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Welcome to 2013 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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

 

Welcome to 2013 !

CHRISTY WARREN AND LENEIL SALDANA SIT DOWN TO DINNER_resized

Silent Supper

 

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

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Supreme.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Whole Hog Concept Of Partying

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Would the guests show ?

 

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

 

My Business Barong

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Leisure Suit Lament

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Common Fashion Sense

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Coveralls’ Culpability

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

God’s “Beer Belly “ Design For Men

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Leisure Suits Conceal Beer Belly

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sam’s Style

Business Appearance

Rules For Men

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Business Of Business Suits

 

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

 

Learn To Tie Your Tie

 

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

 

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

 

Business Bow Ties

 

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

 

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

 

French Cuffs

 

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

 

White Suits

 

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

 

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

 

Business Suit Weather Considerations

 

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

 

Salute To Sharkskin Suits

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Business Suits Genius Of Style

 

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

 

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

 

The Breast Pocket Handkerchief

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Always Carry A Handkerchief.”

 

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

 

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

 

Slip On The Shoes

 

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

 

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

 

Hat Headliners

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Quick Change

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Super Supper

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carry Out The Plan

 

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

 

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

 

I Am A Party Of One

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sam’s Psychology Of Dancing 101

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dynamic DeMolay Dance

220px-Brasao_DeMolay_jpeg

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I love to dance.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Chrismar Mora, Ranilo’s cousin, stopped by.

 

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

 

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

 

Smiley’s tenor bark is rapid and persistent.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

My Music Memories

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Rap or Rat music?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

This young man can sing !”

 

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

 

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

 

Happy New Year 2013 !

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy New Year

2013 !

Sam

 

New Year’s Party Links

 

Regine Velasquez

Wikipedia

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

 

Barong Wikipedia

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

 

Tuxedo Wikipedia

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

 

Military Mess Dress Wikipedia

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

 

 

Sharkskin Suits Wikipedia

 

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

 

Gentlemen’s Quarterly “GQ” Wikipedia

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

 

GQ Magazine Online

http://www.gq.com/

 

Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

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

 

One Night In Bangkok Wikipedia

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

 

Rock Around The Clock Wikipedia

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

 

Order of DeMolay Wikipedia

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

 

Rainbow Girls Wikipedia

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

 

Job’s Daughters Wikipedia

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

In A Gadda Da Vida Wikipedia

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

 

Black Oak Arkansas Wikipedia

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

 

Saturday Night Fever Wikipedia

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

 

Helen Of Troy Wikipedia

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

 

Total Eclipse of the Heart Wikipedia

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

 

Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wikipedia

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

 

13th Air Force Crest Thumbnail

 

Clark Air Base Wikipedia

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

Pacific Air Forces Crest Thumbnail

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Written by samwarren55

January 3, 2013 at 6:08 AM

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

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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

This small house beside Missouri State Highway 176 in Stone County, Missouri in The Ozarks can go unnoticed by passing motorists. This Old House served as The DeLong Family Home in the 1960s. Birthday parties, Fourth of July, Halloween Trick or Treat events,Thanksgiving Supper and Christmas Day Dinner celebrations were held in the three – room house, which had a Laundry Room built on in the 1970s. There was no inside plumbing. Uncle Joe built an Outhouse down on the hillside. While the house did not have the social comforts of some 20th Century homes in The Ozarks; it always felt like “Home” to DeLong family members, who returned to Stone County and the Missouri Ozarks anytime of the year. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home in my childhood was “The Ozarks.”

 

The Ozarks is one of the places in the world, where myth and reality live side by side.

 

You live your life in The Real World and sometimes it seems like you look up and see a wild,white-haired Mark Twain smiling down at you with his pen in hand.

 

The heavy snows of winter fall. The scene looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph on a china plate and then you feel the “bone chilling cold” enter your body. You see your breath. You trudge out of the knee-high snow into the warmth of your home.

 

You “warm” by the large, rectangular, dark brown “Warm Morning” gas stove and realize winter in The Ozarks means Christmas is usually just days away.

 

You get a hot cup of coffee and wonder why people think The Ozarks is “permanently stuck in an 1800s Time Warp.”

 

MV5BMTUzNzE1MjY0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE3MjU1MQ@@._V1._SX359_SY500_If you ever watched an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” you may believe the fictional characters represent “Life In The Ozarks.”

 

You would be wrong.

 

I grew up in the Ozarks and I never ate possum.

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

Uncle Hobert DeLong was a “dead on shot” with a rifle. Every time he went into the woods, he came back with a “mess of squirrels” and sometimes “a mess of rabbits.”

 

Of course, no one remembers Jed, granny and the rest of the Clampett were supposed to have been from Bugtussel, Tennessee and the characters get associated with The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

 

Cartoonist Al Capp made a large fortune drawing the comic strip of Lil’ Abner for 43th years that reached 60 million readers in more than 900 American newspapers.

 

Capp’s newspaper comic strip was one of my mother’s favorites. Capp put the characters in Dogpatch, Kentucky, but as a kid everyone though if you were from The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, then, you must be like Lil’ Abner.

 

I never went to a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dance.

 

Dancing wasn’t allowed at Galena High School in the 1960s. It was an issue that came up with every senior class wanting a “Prom.” The Baptist and Pentecostal churches of the 1960s in Stone County were vocal in their objections and they kept the prom dance out of school.

 

I graduated in 1973 in a “Graduation Exercises” ceremony, but there was “No Prom” because the churches still didn’t allow dancing in school.

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

No matter how incorrect the “hillbilly” stereotype is about The Ozarks. Americans and foreigners seem to cling to the dumb hayseed and lazy cartoon and television stereotypes of “The Ozarks Hillbilly.”

 

The irony is that the Ozarks is pretty close to the center of the United States and it has always seemed like an “undiscovered country” to foreigners and other Americans.

