Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Quote du jour

"Everything changes, a little, and it should.
The good ain't forever and the bad ain't for good!"

- Roger Miller

Monday, January 30, 2023

Quote du jour

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

- Charles Dickens

Sunday, January 29, 2023

A Little Sunday Night Music

Keith & Kristyn Getty and Shane & Shane - "Rejoice"

For your Consideration


A new short story 

    It was a plain little building with a small yard in front. She had discovered it one day as she was walking in the woods near her home. It looked like it had been unoccupied for some time, as the path to it was overgrown with grass and there were decaying leaves covering the front step. The walls were weathered but looked intact. Curious, she walked up to it and tried the door; it was unlocked. She opened it carefully and looked inside.

   It was just one room, with a window in the center of the other three walls. There was no furniture, no rug, no curtains, nothing at all except the door and the windows. She stepped in slowly, in case the wooden floor wasn’t safe--but as it felt quite solid underfoot, she crossed to the window opposite the door and looked out.

   A meadow lay behind and a bit below the little house. It was deserted. Grasses bent and swayed in the wind and myriads of brightly colored wildflowers trembled as the breezes passed over them. The branches of the encircling fir trees moved endlessly. That’s strange, she thought. The air had been quite still when she walked into the building. But the wind was undoubtedly blowing now; it caused long ripples to roll across a pond which was in the middle of the meadow. The wind must have come up quickly.

   She wanted to get a better look at the pretty wildflowers, so she went outside and walked around the side of the house toward the back—and then stopped dead in her tracks. Behind the building there was nothing but a small, weed-covered yard, surrounded by a hedge of bramble bushes in front of some scraggly trees. The air was completely still, as it had been before she entered the little house. There was no grassy meadow, no flowers, no pond, no wind. She looked back at the house—there wasn’t even a window to be seen; nothing but a blank wooden wall covered with peeling paint. She slowly circled the entire structure and realized that although there were windows in the side walls, there was no opening in the back wall at all.

   She re-entered the house and looked through the side windows; all she saw was what she had just walked through. But the back window—which seemed not to exist in external reality!—still looked out over a meadow with a pond in the middle.

   How could this be? She didn’t know what to think. As she stood, completely mystified, her thoughts were interrupted by something unexpected. Emerging from the trees was a person carrying a bucket. This person—it was a man—walked around the pond, filled his bucket, and then turned to water a small sapling she hadn’t noticed at first, which was planted to the right of the pond. It seemed to be a different sort of tree than the others around the clearing; she supposed that the man had planted it there himself, perhaps.

   After giving the small tree a few bucketsful of water, he stood for a while, looking at it, and then started to walk back the way he came. She rushed out of the little house to see if, by chance, there was anyone behind it—but she saw only the yard with weeds, as before. She turned and ran back around the house and through the front door to the far window, to catch only a glimpse of the man as he disappeared into the forest the way he came.

   She stood at the window for a long time, thinking. After a while, she examined it closely to see how it opened. It was an old-fashioned, sash-type window—the kind where the lower pane slides up and stays up until it is pulled down again. She raised the lower pane and was instantly struck in the face by fresh air blowing into the room, filled with all kinds of forest meadow scents. And there was something else, too: a subtle sound, just over the edge of her hearing, as of music barely heard. Soothing music, beautiful music. She tried to quiet her thoughts in order to hear it better, but too many questions and speculations were circling around in her mind.

   She put her arm out the window and touched the outside walls. They felt normal to her, just as she would have expected the little house’s ordinary wooden walls to feel. Leaning out the window slightly, she looked straight down. From that vantage point, she could see that there was no backyard at all. The house was at the edge of a rise and a slope led down towards the meadow; a faint path led to and around the pond.

   She wondered, could the man see the house when he was in the meadow, or was it as invisible to him as the clearing was to her when she was outside the house in its tiny backyard? It was too complex a question for her to pursue.

   Quite some time passed as she waited by the window, looking out over the pond and the meadow and the trees. Would the man come back? But the only movements she saw were those of a few birds flying low, and the wind-caused ripples on the pond.

   The light began to fade; reluctantly she pulled down the sash and left the little house. She had a lot to think about on her way home….


   Although the mysterious little house had puzzled her quite a bit, she was too busy to visit it again until several days had passed. She had her job and other tasks and responsibilities which occupied her time. Still, she found herself thinking about it, and about the man, at odd moments; it was certainly too strange to forget. Finally, she found the time to return.

   It was a very warm day. As she approached the house, she hoped it would be cooler inside. I should have worn a hat, she thought, Then I wouldn’t be sweating so much.

   She walked up to the door. But instead of entering right away, she veered off to the side to take a quick look around the back. It looked exactly as before—a weedy yard with a brambly hedge. And it was even hotter there, due to the sun’s heat reflecting off the blank wooden wall. She looked at the unbroken expanse. “Where are you, window?” she asked out loud, with amusement. Because of the heat, however, she hurried to retrace her steps and go into the house.

