Friday, April 18, 2014


                   First the Second, Then the First and Fourth and….
 

  Those of us on the pro-gun/pro Constitution side have always warned that without the Second Amendment, the entire U.S. Constitution would be worth little more than the paper it was written on. The Second Amendment is what gives the people {read We The People} the ability to protect the Constitution and our Nation from “all enemies, both foreign and domestic”.

  While our government and anti-gun politicians/groups have gone after our Second Amendment Rights in an increasingly fanatical way over the past 25 years, the sad truth is that they are not waiting until they achieve their goal of total civilian disarmament before going after other parts of the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment is clearly being violated with the warrantless NSA domestic spying of U.S. citizen's phone, text and email records; regardless of what the political, agenda-driven rulings by Judges in Federal courts have decreed.

  We have also seen violations of the First Amendment to the Constitution by our government in recent years. The IRS scandal where conservative groups/individuals were targeted, harassed, investigated/audited and had their non-profit status delayed or denied was purely an attempt to silence those groups and individuals. In recent years, going back to 2005, we have seen the establishment of “First Amendment Areas”. These “First Amendment Areas” have been upheld in Federal courts as Constitutional. How can that be? The most recent example of “First Amendment Areas” was in the recent Bureau of Land Management standoff with rancher Clive Bundy in Nevada. The BLM fenced off an area and put up a “First Amendment Area” sign and designated that area as the place where people could go to protest and speak their minds on the issue. How bizarre, how contrary to our brilliant Founding Fathers intent is that? How unconstitutional is that? What is next? Could the government at the local, State or National level declare certain areas as “worship-free zones” and require Churches to move out of those areas and move to “worship approved zones”? The attempts by the Bureau of Land Management to silence speech and to move any dissenting views away from the actual site failed miserably because of one reason……the Second Amendment. The protestors in Nevada were armed and in numbers that made the BLM stand down. Imagine what would have happened to those protestors without the Second Amendment. Their free speech would have been silenced by a government entity, which was armed beyond its actual needs. No doubt they would have been unlawfully searched, arrested and removed from the scene. Without the Second Amendment, they would have had no voice and no recourse. With the Second Amendment, they had their voices heard. They had recourse to the actions of a government entity that seemed to be acting in a manner counter to the Constitution. Without the Second Amendment, the government would have been free to do as it pleased. These protestors, utilizing their First and Second Amendment Rights in trying to give voice to what they saw as a Fourth Amendment violation taking place were called “domestic terrorists” by the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Instead of working to find an appropriate way to settle things between the Federal Government and a citizen of his State, he chose to attack the protestors who were seeking to give voice to the situation. Surely, the Senate Majority Leader wouldn’t have ulterior motives or a vested interest in the government getting its way, could he? Regardless of where you stand politically and regardless of the party that is currently in power, was in power or will be in power, it should chill every American to the bone the way the government is using..... I mean abusing, its power against the Constitution and the people. It is not just the Second Amendment that anti-gun {read anti-Constitution} politicians and groups are after though. Disarming Civilians is not their end-state.  It is the step they need to take to enable them to reach their end-state unopposed though. As mentioned in the second paragraph, they are not waiting for the Second Amendment to be abolished before going after other parts of the Constitution and we must fight them at every encroachment of every part of the Constitution.  The political rulings {not the Constitutional based interpretations they are tasked with} handed down by activist Judges proves that the final word on Constitutionality cannot be entrusted to the courts alone. The final word on Constitutionality must rest with “WE the People”.

First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Thank God for our brilliant Founding Fathers!

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Saturday, April 5, 2014


                                                   
     
                                                              Silence! I Keel You!”

  That funny line, from the character puppet Achmed the Dead Terrorist of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham’s routine, that serves as the title for this MOG Blog posting, is sadly the state of American discourse these days. Those with an agenda, driven by a radical ideology, seek to destroy any debate…any differing opinion…any discussion that is counter to their agenda. Personal attacks, shameless name calling, accusations of every sort will be hurled in anyone’s direction, even at those on the same political side of the fence, that dare have an opinion that is not in lock step with the vocal radical minority whose agenda is being countered.

  As the saying goes “Politics and religion are things that should not be discussed in public”. I’ll stick to that here, with the exception of how politics treads on the Second Amendment. Law abiding gun owners, unlike professional agitators, are busy with their lives being productive parts of society. They are busy with work and families, paying their taxes and contributing to the things that make our Nation great. They don’t have time to camp out in major cities for months on end like the professional agitators do. Those professional agitators, being as destructive and filthy as they are, garner a great deal of attention from the “mainstream media”. Much more attention than they deserve. What that coverage does is slant the news, giving a great deal of voice to a radical minority of rabble rousers that is totally out of proportion with the vast silent majority across this Nation. Why are they the “silent” majority? For the very reasons I listed above…they have lives to lead, families to raise, responsibilities beyond themselves and jobs. The vocal, radical minority seeks to silence all opposition in pursuit of their end state. As it relates to the Second Amendment, they seek to shut down the speech of those on our side. They target businesses and groups that are pro-gun. They try to force Facebook to delete pro-gun pages and they try to shout down any debate. With their anti-gun politicians in the lead, they seek to demonize the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America. Gun owners often help in those efforts when we let them divide us into smaller groups; hunters versus target shooters, handgun enthusiasts versus rifle shooters, shotgun enthusiasts versus tactical gun fans. Make no mistake that the banning of all guns in civilian hands is their end state. Your gun and your favorite form of the shooting sports may not be their first form of guns and shooting they go after, but yours are on the list.

  There are several anti-gun {read anti-Constitution} States out there. They are well known by those of us on our side of the Second Amendment. Elections have consequences and we as Second Amendment supporters had better realize that. We deserve the government that we elect, especially if we don’t vote. I wonder how many gun owners…those that are proud Second Amendment and Constitution supporters in those anti-gun States voted for the very people that are undermining their Right to Keep and Bear Arms? How many gun owners voted for the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy or the Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who are now suddenly are up in arms, so to speak, over the actions of these anti-gun politicians? Silence will kill us. So will ignorance. The time to get active is not after an anti-gun politician takes action against the Second Amendment, but before we elect them in the first place. We have to pay attention in the run-up to elections. We have to listen to what they are saying…or not saying, while they are running for elected office. The upcoming elections at the local, State and National levels this year and in 2016 are extremely important elections in regards to the Second Amendment. We must not be silent. We must not be ignorant. We have to know who and what we are voting for. I am not a single issue voter, but one of the issues that I vow to support and defend and be active on is the Second Amendment and our Constitution as a whole. Without the Second Amendment, freedom itself is at stake. Think that’s a bit of a stretch? Just look at the photo below of Venezuelan protestors fighting the tyranny of their government with bottle rockets. Look at what the protestors in the Ukraine had to fight with as they sought the overthrow of a government that no longer had their support, and was in fact acting to destroy their Nation as they knew it and desired it to be. After that overthrow, which was possible only because the Ukrainian military refused to act against the protestors, one of the first things the protestors sought was their own Second Amendment to their Constitution. “Silence! I Keel You!”? Yes, silence….and ignorance will kill us.
 

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Saturday, February 22, 2014


                                                         MOG Person of the Year

  It is time for the MOG Person of the Year for 2014. We have talked here on the blog before about the “gun shop attitude” and those on the 2A side that do more harm to our cause than they do good. We have talked about the “know it all” types in gun shops; either owners of the shop or workers there, that feel they have a podium and are experts in all areas. We’ve all seen the types that bloviate long and hard on what they think you should buy or be dismissive on what you actually want to buy. We’ve all also seen folks who were sorely lacking in knowledge working at gun stores and even more frequently working the gun counter at chain stores and we’ve cringed at some of the things said. We’ve discussed much of this here on the blog before {if you’ve missed those posts, you can scroll down to review them when you get a chance} and I don’t want to cover more of that in this post. Instead, I’d like to introduce you to someone that does things right. I’d like you to meet someone that knows his customers and what they want and goes out of his way to help them.  I have had the luxury of knowing this person for the past 4 plus years and I have been a customer of his from the start. He is someone that I have referred folks to because I knew he would take care of them and would do so professionally and treat them with respect. I knew that he would do all he could to answer their questions regardless of their experience level and would treat them as a valued customer. He is someone that I would refer my Grandfathers to if they were here {and I really wish they were still here} and looking for something that our MOG Person of the Year could help them with. Many times I’ve stopped by the store where he works and have seen him extremely busy helping folks and I’ve seen him go out of his way to make sure they were taken care of, whether they were long time customers or this was their first day in the store. He has a passion for guns and shooting and his enthusiasm shows in the way he goes about his work and he’s frequently introducing someone new to gun safety and the shooting sports in his personal time. In short, I respect his positive attitude and desire to help his customers. Please meet David Zulawski from the Quantico Tactical store in Killeen, Texas; or as he’s listed in my phone, Quantico Dave. {I’m doing a MOG interview with Dave for this post and until the last question; he will not know that he’s our Person of the Year}.
 

