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The Ozarks Christmas Dinner 1966 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Grandma DeLong and Uncle Richard’s House

The Ozarks

Christmas Dinner

1966

GRANDMA DELONGS BUTTER MOLD

 

Grandma DeLong’s Butter Mold

Grandma Martha Lou Marcum DeLong taught me “How To Milk A Cow,”when I was five years old. No fancy milking machine. I used my thumb and finger on the cow’s udder. Most of the stream of the milk went on me and not in the bucket. I knew I would never be a dairy farmer. Grandma used the milk to churn butter. Once the butter was churned, she used this butter mold to imprint a design into the cake of butter. She used “Clabber Girl” baking powder to make her biscuits from scratch. Once you added the butter to the fresh biscuits out of the old wood cook stove, “It was good eatin’ ! Every breakfast was like a Christmas Day Breakfast !” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home is where I kick my shoes off and feel, “This is where I belong.”

 

In childhood, I felt at home in the big, white clapboard house in Houston. It had an extremely narrow driveway that ended at the garage in the backyard. The property was surrounded by a cyclone fence.

 

In Missouri, home was always Grandma and Uncle Richard’s house. You turned off the state highway and rose up a wide gravel driveway to the top of the knoll. To the left was the traditional worn wood country barn with the hay loft. The driveway ended near the power pole.

 

Home To Grandma’s House

 

To the right of the power pole sat a small house with a built on porch. The yard hadTHUMBNAIL 2 THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JR three Tonka trees and a huge snowball bush. The yard tapered down into a ditch beside the highway.

 

Brief traces of white paint were visible on the porch, which sagged under the weight of age. A huge flat rock served as a step on to the porch. In autumn, ricks of wood occupied the porch. In spring and summer,

Grandma DeLong would sit on the porch and look up the road toward Abesville.  If she wasn’t peeling potatoes on the porch, then, she would be sitting outside with her fly swatter ready to swat flies.

There was always a string of hot red peppers that hung on the porch like a string of forgotten Christmas lights. Through the year, people would sit on the porch and “visit” with grandma or Uncle Richard. 

Grandma had quite a few chickens that she shut up in the hen house at night.  I would go with her to “gather up the eggs.”  She would put some of the eggs in cartons in the ice box and sell some of the eggs to people who wanted “farm fresh” eggs.

In the 1960s, grandma also raised rabbits.  Every two or three weeks, “The Old Rabbit Man” would stop by to buy some of the rabbits that she had raised.

 

The Kitchen

 

As dusk began to settle, you would stroll across the creaking wooden porch into the kitchen. To your left was a long wooden table that held two white enamel buckets of water.

 

The bucket nearest the door usually had the dipper in it, in case you wanted a drink of water.

 

There was an old battered gray dishpan that sat on the table and it’s function was that of a sink. You dipped water into the pan and washed your hands. Then, you tossed the dirty dish water out the door into the yard.

 

The white cupboard beside the door held the dishes. The huge white refrigerator sat next to the cupboard.

 

By the wood table was the wood box that held the wood for the cook stove. A white enamel dishpan hung on a nail by the cook stove. Grandma usually sat on her tall, wooden swivel stool by the cook stove. Her stool was at the end of the loud, gaudy, yellow art deco formica topped table, which was the kitchen table,

 

Living Room

 

When you got up from the table you stepped into the living room, which was also Grandma’s bedroom. Her cast iron headboard and footboard were set up against the wall.

 

In the center of the room, in the autumn and winter was the pot bellied cast iron heating stove. A doorway beside the heating stove lead into Uncle Richard’s bedroom.

 

The entire house had three rooms and in the early 1970s a laundry room was built on the back of the house. There was no indoor plumbing, The natural call of nature were answered by a trip down to the hillside.

 

Uncle Joe had built an outhouse behind the house. The house had a gable roof. Siding was a brown brick pattern of tar paper over black tar paper.

 

THUMBNAIL 1 THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JRMomma once told me the entire house once sat in the head of a holler, across the road, where Uncle Richard later built a goat house and corral for his wool goats.

In the 1940s,daddy, Uncle Richard and Uncle Hobert moved the house from the holler to the location across the road.

 

The Charley Herman and Martha Lou Marcum DeLong Family had lived on this land since the early 1930s.

