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Summer Hiatus by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Surf’s Up” on Yahoo News

Summer Hiatus

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I write.

 

I love to write.

 

I write something almost everyday.

 

What To Write

 

The challenge of being a writer is knowing that people will read what you write.

Even after you “Officially Retire” as a writer, you may still want to write and know that you have readers.

 

A blog is an outlet for a writer. Of course, there are so many blogs in cyberspace that a writer has to try to figure out how to attract and keep readers.

 

I remember a rule from an English Creative Writing Class in Galena High School: “Write About What You Know.”

 

When you are 13 to 16, you really do know more than you think you do. You just have to figure out how to put the words on paper to interest the reader.

 

Naturally, when you are 57, you have a lot more “Life Experiences” to write about than when you were 13. I sit at a keyboard and the words flow. I am blessed because I have never really had a problem with “Writer’s Block.”

 

I have been away from the blog for a few months. The problem was not the writing or the words. The problem was “The Writer.”

 

Readers’ Comments

 

I have never wanted my blog to be a “Dear Diary” that focused on the mundane routine of Life like, “I got out of bed today. Nothing really noteworthy happened.”

 

I have always aspired to try and find issues to write about that challenge my readers. I read the comment forms on my blog. The comment forms seemed more and more to be robotic software trying to carry out it’s own “Sell You Something” agenda. I periodically go through and delete the obvious email spam.

 

I wasn’t getting feedback and comments from readers that often. March 2013 arrived, which meant the “kids” my nieces and nephews would be out of school.

 

School Is Out For The Summer”

 

School Is Out For The Summer” takes on a different meaning in The Republic Of The Philippines than in the United States.

 

The kids were out of school. It seemed a perfect time to “Go On Holiday.”

 

I grew up on a farm in the United States in The Ozarks. The idea of a vacation or a holiday is just not a concept that always translates that well to my mind.

 

Farming is a 24-hour a day job that lasts seven days a week. Forget taking off The Fourth Of July,Halloween,Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Livestock does not come with calendars, cattle, horses, hogs, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats all expect to eat. Even the humans, regardless of the holiday or the day of the week, still expect to eat.

 

On a farm, Mother Nature is always The Girl Next Door and she seldom cooperates with your wishes. When you need rain; you will get a drought. When you need a dry spell; you will get a monsoon of rain.

 

The Extremes” Of Farm Life

 

Since the constant fluctuation of temperatures never seem to be enough for Mother Nature you can count on “The Extremes” in the United States. The United States is a “temperate climate”, which means we have four seasons, but temperatures and weather conditions can always be in “The Extremes”, during the season.

 

The four seasons often have The Extremes. If you expect a comfortable summer; summer will go in the record books as “One Of The Hottest Summers On Record. If you expect a mild winter; winter will break all the records and be “One Of The Coldest Winters In History.

 

In Farming, the weather NEVER cooperates. The chores on a farm are not something you can do in a few minutes and get on with your day. Farming is hard work.

 

In Missouri, by the end of the 20th Century, small family farmers had to have “public jobs” just to make “ends meet” and to be able to “earn a living.”

 

On Leave

 

Before I enlisted in the United States Air Force, the recruiter told me about “Leave.” I would get “30 days a year.” The word, “Leave”, meant I would be “On Vacation” for 30 days every year with pay. It sounded like a great deal. It was.

 

However, at the time, there were just a couple of items, the recruiter kind of overlooked explaining in detail. First, it is not an absolute guarantee.

 

If the United States is at War – you might not be going “On Leave”, during that year.

 

Second, you have to request the dates you want. The Needs Of The Mission always come first. If you can get the dates you want, then, you get them. However, you may not always get the dates you want.

 

The military, like the civilian world, realizes everyone “Needs Time Off”, so vacations are scheduled. No one ever explains the procedures to wide-eyed kids ready to enlist.

 

The Needs Of The Mission. . .”

 

Third, “30 Days Paid Vacation Every Year” looks good on paper. Uncle was “True” to his word. I could get my “30 Days.” However, there was no guarantee all those days would be together as in getting “A Month Off From Work.” Sometimes you might get a week here and two weeks there. At the end of the year, you could sit down with your calendar and pencil and Uncle had always kept his word.

 

The Magic Phrase in The United States Armed Forces at the time was : “The Needs Of The Mission Come First.”

 

Since I served in the United States Air Force The Magic Phrase was: “The Needs Of The United States Air Force Comes First.” And, of course, the word, “Needs”, was simply another way of saying, “Mission.” The Mission Of The United States Air Force Comes First.”

 

Regardless, Uncle Sam, also known as, The United States Government did their best to make sure I got my “30 Days Leave” a year; if I wanted it.

 

I came from a family of “Workaholics”, so the concept of, “Vacation” was always more the idea of “A Working Vacation” or “A Vacation On The Road.”

 

As Sam The Senior Citizen Writer, the idea of “A Vacation” is still not something I can relate to or even really appreciate.

 

I used “The Vacation Time” to back away from the keyboard. I did not write articles to publish for my blog.

 

Printer’s Ink

 

However, my calling in life was, “News.” I worked as a reporter and editor for several United States Air Force newspapers. Printer’s ink has always flowed in my blood.

 

On duty, Uncle Sam spent a tremendous effort to teach us the specifics of journalism from punctuation and grammar to the ethics of “Objectiveness.”

 

A Military Reporter like a Civilian Reporter was suppose to be an independent and impartial observer, who collected the facts and wrote a balanced story, which offered both sides of the story to allow the reader to decide.

 

The Editorial Page

 

On duty, we were taught never to “Slant” a story. “Reporters do not have opinions,” would state the numerous editors time and again through the years.

 

Opinions, Comments, Commentary are all saved for The Editorial page. If you have an opinion, a comment, a commentary, a personal view on an issue or situation, then, you write an Editorial for The Editorial Page.

 

In retirement, I am still a newsman, which means I keep up and read the news.

 

However, since I am retired – My Opinions are my own. I often express my opinion in print.

 

The Opinion Man

 

My favorite news source is Yahoo. My Yahoo News Page lists The Top Stories, Yahoo News, ABC News, Associated Press and Reuters. I glance at the headlines and select stories to read.

 

I have always been “A Man With An Opinion.”

 

I read a story and being the emotional person that I have always been – I always have an opinion.

 

I go to the Comments section of Yahoo News and leave my opinion in the form of a Comment. To find my Comments simply look for the names: Sergeant Sam or Samuel Warren in the Comments section.

 

Life has taught me when you Live long enough You will have an opinion on everything.

 

I have Lived past the Half-Century Mark, so I definitely have an opinion on every issue imaginable

 

I choose my words carefully to get my point across. I am not a “Politically Correct Person”. I am well past the silly stage of “Political Correctness” in my Life; so I don’t play the silly word game.

 

I do not pull punches with my comments. I write what I believe. I usually write like I talk.

 

Country Boy Commentary

 

I am a proud country boy. Thus, I tend to use the colorful expressions of The Ozarks often in comments and editorials. The expression, “I told them how the cow ate the cabbage”, means the speaker was angry, mad and upset to the point that he opened his mouth and let the words fly.

 

How the cow ate the cabbage”, is just one example of an Ozarks expressions that has a colorful way of getting to the heart of the matter to express an issue.

 

Politics

I find Politics invigorates. It is a challenge to bring people together on a variety of different social issues. The goal is to get people to reach a working compromise on an issue for a domestic or foreign policy.

 

Still, I have little use for professional politicians. Professional politicians try to wiggle around an issue to arrive at a solution.

 

DEMOCRAT MULE PIN FACE LEFTWhen it comes to American Political Parties – I am a Democrat.

 

I grew up in Stone County, Missouri, in The Ozarks, which is one of The Most Devout And Hardcore Strongholds of Republican Politics in The United States.

 

In my opinion,The Grand Old Party is conservative to the extreme and cements Christianity into the approach to changing social issues. I grew up exposed to that stringent political philosophy in the southwest Missouri Ozarks.

 

Since my twenties I have worked in political campaigns against America’s “Greedy Old Politicians” and their problematic, pilgrim, political party platforms.

 

I have no use for Republicans.  REPUBLICAN ELEPHANT PIN_btn_gop 

 

Religion

 

I have no use for Religion.

 

Religion is the Providence Of Fools – created by Fools and for Fools.

 

Some people have a Fear Of Death, so they seek some belief that when The Day Of Their Death comes – they will not cease to exist.

 

Instead of an intelligent person using their mind to reach a logical, rationale solution, some people do what centuries of people have done before them and turn to the flawed fairy tales of The World’s Old Major Religions.

 

The temptation of the insane and archaic prophecies by old dead foolish storyteller prophets seems to entice many people to believe.

 

Many people never seem to stop and question what it is the prophecy is asking them to believe in.

 

In Catholicism, Christianity and Protestant religions you are expected to believe in a ridiculous old dead Arab hippie criminal who destroyed business property. Jesus Christ The Bum, who trained as a carpenter,never worked a day in his life.

 

In Islam, you are expected to believe in an old dead Arab prophet, who could not use religion to unite The Arab World, so he proclaims on-going Holy Wars to destroy The World for Allah, who created The World.

 

Regardless of which silly faith of The World’s Old Major Religions that you fall victim to – you get to spend an Eternity with a Jealous, Hateful sadistic, psychotic, misogynistic entity, who really enjoys punishing people and destroying them for the fun of it.

 

Who gets to be The Martyr Today ?”

 

Religion is of Fools, by Fools and for the Fools, who are afraid to experience the reality of Life.

 

Thus, most of my Comments will be found in Politics and Religion.

 

For All The World To Read

 

I leave my opinions for all the world to read.

 

When you put your opinion out to the public; you can expect feedback. Not everyone will agree with you. The purpose though of putting out your opinion is to get people to think and express their own opinions.

