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Welcome to 2013 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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New Year’s Eve Party sings the year in in style

 

Welcome to 2013 !

CHRISTY WARREN AND LENEIL SALDANA SIT DOWN TO DINNER_resized

Silent Supper

 

Christy Warren and Leneil Sadana sit down to a silent New Year’s Eve supper. Mano Bito, in the background of the snapshot, watches TV news coverage of the countdown to 2013. After I take this snapshot, I take a plate and sit down to supper.

The conversation is sparse. We all wonder if Ranilo Saldana’s classmates will attend the New Year’s Eve Party. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Supreme.

 

I rate Ranilo Saldana’s New Year’s Eve Party,”Supreme.”

 

Ranilo Saldana had the idea for a New Year’s Eve Party to welcome in the new year. “Aunt Christy” Warren liked the idea as well.

 

Even before Christmas was over, they discussed ideas and started small tasks. December 26, 2012, Aunt Christy was already, “swabbing the deck.” She had water and a mop and was mopping over the porch floor.

 

The furniture seemed to take on a life of it’s own. The final days of December 2012, the bamboo chairs, coffee tables and end tables kept moving around the porch in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evenings.

 

By December 30, 2012, it was mentioned that in rural Leyte people stay around home on New Year’s Eve. The classmates might not show up for the party.

 

The Whole Hog Concept Of Partying

 

Nonetheless – New Year’s is New Year’s. In the United States, the day embodies the hope and optimism of the coming year. Thus, you gear up to welcome the new year. As we say,in the Ozarks, “You go whole hog.”

 

The “whole hog” times of life means you set aside conservative thoughts and go liberal. You pull out all the stops and do what you want to do. Common sense, of course, reminds you that you are not going to do something that will hurt you or others. Common sense, further reminds you, not to spend your last centavo on a celebration or party because you will want to be able to eat again tomorrow.

 

Overall, the”whole hog”concept as it relates to a party means you will do what it takes to have fun for you and your friends without you going broke or doing something that will put you behind bars for breaking the law.

 

Christy and Ranilo set up the karaoke arrangement of the TV, DVD player, speakers and the temperamental microphone. Mano Bito cut the bamboo limbs to use as decorations. The disco ball was in place.

 

New Year’s Eve evening the only thing missing was the guests.

 

Christy Warren and Leneil Saldana had been busy in the kitchen and the table had been set.

 

Would the guests show ?

 

While I wait for the guests to arrive, I jot down a note to outline men’s fashion issues in my New Year’s Eve article for my readers. The article within the article would address the barong and business suits. The article would point out my successes with these styles of attire.

 

My Business Barong

 

I put aside my T-shirt and walking shorts and went with denim jeans and a yellow barong. A barong, is a formal shirt in the Republic of the Philippines.

 

The holiday significance of the evening tempted me to consider wearing my military mess dress uniform. However, since the guests were suppose to be teenagers; I didn’t want to walk in and “Freak Them Out.” A duty military uniform can make some adults uncomfortable just walking past you on a sidewalk in the United States.

 

I decided the chevron and the medals would of probably made the young guests feel like they were in a military recruiter’s office and I would leave recruitment to the professionals, who get paid to do the job.

 

The barong has all the prestige of a tuxedo and the formal appeal of a white dinner jacket with slacks or a white sport coat with slacks. The message is simple: “This is a social function, but my professional attire means I am willing to talk and do business.”

 

The beauty of the Philippines’ barong is it is a designed article of clothing that is conscious that weather can and does affect formal dress. The barong is always comfortable like a T-shirt or polo shirt.

 

Business suits and military mess dress uniforms are always impressive, sometimes stylish, but, seldom comfortable, especially if you are in a situation where you will be wearing the clothing for a long period of time.

 

The barong has the debonair and panache of a tuxedo and escaped associations with the leisure suit. Leisure suits were popular in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

Leisure Suit Lament

 

The Leisure Suit is basically a long shirt and slacks. Leisure suits are comfortable attire. On a temporary duty assignment to the Kingdom of Thailand, in Bangkok, I located a tailor, who was willing to try my designs and deliver my tailored leisure suits.