 

Rock Porch

 

The back of the house faced the state highway. The two screen doors, near the center, opened out on to a strange rock porch. The concrete foundation of the porch rose up about four feet and the top of the porch was a crude rock garden floor of rocks.

The rocks were, probably, used because they had been picked up out of the yard.  There was nothing special about these rocks.  They were just big,old,sharp, flint rocks of different sizes. Grandma had about six four o’clock plants planted around the porch.

 

Old Tree

 

One of the most amazing feature of the front yard was the ancient tree that set a few yards to the left of the house. It was wide and easy to crawl up into. Cousin Donna, I and our cousins, Bert and Ronnie could easily climb into the tree and sit or play on the branches.

 

Grandma’s house was the center of family social functions. Birthdays, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations everyone made the journey to grandma’s house.

 

The house was small and the kitchen had limitations to timely food preparation. Momma was a good cook, but it took Thanksgiving and Christmas for her to reveal her cooking skills.

 

My childhood house I called the “Hen House” because of the backward slanted shed roof. It was like a badly designed house trailer. However, the house did have indoor plumbing and a working gas stove.

 

The Chores

 

Uncle Richard had his farm chores that involved checking on his 25 head of Black Angus cattle and feeding three sows. He had two Clydesdale work horses, Bob and Fred that he used to plow the corn field.

In the 1960s, Uncle Richard had between 50 and 100 head of wool goats.  In the spring, they would pin up the goats and shear off the wool to put into sacks to take to Crane to sell to a wool buyer.  It usually took two to five days to shear the goats because instead of electric clippers, the scissors were sharp metal.

I always felt sorry for the goats because they looked so funny afterwards.  They had beautiful sets of regal looking horns, but without their wool they looked like they were wearing the type of pink thermal underwear that had the trap door in the back.

 

By the 1970s, Bob and Fred were gone and Kate the old white mule and Hazel the young brown mule inherited the plowing duties.

 

The John Deere Model A tractor had a side starter that was a nuisance to try to start, so it usually sat in the field, near the road, like a forgotten road sign.

 

Whenever some wood had to be sawed there was a long rubber belt that could be put around the starter to operate a saw device, which was another use for the neglected tractor that witnessed Kate and Hazel doing the serious plowing.

 

Momma had her farm chores to do everyday, which involved checking on her 50 head of Black Angus cattle and her growing herd of hogs.

 

Holiday Menu

 

Around the holidays, once her chores were done, then, Momma would start a day before the holiday to cook dinner.

 

Mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, honey glazed ham with the Dole pineapple rings were the food items on the Thanksgiving and Christmas menus. Black eyed peas were considered “Good Luck” in Texas, so Momma always added the black-eyed peas to the Missouri menu.

 

The DeLong Family all loved the orange sweet potatoes. Momma would always load up a long wide Pyrex dish with the candied yams. The yams are one of the foods that always seemed to disappear quickly.

 

Momma like fried okra, cooked cabbage,spinach and fried green tomatoes She usually found the time to add these dishes to the table.

 

Uncle Richard and I loved pinto beans, so Momma would always cook a big pot, Uncle Richard liked the soup and I liked the beans. Momma always cooked the beans until they just melted in your mouth.

 

Grandma DeLong always used Clabber Girl baking power to make her biscuits from scratch. Momma would begin cooking dishes on our gas stove and in the gas oven at home. Then, she would take the cooked food and more food to cook on the cook stove up to grandmas.

 

Aunt Mary DeLong would usually show up early in the morning of a holiday to help with the cooking.

 

The Cook Stove

 

Grandma DeLong used a cast iron “cook stove”, which was a huge oblong piece of metal that look like an unfinished robot. It had an oblong head supported by a slender throat of metal over a flat cooking surface. In the stomach of the metal beast was a door to an oven. The whole contrapcion sit on four cast iron legs.

 

There were four circular lids that contained an indentation for a metal handle that would be inserted to raise any one of the lids. Once the lid was raised then a stick of wood about six to eight inches was inserted into the iron beast.

 

Kindling, the smaller pieces of wood, and paper were added and lit with a match or a cigarette lighter to get the fire started. One the flames were leaping up between the sticks of wood, then, you put the cover back over the opening.

 

A cast iron skillet was added to the flat surface. And,the metal coffee pot usually rested on the stove. Cooking wasn’t fast on the old “cook stove.” Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Dinner was an all day affair.

