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Super Typhoon Yolanda Aftermath One Year Later — The Lesson : “Live Life”

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Super Typhoon Yolanda changed my Life.

I lived inside “Ground Zero.”

I am a “Survivor.”

One obvious change Yolanda has made to my Life is I am more “aggressive.” Any pretense of patience is completely gone from my Life. I get a project done or I toss it and move on to one I can get done.

One obvious change Yolanda gave me is the opportunity to “Face Death.”

I have had a year to look at my reaction. I should be “Petrified.” I definitely felt, “Concern.”

Today is Saturday, November 8, 2014. A year ago, at “Ground Zero”, I stood in my bedroom and watched the winds of Super Typhoon Yolanda bow the coconut wood door back and forth like a warped, black LP record flexed back and forth.

Three times, Yolanda blew open the door. Three times, I pushed against the wind and intense walls of blowing rain to close the door.

Yolanda took the roof, but she left the thin sheets of plywood over the roof. Although, she did bend one down almost double to continue to pour a persistent waterfall of rain into the room.

Christy Warren, my wife, stood in front of me, and stared out the single window in the wall. I stood behind Christy and had my arms down around her. I watched the door disco dance against the door jab.

I still remember my chant: “You can stop anytime now.”

I have no idea, how many times I repeated those words. Everyone else in the room was quite.

Junea and Vanissa stood behind me. Digna Mora, the cleaning lady, stood behind the girls. Her son, David was under the concrete shelf sink at the back of the room. He fell asleep.

We heard Yolanda’s winds take the tin roof over the bedroom and the abundance of sudden sunlight over the plywood section confirmed the roof had gone airborne.

There was a plywood section for a roof under the tin. The plywood section held, but a sheet of the wood buckled in half.

The wingtip of “my” Archangel Michael statue held up that section of the roof, while the torrential rain poured in and the dry concrete floor began to fill like a swimming pool. The water inside the room would rise to a half-inch before Yolanda ceased her seize.

I remember every second of Yolanda’s bombardment.

Today, a year later, the sun is shining. The temperature is not too hot. Earlier this afternoon around one p.m., there was a nice breeze. A year ago, the phrase “Hell On Earth” had “A Real World” meaning.

I decided not to go to the “Yolanda Commemoration Ceremonies” in Tacloban City and Tanauan because I wanted “The Day” to think about my reaction to Yolanda.

All week long, ABS-CBN has aired the “Survivor Stories.” As a retired military newsman, I understand the decision. People want to know, “What Was It Like ?”

“Scary,” in a word.

The catch is, obviously, there is a limit to how much adrenaline your body pumps in a crisis situation. You sense and feel, “Fear.” But, the “Fear” can’t last.

“Numbness” replaced the initial “Fear” and the “Concern.” I stood at “The Mercy Of A Force Of Nature.” There was absolutely nothing I could do.

Yolanda could of snatched me or anyone else in the room and tossed us against the walls like rag dolls. Yolanda could of tossed any of us out through the roof.

Yolanda could of reached inside the room and pulled any or all of us out through the narrow doorway. Yolanda kept us corralled and “pinned up” in the room until her winds were done outside.

“Thanks To Yolanda, I no longer ‘Fear Death.’”

Naturally, I have “The Death Fantasy” where you lie in bed, surrounded by family and friends who love you. You close your eyes for the last time and “Death” arrives.

If I get “The Death Fantasy” fine; if not, at least, Yolanda, provided the lesson of awareness and acceptance of “Here Comes, The Last Ride ! ”

A year ago, once I heard the winds disappear, I stepped to the door and opened it.

“Stunned,” is the only word that works.

A Child Of The Cold War, I cut my baby teeth on the stories of United States, Soviet Union and Red Chinese Nuclear Armageddon Aftermath.

I remember the Civil Defense lessons in grade school. I got the blue prints I got in the mail from the United States Superintendent Of Documents to “build a bomb shelter in your backyard.”

Momma never let me build the bomb shelter. I couldn’t even convince her to build a basement. I always wanted a basement.

As a teenager, I had watched countless TV shows and movies about The Cold War Nuclear Apocalypse.

As a senior citizen, I stood on the concrete porch and looked at the devastated landscape of the island of Leyte.

No Hollywood Cold War Nuclear Holocaust Movie even came close to Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The brutal sky remained angry swatches of gray. The horizontal canvas was saturated. The rain had stopped and the sky still appeared soaked. The sky around me dripped like running paint on a wet canvas.

The dense emerald vegetation was yanked, pulled and discarded like a giant weedeater had gone ballistic on the landscape.

The huge tree at the corner of the porch had been yanked up by the roots and dropped like a weed at the hole, which moments before had covered the roots.

The 50 to 75 coconut trees in front of the house were gone. Two complete trees stood and four giant busted toothpicks, which had been coconut trees were still embedded in the ground.

