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

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After Action Report Christmas Eve 2012

 

Christmas

In

The

P.I.

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

Noche Buena Feast 2012

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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

 

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

 

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

 

I learned to associate cold with Christmas.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Shop For The Egg Nog

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Hallelujah ! No Snow for Christmas !”

 

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

 

I have no use for Snow.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Potato Pancakes

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

Banana Pancakes and a platter of rice.

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

 

The Hob Nob Cafe

DeQueen, Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lechon

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Christy Warren places the silverware on the Noche Buena table_Photo 2

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tuba Time

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Common Sense Social Etiquette

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pot Luck Suppers

 

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

 

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

 

West And East Cultural Dinner Differences

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Single Person Protocol

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Warrens Of Texas, DeLongs Of Missouri

 

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

 

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

 

Maligayang Pasko !

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

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

 

Noche Buena Links

 

Hiland Dairy Foods Egg Nog

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

 

History of Egg Nog

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/history.php

 

How To Make Egg Nog

Holiday Recipe

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/holiday.php

 

The Traditional Noche Buena

in the Philippines

Yahoo

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

 

Noche Buena

Filipino Recipes

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

 

Nochebuena Wikipedia

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

 

Pirates Piracy Wikipedia

 

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

 

Captain Morgan Wikipedia

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

 

Captain Morgan Rum Website

http://www.captainmorgan.com/

 

Tanduay

http://www.tanduay.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

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

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The Christmas Shrine Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Christmas Shrine Photo 1 by Samuel E. Warren Jr 040

Christmas Shrine

The Virgin Mary statue is the centerpiece of this outdoor Christmas Shrine on the porch. The Santo Nino and two ceramic angels share the wooden shelf. Transparent yellow lace-like cloth drapes down over the wooden dowel rod above the statue.

 

The material flows down over the edges of the shelf to create the triangular pattern. The material is tied together in a bow to complete the pattern.

 

A candlelabra sits on the shelf, but is never lit because the cloth material is flammable. The angels and the nativity scene on the Christmas Altar completes the Christmas Shrine design.

 

Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., Christy’s brother, built the shelf attached to the wall for the Christmas Shrine and positioned the wooden dowel rod.

 

Christy Warren designed the overall Christmas Shrine arrangement. She believes, “You use what you have”, when it comes to crafts projects.

 

Her vision is responsible for the artificial exterior grotto, which observes the sacred nature of the season.

 

The bottom photograph reveals that a lace tablecloth serves to conceal the inexpensive aquamarine plastic table of the Christmas Altar.

Christmas Shrine  Photo 2 by Samuel E. Warren Jr 036

This photograph demonstrates that the Christmas Shrine serves as a centerpiece to the porch design and becomes a focal point for the small Christmas Tree and the accompanying seating area.

Nikon D 70 Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Filipino Farmer Foto Feature Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Filipino Farmer

Foto Feature

 

ramon and the sow DSC_3113_resized

Filipino Farmer Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, hunkers down to watch the pigs enjoy their first breakfast and lunch in “The Real World.”

 

At 9 a.m., December 10. 2012, the first pig of the litter arrived “squealing” for air. Ramon dashed to the old sow’s side and assisted in the delivery of the rest of the pigs.

 

The “farrowing”, i.e., “birthing process” takes a lot of energy and strength out of the old sow, so she is still “groggy.”

After birth, an old sow can accidently lay down on one of her own pigs and be so disoriented that she won’t respond to the squeals.

 

Ramon put up a tarp on bamboo poles to provide a shade for the old sow, who simply laid down out in the sun and started to farrow. Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

GIVE ME A MINUTE I JUST GOT BORN_3108_resized

Give me a minute. I just got born.”

 

This Yorkshire pig arrived in “The Real World”,shortly after 9 a.m., December 10, 2012. A few minutes after birth, he seemed as “hungry” as his other brothers and sisters. But, the process of being born, obviously, takes a moment for you to gather the strength to stand and walk, at least, for a baby pig. Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

LUNCH_resized

Lunch !” The Yorkshire sow stretches out on the ground. She has had a busy morning. She just gave birth to a litter of 10 pigs. Once the pigs were cleaned up they scrambled over each other for an “early lunch”, compliments of their Yorkshire mother.

Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

“ Should I Join The Military ? ” Editorial

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The Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Should I Enlist In The Military ? “ Editorial

 

Salute Your Military Veteran

STAFF SERGEANT RANK_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

A young man or woman, who reaches “the age of enlistment” has a decision to make: “Should I join the military ?”

 

Only you can make that decision.

 

I guarantee you “military service” will change your life.

 

Your mother loves you and brought you into this world, so Mom will “Pray” that you don’t enlist because people die in War. It is to be expected that your Mom would prefer you choose another line of work.

 

Everyone forgets “civilians”, the ordinary citizens of the world also happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and also die in War. War is an event that does not “check I. D.s” or decides only “people in uniform” can die in War.

 

Your father loves you and, probably, would prefer you to choose a different job. Unfortunately, for “Dear Ole’ Dad”, centuries of world history have embodied the “Macho Mythology” that a man is suppose to live for War.

 

Horsefeathers !”

 

No one lives for War.

 

War is an event that ends lives in the blink of an eye, leaves land in rubble and contributes to generations of negative emotions, “hard feelings,” suspicion, and in some cases “down right hate.”

 

Your father will find it hard to express his emotions and views on whether he believes you should or should not “join the military.”

 

But, even if your father never finds the words – look in his eyes. Respect is a virtue that shines out through the eyes.

 

Family members will all have an opinion about whether you should “enlist.” Be polite and courteous and listen to their words, which reveals their feelings.

 

Friends will tell you their “fad of the moment reaction.” Throughout world history there are times when the perspective of military service or a military career is popular or unpopular.

 

The Vietnam War was extremely unpopular so the military was called, “The American Military Industrial Complex.”

 

And, “The Draft” made sure enlistment age men did not have to make the decision; the decision was made for them by the politicians of government. You either reported for military service or you went to Canada, Mexico or ran the risk of being sent to jail. No choice.

 

The Gulf War was a popular War. United States Government politicians learned a “War has to be marketed.” The advertising campaign worked. Enthusiasm, adrenaline and patriotism had young Americans lining up to “die for oil”.

 

Global governments can remain dependent on oil – the “Dead Dinosaur Stew.” No one has to think about the War cost of human life, in terms of, “Marines Per Gallon.”

 

Youth to middle age is the “Time Of Life About Passion” and your decisions are made to reflect the “heat of passion” and “to live in the moment.” Youth is about optimism, hope and idealism. Youth is the passion to want and work for a better world.

 

Middle age and older is the reality that Life is about paying bills, buying groceries and raising kids. Middle age means you learn to temper the passion of youth with the reality of daily life and the practical responsibilities that come with it.

 

In the United States Armed Forces the traditional term of enlistment is four years. A lot can happen in your life in four years.

 

You can join the military in “Peace time,” but, War doesn’t use a day planner. War can happen at any time. If you are on active duty or the reserves, when War begins. . .”Here are your orders. Get your gear and report to the flight line.”

 

In making your decision to join the military, forget what your girlfriend or boyfriend has to say. Unless, you are walking down the aisle and, then, into the military recruiter’s office to raise your right hand.

 

A girlfriend or boyfriend’s opinion means “Nothing” because you can change your mind about the person and end the relationship at any time.

 

A “new husband” or a “new wife” is a opinion that you should listen to about your consideration to join the military and the decision to enlist or accept a commission, if it sounds like that person is going to stand beside you and share your life.

 

In the United States Armed Forces, a spouse is as much on active duty as the military member because “Uncle Sam’s” decisions will affect the both of you.

 

Uncle Sam ain’t a family man.

unclesam

 

The mission of the government and the military always comes first.

 

If you want to be the best Little League Coach In United States History and influence generations of little bat swingers and base runners, then, pursue your dream, but: Stay Home. Don’t enlist.