   She walked straight across the room to the back window and threw it open—only to be hit in the face by a few windblown raindrops. She was startled for a moment and then laughed out loud. I should have guessed that it wouldn’t be the same weather! she thought to herself. I wonder if it is ever the same? I’ll bet not.

   There was no sign of the man. Maybe the rain was keeping him at home--wherever that home was. She leaned on the windowsill, enjoying the cool, damp air and the occasional raindrops. The coolness revived her and the rain caused the grasses and flowers to look even brighter and more inviting than ever. She had a moment of intense longing and then realized that she needed to go home. She closed the window reluctantly, and left in the heat of the day.


   For weeks she visited and watched, or was it months? Oh, yes, it was months, and more than just a few—but how many? She couldn’t tell. Looking out the window at the big meadow became very important to her. At first. it happened only once in a while. Then more frequently, then regularly, until finally it was almost every day. Some of the time he wasn’t there, but she could see evidence of his presence: a book or a jacket, or fishing tackle left beside the pond. She stayed and watched a long time then, but he seldom returned for his belongings during the times she was there. On those days, she left the little house sadly.

   But sometimes he WAS there when she looked through the window, busy doing various things: scything the tall, green grasses in the meadow, clearing the paths, pruning dead branches from the trees. Sometimes he was just resting in the grass, watching a bird perched on the sapling across the pond or watching the clouds moving across the sky. She knew he had come to know that she was there, even though he was usually self-absorbed in what he was doing. Sometimes he waved at her; a few times he bowed in mock homage. That pleased her intensely. And under everything, when he was there, were the faint sounds of music—the most beautiful music she had ever heard.

   She continued to watch him through the round of window-seasons. Did it seem to be spring? He was tending to all the riotously colored flowers. Was it summer-warm? He often swam or fished in the pond. In autumn-like days, he cleared fallen leaves; in the snows of seeming winter, he scattered food for the animals. Occasionally he even threw snowballs at her window. She always ducked and laughed; she could almost see the mischievous expressions on his face. She was content to watch, and approve, and be entranced by his continuous activities.


   The seasons of watching rolled on, year after year. It was now an established part of her life, often seeming more real than the other things she did every day. She crossed the lines back and forth enough times that everything seemed to her to be connected, to be one reality instead of two.


   Finally, there came a day….

   In the world outside the window, it had snowed again. Even though the little house was warm enough, she breathed in crisp, cold air from the winter weather beyond and rubbed her arms. I’m not dressed for this… she thought with amusement.

   The pond was frozen, snow covered the ground, and the distant tree branches were frosted with white. A beautiful red bird perched on the sapling. Everything was calm and peaceful. Looking around, she noticed a trail of footprints in the snow, running from the tree line to the edge of the pond. She smiled, knowing that he had been there, but sorry that she had missed seeing him once again.

   She continued to gaze at the wintery scene, hoping he would come back. She had learned long ago that he didn’t seem to mind any kind of weather, even deep snow. But something started nagging at her, bothering her, worrying her. She looked carefully through the window, wondering what was wrong—and then all at once she knew: there was only one set of footprints. One set only, leading from the trees to the water. No footprints back or leading anywhere else. He had walked to the water’s edge and then—what? What did he do? Where did he go? Where was he? The footprints looked too perfect for him to have retraced his steps exactly, back to the trees. Could he have walked across the ice-covered pond? But there were no footprints leading away from it on any side. He had vanished. Where was he? Then she thought—had the water been frozen when he arrived at its edge? Or had it frozen….afterward?

   Fear and dread filled her. Where was he? Had he fallen into the water? She knew he could swim, but the water was surely too cold for swimming. Panic struck her all of a sudden. Was he at the bottom of the frozen-over pond? She couldn’t bear that thought. Without a moment’s hesitation, she climbed up onto the windowsill, swung her legs over, and pushed herself out and away from the wall…

   …and found herself falling, falling, falling into darkness and flashes of color and fragments of music. Falling endlessly, as she thought only of trying to reach him, to find him, to pull him back into life. If he was gone, how could she go on? There would be no light, no color, no music; nothing anymore—never again, never anymore. She had to find him.

…falling slowly and endlessly in darkness—a darkness that abruptly became extremely cold. And then she stopped falling because she had landed, feather-light, in his arms. Startled, she stared up at his face, taking in details she had never yet seen. He looked back at her, silently. Nothing else for a long time, while something crystallized in her heart.

   “Why are you here?” he asked, finally.

   “Where were you? I couldn’t see you.”

   “I was here.”

   “But there weren’t enough footprints—I didn’t know where you were—I was afraid for you…”

   “You don’t need to worry about me.” He smiled and carefully placed her on her feet, and then stepped back. She felt colder instantly—snow still lay all around them. She shivered a little.