 

My geographical calculations of “The Ozarks” begins from the southern city limits sign of Jefferson City to the southern city limits sign of Little Rock, Arkansas, which is what I always considered to be, “The Ozarks.”

 

Stone County, Missouri is in the southwest section of the state and borders Arkansas, which means, “reckon I grew up one of them thar’ Ozarks’ country boys.”

 

Missourians in the Ozarks joke, “If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will change.” There is truth to that joke. The weather doesn’t always change every 15 minutes, but in a 24-hour day, the weather can change several times in a day.

 

Pen To Paper

 

To put pen to paper and write a story about Christmas in The Ozarks, I will have to set the stage.

 

There are many famous Missourians from United States Army Generals of the Armies John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing to “The Most Trusted Man In America” Walter Cronkite, but, usually the celebrities are known as Missourians and not necessarily, “Ozarkers.”

 

Neosho, Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton put his brush strokes on canvas to paint pictures; I will try to paint a word picture of life in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

Life in “The Ozarks” in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s was like “Tom Sawyer on a tractor and in a pickup truck.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Midwest buckboards and stagecoaches were replaced by 18-wheelers, Greyhound and Continental Trailways buses.

 

Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie dolls could be still found in toy stores in the Ozarks. Overall, Life in southern Missouri had not changed all that much since the days of Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose O’Neill.

 

The Tomato Factories” of Reeds Spring, Abesville, and Galena in the 1930s had been replaced with “The Garment Factory” in Reeds Spring and Crane and Crane had a “Casket Factory.”

 

Fasco in Springfield, Missouri employed several people from Stone County. In 1960, Silver Dollar City was just beginning operations. Branson, Missouri in 1960 was “no threat” to country music in Nashville, but, Nashville musicians would begin to head for Branson, during the 1960s. In the area of economics, “times were tough”, in Stone County and southwest Missouri in 1960.

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

Every nation has an economy. Money flows around in the metropolitan and urban areas, but in rural areas the ocean of money flows into a narrow stream that sometimes becomes a dry creek bed. In Stone County, it seemed even the rocks in the creek bed were usually “bone dry.”

 

After The Great Depression and World War II, the United States economy was strengthening. In the rural areas of the Ozarks, being “poor” is still a way of life.

 

In the early 1960s, the local power companies were working hard to provide, stable and reliable electricity.

 

Stone County, Missouri had a reputation of being one of the poorest counties in The Show Me State.

 

Traditionally in Missouri, statistics reveal “Mining” is the major source of manual labor income for the state. Farming comes in second. There were caves in Stone County, but no working mines.

 

Farming is hard work. Even with good weather and the money to buy seeds, livestock and equipment, farming is a full-time job to make a living.

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

Grandma DeLong like to sum up an economic situation as, “I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on an old settin’ hen with all her eggs rotten.” The purpose of this country statement was to point out that someone was “financially broke.” It was a common financial phrase that you heard in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

By 1960s, some farmers in Stone County had had it with “life on the farm.” Some people sold their farms and moved to other states. Some people stayed on their farms, but tried to get a “public job” at Silver Dollar City.

 

When it came to money in Stone County, Missouri and The Ozarks in the 1960s “people minded their Ps and Qs” and sometimes the lack of money was described as “Trying to get blood out of a turnip.”

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

Corn and tomatoes were the big income producing crops in Stone County, Missouri in my childhood in the 1960s. There were always stories of some of the corn being used to produce “moonshine” and “white lightning.”

 

In the early 1980s, I was “home on leave” from the military and a family friend unscrewed the lid on a Mason jar and asked me if I wanted some of the clear liquid.

 

I thanked him, but decided not to drink the “white lightning.”

 

The geography of Stone County had some cliffs and bluffs in the landscape of the hills and hollers. When the soil was too rough, rocky or poor to raise any other crop, usually the farmer would sew cane and other pasture grasses.

 

Fertilize was not all that expensive, but, the amount needed to nourish the soil and get crops to grow was sometimes too big a chunk of money out of a farmer’s budget.

 

Uncle Richard had one field beside State Highway 176, that the family called, “The Cane Field” because it was too rocky and the soil too poor for any other crop. The cane was used to feed to the cattle in the winter time,

 

Spring and summer usually the crops grew well and there was plenty of pasture to feed the livestock. Farmers didn’t get rich, but they made “the ends meet.”

 

Deep Freeze

 

Winter in southwest Missouri in the 1960s was always Armageddon. Fields were buried under blankets of deep snow. The important contribution of the deep snow and cold temperatures is the weather would kill off chiggers, ticks and snakes as long as farmers burned the brush in their fields and hollers in the early falls.

 

Burning the tree leaves in the hollers that fell kept deep leave beds from filling up the hollers. In the winter time, chigger, ticks and snakes would burrow into the deep leaves to try and wait out the winter until spring.

 

Southwest Missouri’s picture postcard “snows” were efficient in freezing farm ponds, which stayed frozen unless you broke the ice with an ax for the cattle to get a drink.

 

The weight of a Black Angus, Polled Hereford, Jersey or Holstein cow would sometimes shatter the ice and a cow could drown trying to get a drink of water in the winter.

 

Later in the 1960s, someone invented a device to stick in farm ponds in the winter to keep the water from freezing.

 

The deep freeze of the Ozarks in winter would freeze trees. The weight of ice on the limbs would cause the limbs to fall and take down electric lines. If you were lucky, you would be without electricity for a day.

 

On average people usually went without electricity for two to three days usually two to three times,during winter from October through April. The worst case scenario meant you would go without electricity for one to two weeks during the winter.

 

A Country Mile

 

The strength of my childhood came from my family in the Ozarks. Momma, Grandma DeLong, Uncle Richard, Uncle Hobert, Aunt Mary, and Cousin Donna were my family in the Ozarks.

 

In Houston, Texas, I could step out in my front yard. Donna and Debbie Brinkley from the house next door only had to walk out their gate and a few feet to walk into my yard for us to play.

