“…They know that sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blued steel — something that gives the most common man the most uncommon of freedoms. When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and Liberty.”

Charlton Heston (2000)

Among hundreds of flyers and cards tacked to the bulletin board outside Miller Hardware last week, one in particular stood out (and not just ’cause it was orange). It advertised the “31st Annual Victory Baptist Shoot Out” held last Sunday.

I included an image of the flyer when I posted about the board. Maybe you saw it then.

The day before, while attending the Northwest Arkansas District Fair, Deb and I visited the Boone County Sheriff’s booth. At one end of the display, the county’s non-profit Reserve Deputy Association was raffling off a Winchester 20ga shotgun.

We bought five tickets.

When we were conducting business last month at the courthouse in Yellville, on the front door of the Assessor’s office was a flyer for a raffle benefiting the Marion County Emergency Rescue Squad. The grand prize was a Savage Axis rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, fitted with a Bushnell scope.

Those are three examples of what we see quite often ’round here. And while gun raffles and shooting events aren’t uncommon where we lived in Ohio, I highlight these because of their contexts.

A “shoot out” after Sunday services. A sheriff’s office promoting a shotgun raffle. A flyer for a rifle raffle posted in the county courthouse.

If that sort of thing doesn’t make you smile, sorry, we’ll never be very good friends.

In those illustrations we see local government and law enforcement actively encouraging firearms in the hands of the People. We have a church, its members’ right to worship guaranteed by the First Amendment, acknowledging that Liberty is protected by those who exercise a birthright guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

Sensible and American as all that may be, it doesn’t happen everywhere. You know that. Government and the individual right to keep and bear arms are seen to be conflicting interests. Likewise religion, thanks to a pervasive “social gospel,” which today equates guns only with criminal violence.

Not here.

This is one of those “little pockets” where America is making its “last stand.” Liberty is both principle and tradition in this part of the country, jealously guarded. Folks know who they are and where they came from, and they’re committed to keeping their heritage alive.

“Only open sight .22 rifles!” says that Baptist flyer. “Bring the whole family!”

Those two sentences should tell you everything you need to know. Deb and I consider it a true privilege to gather here with these People.

At dawn today the mercury bounced just short of the 30s before rising into the mid-40s by 8:30am or so. I welcomed the nip in the air, of course, and I could think of only one proper way to celebrate the autumn chill.

I built a morning fire.

Our departing workamper friends left us their remaining firewood, so this was something of a freebie. All I had to do was get it going, which didn’t take long. I basked in the warmth of fire on my legs, morning sun on my face and hot coffee on my innards.

It’s one of the great pleasures of life outdoors. I only wish that Deb had been sitting next to me this morning. (She’s still recuperating.)

I can imagine a similar dawn in the not-too-distant future, stepping out our back door and building a fire with perfectly seasoned red cedar that I felled, bucked and split myself. I’ll pour two cups of coffee — percolator coffee — and we’ll welcome autumn to The Mountain.

We have many such moments ahead of us. We’re advancing toward them, one step at a time.

One year ago today, dear Dipstick went under the knife to have a self-inflicted bowel obstruction removed. All of us (Scout included) were concerned that he might not make it through surgery, but early that afternoon we got a call saying that all went well.

(Spoiler alert: The little shit is still here, ornery as ever.)

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB