By lunch on Friday afternoon, I had in my head already my desire for the evening wind down. I often look forward a cigar and drink to kick off the weekend, but for some reason on this day, I was hankering for something specific. After dinner, it came to be.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Sunday, April 4, 2021
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.
-- John 20:1-9
It's Easter, the fulfillment of Our Lord's promise of eternal life. Today marks the ultimate triumph of good over evil. The Resurrection confirms that our daily struggles are not for nought, that our final reward is eternal. Easter is our reminder to be hopeful, and vigilant, never surrendering to evil.
Friday, April 2, 2021
The ancient greyness shifted suddenly and thinned like mist upon the moors before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted a shining face and said:
“He will be coming soon. The Son of God is dead; He died this afternoon.”
A murmurous excitement stirred all souls. They wondered if they dreamed
save one old man who seemed not even to have heard.
And Moses, standing, hushed them all to ask if any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared could not the three young children sing the Benedicite,
the canticle of praise they made when God kept them from perishing in the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them, stilling Moses’ words.
No one could speak, remembering the first fresh flowers, the little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed or apple trees all blossom-boughed.
Or some, the way a dried bed fills with water laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam on bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred remembered home.
And there He was, splendid as the morning sun and fair as only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy, knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore five crimson stars He never had before.
No canticle at all was sung. None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,
A silent man alone of all that throng found tongue — not any other.
Close to His heart when the embrace was done, old Joseph said,
“How is Your Mother, How is Your Mother, Son?”
-- Sister Mary Ada
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Last weekend we enjoyed what is often referred to as "false spring" in Virginia. The weather was warm, the humidity low, and the pollen count high. It provided near perfect conditions for shooting. (This week we are back to cold, windy and wet, and with pollen.) A smaller contingent than usual gathered for the monthly IDPA match at Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club. As usual, five interesting and fun stages awaited us.
As I plan to do for all of 2021, I was shooting the Compact SIG P320. I'm getting used to the 8 round count in the magazines when planning my stage runs, and psychologically, the lower round count forces me to stop including possible makeup shots in my plan.
The first stage we shot was a quick stage with three paper and one steel target. We began with the gun loaded with just three rounds. The first target required two hits to the body and one to the head. After reloading we moved to engage the remaining targets from cover. I shot the stage clean with a -0 run.
Another out of the ordinary start position was used on the next stage. We began facing up range with our elbows on a table, the unloaded gun was placed on a barrel behind us, and all magazines were placed on another barrel further down range. Seven paper targets were engaged from four points of cover among the walls. My "no makeups" stage plan bit me a bit here as I had a -3 hit one target that I did not make up, and finished -4 on the run.
Again, our next stage again offered more variation from normal. We saw a field of eight targets arranged across the bay, some hidden by barrels, high and low, with half being head only targets. The stage was shot in two strings. The first string mandated a single shot on each target, while the second string was shot support hand only, with shots to the four full targets. The starting position was the loaded gun in hand, with the barrel tip resting on the top of a cone placed mid-stage.
The target placement was such that some movement was required to see all targets. Since the start was in the center we had to traverse most of the shooting area. On the first string, stepping to the left allowed one to see six targets, before moving to the right for the last two. Given the close proximity of the targets, most of the shooting could be done on the move. For the second, WHO string, I moved left to get the far left target behind the barrel, before moving across the stage and engaging the required targets. I was -1 on the stage, for a head shot just outside the center circle.
Our next stage again required the gun to be downloaded to six rounds, and placed on a table with the rest of our magazines. We started facing the right berm, a few steps from the table. After retrieving the gun, three targets were engaged. Grabbing a magazine from the table, we needed to reload while at the same time retreating up range. At the final point of cover, there were two more targets to be engaged. I shot this one -2.
The last stage was the only one with a full gun "normal" start, but it still added a unique twist. Four of the targets in the course were partially blocked by non-threats. On those targets, the head area of the threat targets were painted as hard cover. Even though head shots would typically be the safest as they were furthest from the penalty targets, they were unavailable for scoring.
Despite that extra challenge, I shot the stage -0, and it was actually my best overall finish of the morning. It was a fun stage, with lots of movement. I was relieved to finish the day on a high note.
It was a beautiful morning for shooting. Despite a cool start to the day, it warmed up quickly. I was a little overdressed but still comfortable. I even managed to acquire my first sunburn, though mild, of the year. I was generally pleased with my shooting. Even with the -3 hit, I was -7 total for the match. Despite that, I finished mid-pack, 17th of 31 Overall. I think I still move fairly efficiently, but have slowed over the years in finding the sights and getting the shots off. Perhaps a little more dry fire, or actual practice might help in that area.
After a pleasant drive on country roads home, there was plenty of time to enjoy the mild weather with a cocktail and cigar on the screen porch. Couldn't ask for much more on that almost-spring Saturday.
For those curious, that's an Old Fashioned made with Maker's Mark Cask Strength paired with a Rocky Patel LB1 in toro.