Some of the coconut trees had fallen like discarded Lincoln Logs on to the plundered landscape.

Silence.

No sound.

In rural Leyte it is rare for an hour to pass without a rooster crowing somewhere nearby.

Across the barangay road, the neighbor’s bamboo house was gone completely. Christy’s white sari-sari store building was tilted at a 15 degree angle toward the road.

The bamboo carport had served it’s purpose. The bamboo poles were still in the ground. The dried coconut leaves roof had gone airborne.

Fortunately, the carport had stood long enough to keep the van on the ground. The other benefit of the carport, is it helped provide temporary shelter.

When the neighbors across the road, felt their house was going around them, they ran outside to the carport and got next to the van, according to the neighbor woman, they essentially formed a human chain and she held on to the van’s door handle.

Today, I stand with a mug of coffee in my hand and look out at the Land in front of the house. Sunlight bathes the dense vegetation.

We have a tin roof again over the house. The US AID gray tarpaulin still serves as two walls of the house.

I strolled up the barangay road a distance this afternoon. Houses are again beginning to take shape. The rice fields seem to be recovering. The Cameri Barangay Elementary School has a roof again. Neighbors’ roosters chase hens in the school yard and a concrete building in the corner is going up in a corner of the school yard.

Son, Samuel Ranilo Warren got tagged to participate in a Yolanda Commemorative Ceremony in Tacloban City as did cousin,Vanissa Saldana. Daughter, Donna Junea Warren got to “Fly Free” to a girlfriend’s birthday celebration today.

Christy and I have been relaxing around the old Pacific Ponderosa today. One Warren Way got severely remodeled by Super Typhoon Yolanda, but with time, I am sure we will have walls again someday. I need to find a carpenter, I believe, can put my concrete hollow blocks up to build a “Strong” wall.

As a political science and history student, I had memorized the photos of the destruction of “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. A year ago, Yolanda at “Ground Zero” in Tanauan, Barangay Baras delivered the “Destruction” without the radioactive “Fallout.”

November 8, 2014 — Tacloban City reports 6,000 people dead. Officials calculate, at least, 1,061 are still missing. I doubt an accurate “body count” for Super Typhoon Yolanda will ever be firmly established because a tidal wave came ashore and took structures and, no doubt, people back out to The Leyte Gulf and The Pacific Ocean.

The brutal winds of Yolanda took roofs and “bombed out” the insides of churches and smashed all the pews to smithereens. More than a week after Yolanda’s winds, I saw that Yolanda had parked a car and a Chevrolet pickup with the grilles against the ground. The trunk and pickup bed pointed up toward the sky, while the wheels rested on the side of a building.

Super Typhoon Yolanda, a year later, has reminded me of an Important Lesson Of Life: ”Live Life !”

I would emphasize : “Live Life With A Passion !”

Today is Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Tomorrow, at sun rise, my plan, is like the plan for today : “The sun is up. Time to make a cup of coffee and enjoy the day.”

Sam

Written by samwarren55

November 8, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Observances, Philippines, Tropics

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Elson’s 15th Birthday Party by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Elson’s 15th

Birthday Party

JUNEA AND VANISSA_ELSONS 15TH BIRTHDAY_DSC_0027_resized

Junea Tanhale and Vanissa Saldana pose for a photo. Junea, Elson’s sister, and Vanissa, Elson’s cousin, looked after the smaller kids, while the cooking was going on in the kitchen. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Elson Tanhale’s 15th Birthday Party, Saturday, April 6, 2013, was a celebration of family and friends.

 

ELSON TANHALE THE BIRTHDAY BOYElson Tanhale  The Birthday Boy

April is one of the summer months in the Philippines. It is hot. Since the weather is hot and humid, an activity like breakfast, lunch and dinner takes on a different meaning.ACTUAL SIZE UNEDITED PHOTO OF ESMERALDA AT KITCHEN WINDOW_DSC_0010_resized

 

Esmeralda Tanhale prepares dinner, despite the Philippines’ summer temperatures.

If you are trying to prepare a meal in a kitchen with no air-conditioning you face the   persistent challenge of nature’s heat. The act of cooking generates heat.  THE KID DSC_0017_resized 

 

John John plays while supper cooks.

Aunt Juliet Tanhale_DSC_0038_resized

Aunt Juliet Tanhale joins other guests at the party.

The Philippines natural weather temperatures in April and the heat of cooking means the dishes prepared maybe among your favorites, but they will also be those you can prepare without running the risk of heat stroke.

 

Birthday dinner became chicken adobo, pancit bihon and chocolate rice cake.

BOYS SIT AT THE ROAD_imageB040_resized

 

Chrismar Mora and Ranilo Saldana visit by the roadside while dinner cooks.

