Tag Archives: Gene Paregien

Issue 357 – We Enjoy Our Visitors

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The Paregien Journal   –   Issue 357   –   July 13, 2017

We Really Enjoy Our Visitors

During our marriage of 55+ years, Peggy and I have lived in several states and cities. I can safely say that none of them, except for our current home in Florida, has been known as a “tourist destination city.”  The region from Tampa, down through Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice contains beautiful cities, beaches, museums and scores of other attractions. So hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here from all over the United States, Canada and Europe–especially during “the season” (November through April). 

Naturally, that old capitalism rule of “supply and demand” kicks in, with hotels raising their rates and still running at or near capacity, and restaurants hike their prices and still have waiting lines (even at . . . or maybe especially at . . . the “Early Bird Special” time of 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). And then there is the additional traffic, . . . but don’t get me started on that.

So we are fortunate and happy to have a few more friends and relatives who come to visit us for a day several days. We are always glad host them and get caught up on their lives and the lives of our mutual friends. And we try to guide them to the best attractions in the area.

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Martha and Darrell Russell are very special friends of ours and have been for many years. We all met when Peggy and Martha each worked in the Southwest Airlines Reservation Center north of the airport in Oklahoma City. For several years, Peggy and Martha shared rides back and forth to work from our respective homes about 25 miles from the airport (in Edmond, Okla.). Then when we decided to move to Florida in June of 2013, these two generous souls volunteered to make the trip with us. In fact, Darrell had driven business-sized trucks for years and he accepted the role of chief driver of our rental truck. Martha and Peggy drove our van. 

Then a couple of years later they retired, sold their house, bought a Recreational Vehicle and started roaming all over the U.S. Then their daughter and son-in-law got transferred to Jupiter (over on Florida’s east coast; also where the aging movie star Burt Reynolds still lives) and they started living with there when not RV-ing. And just a few weeks ago, the whole crew moved to new digs up in Social Circle, Georgia. Google that town and scroll out and look at how the town is platted — in a doggone circle. Pretty strange.

Anyway, I think you catch my drift that we very much appreciate and love these two wonderful folks.

And, speaking of wonderful folks, . . . that leads us to James and Glenda Cotton of Edmond, Okla. 

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We first met James and Glenda Cotton (of Marshall, Okla.) in a congregation in Oklahoma City where we were all attending. Since then, they have moved from her family farm to just on the far north side of Oklahoma City. We all four laugh all the time about how we were mismatched somewhere back in time, as Peggy and James share a great passion for searching for seashells and tinkering with stuff while Glenda and I are happy to watch the sunsets and read books. Last year Peggy and I rode with them from Edmond all the way through Texas and New Mexico up to Westcliffe, Colorado . . . to a friend’s cabin . . . and then took the long way home. Quite an adventure. And quite fantastic friends.

2017--03--26 02 Brian, Ruth, Muriel, Peg - Venice, FL - by Stan Paregien

Two of our newer retired friends who live in Venice are Dr. Brian and Ruth Smith, R.N. Before they were married, they each independently went to separate medical missions in Africa. A series of twists and turns took place, finally causing them to meet and to get married. They spent the last 20 years of their careers working in McAllen, Texas, moving to Venice in late 2015 or so for his health.

The photo above shows them with my cousin/brother Jerry Paregien (blue shirt) and his wife Muriel and with Peggy.  Both Jerry and I grew up a few miles apart in the wilds of Ventura County (just north of Malibu, etc.). He graduated (as did Peggy) from Ventura High School, while I graduated from Fillmore High School.  I had one sister, Roberta (“Berta”), but nary a single brother. Jerry has certainly filled that slot for me over the years, so I love him as my substitute physical brother and as my brother in Christ. It just doesn’t get much closer than that. 

Muriel and Peggy just seemed to hit it off from the first time they met. For one thing, they are both “P.K.’s.” Now those of you insiders in church circles know what that means. Each of them was a “preacher’s kid.” Muriel’s father, Dale Knowles, preached for ultra-conservative independent Christian Churches (and her brother, Victor Knowles, is a preacher and the long-time editor of ONE BODY, a magazine advocating Christian unity).  Peggy’s father, W.W. (“Woody”) Allen, preached for ultra-conservative Churches of Christ, mainly in Nebraska and in Ventura, Calif. But Muriel and Peggy share so many other interests that their relationship is very similar to that which Jerry and I have. 

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Woody King is a son of Paula King and the late Bill King, making him a nephew to Peggy and to me. Woody’s parents farmed in Arizona and Texas, then moved to California and soon to Oklahoma’s oil patch(s), and in his adult life out to Portland, Oregon. Lisa’s parents live in Sarasota and it was Woody and Lisa’s wedding on beautiful Siesta Beach — attended by Peggy — that was a major influence in our moving to Florida. They have the one daughter, cute and smart little Ella. They work together as independent entrepreneurs.