 

Frying bacon in the cast iron skillet on the flat surface was done to come up with bacon grease. In the 1960s, before cooking oil and vegetable oil became popular farm housewives used what they had, which was bacon grease to cook with.

 

The hot grease could be poured into a container to cool and it solidified, When you needed it, you would spoon out some into a hot skillet and the grease once again became liquid and like cooking oil.

The Stories

Grandma DeLong was the family storyteller,  Whenever Cousin Donna or I got the chance to spend the day at grandma’s we took the opportunity.  She would sit at the end of the kitchen table on her swivel wooden stool and tell us stories about the early days of Stone County,  She would relate her experiences in The Great Depression.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were usually the days that she got to sit in the kitchen and have people tell her stories about their lives.  Grandma was a “good listener.”  And, Grandma DeLong was a curious person. 

She would ask a question that would sometimes catch someone totally off guard.  They would see the small woman with her silver hair in a French bun and think of her as a “sweet, little old lady.”  But. this sweet, little old lady was always curious and had a sense of humor and would ask her question.

The person being questioned might blush, but Grandma DeLong didn’t get embarrassed.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Days were usually the days that grandma didn’t have to cook. She sat at the end of the bright yellow art deco formica topped kitchen table“supervised” and “visited” with friends who stopped by and family members who sat down at the table.

One of the most comfortable features of being at Grandma’s house was how people would get them a cup of coffee and sit down at the kitchen to talk,  Everyone always seemed to feel at home.  People were always at ease,

Friends, family and neighbors would sit down at the kitchen table and just casually speak about their day and the events that were going on in their lives.

The beauty of childhood is when you observe some actions, you are willing to allow your imagination to supply the rationale.I had a suspicion that the loud, gaudy, yellow kitchen table was actually a scientific, sophisticated gizmo that simply encouraged people to freely express their thoughts and views.

In 1960, Papa Warren, Mama Warren, Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey came to Missouri to visit for a couple of weeks. When daddy would sit down at the table, grandma would have all kinds of questions to ask about the family in Texas and the job.

 

1958 CHEVROLET _Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. 0215_resized

American Classic

1958 Chevrolet

This 1958 Chevrolet circles the square, during Stone County, Missouri’s 160th Anniversary Celebration. My Uncle Audrey and Aunt Bill Warren Irwin owned a beautiful emerald green 1958 Chevrolet. Uncle Audrey was meticulous about the automobile. In 1960, Uncle Audrey, Aunt Bill, Papa Warren and Mama Warren came up to The Ozarks from Simpsonville, Texas for a couple of weeks in Uncle Audrey’s ’58 Chevy. As a child one of the factors that I always appreciated about the 1950s General Motors Corporation automobiles were how the designers used the grilles to create a facial expression for the vehicle.   Every time I see a ‘58 Chevy, I smile because it always reminds me of Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Home For The Holidays

 

Every two or three years, Aunt Reva DeLong and her husband, Uncle Dennis would arrive to celebrate Christmas.

 

Uncle Dennis served in the United States Marine Corps. They would bring their two sons, Bert and Ronnie. Bert grew up to serve in the United States Air Force. Ronnie grew up to serve in the United States Navy.

 

Of course, when family returned for the holiday, friends and neighbors would stop by to visit. While the adults would sit down to visit over a cup of coffee, we kids would go outside and go into the woods to play.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas Days we didn’t stray that far from the kitchen, so we would go out and play on the old tree.

 

Every Christmas, daddy would bring Uncle Richard a fifth of Seagram’s Seven. Uncle Richard would smile and then go hide it under his bed.

Uncle Richard knew Uncle Joe was suppose to be coming home for the holidays, then, Uncle Richard would take his fifth of Seagram’s out to the barn to hide it.

 

Sometimes Uncle Joe would get time off from the Burlington Northern railroad and come home to celebrate Christmas.

 

Momma, Opal M. DeLong Warren, would of pulled out all the stops and been in her Christmas mode. Once Momma and Aunt Mary was done with the cooking the food would be sat on the table. Everyone would get them a plate and help themselves.

 

Once the dishes were cleared away into the dish pan on the corner of the cook stove, then, the adults would sit with there coffee at the kitchen table and talk.