 

I designed seven. One for each day of the week. I looked at the bolts of cloth and choose a rainbow of colors. I had a light blue leisure suit and a dark navy blue leisure suit. I had a dark green leisure suit, but I did not choose red because there were no casual or formal functions that a red leisure suit would work at at that point in my life.

 

I kept the leisure suits and wore them out. Even after the “fad” passed, I kept the leisure suits because they were comfortable and functional. In essence, a leisure suit is really a combination of a barong and a matching pair of slacks.

 

In the tropics, the leisure suits were really a brilliant idea because they were comfortable and provide a bridge between casual walking shorts, jeans and business suits.

 

Unfortunately, negative publicity quickly made leisure suits obsolete. The Leisure Suit Larry computer game was hitting big in the United States about the same time that the fashion fad of leisure suits was gaining ground.

 

Leisure suits seemed to quickly disappear as a man’s fashion choice in the States and men were back to either denim jeans, sport coats and slacks or business suits.

 

Leisure suit-style uniforms can still be found as fashionable in some places in Asia and the tropics.

 

Common Fashion Sense

 

Women have no problem wearing colored pants; men sometimes have the “macho” mindset that men should not wear brightly, colored or loud pants. Women have always had “fashion sense”, which explains why the fashion businesses or the world concentrate on trying to impress a woman.

 

A man’s concept of “fashion sense” is “Barbarian Basic.” If the religious, political, moral, business and social ethics of the world would allow, a man would wander around the world, naked, or only wearing a towel or a pair of denim jeans.

 

Thank God for Mothers ! Thanks to mothers, a boy learns at an early age not to mix plaids and stripes to wear out in public. A loving mother does not let her little boy grow up without some “common fashion sense.”

Suddenly, the global publicity took a negative spin on leisure suits. The attire became yesterday’s news. People began to associate the clothing with grandfathers whose fashion sense seemed antiquated.

 

Coveralls’ Culpability

 

The people who didn’t like leisure suits would point to overweight men in polyester coveralls and snicker that the man looked like a guy in a leisure suit. Dumb comparison.

 

Coveralls are basically bathrobes with legs. Instead of a terry cloth bathrobe belt coveralls have a zipper or Velcro fly. Coveralls are important work uniforms. You slip on a pair of coveralls and you go out and feed hay to the cattle in winter. Those type of coveralls contain insulation to keep you warm.

 

Men’s coveralls really do not work for casual or formal dress functions because once a man gets past his 20s or 30s, then, the physical silhouette of his body changes and men usually look like they have a “Beer Belly.”

 

The skintight, form fitting polyester men’s coveralls of the 1970s unfortunately called attention to a man’s physical appearance. Any man on the planet past age 22 always “looked like an old sow about ready to drop a litter of pigs.”

 

God’s “Beer Belly “ Design For Men

 

When God designed Man, He knew Men had no need for a wider or larger pelvic girdle like women, so He didn’t add that design detail to a Man’s body. Thus.men need a belt or suspenders to hold their pants up.

 

With or without alcohol, over time a Man’s body ages and gravity pulls at the stomach. “The Middle Age Spread” for men means nature has lowered your stomach and around your hips your favorite belt is going to “fit” differently.

 

Look in the mirror. A young man puts on a belt and the buckle “Points Out At The World” and that image is reflected in the mirror.

 

A middle age man puts on a belt and the buckle “Points Down At The Ground” and that image is reflected in a full length dress mirror.

 

Readers, notice for yourself, that at a certain age men have “The Beer Belly Flaw.” Look at the pictures in newspapers and magazines, especially at the side views of men and you will notice that “the belly pushes the belt buckle down.”

 

No article of clothing really hides or melts away “The Beer Belly Flaw.” In pictures of Arab leaders you will notice that in their robes that age has elaborated and elongated their bellies as well.

 

Appearance conscious men realize that age does their physical appearance no favors and they try to work around “The Beer Belly Flaw” with a suspender option; it doesn’t work. Suspenders and overall galluses pull the pants up and actually make the beer belly more noticeable.

