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Fiscal Christmas of 2011 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Personal Business Editorial

Fiscal

Christmas

of

2011

CHRISTMAS BUILDING_DSC_6193_PALO LIBRARY 2011_resized

Santa’s Southern Workshop

If Santa Claus has to make a pit stop on Leyte to feed his reindeer or resupply his big, bright red Christmas Presents sack, then, it looks like the Palo Library is his stop over location based on this holiday photo of 2011. The snapshot was taken through the windshield of a moving vehicle, which accounts for the heavy coloration at the top of the snapshot and the circles reflected on the building and is a reminder that sometimes in life what we see is not always what we think we see. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

As a little boy in the United States, I have several memories of “Christmas In The Ozarks.”

 

As a young man in college, I have several memories of “Christmas On The Job.”

 

CHRISTMAS STAR LOGO PHOTO THUMBNAIL TWOAs a man in the military, I have several memories of “Christmas Around The World” or, more correctly, “Christmas In The Pacific.”

 

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.”

 

My wife, Christy Warren and I returned to the Republic of the Philippines in December 2011, which resulted in a “Fast Christmas.”

 

Extended Family Concept

 

The Philippines is one of those nations that practices the “Extended Family” concept. Americans tend to think of “Immediate Family,” which is Mom, Dad, the kids, and sometimes grandpa, grandma, and the aunts and uncles.

 

The Philippines’ “Extended Family” concept is exceptional because it takes into account other relatives, which can be distant aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

 

Taken to the extreme, the concept is like taking a Manila telephone book and expecting everyone listed under A to Z to show up on Christmas Day.

 

Unleash The Relatives !

 

As Christmas 2011 approaches, it becomes apparent that Christy Saldana Warren is related to most of the past, present and future delegates of The United Nations.

 

By Christmas Eve 2011, apparently the only person in The Republic Of The Philippines that Christy was not related to is The President Of The Philippines.

 

It seemed that everyone who could walk, stagger, hire a pedicab, tricycle, jeepney or hitch a ride had passed through the doors for the “Home For The Holidays” celebration. A few people took the time to identify themselves as “friends”, while many just smiled, nodded and socialized with other family members.

 

Christmas Eve 2011 and Christmas Day 2011 proved to be a wonderful celebration. People, food, kids, joy, excitement, storytelling, socializing. No script writer in Hollywood or Manila could come up with a script for a more joyous family holiday celebration.

 

Christmas Glitch

 

Every nation has those situations and conditions that allow some people to profit at the expense of others. In the Philippines, the cultural “Extended Family Concept” is an ideal situation to be taken to the extreme to take advantage of people and the overall compassionate message of humanity at Christmas.

 

Jet Lag, Time Drag

 

The Fast Christmas” celebration took advantage of the fact that we stepped off the airplane in the middle of December. It would take a couple of days for us to travel from the island of Luzon to the island of Leyte. While we would spend a couple of days in Manila before a quick Christmas trip to Angeles City, our bodies were still suffering from “jet lag”.

 

Our minds were adjusting to the “International Date Line time difference of 14 hours between the Philippines and Missouri because The Show Me State was on “Daylight Savings Time”, which added an hour to the normal 13-hour time difference.

 

I had looked forward to the trip to Angeles City as “My Military Mecca Pilgrimage”, I could return to my beloved Clark Air Base and see the changes since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Unfortunately, this was one of those “side trips” that you make to say, “Hi” and “Bye.”

 

Sad Story Singers

 

Christmas The Season is the time of year when “Everyone On Planet Earth Has A Sad Story To Tell.” One of the other 364 days of the year, people might ignore your story, but, the Christmas Season gets into a person’s psychological makeup and the whole “Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men” scenario kicks in and a person listens to “the sad story.”

 

If you are born to a rich family, then, you probably have to really dig into the family history to find a sad story to sing. The rest of us, just think back a couple of months and find a sad story. Some people truly do have a sad story in life that begins around Day One.

 

Many people are just disappointed not to have been born to a mom or dad listed in the Fortune 500 with a fat bank account and a portfolio that list numbers with several series of zeroes after the numbers.