The Extended Family Concept Of The Philippines means you do not have to worry about sending out birthday party invitations. You simply tell your family and expect aunts, uncles and cousins to arrive.

JUN JUNS TRIKE DSC_0022_resized

 

Romy Uy’s “Trike” motorbike becomes playground equipment of cousins waiting for Elson’s Birthday Dinner.

Entertainment for Elson’s Birthday Party involved DVDs in the DVD player, while the younger cousins kept themselves busy being kids by playing outside.

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Warren Flight School by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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099Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. JT4C DSC_0098_resized

Warren Flight School

Established – January 5, 2013

007Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.PREFLIGHT INSPECTION WALKAROUND DSC_0006_resized

Rayniel Saldana does his walk around preflight inspection before working the controls of the radio-controlled helicopter.

Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I never got to sit on the kitchen floor and run my own electric train set. My childhood ended too quickly. Years later, I got to buy a train to run around the Christmas Tree, but it wasn’t the same.

 

I didn’t get to spend hours working with the scenery. I didn’t have the opportunity to hone my skills for meticulous details by carefully matching the paint scheme to the appropriate railroad or box car.

 

I did get some great toys. I had a wonderful childhood. Sometimes, in life, it seems you seek out those opportunities you missed.

 

I never got to fly a radio-controlled aircraft as a child. My childhood ended too quickly.

 

Since I am The World’s Oldest Kid, I usually manage to find away to stroll past the toy department of a store. In December 2011, I bought a radio-controlled helicopter, but, the Christmas Day guests got to fly it.

 

The 2011 Christmas Day Guests did not return in 2012, but other activities of the day kept the family busy. A couple of days later, I decided my nephews and nieces and I would try to fly “Saldana One YF,” I began the refueling operation, which consisted of plugging in the charger and waiting for it to charge.

 

The model aircraft burst into flames and the aircraft removal consisted of it being moved to the backyard “boneyard” to naturally become part of the ecology.

 

The happy ending is a few days later, I did add a new radio-controlled aircraft to the inventory.

 

Warren Flight School set up on the Barangay Baras Road, January 5, 2013. The radio-controlled helicopter flagship, “Warren One” sat ready to fly.

 

Rayniel Saldana became my “Chief’, which meant I let him take control of checking out the aircraft and making sure it was ready for flight.

 

Like an aviation warrant officer, once the chopper checked out, he worked the controls and took it up for a “check ride.”

 

Vanissa Saldana and Junea Tanahale watched and took their turns.

 

Their “Uncle Sam” watched.

 

Double A batteries don’t last long; not even eight of them. However they “logged” about two hours of flight time.

 

Their “On The Job” radio-controlled “pilot training” consisted of getting familiar with the controls, which averaged about 10 minutes per pilot.

 

Junea displayed her “pilot’ skills by flying along the Barangay Baras Road and her ability to gain altitude that put the helicopter about 20 feet in the air and flying over my head.

 

The first day of Warren Flight School was an outstanding success.

 

FLIGHT PAST THE COCONUT TREES 100Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. JT4D

 

Junea Tanahale “pilots” “Warren One” a radio-controlled helicopter past the coconut tree of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, January 5, 2013. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

All the photos of this session of Warren Flight School can be found at Samuel Warren Picasa Web Albums.

Warren One

https://picasaweb.google.com/115529281361827670221/WarrenOneJanuary52013

 

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Sam And The Kids by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Time To Be A Kid

Sam

And

The Kids

093Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. JT3D CU2 DSC_0092_resized

Warren One

Junea Tanahale pilots this radio-controlled helicopter past the coconut trees of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. Saturday, January 5, 2013 is the first time my niece ever “flew” a radio-controlled aircraft. She “logged” this third flight after only working the controls for less than 30 minutes. She made her “Uncle Sam” proud. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I was a kid. I still remember what it was like to be a kid. I had fun. Life was great. I enjoyed Life. I still enjoy Life. Adults tell you you will “Grow Up.” You do. Soft of . . . grow up. You get taller and you celebrate birthdays.

 

WARREN ONE SAILS PAST A COCONUT TREE THUMBNAILYou learn to do all those “Adult” things like get a job and earn a living. Somewhere along the way, the Adult world expects people “To Forget” what it means to “Be A Kid.”

 

Grown ups are not suppose to walk down a street in a major American city and just “start dancing along the sidewalk to the corner.” I’ve done it.

 

In a military uniform and in a business suit I’ve broke into a spontaneous dance routine on a sidewalk. People look at you weird. A few always just smile because they remember what it meant to “Be A Kid.”

 

The point is – in Life everyone takes themselves and their jobs “way too seriously.”

 

New Year’s Resolution

Celebrate Life.