 

I don’t wear suspenders often because to me they are uncomfortable. In my case, they would always rub over and feel like a weight on my shoulders. Whether the suspenders were clip on or the button-hole type, I could never get the suspenders to adjust to my level of comfort.

 

Some men resort to girdles for physical appearance or health issues like a back injury. The health issue is an understandable concern. A girdle looks uncomfortable.

 

God has a sense of humor. He gave women the pain of childbirth to remind them as a mother that she has a responsibility to love and care for her child. Men did not get off “Scott Free”. God gave men “The Beer Belly” to remind them of their responsibility as a father to love and raise their child.

 

For nine to 10 months, God made it obvious that a woman is “Pregnant.” Forget the”Healthy Glow” and look at a woman’s body – the obvious physical appearance screams, “I’m Pregnant !”

 

God’s sense of humor is evident with Men because while a woman carries and gives birth to a child, God reminds the father and grandfather’s of their responsibility by giving them “The Beer Belly.” The sense of humor is: “Pregnancy lasts around ten months. Parental Responsibility lasts a lifetime.”

 

The vanity of physical appearance is a personal issue of a man. You can’t beat age, but, you can reach an acceptable compromise with common sense and some effort.

 

In my lifetime, I have never noticed or discovered an article of clothing that will remove the physical design of “The Beer Belly.” However, leisure suits do seem to make a man’s middle-age and senior citizen “bulk” less obvious.

 

Leisure Suits Conceal Beer Belly

 

The nice thing about fashion is if something in the past had many people that loved the clothing or the style then the item will return. The bad thing is bad fashion ideas come back also.

 

Leisure suits’ main trump card with men is they were comfortable. For dress or business, once, a man had his slacks on, all you had to do was slip on a clean, white, cotton athletic T-shirt over your body and then slip on and button up the leisure suit shirt.

 

Leisure suits’ secondary trump card is they were functional and fast. Business suits require matching shirts and matching ties to the color and style of the suit. For instance:You don’t wear a wide tide with narrow lapels.

 

Sam’s Style

Business Appearance

Rules For Men

 

In the Real World, in your lifetime you will, no doubt, have an event where you need to at least look like a business man or a business women. I was fortunate to have a mother, who from an early age noticed my appearance. If I crawled out of bed looking like a creature from the sewer, she would not letting me go out in public until I at least looked human.

 

Around 1973, I learned about “Gentlemen’s Quarterly” magazine. For years I bought monthly copies. Momma had taught me all of the basics of public and business dress. “GQ” pointed out style changes, fads and used the terms that a man would use in working with his tailor for a new business suit or tuxedo.

 

Thanks to Momma and GQ, whenever I don a business suit, I know I will be successful.

 

I am passing on these rules that I have used and hope they will benefit my readers. Keep in mind, “Everything changes.” so what worked a week ago; may not work today. Life is usually cyclical, which means at some point the 1940s hairstyle for women will be a fashion focus for a time for women.

 

A major point to remember in business dress is to “Dress Conservative.” Women would not wear a PVC,Spandex or Lycra dress to a business interview. Women know better.

 

Men should not wear a sport coat and basketball shorts to a business interview; but, someone usually has to tell a man because men don’t always listen when their mothers are trying to tell them not to go outside looking like a dork.

 

The Business Of Business Suits

 

Business shirts and dress shirts, means the neck size has to be comfortable for a man. If the buttoned collar is too tight, then, you unbutton the collar and find a tie stay or tie bar to slip under the necktie that will hold the collar down and give the collar the appearance of being buttoned.

 

Learn To Tie Your Tie

 

Business suits require neckties or bow ties. Clip on neckties and bow ties have to be manufacturer by fashion designers, who know how to make the tie seem natural when worn.

 

If you do not know how to tie a necktie or a bow tie: Learn. A badly tied necktie is a “Visual Eye Sore.”

 

Business Bow Ties

 

A bow tie can work with a man’s business suit and look professional. The secret is the man has to select the bow tie.