 

In the Ozarks, neighbors always seemed to live a country mile from your front door.

 

Thelma Thomas was my closet neighbor in 1960 and she lived about a tenth of a mile from my front door on top of a hill. Her kids were grown with families of their own.

 

The Galena School District usually included Jenkins and Wheelerville, Missouri, which was only a few miles from Crane, Missouri. And, Crane, Missouri was 10 miles from Galena.The district would extend south to almost Reeds Spring, which was about 15 miles from Galena.

 

Many of my classmates would have to do chores before catching the school bus in the morning. The bus ride for some of the kids meant they were on the school bus for two hours before they arrived at Galena Elementary or Galena High School. After school, they would spend two hours on the bus once it left the school.

 

You would see classmates in school, but the distances and the rural road conditions to their parents’ farms meant that “visits” and social interaction was almost impossible, except for possibly on the weekend.

 

Crane, Missouri was only 10 miles from Galena and we usually only went grocery shopping in Crane on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

Children of the 21st Century will think I grew up in The Dark Ages because there was no Internet, no facebook, no twitter, no computers, no X box, no play station and no cell phones.

 

Yes, there was “Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics.”

 

Fire had been discovered. My father always carried his Zippo cigarette lighter.

 

We didn’t have to use stone tablets and chisels because there was an archaic device called, a typewriter that used ribbons, bond paper and carbon paper that helped people put words on paper for future generations.

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

Telephones were being installed in homes, near Galena and Abesville, Missouri.

 

In order to have a telephone in your home if you lived near State Highway 176, you had to be willing to be on “a party line”, which meant when your phone rang, your neighbors telephone gave off a jangle sound,

 

There was one public telephone booth in Galena, Missouri. The phone booth was on the sidewalk by the US Post Office, next to Floyd’s Barber shop, which was next to Rose’s beauty shop, which was next to the Hillbilly Cafe and sat across the street from the courthouse. In 2011, that area is now a parking lot for The Stone County Judicial Center.

 

The reason why the telephone was so important in 1960 was it allowed Momma to call Daddy in Texas and he could call her from Texas. Grandma and Uncle Richard never had a telephone. DeLong and Warren family members, who lived in other states could call us and we could call them.

 

In the 21st Century, when it seems children own a cell phone as soon as they learn to speak; it may be hard to imagine the importance of a telephone in your home, but, imagine for a moment that you lived in the snow and ice of the South Pole and you were trying to make a phone call to your grandparents in the United States.

 

If your grandparents lived in a city like Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, it would be easy for them to place a call. But, if you lived in a remote location at the South Pole, there might not be phone lines or cell phone towers, so you might not get the phone call.

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

This old spring is on Warren Land in Stone County, Missouri. The Ozarks area of the United States has always been difficult for “people to live off the land” because the soil is poor and rocky. If you need rain; you will get a drought. If you need sunshine;you will get a flood. Nature seems to enjoy working against farmers. Wildlife and insect pest can have a negative effect on crops. The Old Traditional Ozarks Hillbilly concept portrays citizens as dumb and lazy. The truth is an Ozarks Hillbilly is one of the smartest and hard working people, you will ever meet because they use their elbow grease and common sense to work a “Miracle” on stubborn pieces of land to earn a living and raise their families. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

When you think of “The Ozarks” in the 1960s; you understand the word, “Miracle” is a reality.

 

The Ozarks’ lunar style geography of cliffs and bluffs, poor soil, an over abundance of rocks, moody weather, predator wildlife like wolves and coyotes as well as insect pests; it is a “Miracle” that people were able to live, earn a living, and sometimes prosper in this section of the United States.

 

When you are a child, you open your toys on Christmas Day. Underneath the Christmas Tree, you begin to play with the toys.

 

As a young man, you can find yourself trying to decide if you want to go “Home For The Holidays.”

 

As a senior citizen you can sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of egg nog and remember the toys and the celebrations. When you look back long enough at your childhood, you really begin to understand and appreciate the sacrifices that your parents made for you.

 

At last, you can understand, the challenges, costs,hard work and the effort that your parents made to make Christmas seem like a “Magickal Holiday” that simply happens.

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

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Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Crafts, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Nature, Opinion, Patriotism, Rocks, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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

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Parental Portrait for Christmas

 

Opal

The Business Woman

Welder

OPAL M DELONG WARREN_resized

 

Opal

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

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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

 

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

 

Aries Entrepreneur Grandfather

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Missouri Moonshine Manufacturer

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Grandpa DeLong’s

Great Business Decision

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Slop Bucket

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Martha

My Virgo Agribusiness Grandmother

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Tree Tragedy

 

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

 

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

 

The Land Plan

 

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

 

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

 

Human Shock Absorbers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Farm Ponds For Fishing

 

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

 

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

 

Opal’s First Public Job

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carol Jane Bellamy

Sagittarian Family Banker

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Long Lost Relatives

 

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

 

You Have To Earn Your Way In The World

 

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

 

Hospital Cook

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Railroad Bar And Grill Waitress

 

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

 

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

 

The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Momma and her friend, knew no one in Texas.

 

The Bus Trip

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bread And Water

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Satin Blouse

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The FBI Special Agent

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dollar Document

 

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

 

Lousy Painter

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Family Is Everything

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Balancing The Books

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Save And Manage Your Money

 

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

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 7:35 AM

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

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“Have A Green Christmas” by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Have

A

Green Christmas”

GREEN CHRISTMAS LEAD PHOTO_Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Have Yourself A Green Christmas !

If Christmas Day this year is “too close” to put the”green” in your stockings and brighten up the gifts under your Christmas Tree,then, a simple act of “saving” should be the shine on your Christmas tree and keep more bills in your wallet for next Christmas. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I always got my “Letter to Santa Claus” request.

 

Regardless of the economic conditions at the North Pole and in “The Lone Star State”, Mom and Dad always made sure I had a “Merry Christmas.