 

Sometimes a Sad Story maybe true. Sometimes a Sad Story is a ploy with a fiscal ending aimed at your wallet or purse. One example is the man, who told me, “My son could use a computer for his education.” No doubt.

 

Of course, smiling at someone, during Christmas Season and replying, “Get A Job”, would probably be considered politically incorrect and downright callous. Nonetheless, I am too skinny to ever be mistaken for Santa Claus anywhere in the world.

 

I came from hard-working parents and the “work ethics” of the Ozarks and Texas is hardwired into my DNA, so “I will try to help people, who help themselves”, but , I remember the old Ozarks’ saying, “ Charity starts at home.”

 

Find The Family

 

I retired from the military in 1997. Christy and I had left Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines to go to another assignment only a few months before Mount Pinatubo solved the whole “US Bases In The Philippines” debate in clouds of volcanic ash.

 

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo cut off all communications between Christy and her family in the Philippines for the next 18 years, both of us tried everything we could think of to locate her family in the Philippine Islands.

 

In 2008, we got lucky and communications were reestablished and she began talking to the family on a regular basis. We considered moving to the Philippines.

 

Parents, Plan, Priority

 

Before we left the US, Christy and I discussed that a “rice mill” might be a good idea in a country setting in the Philippines. At the time, all the family members in the Philippines seemed to agree.

 

Everyone knew the family story that essentially Christy s mom had made Christy swear an oath to do everything possible to “Keep The Family Together.” Everyone knew that my mother had taught me, “Family Is Everything.” The pledges to our parents were the type of ploys that could be used to try and make a person feel guilty.

 

Christy had made it known to the family that her priority was that the family work together to succeed, so that everyone would benefit in the long run through the years ahead. The concept of “Teamwork” seemed to be an idea that everyone was willing to work for.

 

Business Banter

 

Christy had come up with a business plan that would allow every member of the family to have a role in the family business. Before we left the States, it seemed everyone was anxious to hit the beach at Leyte and do the family business of running a rice mill.

 

Before we left the States, a rice mill had been built in Barangay Baras. Christy and I discussed other ideas for a family business. Family members, offered up their own ideas.

 

In the United States, the idea of involving relatives in a family business began to disappear around the time of the American Civil War.

 

By the 1900s, Americans were known around the world as the people who tell you “Never Ever Involve Family In A Business You Own.” I had heard that admonition my entire life. From what I had witnessed in life, it seemed like sound advice.

 

However, my wife, Christy is a Filipina and we were returning to the Philippines. I had, no doubt, if everyone was willing to work with Christy everyone would succeed.

 

The Boss

 

I had been the military man. I remain the reporter and photographer. My wife, Christy, like my mother, was obviously the business woman. I had the luxury of “Being Married To The Boss.”

 

The drawback to any business is “Everyone wants to be the chief and no one wants to be just one of the braves.” The braves forget, in a business sense, “the person with the wampum makes the rules.”

 

As the year wore on, it became obvious that some family members had not been all that excited about the original idea of the rural rice mill. Christy being a woman in a traditionally “macho” culture did not help in her trying to win over family members.

 

In the Latin-based cultures, like the Philippines, the eldest male child is expected to “take charge” and call the overall shots for the family. Then, of course, you factor in the Asian cultural concept of “Save Face” and women usually stand in the shadows in a “be seen, but not heard role.”

 

Men don’t always appreciate working for a woman. In the US, men not being able to work with a woman is an idea that has really disappeared since the 1970s.

 

But, there are places in the world, where men really have problems when “The Boss” is a woman. It seemed some of the men really didn’t want to think of Christy as “The Boss.”

 

Blame The Americans – Everyone Else Does

UNCLE SAM

 

Thank God for The United States Of America !

 

Without the US to blame, for everything from bad weather to the price of tea in China, many citizens of the world would have to find something or someone else to blame if good old Uncle Sam wasn’t around. Thus, the US got some of the blame when Christy and I didn’t jump at a business idea. Someone would grumble, “Christy spent too long in the US.”

 

Christy The Filipina

 

Christy Saldana is an independent woman, who had her own ideas about life before I ever married her and she stepped off the airplane on to US soil. People who tried to “blame the US” knew nothing about Christy or the United States.

 

Christy is one of those people, who has worked for and earned everything she has in life. She had earned her own way in life. When I met her, I was impressed by her confidence and ambition.