 

At first leaving comments on Yahoo News was simply “Putting In My Two Cents”, but, now, it is an opportunity to get my ideas out there to The Readers Of The World. It is a daily task I enjoy.

 

Since I love to write, I will continue to write articles for my “Sam I Am Blog” and my “Samuel E. Warren Jr. The Prophet” blog.

 

However, I am not going to be as “deadline driven” as I have been in the past. I want to continue to inspire, motivate and challenge fellow readers on Yahoo News.

Sam

Written by samwarren55

July 9, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Crafts, Current Events, Editorial, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Sam I Am, Soap Box Political Opinion, Soap Box Religious Opinion

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The Birthday Party

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Plan, Host, Entertain, Celebrate, Reminisce, Enjoy

 

The Birthday Party

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In preparation for the party, Christy Warren already has all the furniture moved to an arranged location on the porch. A tablecloth adds prestige to the rustic, rural coconut lumber dining table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr

The day of your birth is obviously the most important day of your life because that is the day your life begins. .

 

The average citizen calculates their year based on the current calendar from January 1 to December 31 each year.

 

Back in the 1980s,the United States Government determined their fiscal year would be from October 1 of one year until September 30 of the following year.

 

I have determined my calendar time-keeping system runs from October 30 of one year until October 30 of the following year. Therefore, my birthday is my yearly calendar.

 

The Most Important Day Of Your Life Each Year

 

My annual birthday anniversary each year is the most important day of my life each year. No one celebrates your birthday before you were born and it is unlikely anyone will celebrate your birthday, once you leave this life.

 

To celebrate your birthday, you need a party. Fortunately, in my life, I had a mother and I have a wife who understands the dynamics of planning and hosting a birthday party. I am a cake and ice cream person, which is all this 57-year-old man expected.

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The table settings combine the traditional American arrangement of the place settings of dishes with the daily arrangement of a Filipino table setting. The traditional large soup spoon and the fork, common daily silverware in a Filipino home, rests in the shallow soup bowl dishes.

 

The Pancit Canton in the plastic container is the Filipino food that symbolizes “Long Life” in the Filipino culture. Therefore, the noodles in the container are not cut during cooking. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Event Planning

 

Important, prestigious, social events demand professional planning and execution that is equal to, but, fortunately, not as crucial, as military operations. The success of any event begins months, weeks and days before “Zero Hour.”

 

Where the formal event – a party– is taking place in a boardroom on Wall Street or a diplomatic gathering at a building in a foreign nation’s capitol: the event has to be “right.” because it will be remembered and discussed for years to come.

 

Most people will not consider their birthday – a “Black Tie Affair At The White House.” I ain’t like most people. Daddy was a Texan. Momma had a sense of protocol that “There is a right way to do everything.”

 

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The dish, in the foreground, is barbeque pork sticks. The pork pieces are marinated for, at least, 24 hours and then placed on bamboo skewers to be roasted over an open grill fire.

 

The next dish is pork fried rice, Tiny pieces of pork, bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables are mixed into the white rice that is then fried.

 

The main dish is Pancit Canton. In the Philippines, there are two major type of pancit: Canton and Bihon. Bihon is the large, fat noodles. Pancit Canton is the extremely slender noodles that is cooked with a variety of vegetables.

 

The last dish is another plate of barbeque pork sticks. The pink plastic pitcher contains Pepsi Cola. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Southern Hospitality

Factor in my Texas aunts and uncles into my life and while I never refreshed with the mint julep, wearing my white suit and Panama Jack hat on the front porch of the plantation mansion – I still got the importance of Southern respect, hospitality, tradition and protocol.

 

Military Customs And Courtesies

 

Then, of course, Uncle Sam put me in numerous situation to work with and alongside protocol officers and sergeants and the diplomatic formal significance of events finally modified my DNA. “An event is always intended to be an Event. It is a moment of time that is intended to be remembered for years and, one would hope generations.”

 

Diplomatic Protocol

 

You do not have to be “The Ambassador Of The United States Of America” to a foreign country to host a memorable event. A birthday party should always be a memorable event because all of us only get so many. . .actually, so few, birthdays in our lifetime. Each birthday should be memorable.

 

If you really want to get formal with an event, then, you come up with a guest list and make sure the invitations go out in plenty of time for people to put the event on their personal business or social calendar. Naturally, you would either rely on your “Official” protocol people or hire a professional party planner.

 

In difficult economic times, you learn to do your homework and develop a to do list of tasks to be accomplished. Fortunately, for me, I married my “professional party planner”, who got exposed to military and diplomatic functions in the United States and overseas. Then, of course, my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren took great pride in briefing Christy on Warren and DeLong Family Traditions.

 

Know Your Surroundings

 

Christy understand the salad fork, lobster fork, soup spoon place settings and napkin ring holders for table settings. While she didn’t have an elegant American dining room to set the party up in, she knew the surroundings for the party location and knew hat had to be done.

 

Flexibility is a military reality and a common sense civilian virtue that always seems to get overlooked in planning.

 

In the United States, Christy had a gas stove, oven and air conditioning to be able to prepare a variety of dishes. She had the silver chaffing dishes with the sterno cans underneath to keep the food warm and she set the table to allow for buffet style birthday parties.

 

In the Republic of the Philippines, she had a two burner hot plate hooked to an RV sized hot plate, a wooden table serves as the kitchen island. She has some large pots and pans to cook in. A curved rebar rod on two small concrete blocks set beside the house will provide the makeshift camping stove that Leneil Saldana usually uses with coconut shell briquets to provide an extra cooking stove for an additional dish like pork sticks.

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Leneil Saldana

Coconut Shell Briquets

 

In the United States, portable barbeque grills using charcoal briquets and lighter fluid provide the fire for outdoor cooking. In the Philippines, the plentiful coconut shell gets busted up and set on fire. Like charcoal briquets, the coconut shells seem to burn evenly and slowly for a consistent fire and heat for cooking.

 

Temperature is a persistent and, sometimes uncomfortable, reality in the Philippines. The kitchen area is currently “too” open to allow an air conditioner to work in the kitchen area. October’s frequent monsoon rains provides a change in the humidity that makes it easier to cook that in August when the sun reigns supreme over the landscape.

 

Christy Warren always exceeds expectations, regardless of the conditions; which is the mark of a true “party planner.”

 

Fate’s Flexibility Factors

 

Fate loves to dabble in event plans, which is why, it is always crucial to remember – Keep The Plans Flexible. Fate is that mysterious entity always luring in the shadows waiting for the right moment to throw a wrench into your plans.

 

The Battle Of Leyte Gulf Anniversary Week and Tropical Storm Ofel were events that made the event a touch and go operation going down to the wire.

 

I had spent the week researching and writing articles on the 68th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Leyte Gulf because the dates of battles for “Freedom” rank right up there with birthdays in my world view.

 

Then, Tropical Storm Ofel decided to complicate matters by using high winds to knock out the power for six days. When the lights did come back on briefly for about 20 minutes on October 28; a transformer blew and darkness returned. When the power did finally come back on on October 29, I dashed to the laptop and began editing photos and polishing the copy for an article for my blog.

 

The sun rose on October 30, 2012 and once I saw that my Sam I Am Blog article was published. I could finally get a good night’s sleep. At around 8 a.m., I decided to get some sleep. “Happy Birthday to me.”

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Christy Warren – Party Planner

Christy The Birthday Party Planner

 

Meanwhile, Christy already had her own plans underway, My wife is a Leo, a Fixed Sign. Fixed Sign Zodiac people have their own way of doing things.

 

Leo is the one sign of the Zodiac that is “Born To The Spotlight.” More actors, kings, queens,princes, and princesses are born under the sign of Leo than any other Zodiac sign. In my experience, if a Leo is your party planner, you may as well take a “nap” because they have the situation handled from the git go.

 

While I slept, Christy went to the local market and bought the fresh vegetables for the dishes to be cooked. She directed the kids on where to move furniture and prepared the meal. When I awoke in the afternoon, after my Rip Van Winkle nap, the only task that remained for the party planner and our nephews was to set the table.

 

Ranilo and Rayniel Saldana, my nephews, took their own initiative, and allowances, to select the chocolate cake, icing and the decorations to go on the birthday cake.

 

I heard Christy tell the kids the birthday party was “semi-formal”, which meant T-shirts, walking shorts and sandals were the attire for the Philippines’ afternoon heat and the dining area on the porch.

 

The tablecloth hid the rustic dining table’s humble rural coconut lumber origin. The plastic light green chairs replaced the usual wooden bench seating that goes with the table. The plates and the silverware setting were what you would expect for a traditional birthday party table.

 

Birthday Party Cuisine

 

The menu consisted of barbeque pork sticks, pork fried rice and, of course, pancit canton. In the Philippines, pancit canton is long, skinny noodles cooked with slices of carrots and other vegetables.

 

Pancit Canton is the food served to symbolize “long life,” so the noodles aren’t cut and you have a food that has those lengthy spaghetti style noodles that you either wrap around a fork or lift high up to get in your plate.

 

A couple of plastic pitchers filled with Pepsi Cola for the kids and, of course, coffee for Sam. While everyone ate and talked, I looked around the table at the faces and smiled because I thought of family and friends back in the United States.

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Family And Friends Faraway On a family outing to the beach, earlier this year, I shot the photo of these local fishing boats on the shore. The number of fishing boats on the beach are symbolic of a family. The Pacific Ocean in the photograph is a reminder of family and friends faraway.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Family and Friends Faraway

 

I thought of Cousin Donna and wondered if she would be going to play the slot machines in the casinos anytime soon and wished that we could check out the casino that I spotted on Clark Air Base.

 

I wondered if Ken Sexton is still working with the local Vietnam Veterans’ group and performing color guard functions for military funerals and at public events.