 

The Real World military is not some silly baseball, basketball, football, soccer or golf game; it is a serious,professional calling that saves lives and carries forward a nation’s domestic and foreign policy in no uncertain terms.

 

At the end of the day, it will be you, who signs your signature on the forms and raises your right hand to recite the oath of military service.

 

I joined the United States Air Force because I needed a job.

 

I had been a professional “college student” long enough. I had taken the courses I needed and the “underwater basket weaving” courses that I found interesting. I still didn’t have a clue what I was going to do with “MY” Life.

 

I wanted to make a positive difference in the world.

 

I could never imagine “Mr. Warren” teaching history at Galena High School in Galena, Missouri.

 

Teaching history was never going to put me in the history books alongside General MacArthur or General Patton.

 

Mark Twain had already done the Missouri writer, author and newspaperman routine.

 

Missourian Walter Cronkite was still doing the “CBS Evening News” at the time and as a newsman ranked up there right alongside the president of the United States and all world leaders when it came to being an “international celebrity.”

 

Cronkite’s “credibility” as a newsman and a human being put him shoulder to shoulder with the pope.

 

Like all young men and women, I wanted my shot to help change the world.

 

It is nice to think someday some bored teenager is going to be looking at a photo of you in a history book and scoff, “What did you ever do that was so great ?”

 

All the great jobs and wonderful slots in history had already been taken when I decided to go “eyeball to eyeball with the world.”

 

Missourian General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing had already become the highest ranking American General after General George Washington, so, earning a place in US History or Military History would not be easy.

 

The reality is “Every man or woman, who earns the honor to wear their nation’s military uniform becomes a world leader, even if no one ever publishes their life story or pictures of the person in a history book. Day to day, military service has you carrying out tasks that carry your nation’s policies forward into making a positive change in the world.”

 

Everyone who wears a military uniform and works on behalf of their nation is a world leader.

 

If I were to walk into a room with the Queen of England, the pope, a president, a prime minister and a person in uniform. I would be respectful and polite to the people in the room. I would go to “The G.I.”, the person in uniform to talk and socialize because a military person is a unique person, who has a definite view and understanding of life.

 

The G.I., understands that life is about nobility, honor, credibility, loyalty and hard work. The G.I., understands courage and patriotism are virtues inscribed in your DNA and those virtues have to be lived and not taught or talked about.

 

A G.I., hopes to live long enough to tell “war stories” to his grand kids, but realizes Warribbon_small2 is the event that might require him or her to sacrifice his or her life for their fellow man.

 

Your choice to enlist in the military or accept a commission has to be your choice because it will affect your life from the day you enter “boot camp” until the day they fold and present the flag to your next of kin.

 

AIRMAN FIRST CLASS RANK_resizedA beautiful busty redhead United States Air Force buck sergeant once told an enthusiastic, gungho, flag-waving patriotic, energetic, Airman Warren, “Sam, you were born a civilian. The day will come when you take off the uniform and return to civilian Life.”

 

I grinned, “Not me.”

 

Time has proven we were both right.

 

I did retire from active duty and returned to civilian life – “Officially.”

THE GLOBE_resized

 

 

Global Family

 

I no longer put on the “blue suit” each day. I love to misplace my razor and go for days without shaving. Sometimes, I even take my time strolling into a barber shop for a hair cut.

 

Airman Warren was also right in his youthful arrogance and passion.

 

Staff Sergeant Warren did officially retire. Staff Sergeant Warren returned to “civilian life” and got accustomed to being called, “Mr. Warren,” or “Sam.”

 

But, after a career of military service, you never “truly” return to “civilian life” because you gain an international perspective of Life.

 

You realize Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines works hard for his children and wants them to have a good life, while you know that Brenda Martin, of Abesville, Missouri, United States of America is still going to college and working at making her place in the world for a happy and successful life.

 

In the Family Of Humankind we are all related. A national policy of “Isolationism” is unrealistic – Thanks to World War II, which proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that no matter where you are in the world, War can find you.