As a child, I simply came to expect that I would have a wonderful Christmas. After all, both of my parents were workaholics.

 

My mother left “public work” to stay at home and “raise me.” I appreciate her decision. Throughout my childhood, my dad ALWAYS worked a second job. In 1960, momma and I moved to the farm in Missouri.

 

My mother was one of the few “Women Hog Farmers In The United States Of America”, especially in 1960. Momma raised hogs and used the money to provide for my every need from grade school through college.

 

Daddy stayed on the job in Houston, Texas to “maintain his seniority” and continue working toward a retirement plan.

 

Like most kids, I knew, the vast majority of my toys on Christmas morning came from the money in daddy’s wallet and the cash in momma’s purse.

 

The Big Picture

 

What I never saw was “The Big Picture” of earning a living on a daily basis.

 

The reason the wrapped, brightly colored boxes, sporting bright bows, under the Christmas Tree made my home look like Santa Claus’ North Pole Showroom and a Toys R Us store is because my mom and dad were “bound and determined” that I would have a better childhood than they had.

 

I did.

 

Dirt Poor Childhoods

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, was born in a small house in Peach Tree Holler, near Reeds Springs, Missouri. Opal’s mother, Martha, and father, Charley, loaded their personal belongings and their son, Richard, into the covered wagon and moved from Versailles, Missouri to a place, near Reeds Spring in Stone County in 1907.

 

All the rest of the DeLong children were born in Stone County. Richard began farming as soon as he was big enough to do the farm chores. The other boys: Willie, Hobert and Joe didn’t go to school very long.

 

Opal DeLong liked school and graduated from the 8th Grade. Every year, Martha, her mother ordered three dresses a year for Opal out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog to wear to school. She rode a pinto-mix horse, named,”Shorty” to the Wilson’s Creek School in Bear Den Holler.

 

Samuel E. Warren, my father, went to school in Perryville in east Texas. Joseph Samuel Warren, his father, was a tenant farmer, which meant J. Frank Couch, owned the land that “Papa” Warren farmed.

 

Dirt Poor” is an accurate financial description of my parent’s childhood years.

 

To add insult to injury, Fate unleashed The Great Depression around the time of their teenager years.

 

Daddy’s Short Range Financial Plan

 

Daddy adopted the policy of “Live For Today ;Tomorrow Will Take Care Of Itself.” The major flaw in his long-range financial plan is “In Order To Spend Money – You Have To Earn Money. The More Money You Spend, The More Money You Need To Earn To Keep Your Comfortable Lifestyle Going.”

 

Green Christmas Photo 2 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.At the end of the day, Daddy’s financial plan meant, “He had to be a ‘workaholic’, in order to keep earning money to spend. The irony is you spend so much time working,you never have “any fun” spending your money.

 

I remember, Monday through Friday, he would arrive home from work at about 4:30 p.m. He would sit down for supper and talk about his day. He could only relax a few moments and then, he would have to start getting ready for his “night job” as a bartender or bouncer.

 

His gray pressed Cameron uniforms would hang in the wardrobe beside his double breasted suits and neckties. By about 6:30 or 7 p,m,, the pickup would ease down the narrow driveway to take him to his “part-time job.”

 

Sometimes momma would wake me up about 2:30 or 3 am, so I would be waiting for daddy to come home from work. The headlight beams would dance down the narrow driveway and in a few minutes I would smell the aroma from a box of a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts, which daddy usually would stop and pickup on the way home.

 

Daddy did make a lot of money. But, he met himself coming and going.

 

Daddy always had “a wad of bills” rolled tightly that looked like a short, fat, pill bottle, with a rubber band around them that he carried in his front jeans pocket. In addition, to the roll of bills in his front pocket, he always had several bills in his wallet.

 

The roll of bills was one of those “Games Of Life” that when you take it out to pay a bill, people notice and they just naturally assume you are some kind of financial genius.

 

The stated “Big Picture” was daddy and momma were working to build their “Dream Home” on land momma bought in 1938, near her mother and father.

 

The Coffee Service

 

Daddy told me he offered the coffee service in his shop “at the plant.”

 

From 1960 until his death in 1978, daddy always made two trips a year to Missouri. One vacation trip always came for the Fourth of July. The second vacation trip depended on the vacation schedule at Cameron’s, which meant his two weeks began either at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

 

Whenever he came to Missouri, he would stock up on three-pound cans of Folgers coffee. He said it was cheaper to buy the coffee in Missouri. About once a year, he would buy a huge coffee pot that could make about 50 cups of coffee. Daddy wasn’t a shopper. He went into a store, picked up what he needed and paid the cashier at the checkout register.

 

However, if Sammy walked past Craftsman tools, he would stop and browse slowly at all the tools. Daddy loved Craftsman tools and bought all kinds of Craftsman wrenches, vise grips and other tools.

 

One trip each year, daddy would “shop” for a new coffee pot to take “to the plant.” He would shop around at the different stores and compare the features of the coffee pots.

 

I have, no doubt, there are people who bought bass boats with less research than daddy put into buying the right coffee pot. Despite his dedicated “shopping around for the right coffee pot”, he always ended up with the same type. And, he would buy a huge cardboard box full of Styrofoam cups to take back to Texas.

 

I remember the huge coffee pots because their shiny silver cylindrical design made them look like huge vacuum tubes that went into the back of a radio.

 

I get to the plant in the morning and I make the coffee for the shop. I have a coffee can with a slit in the lid. The guys know that coffee is 25 cents a cup. They put a quarter in the can. If they don’t have a quarter, then, they put in some change. I don’t really worry about it because the guys are honest. At the end of the week, I take the coffee can of coins home. Monday morning I always bring in a new empty coffee can for that week’s coins,” said Daddy,

 

In 1978, daddy was suppose to leave at the end of June for his Fourth of July trip to Missouri. He never arrived. The Houston Police Department notified momma of daddy’s death at home.

