Tag Archives: Evelyn Cauthen Paregien

Issue 373 – Six Freebies for You

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 373  —  Feb. 24, 2018  —  Published Occasionally

Six Freebies for You

Free--002--round, red button

I have a number of free documents posted on my Google Drive storage account in a public folder.They are all in the popular PDF format, and all you have to do to read them is to go to the link below.

In addition, you may download any or all of them to your own PC’s hard drive . . . or upload them to your own cloud storage. One big advantage of a cloud account – such as Apple – iCloud; Google – Drive; Microsoft Outlook – OneDrive; etc. – is this: then you will be able to access that material through your PC, your tablet, your laptop, your smartphone, and so forth.

Here are the items I’ve posted there so far:

  1. Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling: Her Story  (1922-2011)

Article cover -- 1975 Photo of Evelyn Paregien Spradling

This is my personal tribute to my mother. I completed this 179 page document and released it on the 7th anniversary of her death – Feb. 23, 2011. This is a remarkable story of her growing up in south-central Oklahoma during the Great Depression, the daughter of dirt-poor sharecroppers, getting married and moving to California where life became a whole lot easier and better. I worked hard to let her love, faith and integrity clearly show. 

This essay really amounts to a book, since it is 180 pages long. It contains well over 300 photos and documents, mainly from her total of 30+ years in Oklahoma and 52 years in Ventura County, California. Many of the stories and photos relate, specifically to towns in which we lived: Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru and Newhall (in Los Angeles County).

  1. An Open Letter to Christian Friends  (May 18, 1972)

Book cover -- 02 - Open Letter -- May 18, 1972

This document will be of special interest to who grew up in (or are still in) religious groups which grew out of the “Restoration Movement” which started in the United States in about 1804 and rapidly grew. It was a recognition that followers of Christ by those days had divided into warring factions, and an effort to unite those Believers by using the Bible (not denominational creeds and disciples) as the standard for work and worship.

I wrote this letter to a few dozen friends way back on May 18, 1972 to explain why Peggy and I were changing from one Christian segment to another. Then in 2018 I rediscovered the letter and added an explanatory preface and a list of resources. It may also be of historical interest to those who study . . . or have to deal with . . . divisions within Christianity.

One of the factors in our leaving the group we’d been part of for our whole lives was their theological position regarding the use of instrumental music in worship. They were a’gin it. That is, they favored a cappella (voices only) in worship. There are other churches who advocate the same thing, though maybe not was loudly as we did. But that is only a part of the equation, as you will read.

  1. The Day Jesus Died (eBook in 2013)

1968-001 Cover of The Day Jesus Died

This book was published as a hardback in Austin, Texas in 1970. Back then I was a minister, first with the University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, New Mexico and then with the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was a collection of my sermons and magazine articles. It went out of print, but in 2012 or so I started revising many of the chapters. So, as with the more than a dozen other eBooks of mine, you may find them and buy them by simply Googling “books by Stan Paregien.” This PDF copy, however, is free.

  1. Oklahoma Almanac of Facts & Humor: Part 1

Cover--Part 1 -- Oklahoma Almanac--2013 --- Nigh 1773w x 2400 x 95dpi

Published: May 21, 2013. Category: Nonfiction. Foreword by the Honorable George Nye, former Governor of Oklahoma. This eBook is Part 1 of 2 containing facts about the state of Oklahoma. Part 1 covers Achille to Nowata. It is not your grandpa’s boring history book. The author starts by telling the unique stories of 148 towns, including those which are a county seat in one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. He includes photos, prominent people and humorous stories. Part 1 covers such towns as Ada, Atoka, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Durant, Eufaula, Elk City, Erick, Lawton, McAlester, Midwest City, Moore, and Norman.

  1. Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks and Photos


Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

This eBook is a combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice. There’s all kinds of factual information about our beautiful beaches and our vibrant history. But you’ll want to spent a lot of time in Chapter 3. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

  1. A List of Stan Paregien’s eBooks

This lists the 16 eBooks by Stan Paregien which are available at various retailers online. Also a brief bio.

Here’s the magic link for any or all of the above:


PLEASE NOTE:  The link above is subject to being changed at any time without notice.

Happy reading, my friends.

— Stan Paregien

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

Issue 342 – When Friends Pass Away


Issue 342  –  October 18, 2016

Ever notice how life seems to “pile stuff on to you” and at the most unexpected and most inconvenient times?  I remember driving back home to Edmond, Oklahoma from my job a few miles south of Oklahoma City. There were already four inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down . . . and I was hitting the big Internet interchange in the middle of the rush hour with bumper-to-bumper. I remember thinking, “Oh, I just hope I can get past this bottle neck okay.”

I didn’t. My car, creeping along at maybe 10 mph, coughed two or three times and stopped. And I couldn’t get it restarted. And impatient folks began to honk their horns and to give me that ol’ single-digit salute. Fortunately, within five minutes a Oklahoma Highway Patrolman drove up behind me and quickly pushed me across the three lanes of traffic and onto a shoulder of a road. Then he gave me a short ride to a convenience store, where I was on my own. I got home that night, but my car didn’t.

Life is like that. And sometimes those events are much more serious. Like the death of a relative or an old classmate or of a dear, dear friend. And too often those traumatic losses seem to hit way too close together.

That’s how I feel right now after losing — in just a few weeks — a former high school teacher of mine, a former high school classmate, a close former co-worker and Christian friend, a cousin of mine who just seems to always have been in my life over the years, and a man I’ve eaten meals with and had coffee with and  prayed with and worshipped with and “picked and grinned” with on a regular basis for over three years. Each of them represent a nitch in my own life, a nitch which now is missing a memorable part of my life.

But enough of that. Let me tell you about each one of them. 

Virgil R. Trout



Reggie Cauthen

Reggie Cauthen was a first-cousin of mine, the son of my mom’s brother Sidney Cauthen and his wife Thelma. Over the years, and I played together, fished in lakes and swam in creeks, and ate a lot of watermelon and home-made ice cream. Out time together became less and less as Peggy and I lived in distant places and his life in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and then in east Texas got complicated. Whenever we were able to get together, though, he always had a wide smile and a Texas-sized hug for us. He worked most of his adult life for the U.S. Post Office.










Ralph Rees

NOTE:   In 1955, my parents moved us to Tulsa, Oklahoma and we lived near my mom’s parents and two brothers and a sister. That only lasted one year, and in the summer of 1956 we moved back to southern California. My dad got a job farming orange trees with the Edward’s Ranch about 1 mile west of Piru, Calif., and they provided a small house for us. That fall my late sister, Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier, and I began school eight miles west at Fillmore, Calif. I was a sophomore. And one of my teachers that year — both for drafting and for print shop — was a kind, patient teacher named Ralph Rees. I don’t think I ever saw him again after I graduated in 1959, but he became a solid citizen there over the years and died there 59 years after I was in his classes.


“Ralph Rees –beloved father, husband, brother, grandpa and friend–has gone home to be with Jesus. He passed away at midnight on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at home, after a long struggle with cancer, with his family by his side.

“He is survived by his loving wife of sixty six years, Patricia (Young) Rees, his sister Roberta (Rees) Gragg, his children Janine (Bill Faith) Rees, Wendy Rees, Robin Rees, Jason (Bethann Buddenbaum) Rees, and Brady (Ina Rosales) Rees, his grandchildren Luke, Hannah, Nathan, Tara, Nora, Claire, Emma and Fiona, and five great- grandchildren.

“Ralph was born on Feb. 17, 1926 in Taft, CA to Helen (Allison) Rees and Ralph Winfield Rees. He is preceded in death by his sisters Joy (Rees) Hanrihan and Geraldine (Rees) Schwocho. Ralph spend his boyhood in Oildale and Bakersfield, CA, where his early interests included carpentry, Boy Scouting, hiking and fishing in the Sierras with his father and friends, and playing the saxophone. He continued to pursue these interests throughout his life.

“Ralph served in the US Navy towards the end of the WWII conflict. He later went on to earn a teaching degree from Cal State Santa Barbara under the GI Bill. After marrying his college sweetheart, Patricia Lucille Young in 1950, he started teaching in Mendota, CA. In 1953 he moved to Fillmore Union High School where he taught Industrial Arts until 1989. Ralph also earned a Master’s Degree in Industrial Arts Education. For the rest of his life Mr. Rees received compliments from many former students, grateful for the part he played in their lives.