   “Are you cold?” When she nodded, he said, “Get warmer,” and opened his arms. After a brief hesitation, she took a step forward—paused—and then moved into the embrace. The coldness receded and his warmth enveloped her. Nothing in her life had ever felt so right. She never wanted to move again.

   Too soon, though, he relaxed his hold on her and looked at her directly. “Your life is up there.” He gestured with a nod of his head toward the little house on the hill.

   She looked at the house for a moment and then back at him. “True,” she replied. The window was still there in that wall; she could climb back through it and go home.

   “Mine is here,” he stated briefly.

   After a moment, she said, “Is there room for anything more in your life?”

   He looked at her amusedly. “You don’t know anything at all about my life except this little piece of it.”

   “You are still you, wherever you are. Is there room?”

   There was a long silence. ““Maybe.”


   Silence again. “Maybe.”


Copyright 2023, Mary M. Isaacs

From a forthcoming book

Quote du jour

"Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Why we do Gun Giveaways

Some, but not all of the giveaways here at the blog.
Hopefully at least one of you might have scored on one or more occasions. But if not, at least you became more acquainted with some of the manufacturers and vendors you may need to rely upon in the months or years to come!
Semper fi!

Best of the Web*

*…that I have seen all week!

(BTW, if you wonder where any of the links will take you, hover your cursor over the link.)


Defund Planned Parenthood Act
Republicans demand visitor logs to Biden home; ask why his aides searched for classified docs without oversight

Feel Good Friday
CNN Ratings Fall Even More, Entire Lineup Did Not Equal Ratings of One Fox Show

Sunday Funnies
Sunday Funnies For 01-22-23
Today's Toons 1/18/23
Today's Toons 1/19/23
Today's Toons 1/20/23

Scientists invented a melting liquid robot that can escape from a cage

Larwyn’s Linx: The War on Competence
Stuff I either missed, or have not gotten to as of yet
In The Mailbox: 01.23.22
Larwyn’s Linx: Are Democrats Trying To Take Biden Out Before 2024?
In The Mailbox: 01.24.23
Larwyn’s Linx: Tucker Carlson Asks Why FBI and DOJ Do Not Target Antifa Domestic Terrorists
In The Mailbox: 01.25.23
Larwyn’s Linx: James O’Keefe Confronts FBI Stenographer Adam Goldman
In The Mailbox: 01.26.23
Larwyn’s Linx: Weaponization of the DOJ by the Chinese Communist Party
In The Mailbox: 01.27.23
Larwyn’s Linx: Project Veritas: Pfizer isn't going to like this at all

Friday, January 27, 2023

Ultimate Free Gun Friday

Our Ultimate Free Gun Friday is a Smith & Wesson's M&P®9 M2.0™ and 500 rounds of Black Hills 9mm Honeybadgers! Valued at $1,799.00!!
You can enter here.

Penultimate Free Gun Friday

Our Penultimate Free Gun Friday is for an H&K MR556A1 rifle!
You can enter here.

Antepenultimate Free Gun Friday

Our Antepenultimate Free Gun Friday is a Sig P320 customized by Wilson Combat!
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Stupid, Sloppy, Crazy: Your Call - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Free Gun Friday


The swan song Free Gun Friday, is worth about $3,700!

  • Faxon: ION-X Rifle
    • Retail Value: $1,700.00
  • Flatline Fiber Co.: Rifle Sling & Dump Pouch
    • Retail Value: $130.00
  • HRT Tactical Gear: HRT AWLS MLOK Weapon Light w/Swag
    • Retail Value: $325.00
  • Caveman LLC: Flare & Spark Product Suite
    • Retail Value: $600.00
  • Hornady: (5) Boxes of 5.56 76 gr. BTHP Superformance Match Ammo
    • Retail Value: $150.00
  • Night Fision: Night Switch Ambi Safety, Ember Glow Fob, Night Fision Camo Hat
    • Retail Value: $158.00
  • Havalon Knives: REDI & EVOLVE
    • Retail Value: $134.98
  • 7H Outfitters: $50 Digital Coupon
    • Retail Value: $50
  • Bison Coolers: 50 qt Cooler
    • Retail Value: $349.99
  • Olight World: Javelot Tac (MLOK)
    • Retail Value: $139.99
You can enter here.

Quote du jour

If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one's own self-deception and ignorance.

- Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, January 26, 2023

How to Balkanize a Country - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Quote du jour

"We'll never see someone like Speaker Pelosi ever again in our lifetime."

- Chuck Schumer
Don't say it unless you mean it, Chuck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Quote du jour

Monotonous professors hector students about “toxic masculinity,” as “gender” studies proliferate. If the plan was to drive males off campus, universities have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

- Victor Davis Hanson

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

Quote du jour

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A Little Sunday Night Music

Don Moen - Goodness of God

Rachel Robinson, Tom Lane Acoustic Guitar

Hidden in Plain Sight

  Continuing our retrospective of Mary M. Isaacs' short stories...This one was published here June 8, 2020

   There hadn’t been any public burnings for a while. The State had decided that “out of sight, out of mind” was the best policy for destruction, now that the people had been conditioned to know what was allowed and what wasn’t. Many things were regulated or banned outright—art and literature and religion especially—and sparks of intellectual creativity had been few and far between for a long time. Certain topics only were allowed for books, certain subjects only for artwork. Everything else had been forbidden or destroyed. The Guards had made sure of that.