 

Naturally, if you are in one of those public jobs where appearance and protocol is   WARREN ONE SAILS ALONG THE BARANGAY BARAS ROAD THUMBNAIL important you aren’t going to suddenly burst into the board room doing your best Gene Kelly “Singing In The Rain,” improvisation.

 

You will not walk into a meeting of global government leaders dressed in sequined jacket, pants, a half cloak and broad a broad smile to sit down at a baby grand piano. The G-8 leaders probably would not appreciate your Liberace showmanship.

 

Nonetheless, even adults can hum in the elevator. You go to another city on a business trip and after your meetings find a place you will probably never, ever see the people again. You get the karaoke microphone or borrow a guitar and sang Hank Williams or Hank Williams Jr., all night long.

 

If you don’t sing, dance and celebrate life every now and then; why do you get out of bed in the morning.

 

Maybe, you can’t be Robert Preston singing “76 Ttombones. . . “, but, you can enjoy life and remember, what it was like or suppose to be like to “be a kid.”

 

Obviously, if you are under the hot lights of an operating room carefully performing a delicate operation in the midst of brain surgery on a patient, you will not break out into a chorus of “The Happy Wanderer” and you will not be tapping your foot and singing out the words to “Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business”, or bust out into a rendition of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.”

 

After the operation, the brain surgeon or the heart surgeon can go home, find that boxed up “Operation” game and put it on the desk and realize and remember that life was simpler when you were a kid. For the record, there is, nor will there ever be a law in any nation that will outlaw you “Being A Kid At Heart.”

RANYIEL WALKS AND FLIES 035Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. FLIGHT 3 LANDING DSC_0034_resized

Rayniel Saldana, my nephew, displays serious concentration in working the radio controls. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I am The World’s Oldest Kid

 

I Beat The System.

I Always Stayed A Kid At Heart.

 

I am The World’s Oldest Kid.

 

I am an Adult. I grew up. But, I stayed a kid at heart. Now, I get to enjoy time with my nieces and nephews.

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, Adults let kids be kids.

 

In the 1970s – the World Went Stupid. The World Is Still Stupid.

 

But, there is always hope the World will “Wise Up.”

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, kids usually had a chance to play, enjoy their childhoods and grow up. There were adults on the job, who dealt with the American Civil Rights Movement, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Korean War, messed up the Equal Rights Amendment, sabotaged the American Woman’s Rights Movement.

 

Suddenly, realized there were more than “two genders” in humanity and these people were ready to step out of the shadows of history and into the sunlight of their lives.

 

Sex, drugs and rock and roll woke up America in the 1960s. America still had the Cold War, Fear of the A Bomb, and leaders were still trying to make sense of The Vietnam War. When the Stupid Seventies arrived only the morons wanted to inherit the earth.

 

Edu-ma-cated Experts

 

By the 1970s, the hard working and intelligent adults stepped off the world stage long enough to grab a hot dog, have a beer and smoke a cigarette.

 

By the time, the leaders were ready for Round 2, the bummers and losers were on the World Stage strutting and cackling about “Political Correctness.”

 

The morons had inherited the earth and no one ever took the time to “check on the kids.”

 

They were tons of “Edu-ma-cated Experts” with initials before and after their names with all kinds of advice about “raising kids.”

 

In the 1950, Dr. Benjamin Spock published a book about raising kids. My mom had a dog-eared, well worn copy, but she used her God-given “Common Sense” and let me “Be A Kid.

198Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.VSTF1 DSC_0001_resized

Vanissa Saldana, my niece, cautiously works the controls of the helicopter. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

How To Play

 

Through the years, I have watched kids. No one shows them “How To Play.” I have seen an adult hand a kid a box with a toy in it and walk away. The adult never lingers long enough to see if the kid goes on line and tries to sell the toy on ebay or tries to bully another kid into buying the toy.

 

The adult never stops long enough to notice if the kid tries to “re engineer” the toy to cause it to blow up or watches long enough to make sure the kid doesn’t use the toy as a weapon on his or her younger brother and sisters or the family dog or cat.

 

People ignore kids are “small versions of adults.” Parents just assume their kid is not going to grow up to be the next “Jack The Ripper.”

 

Yet, adults in the late 20th and early 21st Century seem to treat their kids like “rental equipment” like canvas tents to place in the yard for a show and social function.

 

You call the company and they come pick up the tent. Kids had parents that used them as props. Once the show was done, the kid got to “wing it through life until the next social function.”

 

Share The Dreams

 

Parents don’t seem able to share imagination and their dreams with their kids anymore. Manners, common sense, civility were actions that parents once taught their kids. Now, it seems kids are basically creatures that survive on their own in the wilds of life. No one takes the time to respect and teach the kids.

 

Kids are left to “fend for themselves” like humanized wild dogs. Kids walk upright and grumble, rather than foam at the mouth. All of the Edu-ma-cated Experts of the 1970s did was make kids “accessories” for “older kids who needed to play parents for their careers.”