 

Side Trip Shaft

 

After the Angeles City holiday pilgrimage, we were back on the road headed to a ferry for the island of Leyte. Our bodies still dealt with the prolonged “jet lag” and our minds were still adjusting to the “time drag”

 

My first major disappointment since returning to the Philippines came with the “side trip” to Angeles City. Too much time had been wasted on trying to get everyone together.

 

We ended up going to Clark Air Base “too late” for me to be able to enjoy looking around the base. We didn’t have time that night to see the base. We didn’t have time to spend a day or so in the area, so that we could visit the base. This is one of those decisions that did not sit well with me.

 

I had looked forward to the visit to Clark. Anger is the emotion that I felt at being denied the opportunity to take my time and look around the base. Resentment is the other emotion that stuck in my craw. And, the word, Mad, is an accurate description of how I felt when we left Angeles City.

 

Back On The Road

 

Naturally, we were trying to get to Leyte to be able to rest after the long plane flight and to celebrate Christmas.

 

The ride to the ferry off the island of Leyte was a long ride because I was mad. Nonetheless, I was ready to finally kick my shoes off and unpack my suitcases. Fast Christmas had kept us off balance and on the road.

 

If you want to do business on Christmas Day, then, tell the people you want to do business with. If you want to promote a business idea, then, you have to be willing to put some of your own money on the line.

In the ideas that were being suggested to us, everyone wanted to be “the idea man” and leave all of the investment of money to Christy and Sam.  If you try to wrap up and slide a fiscal agenda into the holiday all you will get for the year is a bundle of switches and lumps of coal in your fiscal plans.

 

The Jet Lag, Time Drag, Slide Trip Shaft, and the On The Road, factors are the lumps of coal that pushed Christy and I into Christmas Day 2011. I considered Christmas Day 2011 a Fast Christmas. The result is the day became the Fiscal Christmas of 2011.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 29, 2012 at 6:51 AM

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

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

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Parental Portrait for Christmas

 

Opal

The Business Woman

Welder

OPAL M DELONG WARREN_resized

 

Opal

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

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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

 

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

 

Aries Entrepreneur Grandfather

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Missouri Moonshine Manufacturer

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Grandpa DeLong’s

Great Business Decision

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Slop Bucket

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Martha

My Virgo Agribusiness Grandmother

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Tree Tragedy

 

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

 

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

 

The Land Plan

 

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

 

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

 

Human Shock Absorbers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Farm Ponds For Fishing

 

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

 

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

 

Opal’s First Public Job

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carol Jane Bellamy

Sagittarian Family Banker

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Long Lost Relatives

 

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

 

You Have To Earn Your Way In The World

 

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

 

Hospital Cook

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Railroad Bar And Grill Waitress

 

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

 

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

 

The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Momma and her friend, knew no one in Texas.

 

The Bus Trip

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bread And Water

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Satin Blouse

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The FBI Special Agent

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dollar Document

 

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

 

Lousy Painter

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Family Is Everything

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Balancing The Books

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Save And Manage Your Money

 

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

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 7:35 AM

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

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“Blackouts In Leyte” — The Electricity Editorial

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Blackouts

In

Leyte

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In the United States, when the lights go out, people shout, “Blackout.” In the Philippines, when the lights go out people shout, “Brownout.”

Perhaps, the term, “brownout” seems more politically correct or suggests that the power outage may not last as long as a “blackout.” Despite the political correctness of words, I like the term “blackout<” because when the lights go out – day or night – you are “in the dark.”

The major drawback to life on the island of Leyte, in the Republic of the Philippines is obviously “electricity.”

Frequency Of Blackouts – “Preposterous, Ridiculous,

Nonsense”

The frequency and the number of “blackouts” since December of 2011 until the day I started to write this article, August 8, 2012, brings the words, “preposterous”,“ridiculous”, and “nonsense” to mind. Sometimes the “blackouts” last several hours as in 12, 16 or a whole day. Sometimes the “blackouts” only last a few minutes. What is frustrating about the “blackouts” is the frequency. Hardly, a 24-hour period goes by that there is not at least one “blackout.”