 

A few days after daddy’s funeral, momma and I made the trip to Houston. We found Folgers coffee cans stored in rooms around the house. Each can was filled to the plastic lid with mixed change from pennies to half dollars and a few silver dollars. The cans all had coins and none of the coins had been wrapped.

 

Momma asked Wanda Brinkley, a next door neighbor for help in wrapping the coins. Wanda had momma take the coins next door to her mom and dad’s house, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Pippins. Momma ordered the pizzas.

 

All day until after midnight, Momma, Wanda, Mr and Mrs Pete and I wrapped coins. Wanda’s two daughters, Donna and Debbie also joined the coin wrapping adventure. At this point in US history, American banks did not accept coins unless they were wrapped in bank wrappers.

 

Using the bank coin wrappers that daddy had on hand and some of the wrappers that Wanda had, we all wrapped coins all day and until well past midnight, It was after 2 am, when we finished.

 

Bank Robbery ?

 

The next day, Wanda, Momma and I went to the drive thru lane of the local Reagan State Bank. Wanda would put about 10 rolls of coins at a time up to the drive thru teller’s window.

 

You have a lot of coins,” remarked the teller.

 

My husband, Sammy had the coffee concession where he worked. He died recently. We just discovered, he never wrapped any of the coins from the coffee fund,” explained Momma.

 

The teller nodded. A bank guard showed up with a dolly. The teller seemed to slow,at one point, in tallying the amount of coins. We sat in the car at the drive thru for a couple of hours.

 

After about an hour, the bank guard emerged from a side door with the rolls of coins in the familiar purple bank sacks stacked neatly on the dolly. He pushed the dolly slowly across the several lanes of the drive thru into the rear entrance of the main bank.

 

The bank guard made about four more trips with his dolly from the drive thru to the bank.

 

A couple of days later Wanda spoke to a friend, who worked at the bank. The friend had heard about all those sacks of coins that came through the drive thru. The friend laughed and told Wanda it was not uncommon for people to drop of rolls of coins at the drive thru and she told Wanda the rest of the story.

 

Then, Wanda Brinkley, telephoned momma.

 

When we dropped those coins off at the bank. The bank got worried and called the local office of the FBI. They told the FBI why they were calling and asked the bureau to check for recent bank robberies because they could not believe that anyone would save that amount of coins.  

 

      FBI LOGO_resizedWhile we were waiting in the drive thru lane and the teller seemed to be taking the time tallying up the coins, they were waiting for a call back from the FBI to tell them if there were any reports of bank robberies where a large amount of coins had been taken,” Wanda explained and laughed.

 

We wrapped about 20 three-pound coffee cans of coins to take to the bank. Momma also brought about 10 cans of unwrapped coins with her back to Missouri. It was two or three years before I ever wanted to wrap rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters,half dollars and silver dollars.

 

My father died at age 52. The Harris County, Texas Corner’s Report listed the cause of death as a “possible ‘double heart attack.’” Daddy had literally “worked himself to death” through the years.

 

Momma’s Big Picture Financial Reality

 

 

Momma would never be a “Victim Of A Global Financial Crisis.” She had a poor childhood and realized ”Money Has To Be Managed.”

 

Momma always put aside a few dollars to have when she needed it. “Save” wasn’t a word, it was a philosophy and a way of life.

 

People would tease my mother that she probably had the “First Dollar” she ever earned. Momma would smile and shrug off the comment.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren was “never broke.” Maybe, she didn’t have a lot of money in her wallet or handbag, but, Momma was “never broke” financially.       

 

Momma loved to remind me “I bought the first car, your daddy and I ever owned. And, I paid cash for it. I bought the first home, your daddy and I ever owned. I bought the land in Missouri, under my own name with my own money, before I ever met your daddy.”     

 

All the claims were true statements. Momma’s message was not that she was a Green Christmas Photo 3 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.suffragette or a women’s libber, but that she knew “How To Spend And Save Her Money.”

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren is the woman, who went to the Reagan State Bank in Houston and arranged for the money to “buy the home in Houston at 313 East 26th Street.”

 

Stubborn Sammy

 

During World War II, US Army doctors had told daddy that he had contracted “malaria in the Philippines.” In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Veterans’ Administration wasn’t always able to convince Congress to provide medical care and decent pensions to veterans.

 

In the early 1950s, momma found out that daddy was eligible for VA medical care payments thanks to the hard-nosed efforts of Texas Congressman and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Sam Rayburn.

 

Daddy told Momma, Uncle Sam had sent him into World War II and, “I don’t want nothing else to do with the ‘Damn Government.’”

 

Momma reminded Daddy that some days it seemed difficult for him to get out of bed to go to work. Grudgingly, Daddy did the paperwork and accepted “Uncle Sam’s Official Help”, which didn’t last that long. By then, daddy’s health had improved and he did go to work everyday.

 

Momma The Family Banker

 

Martha Lou Marcum DeLong, my grandmother, kept her coins in a coin purse and her dollar bills in a sugar bowl in a plain white dish cabinet in the living room.

 

Everyone knew Grandma DeLong had worked hard all her life, but, Missouri’s “old age pension” provided her the money to live out her senior citizen years.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren had the reputation in the DeLong Family, Stone County, Missouri, Upshur County, Texas and among neighbors in Harris County – Houston, Texas of “Saving For A Rainy Day.”

 

The Burial And The Banker

 

When daddy died in Texas, I asked momma if we could bring his body back to Missouri for burial. I went to the bank with momma. She told the banker, “I need money to bring my husband’s body back to Missouri for burial. I don’t know, when or how I will pay you. But, you will get your money back.” I watched momma tell the banker those words.

 

In the 21st Century, most bankers would find a polite way to show the widow to the door out of their office.

 

In 1978, the banker nodded, “Okay, Opal. When you know how much you need for sure, let me know. You’ll get the money,” I heard the banker tell momma.