 

Before you buy the tie, look at your face in the mirror and hold up the bow tie. The bow tie calls attention to your neck and the area around your nose. If you look like an “Off Duty Clown”; choose another bow tie or select a necktie.

 

French Cuffs

 

Business suits require dress shirts that may have French cuffs. I love French cuffs on my business shirts. French cuffs require cuff links since there is “No Button” to hold the cuffs.

 

White Suits

 

Business suits require the right material. Forget “The Memorial Day White Sale Mentality” that says you never wear white until after Memorial Day. That idea disappeared around 1965 or 1966, when women started wearing white anytime of the year. Mark Twain loved his white suits. He must have had closets full. There are many pictures of Mark Twain in a white suit.

 

Men can wear white. Men can wear white business suits. Men who wear white business suits should be conscious of the style – because if you look like a “Bozo”, someone will smile and give you directions to the circus.

 

Business Suit Weather Considerations

 

Business suits rely on climate for comfort material choices. You do not wear a paper thin tropical business suit to Alaska, Russia, China, Korea, Missouri or any other cold climate in the dead of winter unless you want to rush out and buy a heavy parka. If you do business in states or countries with cold, winter climates then choose wool or a heavy fabric for your business sport coats and suits to remain attractive, comfortable and warm.

 

Salute To Sharkskin Suits

 

Sharkskin Suits” are the shiny business suits. I loved my sharkskin suits. When I found a tailor in the Kingdom of Thailand, while on a temporary duty assignment, I sketched out the design I wanted and ended up with two beautiful business suits, a shiny silver and a light blue shiny suit. I wore them out going to parties, instead of board rooms.

 

The sharkskin suits are beautiful material that plays with the lights. Entertainers love shark skin suits because they seem wired with electricity because light brings out the sheen of the material, even in a dark room.

 

Sharkskin business suits are beautiful and do work in a business setting, but, you have to match your accessories from your wrist watch down to your cuff links and your socks to make sure the accessories compliment and do not challenge or make the sharkskin suit seem gaudy or garish.

 

Sharkskin suits were popular business suits in the late 1970s and early to mid-80s. Unfortunately, the late 1970s to the mid-1980s was “The Era Of The American Televangelists”. Every two-bit con man with a Holy Bible and a buddy with a video camera started their own “Ministries” and empty your pockets for God scheme.

 

The televangelist became so associated with the sharkskin suits that it did not matter whether a minister was credible or a conman because the shiny suits got unjustly associated with the “crooked preachers” of the era and the suits went into storage.

 

Business Suits Genius Of Style

 

Business suits usually require accessories. The overall business suit design for a man or a woman is a pure work of genius because the suit gives an overall uniform appearance to people committed to being, acting and dressing in a professional manner.

 

Women have the option to choose a skirt or slacks to go with their business suit attire. Women have learned since they were little girls how to “accessorize.”

 

The Breast Pocket Handkerchief

 

Men need to learn to pay attention to the accessories they choose to compliment there business suits. In the early 21st century, men are still “ignoring” the breast pocket of the business suit.

 

For the record, guys: A handkerchief goes in the exterior breast pocket of a business suit. The handkerchief is functional because it can be removed to wipe sweat from your brow in an emergency. It is wiser to carry a clean, folded, white cotton handkerchief in a rear pants pocket.

 

The breast pocket handkerchief is an important accessory. The presence on the business suit states, “I Pay Attention To Detail.” In the good old days of business suits, breast pocket handkerchiefs came boxed with a matching necktie.

 

Always Carry A Handkerchief.”

 

Gentlemen, if you ignored your mother; listen to me, “Always carry a handkerchief.” The second handkerchief is the most important and should always been in a rear pants pocket or an inside breast pocket of a suit. It can be used to wipe sweat off your forehead, take care of tears or sneezing. And, any one of a bazillion situations that come up from a wound dressing to waving down a taxi; you can use a white handkerchief for.

 

Business suit accessories include your watch and your rings. Silver, gold, black or brown leather watchbands are business staples. Pay attention to the rings you wear with your business suit. Pay attention to the socks you wear with your business suit.