“After retirement Ralph became a local “handy guy”. He was most proud of a project restoring a historic carriage for Rancho Camulos Museum in Piru, CA, where he volunteered until shortly before he died.

“Of primary importance in Ralph’s life was his relationship with God, which began when he joined the Boy Scouts at the age of 12. He was born again on January 8, 1976, and remained committed to his faith.

“His family will always be grateful for teaching them that they can do anything and to keep learning. He daily demonstrated his devotion to his wife, his love for his God and family, and his Boy Scout sense of decency.

“His funeral Service was held at Heritage Valley Bible Church, 461 Central Ave., Fillmore, CA on Friday, September 9 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. Graveside Service were held immediately following at Bardsdale Cemetery, 1698 S Sespe Street, Fillmore, CA.”

Clay Landes

Oct 7, 1943 – Oct 2, 2016

Clayton Guy Landes, 72, of Sarasota, FL., died on Sunday, Oct 2, 2016, in a hospice facility. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer about a year ago.

 A “Celebration of Life” service was held at 10: 00 am on Saturday, Oct 8, 2016 at Central Church of Christ, 6221 Proctor Rd., in Sarasota, FL. Clay had served as an Elder of the congregation for many years and was active in it up until just a few weeks before his death. His frequent word of encouragement to others was, “Keep the faith.”

 Being originally from Indiana, he was an enthusiastic basketball player and fan virtually all of his life. He attended some 20 or so of the national basketball “final four” play-off events over the years.

Clay was survived by his wife Pat. They had celebrated their 50th year of marriage just a year or so ago. He was also survived by their daughter and two sons, and by numerous grandchildren.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by The Good Earth Crematory.





OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2016-08-27-31b-sarasota-fl-stan-paregien-and-clay-landes-by-theresa-skeens-anderson



Daryl Duane Muth

Ron Golson, my friend from Piru who lives in Idaho . . . . and was a mutual friend with Daryl Muth, was kind enough to pass along this email from Jeff Muth, one of Daryl and Vickie’s sons:

“My Father passed away Tuesday Morning (October 11, 2016) after a long fight with Parkinson’s Disease.

“Dad was in a rest home this last year and had to be hand fed as he could no longer feed himself… Sometime Friday, he was not eating or drinking anymore. I think he just could not swallow anything. Saturday we brought him home and he was on Hospice. Many friends and family stopped by to pay their last respect to him.

“We are going to have a service at Joseph P. Reardon Funeral Home in Ventura, Friday 21, 2016, at 1:00 PM. The address is, 757 East Main Street, Ventura, Ca. 93001. There will be a reception afterwards at Mom & Dads house  — 2289 Woodland Ave. Ojai, Ca. 93023”







Stan Paregien’s reflections:

Daryl Muth and his older brother Garold and younger brother Kirk for several years lived high on a mountain behind Piru, Calif. On a clear day they could actually see the ocean from there. I remember one time that I was up there with Daryl and we found an abandoned oil well site. There were several old connecting rods, maybe 10 to 12 feet long as I recall. We had fun dropping them down that open well hole and listening to them  rumble as they fell thousands of feet, but we never could hear any hit the bottom.

On another occasion, Daryl and I were riding with Garold in his ’49 or ’50 Chevy, heading up the winding oilfield road to their house. Around the single lane road came a car heading down about as fast as we were going up. We had a meeting of the minds, with Garold’s car getting the worst of it. When the dust settled, we had been pushed close to the edge of the road and could see several hundred feet down into the canyon.

In about 1958, Garold and Daryl and I “triple dated” (maybe the only time I ever did that). My date was Susie Warring, a cute blond classmate who lived with her parents in the historic “Warring Mansion” on the hill in Piru. Sorry, but 58 years after the fact I cannot recall the names of the girls that Garold and Daryl dated. I do remember, though, that we went to the drive-in theater in Santa Paula. And then we parked in that popular romantic spot – Kenny’s Grove park – for a steamy hour or so.

Ah, . . . those were the good old days. 











What Jesus Said About Death

by Dr. Leroy Garrett

Soldier On! (An Occasional Essay #188 on Oct. 24, 207)


The old Bibles with the words of Jesus printed in red seem to be a thing of the past. The implication was that the words in red — those uttered by Jesus himself — are more important and deserve more respect and closer attention. I agree with this. While all truths are equally true, all truths are not equally important.

We accept as inspired Scripture what the prophets and apostles wrote, and highly treasure them, but we might rightly elevate what our Lord himself said to a category all its own. We might argue with Paul, even disagree with some of his conclusions, but we are reluctant to question anything our Lord said.

The odd thing in all this is that some of Jesus most remarkable sayings are tucked away in Scripture and virtually ignored, even if printed in red — or they are at least given little relevance to the living of these days.

This is particularly true of things our Lord said about death. The world might justly accuse the church of not really believing them. They are so overwhelming in their import that it convenient not to take them seriously. I want to call three or four of these sayings to your attention.

 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad (John 8:56).

The New Jerusalem Bible puts it this way: Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; and he saw it and was glad.”This is a most remarkable statement. Our Lord seems to be saying that Abraham — “dead” for centuries — is not only alive and conscious, but he is a witness to the advent of the Christ into human history. Some scholars think this refers to Abraham seeing by prophetic faith the Christ when he looked upon Isaac, the child of promise; but the context suggests that Jesus is saying that Abraham is now alive in heaven and sees what is happening on planet earth — that the day of Christ has come.

Reading this in context, one sees that the Pharisees had just affirmed that “Abraham is dead,” twice in fact. Abraham is dead as are all the prophets, they insisted, so how could Jesus speak of death the way he did — as if the dead are not really dead? Since they claimed to be sons of Abraham and were yet rejecting Jesus, the Lord is telling them that the father of their faith is not only not dead, but that he now sees the reality of what he had hoped to see when he was on earth. When the Christ came into the world to reconcile human kind to God, father Abraham was among the “cloud of witnesses” that saw it, and rejoiced.

That the dead are not really dead was paramount in Jesus’ teaching. In Luke 20:37 he refers to the story of Moses and the burning bush and saw it as teaching “the resurrection of the dead” — apparently all the dead. He tells how God is there described as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Jesus then says, “He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him” (Luke 20:38).

That the dead are as much alive and conscious as the living, only in a different dimension, is so overwhelming that it may be beyond our comprehension. But it is basic to our Lord’s view of death, and so we can accept by faith, If not by sight, that our honored dead are actually alive and conscious somewhere in God’s vast eternity.

Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 24:43).

This stunning and surprising promise — uttered in agony to a condemned thief — says something significant about Jesus view of death. To him death was but the door to the Paradise of God, and he was taking a despised thief with him, and that very day!

That a lowly thief would at one moment be dying ignominiously on a cross would at the next moment be with the glorious Christ in Paradise is mind-boggling grace. And is not death here a mere transition from here to there, and apparently instantaneous? That makes death next to nothing!

Most assuredly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never taste death (John 8:51).

This liberating declaration delivers us from what we most dread, death. It promises that if we are believers we will never taste of death. This preposterous claim, as the Pharisees saw it, is what led them to charge Jesus with having a demon. Something has to be wrong with someone who claims that some people will not die. Even father Abraham died, and all the prophets died, they pointed out.

And we could add that [Martin] Luther, [John] Calvin, [John] Knox, and [Alexander] Campbell all died. And our parents. No, Jesus says, they are all alive unto God. Of course they “die” in the sense of leaving the body and departing from planet earth, but they are still persons and are conscious of what is going on.

What matters here is that there is no cut-off point in our relationship with God. Death is no obstacle or detour. It is in fact the door that leads home. At any moment in the days of our flesh we are but a heartbeat from glory. Unless in an illness we are temporarily unconscious or in a coma, we are never unconscious, and are never for a moment separated from God’s presence. We might well be aware that we are departing from our body, and may see it as we leave it behind.

This is why I do not want my body laid out as a corpse in a coffin for friends and loved ones to look upon. I want them to see life, not death. As Paul put it, when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Being absent from the body we will no longer be in need of it. It is only the house we lived in for a time. If possible let it be used in some way for the common good, and then disposed of expeditiously.