 

I was already a college student, so I was impressed that a banker would listen to a widow without demanding various forms of collateral.

 

The banker was not going out on a limb. He knew momma owned her “80 acres” of land and owned the other “10 acres” of land that she lived on. He knew she still “owned her home in Houston, Texas.”

 

The banker wasn’t gambling; he was investing.

 

The worst case scenario would be the bank would end up with Missouri real estate and maybe Texas real estate. Real estate in a city is usually more valuable than farm real estate,

 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was an active real estate market in Missouri and Texas.

 

But, everyone from Stone County, Missouri throughout southwest Missouri knew “Opal Warren always pays her bills.”

 

Samuel E. Warren was laid to rest in Yocum Pond Cemetery, near Reeds Spring Missouri. The financial cost of moving daddy’s body from Texas to Missouri was $7,000. The bank let momma borrow the money. Momma paid the bank off ahead of time.

 

Momma used money she already had saved for the associated funeral expenses and the double headstone. Uncle Sam provided the “foot marker” that was placed at daddy’s grave.

 

Save And Manage Your Money

 

Through the years, relatives would have financial issues come up in their lives. When they had no one to turn to, they would turn to “Opal.”

 

If a relative was out to buy a big screen TV, then, they were on their own.

 

But, if it was a valid emergency like a mortgage, insurance, food for their kids or medical bills then momma would “loan” the money. A few of my relatives paid Momma back. The majority did not.

 

Momma had a better financial plan than daddy. Momma never invested in the stock market. I had the debate with her several times and she always told me, “Son, I hang on to my money.”

 

Momma quit farming around 1982. The only “risky investment,” momma ever made, other than her son, was in Land.

 

Land That Pays For Itself

 

But, she always said, “Invest in Land, that will pay for itself.” Her Land did pay for itself because she “rented the pasture to other farmers for their cattle to graze on” and “loggers would cut some trees off the Land every three or four years for lumber.”

 

The Other Land

Through the years, momma would tell me that people had called her and tried to sell her land in Galena or elsewhere in southwest Missouri. I asked momma why she passed on the offers.

 

I have the land I want. The land I have been offered isn’t land I would want to buy at any price,” Momma would answer. Momma lived on one parcel of land. She could open her front door and look across the road to see the land that she had bought back in the 1930s.

 

Momma is one of the few people in the world, I know of, where bankers would call her and try to persuade her to move her money to their bank. She would smile, “The Bank Of Crane has always done right by me. Until something changes, I will stay with my bank.”

 

At age 84, momma left “The Real World” in 2004. She had a double wide home that had central heating and air conditioning. She never went hungry and there was always food in the ice box and the pantry. She always had her coffee and cigarettes. When she went to the doctor or the hospital, she could always pay her medical bills.

 

Momma’s Financial Secret, “She Learned To Save Money And Manage Her Money.”

 

Momma and daddy made sure I always had a wonderful Christmas. I got enough toys to outfit a museum.

 

I was an “Only Child”, which meant I had to play by myself most of the time, but, I had a huge wooden toy box in the garage full of toys to choose from each day.

 

In Missouri, every other weekend or so, my Cousin Donna would be at Grandma DeLong’s and Uncle Richard’s. I would of brought toys with me or we would go off in the woods to play. In Missouri, the toys were in a big cardboard box in the garage.

 

Samuel E. Warren Jr., the senior citizen, realizes now, Momma’s ability to always put “The Green In My Christmas” came from her daily financial sense of saving and managing her money. Thanks to my mother, “My Merry Christmas” was always “A Green Christmas.”

 

Merry Christmas, Momma .”

GREEN CHRISTMAS LEAD PHOTO_Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 1:53 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Stone County History

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The Little Things Of Life “Washing Powders” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

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Washing Powders

Martha Lou Marcum DeLong, my grandmother, back on the farm, near Abesville, Missouri, would call this elongated package, "Washing Powders."

 

In the Republic of the Philippines, this package is laundry detergent, which comes in a bar form. This long bar can be broken into about four pieces to be sold for laundry.

 

As a young single man, I did some laundry, usually I would save it up and let my mom do it, when I went home for a weekend from college.

When you move to live in a foreign country, the big differences are always obvious.  It is “The Little Things Of Life” you sometimes miss. 

In 1988 in Angeles City, near Clark Air Base, you could not buy ketchup off base.  In the Johnny’s store in Balibago, a section of Angeles City you could buy UFC banana catsup, but, not tomato catsup.  I’m a country boy, I love tomatoes in my ketchup.

Furthermore, the one crop that always put and kept Stone County, Missouri on the world and national map is the big, red, juicy, mouth-watering tomatoes.

Fortunately in 2012, at Robinson’s Place in Tacloban City, you can buy Del Monte and Heinz tomato ketchup.  You can even buy Folger’s coffee in the three-pound can. 

Still, I miss the big orange box of Tide on the store shelves. There are orange packets of Tide for laundry detergent in the Philippines  — it just ain’t the same. 

On the bright side, bleach still comes in the gallon plastic jug.  Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

“ Should I Join The Military ? ” Editorial

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The Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Should I Enlist In The Military ? “ Editorial

 

Salute Your Military Veteran

STAFF SERGEANT RANK_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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

 

Only you can make that decision.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Horsefeathers !”

 

No one lives for War.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Uncle Sam ain’t a family man.

unclesam

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I wanted to make a positive difference in the world.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I grinned, “Not me.”

 

Time has proven we were both right.

 

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

THE GLOBE_resized

 

 

Global Family

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Message Of Money

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Effective Economics

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Citizens Of The World

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Peace Is Unstable

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Choice

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Heroic Heritage

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Citizenship In Action

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Welcome To The Immortal Legion !