Hey, here is a “blast from the past.”  This photo of Woody and others was taken at our little 10-acre “farm” northwest of Stroud, Okla., in 1981. I added the captions, of course.

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That is my mom and step-father in back, and Woody’s younger brother Jeff at right.

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Luncheon cruise on Sarasota Bay in mid-June, 2017

This photo is of Stan and Peggy Paregien with their one and only daughter, Mrs. John (Stacy Evelyn Paregien) Magness. Stacy (cook in a nursing home) and John (foreman for a company in the oil field service business) and their adult daughter Christal live in tiny Snook, Texas just west of Bryan/College Station (think “Texas A&M”).  They have lived in Texas all of their married lives. This was Stacy’s first trip to Florida. We hope someday, since her husband John refuses to fly at all, to hog-tie him and load him on a plane and get him here, too. Stacy, by the way, is our greatly loved “chosen child,” as we adopted her in Oklahoma when she was two years old. Their older child, Dylan, works with his father and lives in College Station with his girlfriend. Their first baby is a beautiful girl named Presleigh.

That is Stacy’s picture on the left, at about the same age as Presleigh.

The note in my newspaper for July 7th’s “Birthdays” included the one and only . . . Doc Sevrinsen. Okay, if you’re under 40 years of age you have probably never heard of him. But ol’ Doc, whose real name was Carl, turned 90 this year. He was the band leader during most of the years that Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” on TV. At one time he owned a horse ranch in Purcell, Oklahoma (which likes to call itself “The Quarter Horse Capital of the World”). He lives up in Webbed Foot Country (i.e., Oregon), and he still performs once in a while. He was especially noted for his wacky stage outfits and for his kinda “wacked out” stage persona, which I don’t know was for real or just an act. He was different, though.

Severinsen, Doc -- about 2016 -- trumpet player and band leader on NBC

Oh, and on July 7, 1954, that nobody truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi actually conned some D.J. at WHBQ in Memphis to play his first record, “That’s All Right,” for the very first time. And the song was a heck of a lot more than “All Right.” Neither Sun Records nor the world of music would be the same for very long after that. I remember that this “rock ‘n roller” (or hillbilly rocker) in about 1955, when I was a student at Roosevelt Junior High School in Tulsa, came to town for a show. The place was mobbed. And the newspaper the next day on their front page had a photo of two or three of my female classmates trying to climb into Elvis Presley’s dressing room from a window on the outside wall. Ah, yes, the good ol’ days.

Presley, Elvis -- with his guitar in about 1955 - it is a 1955 Martin D-28 guitar

We had been giving some serious thought and discussion about flying to Japan to see that nation and to spent some time with our daughter-in-law Becky Paregien’s brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Tomoko McClain in the Hitachi coastal area north-east of Tokyo. . . .  . . Then, one of our Rwandan friends invited us to his wedding in September there in Rwanda, Africa. So we (mainly Peggy) shifted gears and started researching that trip, instead. The Rwanda trip was just too cost-prohibitive. So we (mainly Peggy) turned our attention back to that possible trip to Japan. After visiting with a travel agent, we decided the possible Japan trip was impossible for us. And for the same reasons:  $$$$$

So we have regrouped and are thinking of going two places instead of one: Paris and Rome.

Doesn’t that sound just wonderful?

Well, don’t get too excited. We’re talking (mostly joking) about driving to both Paris, Tennessee and Rome, Georgia. It would give us some bragging rights, if we just left off the state names. Then on second thought, . . . naw. Back to the drawing board.

Hey, we have a heck of a lot of fun with all of the folks here in our 55+ gated MHP, including such folks as long-time resident Pat Goeller. Read the sign on her shirt.

 

2017--04--11 01 Bradenton, FL - Pat Goeller - by S Paregien

Well, friends and neighbors, that’s it for this time. Thanks for stopping by and “Y’all come, ya hear?”

— Stan Paregien

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Issue 342 – When Friends Pass Away

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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

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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”

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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. 

 

 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

1972-033-GeneParegien-schbus

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

1985--010--I--StroudOK--HSgraduation---AcademicLeaders

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. 

1985--045--LaverneOK--Thanksgiving

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.  

1993--009--GeneParegien--Becky--Jodi

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

 

1993--018--StanJr-Becky--Hawaii

The Oklahoma City Bombing

1995--053--OK--OKC--Bombing--StanParegienJr

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.