 

Grandma Delong “went to bed with the chickens”, which meant by 6 pm or 8 pm she would go to bed and the rest of the adults would sit in the kitchen and talk usually until midnight.

 

The family coming home for the holidays. The vast amount of food on the table. The conversations throughout the day until the evening. All of these observations on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days were what I understood to be the meaning of the family getting together for the holidays.

 

Throughout the year, Momma would remind me that, “Family is everything.” Christmas Dinner at Grandma DeLong’s always seem to bring family together from around the United States.  There was always the feeling that everyone who walked through the door looked forward to the opportunity to come back “home for the holidays.”

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 24, 2012 at 1:43 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Ecology, Family, Food, Money, Nature, Observances, Opinion, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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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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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

with 27 comments

Uncle Sam In The Philippines

Uncle Sam Restaurant 009 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The familiar silhouette of Uncle Sam on the sign above the streets of Tacloban City advertises a restaurant with a truly American cuisine.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed the silhouette of Uncle Sam. The words: . . . wings, burgers, shakes and floats had flashed pass my eyes. By the time, I turned my head to look, the van had moved on and I could only remember the famous name: “Uncle Sam.”

On trips to Tacloban City, I kept looking out the passenger window looking for the familiar image and the words, “Uncle Sam.” I could not remember the street. But, I definitely knew that I wanted to stop in and look at the menu.

Saturday, March 3, 2012, I glance out the passenger window and see the famous silhouette. “Here ! Stop, here,” I shrieked !

Uncle Sam Restaurant 011 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

If you stroll along Santo Nino Street in Tacloban City, the bright red paint is the first indication that you have found the Uncle Sam Restaurant.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy, Ninoy, Marife, Ranyiel, Mac Mac and Chrismar entered the restaurant behind me.

Americana Decor

Beneath my feet, I stood on a blue and white checkerboard pattern. Around me, red and white stripes unfurl around the walls. Above me, I stare up into a star spangled sky. Uncle Sam Restaurant A001 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The feeling of being in an American Graffiti restaurant in the 1950s came over me.  For an instant, my “ride”. a 1957 Plymouth, I call “Christine” is parked outside.  Teeny boppers in ponytails and poodle skirts pop their bubble gum and fidgeted with their pony tails.  The smell of Brylcream fills the air as the combs of young men pass through their slicked down hair and they do their best Marlon Brando impression to flirt with the young girls. The sizzling of thick, juicy hamburgers gives way to  Wolfman Jack screaming through the radio about the latest 45 to top the charts.  Then, the jukebox whirls and the Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll” sings. I glimpse out the window to make sure Suzanne Somers is not driving past in a white 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

A portion of the Star Spangled Sky of the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City stretches out over the customers. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I stand smiling, for a moment. I look again at the walls I feel at home in the new surroundings. For an instant, I feel like I’m back in the “Good Ole USA.” The center wall montage immediately catches my eye. Uncle Sam stares out of the center flanked by the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the space shuttle, the Las Vegas sign and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 001 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

“Uncle Sam”,the classic American icon that Political Cartoonist Thomas Nast created to represent the American people is the centerpiece of this United States montage that honors national landmarks and challenges customers’ sense of history as to the significance of the national symbols.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Impromptu History Lesson

The waiter came to take our order, but I had dashed to the center wall to look at the familiar images. I called to the boys to come look at the wall. Poor kids. It is Saturday and their uncle suddenly bursts into an American history lesson.

I pontificated how Uncle Sam had been a Chicago, Illinois meat packing inspector named Sam, who put the letters U.S., on the crates. Then, how American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast came along and began drawing Uncle Sam as a character for newspapers. And, how that popularity carried on and in World War I, the United States Armed Forces began using the image of Uncle Sam on military recruiting posters.

While the boys looked around at the décor, like an excited history teacher, I explained how the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to celebrate America’s 100th birthday and then, I pointed out George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore.

My wife, Christy, looked at the menu. She smiles and shakes her head – she knows how I enjoy talking about history. The boys looked at the large screen TV, which had been switched to the Cartoon Network.