 

Back in Missouri, I would hear friends remark, “American foreign aid is a dumb policy. We should keep that money here at home.” Money is like water; it has to move. When water stands in a hole, it stagnates and breeds mosquitoes, which carry disease.

 

The Message Of Money

 

When money stays in a bank and doesn’t move, it stagnates and breeds hostility among the citizens, who need the money for their businesses, pay their mortgages, car payments, buy groceries and pay their electric and water bills.

 

Eventually, Citizens get tired of reluctant banks and some citizens decide to carry guns to “liberate” the funds of banks and get the money moving.

 

I read an interview with a famous American bank robber and the interviewer asked, “Why do you rob banks ?”

 

That is where the money is,” replied the robber.

 

American foreign aid recognizes that money has to circulate to keep the world in business at home and abroad.

 

People or banks, who sit on money are only kidding themselves because everyone on the planet affects someone around them and an ocean or a mountain is no longer a permanent barrier,

 

Effective Economics

 

An economic crisis in China will affect Americans in the Ozarks. Before my wife and I sold Warren Land in Missouri, one of those walnut logs from Stone County, Missouri had been selected to be shipped to China to be manufactured into a table.

 

The Occupy Wall Street” and “The Arab Spring” movements are over . . .for now. People are no longer content to be peasants. People, now, expect a decent living wage, and an acceptable standard of living.

 

Thanks to facebook, tumblr,Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Word Press, Blogger, Flickr, Picasa and the Internet – the world is now a neighborhood.

 

Real time communication allows people around the world to check on friends and family wherever they are on the planet, so breaking news is now only seconds or minutes from reaching people.

 

Citizens Of The World

 

No longer is a person just a citizen of their barangay, county, parish,province,state,republic, country or nation. Now, every citizen truly is a Citizen Of The World.

 

Governments are aware that the citizens no longer expect to be treated like children, who are given candy and told to sit in the corner, while the world moves on.

 

International and national change is an element of life. Change is not always welcomed and sometimes, even governments are reluctant to accept change. Change is not always gradual or peaceful, sometimes change becomes violent and War erupts.

 

A person can choose to join and serve in the military or they can just hope that War will not happen in their lifetime and that they will not end up getting “drafted.”

 

Peace Is Unstable

 

For the record, Peace is unstable. Periods of peace on the world stage are few and far between.

 

Until the day comes when Israel’s Arab neighbors are no longer trying to destroy Israel, the idea of world peace will remain a childish fairy tale.

 

When you take the time to read the news and think about Life, you will realize that now you have to have an “international perspective” that goes beyond your city, state or nation.

 

The G.I., can “retire” or get the “honorable discharge”, but, you never truly return to civilian life because you have changed and now realize that you see and understand the world differently than the “civilians” around you.

 

In retirement, you maybe an “ordinary citizen” again, but, your choice to serve in the military changed your life. Whether you realize it or not; you now know what is truly important to you in your life. You know and understand your personal values.

 

The Choice

 

What makes a retired G.I., different that the citizen beside him or her ? The choice.

 

Joining the military is never about “getting a job”, “payment of college tuition”, “free medical or dental care,” or any of the other bogus justifications that we rationalize to our minds.

 

The decision, “to serve”, means that you hear a calling in your heart or mind that tells you: “This Is Who You Are ! ”

 

Heroic Heritage

 

Anyone can put on a uniform or Halloween costume and pretend to be in the military.

 

A veteran or retiree knows what it means to “wear the uniform” and “do what has to be done” to be worthy to wear that uniform and honor the memories of the legions of men and women who have worn a variation of that uniform down through the centuries.

 

A military veteran, a military retiree, a military reservist, and a military man or woman on active duty are simply citizens, who understand the importance of standing up for what you believe and having the courage to wear a uniform that proclaims I will go anywhere, anytime to defend my right and your right to live our lives as we see fit.

 

Citizenship In Action

 

Your decision to join your nation’s military always has to be your decision.