 

I imagined Wade Martin is still driving a Galena school bus and would be amazed to see that farming in the Philippines is a lot like farming in the United States. I was surprised earlier in the week, to stroll along and notice a Jersey heifer munching on the tall grass in a nearby barangay.

 

Nancy Campbell, a close friend of mine and my wife, Christy, had left Missouri and moved back to a small town in Texas. Every time I see a motorcycle in the Philippines, I am reminded of Nancy – there are a lot of motorcycles in the Philippines.

 

Nancy is one of those people you meet in life and would never imagine her “headin’ out on the highway . . . on a Harley.” But, Nancy said that in her 20s, she enjoyed the wind through her hair and the feel of the open road stretching out across the horizon.

 

It is nice to image, Nancy,in her Harley leathers riding along the open highway flashing past those square black signs with the proud white Lone Star State crest brandishing the highway numbers.

 

I wondered if T. Michael Ottens still lived in Elkins, West Virginia. We were classmates back at School Of The Ozarks, back in the days before computers, the Internet, facebook, twitter and cell phones. We didn’t have to use stone hammers and chisels to do our homework, but, typewriters, like their children the computer – weren’t always cooperative.

 

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Jake Slusher, my “runnin’ buddy” back at Kadena Air Base Okinawa probably is a grandfather by now living somewhere in the United States. . .or possibly, in the Philippines.

 

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Bobby Thomas, a “runnin’ buddy” and fellow Air Force newspaperman was putting down roots somewhere in Japan, years ago, when I caught the “Freedom Bird” out of Okinawa.

 

J.R. Baker, was my roommate, back in my Bossier City, Louisiana, days. I saw J.R.. years ago. and he had went into the United States Army and went up in rank. I would be surprised if J.R., did not retire as a United States Army command sergeant major because he always understood, “The System.”

 

Greg Pyron, my friend and classmate at School Of The Ozarks, I learned had become a grandfather. Greg always had the award-winning smile and his code of personal appearance each day, looked as though he litterally stepped out of the pages of “GQ” magazine. He became the living embodiment of “The Classic American FM Voice.”

 

Greg had the soft, distinct voice that merged with the air in a room full of girls and women. Greg would speak and you would see a change come over the women in the room. A twinkle would appear in their eyes and the emerging smile on their lips confirmed a flight of fantasy had begun in their minds along the lines of Harlequin Romance novels.

 

In college, at radio station KSOZ-FM, Greg helped me overcome my fear of “The Open Mike” and taught me ways to relax behind the microphone.

 

Michael Roy Truly Rogers, my contemporary hero and classmate at School Of The Ozarks, had a dream to work at radio station WLS-AM Chicago. I heard that Mike’s dream came true. Mike, a handsome man, took the 1970’s James Dean Rebel Approach to life.

James Dean, the young Hollywood actor, became “The Immortal American Teenage Rebel Symbol Of The 1950s. Mike Rogers’ approach to life took the basic “rebel” idea and slipped on the contemporary 1970s wardrobe. He usually wore T-shirts and denim jeans cut-offs. He had a distinct deep voice that had almost a James Earl Jones quality, with the Wolfman Jack energy.

 

In a room full of girls and women, Mike would smile,speak and the women be “mesmerized” into a Count Dracula state of hypnosis.

 

Little girls would bounce up and down like they were on pogo sticks, teenage girls would swoon, middle age women would have a motel smirk curl the smile of their lips and senior citizen “granny” women would smile.

 

The transition of “granny” age women happened in the eyes. You could watch them blink away the years, and the innuendo smile on their faces would suggest their minds were “rewriting” a fantasy that had Mike as one of their beaus, center stage, in their past.

 

The Ladies Men” – Mike and Greg

 

I always admired Mike and Greg because their “Radio Disc Jockey Voices” seem to give them an almost uncanny power “over” women or the audio quality to get through to women at any level, virtually any time they seemed to wish it. They had made “Star Trek’s Mr. Spock Mind Meld Technique”as easy and natural as breathing and it seemed “every woman on planet Earth was powerless against the suave, debonair voices of Mike and Greg each with their distinct traits.”

 

Mike always seemed more aloof and not as easy to become friends with as Greg. Mike was only about a year older than me, but, I looked up to him like he was a respected, revered, wise, sage elder. And, Mike also helped me to become relaxed behind the microphone and proficient, even skilled, at operating the controls of a radio station in the control room. At KSOZ-FM, we classified Mike as the living, breathing, embodiment of “The Classic AM American Rock Disc Jockey Voice.”

 

I like to imagine that Mike is still working as “an AM Rock Jock” and teaching legions of future broadcaster how to pull off a contemporary Wolfman Jack voice with such class and style that listeners tune in every morning to get the Walter Cronkite credibility and the adrenaline voltage to take them from their morning coffee and newspaper straight to the boardroom to close million dollar deals without batting an eye or breaking a sweat.

 

The Birthday Party Guests

 

My family and friends in the United States, weren’t seated around the table for the “birthday party”, but, the fact that they were in my mind ,reminded me, that I was grateful of the roles each of these people had played in my life and to me – it meant they were at the birthday party.

 

I looked around the table at Edwin Mora, Christy’s cousin and a local hog farmer, who smiled at his wife Babysel, who leans back in the chair to accommodate her prominent pregnant stomach. “The Babysel Watch” began October 26 and the “bouncing bundle of joy” is apparently taking his or her time to get their itinerary in order.

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Rachel Mora, smiles at me and drops down out of the chair to check on her little brother, Randolf Mora, Leneil Saldana passes her husband, Ramon, Christy’s brother, the platter of pork sticks. Ranilo Saldana concentrates on the pork fried rice on the plate, in front of him.

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Rafael Saldana,Christy’s brother and a coconut farmer, adds some more pancit canton to his plate. Nieces Vanissa Saldana and Junea Tanahale had errands to run with Virgie and Esmeralda, their mothers, so they were not at the party.

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Christy waves to her Aunt Pising walking by and she turns around and walks into the birthday party. Mano Bito, a local rice farmer, strolls into the party. Everyone is talking in Tagalog and Waray and I am truly enjoying Christy’s pork fried rice and “finger lickin’ good barbeque pork sticks”. Young Rayniel Saldana looks at the birthday cake and at me – I get the message.

 

Five-Star Birthday Party

 

Rayniel’s big eyes looking at me brought me out of my mind and back into The Real World.

 

English ?

 

Tagalog ?

 

Waray ?

 

Language is not necessary, when the cake remains to be cut and the containers of cold ice cream are placed on the table.

 

One nice thing about being a cigarette smoker, your lighter to light the candles is always in your pocket and ready to use. I lit the candle and made my wish. I blew out the candles on the first try. The cake and ice cream went around the table to the smiling hungry faces of the children.

 

Once again, Christy had planned, prepared,and hosted a five-star birthday party that became a successful reality. She created delicious dishes and provided the relaxed atmosphere for conversation and reflection that is needed for any event or party to be memorable.

Philippines’ Ponder Points

 

It has been less than a year,since we returned to the Philippines. Life has proven that you are never too old to learn. Your expectations overall don’t always work out the way you think they will – that is a “life lesson” that I seem to get reminded of each year.

 

My After Action Report for 2012

 

One of Uncle Sam’s requirements I have held on to. After important events, the United States Government always takes the time to reflect and collect data on an event to see if it achieved the goals.

 

If the event is an annual event, then, what needs to be done next year to make sure the event Is a success. Watch your Hollywood movies and the actors playing government officials, diplomats, generals and admirals are always talking about their “Sitreps” – situation reports – and their “After Action Report.”

 

I sat at the table, lit a cigarette, sipped my coffee and thought about “My After Action Report” for the current year.

 

Overall, though, when I stop to remember the day we arrived at the airport in Manila and looked at where we stood on October 30, 2012, like they say, in the old commercials, “You’ve Come Along Way, Baby.”

CHRISTY AND VANISSA_6205_resized

  Christy Warren, and our niece, Vanissa Saldana stroll, in front of< Robinson’s Place in Tacloban City to go “shopping.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

  NIKON D 100 Photo 0010_by Samuel E Warren Jr  Junea Tanahale, our niece, makes a flower arrangement. “Aunt” Christy Warren, one summer morning, instructed Junea and Vanissa Saldana on the way to do the formal place settings on a table and instructed them on making flower arrangements. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Christy and I have learned a lot in less than a year. There are obvious similarities between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States and there are some significant differences between both countries, even if you lived in a rural area of the USA.

 

I could look around the table at the faces and remember moments from earlier in the year when we bought the refrigerator, but it was only delivered to the side of the road because the yard was too soft for the truck to take it all the way, so family members carried it to the house.

 

Life’s On The Job Training

 

Ramon, my brother-in-law has always been more like a son to me. When I was a young G.I., Ramon lived with Christy and I,in Angeles City, near Clark Air Base, and went to school.

 

Now, Ramon is a man with a family of his own. A mechanic, Ramon has become a self-taught carpenter. He built a wall-mounted shrine for the living room. Then, he used bamboo and concrete and built an impressive hog house..

HOG HOUSE_resized

HOG HOUSE

in this photograph the second pen of the house house is still under construction. The first pen already had two hogs rooting around the pen. Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., built this hog house. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

SARI SARI STORE BUILT BY RAMON

SARI SARI STORE built by Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.

Ramon is a self-taught carpenter. He built a hog house and, then, built a Sari-Sari Store in Barangay Baras. In this photo, Ramon and a visitor sit in front of the small store. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

We had been fortunate to go to the beach and go swimming a couple of times this year. We had all survived. My Canon EOS 40 D camera didn’t. An accidental dip of about 30 seconds in a big wave must have been too much for the onboard sensors. Fortunately, I had a Nikon on standby.