   John remembered witnessing frequent burnings many years ago, when he was a child. One had been for forbidden art. There had been a large pile of beautiful paintings, mostly portraits, and he had watched with unexpected pain and anger as the Guards threw the artwork into the fire. The colorful images darkened and then burst into hot flame until they were entirely consumed. Years later, he understood that pain, as he discovered a love for art within himself and eventually trained to be a landscape and florals painter, the only art subjects now allowed by the State. But in the back of his mind was always the memory of the fiery destruction of beauty; deep inside his soul he remained angry at the restrictions and waste.

   The creators of forbidden art and the authors and publishers of forbidden books were never seen again. “Exile” was the whispered explanation, which spread throughout the population. Other kinds of contraband had been publicly destroyed, as ominous and pointed examples. People fell into line eventually and the burnings became rarer. But John never forgot.

   He knew how to keep secrets. His parents and grandparents had been quiet but committed Christians and had carried their faith undetected to the grave. John had no family now, but he had the legacy of their faith in full measure. He did not know any other Christians personally, nor did he attend any of the underground, illegal house churches that existed in his city—tiny groups which operated semi-independently, for security’s sake—but he was in touch with them through a carefully constructed network. This network had been painstakingly set up in order that nothing could be traced from them back to him, because some of his artwork was destined for those house churches: John was the secret painter of the Holy Cross icons.

   In certain of his paintings, John hid the shape of the Cross of Christ.

Quote du jour

I don't always feel His presence. But God's promises do not depend upon my feelings; they rest upon His integrity.

- R C Sproul

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Best of the Web*

*…that Dave and I have seen all week!

(BTW, if you wonder where any of the links will take you, hover your cursor over the link.)


Hunter Biden’s $49,910 Rent Exactly Matches Deposit on Office Shared with Chinese Energy Company
State politician accused of stolen valor is assigned to veterans committee
Man who couldn't get elected VP calls PRESIDENT TRUMP a loser
Corporates Have Begun 'Geoengineering' The Climate, With Basically No One's Consent

Feel Good Friday
Why I Think of Clarence Thomas and the Nuns Who Inspired Him Each MLK Day
Guns And Liberty, 2023: Part 4
Gina Lollobrigida, RIP
‘A Routine Traffic Stop’
47 of the Best Signs From the First Post-Roe March for Life

Sunday Funnies
Sunday Funnies For 01-15-23
Today's Toons 1/11/23
Today's Toons 1/12/23
Today's Toons 1/13/23

NASA nuclear propulsion concept could reach Mars in just 45 days
Man drives electric Volvo 350 miles to see REAL cost and 'numbers just didn't add up'

Larwyn’s Linx: Destroying American Democracy - An Inside Job
In The Mailbox: 01.17.23 (Morning Edition)
Larwyn’s Linx: Joe Biden's Stolen Documents Confirm Worst Fears About Hunter Biden’s Laptop
In The Mailbox: 01.17.23 (Evening Edition)
Larwyn’s Linx: At WEF, John Kerry Describes Why a “Select Group” of Masterminds Must Rule the World
In The Mailbox: 01.18.23
Larwyn’s Linx: The Unclassified Docs Biden’s Lawyers Were Searching May Be The Key To The Real Scandal
In The Mailbox: 01.19.23
Larwyn’s Linx: FBI offers implausible excuse for not overseeing Biden document search
In The Mailbox: 01.20.23

Quote du jour

Justice, in order to be just, must be proportionate. We do not ask the death penalty for jaywalking (or being a pickpocket). That would be grossly disproportionate. Some people smugly ask, "How can you be pro-life if you are pro-death penalty?" That's very simple. Ask them, "How can you be pro-freedom, if you believe in locking people up for their crimes?" If someone kidnaps you, depriving you of your freedom, his punishment is to be deprived of his freedom. By the act of kidnapping you, kidnappers forfeit their own right to freedom. Likewise, murderers forfeit their own right to life. That maintains the proportionality of justice.

- Mike B

Friday, January 20, 2023

Landmines and Legacies - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Bonus Free Gun Friday

This week's Bonus Free Gun Friday is again in 6.5 Creedmoor!
You can enter here.

The Thankless Task = Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Free Gun Friday

This week's Free Gun Friday ia a Rough Rider® Rancher™ Carbine 22 LR Black 16” Barrel 6 Rounds Walnut Stock, Buckhorn Sight and Leather Sling!
You can enter here.