 

Whatever nation you live in and are a citizen of, then, the honor to serve your country is never a responsibility to be taken lightly. You represent your government, but, your heart and soul should always rest shoulder to shoulder with your fellow citizens. The government signs the paycheck, but, the citizens pay the taxes that allow the government to pay the troops on duty.

 

For what it is worth, if you do decide to enlist or accept a commission of military service, then, you have the admiration of one retired American sergeant. I salute you.

 

Welcome To The Immortal Legion !

 

 

Samuel

Word Warrior Warren

 

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Written by samwarren55

November 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Opinion, Patriotism

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The Saga Of Ramon’s Trike

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The Saga Of Ramon’s Trike

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

As a child in Houston, Texas, I had a tricycle. It was made out of heavy black metal. It had a large wheel in the front and two smaller wheels on the side. I would zip up and down the concrete driveway of 313 East 26th Street on my tricycle.

Of course, when I got stationed in the Republic of the Philippines in 1988, I quickly learned the word, “tricycle” had a totally different meaning in the Philippines.

I could still zip up and down the road to Clark Air Base in a tricycle. But, it wasn’t my “trike” and it always cost me a few pesos

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Saturday afternoon, Ramon explains the neat features of his tricycle to his family. 

Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Monday, March 5, 2012 – The sun rises in the Republic of the Philippines and the morning breeze of Leyte carries the sound of a new tricycle through the coconut trees.

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Ramon bounces along on this older motorcycle to try and use it to move sacks of coconuts.  In the Philippines, a motorcycle can sometimes be expected to perform like a farm pickup in the United States. 

Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Saturday, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., took delivery of his new tricycle. While Ramon got his new Honda TMX 155 motorcycle, February 24, 2012, he had to wait for the sidecar modification.

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February 24, 2012 — Ramon is proud of his new motorcycle.  He is happy to pose for a picture.  Of course, once you get the motorcycle, then, you have to wait for the sidecar to be built to transform the motorcycle into a tricycle. 

Canon EOS 40 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Once Ramon got his motorcycle, he would need a sidecar modification to turn the motorcycle into a “trike.” In the Philippines, a tricycle, often called a “trike,” is a motorcycle with a sidecar that is used to transport passengers and products.

Ramon visited a local welding shop, in a nearby barangay, famous for their sidecar modifications. His name was placed on the waiting list behind the other orders. It appeared, at the time, that it might be the second week of march before the shop could begin work on his motorcycle for the conversion. Ramon picked the color and the design and in a matter of days, his new tricycle was ready to ride.

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Ramon gives his sister, Christy Warren, and his brother, Rafael a ride in his trike. 

Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Of course, vehicles have to be licensed and registered. The paperwork procedure proceeded along on schedule. Unfortunately, electricity in Leyte is not always reliable.

Everyday for a week, Ramon, went to the appropriate government office. However, the persistent power outages kept the computers off line. Finally, the last week in June, with all the paperwork completed,

 

Ramon was finally able to heed, “The Call Of The Open Road.” Now, Ramon get to zip up and down the road on his trike taking passengers to their appointments and taking kids to and from school.

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Ramon heeds “The Call Of The Open Road” and motors along the highway on his trike. 

Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

“Hallelujah ! " “Gloria In Excelsius Deo !” “ We Have Running Water !”

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“Hallelujah ! "

“Gloria In

Excelsius Deo !”

“ We Have Running Water !”

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:45 a.m. – beautiful, cold, crystal clear water flows from the water faucet. Running water is a common, ordinary, everyday experience that I took for granted and didn’t truly appreciate – until I didn’t have it. Thanks to the Leyte Metropolitan Water District, my wife, Christy and I now have “running water”. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

November 22, 2011 – My brother-in-law, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., goes to the Leyte Metropolitan Water District office in Tanauan and fills out the paperwork and pays the fees to have the water connected before my wife, Christy, and I move from the United States of America.