1997--009--xmas-StanJr-Becky-Jodi-Dan--EdmondOK

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

1997--060--OK--Jay--Rhonda-StanJr--Diane--Judy--Oct25

1997--062--OK--Edmond---Thanksgiving--group

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

 

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

1998--072--StanParegienJr---Becky-Jodi-Daniel---KnoxvilleTN

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

1999-028--family

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

2003-022--MO-Barnhart--StanParegienJr--StanSr

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

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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

2003--341--IRAQ--Kirkuk--flooding-in-camp--Dec

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

2007-0957-waterloo-il-stan-paregienjr-stan-sr2007-1436-b-edmond-ok-paregien-family-thanksgiving2008-0232-afb-airplane-peg-stanjr-promotion-to-major2008-0296-b-group-boarding-ship

2008-1335-xmas-family

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

2010-0863-reunion-stanjr-group-stroud-ok-class-of-85

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 .

2010-2596-paregiens-xmas-tree-edmondok

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.

2011-0248-ok-wapy-enterprisecemetery-feb26

2011-0241-b-ok-wapy-enterprisecemetery-feb26

Stan Jr, Daniel, Stan Sr, Christal & Rindiro

Becky Paregien & son Daniel & husband Stan Jr

 

 

2012-2216-waterloo-il-stan-paregien-jr-dan-becky

2012-3117-e-tx-sanantonio-airman-dan-paregien-and-father-major-stan-paregien-jr-aug-17

2012-3544-il-waterloo-nov-stan-paregien-jr-and-yes-his-batmobile

2013-2392-waterloo-il-dec-30-stan-paregien-sr-and-stan-jr

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2014-0416-b2-st-louis-mo-stan-paregien-jr-and-becky-with-william-shatner

2014-1312-n-greenville-il-june-actor-james-rosco-best-and-stan-paregien-jr

2015-10-27-2590-illinois-stan-paregien-jr-and-his-deloreon-time-machine

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.

2016-05-29-c-waterloo-il-30th-anniversary-renewal-of-wedding-vows-of-becky-and-stan-paregien-jr-married-may-10-1986

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? 

birthday-happy-birthday-2016-01

 

 

 

Issue 306 — The Donald Trump Song

Issue 306      —    The Donald Trump Song  —  Paregien Journal —  Sept. 29, 2015

Gather ’round the campfire, kids of all ages, and I’ll tell you a tale.

You see, folks, there was this time out in the wild lands of “The Land of Enchantment” (also known as New Mexico) a young feller and his beautiful, young wife did some serious praying. They wanted to expand their family from dos (just the two of them) to tres o mas (three or more). So they snuggled up real close on some of those cold nights in Albuquerque. And on one very hot day in a hospital in Las Cruces (The Crosses) they had themselves a boy child.

1966-046 Poem-GodBlessYouMySon

Now, reckon what they named the little feller? No, it wasn’t George. Not Pedro. Not Barak or Gladamir or Tex. Nope. The little lady deferred to her creative husband and they named the innocent and unsuspecting blue-eyed, blond-haired baby . . . Stanley Eugene Paregien, Jr., but they called him “Gene.” That was way back just after the ancient oceans had receded from New Mexico and left it mainly high and dry. The day was September 30th. And that, friends and neighbors, is how Peggy and I entered the mysterious, frustrating, enchanting realm of parenthood.

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

Okay, I said all of that so Peggy and I can say this: Happy birthday to our favorite son (also our only son), Gene Paregien, known better after high school as Stan Paregien. Junior, that is. We love you a bunch.

1807 -- 2015--08--01 B11 Holmes Beach, FL -- Stan Jr, Bailee, Dom - by P Paregien

Another Great Country Singer Passes

Those of us who are members of OTDC (Older Than Dirt Club) fondly remember the wonderful harmony of a trio of singers called “The Browns.” That was Jim Ed Brown (baritone) and his sisters, Maxine Brown (alto) and Bonnie Brown (soprano). There was a brief note in our local newspaper (I used the term loosely) today that Bonnie Brown of Dardanelle, AR is in the final stage of lung cancer and that, . . . oh by the way, . . . Jim Ed Brown died of cancer back in June. Never heard a word about his passing.

So I found Jim Ed Brown’s official web site at:  http://www.jimedbrown.com/ .  

It was Maxine Brown who sorta pushed her handsome brother, Jim Ed, into show biz in Little Rock. Before long, she joined him on stage. And in 1954 Jim Ed and Maxine became part of the hugely popular “Louisiana Hayride” radio broadcast in Shreveport, Louisiana. That same year their catchy song, “Looking Back to See,” hit Number 8 on the country chart, and they were off and running fast. Sister Bonnie made it a family trio in 1955. 