MOG: Dave, how long have you worked at Quantico Tactical and what drew you to this job?

Quantico Dave: A little over 4 years with Quantico tactical. I love all sorts of firearms and was offered a job in that field. The plus side is helping customers and introducing new comers to the shooting sports.

MOG: With guns and shooting, the learning never stops. What is the biggest thing you have learned from your job since you first began working there selling guns?

Quantico Dave: The learning never stops. Grip is a big factor in accuracy and mitigation of recoil. Practice, practice, practice. Shooting is a diminishing skill. That's why I go as much as possible.

MOG: What changes have you noticed in the gun industry since you started working at Quantico?

Quantico Dave: A wide variety of accessories from mild to wild catering to everyone. Firearms training classes that are catering from the beginner to advanced. Knowledge is key. Expand your knowledge. I plan to.

MOG: What is your favorite shotgun, favorite rifle and favorite handgun?

Quantico Dave: Favorite shotgun is a good old Mossberg 590A1. Rifle is the Ar15 platform. Smith and Wesson M&P for favorite pistol. Why? Because I can run these effectively.

MOG: Ok Dave, Last question. How do you feel about being named the MOG Person of the Year for 2014?

Quantico Dave: What? It’s awesome and an honor wrapped all in one. I don't know what to say. I am just a simple man who enjoys his two jobs and enjoys customers. Wow. Thanks again Monty.

   While Dave is our Person of the Year; he represents the many good folks working hard for their customers in gun stores great and small. It is easy to get caught up in the bad examples that do more harm than good to our cause, especially with the way so many out there sought to profiteer over the past couple of years. I don’t want to lose sight of the good people out there working hard and doing all they can for their customers as well as working to bring new people to the shooting sports and responsible gun ownership. If you know someone like Dave in a gun store near you, please thank them for their efforts and let them know you appreciate the way they do business. Growing our numbers is vital to maintaining a strong Second Amendment which enables us to defend all other Rights, because after all, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Monday, February 10, 2014


                                                                     Constitutional Carry
 

  I am for Constitutional carry. I believe that Constitutional carry should be the law of the land for all 50 States, not just the handful of States that have passed Constitutional carry for their citizens. I believe that is what our brilliant Founding Fathers had in mind when they included the Second Amendment into our Constitution. It is my belief that if you are a law abiding citizen of the United States, you not only have the Right to keep arms, but to bear them as well, without the permission of the state and their permit process.  The “Right of the people to keep and bear arms” part of the Second Amendment directly addresses this. This part also preempts the false argument by the anti gun types that the “well regulated Militia” part of the Amendment only means the National Guard. It doesn’t say “the Right of those in the Militia” can keep and bear arms; it says “the people”. The anti’s also, either deliberately or through ignorance, misuse the “well regulated” part of the Second Amendment. The usage of that phrase in the 1700’s referred to the property of someone being in proper working order. Well regulated meant that the arms being kept by the people should be in working order, sufficient ammo on hand and suitable (common) to form a Militia. It did not mean the Federal or State governments could regulate the people’s Right. It meant, in fact, that the Federal and State governments were powerless to do so.

  Imagine the uproar if we required that the laws applying to the Second Amendment also were applied to the First Amendment. Imagine if, in order to exercise our First Amendment Rights, we had to pass a background check each time. Imagine if reporters/journalists had to pass a State licensing regimen before they could use their First Amendment Right to report or express their opinion and that their permit to free speech might not be recognized in every State. Imagine if we wanted to protest something, but we had to be fingerprinted, background checked and had to endure a 10 day “cooling off” period before being allowed to protest. Suppose that we were only allowed certain avenues of free speech {like only being able to speak our views but not print or televise our views} to use our First Amendment Rights the way Chicago and Washington D.C. restricted ownership of handguns. The Ukraine is currently in a near Civil war state because of recent laws making protest illegal there. The Second Amendment is the very thing that prevents, or gives the people the ability to effectively address any such attempts by politicians that would like to do the same sort of thing in the U.S., and make no mistake in thinking American politicians completely support the First Amendment, especially the ones that are against the Second Amendment. There is a reason they are anti Second Amendment.