That is why I have willed my body to the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas [Texas]. They are only a phone call away. I have long told Ouida, that all she needs to do when the time comes is to pick up the phone and make a call. They do the rest, down to at last cremating the remains and placing the ashes in their own memory garden, anonymously. No big deal. No sweat. No visits to a funeral home. No expense.

I make these choices because I believe what our Lord said about death. I will not really “die” at all, but simply fly away home. If there is a service it can be a homegoing celebration rather than a funeral, with no signs of death present.



End of this issue.



Issue 340 – Our 50-Year Old Son

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 340  –  September 06, 2016  — Stan Paregien Sr., Editor

Our 50-Year Old Son


You know you’re really getting some mileage on your ol’ speedometer when you wake up one day to discover that your baby boy just turned 50-years of age. 

Yikes. I have trouble believing that I am way over 50+ muchless that our son is five decades into his life (or will be at the end of September).

Time for a little reality check.

Peggy and I were married in Ventura, California on May 31, 1962. Yep, 54 years ago. We immediately rented a small U-Haul trailer and pulled it behind my customized 1955 Ford all the way to Nashville, Tenn. We moved there for me to study at David Lipscomb College (now known as Lipscomb University). I intended to eventually teach for a living while living in a mission field in the U.S. and preaching for a church part-time. To make that happen, Peggy went to work to earn our main income. Meanwhile, I preached on Sundays for various small churches (Mars Hill Church of Christ northwest of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Greenville Church of Christ, Greenville, KY.; and the Chestnut Ridge Church of Christ way out in the country east of Petersburg, Tenn.).

In 1965, I graduated from Lipscomb U with a major in Speech Communication and minors in History and Bible. My goal was to teach speech courses in a college somewhere, and to do that I needed at least a master’s degree. So with the help of Dr. Bill Banowsky and Dr. Carol Ellis, I applied for and was accepted for graduate study at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. So we rented a slighly larger U-Hall  trailer and headed west.

Peggy, again, took a full-time job to help support us while I worked on my master’s degree. She worked as a customer service person at a branch of the Bank of New Mexico out on the east side of Central Avenue (old 66 Highway). And I was awarded an “Assistantship” for a pittance each month to work with the UNM debate team and to teach a beginning speech class. We worshiped with the good folks at the Netherwood Park Church of Christ not far from the UNM campus, and for a time I worked as the Associate Minister with Minister Darrell Rickard.

All was chugging along like clockwork as we lived in a rented duplex near the airport. Then one of life’s little detours happened early in 1966. We found out Peggy was pregnant and would be having our first child in September or so. Well, I finished my course work at UNM and late that summer I began looking for a full-time job. I couldn’t teach on the college level until I had completed my masters, so I talk with a few churches in southern New Mexico about working with them. And the elders of the College Church of Christ (now the University Church of Christ) in Las Cruces invited me to preach for them.

1966-009 PegParegien-Albuquerque--01

That’s how it all came about that in September of 1966 I was preaching for the 250-member congregation in Las Cruces and starting to write my master’s thesis on “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speeches of Robert G. Ingersoll.” Then one night I spoke at a little dinner for our congregation’s college-age students at nearby New Mexico State University. Peggy went with me.

Early the next morning, before sunup, Peggy awoke me complaining about a stomach ache. “I think it may be that spinach we ate last night,” she suggested.

Nope. It wasn’t the spinach. It was our baby and it was on the way. Somehow I got her to Dona Anna Hospital and watched as the nurses wisked her away to begin preparations. I, meanwhile, did the hard part: waiting nervously for our firstborn to make his or her appearance. Okay, okay. I’m kidding. Peggy had quite a long struggle with the birth, but . . . Shazam! Our first child made his grand entry and we slapped on him the exalted (but cumbersome) name of Stanley Eugene Paregien, Jr. After experimenting with various nicknames–such as “Little Stan” and “Junior”–we settled on “Gene.” And that’s what folks called him until he graduated from high school in 1985. However, that same year he joined the Air Force Reserves, where they call you by your first name, regardless. So folks who met him from the start of his college days until now only know him as “Stan.” 

One thing about it, I did not have any trouble indentifying my prodigy in the busy hospital nursery. He was the only baby there with a thin crop of blond hair, while there were about a dozen Hispanic babies there with beautiful and full crops of coal-black hair.

1966-025 StanJr in hospital

Stan Jr. (“Gene”) days after his birth in 1966.

1966-036-B  --Stan - Peg Pargien -- Stan Jr -- LasCruces

1966-046 Poem-GodBlessYouMySon--01


Alright, now lets “fast forward” to the fact that Stan Jr. started kindergarden at Stroud, Oklahoma and graduated from high school there in 1985.


Stan Jr.’s very first day of school — Stroud, OK — Sept., 1972


In addition, Gene (as he was known in high school) was a self-motivated kid. That was so whether he was in the classroom or playing in sports. He was a darned good running back in football, and he set two or three school records as a runner in track. 


He spent the summer of 1985 going through basic training in San Antonio with the U.S. Air Force (Reserves), and that fall he started college at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City.

That’s when the plot thickened. At OCU he met a pretty and vivacious little gal named Becky McLain from Gallup, New Mexico. By early in 1986 they were talking about getting married. And they did so in Stroud, Oklahoma on May 10, 1986. Stan Jr. became an instant father, as Becky and a beautiful three-year old daughter named Jodi.

1986--018  Stroud, OK  wedding of Becky McLaine and Stan Paregien

The ceremony was performed by Gene/Stan’s maternal grandfather, W.W. (“Woody”) Allen. Becky worked at Hertz’s big reservation center on Northwest Highway to support them while Stan worked on his degree in Public Relations. He worked at a couple of radio stations and also for OCU and got a few grants.

It was a proud moment for all concerned when Stan Jr. in 1989 graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in Public Relations. He went to work for OCU recruiting students, so for two or three years he traveled out of state a lot. Then he became the Public Relations Director for the “Enterprise Square Museum” right there on the OCU campus. The museum featured the history of and games related to how the U.S. economy works.  


By Easter of 1993, it was obvious that another family member was on the way. Stan Jr. and Becky with Jodi at Edmond, Okla. 

1993--033--OklahomaCity-- Stan Paregien Jr - Becky - Jodi -- Daniel Justin -- born April 27



The Oklahoma City Bombing


The Air Force sent Stan Jr. from Tinker Air Force Base to the site to document the work that the Air Force was doing to help in the rescue/recovery effort. Even the national media were kept more than a hundred yards away, but he was right up in the carnage. He later went on a local TV show showing the photos that he had taken.


Stan Jr., Becky, Jodi and Daniel at Christmas time in Edmond, OK.



1998--005-- Bosnia - Stan Paregien Sr, USAF-Reserves


1998--042 -- former Oklahoma Governor George Nigh -- with 2nd Lt StanParegien Jr, USAF Reserves


1999-014-- Midwest City, OK - 2nd Lt Stan Paregien Jr, USAF - tornado hit Tinker AFB


L to R, FRONT:  Jodi (McLain) Paregien & brother Daniel. BACK:  Peggy Paregien, Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling (Stan Jr.’s grandmother), Becky Paregien, and Stacy (Paregien) and husband John Magness . . . at our house on Neptune Road in Edmond, OK.

1999-067- Oklahoma City - Lt Gov Mary Fallin - 'Fergie,' Dutchess Of York - Stan Paregien Jr

1999-069- Midwest City, OK - Oklahoma Senator James Inhoff - Stan Paregien Jr - Tinker AFB

1999-081-- Edmond, OK -- xmas -- Paregien - Magness families

Front row: Christal & Stacy (Paregien) Magness, Dylan Magness, Daniel Paregien with his sister Jodi.  2nd Row: Stan Paregien Jr., John Magness, Evelyn (Cauthen) Paregien Spradling [Stan Sr.’s mom], & Becky Paregien. 3rd Row: Stan Paregien Sr. and Peggy. At the home of Stan Sr. on South Neptune Road in Edmond, OK.

Soon the Air Force moved Stan Jr. to an assignment as the Public Information Officer for Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL. Becky found a good job in the Information Technology department at the world headquarters of Enterprise Car Rental in nearby St. Louis, Missouri. The family first bought a home due south of there out in the country near Barnhart, Missouri.