 

 

Samuel

Word Warrior Warren

 

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November 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM

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On The Job Political Editorial

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Back To Work After The Election of 2012

 

On The Job

PRESIDENT OBAMA AT WORK IN THE OVAL OFFICE_Obama_edits_speech_before_announcing_death_of_Osama_bin_Laden_cropped_resized

 

The President

Of The United States Of America

On The Job

In The Oval Office

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Brooms have been pushed and the residue of The Election of 2012 is now in the dumpsters waiting to be hauled to the nearest city dump or recycling center.

 

In the Ozarks, The Day After An Election, Stone County, Missouri Old Timers, would laugh and joke, “Time to get out the picks and shovels because there are a lot of graves to dig today.” The purpose of the political joke was to poke fun at the politicians who “lost” an election and remind people that it was time to get back to work.

 

Good Day, Mr. President.”

 

Now, that “The Election” is over, President Obama can get back, “On The Job.”

 

In the Republic of the Philippines, the US Election has been covered for the last two days. The first announcements were the standard, “And The Winner Is.”

 

The United States Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines made his speech to say that President Obama had been re-elected.

 

News crews tracked down the happy “Democrats Abroad USA” chapter in Manila and got their reactions of sheer joy.

 

One man gave a beautiful quote of how he spent four days in Colorado knocking on doors and talking to people: “I told them I came 8,000 miles to ask them to vote for the Democrats and President Obama.”

 

Today, November 8, 2012 – The Philippine news media is looking at the US Election and comparing how Democracy works in the US and how Democracy works in the Philippines.

 

The news coverage is optimistic that President Obama is going to work on the Immigration policy in America.

 

I’m optimistic that President Obama knows that “The American People have his back” and support him in his efforts to move domestic and foreign policy forward, in an effort to rebuild the US Economy.

 

 

Election Fallout

 

Most people shrug their shoulders and get on with their lives.

 

For people, who are passionate and devoted massive amounts of time and effort to an election, the days following a loss is a period of readjustment. If your candidate lost, you can feel “let down.” You wonder if there was something else that you could of done ?

 

In America, we like to believe that “We are Good Losers.” We are not.

 

Sportsmanship

 

The idea of “Sportsmanship” says that the losers should be able to congratulate the winners and forget the game or the election.

 

The Sportsmanship idea is a good idea, but, it is not realistic — when people devote time, effort and energy to a cause people expect a positive result.

______________________________________________________________________

 

If every American in America and overseas would devote one tenth of the energy they normally waste on sports to watching politicians, America would have the most informed, pro-active, action-oriented democracy on the face of the planet. “

– Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Competition

America’s National Cultural Philosophy

 

In America, the loss after an election can be a heavy weight to the individual because from the time you are a toddler in America you are taught to “Compete.”

 

You step out the door in the morning on your way to school and you are in the “Competition” mode. The “Competition” philosophy teaches you are suppose to “Win” at all costs. “Loss” is never acceptable in the American cultural psychology.

 

Dog Eat Dog”

 

Americans are the most competitive people on the planet.

 

We are taught “The World Is Dog Eat Dog.”

 

We, Americans are taught, “You Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps.”

 

Loss” and coming in second place is really “Unacceptable” in the American culture.

 

Look at the History of American Political Candidates, especially since the end of World War II – “How many men who “Lost” their first run for “The White House” were able to come back and make a successful second try ?”

 

There are some candidates. As the years moved toward the 21st Century the ability for a defeated candidate to make a successful second run for “The Oval Office” is now a “long shot.”

 

Second Try ?

 

Face it – No one wants to gamble on “A Loser.” If a candidate “Lost” in an election for president, then, supporters are reluctant to rally around for a second run at The White House. The same idea seems to be coming true for gubernatorial races as well.

 

Elections involve massive effort and advertising is never cheap – tons of money has to be raised to buy print ads, radio ads and television ads.

 

The Citizens’ Feelings

 

The people who voted and “Got” their candidates will be feeling good that “Their Vote Counted.”

 

The people who voted and didn’t get their candidates elected will feel the sense of “Loss” and wonder if they did something wrong or is “The System” broke.

 

I think “The System” is broke.

 

It was broke in 2000 and in 2004 and still hasn’t been fixed.

 

My “Man” got elected. I’m happy.

 

Democracy is not a perfect process, but, it is the best government system currently in place around the world.

 

Democrats And Republicans

I had friends back in the United States, who shrug their shoulders and say, “There really is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans.”

 

My friends are wrong.

 

I have Texas relatives, who were Democrats and after an election – win or lose, they seemed able to get back to the business of The Real World.

 

I grew up in Stone County, Missouri – one of the most hardcore, devout Republican counties in the United States of America.

 

Republicans are NOT Good Losers.

 

For days and months after an election, Stone County Republicans and many average citizens would whine and complain about those “Damn Democrats !”

 

United States Seventh District Congressman Dewey Short was born and raised in Galena, Missouri, so it is natural that ,the county seat of Stone County should give Republicans “The Benefit Of The Doubt.”

 

Since the death of Congressman Short, the national Republican party or the Missouri Republican Party has not went out of their way to “court” Stone County voters in any way, so it is amazing that Stone County remains “a one party system.”

 

The Importance Of Politics

 

After an election, many Americans put away their election year memorabilia and will not bother to think about politics until the next leap year presidential election draws near.

 

Americans forget Politics is a 24-hour a day, 365-day a year business because the decisions that get made in Washington D.C., and the 50 state capitols affect your day to day life and always reach into your wallet.

 

For a democracy to truly work the citizens really do have to be informed. You do have to pay attention to what the elected officials are up to. You have to look beyond the rhetoric, the propaganda, the bickering to get newspaper headlines and on camera television interviews and decide for yourself what is truth and what is “party propaganda.”

 

Many Americans get all wrapped up in all kinds of sports and can quote all kinds of sports statistics. But, a game is just a game. Next week, next month or next year there will be another game.

 

The Super Bowl, The World Series are all big sporting events in the United States, but no quarterback raises your annual property tax and no batter is going to get Americans National Health Care.