  When I tell people that I am for Constitutional carry, I invariably get the “I think people should pass some sort of certification to make sure they know what they are doing” response. They confuse Constitutional carry with Ignorant carry. Just like all other gun laws, they also apply their standard to law abiding citizens only. Criminals don’t do certification and they don’t care about any of the thousands of gun laws already on the books. I do believe that responsible gun owners should take training and strive for proficiency with arms and that training and proficiency with arms should be an ongoing endeavor throughout their lives. I do believe that education is key and essential, in correctly using both the First and Second Amendments. I believe gun safety should be taught in our elementary schools and that marksmanship training should be taught beginning in Junior High/Middle school. I’ve had this discussion with educators in public schools and have seen them pale at the thought of that. I usually ask them if they think sex education should be taught in school and why? They invariably state that education is the key to responsible decision making and safe sex is always included in this education. My reply is always “Exactly” and then I wait for the light of realization to come on that they now understand, if grudgingly, my point.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


                                                                             Constitutional?
 


  Recently I posted a link on our Facebook page about Sheriffs that proclaimed they would not enforce new gun control laws in several areas, including a couple of Sheriffs in New York.  I commented that I was glad to see them remembering their oath of office to “uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. One of our friends felt they were violating their oath by not enforcing the current laws and felt that issues of whether laws were Constitutional should be left up to the courts and ultimately the Supreme Court. The problem with that is that it can take years to be adjudicated in the Courts. Just ask the citizens of D.C. and Chicago that lived with unconstitutional gun laws for decades until the Supreme Court ruled against those cities in the District of Columbia versus Heller case and ruled 5-4 that the “Right to keep and Bear Arms” was in fact an individual right. In my view, the dissenting 4 Justices should have been impeached for placing ideology above the Constitution. Think about what a razor thin margin that vote was……5-4. Had the vote been flipped, you can bet that Draconian gun control laws would have been enacted {far worse than what we are currently seeing} in notoriously anti-gun States like New York, Massachusetts and California. Gun loving States would have been scrambling to clarify in their State Constitutions that gun ownership was, in fact, an individual Right in an attempt to protect its citizens.

  The 5-4 vote proves to me that we can’t let the Supreme Court be the final word on Constitutionality. We The People must be prepared to become involved on the Constitutionality of laws if the courts go political in their opinions instead of adhering to their oath.The Constitution is the final word and it is very clear. The courts have shown that many will place their ideology above their oath to the Constitution.  It seems like now more than ever, our Constitution is under attack. It is not just the Second Amendment either. The entire Constitution is under attack. It limits what the government can do. It specifically limits the powers of the government to ensure freedom for all citizens. An ever growing government, growing larger by the day, will view the Constitution as too limiting and will, constantly it seems, seek to take it down piece by piece. A little infringement on the First and Second Amendments; a little cut into the Fourth Amendment now and again and soon they’ll have gutted the Constitution.

  This brings me to the point I was making with our friend on our Facebook page. It is not just up to the Courts to decide on the Constitutionality of laws that are passed by Politicians {just think about some of the scoundrels that are passing those laws}. Just as a Soldier can be Court Martialed for obeying an illegal order; those that have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution should be held to the same standard. It is the duty of a Soldier to refuse to obey an illegal order and “I was just following orders” is not a defense. It is the duty of those that have taken an oath to the Constitution to refuse to carry out laws they view as un-Constitutional. It is also the duty of States to protect the Constitutional Rights of its citizens against un-Constitutional laws.