 

In the early 21st Century, it is even easier for the adults, they hand the kid an electronic gadget. The light comes on and the kid is mesmerized like a deer in the headlights. For minutes to hours, the kid gets “sucked in” to the electronic abyss and passes their time.

 

Parents still don’t check on their kids’ so they don’t know if the kid is using the gadget to gain knowledge and work on hand and eye coordination or if the kid is trying to become a “drug courier”, or is using the knowledge to build a pipe bomb in the basement.

Do 20 Questions

 

My mother always “played 20 questions” with me every afternoon when I came home from school. I had to try and remember what I had for lunch. She wanted to know if I had homework. What kind of homework ? What kind of day I had ?

 

Momma’s “Nightly 20 Question” routine was all about teaching me to be responsible and reminding me of what I had done during the day. It let me know I had a mom, who loved me and cared about me. After my afternoon debrief, she would usually head back down on the hill to check on an old sow or we might go to some kind of social function.

 

The Grapevine Is Still FREE

 

It never did any good to with hold information from momma. In the prehistoric days before facebook, twitter, yoono, linked in and all the other social media networks; In The Ozarks, there was still “The Grapevine.”

 

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, relatives, friends and neighbors always talked about the kids. Everyone knew “The Good Kids” and everyone knew “The Bad Kids.” If you acted up at school, someone made a phone call and you were “busted” before you ever walked in the door.

 

If I had acted up at school, I had to stand tall and explain, “My Side Of The Story.” If it was one of those nights, I had homework, she would check the cattle across the road or check on an old sow, but, she always made a point to “check on me.” I never felt like a neglected or “discarded kid.”

People always love to talk. People share the stories about their kids. If you are a grandparent or parent just let people know you love your kids and you want to hear about them. People will make the telephone or cell phone call to let you know. With or without the social media networks, the grapevine still works and it is still FREE.

 

The Big Red M

 

Grandparents and parents should remember to listen to the kid’s side of the story. Momma always listened to my side and weighed all the facts before she responded.

 

I knew I was a “Momma’s boy on a mission.” In the years ahead, I would figure out my mission, but, in childhood – I got to be a kid, have fun and be treated with respect.

 

I never saw “The Big Red M” on the chest of a super heroine costume in one of momma’s closets. I never found “The Big Red F” on a super hero costume in one of daddy’s business suit wardrobe. Regardless, I had “Super” parents because they loved me, respected me and let me “be a kid.”

 

I had a Mother, who knew the M word was more than six letters in an English dictionary that meant a little girl becomes an older girl and swaps out her plastic dolls for a personal miniaturized biological lifeform.

 

 

 

Parental ‘Brood Sow ‘ Mentality

 

Having Kids” and “Raising Kids” is not the same thing.

 

I grew up on a hog farm in Missouri,”any old ‘brood sow ‘can have kids. You put her with an old boar for a few days and then in a few weeks, she has her kids. Most of our old brood sows were good mothers. They looked after and took care of their kids.

 

Shame on me I didn’t check any of them for “Postpartum Depression.: I didn’t have to. They knew what it meant to be a mother and take care of their kids. 

I grew up on a farm in the Missouri Ozarks, where mothers and fathers took care of their kids and they didn’t rely on the American psychiatric community coming up with a new form of depression to explain that Life is tough and requires work.

 

When it came the time to wean the pigs, I didn’t have to drag a TV out to the hog shed or the barn and tune in “Jerry Springer,” “Oprah,” or try to call “Dr. Phil.”

The old sows, of course, already new “how to teach” their kids A Fundamental Life Lesson parents in The Ozarks always told their kids of my generation: “Root Hog Or Die.”  In the political correct vernacular of the early 21st Century, it means, “Life is tough; deal with it !”

 

Animals and wildlife still knows what it means to be “Mom and Dad” and let the kids, “Be Kids.” Humans we forget.

When an old brood sow in Missouri does a better job of raising her kids than some people, then, a parent needs to toss the books from the “Edu-ma-cated Experts” and make a cell phone call to Mom or Dad.

 

People claim to be smarter than ‘brood sows.’

 

I’m The Older Kid

 

I respect and admire my nieces and nephews they are great kids. I know I give them more advice than they want. 

But, hey, I am “The Older Kid.” I am the five year old kid with 52 years experience. I have the seniority and the rank of age. I have been there. I have done that. I have all the T-shirts and all the hats.

 

My goal as their “Uncle Sam” is to love, respect, and help them enjoy their young lives. The day will come soon enough when they have to do “The Silly Adult Thing” of working to earn a living. They will have to “Take Themselves Way Too Seriously.” 

No doubt, they might even have a bad boss that makes will make their life miserable. They might even forget that being a kid meant that you are suppose to learn How To Love And Enjoy Your Life.