 

Slip On The Shoes

 

Shoes are important with the business suit, They should be stylish and comfortable. If you wear basketball sneakers with your business suit, I would hope the company calls building security and either has you escorted off the premises or transported to the nearest mental institution. Basketball shoes are for the basketball court; never for the world of business.

 

Boots ? If someone is from a western or southern state of the United States or some part of the world where the boots are normal footwear, then, they should be accepted as business footwear. The key is to go with the traditional colors of black and brown to compliment and not overwhelm the suit.

 

Hat Headliners

 

Hats ? Hats have style. Hats are functional because they keep the sun out of your eyes, keep the rain off your head, hold your hair back and in cold climates a hat helps to retain some of your body heat. Fedoras were popular business hats of the 1940s through 1960 in the United States to be worn with a business suit.

 

Western hats should be considered a cultural tradition for people who live in the American south or west, so they should be considered a part of the business attire. The key with an appropriate Western hat is the crown and the brim. The crown and the brim should compliment the wearer’s face and not overwhelm or hide the wearer’s face. Leave “The Goat Roper” wide brim, tall crown western hat in the pickup and choose a more conservative style like a Stetson stockman hat to wear with your business suit.

 

Baseball caps are not hats. Baseball caps are for playing baseball. If you wear a baseball cap with your business suit I would hope building security removes you from the premises and possibly has you transported with the “basketball sneaker” wearer to the nearest mental facility. Baseball caps look dumb with business suits and a business suit is designed to be professional.

 

Quick Change

 

One of the greatest selling points of “The Leisure Suit” is the “Quick Change.” Just like Clark Kent running into the phone booth to change into “Superman,” the Leisure Suit gave men the ability to quickly change into a professional business style of dress that looked presentable, professional, and comfortable.

 

A business suit is a professional form of dress that require conscious effort in the selection and wear of the suit. The leisure suit allows men to bypass a whole series of decisions that should be made in the wear of a business suit.

 

The leisure suit being a comfortable and functional designed shirt with matching slacks solves a majority of the issues that have to be considered with a business suit. Plus with a leisure suit you do not wear a necktie or a bow tie. It is acceptable to keep the top button unbuttoned.

 

The other major plus of a leisure suit is age makes a man’s “beer belly”predominant. Some men their stomachs literally shout,”In Your Face !” The leisure suit seems to overcome the physical appearance issue by design. The material like any shirt rests on a man’s shoulders and the length of the material hangs down long enough to cover the stomach without drawing undue attention to it.

 

Forget the belt with a leisure suit. The belt brings back the “Beer Belly.”

 

Super Supper

 

I look at the clock on the wall and realize that 2012 is about to be history. Ranilo’s young guests have not arrived.

 

While Christy and Leneil cater dishes to the table. Mano Bito arrived, The black disco ball light slowly spun colored lights out around the bamboo decor

 

Everyone anxiously awaited the Noche Buena feast, a few days ago. I love food. I am always anxious about dinner.

 

The magick furniture had at last settled into positions that would allow people to be able to use the microphone and TV for “Karaoke Night.” A large enough area of the floor remained vacant to allow for dancing.

 

My appetite recognized the containers of Pancit Canton and fried rice. The platter of lumpia confirmed that 2012 was being sent into oblivion with a full dinner table of delicious food. The last platter had watermelon, pineapple and an assortment of nuts.

 

I lost no time, seating myself at the table and satisfying my appetite. Christy, Leneil and Ramon joined me.

One nice factor of being a writer, you can use your imagination to look at the end of the table and watch women in evening gowns and men in tuxedos and white dinner jackets with pink carnations stepping out on to the dance floor. Balloons bob about, while the orchestra in their dinner jackets play the music of the evening. My “Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” mindset is interrupted by the brief visit of Rafael and Virgie Saldana

 

Rafael and Virgie Saldana stopped by to say, “Happy New Year !” They didn’t stay for dinner.

 

The black disco ball spins out it’s colored lights across the bamboo decor I notice the lights briefly wash over the Christmas Tree. It reminded me of Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey Irwin’s small silver artificial tree and the color wheel still decorating one of my holiday memories of the 1960s.