  The idea that a Sheriff might choose to not enforce a law that he feels is un-Constitutional versus his duty to uphold the law, in my opinion, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. We should expect our officials to live up to their oath of office. Beyond expecting it, we should demand it. What if we had a radical Congress and they voted on a Bill that was then signed into law by the President that immediately banned protesting the President anywhere within 1,000 feet of where the President is? That would clearly violate the First Amendment and any official that enforced that un-Constitutional law should be impeached. Suppose that same Congress passed a Bill that was signed into law by the President that waived the protections of the Fourth Amendment for any group or individual that opposed the policies of the political party in power. That would be un-Constitutional and we would demand that our oath taking officials not enforce that law. Those hypothetical laws would eventually be overturned {we would hope} by our Courts; but until then... if those laws were enforced at the local, State and National level, we would live in Tyranny. That brings us to the Second Amendment. If we would expect and demand that the un-Constitutional laws going against the First and Fourth Amendments not be enforced by those that have taken an oath to the Constitution, we should also expect and demand that un-Constitutional laws that counter the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms not be enforced. There is a reason that so many in power are against the Second Amendment and they will never stop trying to impose every infringement they can on law abiding citizens bearing arms. Without the Second Amendment, we would have no final option to resist Tyranny in government and all other elements of the Constitution would be viewed as merely suggestions from an antiquated time. I salute the Sheriffs that are taking a stand. Everyone should be held accountable for the oath they take. Thank God for our brilliant Founding Fathers.

 

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."

Thomas Jefferson

 

"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it; he is obligated to do so."

Thomas Jefferson

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

 

 



 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


                                                        Support Your Local Gun Store?
 

  Recently on our Facebook page, I posted about some really good sales on guns that I had seen at Walmart over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s something that I’ve always done on our page, regardless of where I found the deals on guns, ammo, scopes or red dot sights or even cleaning kits and magazines. It didn’t matter if the deals were at a National chain store or a local store or even a business like Palmetto State Armory with their on-line deals.  Our Facebook page is all about sharing gun/gun related information. A small debate got started on that post about shopping locally at small businesses and “real” gun stores and not buying from Walmart or other National chains. I’ll address my views on that in this blog posting.

   I gladly support small businesses that support and appreciate their customers. I appreciate a good local gun store that treats their customers; whether long time customers or someone brand new to guns and shooting, with respect. I understand that the local gun store owner can’t compete with Walmart or Academy or other National chains when it comes to buying guns from their wholesaler. I’m ok with paying a bit more at a local store and I usually try to buy something when I visit a good local store to show them that support. Local stores will often carry guns that a National chain won’t carry. I've dealt with a great small business in Missouri called Osage County Guns for this very reason. I was treated great, they had what I wanted and they made the process very, very easy. They'll see repeat business from me because of that.

  The problem is that so many of the local “real” gun stores have proven themselves to be anything but respectful. They’ve proven themselves to be gougers and profiteers. The events over the past year have revealed the true character of these businesses. I have stayed away from gun shows for this exact reason.  Most of the vendors at the gun shows are small businesses and the things I’ve seen them do and the prices I’ve seen them charge; first in ’08 and more recently after the 2012 elections has turned me forever against some local businesses and even some large businesses like Cheaper Than Dirt. As the saying goes “hard times don’t build character, it reveals it”. To walk past a table at a gun show that has a 500 round brick of .22 Long Rifle ammo going for $125 or used 30 round AR magazines going for $99 is something that I will not support, regardless of the size of the store. I will gladly shop at good local stores and do quite often. They can get things in that a National chain won’t or doesn’t carry, but I won’t pay double the MSRP for a Kel Tec KSG shotgun just because a local store was able to get one in. I won’t pay $75 for a brick of .22 ammo and I won’t ever buy anything from a store like that ever again. Stores that profiteer should be shunned by all gun owners. I will continue to support businesses that during the tough times remained true to their customers and took care of their customers.  I’ve seen small business owners at “real” gun stores do everything they can for their customers and they charged a fair price for their products and efforts. One store here locally that has done that is Quantico Tactical. I’ve seen them work hard to get products in and do all they could to take care of their customers, without raising prices. Another great business is GT Distributors. GT's has also worked hard to get products in during tough times and are great supporters of the military and our First Responders. They’ve earned my business where others have lost my business. I will not support a business just because they are “local”. I’ve lived all of my adult life living in and around military communities. Ask any G.I. what he thinks of the local businesses where he lives. A handful will be great but a boatload will be bad…..or worse.

  Support my local gun store? You bet. Never shop again at a local business that revealed its true character and tried to profiteer on the backs of its customers? You bet.

 Want my business? Earn it. I’ll be a loyal customer and I’m not afraid to drop good money for good service and quality products. Here’s some free advice from a customer point of view for local businesses out there:

1)    Treat all customers; whether it’s the local rich guy that’s dropped a bucket of money in your store, or the first time customer that walks into your store, with respect and as a valued customer.