Government Seeks Answers

A couple of months ago, the Philippine government announced that they had questions about the high electric bills that citizens on the island of Leyte had to pay. I haven’t seen anything in the newspapers recently on the situation.

The most frustrating factor of daily life in Leyte is the unreliability of electricity. The electricity is as unreliable as the political campaign promises of an American presidential candidate. I could appreciate the circumstances if I knew that electric company officials were working to solve the problem. But, I haven’t seen or heard anything in the news media to suggest that anyone is doing anything.

Rural Missouri Blackouts

As a boy in Missouri in the 1960s, I knew that come the winter months, there would be probably a couple of times during the winter, when we would be without electricity for two to three days. Snow and ice would collect on tree limbs and either the limbs or trees would fall on power lines and then the electric company would have to locate the tree and try to repair the line. By the 1980s, power outages in winter time in rural southwest Missouri had become one of those events that usually belonged “to the memories of childhood.”

Why The Blackouts ?

I don’t know why there are so many “Blackouts” in Leyte ?

I can theorize that the island infrastructure presents a challenge to maintaining a consistent and persistent supply of electricity. I have, no doubt, that weather situations like typhoons and monsoon rains bring havoc to power lines. I even imagine the number of household that rely on the electricity and the appliances and devices that they use are taking a toll on power consumption and supply. I am more than willing to give the power company the benefit of the doubt. I can understand and appreciate these limitations.

But. . .

On a sunny day, when it has not been raining and the power goes out – then, you wonder, “Why ?”

More than an annoyance or frustration, the “blackouts” are probably taking their toll in credibility. Leyte is a beautiful island, which should attract herds of foreign investors seeking to do business in the Philippines.

Profitable Population

This eastern visayas paradise – Leyte – offers a culturally diverse population. Chinese immigrants were among some of the first settlers to this island, so there is several Chinese businesses in Tacloban City.

Of course, the significant Spanish history and influence of the Philippines for more than 400 years is reflected in the Waray and Tagalog languages as well as cultural ideas and lifestyles.

The American presence at the beginning of the 20th Century, though World War II and until Mount Pinatubo brought the closure of Clark and Subic in the 1990s accounts for the wide use and understanding of English.

The Airport Of The West – Western World Ways

Thus, the Philippines in the Asia realm is “The Airport Of The West”, where people can land, stretch out, relax, rest and be ready to try and relate and communicate with a major section of the world that does not always understand, appreciate or have a way to communicate and relate to Western World Ways, in terms of ideas, or the English language.

People in the Philippines truly understand “The West.” The major reluctance of the use of English by Filipinos seems to be a “cultural shyness” in the use of English. Other English speaking citizens: Americans, Australians, British, Canadians and South Africans – are quick to “criticize” the use of English words and phrases.

Thus, the availability of a population that is accustomed to tourist, foreign business people and other languages should have foreign business investors beating down the door to offer employment to the population. Then, of course, “the lights go out.”

International Reporters and Photographers – Power Up !

If your editor sends you to cover breaking news in Leyte or another island of the Philippines. Before you dash to the airport, check your laptop battery and consider buying or packing another digital camera battery. Electricity is as reliable as an American politicians’ campaign promises – it isn’t !

In country, in Manila, Tacloban City, Tanauan and other large cities in the Philippines you can find the voltage regulators to handle the American 110 volts, but, if you get off a chopper, hop off a jeepney or a trike into the small villages and towns, the American laptop or American digital camera will have to use the power it has.

Remember, Canon and Nikon, are Japanese cameras that make American models to handle US voltage. Laptops bought in the US market are not designed to handle Asian 220 voltage. Know your gear, before you plug it into an Asian electric outlet. You might consider packing a small battery alarm clock and a small battery flashlight in with your camera gear to handle “blackouts.” Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


Voltage Regulator

The voltage regulator in the photograph was purchased at Citi Hardware in Tacloban City. The 578 Emporium and the Gaisano stores in Tacloban City usually have the voltage regulators for sale. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Big Hole In Your Wallet

My wife, Christy opened her, “CSW Cafe” in Tacloban City, near Leyte Normal University. Like any small businessman or businesswoman, she meets the daily challenges of business. Her cafe provides buffet style Filipino food in a bistro atmosphere Fortunately, in Tacloban City, the “blackouts” don’t seem to be as frequent as “out in the country” where we live.