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The familiar blue Leyte Metropolitan Water District truck is the vehicle that I longed to see stop on the road in front of the house. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

Christy and I arrive, on or around, December 19, 2011. Our Barangay Baras is in the rural regions of the island of Leyte, in the Eastern Visayas of the Republic of the Philippines. Having grown up in Stone County, Missouri in the Ozarks, I knew what it meant to “live out in the country,” so I knew it would take time for the infrastructure to be in place to provide “running water.”

Day in and day out, I watched my family carry plastic jugs of water from a nearby community “filling station.” Drinking water and water for cooking had to be purchased in large plastic gallon jug bottles at local commercial water vendors.

Democracies require their paperwork and time to make sure the job gets done. The Republic of the Philippines Democracy is no different from the United States of America’s Democracy, in that it takes time to process the required paperwork and complete the job.

Naturally, being human, we, humans, like our governments to work fast. Alas, governments are composed of humans, who do their jobs as professional and as completely as possible. Naturally, I had hoped everyday from December 19, 2011 on – that the familiar blue Leyte Metropolitan Water District truck would arrive and crews would scurry to connect our “running water.”

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An LMWD employee connects an elbow joint to a piece of pipe, while another man digs a hole to lay the pipe. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:45 a.m. – my wish came true. I turned on the faucet and glorious “running water” fell from the faucet.

I burst out in, “Hallelujah ! Gloria In Excelsius Deo ! We have running water !”

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People stop to watch, an LMWD employee dig the trench to lay the water line. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Often times, Life takes the opportunity to find a way to remind us of things we take for granted, like running water. I believe, that such lessons are the Universe’s way of saying, “Sometimes you need to remember to appreciate the simple gifts of life.”

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An LMWD employee digs deep into the island soil to lay a water line in Barangay Baras. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m one of those people, who never tries to hide their exuberance. I am happy! I smiled and kind of danced around the front yard. The water workers looked at me like I had been out in the sun too long.

LMWD-employees-gather-up-their-toolsThe two Leyte Metropolitan Water District employees that connected our water line gathers up their tools and head for the next water connection job. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The two men smiled, when I said, “Gentleman, I sincerely ‘Thank You’ for my ‘running water.’”

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“Rollin’ With The Flow” These Leyte Metropolitan Water District employees get in the truck in Barangay Baras and head for their next water connection job. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I salute the Leyte Metropolitan Water District.

SALUTE_9831A_resized_thumb Thank you !

Sam

My Salute Photo The Story Behind The Photo

Once the Leyte Metropolitan Water District had connected our water, I was happy and decided to do an article. I’m a naturally curious person, so I shot the photographs as the men worked to connect the water line. I decided I need a “Thank You” photo for the article. My nephew, Gilbert Roa, happened to be at the house.

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“Hey Gilbert, “ I smiled. I simply had Gilbert stand outside and salute. As always, I shot several photographs. This photo, which I used as a small graphic at the end of my water article, I cropped “in camera. I cropped this same photograph tighter to used it at the end of my Saint Michael On Duty In The Philippines article. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Raise The Colors !

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love to see a flag flying in the breeze.

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  The Saldana Family proudly flies their Republic of the Philippines flag in Barangay Baras among the coconut and guava trees.

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Thanks to my brother-in-law, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,in a matter of days, we had a beautiful, tall, functional flagpole in our front yard. 

In the United States of America when a military installation or a government agency is ready to begin business, there is a formal ceremony that focuses on the raising of the United States flag to announce the”official” commencement of operations. Even homes, in the United States, with a flagpole usually has some type of ceremony before the flag is raised for the first time. 

Once a flagpole is ready, you need to understand your feelings toward the flag that will rise up the standard.  If the banner is a national flag, then, you need to understand your emotions and beliefs about patriotism.

Patriotism involves your love of your country and the respect to honor the memory of the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country.  If you don’t love your country or feel little to no emotion for the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country; then, you have no business flying a national flag.

In observing my nephews and nieces, they have shown care, concern and compassion for their community and have demonstrated their responsibility in their schoolwork, which translates to me as responsible citizenship.  I’m proud to watch them show an interest in current events and Filipino history, which I also view as personal pride in their country. 

