Sam I Am Blog

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Summer Hiatus by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Summer Hiatus

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I write.

 

I love to write.

 

I write something almost everyday.

 

What To Write

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Readers’ Comments

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

School Is Out For The Summer”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Extremes” Of Farm Life

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

On Leave

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Needs Of The Mission. . .”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Printer’s Ink

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Editorial Page

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Opinion Man

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Country Boy Commentary

 

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

 

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

 

Politics

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I have no use for Republicans.  REPUBLICAN ELEPHANT PIN_btn_gop 

 

Religion

 

I have no use for Religion.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Who gets to be The Martyr Today ?”

 

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

 

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

 

For All The World To Read

 

I leave my opinions for all the world to read.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Sam

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Written by samwarren55

July 9, 2013 at 11:30 PM

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

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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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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 Hog Farmer by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Parental Portrait for Christmas

 

Opal

The Hog Farmer

OPAL M DELONG WARREN_resized

 

Opal

Missouri Hillbilly

Opal M. DeLong Warren, would proudly proclaim to someone she had just met, “ I am a Missouri Hillbilly.” Opal may not be The Show Me State’s First Woman Hog Farmer, but, she should certainly be in the rankings as “One Of Missouri’s Most Prolific Women Hog Farmers.” From 1960 until 1982, Opal had 25 sows of the Yorkshire, Hampshire and Duroc breeds that raised litters of pigs that averaged 12 to 18 pigs per litter. Of the awards that she earned in her lifetime, one of her favorites was the year, the Galena Chapter of the Future Farmers of America presented her with a Chapter Farmer Award.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In 1960, momma and I moved to a farm in Missouri. Through the years, her herd of hogs would expand to 25 sows of Yorkshire, Hampshire and Duroc breeds.

 

Our United Nations of Pork would welcome litters of 10 to 18 pigs, running, rooting and squealing over the landscape for 20 years.

 

In the process, the 10 acres of land would come to resemble the lunar landscape thanks to the dedicated snouts of hogs rooting into the soil. The air was always fresh and clean.

 

Of course, when the wind shifted and the aroma of hog manure assaulted your nostrils, people would always reconsider their “Tom Sawyer” and “Little House On The Prairie” philosophies of “Life In The Country.”

 

The Good Ole’ Days Of Pork Production”

 

Hogs always got the “bad publicity” for the smell of livestock manure in the country. Every time people “pushed” to implement “Planning and Zoning” one of the favorite fairy tales that the critics would shout is, “You don’t want your neighbor to put in a ‘hog farm’, next to your property.”

 

The Planning and Zoning argument is silly. If you have a “sensitive nose” – stay the hell away from a farm !

 

Hogs always got the bad publicity. Yet, all farms have barns, barnyards and feed lots. It does not matter if the farm is a dairy farm, a cattle farm, a mule farm, a horse farm, or a horse ranch, livestock takes care of their daily body functions. When the breeze shifts, your nose will notice. Manure is manure and it always smells bad.

 

Nonetheless, the 1960s through the early 1980s were “The Good Ole’ Days Of Pork Production,” when hog buyers through the country would stop by and pay you top dollar for a litter of well-fed feeder pigs ready for market.

 

Lost In Place

 

Green Acres” was one of my favorite television shows as a kid. Eddie Albert played the New York City lawyer, who moves to the “boonies” to live the simple life of a farmer. There was a major element of truth to the script; you really do need “a successful lawyer’s salary if you want to be a farmer in the United States.”

 

Hungarian bombshell actress, Eva Gabor played the role of the New York City socialite wife, who was miserable living out in the “boonies” on a farm. The actresses discontent is another major element of “truth”: rural life is not as convenient as city life.

 

In Galena, Missouri in 2011, the nearest hospital was at least 40 miles away in Springfield, Missouri and Aurora, Missouri. There is also a hospital about 25 miles away in Branson, Missouri. Medical emergencies rely on the ambulances and sometimes medical helicopter flights.

 

The nearest pizza in the rural area around Galena in 2011 was about five miles away at Speedee’s in Galena or 10 miles away in Crane, Missouri.

 

In the rural surroundings of Galena, Missouri, after 8 p.m., you will have to wait to the next day or get in the car and drive to Springfield, Branson West or Branson if you want a pizza, taco or movie.

 

The Biggest Gamblers In The World

 

A curious irony of life in the Midwest is the conservative, religious culture is against “gambling”; yet, farmers are some of the ‘Biggest Gamblers In The World” because nature and weather always seems to be “rigging the deck” against farmers.

 

Everyday is a “Gamble” for a farmer because nature, weather, falling crop and livestock prices can leave a farmer and his or her family homeless in a couple of years.

 

Cash Cows Of Farm Finances

 

ARMCHAIR FARMER Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr._resizedA cow will have one calf a year, while an old sow can have two to three litters a year with the number of pigs ranging from six to 18.

 

In farming, cattle are usually considered as the “Cash Cows of Farm Finances” in raising livestock, but, in southwest Missouri in the 1960s, it was easier to get into hog farming. Hogs provided a stable, consistent revenue stream which allowed a farmer to expand into other areas of livestock production like beef cattle. Momma’s hogs provided the money for her to get a herd of about 50 Black Angus cattle. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

It takes about a year to raise a beef heifer or steer to the size to send to market. It takes a few months to raise a pork litter of pigs to the size to send to market.

 

If you have the land and the money then buy your Stetson, boots, high priced tractors, babe magnet farm pickups, fancy stock trailers and invest in a herd of horses or cattle.