But, when the power goes out – the air conditioning goes off and the tropical temperatures of the Philippines sends you looking for a shade tree or a cooler place to wait until the power comes back on.

Blackout” or “Brown out” – whatever you call the situation. The unstable state of electricity is more than frustrating or annoying – it comes down to “The Big Hole In Your Wallet.”

The Electricity Gamble

This morning, – “Blackout.” It lasted for five to ten minutes, while the kids got ready to go to school. Fortunately, the kids had already had their breakfast. Unreliable electricity is no doubt one reason, why people rely on small canisters of propane and a large hot plate appliance to cook meals, rather than an electric stove.

 

Camera
NIKON D100
Focal Length
58mm
Aperture
f/11
Exposure
1/30s
Camera
NIKON D100
Focal Length
58mm
Aperture
f/11
Exposure
1/30s

 

Gas Stove ?

The large appliance is a two burner hot plate. The line runs to a Recreational Vehicle-sized propane canister and is, essentially, a gas stove in Leyte. I have not seen any electric stoves and the frequency of “brownouts” and “blackouts” would explain why electric stoves, ovens and ranges are extremely rare, if at all. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The afternoon past without a “Blackout.” This evening – from now until midnight is still “a flip of the coin” because electricity in rural Leyte is “a minute to minute and hour to hour gamble.”

Without unreliable power, it makes it difficult for all businesses to do business. Unstable power means farmers and fishermen really have to rely on the daylight, in order, to be sure they can earn their day to day living.

Families in rural Leyte, seem to have adopted a “slot machine attitude toward electricity.” You realize some days are like pulling down the arm and watching the machine “hit”, “Three Across !” The dials click into place and you listen to the jingle and jangle of coins clanking into the tray.

Electricity Is A Slot Machine Gamble In Leyte

Pull the arm of any “One Arm Bandit” slot machine and watch the dials whirl. If the mechanical or computer programmed machine “hits” then you get a “payout” of tokens or coins.

 

Daily electricity in Leyte is like playing a slot machine. From second to second, minute to minute and hour to hour the dails whirl. Somedays in Leyte, the only “payout” of electricity is a persistent “blackout” that can last for minutes to several hours and there can be several “blackouts” on a given day.

 

And, like slot machines, it seems the electric bills can consume major portions of your wallet for an erratic payout of electricity over a month’s time. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Other days, you pull the arm and the dials spin. Clunk ! Clunk ! Clunk !

Nothing on the three dials match and those are the days, when the electricity may be on and off again several times throughout the day or the electricity may be out for several hours during the day or night. You almost have to have – A Slot Machine Attitude – because from sunrise to midnight, you never know what the celestial spinning of the dials of the cosmic electric slot machine is going to “payout.”

In the 21st Century, it is ridiculous for any citizens to have to try to farm, do business or live like 12th Century peasants. The peasants had daylight and candlelight. They used the daylight to accomplish the majority of the day’s tasks.

Keep The Candles Handy

Thus, somewhere on planet Earth, in the 21st Century, someone should hold “The Secret” or the knowledge to help the power companies of Leyte to figure out “How To Keep The Lights On” and make “Blackouts” a historical footnote of the past. Until then, don’t forget to keep your candles and box of matches from the sari-sari store handy.

Keep The Candles Handy

Local sari-sari stores in provinces in the Philippines are numerous and usually have a ready supply of candles and small boxes of matches. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Wingman To The Angels

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Wingman

To The

Angels

By Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I can die a happy man !

I don’t have a son.

I don’t have a grandson.

I had the honor of any father or grandfather, as I stood and walk alongside my nephew in his commencement exercise.

“What Mothers Do” – Lanail Saldana holds a graduation gown, while Marife Saldana Roa, the mother of Glen Roa, checks the precise alignment of the flower on her son, Glen’s graduation gown before commencement exercises. Canon 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I walked alongside my nephew, Glen Roa, on the day that he underwent a monumental turning point in his life.

March 29, 2012, I strolled alongside my nephew, Glen Roa, in his formal graduation procession of the Juan Villablanca National High School, in Pastrana, in the Republic of the Philippines.

