Friday, December 29, 2017

Factoring in the dragon

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote “It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” This was the quote that really attracted my attention on a SurvivalBlog article that in turn leads you to Kevin Reeve from onPoint Tactical's piece on urban evacuations. Conveniently done up in a pdf file for portability, he quickly goes over the basics for those who haven't thought it out before.

For those of you who haven't lived in an urban area, let me tell you that bugging out is different. When you and 100,000 of your closest friends all decide that it's time to be elsewhere at once, it looks like every SF movie from Panic in Year Zero to The Stand. Gridlock doesn't quite do justice to the condition of the roads. Even knowing the "back way" won't help, because trust me, you aren't the only one who knows it. If nothing else, there's an app for that.

If you live in an area that is subject to flooding, wildfire, hurricanes or any of the other fun things that nature tosses our way on a frequent basis, going over this information and researching more would be a grand way to spend some of that New Years downtime.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Michael, Michael, in the morning...

This story arrived in my inbox this morning via The Email List That Shall Not Be Named. I've never heard it before, but it's all over the Internet. It somehow seems to be an appropriate story for this time of year.

St. Michael's Apparition to a Marine

Background

What follows is a well-known copy of a letter that was written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy Chaplain, who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951.

The Navy Chaplain had talked to the boy, to the boy’s mother and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This Navy Chaplain, Father Walter Muldy, would always assure anyone who asked that this is a true story.

This letter had been read once a year in the 1960s at a Midwestern radio station at Christmas time. Since many of U.S. troops now are engaged in the Middle East, we include this remarkable story in the hope that many servicemen and their families will invoke the intercession and protection of Saint Michael. We present the letter and let it stand on its own merits.

The Letter

Dear Mom,

I wouldn’t dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital. Now don’t worry, ya hear me, don’t worry. I was wounded but I am okay you understand.. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month.

But that is not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn’t have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed-----even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me?
“Michael, Michael of the morning fresh corps of Heaven adorning,” you know the rest of it. Well I said it every day.. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep.. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.

I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I’d ever seen. He must have been 6-4 and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, “Cold ain’t it.” And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly; I looked at him, “I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit.”

“I just joined at the last minute”, he replied. “The name is Michael.”

“Is that so,” I said surprised. “That is my name too.”

“I know,” he said and then went on, “Michael, Michael of the morning . . .”

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn’t I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.
Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence. “We are going to have some trouble up ahead.” He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn’t see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

“Michael,” I shouted in sudden alarm.

I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, “This will stop shortly.”

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise. Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

“Down Michael,” I screamed and hit the frozen earth. I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing.

Mom, those guys couldn’t have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits.
But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake.

At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know.

I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking, well this is not so bad.

Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.
As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger; his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an Angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment’s rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

“Where is Michael,” I asked.

I saw them look at one another. “Where’s who?” asked one.

“Michael, Michael that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us.”

“Kid,” said the sergeant, “You weren’t walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow.”
He looked at me, curiously. “How did you do it kid?”

“How’d I do what?” I asked half angry despite my wound. “This marine named Michael and I were just . . .”

“Son,” said the sergeant kindly, “I picked this outfit myself and there just ain’t another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it.”

He paused for a minute, “Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn’t been a shot fired from your rifle.. And there isn’t a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there.”

I didn’t say anything, what could I say? I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the sergeant spoke again, “Kid,” he said gently, “everyone of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke.”

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

And a Merry Christmas to us all

Yes, it may be Christmas Eve (Day, actually), but I want to wish everyone who might happen by a Merry Christmas.

The dearth of recent posting has been caused by events in the real world keeping me rather on the busy side. Nothing earthshaking really, with the exception of Son having moved out on his own this weekend. Obviously that's going to be a bit of an adjustment around here. We now have a spare bedroom, at least until I have the moving company bring us the contents of some storage space they've been holding since my father's death.

But enough of that. Those of us at the Freehold, and I'm sure He of The Outpost all wish you a Merry Christmas. May God spread his blessings broad and deep.

It may not be our home, but Christmas is for dreaming, isn't it?