 

If every American in America and overseas would devote one tenth of the energy they normally waste on sports to watching politicians, America would have the most informed, pro-active, action-oriented democracy on the face of the planet. “ – Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Now that the election is over, keep an eye on that councilman, Congressman, Senator, Governor and other elected official.

 

It will be easy to keep an eye on the president because there is the White House website and legions of international news media that will be watching The Oval Office.

 

Keep an eye on the daily newspaper headlines and Internet news stories. Watch what the politicians are saying and doing. Now, that President Obama has won re-election he can be devoted to fixing the US Economy.

 

The senators and congressman that were critical of the president going into the election should all be singing a different song now. Some of those officials have their “own” re-elections to worry about, so they will want to be seen as “helping the president” and not a resistant “stick in the mud” that will try to cause problems.

 

Party Platforms

 

The Democrats and the Republicans have their party platforms posted on line for people to read.

 

Democrats traditionally favor the “working people.” People who really do have to “work” for a living, which means jobs that involve manual labor like farming, construction and the “break a serious sweat” occupations.

 

Republicans traditionally favor the “wealthy people.” People who may have “earned” their fortunes or the ones that “inherited” their money from their family.

Republicans like to be called the G.O.P., because it sounds “catchy” and Americans love initials and abbreviations. The term GOP stands for “Grand Old Party” and dates back to the time of “The American Civil War.”

 

However, when I use the term G.O.P., for Republicans, it refers to “Greedy Oil Politicians” and how the GOP always seems more than willing to keep America depend on Middle East Oil.

 

State Rights

 

Republicans claim to be “State Rights” oriented, which means states are suppose to decide the majority of issues in their state capitols and the federal government is essentially suppose to stick to providing a military force, printing and coining currency and negotiating foreign treaties.

 

The theory is that the Federal Government is suppose to be an umbrella and not hardwired into American homes. Yet, after 9/11 the Republican Administration created the Department Of Homeland Security at the federal level to get intrusive when needed.

 

Centralized Government

 

Democrats have always favored a centralized federal government. Democrats realize some problems have to be handled at the federal level.

 

States can issue their driver’s licenses, but, do Americans really want each state to have to issue Passports and Visas ? Imagine 50 different passports and 50 different visas, each with different categories of visas and requirements for the visas.

 

National Healthcare

 

American Healthcare has to be done at the National Level. Otherwise, you end up with 50 different plans with different requirements that can change from county to county and parish to parish. Wealthier states can offer more types of coverage than other states.

 

A woman in Alaska might not need or want “Breast Enhancement Surgery” while in Hollywood that type of cosmetic surgery might be considered crucial, thus, a national policy can address these issues, while states might tend to ignore or “cut” these health services.

 

Policy Issues

 

All Americans should realize that, like it or not, “Politics” affects your day to day lives. If you ignore the issues, then, you let the politicians make the rules. They don’t always put things on the ballot to be voted on. Keep an eye on your politicians – make them earn their paychecks.

 

America has lobby groups that are always out wining and dining the politicians. Some of those lobby groups may not support the same issues that you consider important. Keep your eye on changing issues because if you don’t voice, email, telephone or telegraph your elected officials – the lobbyist wins.

 

 

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Congress Of The United States Of America

 

I am an American.

 

I have a birthright to complain.

 

 

In numerous articles and political editorials I “beat up” on Congress. They can take it; they are “Big Boys And Girls.” If they have “thin skin”, then, that person needs to find a new job.

 

I do respect Congress.

 

Since the 1970s though, I have lost a lot of respect for Congress. Since the 1970s, Congress seems only capable of trying to stop a president from doing something or becoming a “bunch of mindless groupies chasing after a president and granting his every wish”

 

In the 1970s, Congress did have the “guts” to press the Watergate Hearings and try to get to the bottom of the issue.

 

Congress did try to nail down “The Iran Contra Affair.”

 

Congress from 2000 through 2008 acted like “excited school girls chasing after a teen idol and not capable of making their own decisions.” Congress from 2000 through 2008 seemed “A Rubber Stamp For A Republican Administration”

 

Members of Congress, should be honored to serve the American people. Members of Congress should realize that they to have to answer to the American people – it is called “The Ballot” and gets used every four years/

 

The United States Supreme Court

 

Lawyers in black robes. When I was a boy, I respected the United States Supreme Court.

 

As an adult, I don’t really have any faith and very little respect left for this arm of government.

 

They are suppose to “Protect, Defend And Translate The Constitution Of The United States Of America.”

 

From 2000 through 2008, the Supreme Court acted more like Mafia thugs protecting the Godfather, rather than a judicial body that answered to the people.

 

On the bright side, the majestic building is a beautiful piece of architecture.

 

Support the President

 

Now, that President Obama is back at his desk in The Oval Office, I hope that Congress will work with him to rebuild the US Economy.

 

I doubt the US Supreme Court will do anything to help rebuild the US Economy.

 

But, if they become “TOO big” an obstacle – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democrat, was accused of “Packing The Court.”

 

President Obama, the Democrat, is the former Constitutional Law professor . Perhaps, the time has come to “Unpack The Court.”

 

America is a Democracy.

To keep that Democracy “On The Job,” keep an eye on your elected officials.

 

Choose one of the parties and get involved.

 

Sam

 

 

Links

 

The Oval Office

 

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

 

The White House

 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

 

The White House Blog

 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog

 

The Congressional Record

 

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

 

United States House Of Representatives

 

http://www.house.gov/

 

United States Senate

 

http://www.senate.gov/

 

United States Supreme Court

 

http://www.supremecourt.gov/

 

Democrats

http://www.democrats.org/

 

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http://www.gop.com/

 

Democrats Abroad

http://www.democratsabroad.org/

 

 

Political Watchdog

 

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http://front.moveon.org/

 

 

Political Blog

 

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http://crooksandliars.com/

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