The joy inside my heart, mind and soul, I describe as, being promoted to the rank of “Seraphim” and given the opportunity to fly Combat Air Patrol off of the left wing of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

As a writer, monumental moments in my life, I always put on paper or place in my electronic journals, the “Sam I Am Blog” and my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog.

A writer feels emotions like his fellow man and fellow woman, but, a writer has the passion to translate that emotion into words and to commit it to print for future generations.

For me, walking alongside Glen in his commencement exercise gave me a supreme sensation of pride that could only be explained as being assigned to the military ranks of the Heavenly Host.

What greater tribute could there be in the Afterlife for a military man or woman than to be designated a “Seraphim” and authorized to fly alongside the Archangels ?

I am not a religious man. I try to be a spiritual man.

This event, gave me, the Pride, to feel like I had the honor to serve: as “Wingman To The Angels.”

“The Walk” — Samuel E. Warren Jr., strolls alongside, Glen Roa, his nephew, in the formal procession on Glen’s Graduation Day. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Christy Warren.

The nature of the ceremony, obviously, made the day a monumental moment in Glen’s life.

The day was obviously – “Glen’s Day.”

Glen Roa accepts Communion at the church, before joining his fellow students in the formal graduation procession to the auditorium. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

However, Glen’s American uncle felt the tremendous positive energy flowing from the universe into the graduates, their parents and relatives.

A magnificent, positive energy that reminds people, you can change the world, you can move mountains. You simply need the faith in yourself and your convictions to move you along the path to greatness.

I stood next to Glen and felt like one of God’s Seraphim standing on a majestic mountain peak bathed in golden sunlight. The rays of the sun, moved along my angelic breastplate and tunic. My wings opened to the sunlight. I stood ready to serve in the immortal ranks of The Heavenly Host.”

My feet stood in the Real World on the soil of the Republic of the Philippines, but, my imagination takes flight. I draw my sword and spread my wings. At altitude, I bank in the sunlight and fly through the ranks of the seraphim. I soar and sail among the formation of the archangels and move into position to fly off the left wing of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

Today, I am Saint Michael’s Wingman.

Back in the Real World, I stand alongside Glen. The sweltering heat and sunlight reaches the point that it is uncomfortable to just be standing outside. Yet, Glen stands in the long white line of students selected to graduate.

“The Long White Line ” — boys and girls in caps and gowns move along the route of the commencement exercise procession toward the goal of graduate. Photo by Christy Warren.

I have always been a persistent, passionate writer. When I pick up my camera for a news or important photography situation, I enter my Michelangelo mindset and try to figure out how I will be able to capture a photo that will remain a moving work of art to stand the test of time. The photography mindset is never a conscious act as much as a mental urge to be in the right place, at the right time, to capture a moment of history to stand the test of time.

My calling in life had always been to be the best reporter and photographer that it is humanly possible for me to be.

My writer’s mind, tells me God and Saint Michael, took the necessary actions to move me to this point in time.

In November 1988, I reported to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines. I was a single American G.I., in pursuit of the dream of earning a Pulitzer Prize for writing or photography. Born a Texan and raised an Ozarks country boy, my ambition in life was to be a world-renowned photojournalist.

Life is an assignment that takes a serious of missions to put you in the right position to attain success and contentment. On duty, in the Real World, the United States Air Force would issue orders that would take Christy and I to Japan, Alabama and finally to retirement in Missouri.

Mount Pinatubo’s noxious sulfur fumes had changed the blanket of air over Clark Air Base into the pungent, persistent, almost choking stench of “rotten eggs.”

The slight shudder of the earth beneath your feet in February had grown to an intensity that seemed Mother Earth was being racked with strong contractions like a woman in labor by the month of May.

Before the rebirth of Mount Pinatubo into a volcano, Christy and I had taken the military orders and landed in Japan.

Mount Pinatubo had been nature’s “bunker buster bomb blast” that severed all Real World communications between Christy and her family in the Republic of the Philippines.

The status of all Christy’s relatives were “Unknown” – Missing In Action.

In a matter of days, Mount Pinatubo had devastated a section of a nation with a force usually displayed by nations at war.