After two or three years, they moved across the Mississippi River to the little farm community of Waterloo, Illinois. They bought a large two-story house south of town.

2001-041-- Wagonner, Okla -- jam-Thanksgiving at the state lodge

2002-013  Edmond, OK -- 80th birthday for Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling

2002-095-- Edmond, OK - Christmas Stan Paregien, Sr - Peggy - Stacy P Magness - StanJr

Daniel Paregien and his father, Stan Jr., playing music in their Union Army uniforms (Civil War vintage) at an encampment and festival south of St. Louis, Missouri.

2002-163 - Daniel and Stan Paregien Jr in their Civil War uniforms


2003--295  Iraq -Stan Paregien Jr in Iraq at Christmas


2003--339--  IRAQ -- Kirkuk -- Senator Hillary Clinton with Stan Paregien Jr in December

2003--340  IRAQ -- Kirkuk -- Captain Stan Pregien Jr with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in December


2004-045 OKC - Stan Paregien Sr family - S P Jr family - John Magness family

Then, in 2004, the Stan Paregien Jr. family expanded even more. Daughter Jodi and her husband Brandon Barrow had a baby they named Dominic. Stan and Becky’s first grandchild.

2004-079 Long Beach, CA  -  Jodi and Brandon Barrrow with baby son Dominic

2004-147-- IRAQ -- Kirkuk --- Stan Paregien Jr -- snowman -- Feb 20

2006-248 Daniel and family



Christmas time in Waterloo, IL. Brandon Barrow family–Jodi and childdren Dominic and Bailee, and the Stan Paregien Sr. family–Becky and Daniel.


Several of the folks in the 2010 photo above were little kids that Stan Jr. started Kindergarden with at Stroud (Okla.), in 1972. It says something good about one’s character and integrity when you are loyal to them and they to you for 38 years .


This was my dear mother’s last Christmas on this earth. She died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease just a few weeks later, on Feb. 23, 2011.



Stan Jr, Daniel, Stan Sr, Christal & Rindiro

Becky Paregien & son Daniel & husband Stan Jr











Hey, there has never been any doubt that our son knows how to have a lot of fun himself and how to make a lot of other folks smile, too.


Whew, well folks, there you have it. After looking at the previous photos, you’ll understand why Peggy and I are so proud of our son. He has become a professional soldier, a fine writer and photographer, and a  loving husband, father and grandfather. He has also proven himself to be a dedicated Christian who is active in their local congregation, and he has demonstrated a compassionate spirit for those who are down and nearly out. 

Is he perfect? Heck, no. Not by a long shot. But Stan Jr. keeps chugging along and trying to be a better person and to help others do the same.

So . . . won’t you join his mother and me as we wish him a very happy 50th birthday? 





Issue 325 – A Pet’s Death

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 325   —  Feb. 16, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

A Pet’s Death

Many years ago, in the dawn of the television era, I went through my regular nightly ritual. I watched the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. That night one of his guests was one of my favorite actors, cowboy or other wise, the tall and lanky stammerer, James (“Jimmy”) Stewart. They spend a few minutes chatting Hollywood style. Then Johnny turned serious and said, “Jimmy, we know you’re a pretty darned good poet because you’ve shared your poems with us before. But I understand you’re going to read a new one for us that has special meaning for you.” And Mr. Stewart said, “That’s right. My wife and I had the companionship of our dog for many years before it recently died. So this poem is about that old friend.” By the time Mr. Stewart finished reading his poem, he was in tears and so was Johnny Carson and the whole audience, and no doubt thousand of viewers in their homes.  

[NOTE:  I have included that full poem at the end of this blog entry.]

1981  -- actor Jimmy Stewart reading a poem to Johnny Carson

Such is the bond between a good person and a wonderful dog.

Peggy and I certainly have had our share of wonderful dogs over the years of our married life. We bought Penny, a registered Rat Terrier puppy, early in 2000 when she was just a few weeks old. That was just outside of Edmond, Oklahoma. Over the 16 years of her life (103 years in comparative human life), she became a loved and cherished companion to Peggy and to me. Let’s be clear, though, Penny was unabashedly partial to Peggy. 

That spunky, playful Rat Terrier won a place in our hearts right from the beginning when she was about the size of my hand. She was a natural hunter, often catching slow birds and small rabbits in our back yard. And she was a skilled “personal warning system,” alerting us to anyone or anything which invaded her space. She never met another dog, no matter how large, that she didn’t think she could beat in a dog fight. 

For example, one fine day Peggy and I were strolling down Broadway Avenue in Edmond. We had Penny on a leash. As we started by a high-dollar antique store, Penny went into an aggressive attack mode to defend us against a perceived aggressor. She went into a barking frenzy as she strained at the leash to get at the offender. The “aggressor” in this case was . . . a 3-foot high stone statue of a lion. We got quite a laugh out of that.

Penny was very much a “lap dog.” She loved snuggling up in our laps and beside us on our recliner, and she was never in a hurry to get down. Sometimes Penny would sleep on our bed with us and she always wanted under the covers. That was because, being a short-haired dog, she was easily chilled.

In 2012, when we decided to investigate possibly moving to Florida, we made several trips down there. Mark and Joy Lombardi kindly allowed us to stay in his mom’s “seasonal home” in a mobile home community in Largo while we looked for a home. We searched from Largo all the way down to Venice for places which would allow us to bring our two dogs with us. 

At one place there in Largo, we found a nice home in a 55+ mobile home community. We were looking around one day and stopped to ask a man, who was walking his dog, how he liked living there. He said he really liked it but also mentioned they had a one-dog per household policy. So we went to see the sales manager and told him our situation, that we had two dogs. He smiled and said, “Well, if they look alike, you could just walk them outside one at a time.” Obviously, the guy really wanted to make a sale. But we didn’t want to start off bending any rules, so we kept looking.

Then we found a very nice 55+ manufactured home community in Bradenton. We were assured by the sales person that there would be no problem for us to have two dogs there. “Lots of people have two dogs here,” she smiled. So we moved forward with plans to live there. About half-way through the deal, we were told in firm, no-bending-of-the-rules language that some people had two dogs because they were “grandfathered in” before the rule change. Now each new household could have only one dog, weighing no more than 20 pounds.

Yikes. That put us in a real dilemma. After weighing all options, including re-starting a search for a home, I made the case for starting our new life–with lots of travel in our plans–without the concern for a dog. So we finally decided to bite the bullet. We asked our daughter in Snook, Texas if she would be willing to take both Penny and Laddie (our stunningly beautiful miniature Sheltie). And she kindly agreed to do so, even though they already had three dogs of their own. But they do have a large house with a very large back yard. The deed was done a few weeks before we moved to Florida in June of 2013. 

Penny had several more good years with the Magness family. But the last couple of years were struggles for her. Her vision was starting to fail and her hearing was going, too. And she had arthritis in her joints. She moved like an old lady in just getting around, but she moved like a whirlwind when she chased after a squirrel or after one of the other dogs.

Stacy told us about how loving and caring and protective that Laddie was regarding the senior citizen Penny. When all the dogs were fed and went out the door to play, Laddie would linger behind and escort Penny out to the yard. And he seemed to sympathize with her when she found it hard to walk.

Then Penny–at the relatively old age of 16–developed a reoccuring cancer. She began to stumle and fall,  and lost her bladder control. We certainly agreed with Stacy’s reluctant assessment that the time had come to give dear Penny a deserved release from her great pain and suffering. Stacy took her to a local veternarian at 4:00 pm this afternon (Texas time). Penny is gone but will never be forgotten by those of our family and friends who were loved by her and who loved her so very much.

She was a blessing to us beyond any words we can say.



2002-092--Hinton, OK -  group - Red Rock Canyon Cowboy Poetry Gathering - copyrighted by S Paregien

That is Stan in front, with the red tie. Peggy is just behind Penny. 2002 in Red Rock Canyon near Hinton, Oklahoma.