 

Division Downsizing

 

A US Army-sized division of distant relatives had greeted us at the airport in Manila and a battalion of distant relatives had escorted us to Leyte. As the fiscal budget year wore on , Christy and I didn’t always sign off on proposals like the Manila based 10-wheeler cargo trucking line to Leyte.

 

The companies of disgruntled, distant relative began their own “downsizing” and “redeployment” back to the island of Luzon and the municipalities of Angeles City and Manila.

 

Warren-building

 

While the United States Government, Iraq and Afghanistan continue their “Nation-building” of governments, infrastructure nad cultures, Christy and I have been involved in Warren-building on the island of Leyte. I have concentrated on my photography and writing articles for my blog. Christy has concentrated on the renovations to turn One Warren Way from an unused rice mill building into a home.

 

Christy got her dream of the CSW Cafe in Tacloban City. Eight kids began the school year at One Warren Way, Four kids went “Republican” and exercised an “Exit strategy” to “retired” to somewhere else on the island of Leyte.

 

All in all, it has been an exciting year of challenges, successes and a couple of disappointments. Christmas is beyond Halloween, so that future operation is under Christy’s chain of command.

 

My significant shortfall, this year, is that I didn’t plan far enough ahead for the kids to have a “Halloween Party.” I had hoped they and their friends would be able to have the Halloween costume party at the house. The Halloween custom seems to be catching on in Manila, but, has, yet, to make it to rural Leyte.

 

My Holiday Is Halloween

 

Halloween is “my holiday” and is the other day of the year I look forward to each year. I have my mother to “Thank” for the Halloween Party memories.

 

As a small boy in rural southwest Missouri in the 1960s, “birthday parties” were an uncommon idea. There were no McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, or any other fast food restaurants to offer birthday party plans in nearby Branson, Missouri in 1960. Silver Dollar City had just recently opened their gates and the old white clapboard Abesville grade school stood across the gravel road from the brick school house.

 

The old Abesville Grade Schoolhouse was the classic small white schoolhouse with the steeple and red roof that you see in the Hollywood movies; it had retired as a schoolhouse and had become the meeting place for the Abesville 4-H Club.

 

Halloween And Birthday Party Tradition

 

Beginning in the first grade, my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren set a precedent: my birthday party.

 

Kids in rural southwest Missouri really didn’t have birthday parties in the fall and winter months. Your classmates didn’t live blocks away; they usually lived miles away.

 

School District Logistics

 

The Galena RII School District would have kids who lived a few steps from the Reeds Spriing school district get on the yellow bus to made the arduous commute to Abesville Grade School or Galena High School each morning.

 

Meanwhile, kids in Wheelerville, Cross Roads, and Jenkins would watch the yellow school buses of the Crane School district pass by their farms, while they waited patiently for their Galena school bus.

 

Thus, Galena school students from, near Reeds Springs, and from near Wheelerville, Cross Roads and Jenkins, were like American G.I.s because each morning they had to “deploy” for the long bus ride to and from Abesville or Galena

 

The students might spend about two hours on the bus each morning before they ever arrived at school and then two hours each night before they ever reached home. The School District Logistics Of Travel each morning and evening worked against the childhood opportunities to attend a birthday party.

 

Weird Weather

 

The fall weather, in October, was always as uncertain as the promises of a politician; the weather changes quickly in southwest Missouri in autumn.

 

The weather for Halloween in southwest Missouri is usually like a Wes Craven or John Carpenter horror movie where the London fog meets the Seattle rain. Some years, the skeletal bone-chilling cold would sink through your coat and speed your steps The tips of your nose would tingle in the cold. You could feel the sting of the biting cold bite into your ears, The weird weather of Halloween seemed to exercise demonic persecution of children, who just wanted to get a few pieces of candy.

 

It seldom snowed on Halloween, in my childhood, but, the dismal, eerie, cold. Damp, depressing feel of the weather always kept children close to home. If you were lucky, your parents might drive you to Galena, so you could go “Trick Or Treat” at a few homes.

 

By the 1980s, officials at the Stone County Courthouse had arranged a Halloween Party to allow the kids to “Trick Or Treat” in a more fun and less “survival expert” way to celebrate Halloween.

 

Momma’s Miracle – My Birthday Party

 

In the 1960s, in southwest Missouri, the idea of autumn and winter birthday parties and Halloween Parties were as vague as the dream of the Internet.

 

My mother talked to Mrs. Russell, my first grade teacher, My birthday party and the class Halloween celebration became an annual event that continued each year for seven years; right up until my classmates and I entered the eighth grade at Galena High School.

 

Momma would bring the big vanilla sheet cake that always had my “Happy Birthday” greeting and “Happy Halloween” lettered in icing on the cake. The Kool-Aid with the cake gave me the reason to look forward to my birthday and the other kids commented that when they saw the cake they knew it was time for Halloween.

 

At 57, I can look back on a successful birthday party, remember the fun parties of childhood, and make a note to plan for the nephews a Halloween Party for next year. Then, again, I think I know a party planner up to the challenge of hosting a Halloween party: “Christy, honey, what do you say, for next year, we plan,for the kids, a Halloween Party?”

 

Christy ?”

THE CAKE_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 029 - Copy

The Birthday Cake

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

November 4, 2012 at 5:41 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Observances, Opinion, Philippines, Photos, Stone County History

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Coconuts And Corn — Photos for American Farmers Wade Martin and Jeff Parrish — Photography Patrol

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Coconuts And Corn

Photos for American Farmers Wade Martin

and Jeff Parrish 

Coconuts and Corn – Photo One – Photo for American Farmers Wade Martin and Jeff Parish. Walking through the Leyte landscape with my Nikon camera, I stopped and looked at the rows of corn and the coconut tree. In the United States, acres of corn stretch out across the horizon in states like Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa. Actually, Corn is a grain that, according to my old Future Farmers of America manual is grown in ALL 50 states and is the reason that the corn grain is used on the FFA Crest. Once I stood looking at the corn and the coconut tree I wondered if American Farmer Wade Martin, of Abesville, Missouri or American Farmer Jeff Parrish of El Dorado Springs, Missouri, near Nevada, Missouri, would believe their eyes. You can grow “sweet corn” in the Philippines, but, I doubt, Missouri winters and the seasonal tornadoes will allow coconut trees to grow in southwest Missouri. Nikon photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Warren Land Sells !

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Warren

Land

Sells !

American flags at the Main Gate of Warren Land, beside State Highway 176, in southwest Missouri, between Abesville and Galena, in Stone County, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
3 WARREN LAND MAIN GATE PHOTO BY SAM  ND40 S7A_sized for Internet

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My Official Date Of Public Release – October 30, 2011

3 WARREN LAND MAIN GATE PHOTO BY SAM  ND40 S7_sized for InternetThree years ago, I asked the question, “Is it possible to sell farm land using the Internet ?”

Now, I have my answer.

No.”

Warren Land, the 70 plus acres of farm land in southwest Missouri, sold in August 2011.

I waited until my birthday, October 30, to answer this question because I wanted to take the time to answer this question based on my experiences.

The Pessimists

The pessimists and naysayers all snickered that our 70 plus acres of farm land would never sell.

Warren Land had traditionally been used as pasture land for breeds of cattle ranging from Black Angus and Polled Herefords to Red Angus. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND CATTLE IN ONE OF THE PASTURES_DSC_3192_sized for Internet


Childhood Change Inspires Confidence

I was a boy in the early 1960s, when the land in Taney County, known as Branson, was going for about a nickel an acre. The Baldknobbers had just started regular music performances in Branson and Silver Dollar City had just opened their gates. Ideas like “The Nashville of the Ozarks” and a tourist attraction of how people lived in the 1800s had yet to catch on.

As a boy, I had seen the land in neighboring Taney County and I knew the cliffs and bluffs made it

Rock cliff face on Warren Land. Missouri is known as a farming state, but the Show Me State also brings in major revenue in the form of mining. While Stone County has rock cliff and bluff faces, the rock cliff an bluff faces of neighboring Taney County was credited as one of the normal reasons for low real estate prices in the 1960s. The rock bluff in the photograph is located in one of the hollows of the property. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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difficult for farmers to raise livestock. There were even stories that sometimes a cow would stumble and fall to her death at the bottom of a cliff. I had seen the hills and knew there could be truth in the falling cow stories.

As a youth. I, Michael Cutbirth and Jack Gordon joined the Ozarks Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, which would meet for six months at a time in the Forsyth Masonic Lodge and six months at a time in the Branson Masonic Lodge. In attending these meetings, we had to travel on average about 60 miles round trip from Galena, Missouri to either Forsyth or Branson. Thus, I had a front seat to the changes that happened in rural Stone and Taney counties from the 1960s through the 1970s and had traveled the highways long before the Missouri Department of Transportation began major highway projects to widen the roads, install overpasses or bypasses.

Branson Blossoms

Bulldozers gave Branson a facelift and redesigned the farm terrain to go with the ideas of creative citizens and suddenly unnoticed farm land had a new lease on life. The Plain Jane of Ozarks Real Estate was suddenly the supermodel in training. Of course, the opening of Table Rock Lake also served as a necessary augmentation to boost interest in the local real estate market.

Having witnessed Branson, Missouri blossom, in my lifetime, and go from wall flower to debutante, I didn’t put much faith in the pessimists and naysayers’ warnings. If the forgotten farm land of Taney County could transform into a Midwest mecca of country music, then, Stone County, next door, should also be able to shake off real estate puberty and gain a place in the sun.

Seek Out A Successful Real Estate Agent

The tough decision was to part with land that had been in my family since the mid to late 1940s.

60px-Coat_of_Arms_of_the_PhilippinesMy wife, Christy and I decided to sell the 70 plus acres of farm land in southwest Missouri in an attempt to return to the Republic of the Philippines, where we could be surrounded by her large family.