 

After supper, dreams of a Waldorf Astoria New Year’s Eve Party were vanishing. The hours had become minutes. Each passing minute cast aside a New Year’s Eve Party dream.

 

The clock on the wall displayed the civilian digits of 1-0 and I smile at the military memory of “2200 hours.” I smiled at Christy and remembered the New Year’s Eve Party at Clark Air Base, where famous Filipina singer, Regine Velasquez sang in the new year.

 

Carry Out The Plan

 

Life has taught me you never give up on a plan.

 

A celebration is always a celebration. New Year’s Eve is one of those celebrations that you should always celebrate because everyone only gets so many holidays and celebrations in their lifetime. It is silly and senseless to waste a single one.

 

I Am A Party Of One

 

The nice thing about having grown up an “only child” is I can appreciate “The Party Of One” concept. You maybe “alone”, but, you are not “lonely”, unless you choose to be.

 

If I want to party, whether I am in the middle of the Sahara Desert or in an igloo at the South Pole, I will find a way to “Par – tay”.

 

In my lifetime, I have made it my mission to “uproot wall flowers” and try to get them out on the dance floor. I stroll to the karaoke setup and browse through Christy’s collection.

 

I play the “One Night In Bangkok” selection and begin to dance. The nice thing about your senior citizen years is the “Liberation.” People look at your white hair and wrinkles and, no doubt, consider your possible “senility.”

 

Alas, my friends, if you live long enough, you too will sport the snow on the roof.

 

Sam’s Psychology Of Dancing 101

 

The kids and the adults watch Sam slippin’ and slidin’ across the dance floor. At first, they snicker, giggle and laugh. Minutes pass and before long, I am not alone on the dance floor.

 

Years of people watching and barroom boredom have taught me that people like to dance; few are willing to be the first to “get out on the dance floor.”

 

An empty dance floor simply means I have room to dance. Once a person or a couple begin to dance, then, other people who really wanted to dance will sneak or proudly strut out on to the dance floor.

 

After all, whether they realize it or not, people come to a dance – to dance. Sam’s Psychology Of Dancing 101 seldom fails because people do like music and people do like to dance.

 

Sometimes in the Real World people become so grown up that they forget sometimes to allow the “kid within” to slip on his dance shoes and party down.

 

The kids were enjoying kid style dancing and the adult were making brave attempts to overcome their “nervous knees” and actually cut loose and dance.

 

The kids were having fun. I’m too old not to have fun. I put in the“Rock Around The Clock” selection, closed my eyes and mentally time traveled back to a dance of my youth.

 

Dynamic DeMolay Dance

220px-Brasao_DeMolay_jpeg

 

The Ozarks Chapter of the Order of DeMolay boys went to the dance in Republic. Missouri. It was a formal function, which meant we wore coats and ties to the dance. Rainbow Girls and Job’s Daughters in their evening gowns waited patiently for the DeMolay boys in their stylish 1970s attire to ask “the girls to dance.”

 

A nice blessing of having been “A Momma’s Boy” in my youth is I put my mother on a pedestal. My allegiance to my mother meant that I have always respected and been attracted to girls and women. Therefore, anytime as a youth I noticed an attractive girl or woman, she became “Helen Of Troy Incarnate.”

 

At the dance, under the spinning disco ball of light, across the room I noticed a beautiful young brunette woman in an evening gown, Donna Knight. She did me the honor of walking out on the dance floor with me.

 

I have always hoped that I did not embarrass her. My formal dance training consisted of copying the moves of Elvis in his movies, My dance philosophy has always been, “Let the music move you.” This dance was the first time that I had ever been permitted to dance in public. Stone County, Missouri’s religious values outlawed “dancing” and denied seniors a “prom.”

 

This night, my heart was beaming. My mind raced, My body reacted. Joy, exhilaration, excitement, celebration – No English dictionary on the planet contains enough words to describe the overwhelming positive emotions flowing through my body. I cloud dance. And, dance I did.

 

Although films like “Dirty Dancing,” and “Footloose,” had not been made,yet, like the leading men of those dance films, I was out on the dance floor dancing my heart out. My young lungs ached and my leg muscles went numb.