2002-095-- Edmond, OK - Christmas Stan Paregien, Sr - Peggy - Stacy P Magness - StanJr

2002-098--Paregien Family at Christmas in Edmond, OK


2003--104   Edmond, OK  -  Penny and the puppie, Pepper

2003--230   Edmond, OK -- Evelyn P Spradling with Penny in our 'Okie Storm Shelter,' the closet

2003-247--B  Edmond, OK - Penny, Peg, Christal, Daniel, Dylan


2003--312   Edmond, OK  -- Peggy and Daniel Paregien with Penny


2006-203   Edmond, OK - Penny with Dominic Barrow

2006-1104 OKC  Penny 8-5-06



Peggy with Penny at Edmond, Okla., in 2007 [by Stan Paregien]

2007-0398 Jodi-Penny-Dom

Our granddaughter, Jodi Paregien Barrow, and her son Dominic with Penny at Edmond, Okla., in 2007. [by Stan Paregien]


2008-0196 dog - Penny


2008-0631 PennyOnPeggy


Peggy Paregien with our little reindeer, Penny, at Christmas in 2008. Edmond, Okla.



Our granddaughter, Jodi Paregien Barrow, gently stroked Penny into a completely relaxed position. 2009.  Edmond, Okla.








“Gabby” was a beautiful little cowdog given to us by friends. However, she turned out to be much too energetic for us to handle. So after our friends took her back, Peggy discovered our next love–a rescued dog up for adoption at our Petsmart store in Edmond. Laddie was definitely a “keeper,” too.








A female pirate (Penny).  Edmond, Ok.  Halloween, 2011 – by Stan Paregien Sr

Sitting: Rindiro & Stella Chrysostome. Standing: Stan Paregien Sr and Peggy
Sitting: Rindiro & Stella Chrysostome. Standing: Stan Paregien Sr and Peggy

2001-094--  Wagoner, OK --- Western Hills Lodge ---Thanksgiving

Christmas – 2012

2012--3373--OK--Edmond--Nov 10--Francios Birori and our dog Penny



Gone to the Dogs

2013--0684  Snook, TX - May 12 - Stacy Magness and her mom Peggy Paregien

Peggy Paregien with Penny and Laddie
Peggy Paregien with Penny and Laddie

2013--0814--X17  Snook, Texas  - giving Penny and Laddie to daughter Stacy Magness





2014--09--12   05    Snook, TX  --  Peggy Paregien with Penny   -- by Stan Paregien


2015--04--28   A01B  Snook, TX  -- Stacy P Magness - by Stan Paregien

Like her mother, our daughter Stacy Evelyn Paregien Magness has always had a kind and gentle heart, both for animals and for people having hard times. So she loved on and fed and cared for Penny, as well as Laddie, for nearly three years. We are so glad that, though we could not be there at the end of Penny’s life, Stacy could be. And so the last face Penny saw was the face of one who loved her as much as we did.

Well, as promised, I have inserted below a copy of Jimmy Stewart’s simple but emotionally charged poem about his dog, Beau.

Beau - by Jimmy Stewart --  Page 1 of 3Beau - by Jimmy Stewart --  Page 2 of 3Beau - by Jimmy Stewart --  Page 3 of 3

Flash on Feb. 17:   Hey, I just found a video/movie clip of Jimmy Stewart reading his poem (above) in 1981. Stop whatever your plans are . . . and take about three minutes to listen to dear ol’ Jimmy read that poem in his unmistakable style. You’ll be glad you did.

Here it is:



Pawprints Left By You  --  a poem


Issue 307 – Marco Rubio — Part 1 of His Life

Issue 307 –   Oct. 10, 2015    –   The Paregien Journal    –    Stan Paregien Sr., Editor

One of the ascending stars in the Republican Party is Marco Rubio. He is currently the junior U.S. Senator from my adopted home state of Florida. And he is one of several people campaigning to win the Republican nomination to become their candidate for the 2016 presidential race.

What follows is a profile of Senator Rubio which I gleaned from his book titled An American Son: A Memoir (New York City: Sentinel, 2012).

Part I of this profile examines Senator Rubio’s rather modest family roots. While not born in a log cabin like Abe Lincoln, he does come from a line of folks who as Cubans had personal goals, dreams and ambitions only to wind up losing those and even losing their beloved country to Castro’s communism. It also shows how new generations of immigrants often become successful because of the examples of their parents and grandparents who taught them by example not to give up when faced with adversity, poverty and overwhelming odds. It is a story well worth a few minutes of your time.

*   *  *  *  *

Marco Rubio, AN AMERICAN SON -- book cover, front

Marco Rubio, AN AMERICAN SON -- book cover, back

Part 1

Rubio’s ancestors were hard working men and women in Cuba. His great-grandparents – Carlos Pérez and Ramona García —  had emigrated from Spain to Cuba, where they bought land and began farming near the village of Jicotea. Carlos did quite well as a farmer but, unlike many of his neighbors, he refused to sell his land at fire-sale prices to wealthy businessmen who operated with the blessing of the American military.

Ramona was the matriarch of the family, and it was a large one. She had three children by a previous relationship and an additional fourteen children by this last relationship, but only married Mr. Pérez when he was on his death bed.

His maternal grandfather, Mr. Pedro Victor García was born on January 31, 1899 in the dirt-poor province of Villa Clara. That was the year that the Spanish occupation forces left the country for good, only to be replaced by American military leaders.

In 1900, the political leaders in the United States decided to annex Cuba. However, the Cubans were allowed to vote on the issue. And, against the prospect of American-generated prosperity for the island, Cubans voted against annexation and in favor of independence.

Marco Rubio’s father, Pedro Victor García, came down with polio as a child. The disease left him with a crippled leg which ruled out most farm work. It was a blessing, though, in that his parents kept him in school. He would be the only one of the 17 children to get a decent education and to have any real hope of getting a fairly good job.

Mr. Garcia loved to read and to learn everything he could about his world. He became a great believer in the future of the republic of Cuba. And he was a firm advocate of intellectual freedom and self-reliance. So much so that when his father died, he declined to change his last name (his mother’s name) to that of his father even though it meant he would not receive any of the man’s estate. Late in his life he would pass those high virtues on to his grandson, Marco Rubio.

Pedro Victor García was plucky enough to apply for a job with the railroad and lucky enough to get a job as a telegraph operator. Then he began working his way up the career ladder.

Along the way, he traveled on business to the town of Cabaiguán. There he met, fell in love with and married Dominga Rodríguez. She had grown up in an environment of grinding poverty and she had only finished the 6th grade. Still, they were married in 1920 when he was 21 and she was almost 17. They had children and made a nice living that afforded a large house staffed with servants and nannies.

However, late in 1924, their world was turned upside down. Pedro Victor García suffered not only humiliation about a significant financial loss when he was demoted at work (in favor of a man with better political connections) and, ultimately, was fired. Their situation put them into a crisis mode as he, with his severe physical disability, simply could not find a good job. So he walked all over the city to accept part-time, occasional work doing menial jobs. That in itself was a challenge, since he could not walk without a cane and often became unbalanced and fell and hurt himself.

By 1930, Pedro Victor García and his family had been forced out of their fine home. They settled into a one-room house in a poor section of town. Still, their family dignity kept them from acting like victims and from looking like their often dirty and dejected neighbors. And somehow, Mr. García scraped together enough money to keep his large family fed and clothed.

Then one day he was hired to work in a tobacco mill. No, it was not a manufacturing job. He simply read interesting and inspiring articles and stories to the scores of workers who worked at tables hand-rolling cigars and cigarettes. The company’s idea was that such exposure would lessen the drudgery of such tedious work, thus resulting in a lower turnover of employees. The work was easy for Pedro and he enjoyed learning the material and making it as entertaining as possible, but it did not pay much at all.

Slowly, though, his own dreams for his career and for the members of his family began to fade in the face of stark reality. His children had to find jobs of their own at very young ages. That included Marco Rubio’s own mother. The entire family, hoping for better job opportunities, left Cabaiguán in 1940 and moved to the capital city of Havana.

There in Havana, Pedro Victor García and his family moved into a small apartment in a low-income government housing project. Each building had several apartments, but they were so austere they had to share a bathroom in the common areas.

Mario Rubio’s mother, Oriales García, went to work as a cashier at a small retail store. She gave every cent she made to her own mother who handled the family’s money and paid their bills.


Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s paternal grandparents were having their own struggles. Antonio Rubio’s parents both died when he was only 14. He lived with relatives for a time, then ran away to Havana where he would tackle life on its unforgiving terms. Eventually, he met and married Eloisa Reina there in Havana. They, then, were the paternal grandparents of Marco Rubio.

Antonio and Eloisa (Reina) Rubio had their first child in 1920 when he was about 35 and she was about 28 years of age. That child died at birth, but they had seven other children including Marco’s father, Mario Rubio (born Oct. 29, 1926). Antonio and Eloisa ran a small catering business, even though she suffered from bouts of tuberculosis many periods of her life. She would cook breakfast and lunch meals for workers at a big cigar factory and Antonio would deliver the meals to them.

Their successful enterprise enabled them to live in a large, comfortable house. But their own world turned upside down then that cigar factory closed. Antonio Rubio and his family had no choice but to give up their business and home and to move in with relatives. From that day forward, Antonio’s ambitions and dreams were tempered with the cold reality that he would have to become a lowly-paid street vendor. He didn’t like it but he had to feed his family, so that is what he did.

Marco’s father, only eight years old at the time, had to quit school and go to work. He had not yet learned to read and write, but he was bright and learned those skills entirely on his own.

Then in 1935, Antonio Rubio’s beloved wife died of pneumonia (years before the invention of life-saving penicillin). She was only 42, and son Mario was only nine. That left Marco’s paternal grandfather with the sole responsibility for seven children between the ages of 16 and 4. He began to put more time into his work selling on the streets and largely leaving his children to care for themselves. It was not unusual at all for the entire family to go to bed with hunger gnawing at their stomachs. Eventually, Antonio Rubio moved in with another woman and, though they never married, they had one child together.

Young Mario went to work as a security guard in a nearby cafeteria and would continue to support himself for the next 70 years. At age 14 he began living out on his own. And at age 19, his father Antonio died from pneumonia, so he learned to be a survivor.  He was allowed to sleep on wooden crates in a storage area at the cafeteria, as did a few other young men.

One day Mario Rubio struck up a conversion with a co-worker, cashier Oriales García. They began dating and she told friends he was really handsome, that he looked like the American actor Tyrone Power. They married on April 28, 1949 and lived in a small apartment. Mario was 22 and Oriales was 18. Their first child, Mario Victor Rubio, was born in 1950.

Mario dreamed of starting his own radio and TV repair shop or of even becoming a singer and entertainer. Oriales had a dream of becoming an actress. Those dreams—like the dreams held for a time by their respective parents and grandparents—faded rapidly as the economic realities of raising a family began to dominate their lives. Plus, Mario injured a leg by stepping into a hole during a baseball game. The damage was so bad that he would forever walk with a distinct limp.


One of Oriales (García) Rubio’s sisters emigrated to the United States. That woman saw opportunity everywhere and began urging them to move there, too. So on May 27, 1956, Mario and Oriales (García) Rubio and son Mario Victor Rubio—along with Oriales’ parents — Pedro V.  and Dominga (Rodríguez) — García arrived in New York City. The harsh winter there proved too much, and the next year they all moved to Miami, Florida.

In Miami, the elder Mario and his wife Oriales both went to work in a factory where aluminum lawn chairs were assembled. Soon he was also training on the side to work as a bar boy (a bartender’s assistant). Then he was hired by the Roney Plaza Hotel in beautiful Miami Beach. But he was still dreaming of opening his own small business. In fact, he opened several such ventures on the side and they all failed.

By 1959, Mario Rubio had become a bar tender and was making a decent wage. But he regularly worked from early evening until about 2 a.m. or so. And that year he and Oriales had their second child, a daughter they named Barbara Rubio. And the patriarch of the relocated clan, Pedro V. García, returned  to the old country by himself. In March of 1961, with Fidel Castro ruling Cuba and moving steadily toward Communism, Oriales Rubio returned to Cuba and convinced her ailing father to return to Miami with her. And he did so. But he would never again see his native country nor would he ever again see his brothers and sisters.

In April of 1961, some Cubans-in-exile — urged on and supported by the Central Intelligence Committee of the United States — attacked Castro’s forces at the Bay of Pigs. They were soundly defeated and it was an embarrassment for the John F. Kennedy administration.

In 1962, the United States levied an all-out economic embargo against Cuba. It was in October of 1962 that the leaders of Russia and the United States were engaged in a “stare down” called “the Cuban missile crisis.” Russia blinked and took their missiles back home.

1964 was the year that Mario Rubio took his young family out to Los Angeles, where he thought he and his wife might be able to do better, financially. This was in the middle of America’s cultural revolution and racial rioting. So they returned to Miami and in 1966 bought their very first house. Oriales’ parents, Pedro and Dominga García took up residence in a nearby apartment. That very next year, Dominga had a heart attack and died.

It was on May 28, 1971 that Mario and Oriales welcomed a completely unplanned blessing to their home: a baby boy they named Marco _____ Rubio. And, lo and behold, in 1972 they added a baby girl, Veronica Rubio. Another celebration came when, in 1975, Mario and Oriales Rubio proudly became citizens of these United States of America.

The Catholic Church was destined to become an important factor in the life of young Marco Rubio. As a child, his mother and he attended Mass each Saturday evening just down the street at St. Raymond Catholic Church.

Marco was nearing his 5th birthday when the manager of the hotel where his father worked up and offered him a job managing an apartment complex near the airport. His boss said he would get a free apartment, the same wages, and would also be able to earn extra money by working at the hotel as a bar tender on the weekends. Mario Rubio jumped at the chance, and the family moved to the apartment.

And then disaster hit, again. The owners of the apartment complex sold it and Mario was without a job and the family was without a home. Soon his father found another job as an apartment manager, this  time in Hialeah. The family moved into a house nearby. Marco started school at Kensington Park Elementary.

A few months later, a large management company took over the apartments in Hialeah and, again, the elder Mario Rubio was without a job. Dispirited and desperate, again, he began working with a relative who painted houses. The hotels were not hiring. Tourism in Miami was in a downward spiral, partly because of the widespread media coverage of the area’s increase in crime – particularly murders and drug usage and sales.


So one day early in May of 1979, Mario and Oriales Rubio loaded up their two youngest children and their meager belongings and moved to the bright lights of Las Vegas. That’s when Mario, now 52 years old, ran into the twin evils of iron-clad unionism and age discrimination. The hotels were booming and hiring, but only at entry level positions and wages. The union bosses made sure outsiders were at the bottom of the lists and that the better jobs were filled by younger union members moving up. Mario had been a head bartender for over 20 years, but now he had to settle for a job at a casino hotel as a bartender’s assistant at much less than he had been making.

They lived in a working class neighborhood at 3104 East Lava Avenue on the north side of Las Vegas. Their first friends were a family who were Mormons and who invited them to their church’s social activities and worship services. Soon the traditionally Catholic Rubio family, minus the skeptical Mario, were regulars at the Mormon Church. And soon Marco, his sister Veronica and his mother Oriales were official baptized members of the Mormon Church.

Marco wrote of those days, “All in all, the Mormon Church provided the sound moral structure my mother had wanted for us, and a circle of friends from stable, God-fearing families. When we left the church a few years later, mostly at my instigation, we did so with gratitude for its considerable contribution to our happiness in those years” (p. 40).

Marco and his younger sister Veronica attended C.C. Ronnow Elementary School near their house. The racial makeup of the school was much more diverse than they had experienced back in Miami. Instead of mostly Cuban-Americans, here the students were white, a few Hispanics and many black students (bused from a neighborhood several miles from there).

During his Las Vegas days, Marco took advantage of many opportunities to interact with and to learn from his grandfather, Pedro Victor García (whom they called Papá). The old man spent many hours a day sitting on their small front porch, particular after meals, when he would light up a Cuban cigar and read a newspaper or a book. And he was free with his praise of the United States and of such men as Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And he graciously invited Marco to ask him questions on any topic.

In his 2012 book, An American Son: A Memoir, Marco wrote lovingly about how his maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor García, had such a great influence on his own life:

“Papá seemed to know something about almost everything, or everything that interested me anyway. He was a gifted storyteller, the talent he had learned as a cigar factory lector [back in Cuba – sp]. His accounts were exciting and forceful, rich in imagery and telling anecdotes. They held me spellbound.

