Tag Archives: Manatee County Florida

Issue 183 – Christmas Specials and More

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

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

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

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

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

The Day Jesus Died: Revised Edition. (2019)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COWBOY EARMUFFS

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

A RAINY DAY READER (100 Non-Cowboy Poems)

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

BOGGY DEPOT SHOOTOUT

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

WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC & MYTH

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

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

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

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

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

Ode to Unrhymed Poetry & Those

Who Write Such

by Stan Paregien  – Nov. 3, 2019

My first performance at a major poetry event

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

The Great Pikes Peak Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Featured poetry, music, stories and other things.

For three days, this well-bankrolled celebration

Featured known and unknown folks like me.

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

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

Well, friends, each afternoon it featured an open mike

For any cowboy types to step up and entertain.

The first afternoon a feller in sandals read somethin’

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

He looked kinda like a college professor on hard times,

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

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

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

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

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

I removed my Stetson and scratched my noggin twice,

And concluded the stranger had run way off the rails.

Later, a more literated cowboy poet than me explained

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

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

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

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

Who writes unrhymed poet and gets a lot of press.

And another cowboy  poet whose name begins with Z,

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

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

I believe in freedom of speech and the Golden Rule.

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

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

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

Under the brand free verse, unrhymed poetry and more

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

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

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

A collegiate dictionary, or Wikipedia to understand.

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

Badger Clark and others of the rhyming brand.

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

So I close with this stanza of words unrhymed.

I will admit free verse material

Makes me think and wonder.

“Say what?”

“Why bother?”

And, “Huh?”

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

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

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

Adios,

Stan Paregien

Issue 373 – Six Freebies for You

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

Six Freebies for You

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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

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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:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AYwU8g8IZo9v4nwXIBnDaXrpqmd6InRI

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

Happy reading, my friends.

— Stan Paregien

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Issue 354: Manatee County, Florida

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 354     –     June 9, 2017

Manatee County, Florida:

Facts, Fun and Photos

Sometimes when Peggy and I have been on vacation or an extending trip, I will jokingly say to our neighbors when we return: “Where the heck have you been?” Usually, they are kinda taken back by the question and mentally calculate they haven’t been anywhere and then reply, “Me? Where the heck have you been?”

Fair question, since I have not posted here since . . . gulp, . . . March 17th. 

Actually, we have done a fair amount of traveling. That includes a 9-day trip to beautiful Costa Rica. And I have had a health issue or two that just flat made me feeling like doing nuttin’. So I did. And then there were countless hours that I spent wrapping up my most recent book. I really became a hermit in my man cave here at our house in order to get it done before our trip to Costa Rica. More about that project next time. All in all, the last three months have just been busy, busy, busy. And, darn, I’m supposed to be retired. I have resolved to take my foot off of the gas pedal and slow down some.

Okay, let me share with you the good news about my new eBook:

Manatee County, Florida:

Facts, Folks and Photos

 

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

Hey, is that an attractive book cover or what? I really like it a bunch. Of course, I designed the basic layout, the print, etc., and the photo you see is one  I took at sunset at our nearby Coquina Beach west of Bradenton. Pardon my “fatherly” pride at my newest “baby” but ain’t she just plum purty?

As Elvis always said at the end of a song, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Here is the official synopsis of this eBook:

“It is an intriguing 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.  

“Chapter 1, “Manatee County Facts,”  is a quick chronological look at the main events which have happened in Manatee County since ol’ Juan Ponce de Leon set foot here in Paradise in 1513. There’ve been a heck of a lot of other footprints left in the sands of Manatee County since then, and this book notes many of them.

Chapter 2, “Manatee County Cities & Communities,” presents facts and information about Manatee County’s larger cities and the smaller communities as well. All of ’em are fine places, so Stan gives you the inside scoop behind the usual road signs and flashing neon lights. Real people live here and most all of them love it, except maybe for a few diehard sourpusses. You’ll find helpful lists of things you may need to find.

“Chapter 3, “Manatee County Folks,” is where you’ll want to spent a bunch of your time. 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.

Chapter 4, “Manatee County Photo Gallery,” is a large and varied photo collection which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step and reduction of your acid reflux problem. Well, heck, two out of three hits is darned good in baseball. You’ll get a kick out of the these photos — new ones, old ones, funny ones, sad ones and all in between. 

“Chapter 5, “About the Author,”  contains Stan Paregien’s bio, plus a list of his more than a dozen other eBooks available online through your favorite retailer. 

“The last part, Chapter 6, is titled “Resources.” It contains an extended list of books and articles you can read, videos you can watch and websites you can visit to learn even more about Manatee County.”

Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks & Photos is available for downloading to your iPhone, iPad, your Mac or PC laptops or desktop computers and more. This large, photo-filled eBook retails for $9.99.

This book of mine really started back in 2011 or so when my wife Peggy and I were considering moving away from the all-too frequent tornados, ice storms and constant winds in our native state of Oklahoma. We began investigating retirement communities from Arizona to Florida. Most Oklahoma retirees in our income bracket elect to move to south Texas, southern Arizona or to New Mexico. But there were other options as well.
We bought travel books, studied scores of web sites and talked with friends and neighbors. We asked for and received countless colorful brochures from specific states and cities, along with buckets of brochures from realtors and Chamber of Commerce representatives. The more information we received, the more we leaned toward somewhere near the beaches of sunny Florida. So we began a large number of visits to this land of palm trees, beautiful beaches and tropical vegetation populated with many hundreds of 55+ retirement communities for active folks like us.
We would fly into Tampa, rent a car and stay in our niece’s unoccupied seasonal home just to the west in Largo. We used that as our base while we spent a week or so each time researching the pluses and minuses of various towns and retirement villages within them. We concentrated on the west coast of Florida, from Clearwater down to Venice. It was a challenge, to say the least, to find the kind of housing we really liked and to winnow that number down to a much smaller number we could realistically afford. After all that, we still had a staggering variety of choices.
Early in 2013, we made our choice. We found a comfortable, fully furnished manufactured home in a 55+ community of some 267 residences. There was a nice clubhouse and kitchen, a library, a work-out room, an inviting swimming pool and hot tub, the ever-popular shuffle board courts, horseshoe pits and more. Several friendly, welcoming residents eagerly told us about what life was really like there. So in June of 2013, we moved to Bradenton—the County Seat of historic and beautiful Manatee County. Our new adventure had begun.

Today — four years later — the adventure continues each day. Sometimes we get so busy in the golden years of our retirement that we have to hit the reset button, chill out and just bask in the sunshine and inhale the aromas of the year-around flowers and revisit the tropic-like Gulf waters and pristine white beaches.

I planned this book with these ideas in mind: (1) It should be written in a lively, easy-to-read style; (2) It should be an invaluable reference tool for full-time residents of Manatee County; (3) It should be an interesting and useful book for people visiting Florida—and particularly, Manatee County—for the first time; and (4) it should honestly point out the good, the bad and the ugly of Manatee County.

Mission accomplished.

Well, okay, that’s the firm opinion of one not-so-unbiased person. Me.
Critics are likely to say of this book either, “You sure put way too much stuff in there” or “You sure left out a lot of stuff that should have been in there.” My response to both criticisms is this: Yep, that’s right. I put in a lot and I left out a lot. The book is much larger than I intended at the start. And I never even dreamed I would end up with 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. That’s a bunch, but I have double that material left untouched in the wings. So . . .

Personally, I have never read anything that even comes close to my book in terms of readability, comprehensiveness or usefulness. I’m pleased with it and eager to share it with others. And I hope you will be so doggoned pleased with your copy that you will buy others as Christmas or birthday gifts, or for friends or relatives who are thinking about moving or visiting here.

Hey, you may even want to send one to such a person “up north” when we’re sunbathing in 80 degree weather and up there they have snow a foot deep and the temperature is dipping toward zero. That should get their attention.

Also, just this week five more  of my eBooks were added to Amazon.com’s lineup of eBooks. Those five books are my two Western novels, a book of my general poetry, and two fun story books each containing 15 of my cowboy stories which I performed for years “from hither to yon” from California to Arkansas and from Texas to Montana. Those 20 some years were quite an interesting ride. 

 

Okay, ’nuff about that.

Hopefully, I’ll get back on a more regular pace of posting my little photo/essays here.

Next time I plan to tell you a little about our trip to beautiful Costa Rica that starting on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 and ended on Thursday, May 18, 2017. We had a delightful, though often rain-swept, time visting with our Oklahoma friends Larry and Linda Seng. More next time.

Oh, one more thing. I always get a kick out of watching my stats for these posting. No, I don’t have millions of folks flocking to this site. But what truly amazes me are the hits that I get from so many countries in the world. Here are some samples from just the last 8 days:  U.S.A. . . . Canada . . . Malaysia . . . European Union . . . Poland . . . Puerto Rico . . . Philippines . . . India . . . United Kingdom . . . Zimbabwe . . . Indonesia . . . Australia . . . Mexico . . . Japan . . . Argentina . . . Turkey . . . and Germany. That’s pretty amazing to me, and I’m glad to have each person, from here or abroad, stop by for a visit.

Best wishes to one and all,

— Stan Paregien

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