Once the decision was made, then we decide to look for a real estate agent. Like most people we begin looking at newspapers, browsing the internet and talking to people trying to find a realtor or real estate agency. At the start, it came down to a yellow page in the phone book.

Dismal Real Estate Setting

The October 3, 2007 American Financial Fiasco described as the collapse of “Big Banks on Wall Street” became history, but the effects of that financial catastrophe were still being felt when we decided to try and sell our land. People were complaining that banks weren’t loaning money and so people couldn’t or wouldn’t buy real estate. Even though, we didn’t list our land for sale until 2008, people were still complaining that the banks were not loaning money to people to buy real estate.

Find Your Land’s Selling Points

A butterfly lands on a wild flower on Warren Land. Selling farm land is never easy because there is an emotional investment in the land. Thus, you should work to be objective and be honest about the land’s strengths and weaknesses. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_ BUTTERFLY LANDS ON A WILD FLOWER_DSC_3201_sized for Internet

Be honest with yourself about the land. I grew up playing in the hills and hollers of Warren Land, so I knew I had an emotional investment in the property.

This white steer calf is symbolic of generation of cattle born and raised on Warren Land in southwest Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
6 WARREN LAND STEER STARE PHOTO BY SAM ND80 1_sized for Internet

But, what would a buyer want in the land ?

Goldie and Sarge play around the main farm pond on Warren Land. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_DOGS PLAY IN THE MAIN FARM POND ON WARREN LAND_A018_sized for Internet

There is one big pond and two small ponds on the property.

There were no phone lines or electric lines

This small farm pond lies hidden in a holler on Warren Land and serves as a source of water for cattle and wildlife. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND A0221A_sized for Internet

on the property.

Several acres at the back of the property had been used to raise tomatoes commercially for about three years in the 1970s. In the 1960s through the 1980s, The Christmas Tree On The Stone County Courthouse Lawn either came from Warren Land or the adjoining DeLong Land – cedar trees love the soil of DeLong Land and Warren Land.

In 2010, about 17 deers were taken during the deer hunting season in Stone County and based on what hunters told me, basically, 10 of those deers had been taken on Warren Land.

From the 1980s through the 1990s, my mother had also let hunters hunt wild turkeys on Warren Land.

Hidden Spring on DeLong Land. DeLong Land and Warren Land have available water sources. Both DeLong or Warren Land was used to supply The Christmas Tree for the Stone County Courthouse Lawn from the 1960s through the 1990s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
Hidden Spring on DeLong Land Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_sized for Internet
Warren Land contains a multitude of walnut, black and white oak trees that were cut over the years to sell as lumber. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_0013 LOGGING 1A_sized for Internet

Every three or four years from the 1980s through 2003, my mother, would contact a local logger and allow them to go in and cut down trees.

This skidder pulls logs over the terrain of Warren Land. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND SKIDDER GOES FOR LOGS_sized for Internet
Logs from Warren Land were destined to be milled as lumber. One log was selected for a local wood sculptor. Another log reportedly was selected to be shipped to China to be used for a dining table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_0014 LOGGING 2_sized for Internet

Thinning out trees allows young ones the chance to grow. The last time walnut logs were taken off Warren Land, one was selected to reportedly be sent to China to be used to build a dining table.

There are some crude All Terrain Vehicle trails on Warren Land. There were four gates on Warren Land and three of those gates opened out on to the main highway: State Highway 176.

The Choice Of The Wrong Realtors

At least, a local real estate agency should seem like a good idea because they know the local area and should be familiar with the local property. I made all the wrong decisions in selecting a real estate agent. It was little comfort that I picked the first agency out of the yellow pages of the telephone book.

I should have realized that the selected agency was perhaps, too close, to Table Rock Lake, which should of suggested that they are probably more interested in selling lake front property than farm land.

Although the first real estate agents smiled when I told them about the history of the land and how tomatoes had been raised there and logs were cut for building and furniture; I should of realized that the realtors seem more interested in selling residential or commercially developed land or lake front property than farm land.

I also should have realized that when everyone starts singing the same song – I should listen to who is singing the song and how often they sing it. The realtors gave me the classic Top Ten response of the day about, “You do realize that in this economy property is not selling.”

I heard the song and dance about property not selling so often it should have been one of Billboard’s “Top Ten.”

The first real estate agency produced no results.

My Own Real Estate Initiative

You Can’t Sell Anything If You Don’t Tell People. The first realtors put up three signs around the property and they posted a small photo on their Internet page. Time passes and the realtors don’t call us to tell us of any offers. The phone does not ring.

I take my Nikon camera across the road and spend several days off and on shooting photos of the property. Then, I burn the photos to a CD. I thought outside the box, so I went on line and searched out the addresses of companies that I thought might be interested in using the property to build a warehouse or for other development.

Wal-Mart, Google, Yahoo, Paramount, and Walt Disney Pictures were some of the corporate entities that I thought might be seeking a location in the Midwest and rural land to develop for their own concerns. Then, I mailed out around 40 CDs.

I got a nice letter from Walt Disney Pictures that thanked me for thinking of them.

None of the other businesses bothered to respond.

My idea may have been a long shot, but when you consider the foundation stone was laid for the White House in Washington D.C., the original property was reported to be a swamp, so prime real estate is not always a consideration for building. Since Warren Land, already had a history of being successful agricultural land, why couldn’t it be used as a shooting location for movies made in the Midwest or as a warehouse facility for a corporation ?

The first real estate agency produced no results.

My Next Bad Decision – The Second Realtor

My next bad decision was to go with a national real estate agency. Again, the realtor sang the old, “real estate really isn’t moving in this economy. And, it will probably be a year or two, at least, before we see any property start to move” song. The realtor posted a small photo of the land on their Internet website.

Time passes and I called the realtor a couple of times. By the second time, I had called the realtor, the person talked “down to me.” Country boy that I am, it did not set well with me that the person’s tone of voice sounded like a school teacher scolding me.

The year passes.. The national real estate agency gave us no results. National advertising on television, in newspapers, on billboards and on the Internet should never be confused with the success of the realtor. I was glad to be rid of them.

Low Opinion Of Realtors

By the third year, my opinion of American Real Estate Agents ranked right down in the gutter with national Republican political candidates, the American Republican party, in general, and poisonous snakes in the Ozarks, in particular. I have no use for snakes, very little use for Republicans and American realtors overall were quickly battling in my mind for a spot between the snakes and Republicans.

Still, I believed what my mother had told me that land is an investment.

The Right Realtor

By the third year, Donna, my cousin, asked if we really wanted to sell the land. I told her yes. Then, she said, I have the name of a real estate agent for you. Donna looked me in the eyes and said, “If you really want to sell the land, call Katie. If the land can be sold, Katie can sell it.” I made the phone call.

When Christy and I began we knew nothing about realtors or real estate agencies. Three years later, Christy and I were being to feel like Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents responsible for doing in-depth sensitive personal background checks. We were to the point that we didn’t want smiles, promises and the standard catch phrases. We wanted to find a realtor that wanted to make a sale.

This time we knew the questions to ask and we expected honest answers. We didn’t want to hear the old, “Woe Is Me This Is A Bad Economy,” song. We didn’t want to hear the old, “American Banks Are Afraid To Loan Money To Buy Land” song.

Katie Philipps, our realtor, called us with two different offers within about a month. In three months, Katie had us a buyer ready to buy the land. Thus, the 70 plus acres of Warren Land in southwest Missouri sold. We found the right realtor.

The Sign Of The Right Realtor To Sell Warren Land. Among my initiatives to try and sell the farm land, I cleared away sections of tall grass on the highway embankment and tried to landscape a noticeable space to draw attention to the real estate signs from three different realtors in three years. This sign proved to be the right sign of the right realtor. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
The Right Realtor Sign_sized for Internet

Epilogue

The naysayers were wrong.

The pessimists were wrong.

No, I don’t believe in 2011 the Internet is a good choice at this time to sell farm land.

Blackberries begin to ripen in a psture of Warren Land that was used to raise acres of commercially -grown tomatoes in the 1970s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you talk to a realtor, who gives you the “Gloom and Doom” song about “this is a bad economy to try and sell land in” – then, you should seriously consider looking for another realtor. In 2011, it maybe a “bad economy,” but times change and sooner or later people will start buying land again.

While Warren Land – proper- the 70 plus acres sold, the Warrens still live on the few acres of Warren Land across State Highway 176.

Open Air Photography Studio - One added benefit of Warren Land through the years was Warren Land always provided a variety of natural settings for photography. Whether the goal was to shoot landscape, livestock, wild life, wild flowers or bring a prop into nature Warren Land always proved to be the Ultimate Open Air Photography Studio. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The moral to the story is if you have farm land to sell : talk to people and get yourself a good real estate agent if you want to sell your farm land.

Sam

Grandfathers, grandmothers, historians, antique dealers, toy dealers,

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Grandfathers, grandmothers, historians, antique dealers, toy dealers,

Daddy’s Little Wagon

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

We all have items that help us to identify who we are.  Usually Death and The Grave are the only forces that will ever part us from these cherished items.

A couple of weeks ago, when, my wife, Christy convinced me that sometimes our house felt more like a museum than a home, I reluctantly agreed to search through the storage sheds and see if there was anything that I could absolutely “live without” or that the future civilizations of humankind would not miss as a Smithsonian Institution exhibit.  For now, I’m keeping my Star Trek dolls.

My Star Trek Dolls - I was a "Trekker" from the first episode of "Star Trek." Stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana , in the early 1980s, I bought these Star Trek dolls in the Base Exchange. This crew ended up in my U.S. Air Force household goods from my days as a single "buck" sergeant through my career as a married staff sergeant and had other ports of call from Kadena Air Base Okinawa, Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, Misawa Air Base, Japan, Gunter Air Force Station, Alabama and finally went on my version of active reserve status at Warren Land,Galena, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In my personal, cloistered, secure “Area 51” sector of storage there stood Daddy’s Little Wagon.  The brown paint of rust had long ago removed any traces of the traditional red color you would expect to find on a child’s wagon.  A Real World symbol of my late father, I had never considered “parting with” the wagon.