“My interest in politics began around the time we moved to Vegas, and by 1980 politics was a preoccupation second only to football. Two events had captured my attention that year: Senator Edward Kennedy’s challenge to President Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination and the Iran hostage crisis. I was a Kennedy supporter. With rapt attention I watched the Democratic convention in New York, and was crushed by the outcome of what seemed an excruciatingly slow delegate count that gave the nomination to President Carter. I was inspired by Senator Kennedy’s concession speech.

“My grandfather didn’t admire either of them. Ronald Reagan was his man. He despised President Carter because of the Iran hostage crisis, a humiliation Papá seemed to feel personally. America must be a strong country, he constantly preached, or the world would succumb to darkness, and a strong country requires a strong leader. He thought the  world didn’t respect or fear Carter. He was weak, he said, and other countries preyed on his weakness. That’s why the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and the Iranians had seized our embassy. He blamed the failed attempt to rescue the hostages on cuts to defense spending Carter had made. Ronald Reagan would restore our strength, he assured me. He would confront communism. Our allies would follow him and our enemies would respect him.

“When Reagan was elected and Iran released our hostages on his inauguration,  Papá made certain to point out to me that it confirmed everything he had been telling me. Reagan had barely been sworn into office, and our enemies were already capitulating to him. Reagan’s election and my grandfather’s allegiance to him were defining influences on me politically. I’ve been a Republican ever since. More than just help me develop a political identity, my grandfather instilled in me the importance of strong leadership and conviction. He urged me to study and learn but, more important, to do something useful with the knowledge I acquired.

“I wrote a paper in the fifth grade praising President Reagan for restoring the U.S. military after it had been demoralized and allowed to decay in the years before his presidency. I recently found it in a red suitcase that had belonged to my grandfather, and still contains some of his possessions.

“Papá was an unwavering supporter of President Reagan for the remainder of his life. He loved Reagan’s anti-Soviet and prodemocracy rhetoric, and he staunchly defended the more controversial Reagan policies. I particularly remember his outspoken support for Reagan’s development of the MX missile, and support for the Contras in Nicaragua and the government of El Salvador.

“My grandfather’s talks weren’t always about history or current events. Neither were they scrupulously objective. He wasn’t an admirer of our new church [The Mormon Church – sp]. He was never a religious man, although I know he believed in God, and openly acknowledged Him. But I never saw him attend any religious service except on the single occasion when he agreed to accompany us to Sunday services at the Mormon Church. After we can home and ate lunch, he went to smoke his cigar on the porch and I followed him. I asked him what he had thought of the services, and he told me he would never go back because he hadn’t seen a single African American in attendance. He wasn’t entirely accurate. There was a biracial family in the congregation at the time. But the argument didn’t impress my grandfather, and true to his word, he kept his distance from our church.

“He could be quite sharp in his criticism of people, even people close to him, of whose behavior he disapproved. He frequently found fault with some of my Miami cousins who he believed lacked direction and ambition. When the Culinary Workers Union staged a strike at my father’s place of employment, which my father, as a member of the union, was obliged to join, he told my father he hoped Reagan would fire them all as he did the striking air traffic controllers.

“For reasons he never shared with me, Papá didn’t like my friends, the Thiriots. When they called the house and asked for me, he would hang up the phone. When they came to the door, he would tell them I wasn’t at home. Some of my behavior frustrated him. He couldn’t abide my passion for football and resented my refusal to play baseball. He loved Tommy Lasorda and the LA Dodgers and was hurt when I wouldn’t agree to watch their games with him.

“He had odd quirks. He liked to call my sister by an invented nickname that scrambled the letters of her name, ‘Canirove’ [for Veronica – sp]. He constantly drummed his knuckles on a table or the arm of a chair in a specific and unvarying rhythmic pattern, a tick I now possess. He claimed to be part Chinese, which he was not. He boasted he was directly related to José Martí [a Cuban intellectual who championed independence from Spain – sp], whom he slightly resembled, but who is not, according to any known records, one of our ancestors. In his last years, he insisted he was born an American citizen around the turn of the century in Tampa, Florida, where Martí had lived in exile for a time. We kept an old Universal weight-lifting machine that I used to train for football in the rec room in our house that also served as his bedroom. He frequently complained that the contraption wasted electricity. When I explained that it didn’t use electricity, he ignored me.

“My father [ Mario Rubio – sp ] like to tease my grandfather about little things, his quirks and some of his opinions. Most of it was good-natured kidding, and it didn’t anger my grandfather. It might have annoyed him a little at times, but he never showed it. ‘Okay, Mario. Whatever you say, Mario,’ was usually the only response he would give. My mother, on the other hand, would get angry at my father. She thought his teasing was disrespectful, and would scold him for it.

“My father probably shared my grandfather’s political views, but he rarely discussed politics with my grandfather or with me when I was young, or with anyone as far as I know. He was consumed by the business of making a living and raising his children, and showed little interest in much else. He shared the family’s antipathy to communism and visceral dislike for talk about redistributing wealth. Like my grandfather, he believed such schemes led only to entrenching the power of the regime at the expense of the powerless, who lost jobs and opportunities because their employers had fled the [Cuban – sp] regime that had confiscated their property.

“My father and grandfather were different in many respects. They had different personalities, and neither was given to effusive expressions of affection. But they loved each other. My grandfather admired how committed my father was to our family, how hard he worked to give us a decent home, now carefully he protected us. To my father, the young refugee from an unhappy home, my grandfather and grandmother were his first experience with two loving parents since his mother had died.

“My grandfather was my mentor and my closest boyhood friend. I learned at his feet, relied on his counsel and craved his respect. I still do.” He constantly urged me to study hard and go to college. He wanted Veronica and me to live accomplished lives when we grew up. He wanted us to have not jobs, but distinguished careers that would give our lives purpose and the social status he had always wanted for himself. He would scold me for performing poorly in school, but he never let me believe I was incapable of being successful. He knew I could be, and he helped me prepare for it. His dreams for us were his legacy.

“He taught me many things, but none more important than the conviction that I must not waste the opportunities my parents had sacrificed to give us and our country made available to us. I’ve always believed, even when I was an inattentive and undisciplined student, that the time would arrive for me to become serious and do something important with my life, and I would be ready for it. I believe it because Papá taught me to believe it. And that, more than the wealth of knowledge he shared with me, more than the epics of history he evoked so powerfully for me, more than his opinions and his eccentricities, has made all the difference in the world to me.”

[ The long quote, above, was taken from Marco Rubio’s book An American Son: A Memoir (New York City: Sentinel, 2012), pp. 44-47. This copyrighted material is used here under the “Fair Use” clause which permits use for non-commercial purposes not likely to have an adverse financial effect on the copyright owner. ]

A - Bar -- The Paregien Journal -- brite blue, white and maroon -- created by Stan Paregien 2015--06--20

Muslim Logic -- posted on the internet in 2015

2015--09--16 '60s Folk Music Show at Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa

Aging -- generations -- Cartoon, THE FAMILY CIRCUS by Bil Keane - 2015-09-27

Aging -- music -- Denis the Menace cartoon - your frisbees play music

Aging -- perfect hearing aide for men - 2015

Aging -- women -- crazy old lady in my mirror


Me and My Red Ryder BB Gun


Red Ryder BB gun by Daisy

Ah, yes, those were the days. I sure do wish I had my trusty Daisy BB gun back, again. It was a “Red Ryder” model, named in honor of the fictional cowboy character who first appeared in comic books, then on radio (with little Bobby Blake, later known as off-beat actor Robert Blake, playing “Little Beaver”), and finally on the Silver Screen (i.e., black and white movies). And BB gun had a genuine wood stock, not one of those hollow plastic things. I can hear right now the soft, rattling sound those brass-looking, small BBs as I tipped their round carton up and poured them in the storage tube running right beneath the barrel.  

1941 -- Red Ryder comic book with Little Beaver -- April, 1941

Red-Ryder -- artist Fred Harman

The Red Ryder character was the creation of two men:  Stephen Slesinger (a publisher) and Fred Harman (a talented artist and illustrator). The comic strip began late in 1938, reached a maximum syndication exposure of 750 newspapers, and then quietly died in 1964. It was also a radio program for several years.

In the some 35 Red Ryder movies, the hero was played by a variety of actors. In 1940, it was diminutive Don Barry who played in a 12-episode serial called “The Adventures of Red Ryder” (Tommy Cook played his sidekick, Little Beaver). After that series, Don Barry was nicknamed Don “Red” Barry and it stuck.

