In the Philippines…

Rooster Under Shirt…

Showing Mango from one of the trees on Property…breakfast on porch of little dollhouse in LaUnion…Claudia standing there so pretty…a goat meandering through yard and a Kalabaw (Water buffalo) off in the distance…

Ronnie was the landlord of the little dollhouse that was out of view of the well traveled, “National Highway.”  He was a great landlord because Ronnie was never seen unless we needed to get in touch with him, and then he was there.

Nina and I were mostly happy at that place.  One day as we cut across the neighbor’s backyard I felt like a, “Scale of measure.”  Both arms waved up and down, carefully maintaining my balance as I made my way across the narrow timbers bridging over a gulley of water, left over from the soggy rice fields.  Claudia patiently waited for me to cross and when I did we clutched hands and journeyed towards the main artery going to the city of San Fernando.

We made it to the cement walk way and I felt eyes upon me.  I became self-conscience because of my uneven gait but Claudia told me not to pay attention to their snickering.  “They’re just jealous because I am with a rich American,” but I knew better.  Though it was nice of her to try to put my mind at ease. 

A little further on we came across a dog that I thought had the mange (animal skin disease) because most of its

dogs with the mange (skin disease).

coat was gone and the skin was pink and tender looking. The dog lay in a dark spot on the hard, hot sidewalk.  The homes all had their shades dropped or windows covered and most Filipinos knew enough to stay indoors during early afternoon hours.

Jeepney ready to go…

On the main highway at a shaded jeepney (the jeepney – an elongated jeep with open sides) waiting area we caught one and rode it to the city with occasional stops along the way to either pick up or drop off passengers. 

We were let off at the Town Square in San Fernando and walked window-shopping as we passed the many stores.  Claudia bought a dress at one of them and I purchased jeans at the same place.  The salesgirl asked me for a tip and at first I thought to myself, how tacky.  Then I remembered where I was and how the Php 200 that I paid was in reality about $5 bucks, I tipped her what the jeans would have cost me in America. 

After our shopping we went to a Chinese Restaurant we had frequented many times before on the main highway through town.  We were seated and placed our order.  While sipping some hot tea (I always order hot tea at a Chinese restaurant instead of my usual coffee) our meals arrived and as usual the food was tasty; I believe I had the Chop Suey, which soon became one of my favorite dishes while in the Philippines.  We were about halfway through our meals when two loud guys entered the restaurant.  I turned to look at them and noticed a chicken underneath the baggy shirt of the smaller, though better built and more boisterous guy.  

When I noticed that, I hadn’t planned on saying anything, not even to Nina.  They sat in the booth directly in front of ours and my eyes and attention changed.   Becoming more and more angry as I noticed the patron pushing the head of the now clearly seen rooster back under his shirt.  The bird was stuffed back inside as it was attempting to crow.

That upset me with my brain-injured mind and I had to say something; that’s the way it is for us people.  We cannot stop ourselves from saying what we are thinking and many times that gets us into trouble.  The TBI made me a more honest person, but as I have found out honesty is not what people want to hear; most want to hear flattery of some sort. 

At any rate, I blurted out, “Take that rooster out of here!  Do you realize how many germs it has and to bring it into a place where food is being served is very bad!” 

Similar to the restaurant rooster.

He obviously did not want to hear that and shouted some obscenity back and then Nina entered the lively, heated discussion.  The restaurant manager came out and the rooster was crowing.  Nina made my soft voice a non-factor as she completely took care of the situation.  The manager looked to be in a quandary of not knowing what to do…so Nina, very matter of factly stated to him,  “We frequent this place about once a week and have always been cash paying customers, now you expect us to eat with a rooster?  Even your front window says No Shirt No Shoes, No Service.  How much worse to have a dirty rooster in here?”

But the manager had his mind made up, Nina and I were the ones expected to leave.    I had already left the money for the meal on the table, but I guess I shouldn’t have done that either.  Claudia was upset, and took my side in the issue and months later I discovered how difficult that must have been for her.  I spent a week at her provincial home where chickens meandered through the, always open, front door and even flew up to the windows without glass or screen and eventually back outside they went.

Bird flu in the Philippines… So far, the Philippines have remained free from the avian-influenza virus and its deadly H5N1 strain, which can affect humans. But, as this series shows, the Philippines are vulnerable to a bird-flu outbreak.

The failure of authorities to halt bird smuggling — despite years of arrests and confiscations and laws and policies meant to stem the illegal trading of rooster for use in cock fighting— is the Achilles heel of the anti-bird flu campaign. Authorities fear that infected smuggled birds could affect local fowl.

But bird smuggling is not the only problem confronting the National Avian Influenza Task Force (NAITF) formed by the health and agriculture departments in April 2005. There’s also the problem of convincing duck raisers to stop grazing their fowl in wetland areas frequented by migratory birds.

Equally important, authorities are also unsure if fighting-cock aficionados would agree to cull prized birds should avian flu break out in their areas. Gil Nicolas, spokesman of the National Federation of Gamefowl Breeders (NFGB), predicts “strong resistance” to culling because of the breeders’ attachment to their game fowls.

Authorities worry that the huge emotional and economic investment sabungeros have made on their game fowl may prompt them to hide their fighting cocks rather than to cull them if an outbreak takes place. In Thailand, breeders who invested so much time and money on their game fowls refused to kill these even in the wake of bird flu outbreaks. They hid their prized birds or moved these to other farms, exacerbating the country’s bird-flu problem. In fact, the illegal movement of game fowl has since been cited as one of the main factors in the spread of bird flu in several Thai provinces.  

Two-fighting-cocks (roosters)



Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


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