Quote du jour

“The centuries of church history give us a litany of God’s deliverances. God has done it before, many times and in many ways, and He can do it again. He will do it again. And in that, we find courage for today and for tomorrow.”

- Stephen Nichols

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Free Med Kit Thursday

What good is Free Gun Friday if you or your buddies are leaking precious bodily fluids? Welcome to free med kit Thursday!
20 Liter Duffel Bag 
Premier Body Armor Ballistic Panel 
MKC Fieldcraft Survival MKC Collab EDC Knife 
Oakley Portal X Sunglasses 
 Med Kit 
    Sam Splint 
    Hyfin Chest Seals 
    Burn Tec 
    Trauma Bandage 
    Nitrile Gloves 
    Emergency Wrap 
EDC Med Loaded Ankle Holster 
Tourniquet holster 
Fire Starter 
Fieldcraft EDC Water 6-pack 
Black Rifle Coffee Company Fieldcraft Endurance Blend 
Adventure Wool Beanie 
Yeti Tumbler 
Fieldcraft Hoodie and more! 

You can enter here.

Quote du jour

“The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.”

- Victor Hugo

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Quote du jour

One final thought that I wanted to leave with you is my belief that the House Democratic Caucus is the greatest collection of intellect, integrity and imagination assembled for the good of the American people.

- Nancy Pelosi, on the group containing a man who thought too many people on the island of Guam would cause it to capsize, and the woman chair of the House Aerospace committee who once asked scientists if the Mars rover would come across the flag that Neil Armstrong planted on the moon.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Quote du jour

"There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I'll be through with them. That's a very comforting thought."

- L. M. Montgomery

Sunday, January 15, 2023

A Little Sunday Night Music


Nick at Night

Continuing our retrospective of Mary M. Isaacs' short stories...This one was published here December 6, 2020

   The coffee shop owner looked up as the door opened. When he saw who had come in, he grinned widely. “Hey, Nick, how’s it going?” and then he glanced at the clock on the wall. “You just barely made it on time! I was about to lock up.” 

   The young man walked to the counter. “Sorry, Mr. Collins, but I was kept late at work. I’m glad you’re still open. How many were turned in today?” 

   The owner opened the cash register. From underneath the till he pulled out several laminated red cards. “Eight, Nick,” as he handed them over. “All coffee drinkers this time. Pretty nice guys, too—they all said to tell you ‘thanks.’ Oh, and I wiped those down for you.” 

   “Eight?” replied the young man. “There should be a couple more. I wonder where they are? I hope those guys are okay…” He looked worried. 

   “Maybe they’re saving them for some time special. Maybe they didn’t see them and left them behind. Maybe they got lost.” The coffee shop owner spoke cheerfully, trying to inject a positive note. “They’ll turn up, Nick.” 

   “Maybe so.” The young man took the cards and then rummaged in his pocket. “I hope I have enough to cover these, Mr. Collins. Payday isn’t until tomorrow.” And he started counting out bills onto the counter. The coffee shop owner watched the process anxiously. 

   The young man finished counting and looked up apologetically. “Gosh, Mr. Collins, I’m so sorry. There’s not enough to pay for them all. I should try to plan things out better. I guess I’m not very good at budgeting.” 

   “Don’t worry about it, Nick. I know you’re good for it.” The owner gathered up the money and put it away in the till. Then he shut the cash register drawer. “Are you going out again tonight?” 

   “Yes. It’s going to be extra cold overnight, the weatherman says. They’ll need something to warm them up in the morning.” 

   “Well, then, you’ll need something too. I’ll make you a hot chocolate. You can pay me tomorrow.” The coffee shop owner started fixing a hot drink for the young man. 

   “Thank you, Mr. Collins. And don’t forget to let me know if you need some extra cleaning done before I come in Saturday morning.” 

   The coffee shop owner nodded and then handed over the hot chocolate. The young man took it to one of the small tables, sat down, and opened his shoulder pack. Out of it he pulled several envelopes. He put one of the red cards in each of the envelopes, sealed it, and wrote a few words on the front. Then he put the small stack of envelopes in his jacket pocket. After he finished, he took a little time to enjoy his hot chocolate, looking around the little coffee shop he knew so well. Where should he go tonight, he wondered. He’d already been downtown a couple of times recently. Maybe one of the freeway overpasses? Yeah, that would be good. Maybe a couple of the overpasses. There were some out-of-the-way places there, sheltered places for someone sleeping outside all night. 

   He gradually realized that the owner was putting things away for the night. The young man got up and helped him to wash the tables and stack the chairs. Afterwards, as he slung on his shoulder pack and was getting ready to leave, the coffee shop owner called him over to the display counter. 

   “Pick out a couple of doughnuts for the road, Nick—on the house.” 

   “But I already owe you for the chocolate and some of the extra coupons, Mr. Collins.” 

   “You need energy for this job, Nick! Here—this is your favorite kind, isn’t it?” He put two oversized jelly doughnuts into a bag. “Take a couple of napkins, too, for spilled jelly.” 