2)    Educate folks that may be new to guns without being condescending or ridiculing their ignorance. Everyone gets their start in guns and shooting from a completely ignorant standpoint. The cool thing about ignorance is that we can learn our way out of it. New folks are vital to the future of the Second Amendment and they should be welcomed and encouraged. Be a mentor, not a tormentor.

3)    Provide the guns, accessories and services that big box stores don’t. Big box stores can’t compete when it comes to new guns coming to the market or new calibers that are hot. It takes months or years for the National chains to recognize trends……so stay ahead of them and make me want to visit your store.

4)    Don’t get greedy and try to profiteer on the backs of your customers when times get tough (like over the past year). When trying to make a killing, you might be killing your business.

5)    I’m a loyal customer, but you can lose my trust and loyalty faster than you earned it. Remember that. Remember that every day.

6)    Make your store Lady friendly. Help them and encourage them. They make up half the population and have at least half of the money. Invite them in and have Ladies Nights where you have classes on guns and gun related topics in an environment where they feel comfortable. You are in business….but you only have half of a business if you don’t welcome in half of the population.

Hooah

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


                                                                        Thanksgivings Past
 

  There are a great many things that I am thankful for. I can’t imagine being able to address them all in writing, but there’s one that I want to share. Of the things I am thankful for, some are great things and some are small. Some are things of the present and some are things of the past. Some of the things that I am thankful for are people and some are places. Memories made, being made and yet to be made are things I am thankful for. Of the people and places, I am most thankful for a period of my life where I believed that I had the perfect existence, the perfect place and the most perfect example possible of living like the Walton’s.  It was just like the Walton’s, but I only know that by looking back on those memories now. The place was on the family farm outside of Blytheville, Arkansas. The people were my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins aplenty. My Grandparent's house was the center of the universe for me and a place that teaches me lessons to this day. It was the place I first learned gun safety, learned to shoot and to appreciate the value of a gun and how to take care of it. It was my first, and still my favorite, place to hunt. Thanksgivings are special to me because of the way Thanksgivings were on the farm. My oldest Cousin would always spend the morning walking the fields hunting. My first words were probably me begging him to let me go hunting with him. I’ll never forget the first time he took me and there’s not a Thanksgiving that goes by that I don’t spend a great deal of time reliving that day. It was cold and overcast and the fields were muddy and water was everywhere and there was ice forming at the edges. I wasn’t big enough to be anything but a bother, but he took me along anyway. At some point, my talking was hindering his hunting, so he told me “keep an eye out for ducks right here and let me know if you see anything. I’ll be back in a little while”. He slipped off and came back later (it seemed like hours) with a duck and I gave him a complete report on everything I saw or thought I saw. Heading back to the house where everyone was getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner, I bragged far and wide (and multiple times) to everyone there about our great hunting trip and how “we” bagged a duck. The picture below is of me on the last of the "Walton's" type Thanksgivings I had there.
 

  Thanksgiving dinner was the grandest thing I had ever seen and seemed to get better each year. The kitchen was a bustling place with my Grandmother directing traffic and leading the way in the cooking of our dinner. The dining room table was stretched to its physical and weight bearing limits with turkey and ham and all the Thanksgiving sides and every chair and a few spares held all of the adults. The kids ate in the kitchen at the kids table and the transition from the kids table to the adult table was not to be taken lightly. It was a rite of passage and hearing the words my Grandmother spoke to invite one of the kids that had reached the appropriate age and maturity level was something we wanted more than anything. I was close in age and relationship with one of my Cousins, but she was about 10 months older than me. I’ll never forget the fear I felt of her being moved to the adult table and leaving me behind with the “kids” at the kid table. My Grandmother, in her wisdom, must have sensed this and we were both invited to join the adults at the same time…….but she made sure we had both earned that privilege.

  The thing I am most thankful for from that time are the memories my Grandparents gave me. They gave me; they gave us, unconditional love. They gave me the very idea of what Thanksgiving was and should be. They gave me the ideal Thanksgiving every year. They gave me the perception of what family was about and what family should be. They gave me the warmth of a full house, the peace of knowing I was safe and loved and the joy in their eyes; the memory of which warms me to this day. All Grandchildren should be blessed with that kind of childhood, that kind of place and those kinds of memories. Every Grandchild should have those kinds of Grandparents and that kind of “Walton’s” existence. I did and I am thankful.