And, the aftermath of Mount Pinatubo’s action, took 21 years for Christy to finally locate and determine the fate of her family in the Philippines. Marife and Ramon had had their own families.

With communications reestablished the Warrens in the United States and the Saldanas in the Philippines were becoming a family separated by a body of water called the Pacific Ocean.

Like United States Army General Douglas MacArthur, Christy Warren was determined to “Return To The Philippines.” General MacArthur had a mission. Christy Warren had family in the Philippines.

Glen adjusts his robe and straightens his mortarboard graduation cap, I smile and realize that at last Life had brought us to this point.

Glen, the young man, had grown up hearing stories about his “Tita Christy and Tito Sam.” Since our return to the Philippines, he had seen we were not fictional characters, but real people.

My grandfather, Joseph Samuel Warren, had been an East Texas farmer. My father, Samuel E. Warren, had served in the European Theater of Operations and the Pacific Theater of Operations, during World War II. Dad had earned two Silver Stars and assigned to the United States Army Signal Corps had installed some of the first telephone lines through the jungles of the Republic of the Philippines, during the war.

Glen had told his mom, he wanted to join the military. I hope the stories of my dad’s military service had inspired Glen to understand that military service is a calling of patriotism and compassionate devotion to one’s fellow citizens.

Glen’s confident smile reminded me of my exciting days at Clark Air Base back in the late 1980s. I looked at Glen and was reminded of General Fidel V. Ramos. I had been fortunate enough to take a photo of General Ramos on one of his visits to Clark.

When I arrived at Clark in the 1980s, I landed in the Philippines in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power Revolution and it was an exciting time.

The Global News Media had labeled former President Ferdinand Marcos an “evil dictatorial strongman.” Since President Marcos had always been a reliable and devoted ally to the United States Government in the Pacific and Asia, people in the Philippines were suspicious of the United States Government and most all Americans.

Life in the Philippines had became a constant topic for the global news media. Since the revolution in 1986, the world watched to see what would happen in the Philippines.

Corazon Aquino, a housewife and widow, had become the President of the Republic of the Philippines. While President Aquino had been educated for a few years in the United States, Americans as a rule, really knew nothing about the new president.

At Clark, we performed out military duties and wondered if we would get orders to pack up and head for “home” – the United States. In 1988 and 1989, I went to work each day in a country that was in transition as a new government established itself. It seemed everyday the international news media had stories of political intrigue originating from the Philippines.  Americans back home in the United States were confused about the news coming out of the Philippines. 

Every couple of weeks I would call my mother back in the United States, who would usually be upset because she had seen television coverage about the actions of the New People’s Army and had seen on television and in newspapers the coverage of protests demanding “Get US troops out of the Philippines” and, of course, the television footage was always shot outside of Clark or Subic on the days that protestors showed up, a few minutes before the global news media arrived with their television cameras and radio microphones.

I remember seeing a photo of General Juan Ponce Enrile, in uniform, on the cover of “Time” magazine. Despite the news going on around us at Clark, the names of two prominent Filipino generals always seemed to emerge in a positive light: General Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos.

I looked at my nephew, Glen and wondered if he would rise in life to have the admiration and respect of his comrades in arms like General Fidel Ramos. Then, we began walking in the procession toward the auditorium.

In my writer’s mind I had been elevated to the position of “Wingman To The Angels.” In the Real World, my nephew, Glen walked the symbolic pathway that led him through the doorway to decide which path he would take in life.

Glen Roa, steps to center stage, during his commencement exercises to accept his diploma. Samuel E. Warren Jr., his uncle. crosses behind him to stand beside him on the stage. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

He stepped on to the stage and bowed to the audience.

I stood at his side and bowed.

As we stepped off the stage, I was confident, that Glen would be a young man, who would make a name for himself, and serve his fellow citizens.

To the reporters of “USA Today,” the “New York Times,” the “Washington Post,” “Time,” “Newsweek,” the “Manila Bulletin,” the “Philippine Daily Inquirer” the “Philippine Star,” Reuters and the Associated Press, I would suggest, “Get your cameras ready,” my nephew, Glen Roa, is a young man, who will make headlines and history.

Congratulation, Glen !

Written by samwarren55

May 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Leyte, Observances, Philippines, Photos, Tourism, Tropics, Vacation

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