 

Play Into Your Jobs

 

Any job will give you money to put food on the table and pay your bills. Find the job that you enjoy.

 

As a kid, if you sat on the floor with a play cash register and get all excited about counting your play money, then, when you grow up you probably will enjoy being an economist, stock broker or banker. Go for it.

 

One of the best things about childhood is you get to “Play Into Your Job” that you want in Life. You don’t have to be the President of the United States of America or the President of the Philippines to sit on the kitchen floor and remind your action figures or your dolls, “ I’m in charge ! ”

 

If you wanted to be an astronaut; why are you working as a landscaper ? Turn in your trowel and live your dream. Fine. You may be too old for NASA. Maybe you don’t have enough or the right “Edu-ma-cation.” Big deal.

 

Use the brain God gave you. Use you Common Sense. Find a way to live your dream. Gene Roddenberry wrote some scripts and remarked that he had an idea about “Wagon Train to the stars.” It worked out well for him. Star Trek is a factor of global cultures.

 

Robert Goddard, an American kid, who built rockets in his yard followed his dream that led to Mercury, Gemini , Apollo and made human spaceflight possible.

 

The Chinese built their firework rockets centuries ago, but it took a kid with a dream to realize “How To Ride A Rocket To The Moon And Back.”

 

Everyone is always more capable of doing things than they give themselves credit for.

 

A Job For “Uncle Sam”

 

Over the holidays, the kids have been keeping themselves occupied. They seem bored.

 

This is a job for their “Uncle Sam.”

 

I didn’t really need the radio-controlled helicopter in the bright and shiny box. But, I never had one as a kid.

 

A few months ago, I had an experimental prototype helicopter , but the kids didn’t get a chance to fly it. We decided to see if “Saldana One” would fly.

 

Being “The Older Kid” I handled the January 2, 2013 refueling operation. It burst into flames. The plastic housing of the cockpit burned away. I was left with the charred radio controlled gadgets on the fuselage frame and the twin alloy tail rotor booms. I overcharged it.

 

Unfortunately, “Saldana One” was experimental from the git-go because it was an “Impulse Buy” that I reacted to, rather than researched. I re-designated the aircraft “Saldana One YX.”  Reclassified as an experimental aircraft I could feel better about placing the rotary wing aircraft in my backyard “boneyard” to become part of the ecology.

Plus, I could not justify to my wife, Christy, my version of Congress, the needed “budget expenditure” to add a model aircraft into my “inventory.”

 

I decided Sam and the kids needed to get in or get out of aviation.

 

Gee, retired Air Force; I wonder what my decision will be ?

 

I spent two hours in the Gaisano Central toy department. The sales girls were looking at me funny. I considered braking into a chorus of “Off we go into the wild blue yonder.” Instead, I smiled, put down the big box and picked up a box with a tiny muddy camo colored helicopter

 

The tiny camo chopper didn’t “sing” at me. I looked at the egg beater that fires plastic rockets and realized they would be lost in the front yard for future archaeologists to discover.

 

The plastic G.I., on the retractable line from the whirlybird looked cool, but, I decided to start the kids with civil aviation.

 

The news chopper really caught my eye because it had the built in video, which was obviously a camera lens on a platform below the fuselage, but it had a boring white paint job.

 

The beautiful metallic red and blue choppers sat at the bottom in big boxes. I read all the information on the front back and sides of the box. These rotary wing aircraft “sang to me.”

 

A Filipino man, who had been studying the model aircraft inventory pointed at the white chopper. “This helicopter has video,” he smiled.

 

It really is cool,” I replied. He looked at the white chopper.

 

I held the red chopper box and looked at it. “Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight.” The words echoed in my ears. I glanced down at the blue helicopter hangar-ed in the box.

 

I put the big boxed red chopper back and picked up the big boxed blue helicopter. Words came to mind: “Jolly Green Giant”, UH-1, “Huey”, “Apache”, “Air Wolf”, and I saw my grin reflected on the plastic window of the box.

I looked at the metallic blue chopper for a moment and recalled a UH-1 chopper flight I had had the opportunity to board a 13th Air Force helicopter from the parade ground out of Clark Air Base. 

The wind in my face and the whirling rotor blades made me feel like at last I could fly with the angels.  I could look out across the horizon at the checkerboard pattern of rice fields until we touched down in Manila.

I stepped off the Huey in my blue uniform with my camera in hand and familiar song lyrics singing in my mind.  I looked back down at this blue model helicopter in the box.

 

I bought the big blue boxed helicopter and strolled out of the store with the familiar song lyrics singing in the back of my mind.