   “Yeah, I know--it always gets all over my chin,” the young man laughed. “Thanks, Mr. Collins.” 

   “Happy distributing, Nick—stay safe!” 

   The owner walked to the door with the young man, clapped him on the shoulder, and then locked the door after him. He watched the young man through the glass door as he walked away into the fading light. That Nick! He sure is something! Then he turned around to finish closing up. 


   Early the next morning, the coffee shop owner was busy setting things up for the day. He opened the big boxes of doughnuts that had just been delivered and looked with satisfaction at the tempting contents. He put a couple of jelly doughnuts aside and then filled the pastry trays in the display cabinet. 

   Just as he finished setting out the doughnuts, a man came into the shop. He was dressed in a business suit and had the air of being a little out of his element. In spite of that, he walked up to the counter expectantly. 

   “May I help you?” asked the shop owner. 

   “Well, I hope so,” the businessman said. He reached into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a red card. 

   The owner’s eyebrows shot up and he looked startled. “Are you turning this in?” 

   “Turning it in?” The businessman looked puzzled for a moment. “Oh! no. No, I’m not here for…” and he read aloud what was printed on the card. “ ‘A free hot drink of your choice and two doughnuts at Collins’ Café’ .“ He looked up at the shop owner as he handed over the card. “I found this on the street where I usually park my car. Someone dropped it, I imagine. Looked interesting, well-designed, so I thought I’d come and ask about it. Is this some kind of promotion?” 

   “No, it’s not a promotion.” 

   “Well, why do you give these out?” 

   “I don’t give these out.” 

   “But it’s from your shop! You have to know how people get these! Is this some kind of scam?” 

   “No, it’s not a scam!” the coffee shop owner answered heatedly. Then he looked at the businessman for a while, trying to decide how much to explain. Finally, something about the man’s demeanor helped him make up his mind. “Okay, there’s this young guy, see? I’ve known him since he was a kid. Used to come here with his mama—he liked the jelly doughnuts.” The owner laughed. “He’d pick out the goopiest one, and always got the jelly all over his face.” He stopped, lost in memories. 

   “He’s not a kid any more, is he?” prompted the businessman. 

   The shop owner shook himself back to the present. “No, he’s grown up now— well, not too grown up! He still lives here, he has a job, and he still likes jelly doughnuts. Anyway, he came in one day with this idea… He saw guys sleeping outdoors all night and it made him feel bad. He knew he couldn’t do much to help but figured out a way to do something nice for them. He made up one of these cards—the coupon you brought in?—and asked me if I’d honor them. He’d pay me for every coupon that was turned in, and he said he’d come in once a week and do extra cleaning. He figured that the guys might not be the cleanest in the world—not their fault!—and as the whole thing was his idea, he didn’t want me to have to do more cleaning. So that’s what it is. He distributes the coupons, the guys bring them in, and they get doughnuts and a hot drink.” 

   “Quite a set-up,” said the businessman. 

   “Yeah, Ni—,” the coffee shop owner caught himself. “He’s pretty smart. Well, thanks for bringing in the coupon. He’ll be glad to know it was just lost. He knows exactly how many he gives out, and it bothers him when some are missing. He worries about the guys he gives them to. Hey, how about a cup of coffee on the house? As an appreciation for bringing in the coupon.” 

   “A cup of black coffee would be fine, thank you. I have a few minutes before I have to be at work.” 

   “Go ahead and sit down anywhere. I’ll bring it to you.” 

   The businessman walked over to a small table by a window. He sat down and looked around the shop. It was small but home-y. He liked being there and wondered why that was. There was nothing special about the furnishings or the décor, but there was just—something. It was just a nice place. 

   The owner came to the table with a large cup of coffee. “Black, like you wanted. But if you change your mind, there’s cream and sugar on that shelf there.” After setting down the cup, the owner turned to go back to work—but his eye was caught by movement outside the glass door. Someone was standing there, looking at something he held in his hand; something red. 

   The coffee shop owner strode to the door and opened it. “Hey, is that one of our coupons? Come on inside!” He held the door open and ushered the man in, almost by sheer strength of will. “Would you like some coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Here, put your stuff down at this table and come pick out your doughnuts. There’s a lot to choose from this morning—not too many customers yet!” 

   The man went over to a table and set down a backpack and bedroll. Then he met the coffee shop owner at the counter and handed him the red card. “I found this on the ground beside me when I woke up this morning.” 

   “Just passing through?” The owner asked. 

   “No, I live here. Well, here and there…” 

   “I understand, man. I see your bedroll. Coffee?’’ The homeless man nodded in reply. “Which doughnuts would you like?” The owner filled a large coffee cup as he spoke. 

   The man looked at the doughnuts. “These all look really good. I can have any two I want?” 

   “Sure,” the owner said, “anything you like.” 

   After a few moments’ deliberation, the homeless man indicated two bars— maple- and chocolate-covered. 