 

When you fly a national flag, you should always be aware of your nation’s flag protocol.  In the United States Armed Forces, I was taught customs and courtesies, which addressed guidelines for the use and display of the United States flag.  And, I know there are detailed procedures for the use and display of the US flag at embassies, consulates and official government agencies.  I would theorize that most governments probably have similar procedures and guidelines for the display and use of their national flags.

 

I explained to my nephews and nieces that proper display of the flag is their responsibility and suggested they ask a teacher or go online and research Republic of the Philippines protocol for the display of the national flag.

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  Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., and Marife Saldana Roa adjust the flagpole line. 

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we raised the flag, Ramon and Fe asked me if we were going to do “a formal flag ceremony ?”  I smiled and answered, “I’m retired.  My days of military protocol are behind me.”  The truth is before putting together anything like a formal flag ceremony, I wanted to be sure that the flagpole and the flag would work without any flaws. 

 

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Christy Warren and Ramon Saldana hold the banner while Marife threads a tie through the top grommet to tie the banner to the flagpole line.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I had not tested the flag raising procedure, I didn’t want to risk the kids being assembled for a flag raising and have the line hang up so that the flag did not rise or discover that the grommets were not tied properly and have the flag come loose and fall to the ground.  My favorite “Uncle Sam” had taught me to always hope for the “Best Case Scenario” and to be ready to expect the “Worst Case Scenario.”  Without a “dry run” to test the procedure, I suggested that we just try to raise the flag the next morning.

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Ramon and Fe make sure the top grommet is securely tied to the flagpole line as a part of the process to raise the banner. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I simply hoped that we would have the colors flying when the kids returned home from school the next day.

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Nephew Marlon Saldana climbs up a nearby guava tree to snatch the flagpole line which came loose from the bottom of the banner and did not allow it to rise in the first attempt.The failure revealed that the line should pass through the top grommet and the bottom grommet.  To keep the banner attached to the line, then, the bottom grommet would also have to be tied to the nylon flagpole line to allow the flag to rise with the line up to the pulley at the top of the staff.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

February 1, 2012, Christy, Ramon and Marife, three of the adult children of Ramon and Nenita Saldana, raised the colors in the front yard for the first time. I, of course, photographed the event.

Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong; will go wrong,” seems to pinpoint first time events.  The initial flag raising did not go smoothly.

 

None of us had ever tied a flag to the line before.  The tie at the bottom grommets of the flag did not hold and the bottom of the flag came loose as it was raised.

Fortunately, the flag did not touch the ground. U.S. Flag protocol states that if the flag falls and touches the ground, then, that flag must be destroyed.

When we attempted to lower the flag, too much of the line came through the pulley at the top and the line rushed through until the knot at the end of the line caught in the pulley.   My nephew, Marlon Saldana climbed up the nearby guava tree and retrieved the knotted line caught up in the pulley and brought the line back down.

By the second attempt, the glitches had been remedied and the colors rose up the line to the top of the flagpole.

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Ramon Saldana examines the flagpole line to make sure  it passes through the grommets of the banner to allow the cloth to rise up the line.  Christy Warren straightens the material, so that the cloth should rise like the sail of a ship up to the top of the mast.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colors raised – there was only one item missing – a breeze.

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The flagpole line raises the flag up to the top of the flagpole on the second attempt.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time passed. The kids returned home from school, but the flag was not flying. That fact was a disappointment. Unfortunately, there was no breeze.

The irony is ,it was about, a week and a half later before the flag waved.  Typhoon winds off of the ocean actually spawned enough of a breeze to unfurl the colors.

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The colors unfurl.  The Republic of the Philippines flag flies above the Saldana Family residence in Barangay Baras, Tanauan, Leyte. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you pass through Barangay Baras, keep looking through the tall coconut trees.   When you see a flash of colors in the trees look for the flagpole.  The Saldana Family flagpole stands proud and unfurls the colors of the Republic of the Philippines against the sky.

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