 

Uncle Sam Restaurant 002 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

 

This wall in the Uncle Sam Restaurant hosts the photos of famous American celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and, of course, the famous historical photo of United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and the official party wading ashore in the Leyte Gulf, a few kilometers, outside Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Hollywood History

However, their “Uncle Sam” called to them to point out the Americana on the walls. I explained to them that the young Marlon Brando photo had the actor playing a rebel on a motorcycle and it made him an “American Bad Boy.” The photo of James Dean was of a young actor, who earned the title of being “The Rebel.” I point at the Frank Sinatra photo and explained that the actor and singer, was known as, “Old Blue Eyes.” Marilyn Monroe was the blonde screen goddess of the United States in the 1960s.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 004 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized 

 

This wall of the Uncle Sam Restaurant contains framed movie posters of some classics of American cinema from “Pretty Woman” to “Titanic.”  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

I pointed out Madonna and Ranyiel recognized, “Michael Jackson !” Riding the history wave, I directed the boys to the photos of American films on the walls from “Meet Joe Black” to “Titanic.” Of course, I added my movie critic comments for each of the framed movie photos. Uncle Sam Restaurant 012 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

This red sidewalk with gold stars is the “Walk Of Fame” that leads you to the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Finally, I freed the boys from my impromptu history class to allow them to take their seats, watch cartoons and wait for their meals.

I am no food critic. But, I was smiling when I looked at the American dishes on the menu.

Christy and the rest of the family ordered the Buffalo Wings. And, I ordered the Very Berry Strawberry shakes for everyone.

Righteous Ribs, Superb Sauce

I enjoyed the ribs. I’m one of those people who considers ribs “a finger food,” so my silverware sat untouched as I used my fingers to pull apart the tender, succulent meat. My polite nephews and their parents diligently used their knives and forks, despite my suggestion that “ribs is one of those foods best enjoyed by using your fingers.”

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Ribs, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.  Back in The Ozarks, my folks, would call this dish a good “home cooked” meal.  This dish at the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City was delicious.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love the taste of the sauce. I loved the taste of the sauce so much, that I did something completely out of character for me . . . “I licked my fingers.” I describe the meat as righteous ribs and superb sauce as the waiter trades my white napkin for a fresh red one.

The corn of the cob tasted as fresh as if it had been picked off the stalk and cooked.

Mashed Potatoes

Country boy, that I am, I was ecstatic to see “mashed potatoes” on the menu.

Potatoes in the Ozarks is like rice in the Philippines because a meal is not a meal without that dish. While rice is used in many dishes in the Philippines, the same is true of potatoes in the United States. I went through the door with my mouth watering for a “home cooked” big, juicy hamburger. But, my eyes focused on the ribs and “mashed potatoes.”

I’m sure Emeril and the great French chefs would not consider “mashed potatoes” a dessert, but, they haven’t gone for a couple of months without being able to plunge a spoon into steaming mashed potatoes and have the mashed potatoes melt in your mouth.

I could not help but smile when the waiter told us that the restaurant opened for business on “The Fourth Of July” 2011.

My appetite for “home cooked American cuisine” had me smiling as I put the napkin to my lips. I raised my hand to call the waiter for the menu.

My intent was to feast my eyes on their menu once again. Christy spoke up and reminded me that we still had some errands to run. I nodded and promised myself to return with a hearty appetite in the near future. 

Uncle Sam Restaurant 006 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

My wife, Christy Warren, ordered the Uncle Sam Restaurant’s Buffalo Wings, rice pilaf and the grilled tomatoes. If you have a Texas size appetite for a thick juicy steak or some ribs, then, you should definitely visit Uncle Sam in Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I did return

I did return – Tuesday afternoon. My wife, Christy ordered the mango shake. Fe ordered a banana split. Ninoy and I ordered the Angus Beef Burger. For a country boy, who grew up in rural southwest Missouri in the Ozarks, surrounded by Black Angus, Red Angus and Brangus cattle, the juicy hamburger brought back memories in every bite.

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The succulent Angus Beef Burger satisfied my appetite for a thick, juicy hamburger.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City is on Santo Nino Street. The Uncle Sam Restaurant is my five star choice when I want American cuisine.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 008 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resizedFor the latest information about the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City, Republic of the Philippines type in your computer search engine: facebook Uncle Sam Restaurant or click this link: Uncle Sam Restaurant, Tacloban City, Philippines  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If after you read this article and you stop by the Uncle Sam Restaurant for a meal tell them, “Uncle Sam” sent you.

Uncle Sam”uel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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