JUNEA AT THE CONTROLS 128Warren One_Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.JTPF1M DSC_0127_resized

 

Junea Tanahale “pilots” the controls of “Warren One” as the chopper rises to fly in the Philippines’ sky, while Vanissa, her cousin, watches. Nikon D 200 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Flight Line Time

 

Today, I’ got to  “Be A Kid.” Rayniel and I did the preflight check and maintenance last night. We put the eight double A batteries in the helicopter. Junea and Vanissa looked at the helicopter manual. I charged up the chopper, earlier in the day. The movie, “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl” just ended.  Aunt Christy and the kids watched the movie, while I wrote this editorial.

 

Rayniel carries the aircraft. Vanissa and Junea fall in step behind Rayniel toward our imaginary “Red Horse” runway.

 

I grab my Nikon camera and follow the kids. Rayniel does his preflight of the helicopter on the Barangay Baras road and takes the radio control unit. I zoom in on the chopper. The rotors spin.

 

We, kids start to have fun.

 

The chopper starts to rise. I begin to take photos.  The blades are rotating and the chopper is singing.  Over the digital camera shutter, I hear the familiar song lyrics singing in my mind,and the song lyrics sing in my mind:

 

,”. . .nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force.”

 

Enjoy Life !

Fly With The Angels !

JUNEA TANAHALE PILOTS WARREN ONE PAST A COCONUT TREE THUMBNAIL

Sam

Radio Controlled Helicopter Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-controlled_helicopter

 

Radio Controlled Aircraft Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-controlled_aircraft

 

Experimental Aircraft List Wikipedia

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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

January 7, 2013 at 4:14 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Observances, Opinion, Patriotism, Philippines, Photography, Sam I Am, The Ozarks, Tourism, Tropics

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

with 4 comments

After Action Report Christmas Eve 2012

 

Christmas

In

The

P.I.

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

Noche Buena Feast 2012

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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

 

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

 

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

 

I learned to associate cold with Christmas.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Shop For The Egg Nog

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Hallelujah ! No Snow for Christmas !”

 

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

 

I have no use for Snow.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Potato Pancakes

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

Banana Pancakes and a platter of rice.

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

 

The Hob Nob Cafe

DeQueen, Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lechon

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Christy Warren places the silverware on the Noche Buena table_Photo 2

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tuba Time

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Common Sense Social Etiquette

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pot Luck Suppers

 

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

 

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

 

West And East Cultural Dinner Differences

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Single Person Protocol

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Warrens Of Texas, DeLongs Of Missouri

 

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

 

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

 

Maligayang Pasko !

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

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

 

Noche Buena Links

 

Hiland Dairy Foods Egg Nog

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

 

History of Egg Nog

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/history.php

 

How To Make Egg Nog

Holiday Recipe

http://howtomakeeggnog.com/holiday.php

 

The Traditional Noche Buena

in the Philippines

Yahoo

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

 

Noche Buena

Filipino Recipes

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

 

Nochebuena Wikipedia

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

 

Pirates Piracy Wikipedia

 

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

 

Captain Morgan Wikipedia

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

 

Captain Morgan Rum Website

http://www.captainmorgan.com/

 

Tanduay

http://www.tanduay.com/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

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

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How To Build A Christmas Tree Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

with 5 comments

Christmas Craft Project

 

How To Build A Christmas Tree

RAYNIEL  CUTS ALUMINUM TREE BRANCHES_3086

 

Rayniel Saldana cuts strips into aluminum foil to create the branches for a Christmas Tree. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ranilo asks his Aunt Christy if the scrawny bamboo tree would make a good Christmas Tree. Christy shook her head No. “We can build a Christmas Tree,” she smiled.

 

All the kids looked at their aunt like she had asked them to help build a space shuttle. Their eyes flashed the word, “Impossible.”

 

Only God can make a tree, but, the Warren nieces and nephews should realize by now, “Aunt Christy” will come up with a way to build a Christmas Tree.

 

Ranilo helped Christy saw off a mop handle-sized branch from the bamboo tree.

 

LENEIL RAYNIELAND JUNEA WORK ON THE TREE

 

Leneil and Rayniel Saldana wrap aluminum foil around pieces of electrical wire strands, which serve as branches for this Christmas Tree. Junea Tanahale straightens her tree branch. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Instead of, the 3-pound Folger’s coffee can, she choose a Bear Brand can about the same sie to fill with rocks to serve as a tree stand.

 

The pole-sized branch went into the center of the can and remained upright due to the rocks packed tightly around the artificial trunk. Christy then sent Junea, Ranyiel and Vanissa to a Sari Sari Store for aluminum foil.

 

Christy got some discarded electrical wire and stripped off some of the insulation to create the rods for the branches. Ranilo got green Japanese rice paper to wrap the artificial trunk.

 

Using a kitchen knife, she bored holes to hold the rods into the trunk. She met my look of skepticism with a smile and the comment, “You use what you have.”

