Category Archives: S. Omar Barker

Issue 183 – Christmas Specials and More

Issue 183 November 6, 2019 An Occasional Newsletter Edited by Stan Paregien

Okay, you know it is that time again. Walmart, Target and even Home Depot have Christmas stuff on display and for sale. So, not to be left completely in the dust, I  offer these ideas for your kind consideration.

Big Book of Manatee County, Florida: Amazing Facts & Photos

This is my 19th book and the first in my “Big Book” series. I published it on Oct. 29, 2019 as a “Print-On-Demand” paperback. ISBN-10: 169901308X. It is printed and distributed by KDP, an arm of Amazon. The list price for this large format book (8.5 X 11”; 2.4 pounds) is $54.99. Yep, that’s an eye-popping price, but it is 389 pages long, with over 450 biographical sketches and some 430 photographs printed on premier paper.

I planned this book with these ideas in mind: (1) It should be written in a lively, easy-to-read style; (2) It should be an invaluable reference tool for full-time residents of Manatee County, Florida; (3) It should be an interesting and useful book for visitors to Manatee County; and (4) it should point out the good and the not-so-good points of living here. When it comes to an almanac-type history of Manatee County, Florida there is nothing that even comes close to this book in terms of readability, comprehensiveness or usefulness. Please visit Amazon.com to order this book.                    

The Day Jesus Died: Revised Edition. (2019)

$33.99  216 page paperback.   ISBN-13: 978-1799145066  Aug., 2019

I wrote this inspirational book in 1970. It had been out of print for 41 years before I published as an eBook in 2011. Then in 2019, I revised it as this paperback. The topics discussed in the illustrated book are just as current as today’s morning newspaper. One of the most important of the 18 chapters deals with “The Problem of Unbelief”. The author examines the meanings of “unbelief” and “faith,” and talks about ways that Christians and unbelievers can better communicate and help each other to understand their respective positions.  Also available as an eBook.

S. Omar Barker: Las Vegas, New Mexico’s Legendary Cowboy Poet (2019)  

$54.99  8 X 10”  367 page paperback     ISBN-13: 978-1078301985

This biography is the very first in-depth telling of the life of New Mexico’s celebrated cowboy poet, S. Omar Barker (1896-1985). He was greatly admired and loved. He managed to achieve that status even though he seldom left his beloved retreat in the mountains of northern NM.  His secret was that he made his living through his mailbox. Writing in virtual isolation, Omar sold his poetry, articles and novels to many different publishers. This biography contains 50 complete poems of his, but it is much more about his unusual life and the people and the culture of San Miguel County. His peers had him serve a term as president of the Western Writers of America. His is an inspiring story about a local boy who made it big without leaving home and who never lost that common touch.

Cowboy singer and poet Red Steagall (Ft. Worth, TX) wrote the Foreword, and ranch and writer Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns (Newcastle, WY) wrote the Introduction.  Also available as an eBook.

Don and Judy Betts seeing their photo on the dedication page for the first time.

Don & Judy did not know at the moment above that their bio is also in this book, along with nearly 500 others.

Here are a few other ideas for gifts, and these are eBooks:

COWBOY EARMUFFS

ISBN:  9781311267405    Published April 16, 2014. These 15 stories are just a few of those which he has written and performed, starting in 1991. This eBook contains such storytelling jewels as “The Cajun Submarine,” “My Cowdog Named ‘Sex’,” “The Grey Ghost,” “The Christmas Spirit,” “A Patoot Salute,” “A Lot of Bull,” and “Reincarnation Blues.”

A RAINY DAY READER (100 Non-Cowboy Poems)

ISBN: 9781310912474   Published: April 3, 2014.  The poems range from the serious to the hilariously funny, from those with an academic bent to those with little redeeming social value (except for a smile or two). Great for that rainy day read. Poems include “N. Scott Momaday: A Literary Legend,” “Had Any Lately?,” “My Banker Ain’t No Friend of Mine,” “Cat Heaven,” “Smart Pills,” “The Origin of NASCAR,” “Garage Sale Blues,” “That Damned St. Francis Dam” and many more.

BOGGY DEPOT SHOOTOUT

The Austin Chronicles, Book 1. ISBN: 9781310788215   Published: February 25, 2014.  This was Stan’s first volume in a projected series of Western novels. Book 2 is also available. This volume follows the Austin family and how they coped with the unique challenges of living in the West just after the end of America’s Civil War in 1865. The main character in this book is young Daniel Austin, a Confederate veteran. Their trials climax with a shootout at Boggy Depot, Indian Territory.

WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC & MYTH

ISBN: 9781301025206   Published: September 29, 2012. Approximately 110,670 words. Woody Guthrie was born and reared in the hardest of times. But as he became an adult, he took advantage of America’s eagerness to mythologize the working man into a grassroots hero (as in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath). He adopted the persona—the music, the speech, the look and the habits–of the poor working class he observed in his travels. He hardly ever stepped out from behind that image, though he was in fact an intellectual with a gift for writing poetry, novels, and songs that connected with the young and the old, the educated elite and the nearly illiterate.

The Okie from Okemah, Oklahoma may one day be seen as one of the most creative persons in the world. Though he died way too young, he left a treasure chest filled with his songs and poetry, his books of fiction, his cartoons and artwork, and his large number of audio recordings. Without question, he was the most prolific writer of folk songs America has ever seen. Don’t miss reading this carefully researched biography of the man who wrote “This Land Is Your Land” and some 3,000 more songs.

Okay, neighbors, you’ve stuck with me to the end of the commercial. So here’s a “no charge” bonus  and no “extra shipping and handling fees” like the TV hucksters like to add on a second order of their gizmo.

My following poem pokes fun at “free verse” or “non-rhyming” poetry. No harm intended.

By the way, I apologize in advance for the . . . c-r-a-z-y . . . format that WordPress created for me on this poem. I’m afraid they have “improved” this program to the point I can’t use it. Not the way I want to, anyhow. Grrrrrrr. — Stan

Ode to Unrhymed Poetry & Those

Who Write Such

by Stan Paregien  – Nov. 3, 2019

My first performance at a major poetry event

Was back in ’91 out in ol’ Colorado Springs.

The Great Pikes Peak Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Featured poetry, music, stories and other things.

For three days, this well-bankrolled celebration

Featured known and unknown folks like me.

Each night, though, the big guns came out — like

Riders in the Sky and ol’ Waylon Jennings you see.

Well, friends, each afternoon it featured an open mike

For any cowboy types to step up and entertain.

The first afternoon a feller in sandals read somethin’

That, to this day, I find mighty hard to explain.

He looked kinda like a college professor on hard times,

But he said he had a poem of his own creation to share.

For about 15 minutes he said somethin’ or ‘nother ‘bout

His soul, ecology, and some philosophy he did lay bare.

Now, I had been educated plum past others in my clan,

But about his message I couldn’t make heads nor tails.

I removed my Stetson and scratched my noggin twice,

And concluded the stranger had run way off the rails.

Later, a more literated cowboy poet than me explained

That gent had used a literary device called “free verse.”

The term made sense ‘cause who would pay for such?

But over the years I’ve found the situation getting worse.

Fact is, there’s a cowboy poet near San Diego town

Who writes unrhymed poet and gets a lot of press.

And another cowboy  poet whose name begins with Z,

Is in great demand so I’m jealous I have to confess.

Now, let me be clear: I’m like most folks, I’d guess.

I believe in freedom of speech and the Golden Rule.

So I cut folks a lot of slack in how they live and such,

After all, I didn’t come from the deep end of the gene pool.

I’m tellin’ you, pards, all this fuzzy stuff being written

Under the brand free verse, unrhymed poetry and more

Just leaves me with a throbbing king-sized headache and,

Maybe more than anything, it is all such a doggoned bore.

When I read poetry, I don’t want to have to use Google,

A collegiate dictionary, or Wikipedia to understand.

I like S. Omar Barker, Baxter Black, Red Steagall,

Badger Clark and others of the rhyming brand.

My wife says, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

So I close with this stanza of words unrhymed.

I will admit free verse material

Makes me think and wonder.

“Say what?”

“Why bother?”

And, “Huh?”

**************************************************

Yep, that’s our kid. We called him “Gene” (our middle name is “Eugene” — probably from my maternal grandfather’s brother, Eugene Arthur Cauthen. Heck, I didn’t make that connection until this week when I stumbled across some information on Ancestry.com. We always called him “Uncle Arthur.” ). Anyhow, in basic training for the Air Force they call you by your first name. Period. And he got to like it, so folks who know him from 1989 or so call him Stan. And for some time now around our house it has been this: Lt. Colonel Stan Paregien.

Well, folks, I guess that’s about it for this go-round. I’ve already told you more than I know. But I will add that all of what I’ve said is absolutely true or pert nearly so (as old-timers liked to say).

Adios,

Stan Paregien

Issue 370 – Christmas Cheer

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 370     –     Dec. 4, 2017

Christmas Cheer

Ah, here we are. Another holiday season with both Christmas and New Years Day fast approaching. Amid the din of noisy TV and radio commerials and the ads packing each issue of our newspaper, there is still an opportunity now and then to push the pause button and reflect on what the Christmas season means to me and to our society.

Oh, sure, there are those who see Christmas as just a time for more than a “cup of cheer,” more like a keg of beer and pretzels and tacos. Their anthem is,. “Let’s party! And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas and all that stuff.”

I was reminded recently about how a great many Americans and people in other cultures around the world still pause on Christmas to speak a word of kindness or to actually do a neighborly act for someone as a way of honoring the man Jesus who outgrew that manger in Bethleham and devoted his life to doing good for everyone.

On Saturday, November 17, 2017, we were guests of our son and his wife at whole day walking around Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. People were there for the amusement rides, the Christmas parade, the lights and the vast selection of food items. In addition, though, at about 1:30 pm we joined an overflow crowd (I’d guess about 500 people) who found seats in the beautiful theater there. And then we were all treated to a live play, a really fine production of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Like many of you grey-haired or no-haired folks, I have seen several versions of that play. 

However, I must say that this production on that day was the best I’ve ever experienced. The actors were simply superb. The orchestra was magnificent. The sets were like candy for the eyes. And the audience, . . . well, they clapped enthusiastically at the right times and wiped their eyes, as did I, at the quiet and emotional moments. I was so glad I got to experience that production and to do so with family and friends. Despite the fridgid north wind and the occasional rain, I was overjoyed to be there. Again I was reminded that people really do enjoy good stories with good moral values — honesty, loyalty to family and friends, sacrificial love of dedicated mothers and fathers for their children, and that still wonderful bond of community between people of diverse backgrounds.

     *  *  *

On Sunday, Dec. 3rd, we were out kicking around with friends Michael & Penny Letichevsky. Since Peggy and I had outfitted in “Christmas colors,” we all stopped by the Desoto Mall in Bradenton for Penny to take a few photos to try to get one we could insert in a few Christmas cards.

This shot was a great one, by our standards, but it came in 2nd place.

2017--12--03 03B Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

The “1st Place” photo was totally unexpected. Ol’ Santa himself left his station where he was available for photos with kids . . . and sneaked up behind us and got into one of our photos. We love it, because we were blissfully ignorant he was right behind us and getting in on the fun.

2017--12--03 03A Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

Yep, as you can probably tell from the above photo, both Peggy and I have trimmed down considerably over the last four months or so. I feel better now than I have in many years. And prettier, too. Yuk-yuk.

2017--12--03 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by Penny Letichevsky

And Now, . . . A Word About

Football

Sooners.

Yes, as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. They sport a record of 12 wins and one loss. And on New Years Day they will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs at the one-and-only Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Later that night, the Clemson Tigers will play the Univerity of Alabama Tide. Then the winners of those two games will play for the National Championship.

2017--10--12 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

Congratulations to the OU football players, to their coaches and to their supporters — “the Sooner Nation.” I am of the humble, unbiased opinion that the Sooners will neuter the Dogs in their semi-finals game and will finally reign as the National Champions.

2017--10--13 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

After all, we have a not-too-secret weapon in our quarterback, Baker Mayfield, likely the next Heisman Trophy winner as the best football player in America, the world and our universe.

2017--10--10 Baker Mayfield, quarterback at Oklahoma University Sooners

Go Sooners!!

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 1 of 3

[Don Betts’ poem, Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale]

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 2 of 3

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 3 of 3

Bravo, Mr. Betts. Another amazingly creative and always linguistically challenging poem. Keep up the fine work, my dear friend.

2012--Christmas--tree--Blondie Cartoon--Dagwood trims the new tree--2012--12--16

[“Blondie” cartoon about an ugly Christmas tree and how Dagwood made it uglier.]

Christmas Trees Don’t Have To Be Perfect

To Be Beautiful

 By Curtis K. Shelburne

My earliest Christmas memories are mostly wrapped around our family’s Christmas trees.

 I remember Mom making creamy hot chocolate and my sister stacking the spindle of the old record player with an inch-high pile of vintage vinyl Christmas music by Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Norman Luboff Choir.

 Most years the tree had already been bought at (where else?) Amarillo’s Boy Scout Troop 80 Christmas tree lot. I was a member of Troop 80 and thus expected to help sell trees each year. My younger brother was not, but he was a wheeler-dealer sort who liked selling trees and often, as I recall, managed to pawn off more trees than most of the bona fide boy scouts. Jacob (I mean, Jim) always felt Jacob of old settled for far too little when he sold his hungry brother Esau that bowl of stew and only got a birthright for it. Jim would’ve held out for hard cash and then the birthright at the end as a balloon payment.