 

If you have a small budget and need to get into livestock farming quickly, buy you a couple of sows, rent you a couple of acres of land away from nosy neighbors and planning and zoning bureaucrats and get into hog farming.

 

Farming is a business like any business with it’s own up and downs. Cattle and horse farming is like trying to build a multinational, global corporation overnight. Hog farming is like realizing you need a small business to build into a global corporation.

 

Momma grew up on a farm, so she knew that hogs is your best overall money-making agricultural investment.

 

Chicken farming and turkey farming makes money, but, there is a sizable investment in building the big, long chicken and turkey houses for poultry. Raccoons, foxes, wolves and snakes love chicken and turkey, perhaps, more than people, so the “hen house” and turkey houses have to be designed to keep out these types of wildlife.

 

Crop farming takes a lot of land and you have to rely on the weather to give you the right amount of rainfall and sunshine at the right time. Weather never cooperates with farmers.

 

Plus crop farming takes several months to get the seeds in the ground up to a harvest height. If the weather doesn’t get you, then, falling prices and insect pests will. After the American Civil War, a small pest,called the “boll weevil” kept cotton crop production down in the south until during the 1980s.

 

Hog farmers usually stand a greater chance of success than other types of farmers based on the investment needed to get up and running and the ability to keep things up and running over time.

 

As you make money, then, you can invest in cattle or crops and consider setting aside your rubber boots for the hand tooled leather cowboy boots to wear to the stockman’s club.

KEROSENE LANTERN 3505 STATE HWY 176 YARD SALE_resized

The Coal Oil Lantern

Farmers in the Missouri Ozarks usually called the lanterns, “coal oil lanterns”, instead of kerosene. In the 1960s, in southwest Missouri, electricity wasn’t always stable, especially when heavy snowfall had tree limbs freezing, breaking off and taking down power lines for two to three days at a time. The lanterns provided light in a hog shed at night, which came in handy when an old sow was giving birth to a litter of pigs. By the mid-1960s, Samuel E. Warren, my father, used his electrician skills to put lights in momma’s hog sheds. Still, we kept a lantern, in the corner of the sheds, just in case the lights went out. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Thank God For Hogs

 

Momma’s hogs put me through grade school, high school and let me chill out in college until I signed up for a military career.  

 

Around 1965, momma got some Black Angus cattle, which made money. But, the real dollars and sense of southwest Missouri farming for our family from the 1960s through 1980 came from the hogs.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, the business woman, knew the secret of financial success is saving and managing your money whether you work in public or are self employed. I should of learned these lessons earlier in life.

 

Perhaps, now, that I have written down these lessons, people will read and understand the common sense Ozarks logic, so that you never go hungry or thirsty and you don’t always have to worry about the roof over your head at night.

 

As long as people enjoy a good steak or a slice of ham, farmers will have jobs. In my country boy opinion, vegans and vegetarians are welcome to their plants and pasture grasses.

 

Keep in mind, though on any farm I live on, “The cattle have first choice at the pasture grasses. The vegans and vegetarians will just have to settle for the blades of grass in my front yard.”

 

And, come breakfast, I usually have a “hankerin’” for some pork chops, ham,sausage,and bacon.

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Food, Money, Nature, Opinion, Real Estate - Warren Land, Stone County History

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Hog Day Afternoon — Photo for Wade Martin, American Farmer, Stone County, Missouri

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Hog Day Afternoon Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr._7707_resized

Hog Day Afternoon

Photo for Wade Martin, American Farmer, Stone County, Missouri

This hog rests under a coconut tree in Barangay Balud, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. The hog is resting on a hill top. Behind the hog, is a drop off of about 10 feet straight down into the river, which shows up as a yellow color in the top of the photo.

I grew up on a hog farm, between Abesville and Galena, Missouri, in rural Stone County. My mother used about 10 acres of land for 25 head of hogs, Duroc, Hampshire and Yorkshire breeds to raise numerous litters of feeder pigs for market. From 1960 until 1982, before the county voted in Planning and Zoning, the hogs loved to “root” their snouts in the soil and wallow in beds of leaves in the hollow. The woven wire fence with the strand of barbed wire, usually kept the hogs in the field.

Every now and then, Momma would have to put a “ring” in a boar’s nose to keep him from “rooting under the fence” and getting out on the state highway. Filipino farmers don’t usually have the acreage to allow the hogs to roam, so it is not uncommon to see a sow or boar tethered to a tree.

Wade Martin, of Abesville, Missouri, is one American farmer, who could appreciate the weather and real estate limitations that Filipino farmers have to endure to raise a feeder pig for meat for the family or trying to get a litter ready to go to market.

I shot this photograph about 2:30 p.m., February 24, 2012. February is usually a cold month, with at least one snowfall in southwest Missouri and farmers are grateful if the temperatures rise about freezing – 32 degrees. On this February day in Leyte, it was around seventy degrees, which explains why the hog was stretched out for an afternoon nap in the heat. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Photography Patrol – Graduation Must Go On–Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Graduation Must Go On_0186_resized

Photography Patrol –  Graduation Must Go On — Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  Nature and weather spent a day and a half delivering monsoon rainfall to the island of Leyte.  Despite the flooding of rice fields and local rivers, local schools went forward with graduation exercises.  Teachers, parents and students of Mohon Elementary in Tanauan, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, waded through the water to complete their 57th Graduation Exercises and Recognition Day, Wednesday, March 28, 2012. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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