 

In the United States, Christy would of used Reynold’s Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, which she always wrapped the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner turkeys in to cook. In Barangay Baras, the aluminum foil has a thinner quality.

 

Christy cut strips and showed the kids how to fold the sheets in half. Once folded, they would cut incisions three-quarters of the way down to create the needles of the tree.

 

Christy and the kids used the scissors to curl the slender strips. Then, they wrapped the strips around the rods to create branches. Sunday afternoon wore into Sunday evening and supper time. Day One ends and the tree is “still a work in progress.”

LENEIL WRAPS A TREE BRANCH_3083_resized

 

Leneil Saldana wraps aluminum foil around wire to create a tree branch. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nonetheless, the twinkling tinsel look of the silver artificial tree reminded me of Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey Irwin in Houston, Texas, who lived a few blocks from a “Maxwell House” coffee plant.

 

On a spring evening, “The Good Till The Last Drop” aroma would reach you. The aroma of a cup of Maxwell House coffee always reminds me of Georgia Mavon Warren, my “Aunt Bill”, who loved her ice tea. She and Uncle Audrey always used a four foot silver artificial Christmas Tree.

 

In 1959, a fat five pound black electric motor would be placed near the tree to hum and spin the spindle that would rotate the pie shaped disk in front of a light mounted on the motor. The light passing through the colored wedges of “The Color Wheel” would bathe the tree in changing shades of rainbow hues.

The Built Tree Stands Ready To Be Decorated Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr._resized

 

The finished Christmas Tree stands ready for decorations. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

A 5-year-old boy, named, Sam, could sit for several minutes and stare up at the changing colors washing over the sparkling tree.

 

A 57-year-old man, named, Sam, could stand and admire the work that “Aunt Christy” Warren and her volunteers had accomplished in a day’s time.

 

The kids called it a night to get ready for school the next day. Christy and Leneil kept wrapping the foil around the branches until they ran out of foil.

 

When the kids came home from school, Leneil and Christy were still wrapping the artificial branches in foil. Aluminum foil was applied around the tree stem over the rice paper.

 

Christy’s sister, Esmeralda, showed up and helped wrap branches. By Day Two, the artificial tree was starting to look like an artificial Christmas Tree.

 

By Monday 11 p.m., the tree was finished. Tuesday, the tree was placed in a bamboo plant stand built by Edwin Mora. Green material draped over the can and around the tree trunk serves as the tree skirt.

 

Packages of strings of crafts beads become the garlands for the tree. Christy decides the weight of the strings could be too much for the branches, so, instead or circling the tree, the beaded garland is draped diagonally at an angle at different positions on the tree.

 

A Christmas Angel tree top light packed in the shipped household goods assumed the command position a top the tree.

The Christmas Tree Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr._resized

 

Strings of craft beads serve as the garland for the built Christmas Tree. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Warren nieces and nephews learned, “Only God can make a tree”. . .but, given the time, material and the labor skills of volunteers and Aunt Christy will show them “How To Build A Christmas Tree.”

Sam

 

Christmas Tree Branches of Information

 

Christmas Tree Farm Network

 

http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html

 

Christmas Tree – Wikipedia

 

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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Birthday Party

with 6 comments

Plan, Host, Entertain, Celebrate, Reminisce, Enjoy

 

The Birthday Party

1_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 002

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

by Samuel E. Warren Jr

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Most Important Day Of Your Life Each Year

 

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

 

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

2_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 005

   

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

 

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

Event Planning

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

4_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 016

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Southern Hospitality

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

 

Military Customs And Courtesies

 

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

 

Diplomatic Protocol

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Know Your Surroundings

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Leneil Saldana

Coconut Shell Briquets

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fate’s Flexibility Factors

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Christy Warren – Party Planner

Christy The Birthday Party Planner

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Birthday Party Cuisine

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Family and Friends Faraway

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Ladies Men” – Mike and Greg

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Birthday Party Guests

 

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

 

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

5_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 021

 

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

6_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 027

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

7_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 029

 

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

 

Five-Star Birthday Party

 

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

 

English ?

 

Tagalog ?

 

Waray ?

 

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

 

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

 

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

Philippines’ Ponder Points

 

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

 

My After Action Report for 2012

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

CHRISTY AND VANISSA_6205_resized

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Life’s On The Job Training

 

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

 

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

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HOG HOUSE

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

SARI SARI STORE BUILT BY RAMON

SARI SARI STORE built by Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.

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

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

 

Division Downsizing

 

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

 

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

 

Warren-building

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Holiday Is Halloween

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Halloween And Birthday Party Tradition

 

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

 

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

 

School District Logistics

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Weird Weather

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Momma’s Miracle – My Birthday Party

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Christy ?”

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

The Birthday Cake

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

November 4, 2012 at 5:41 AM

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

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