 

I love to dance.

 

Anytime I am in a situation, where people come to dance, but are reluctant to take the first step; I do.

 

I think back to the DeMolay dance. I realize one of the pleasures of life is being able to move your body in ways you never realized that your body could move.

 

Regardless of your age, if you do a freestyle form of dancing and allow the “music to move you”, you will shock and offend some people, so, be aware of not only how you dance, but where you dance.

 

To me, dancing and the right music is just too precious to waste sitting it out on the sidelines. When you see the digits 6 and 0 vaguely on the horizon, you might have to back off of the “No Pain, No Gain” approach to dancing, which means you might not want to spend as long out on the dance floor.

 

I left our dance floor to sit out the next song, Ranyiel stops dancing and picks up the microphone to sing. He kept the karaoke microphone warm with his Tagalog and English songs until his brother, Ranilo, returned with a guest.

 

Chrismar Mora, Ranilo’s cousin, stopped by.

 

A better karaoke microphone got plugged in and passed around. Sarge, our blue heeler, and Smiley, our mixed breed wooly dog, became our resident music critics and let loose their canine howls.

 

Forget the judges of “American Idol”, Sarge’s bass howl is a loud piercing ambulance siren wail that raises the hairs on the back of your neck.

 

Smiley’s tenor bark is rapid and persistent.

 

The canine karaoke judges voted with their barks only a couple of times during the evening. I realized it was time for me to quit trying to sing Beatles tunes.

 

 

Whenever Chrismar Mora took the microphone, it became as quiet as a church and you could hear a pin drop.

 

I can’t play an instrument; but, I can play a radio or a record player. I’m no musician, but I know what I like in instrumental and vocal music.

 

My Music Memories

 

My mother had always had a radio on somewhere around the house, when I was growing up, so country music became part of my genetic code. I got exposed to opera,jazz and various forms of music.

 

When I was working my way through college at KSOZ-FM at Point Lookout,Missouri, I would pay attention to singers and new releases.

 

I learned how to dance watching Elvis Presley movies and would imitate “The King’s”vocal style as a child. In grade school and high school, there had been the great hard charging rock and roll music of the 1960s.

 

As I remember, the early to mid -70s gave the world Bachman Turner Overdrive, ZZ Top, Boston, Rush and the “Heavy Metal” that reached into the souls of musicians and stress tested the absolute limits of instruments from guitars to pianos.

 

From Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vida to Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, the music came in through your ears and the pores of your skin. It seemed the tone vibrations of the music always rattled the red and white blood cells flowing in your blood stream.

 

You might doze off on an elevator playing “Elevator Muzack”, but, “Heavy Metal” music seemed destined to flow through your body and attempt to bond to your immortal soul.

 

I love Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal because both types of music seem to flow into your bloodstream and challenge you to react. Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal music call to mind the Black Oak Arkansas lyric about standing in the Hall of Commons between the devil and God.

 

Bubble gum” rock like Partridge Family music had a following. The movie “Saturday Night Fever” sent ever man in America to the tailor to find a white suit and try to learn to dance. Disco became a definite form of music overnight thanks to the movie.

Rap or Rat music?

 

I had been exposed to a lot of styles of music and could accept them all until “Rap.”

 

The introduction of “Rat” music “tuned me out,”

 

Take a boring, repetitive, rhythmic beat and apply it to the dirtiest words in the English language and you have a “Rap Hit” on your hands. Early rappers all seem to be “tone deaf convicted drug dealers on their way to Federal lockup.”

 

Like disco, everyone predicted “Rap” music would end; unfortunately, “Rat” music survived. As always the “Doomsday Prophets” were wrong and fast talking vulgar noise became an accepted part of the music industry.

 

By the 1990s, I might hear a song, but unless there was something special from the 1980s on, I didn’t get all that excited about music,with a few notable exceptions like Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler and Huey Lewis and the News.

 

This young man can sing !”

 

My skepticism and cynicism of global music “took the night off.” Chrismar Mora proved there are still people in the world who can sing and bring back the feeling of a song. As we say, in the Ozarks, “This young man can sing !”

