Transvestite, Transgender, Transsexual,Trannie, Tranny, Tgirl, Ladyboy, SheMan, and She Males are all American English words used to describe a person, who does not fit into the traditional category of either – a man or a woman.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

In the Republic of the Philippines, in Tagalog, the word, “Bakla,” (pronounced: Bach – la) means a person, who does not fit in the category of man or woman. In Waray, in the Eastern Visayas, the word, “Bayot”, (pronounced –Bye –you—T) means a person, who is outside the category of man or woman.

In Life, things are not always what they seem.

Thus, the woman in the Polynesian island costume and high heels, who at first glance, looks like a future “Playboy” centerfold – is not a biological woman at all.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

None of the women, who appeared to be fashion models strolling the runway – were biological women.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In a few moments, other baklas in a variety of costumes worthy of a Hollywood movie studio stroll along the rural barangay road. Adults and children wander out to the road to watch the she male parade pass in review.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I pick up my Nikon D 100 camera, which had been taking pictures of family, friends, food and kids. I walk up to the road and watch the parade sashay along the winding road.

Like American politicians campaigning for office, during an election year, the she males, stop, smile, wave, speak to the spectators and children. And like skilled American politicians on the campaign trail, they pause long enough to strike a pose for pictures.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Then, the She Males continue on to the Barangay Cameri stone heart-shaped boundary marker.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Despite the sweltering heat, the parade participants took their time to smile and wave at the onlookers.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Even children make their way to the roadside to watch the parade intently.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some people stare at the she males. Some snicker and laugh. Other people simply watch.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Then, the well-disciplined she males, wave, an execute a relaxed, casual, about face maneuver and begin back down the road.

The flamboyant she male in an Aztec style costume, flourishes his purple train, turns and with the confident demeanor of a Paris fashion model breezes down the road like it is a fashion runway.

Heads high, shoulders back, the she males soldier on back down the road to the Barangay Baras Basketball Court.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In single file formation, they walk with an air of dedication past the spectators, who watch the she males pass in review.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This is the first time I have ever had a news story or photo opportunity literally stroll past my front door.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My reporter’s curiosity has the best of me.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Camera in hand, I step into the back of the ranks of the passing parade. My squad of curious nieces and nephews fall in step on my right and left flanks.

People stand along the roadside of Barangay Baras and watch the she males pass in review back to the Barangay Baras Basketball Court. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

It requires “Courage” to be able to take a stand and do something out of the ordinary that is a different view of the status quo of society at large. And, yet, these people in costume are strolling past the public with confidence in their steps. I admire the conviction and strength of character of these she males.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I and my troops pick up the pace.

I move briskly through the ranks and take photos of the spectators along the roadside watching.

My young troops try to hasten their steps to catch up.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Since I do not know the organization at the basketball court, I need to try to rush ahead to try and discover the event structure that is in place. Then, I will know, where I need to be to get photographs of the events as they happen.

I arrive in a crowd of people on the basketball court.

The basketball court is a temporary in-the-field command post of chaos and confusion – with no one apparently in charge. There is no entry control point, no admission gate and no way to determine, who needs to be at a certain point at a certain time.

The returning she males drift to the concrete bleachers on the sidelines to take refuge from the heat and adjust their costumes.

Nikon D 199 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some of the returning she males wander out on to the basketball court to await further instructions. They hover around the half-court line like children waiting for church to begin.

Suddenly, a man, obviously, with a plan, and, no doubt, an organizer, emerges from the fray of spectators and begins to shout instructions in Tagalog to the she male models.

Meanwhile, a cheerful man, exhibiting the exuberance of a Las Vegas casino winner, appears on a sideline at the back of the court and chats with two of the tall she males.

Then, the man’s friend raises a small compact digital camera. The two tall she males step beside the man. They stand straight and tall to strike a pose. His arms lash out around their backs to draw the models closer. His friend clicks the shutter.

The two tall she males in their elaborate costumes remind me of the movies of Las Vegas showgirls waiting to go on stage.

I watch with camera in hand. I glimpse my nieces and nephews at my side, wearing confused looks. I do not need to be a mind reader to see the question uppermost in their minds: “What is Tito Sam up to now ?”