Looking in the mirror each morning, I realize there is more salt than pepper in my once jet black hair.  I must admit I am looking “long in the tooth,” even with a close shave to remove the daily whiskers of a man’s age.

The Three Samuel’s Presence in The Real World is winding down.  Joseph Samuel “Mr. Sam” Warren of east Texas, “The First Samuel” of the Warren clan, left this life back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

The Second Samuel of the Warren clan: Samuel E. Warren, known as “Sammy,” a World War II U.S. Army veteran, of Houston, Texas, left this life in the mid-1970s.

The Third Samuel of this Warren clan is me – Samuel E. Warren Jr., of Galena, Missouri.  And, “Sam.” “I ain’t gettin’ any younger.”  Someday, the sun will rise, and I will no longer be in The Land Of The Living.

I looked at Daddy’s wagon and wished that there was another Samuel Warren to pass it along to in our clan or at least a child, who would play with it until the wheels fell off and the pieces faded into the earth.

I have no biological grand children.  Therefore, a grandfather, grandmother, historian, antique dealer or toy dealer will have to contact me via email for more information about the legacy and possible future of this antique toy.

My Daddy’s Little Wagon – In the field of yellow dog fennel, in southwest Missouri, on Warren Land, sits the childhood wagon of my father Samuel E. Warren. My father had this wagon as a boy in the 1920s in east Texas and the wagon served to help out with yard work at 313 East 26th Street in Houston, Texas in the 1950s before being brought to Galena, Missouri in the early 1960s.  By the 1970s, the wagon was retired from active duty on the farm and placed in storage to await service to future generations of Warrens.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Immortality Of The Common Man W.A. Martin, Galena, Missouri

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Sidewalk Sticky Note – Galena, Missouri, W.A. Martin – One man’s idea to sign his work is a shot at “immortality” for the common man. Camera in hand, I strolled the streets of Galena, Missouri for a few minutes today. Friday, July 29, 2011. I’ve been strolling these streets off and on since I was five years old, now, I’m past “The Big 5 – 0.” I glanced down at the sidewalk and there by my feet “chiseled in stone” was the name of a man that I had never heard of. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have strolled up and down this sidewalk in The City Of Galena. Missouri and I never noticed the name in the sidewalk. Here is a “Sticky Note In Time” left by W.A. Martin to his future descendants of a man, who was proud enough to sign his work to stand the test of time. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ? Summer Photo Feature

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Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ?

Into James River

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Fisherman carries his catch of blue gill from the James River. “Galena, MIssouri – Float Fishing Capitol Of The World” – Before Table Rock Dam became famous for water sports, anglers came to Galena and the James River to go “float fishing” from the 1930s through the mid 1960s. In 2011, visitors and tourist still journey to the waters of the James River around Galena to canoe and kayak. Still some people bring their fishing pole and fish from a boat, one of the banks or wade out into James River. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One of those weeks. Everything that can go wrong – Did.

The temperatures have been through the roof – and you felt like you were sweating in the shade. How many more hours until the week end ? You can’t wait to kick your shoes off and just kick back and relax. Have you already made your plans for the weekend ?

A Chair To Relax In On A Bank Of The James River – One local landowner has the right idea. Pull up a chair and watch the canoes float by. Bring your chairs to the gravel bars of the James River and relax. But, please, leave this man’s chair alone. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Grocery prices seem to keep rising. And, gas prices are out of this world with no end in sight. The TV news and

Secluded Cabin on a bank of the James River at Galena. The heavy rural foilage and vegetation in and around Galena make it a paradise for people who want to get back to “The Great Outdoors.” The James River weaves in and around the countryside, which is still home to deer, raccoons, wild turkeys and foxes. The massive bluffs ov Horse Creek that look down on James River will amaze tourists and inspire photographers. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

the news stories that show up on your computer make it seem as if the “Whole World Is Going Nuts !” Thank God for the Week end.

How many hours until the week end ?

If you are looking for an idea to relax. Consider James River. If you live in northern Arkansas or southwest Missouri, then, one way to relax and get away from the cares of the world is to kick your shoes off and wiggle your toes in the waters of James River.


Bring a fishing pole and fish off the banks of the James River or relax on one of the gravel bars and just watch children playing in the river.

Galena. Missouri is a small town of under 500 people, in southwest Missouri, near Springfield, Republic, Nixa, and Branson on the banks of the James River.

You can spend the day on the James River and should still be able to drive into Branson for an evening music show.

Sitting In The James River – Sometimes a writer and photographer has to leap into a subject with both feet. On this day, I waded into the James River and found a shallow spot to sit in the river and let the water flow around me.I also promised myself if I ever win the Missouri Lottery that I would buy one of those waterproof housings for my camera. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In The James River – In the Spring and Summer, there are shallow places in the river by Galena, Missouri, where you can wade into the river or relax on a gravel bar. If you pay attention to the current, you can sit in James River and lean forward with your camera and get a photograph of the water flowing under the Y Bridge. Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr.

If you have a short canoe trip in mind, then, you might consider putting in at Horse Creek, which is basically about

Man’s Best Friend Stands Guard On A Gravel Bar In James River. One pet owner brought his dog to allow the animal to be able to “dog paddle” and swim in the river. Later the dog, got comfortable and stretched out to enjoy the afternoon sun. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

half-way between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.

Time To Shove Off – Weekends and days off, during the Spring and Summer, are times when you can put a boat, bass boat, canoe or kayak into Missouri’s James River at different points along the 130-mile waterway and enjoy a day of boating or fishing. This boat rests on a rock on a bank of the James River, near Galena, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

EDITORIAL: America’s 1970s Health Craze: Death For Dinner

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 Editorial: America’s 1970’s Health Craze: Death For Dinner

America’s

Poison

Food ?

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Consider the possibility, for a moment, that Society’s efforts in the 1970s to “get America healthy” may have inadvertently poisoned our food.

Did we create stronger diseases by misunderstanding nature’s processes?

Then, America’s Health Craze of the 1970s becomes a social fad, rather than a movement. And, the issue of changes in farming practices and the preservatives added to extend the lives of fruits, vegetables and meats should make us wonder what we are really eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

America’s Health Craze in the 1970s took off like a brush fire in a high wind. But, America’s Health Craze spread like an infectious disease that could not be stopped. Time and again people were told if they got “healthy” they would live longer.

1960s’ Bad Health Habits

Rewind to the 1960s. In 1960, many adults smoked cigarettes like choo choo trains and they drank like fish. By the 1960s, it was fairly common knowledge that a chemical known as “Red Dye Number 2” was routinely added to meat to give off a color that shoppers expected their fresh meat in the butcher shop to have.

DDT Outlawed

In the 1960s, DDT had been a popular pesticide that was used to kill insect pests in farm crops. By the 1970s, the serious concerns about the after effects of DDT was getting it off the market quickly and farmers would have to rely on pharmaceutical companies to come up with a safer pesticide.

The 1970s arrived and the American Health Franchises sprang up like Texas oil wells belching crude sky high. As the Ecology Movement and the First Earth Day was gearing up in America, the idea of organic farming and gardening was catching on quickly. Americans wanted “natural” methods used to treat the crops and feed the livestock, which would end up in their supermarkets and on their dinner tables.

From The Soil To The Table

Spade and Seeds – Organic Gardening became popular in the 1970s as Americans sought for natural ways to control insect pests in their gardens without running the risk of endangering the vegetables for the supper table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While people in the cities were wondering how to “safely” grow their food. Small family farms kept planting their “truck patch” gardens and kept “fattening” up a calf or feeder pig like they had done for generations. The majority of their food came straight from the soil of their gardens to the dinner table.  

Corn in the garden – Home gardeners in Stone County, Missouri use their skill and knowledge of the soil, insects, local wildlife and weather conditions to grow “roasting ears” for the dinner table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.



A farm family’s meat was usually a calf or feeder pig that had been penned up and fed to a given weight. In the fall or the winter, the calf or pig would, then, be “processed” with the pieces of meat being “sugar cured” and hung up in the smokehouse.

Red Angus calf in a pasture on Warren Land – In the 1960s, in Stone County, Missouri, rural farm families would usually select a calf to fatten up and a pig to be a feeder pig for their beef and pork for the winter. By fall or early winter, the animal would be taken to either Crane or Highlandville to the packing plant. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

By the 1960s, in southwest Missouri, the fattened calf or feeder pig would be taken to the Crane or Highlandville packing plants. The meat would be wrapped in paper and readied for families to pick up to put in the freezer until ready for use.

Meanwhile, in American cities in the 1970s, gymnasiums sprouted up like weeds. The enthusiasts were pushing “Running” like carnival barkers at an amusement park. “Jogging” quickly became the fad of the day and by 1973, it seemed everyone in America had a gym membership, polyester headbands, wristbands, jogging suits and sneakers.

Even before critics and legislators went after cigarette smokers and breweries, the health entrepreneurs were churning out everything from powdered health drinks to the “No Pain, No Gain” T Shirts.

The American Health Craze Theory of the 1970s

The theory was America was going to get healthy. Americans would live longer. Some optimists even claimed that most major diseases would be a thing of the past.

In 2011, it seems “America’s Health Craze” was simply a “craze,” that flashed like lightning and disappeared like white shoes, white belts and platform shoes of the 1970s.

American Health Craze Significant Results ?

Americans are still dropping dead of Heart Attacks, Heart Disease and Strokes. Cancer seems even more vicious now than in 1960, or, perhaps, we have felt the need to “segregate” the different types of Cancer into specialized categories

I remember some adults in the 1960s had diabetes, but no one ever said “Type II Diabetes.”