 

Chrismar Mora’s voice singing along to the words on the karaoke screen reminded me that music could be beautiful, interesting and soothe the soul.

 

Happy New Year 2013 !

 

The TV shuttled back and forth between the ABS and CBN countdown and the GMA countdown to midnight. The family, began the remarks of “Happy New Year !” The fireworks in the distance exploded to signal the arrival of the new year. A slight breeze stirred through the tropic night and Christy commented, “A cool breeze.”

 

After the welcome of 2013, family members began easing off to bed. I really appreciated Chrismar’s singing,so I stayed on the bamboo loveseat until 2 am. Ranyiel relinquished his microphone and went to bed. Ranilo would take a turn at the mike now and then. Sarge and Smiley had voted against my singing earlier in the evening, so I sat back and listened.

 

My eyes became heavy. I remember a lyric about “singing until the break of day.” Perhaps, Ranilo and Chrismar did. I felt the party had been a success.

 

My recognition of the definite presence of 2013 came thanks to a familiar song I heard on New Year’s Day. Family members and friends arrived to spend some time with us on New Year’s Day/

 

In the midst of the conversations, I heard music coming from a distance through the jungle. I recognized the voice of Bonnie Tyler, singing. “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

 

For my readers, I wish you the best that 2013 can bring to you.

 

Happy New Year

2013 !

Sam

 

New Year’s Party Links

 

Regine Velasquez

Wikipedia

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

 

Barong Wikipedia

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

 

Tuxedo Wikipedia

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

 

Military Mess Dress Wikipedia

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

 

 

Sharkskin Suits Wikipedia

 

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

 

Gentlemen’s Quarterly “GQ” Wikipedia

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

 

GQ Magazine Online

http://www.gq.com/

 

Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

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

 

One Night In Bangkok Wikipedia

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

 

Rock Around The Clock Wikipedia

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

 

Order of DeMolay Wikipedia

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

 

Rainbow Girls Wikipedia

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

 

Job’s Daughters Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job%27s_Daughters

In A Gadda Da Vida Wikipedia

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

 

Black Oak Arkansas Wikipedia

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

 

Saturday Night Fever Wikipedia

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

 

Helen Of Troy Wikipedia

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

 

Total Eclipse of the Heart Wikipedia

lhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Eclipse_of_the_Heart

 

Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf-Astoria_Hotel

 

13th Air Force Crest Thumbnail

 

Clark Air Base Wikipedia

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

Pacific Air Forces Crest Thumbnail

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

January 3, 2013 at 6:08 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Money, Nature, Philippines, The Ozarks

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

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

with 4 comments

After Action Report Christmas Eve 2012

 

Christmas

In

The

P.I.

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

Noche Buena Feast 2012

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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

 

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

 

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

 

I learned to associate cold with Christmas.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Shop For The Egg Nog

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Hallelujah ! No Snow for Christmas !”

 

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

 

I have no use for Snow.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Potato Pancakes

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

Banana Pancakes and a platter of rice.

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

 

The Hob Nob Cafe

DeQueen, Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lechon

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Christy Warren places the silverware on the Noche Buena table_Photo 2

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tuba Time

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Common Sense Social Etiquette

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pot Luck Suppers

 

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

 

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

 

West And East Cultural Dinner Differences

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Single Person Protocol

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Warrens Of Texas, DeLongs Of Missouri

 

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

 

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

 

Maligayang Pasko !

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

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

 

Noche Buena Links

 

Hiland Dairy Foods Egg Nog

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

 

History of Egg Nog

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/history.php

 

How To Make Egg Nog

Holiday Recipe

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/holiday.php

 

The Traditional Noche Buena

in the Philippines

Yahoo

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

 

Noche Buena

Filipino Recipes

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

 

Nochebuena Wikipedia

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

 

Pirates Piracy Wikipedia

 

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

 

Captain Morgan Wikipedia

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

 

Captain Morgan Rum Website

http://www.captainmorgan.com/

 

Tanduay

http://www.tanduay.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

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

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