I grin, I raise the Nikon D 100 slightly. They smile and nod. Message received.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some people drift on to the basketball court to watch.

Nikon D 199 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some of the models stroll out on to the basketball court ready to poses for photographs.Some of the local kids bring a basketball on the court to shoot hoops in the background.

Soon, the organizer, has the she males line up on the half-court line for a group photo.

Some of the local people watch and some of the curiosity seekers with compact digital cameras and cell phone cameras take photos and video.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Years of reporting and photography experience has taught me that whenever a group of people have to stand together for a photo, there is always the “human nature” programming that kicks in.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Whether it is a child standing next to it’s mother, a husband standing next to his wife, or people who work side-by-side everyday of their lives – “Hesitation” kicks in. Perhaps, it is a “personal space” issue, but, it is always up to the “Official Photographer” to encourage the people to move closer together.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Film and digital cameras do not understand or care about “personal space.” The camera viewfinder is only a certain compact size, regardless of the omnipotent lens that may be on the body of the camera.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The she male group, like any group of people, would only move so close together for a group photo. There was no “Official Photographer” to smile or bark orders, so everyone moved to a certain comfort point and stood their ground.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Like a bird in flight, I fluttered about, swooping around and trying to get a complete group photo. Human nature trumped my efforts and I could only get so many of the group within the viewfinder at a given time.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I tried different angles. The only alternative would have been to walk up and keep encouraging each person to move closer together with their toes positioned on the white basketball half-court line.

I was one of many photographers at the event.

I was not the official photographer.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I represented no newspaper or wire service, so I was not getting a paycheck, which meant, it was not my call. “Time,” “Newsweek,” “USA Today,” “The New York Times,” or “The Washington Post” had not call to say, “Sam, we want you on a photo assignment in the Philippines” – so, my personal photographic pursuit did not justify my interference.

As a working news photographer, I learned you are always suppose to get the story and the shot, but you are not suppose to be so dominant that the photographer becomes more of a memory than the actual news event, which means news photographers are suppose to be like Bob Kane’s “Batman,” you swoop in and out and then disappear into the shadows.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I got all of my photo shots. The organizer was still giving instructions and hand gestures to try to get the group to move closer together, when I looked at my bewildered nieces and nephews standing behind me.

I nod and gesture the camera at the entrance to the basketball court. They fall in step behind me.

While the parade had been one of the fiesta activities, it also served to promote “The Barangay Cameri Miss Gay 2012 Beauty Pageant, which would be held on the Barangay Cameri Basketball Court, Sunday, May 13, 2012, which proved to be an interesting event – but, that is another Samuel E. Warren Jr., News Story.

The “Warren Wander Warriors” stay in step, on both flanks for the ready “beat feet” deployment back to the house. I hand my Nikon D 100, to my niece, Vanissa Saldana, my photography assistant. I smile, “It is San Miguel time !”

I step off the road and stroll through the thick fern foliage back to the house.

Life is always full of surprises. Still, I never would of imagined a news and photo opportunity would have sashayed past my front door.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

“1, 2, 3, Kick !” Barangay Cameri Festival Dance Troupe

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Dance is a universal language of fun and celebration. “School is Out” in the Republic of the Philippines and youth are always on the lookout to keep themselves entertained on their summer vacation.

In Barangay Cameri, a rural area in the Republic of the Philippines, the youth have decided to spend some of their time to get ready to dance in the barangay festival.

As of Thursday, April 26, 2012, the eleven youth have decided to put their creative dance skills together to perform a Ute dance, which allows them to come up with their own dance ideas and work it into a routine to perform at the festival.

Angeline Natividad and Dean Carl Villacorte are working with the youth to provide the dance instruction.

While the youth have practiced a few days, April 26, 2012, my wife, Christy invited them to practice at the house. And, thus, we watched the youth working on their dance routines.

Using my Nikon Coolpix 3200 camera, I created a video of the Barangay Cameri Festival Dance Troupe, which I uploaded to You Tube at this link:  http://youtu.be/cdocwEr2zKA

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