I remember a few overweight people in the 1960s, but, in 2011, it seems “Every American alive has a weight issue from kids to adults.”

Old Timers or Alzheimer ?

In the 1960s, I remember, there were some elderly people who were said to be going senile or had a case of “Old Timers.” The name Alzheimer had not been used yet. I remember very few people who became so stricken that they would be helpless and bed-ridden until death. “Hospice” and “Home Health Care” were unknown terms in the 1960s, especially in southwest Missouri, where rural families looked after one another.

In 2011, Alzheimer seems to have become an accepted step on the road to an elderly death.

If Americans health is getting worse in 2011; what really happened in the 1970s ?

I suspect, two major changes: (1) A Significant Change In Farming Procedures and (2) Preservatives allowed more foods to be stocked on grocery store shelves

In the 1970s, the first heart transplant was performed. It would seem the American Medical Community was on the right track. Where did the American Health Craze Train slam into the mountain?

Why The Change In Farming Procedures ?

The healthy ideas to improve America’s Food Supply may have poisoned it. A farming idea to improve poultry and livestock in the 1970s may have backfired.

Livestock Logic

Livestock gets their nutrients from the soil. Cows eat grass and the nutrients get absorbed into their bodies. Hogs root their noses in the dirt and you can watch them smacking away at insects in the soil. Chickens scratch at the soil and peck their beaks in the dirt. But, the concept of “Confinement Farming of the 1970s” was aimed at changing the traditional approach.

A Red Angus and a Polled Hereford cow in the old tomato field pasture on Warren Land. These cattle are in the pasture that in the 1970s bloomed with “Red Gold of Stone County, Missouri ” – tomatoes. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Poultry Penitentiaries

The poultry change seemed to happen quickly. Chickens and turkeys were no longer free to roam around outside and peck and scratch in the dirt. Suddenly, they were confined into long poultry houses that became Maximum Security Prisons For Poultry. Rows of cages in a controlled environment of heating and cooling. They either laid eggs or remained in their cages until plump enough to be shipped off for “processing.”

Since chickens and turkeys were no longer free to scratch in the soil and absorb minerals into their bodies that would mean that those minerals would have to be artificially induced, either through feed or vaccinations. Nature quit feeding the chickens and the turkeys, who were being raised in controlled “cradle to the grave” environments with no access to nature.

Confinement Farming

My 1970s Ag Ring. Hand model- Samuel E. Warren Jr. Photo by Christy Warren.

I was in the Future Farmers of America and the vocational agriculture courses in the early 1970s. I remember in 1972 information was everywhere about “Confinement Farming,” especially beef cattle. farmers were being encouraged to “confine” their cattle into new styles of barns to restrict and eventually eliminate the livestock’s movement into the outdoors.

On the surface, the idea seemed logical. Data was being distributed that a single cow could eat X amount of pasture that translated into significant amounts of money in terms of acres of pasture needed to feed a cow.

Plus, in the fall and winter, when pasture dies, farmers had to have the money to supply bales of hay to feed their cattle through the winter. A dry spring or summer in southwest Missouri meant local farmers would try to contact farmers in Arkansas or Texas for hay, which then added the cost of transportation to the cost of the hay.

Thus, Confinement Farming would be cheaper and reap more profits faster if cattle were taken out of the field and imprisoned in these barns. It was a hard sell issue. I remember, farm magazine after farm magazine seemed to applaud the ideology because it was aimed at cutting expenses and increasing profits. The obvious size difference of cattle in comparison to chickens was one of the drawbacks to trying to confine cattle into barns from the cradle to the grave production cycle.

In southwest Missouri, in Stone County, cattle are still allowed to graze in pastures. There are no large cattle beef farms or factory farms in southwest Missouri.  In 2011, the majority of Stone County farmers are part-time farmers, who have to have a “day job” to make a living and supply money for farming.

I’ve heard local farmers complain that it seems the state and federal governments are constantly coming up with new laws to force farmers to increase record keeping and vaccinations of beef cattle. The Mad Cow Scare of the 1990s is the supposed justification for the mandated government changes, but the rise in cattle vaccinations began in the 1970s in Stone County, Missouri.  

My mother, a hog farmer, who had a herd of 25 Hampshire, Yorkshire and Duroc hogs in the 1960s and 1970s had begun to complain in the late 1970s that there were fewer “feeder pig” buyers coming to farms to buy the pigs

And, the rumors of hog farmers being forced by the government to adopt the practices of “confinement farming” for hogs was a persistent rumor and concern in the late 1970s.  By the early 1980s, my mother  had sold off the swine and “gotten out of the hog business.”

Beefing Up The Beef”

As a kid, a Black Angus bull normally weighed in about 400 to 500 pounds. In 2011, they seem to look more like 800 pounds. That might not be a problem if the cattle are naturally evolving into bigger beef physiques, but if government regulations are forcing the “beefing up” of bulls, then, essentially you may have the “bodybuilder using steroids issue” being forced on cattle through official channels.

The increased weight could also cause a problem for farmers. If the bigger bulls are being used to service the cows then there is the possibility that the cows will be unable to breed.

Like a woman, it takes a cow nine months to deliver. If a farmer has a cow that does not give birth to a calf or the calf dies then that is a year’s time plus a year’s food and water is wasted. In a herd of 25 or more cattle, you multiply the sterile or still births and the outcome is a farmer is facing the real possibility of bankruptcy.

The irony is that Black Angus was always a favored breed among local farmers because the calves were born small and naturally and quickly grew to a respectable size for beef to be taken to the market in a short period of time in comparison to other breeds of cattle.

Pork Prisons

Once the move to imprison turkeys and chickens had caught on and the idea to confine cattle seemed to be catching on , then, the experts focused on hogs. Again, the solution was essentially the same as with cattle. Confine the hogs to a building to reduce the amount of pasture needed and increase profits quickly by fattening up the hogs and getting them processed quicker.

While a cow chews the grass in a pasture, a hog roots their snout deep into the dirt and enthusiastically consumes the minerals in their mouths. Experts may not have realized the importance of the minerals being naturally consumed. Hogs will also find a shade in a hollow and lie on beds of dead leaves or root up the dirt to create a hog wallow, where they can roll in the dirt to refresh themselves.

After a rain, they will wallow in these ruts and cover themselves with mud to stay cool, during a hot day. Since hogs root under fences in search of earthworms, grub worms and plant roots, farmers would put a ring in their noses to keep the swine in their own pastures. Hogs always seemed committed to making a major environmental impact on nature.

Experts’ theory was that hogs could be kept in buildings with concrete floors that would be easy to clean. No longer able to root around over acres of land, the cradle to grave production cycle of hogs would result in savings to farmers who wouldn’t need acres of land to raise herds of hogs.

However, the inability of hogs to root in the ground and wallow in the pasture to interact with nature would mean that the swine would have to receive the minerals artificially in the feed or through shots.

Another benefit of the hog confinement operation over the traditional hog farm was: The Smell. Growing up on a hog farm you learn quickly that hog manure has a distinctive strong odor and if the wind shifts toward your nose, then, you have no doubt you are on a hog farm. Confinement farming of hogs solved the problem of neighbors’ sensitive noses and local planning and zoning regulations.

Vegan Victims ?

Vegans and vegetarians are not immune to the changes in farming. Without livestock in the pasture to continue Nature’s chain of recycling; there has to be a way to replenish the soil. In southwest Missouri in the 1960s, farmers basically relied on the Holy Bible instructions of farming a piece of land for six years and letting it lie “fallow” – unused for the seventh year.

Burning Brush

While the land laid unploughed and unplanted for a year, brush was cut off of the land. Farmers would then choose a calm evening in the fall and stand watch as they burned the brush piles. Burning the brush piles, destroyed winter habitats for snakes, chiggers and ticks, while the burned woods would contribute minerals back into the soil to promote pasture growth in the coming year.

In 2011, in Stone County, Missouri, local farmers haven’t burned any of their brush piles for years. Natural decay of dead leaves and rotting wood takes years to return the minerals to the soil. Spring and Summer of 2011, I have noticed several snakes on the land and the number of ticks seem overwhelming just by walking through the yard.

Without brush being burned to put minerals back into the soil, some local farmers have to resort to buying chemical fertilizers to spread on their pastures to promote the growth of grasses. Thus, minerals have to be artificially replaced into the soil for livestock to consume.

Usually cattle, hogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, and goats would digest the nutrients in their bodies and return the digested waste in the form of manure to the pasture, thus, Nature’s fertilizer would break down and naturally feed the plants and grasses.

Once poultry and livestock were taken out of pastures and confined on concrete floor rather than the earth, then, of course, alternative fertilizers had to be added to the soil. Plus, without getting the minerals naturally from nature meant that the poultry and livestock would have to receive the nutrients through either feed or shots.

Vaccinations for Disease not Vitamins

In the 1960s, farmers usually vaccinated their livestock to prevent or quickly stop the spread of a possible disease. In 2011, I’ve noticed that farmers seem to be required to give their cattle a series of seemingly never ending vaccinations.

Danger of Preservatives ?

The real issue of the distances of geography in the United States means that businesses have to have a solution to keep food “fresh” from the pastures to the market. While the government seemed to support the “confinement farming” concept, there would also have to be a way to try and preserve “freshness” in the foods until they reach their destinations.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is the agency that is charged with trying to figure out what works and doesn’t work when it comes to food and drugs. The fanatic push of health enthusiasts of the 1970s had to have FDA officials and Department of Agriculture inspectors under the gun to get healthy produce on the shelves quickly.

In the 1970s it seemed almost every week there was a new powdered health drink going on the shelves that suggested it could turn 98-pound weaklings into buff bodybuilders and do it healthy. Perhaps, rigorous testing was done, but, the persistent push for healthy foods quickly expanded the ingredients labels on boxes to include a plethora of words that read more like the periodic table of elements rather than natural ingredients.