Red Ryder -- Don Barry as RR and Bobby Blake as LB

Then came the memorable films made by Bill “Wild Bill” Elliott and handsome Allen “Rocky” Lane, with Bobby Blake playing Little Beaver in all those films. The final four Red Ryder films were done in color and starred actor Jim Bannon with Don Kay Reynolds as his young friend Little Beaver. Two different TV pilots were filmed, one starring Jim Bannon and the other starring Allen Lane, but no one optioned them.

Now, . . . you do know what will happen . . . for sure . . . , if you give a kid a BB gun, don’t you? You certainly know if you have watched any of the annual showings of “A Christmas Story” (1983). He will shoot himself in the eye, that’s what will happen. That sorta wierd film has a sold cult-like core of fans who could never get enough of adult actor Darren McGaven (“the father”), Melinda Dillon (“the mother”) and  child actor Peter Billingsley (“Ralphie, the son with the BB gun”).  

1983  --  A Christmas Story

Well, it is time for an overdue confession. And it has to do with me pulling the trigger on my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and, . . . sure ’nuff, shooting my cousin in the eye (or at least the edge of it). Sad, but true.

That dastardly deed took place in about 1950. My parents (Harold and Evelyn Paregien) and my sister, Roberta, and I lived in an old farm house right on the south side of Highway 126 (about 3 miles west of Santa Paula, Calif.). My dad was a farm hand on the Todd Estate. He irrigated the orange trees, pruned them, fertilized them and lit “smudge pots” around them in the winter to try to keep them from freezing.

So it was that we lived next to 75 or more acres of Valencia orange trees and right next to a “barranca” (or very small creek; there was a highway bridge over it less than a hundred yards from our house). And that orchard and the barranca were wonderful places for kids to play. And to get into trouble.

“The kids,” in this case would be my sister and myself and assorted (or maybe a sordid) bunch of friends and cousins. The cousin who lived closest to us, and who even today is more like a brother to me, was Jerry Russell Paregien. Neither Jerry nor I ever heard our middle names used unless we were in some kind of trouble with an adult.

Now, . . . we kids had this little game we would play. Well, one of many games we played. This one involved throwing oranges at one another. The only rule was that you were supposed to be at least 15 feet away and you couldn’t hit the other person above the waist. This game obviously ignored the orchard owner’s number one rule: don’t pick my oranges. Let’s just say we thinned the crop so the remaining ones would get more nourishment. And, given the fact that all parties involved were running and jumping and squatting down to keep from getting hurt, sometimes there were . . . uh . . . accidents. Nothing too serious and the bruises usually where the sun does not usually shine.

Game #2 was, well . . . a bit more dangerous. So my sister and others of our young friends and cousins were not allowed to play “big guy stuff.” That usually meant that Jerry and I would square off in cold and calculated duels in the sun. Sometimes in the frequent coastal morning fog. It was just Jerry and his rusty, . . . er, I mean trusty BB gun and me and my superior weaponry, my cherished Red Ryder BB gun. 

The rule was similar to that of Game #1, except that here we understood we needed a greater distance between us. Still no shooting above the waist. It was a great bloodless sport, chasing and dodging one another in and among the orange trees. Sometimes we even yelled words which we had heard our fathers use on occasion. In those days we wore denim jeans (mine were of the Levi denomination). So, when by luck or by accidental skill, one of us actually shot the other guy there was only a sharp sting that lasted a couple of minutes. I don’t remember anything more permanent, like a bruise or such. 


Usually did not apply to the day I pert near kilt my cousin Jerry. That’s how future generations would tell the awful story. This is my own acount of the incident (easy for me to say) and I’m sticking with it. 

I guess Jerry had spent the night with us there on the Todd Estate. My mother probably served us a bowl of The Breakfast of Champions, then out the door we ran with our legally purchased firearms. We usually carried at least two extra rolls of BBs. One cannot afford to be caught with one’s Roy Rogers underwear around one’s ankles in the middle of a firefight. 

Usually (that word, again), we would run deeply into the orange orchard for our diehard duels of destiny. Not this time. Instead, we went a couple of hundred yards south of our house, along the barranca. That was prime hunting territory for sparrows, bluejays and red-winged blackbirds. Sometimes for big game, like ground squirrels or one of Bugs Bunny’s little cousins. But today, . . . today we were after much bigger and much more dangerous game: each other.

Jerry lost the coin toss and made his way across the barranca to the other bank, near the edge of another orange orchard owned by some other farmer. There we stood, glaring at each other like tribal gladiators. I yelled out something like, “Let the games b-e-g-i-n !” And that got the battle into high gear. Seems like that’s kinda how John Wayne did it, too.

My merciless, mercinary cousin lifted his cannon, . . . er, I mean, . . . BB gun and fired a round in my direction. It zipped past me into a bush at my side. I responded with a quick cock of my gun’s lever and shot at him from the hip — just like Palladin or Steve McQueen would have done. Only they always hit something, even with the first shot. Neither Jerry nor I had that kind of professional skill, but we were working on it.

You see, dear reader, a sophisticated BB gun shooter will expect to fire a few rounds without hitting the target. One has to adjust for windage and for the fact that the arch of the BB would rapidly descend after 35 yards or so. Then there was the fact that, in this particular case, the target in question absolutely refused to stand still and play fair. Of course, that applied to both of us.

Right there in the middle of this blazing battle, I put my left index finger up in the air to test for windage. And, there being no windage, I lifted my BB gun a smidge higher than usual (yikes, that word, again). And I stood tall and brave as I carefully sighted in my adversary. Then, with my steady right index finger, I squeezed off a shot. I could see it easily traverse the barranca and head like a meteor toward cousin Jerry. As usual, I figured to hit him on or about his front pants pocket or on his skinny thigh. This, however, was not one of those “usual” days.

Instead, that sorry sucker of a BB followed an elongated trajectory that caused it to smack right into the corner of Jerry’s left eye. He dropped his own weapon and yelled like he had been shot. Well, duh. He had. And he didn’t stop there. He hadn’t lost his mind entirely, because he did pick up his own BB gun. And then he lit out for our house like a dog scalded with turpentine. And he was yelling and crying, then crying and yelling. Maybe even using some of those few choice adult words we knew.

Meanwhile, I had little time to savor my extraordinary victory. Fact is, I took off running like crazy, too. I was hoping I could catch him at the bridge, tackle him and shut him up. Maybe threaten him or, as a last resort, bribe him. Anything that would keep my tail from an agitated momma whoopin’. Alas, neighbors, that was not to be. That little varmit, . . . er, I mean . . . my dear cousin had put his hiney in overdrive. He crossed that bridge like he was competing at a track meet and easily beat me to the house.

By the time I emerged from our orange orchard and approached the house, I could hear Jerry’s wailing account of this little incident as something akin to attempt manslaughter. I knew that could not be true. Heck, he wasn’t even a man yet. Or me, either. 

When I had to stand before the Judge (my mother), I wept and wailed and pleaded my case. She was not impressed. So I threw myself on the mercy of the court. The Judge was fresh out of mercy on that day. First, she made me apologize to my own goofy, hairy-legged cousin for what was clearly an accident or–what else do lawyers say?–an act of God. Second, she gave me a lickin’ to remember and I did not just go on tickin’.

That was the very last time we ever played that doggone game.

To tell you the awful truth, though, I recently thought about challenging ol’ Jerry to a rematch. We would each have to go out and buy one of those gol-darned plastic BB guns. But I betcha I could raise blisters on his bony behind, this time.

Oh, hey, hold the cellphone. I forgot a couple of things.

Jerry Russell Paregien spent twenty-five years as an officer with the California Highway Patrol. That means each and every one of those 25 years he had to re-qualify on both his pistol and his rifle. And, how the heck could I forget this: he actually taught marksmanship at the headquarters of the CHP in Sacramento. In recent years, he even wrote two eBooks–available on Amazon.com– on certain pistols. And right now my eyesight–thanks to cataracts–is just not like it never was. 

Okay, that’s it. Negatory on that BB gun rematch idea.

I wonder though. Does anyone know whether Jerry is any good at checkers?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Stan’s writings on this web/blog site are all copyrighted. They may shared with your friends, but any commercial use is specifically excluded without Stan’s written permission.