Christmas Tree-- imperfect trees are okay

[photo of a not-too perfect tree]

We’d lean the tree in the garage for a day or a few on its amputation-site stump in a bucket of water while it waited to be lit and glorified. Anchoring the tree in the stand was a chore. Jim and I would crawl under the scratchy boughs and slide around on our wood floor to turn each screw just the right amount. It was never straight the first time.

Then my 15-years-older sister, the unquestioned head honcho of the process, would ascend to perform the task of highest honor as she put on the lights (bubble lights, snowball lights, and all), a job in later years graciously bequeathed to me.

 Then we would hang the ornaments, a tedious task but nothing like as bad as the final stage in the process: hanging the icicles.

I don’t see those long, thin, silvery strands of foil or plastic, those “icicles,” on trees much anymore. I hope never again to have to put them on one of mine.

1940s Christmas tree - with lots of tinsels

[ photo of a 1940s style Christmas tree with lots of icicles]

According to my sister, they had to be hung with great care, one at a time. Ten million or so came in a box. You’d drag one out of the box and carefully place it over a tree branch. It was essential, my sister assured us, to start at the back near the trunk and make sure the icicle hung straight down on both sides of the branch. Straight down. No clumps. Which is why Jim’s preferred method of grabbing a paw-full of icicles and launching the whole wad in the general direction of the tree was sternly forbidden. No. One at a time. Until you froze there, died there, decayed there, and Christmas never came, and it was spring and you were still hanging icicles. One at a time.

 I don’t know what we thought would happen—apart from sure death—if we didn’t hang the icicles exactly right. Would Santa’s sleigh suddenly crash in flight and the FAA later determine and publish for the whole world full of weeping giftless children to see that the cause was icing—not on the sleigh but improper tree icicling by two Shelburne boys at 125 N. Goliad, Amarillo, Texas, whose wanton and reckless disregard had killed Santa?

I’m sure we never did it “right.” But I remember wandering into the living room as a little lad clad in those great PJs that came complete with feet, lying down almost under the tree, looking up through its branches, and drinking in the beauty.

By God’s grace, Christmas trees don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Neither do lives.

[Copyright 2011 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.]

  * * * * *

an-christmas tree

Christmastree-dog

 * * *

Poem 139 - The Truth About Santa Claus -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Feb 1, 1992

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “The Truth About Santa” ]

Poem 393 -- A Holiday Greeting -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Oct 13, 2014

[Stan Paregien’s poem, “A Holliday Greeting” ]

Poem 402 Christmas Time in Florida - by Stan Paregien Nov 14, 2014

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “Christmas Time in Florida” ]Poem by S Omar Barker - One Snowy Christmas Eve - in THE ROUNDUP for Dec, 1978, page 7
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “One Snowy Christmas Eve” ]S Omar Barker, 'The Cowboy's Christmas Prayer'
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer” ]

2017--12--03 06 Bradenton, FL - Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46 v10

[ “Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ]

* * *

Honor Roll of Visitors

to The Paregien Journal

http://www.paregienjournal.com

I enjoy writing, as all of you can attest. My first published article was in the student newspaper at the first college I attended, back in the fall of 1961. Since then I have had hundreds of articles appear in scores of different newspapers and magazines. And three hardback books, two paperback books and 15 eBooks later, I haven’t lost that drive to find ideas worthy of sharing with all of you.

There is something singularly satisfying about my little blogs published as the title of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL at http://www.paregienjournal.com. That satisfaction comes from knowing that on any given day there may be people visiting my site from all over the world. Instantly. Amazing.

I am pleased and thankful that – just since January 1, 2017 — people from 72 nations visited this web page. Heck, I don’t even know where many of them are on a map of the world. But here is that list as of Nov. 10, 2017:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Thanks to all those who live in other nations and have honored us with a visit to this site. We appreciate it very much. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I’m giving some serious thought to doing a series of profiles next year about each of the nations listed above. I’m start with the first three — Albania, Algeria, Andorra — and see how that goes. If you are from one of those nations  or can put me in touch with a knowledgeable person with first-hand, recent information, I’d appreciate a note to me at:  paregien@gmx.com . Thanks.

an-christmas-fiveCats

A very merry Christmas to each and every one of you. And if you haven’t done so as yet, why not take a small gift or a dish of food to someone who is sick or lonely? You could certainly cheer them up. Then that person would be blessed and so would you, especially if you warmly and graciously offer to pick that person up in your car and spend maybe just an hour driving around looking at all the Christmas lights.

Until next year, Lord willing.

— Stan Paregien

2017--12--03 04 Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

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