   “Good choices!” said the owner, as he put them on a plate and handed it over the display cabinet. “And here’s your coffee. Cream and sugar are over there,” he indicated the shelf. 

   The homeless man took his doughnuts to the table, set the plate down, and walked over for cream and sugar. He then sat down and began on one of the doughnuts. 

   The shop owner continued to set up for the day. He brought plates and cups out of a small kitchenette behind the counter and stacked them, ready for use. He refilled utensil containers and wiped down the serving area. From time to time he glanced at the two men in the shop; after a while he took the coffee pot to offer refills. The businessman accepted more coffee, and then the owner went to the other occupied table. He saw with satisfaction that one of the doughnuts was gone. “Good doughnuts, right?” he said, and held up the pot. The homeless man nodded and pushed his cup over for the refill. 

   As the owner poured more coffee, the homeless man asked, “Who does this? The coupons, I mean. Is it you?” 

   The coffee shop owner shook his head. “Then who does it?” “Sorry, man, I can’t tell you that. But he’s a good guy.” 

   “Yeah,” the homeless man took a drink of his coffee. “A really good guy.” 

   The shop owner returned to the counter and busied himself between there and the kitchenette. The businessman sipped at his coffee and alternated between watching the homeless man and watching the owner. The homeless man ate the second doughnut and drank his coffee. It was quiet and peaceful in the shop. 

   When he had finished, the homeless man brought his cup and plate to the counter and then returned to the table and started to gather up his things. 

   “Wait,” the shop owner called over to him. “You get a takeout sandwich, too.” And he started pulling supplies out of a refrigerator. 

   “I do?” the homeless man was surprised. The businessman shifted in his seat and took another drink of his coffee, watching over the rim of the cup. 

   “Sure—what kind would you like? Turkey? Ham? Roast beef?” 

   “Wow—roast beef would be great, thank you.” 

   “Whole wheat or white bread? And all the fixings?” 

   “White bread, please. And lettuce and tomato, if that’s okay.” 

   “Cheddar cheese?” 

   The homeless man nodded and then looked around him. The coffee shop owner pointed to the far corner of the shop. “Bathroom’s over there. This’ll be ready for you in a jiffy.” 

   As the man went towards the bathroom, the shop owner continued to prepare a big sandwich. He also wrapped up a large dill pickle and got a small bottle of water from the refrigerator. He put all the items into a paper bag. The businessman watched silently. 

   After finishing, the owner walked to the end of the counter and leaned over some equipment. All of a sudden, soft Christmas music began to play. At the same time, the homeless man returned from the bathroom and put on his backpack. He stopped and listened for a moment, and then said, “That’s right—Christmas is coming soon.” 

   The coffee shop owner walked over with the bag. “Here’s your sandwich. I hope you enjoy it.” 

   “I will, thank you!” The homeless man smiled and took the bag. “And please thank that guy who gave me the coupon.” He then picked up his bedroll and left the shop. 

   The owner walked to the door to watch him go. Then he got a wet rag and cleaned off the table where the man had been sitting, and straightened the chairs. When he finished that, he returned to the counter and started clearing away the sandwich makings. When he finally turned around, the businessman was at the counter looking at him. 

    “Would you like anything else? Coffee refill? A doughnut maybe?” the owner asked. 

   “A sandwich isn’t on the coupon,” the businessman said, matter-of-factly. 

   The coffee shop owner shrugged. “It’s just part of the deal.” 

   “I don’t think so. That’s all you, isn’t it? Your contribution. Does the other guy know about that?” 

   “No, he doesn’t--and he’s not going to know! I’m just paying it forward. The other guy, he’s the one. It was all his idea, right from the start. HE goes out at night and gives out the coupons. HE knows where the homeless folks are. HE comes in here and does extra cleaning, just in case the coupon guys track in dirt or whatever. He does all the work. But I’ve seen how it makes people happy, so--I just wanted to help.” 

   “Me, too,” said the businessman, and he pulled a wallet from his back pocket. He took out a bill and handed it to the café owner. “Here—sandwiches for the next few coupons that are redeemed. My treat.” Then he turned and walked out the door. 

   The shop owner watched him go, in surprise, and then finally looked at what he held in his hand. It was a hundred-dollar bill. 

   He stared at it for a few moments, and then grinned widely. That Nick! His idea just keeps getting bigger and better! He put the bill and the red card into the cash register and went to clean the table by the window. The Christmas music continued playing as the owner hummed along: 

   “In the bleak mid-winter/Frosty wind made moan; 
Earth stood hard as iron/Water like a stone; 
Snow had fallen, snow on snow/Snow on snow, 
In the bleak mid-winter/Long ago…. 

What can I give Him/Poor as I am? 
If I were a Shepherd/I would bring a lamb; 
If I were a Wise Man/I would do my part, 
Yet what I can I give Him/Give my heart.”


 From the carol, “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”; lyrics by Christina Rossetti, music by Gustav Holst.

