This is Day 413 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are doin’ well.
Another dreary day in southwest Missouri, rainy and unseasonably cold. Fortunately, this morning a friend who lives in the area stopped by our campground, picked us up and rescued us from the damp and chill.
She whisked us off to a nifty little café in a small rural town, where we enjoyed strong coffee and a tasty breakfast, chatting a while. We were surrounded by an interesting mix of customers — old men leaning on canes, families with well-behaved kids, a group showering the upcoming birth of a baby boy. The atmosphere was easy, warm and and comfortable.
Afterward we drove back toward a more urban area for a special treat — a trip to the Bass Pro Shops national headquarters and flagship store. Say what you want about monopolies and market consolidation, the kind of corporate two-step that creates such a massive retail presence. A visit to the Bass Pro “mother ship” is a one-of-a-kind experience we wouldn’t dream of passing up.
The store itself reflects the strength and variety of the outdoors industry. It appeals more, perhaps, to traditional sporting culture, Fudds and disciples of TR, than to contemporary shooting-sports types, but the environment overall is as welcoming to hard-chargers as it is to tree-huggers.
For us, the highlight of the two hours we spent there was the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, which occupies two levels above the main retail floor. The displays there represent a What’s What and a Who’s Who of American firearms, the kind of collection that’ll thrill any Patriot with a pulse — and that definitely describes Deb, our friend and me.
At one point, rounding a corner to browse a display of historic Remingtons, I spotted something behind the glass that stopped me in my tracks — an original oil painting, “Pistol Shooter,” by artist F.X. Leyendecker. It was one of a number of pieces commissioned by Remington to illustrate a series of ads which ran in 1919.
This particular art was the centerpiece of one of my all-time favorite vintage firearms ads — “Straight Shooting Americanism,” which I wrote about on Ubi Libertas Blog in March — and there I was today, standing in front of Leyendecker’s original. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it.
So we had a great day — quality time with a friend, good food, a little retail therapy and the very American experience of honoring our country’s proud heritage of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Back in the bus this evening we dined on jambalaya. The dogs played at our feet, eventually settling to join us in watching the sun set. The coach is cozy. We’re smiling.
Tomorrow will come, and day upon day after that, each with its own joys and adventures not yet imagined. We’ll be here to embrace it all.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.