The Browns -- Maxine, Jim Ed and Bonnie - he died June 11, 2015

It 1959 they made recording history when “The Three Bells” (also known as “The Chapel Bells Were Ringing”) crossed all kinds of music borders. You may watch them sing that song from a 1963 TV video now posted on YouTube [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTkbj56bnYs and then, just for old times sake, watch as senior citizens Maxine, Bonnie and Jim Ed sing the song in about 2008 at: https://youtu.be/EoU_Od2nJj0 . Still mighty nice.]. Their fabulous three-part harmony rocketed the song to Number 1 on the Country chart, Number 1 on the Pop chart and Number 10 on the Rhythm & Blues chart. The trio became members of the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1963, but just four years later broke up.

Jim Ed Brown continued to perform solo. He had a hit with “Pop-a-Top,” . . . but it just wasn’t the same. Then in 1976 he had the good fortune of forming a duet with golden throated Helen Cornelius. They had a Number 1 Country hit with “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You.” [ Watch them sing that song 32 years later, in 2008, in a TV video posted on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFpcR3GvmVc .]   And in 1977 they were named the Country Music Association’s Duet of the Year.

Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius -- 2

Many years later, in the late 1980s, I got to do a phone interview with Helen Cornelius. She was in her home in Nashville and I was in our studio at KSNY Radio in Snyder, Texas. She was a very personable and talented lady.

On March 25, 2015, the CMA organization announced they would induct Jim Ed Brown and The Browns into the County Music Hall of Fame in Nashville later in the year. Unfortunately, the melodious Jim Ed Brown died of lung cancer on June 11, 2015. He was 81 years of age.

The Trump

The other night I watched as Donald Trump held court in another of his “Ain’t I Just Great!” interviews. His Highness, the only multi-billionaire in the contest to become the Republican party’s candidate for president, chants his matra that he alone has the business acumen to save we commoners. Not surprisingly, that is also the theme song being sung by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She would have us believe that, as a multi-millionaire, she knows the pain of the working class and if we elect her she will set all things right. My guess is she lies about other things, too.

But I digress.

Mr. Trump bangs his big drum — thump, thump, thump — for his favorite person. Himself. And that reminded me of a very old song that might work well for his campaign. It is, “I Love Me, I Love Me, I’m Wild About Myself.”  

I Love Me, I Love Me, I'm Wild About My Self -- 1922 - Jack Haley and Will Mahoney--Page 1

I Love Me, I Love Me, I'm Wild About My Self -- 1922 - Jack Haley and Will Mahoney--Page 2

2039 -- 2015--09--24 Snook, TX - Stacy Paregien Magness and hubby John - 25th Anniv

2040 -- 2015--09--24 Snook, TX - Stacy Paregien Magness and hubby John - 25th Anniv

1990--0003--Wedding--John Magness - Stacy Paregien - Snyder, Texas

They were a beautiful couple back in 1990, and they still are. Congratulations to Stacy and John, “The Magness Team.”

2017-B -- 2015--09--05 Sarasota, FL - Landes 50th Anniversary -- Clay Landes and Pat -- by Stan Paregien

We got to share this great moment with friends Clay and Pat Landes back on Sept. 5th., in celebration of their 50th anniversary. Amazingly, Clay’s parents back in Indiana recently celebrated their 75th anniversary. Wow. 

2035 -- 2015--09--23 Bradenton, FL - Smiths - Karin - Jean Pendergrass

We have known Jean Pendergrass (right; lives in Venice) for over two years. She marches to the beat of three different drummers, all at once and while chewing bubblegum. She is a super-nice and a super-active Christian lady. She and her new friend Karin (to her right) of Jamaica came for lunch at our home last week. Joining the party were new residents of Venice, Dr. and Mrs. Brian (Ruth) Smith, M.D..  Brian and Ruth (a retired R.N.) met in Africa while on their own respective Christian medical missions, and Africa is where they were married. They moved here from McAllen, Texas, where he served as an elder in their local church for the last 15 years or so.

Muslim Logic -- posted on the internet in 2015

Reynolds, Lisa -- The Hanukkah Stomp - REMINISCE, Dec-Jan, 2013, page 58

Logo -- Plantation Grove Notes -- 01

These next few items may be of particular interest to the residents in Plantation Grove Mobile Home Park, where Peggy and I hang our straw hats. 

2036 -- 2015--09--24 Ed Hutchinson and Stan Paregien by Virginia Corbin

Here are the birthday folks for October that I know about here in Plantation Grove Mobile Home Park:

Stan Paregien (2nd), Kent Abel (5th), Keith Carsen (10th), Peggy Paregien (13th), Holly Woolums (15th), Elaine Chartier, Ray Chartier, and Rick Dorricott.

2038 -- 2015--09--23 Peggy Paregien's 'Poopmobile'

As we say down here in Paradise, into each life some poop . . . er, I mean . . . some rain must fall. And we have had a lot of it (rain, that is) this summer and now into the start of fall. The best days are coming up fast, though, as we get slightly cooler days and less rain and more sunshine. Ah, yes, now I remember why we moved down here.

— END.