Mary M. Isaacs, Copyright 2020

From the book "Hidden in Plain Sight"

Quote du jour

I am profoundly grateful to God that He did not grant me certain things for which I asked, and that He shut certain doors in my face.

- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Friday, January 13, 2023

California Water and the Biden Files - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Bonus Free Gun Friday

Our Bonus Free Gun Friday t
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Free Gun Friday

This week's Free Gun Friday is a fully-equipped Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4-76 Recce Rifle and optics!
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Bunglers and Crackerjacks - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Quote du jour

''It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.''


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Quote du jour

'O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!''

-Walter Scott

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Quote du jour

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.

- Albert Schweitzer

Monday, January 9, 2023

Quote du jour

"My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth."

- Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Hair of the Dog

 Continuing our retrospective of Mary M. Isaacs' short stories...This one was published here Apr. 3, 2022



    "Hey, John! C'mere! Dobby's got something treed!" Alex ran across the big backyard to the old oak tree near the fence. The dog was standing on his hind legs with his front paws on the tree trunk, barking loudly. "What ya got, Dobs?" He looked up through the branches but couldn't see anything. Just then, there was a rustling above him and an acorn came flying down, almost hitting him. "A squirrel, huh? Good dog!" Dobby kept looking up and barking as he jumped around the bottom of the tree.

    Alex yelled over his shoulder, "John! Get out here!" He searched the ground, looking for a good throwing rock. All he could find were acorns; he knew they were no good for throwing INTO the tree. Then Alex remembered his jacket pockets; he always had something useful in his pockets. He dug around in them. Sure enough, there were a few rocks, just the perfect size and weight for throwing. He looked back up through the branches and thought he spied a grey squirrel tail overhead. He took aim and let fly with a rock. It whammed into the tree right near where he'd seen the tail; there was a loud scrabbling sound as the squirrel jumped out of the tree and raced along the fence.

    "Yeah, Dobby! We sure chased that squirrel away!" He sat down on the ground and rubbed the dog's head. In no time the two were rolling around on the ground, Alex laughing and Dobby licking his face endlessly.

    After a few moments, Alex stood up and brushed himself off. He looked at the upstairs windows. Cupping his hands around his mouth, he shouted, "John, you missed it! We got that squirrel without you!" He started back inside while Dobby lay down to rest in the shade. As Alex came through the back door, he peeled off his jacket and tossed it on the back of the kitchen chair. "John, you shoulda been there!" Alex called out, as he ran up the stairs. His brother was always missing the fun...

# # # # # # #

    "Alex, where did all this dog hair come from? Was there someone with a dog in your office today? Or did one jump on you on the way home?"

    Alex came down the stairs and entered the kitchen. He looked over her shoulder; sure enough, there was brown dog hair all over his jacket. He grinned, "I was outside playing with Dobby."

    "Dobby? Who's Dobby?" She asked him as she tried to brush the hair off the fabric.

    He frowned slightly. "Dobby, my dog--actually, he belongs to me and John."

    She stopped what she was doing and faced him directly. "John? Your brother John?"

    "Yeah, Dobby’s our dog, John's and mine. I was just in the backyard, playing with him. We chased a squirrel out of the big oak tree."

    She glanced out the window at their small patio and then got a peculiar expression on her face. "Alex...your brother John died when you were both in grade school. You told me that before we got married. And we don't have an oak tree--or a dog. " She gestured out the window as she continued to look at him.

    Alex stared at his wife. What was she saying? He turned towards the window. All he could see was a cinder block wall and a metal patio table with two chairs. He looked back down at the dog hair on his jacket. It was the same color as Dobby's; he'd seen that too many times to be mistaken. He took the jacket from her hands and, after some thought, searched the pockets. He felt something in one pocket and pulled his hand out.

    Sure enough, it was a couple of rocks --just the perfect size and weight for throwing.


@2021, by Mary M. Isaacs

From the book Hair of the Dog. As seen on the sidebar.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Free Gun Friday

This week's bonus Free Gun Friday is parts to build THREE ARs! Well, Not ALL the parts! But a good head start!
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Standards, Identity Politics, and Covid - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Free Gun Friday

Our first of the year Free Gun Friday is for an HK pistol! Happy New Year!
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Quote du jour

"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."

- Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Quote du jour

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.”

- Ayn Rand

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

AOC Throws Her Hat in the Ring

Another Milestone

Hit nine million pageviews either last night or this morning. (Yea!) Been watching this tide coming in like a polar vortex storm. Figured it was going to hit soon. We made a bit of a to do when we hit five million. Six, seven and eight passed without any mention at all. I only mention it here, because frankly, I don't know that the blog is going to make it to March, for its next blogiversary. Details as they arrive.

Quote du jour

“For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.”

- Elie Wiesel

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Quote du jour

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

- Helen Keller

Monday, January 2, 2023

Quote du jour

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, January 1, 2023