Personal Conclusion

The claims of the American Health Craze of the 1970s were that by living healthy and eating healthy fruits, meat and vegetables, Americans would live longer and not have the debilitating diseases and health problems of their parents and grandparents.

Yet, in 2011, I notice that virtually every American wrestles with weight issues in their lives. Middle age and senior Americans visit their doctors to be put on diets to control their blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, calories, weight and the amount of salt in their diets. I don’t remember hearing adults in the 1960s routinely going to their doctors for diets.

Vegetables Grow In The Garden – In the 1960s, Stone County farm families usually picked their vegetables straight out of the garden and took them into the kitchen to wash, clean and cook for the evening’s dinner table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Personally, my parents and grandmother seemed healthier physically than middle age, senior and, even the younger people that I see on the sidewalk.

Vegetable Row In The Garden – In 2011, Americans and Missourians, who live in major metropolitan cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City, Springfield, Republic,Nixa and Branson may have to rely on supermarkets for fresh fruits, meats and vegetables. In rural communities like Galena, Abesville, Crane and Reeds Spring, southwest Missouri residents can “go to the garden” and pick their produce. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

There is even news stories in 2011 of how medical officials are suggesting to legislators to pass laws to remove children from their parents because the kids are “obese.” The irony is the issue may be that Society is responsible for the childrens’ weight gain overall and not necessarily the parents.

In the 1900s, arsenic was used to kill pests on tomato plants. A buildup of arsenic in the body leads to death, thus, people quit using arsenic to kill off tomato plant pests.

Buying bottled water, counting calories, watching the cholesterol number, jogging and working out on a regular basis to live longer may not mean much if we are all eating poisoned food on a regular basis that have added preservatives and artificially substituted synthetic minerals rather than natural minerals from the earth.

The irony of America’s Health Craze of the 1970s is in our enthusiasm to get healthy and live longer, we may have created new health problems, increased old ones and essentially “poisoned our own food supply” by trying to take short cuts to produce healthier meat, fruits and vegetables while trying to make more money quicker for businesses within the overall food processing system.

Bon Appetite !

Sam

Story Sources

Confinement Farming – Factory Farming – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming

DDT – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT

Mad Cow Disease – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_spongiform_encephalopathy

Written by samwarren55

July 18, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Posted in Editorial, Family, HEALTH, Opinion, Photos

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Life in the Ozarks Snapshots Feature – SUMMER DAYS ON HORSE CREEK

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Life in the Ozarks Snapshots Feature

SUMMER DAYS

ON

HORSE CREEK

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The far cattle gate of Warren Land is just a skip, hop and jump from Horse Creek Road , as the crow flies.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is one of the first views you see after turning off of MIssouri State Highway 176 on to Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Usually when someone mentions “Horse Creek,” you think of the church that holds regular religious

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

services as well as weddings and funerals. I even took my camera and shot a wedding at the Horse Creek Church around 1986.

Visitors and tourists to Missouri sometimes have a different reason to “go down Horse Creek” : James River.

The Missouri Department of Conservation maintains the H.L. Kerr Access down on Horse Creek Road, which has a boat ramp that allows people to be able to put their boats in the James River. During the Spring and Summer, traffic passes the house and turns off the main highway to “go down Horse Creek.”

The Horse Creek Swimmin’ Hole

One of my fond memories of Horse Creek is I almost drown in Horse Creek as a child. Uncle Richard had taken, my cousin, Donna and I to Horse Creek to “go swimmin.’” It was in the early 1960s and, basically, Horse Creek was just a local “swimmin’ hole. People knew about “float fishing” on the James River, but Horse Creek didn’t have the popularity it has in 2011.

In the 1960s, the orange life vests weren’t that popular for use up and down the James River. Table Rock Dam had only been up and running a few years. Southwest Missouri had yet to become associated with water sports. Fisherman and professional anglers came to Galena to go “float fishing” or to fish for bass and catfish, but canoes and kayaks were not usually associated with the James River in and around Galena. Fishing and not boating was the allure that brought people to Galena and the James River.

Us, Stone County kids went wadin’ into the water to look for minnows and tadpoles. We, local kids called it “swimmin’, but, basically, we would sit on our backsides in a shallow spot in the river and lean forward so that our heads stuck just above the water. We’d move our arms and pretend to be swimmin’.

I hadn’t learned to swim.

Donna, really knew how to swim.

Donna and I were playing on old automobile inner tubes, near the shore. I hadn’t been paying attention to the current in James River, which had carried me farther from the shore than I needed to be.

Needless to say, I paniced! I hooted like an owl ! I screeched like a banshee ! Donna was in the water near the shore.

Uncle Richard had been “hard of hearing” since birth. I’m screaming my lungs out ! I’m scared. I’m frightened. I’m frantically waving my arms. The river current has carried me from the safety of my shallow spot. My feet aren’t touching the bottom anymore !

Donna saw me and must have thought I was fooling around in the water. She just looks at me. I’m waving my arms like a puppet with broken strings and screaming. Suddenly, she starts to slowly swim toward me.

I had gotten a whistle out of a box of Cracker Jacks, which I wore on a string necklace around my neck. I’m screaming ! I’m blowing the whistle fiercely for help. I’m bobbing around in the water like a fisherman’s busted bobber.

I go under !

I come up!

Water in my eyes blurs my vison, which only frightens me more. My hands thrust out. I slap the water ! I go down into the water again. When I come up, the toy whistle is full of water. All I’m blowing is wet air.

Donna is swimming toward me. I’m reaching out and shreiking ! I’m about six or seven years old, so I’m freaking out !

I see Uncle Richard, on the bank, at the back of the old black 1952 GMC pickup – naturally, he has his back to me. I look and Donna is swimming faster toward me. I struggle to stay afloat.

Fortunately, Donna reaches me.

I survived that day on Horse Creek in the James River.

Birthday Party At Horse Creek On James River

My childhood friend, Jack Gordon had a birthday in August. His mother, Loretta, and my mother, Opal, were friends. Thus, for a year or two Jack would have his birthday party at Horse Creek and all us kids would wade or swim in the James River.

One of the nice scenic views of Horse Creek is the massive bluffs that tower over James River at that location in the river.

People come from around the United States to “float fish” or canoe the James River. Still, as a child, I only went down Horse Creek to go swimmin’.

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m sure, the Missouri Department of Conservation has rules and guidelines on safety in and around Horse Creek, which would be posted on their website.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see traveling along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Take the advice of a Stone County Old Timer, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation websites and their blog. Read and pay attention to the information, so when you visit Horse Creek and James River you’ll have an idea of how to go about wisely and safely enjoying your time on the river.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 2 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. The bend in the left hand side of the road shows trees that were damaged in the thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 3 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. The trees on the right hand side of the road in this photograph were damaged during a thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri is 78 miles from Galena, Missouri, but the thrunderstorm collapsed at least six turkey houses along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road. One person reported witnessing two funnels touchdown and pass through Abesville, Missouri, which is about four miles from Horse Creek Road. The trees damaged in this photograph reveals another location along Horse Creek Road where the violent winds of the thunderstorm made a path through the trees, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 1 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. The trees in this photograph were damaged during a thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri is 78 miles from Galena, Missouri, but the thrunderstorm collapsed at least six turkey houses along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road. One person reported witnessing two funnels touchdown and pass through Abesville, Missouri, which is about four miles from Horse Creek Road. The trees in this photograph reveal the brutal violence of the thunderstorm that spawned the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. The force of the winds that past through Stone County that evening twisted, snapped and even peeled some of the bark from these trees on Horse Creek Road. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Today, when I stroll over across the road into the cattle pastures of Warren Land, my farm dog, “Sarge”, sometimes likes to chase squirrels, raccoons and groundhogs through the cedar trees to near Thelma Clines old homeplace. Then, Sarge, dashes further into the woods to take a dip in the hidden cattle pond in the holler. I keep strolling through the pasture and Sarge knows that I’ll be waiting in the far cattle pasture by the end gate.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

At this gate, I can lean over the gate and watch vacation traffic round the curve and slow down to look for the turn off to Horse Creek.

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car window.. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In 2011, I can stand at the gate and watch the large recreational vehicles slow down to look for the county road turn off, Fancy dual wheel “babe magnet” pickups, pull their shiny, expensive bass boats, but, they too, slow down to look for the turn off. The brake lights come on and I know the vehicles are making the turn to “go down” Horse Creek to James River.

I pat Sarge on her head. “Time to head to the house, Sarge. Those people are going fishing on Horse Creek.”

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Right or Left ? Stone County’s Horse Creek Road merges into Missouri State Highway 176. If you turn left on to the state highway you will pass through Abesville, Missouri. If you turn right on to the state highway you will drive over James River and pass by Galena, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

HORSE CREEK – JAMES RIVER – LINKS

Horse Creek Road – Missouri Department of Conservation H.L. Kerr Access http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=6413

Hootentown – H.L. Kerr Access http://hootentown.wordpress.com/kerr/

Missouri Department of Conservation Fishing Prospects http://extra.mdc.mo.gov/fish/prospects/?m=14

Missouri Department of Conservation Missouri Watersheds http://mdc.mo.gov/landwater-care/stream-and-watershed-management/missouri-watersheds

Missouri Department of Conservation: Missouri Outdoors http://missourioutdoors.blogspot.com/2011/04/missouri-department-of-conservation_14.html

James River Basin Partnership http://www.jamesriverbasin.com/

Galena Y Bridge – Table Rock Lake Vacation Guide http://www.gotablerocklake.com/table-rock-lake/galena-y-bridge/galena-y-bridge.html

Southwest Missouri Conservation Areas List http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Missouri_conservation_areas_-_Southwest_region

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