Christmas is on our doorstep and with memories of Christmases past. To say that Christmas was a big deal at the Pearson house would be an understatement. Both my mother and father were into Christmas as far as a person could get. Decorating for Christmas was the highlight of the year. On Thanksgiving weekend all the Christmas decorating and lights had to be done and ready to turn on the day after Thanksgiving. If that didn’t happen, I’m sure something cataclysmic would have occurred. Fortunately, it never happened. On the nice days of November, my dad would be stringing lights on the peak of the house and on every gable. Boxes of decorations were dragged out of closets, staged and ready to go. We lived on a corner and the windows facing the street were outlined in lights and those that did not have lights had an electric candle in each window. Then there was the Christmas tree. That was always dad’s job. It could not have any bare spots in it, if at all possible. If it did, the tree was carefully positioned to hide that spot from anyone looking at it through the living room window. The Christmas tree was the center of it all. It filled the living room. The furniture had to be moved around to accommodate the tree and still be able to watch television. When we started to decorate the tree, it was a project, a labor of love but a project nevertheless. The rules were roughly, put on all the lights that you possibly could, add ornaments on all possible branches and then tinsel. The biggest job was the tinsel. Each piece had to be placed on the tree one by one. None of this throwing stuff, that was a sacrilege. If you have ever seen the tree in the movie “The Bishop’s Wife”, you would see our tree.
In those days, Christmas lights were incandescent bulbs that got very hot. You had to be careful to keep the tree well-watered and place the bulbs away from the needles. Of course, as a small boy, I wanted to touch the lighted bulbs and my mother was always telling me not to touch them. My father had a much more practical approach to the problem. One night my dad and I were home alone. My mother was off to the Women’s Auxiliary meeting at the American Legion. I can still see my dad sitting in his green easy chair puffing on his cigar, reading the paper and watching television at the same time. This was my opportunity. I asked dad if I could touch one of the Christmas light bulbs. “Go ahead”, he replied. I never asked again. Problem solved.
One of the fun things around Christmas is all of the varieties, shapes and sizes of chocolate that are out there. The world loves chocolate. Chocolate comes from a tropical tree known as the theobroma cacao tree. Translated that means “food of the gods”. Chocolate originated in the new world about 4000 years ago but now the trees have grown within 20 degrees of the equator in many countries.
Chocolate was a hit in Europe as soon as it got there. English, French, Swiss, Germans and Dutch loved chocolate. Chocolate was a favorite in the colonies also. It was George Washington’s favorite treat. Washington knew chocolate was a source of quick energy. Chocolate contains both sugar and caffeine. Washington gave it to his troops as both a treat and payment when money was in short supply which was nearly always.
In the 1800s, the taste for chocolate swept the globe. In the United States, local confectioneries were making chocolate bars. During WWI, the British recognized the value of giving chocolate to the troops on the frontlines. Not to be outdone, the United States Army Quartermaster ordered 20-pound blocks of chocolate to be sent to units overseas. By the end of WWI, the U. S. troops were coming home and had a love for chocolate. The candy bar industry took off. Aside from companies like Hershey’s Chocolate, small candy companies making different varieties of chocolate bars popped up everywhere. Many of these tiny producers were gobbled up by companies like Hershey’s. The candy bar Charleston Chew was made by a small confectionery and still survives today. In 1923, H. B. Reese, a former Hershey employee, developed the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In 2021, the sales of chocolate products will hit 19.26 billion dollars.
So, this Christmas, when no one is looking and you sneak one more piece of chocolate in your mouth, you will know a little about the history of chocolate and how much just one more little bite will help the U. S. Economy. Merry Christmas.
I get newsletters from several state organizations similar to the ISRA. I recently received one from the Virginia Citizens Defense League discussing their legislative agenda since the election of Governor Youngkin, Lt. Governor Winsome, Attorney General Jason Miyares and a pro-gun House of Delegates. While all that sounds rosy and I am all for them, the ugly fact still remains that the Virginia Senate is still anti-gun by one vote. I am not saying they face an impossible task but it will be difficult. The last anti-gun administration, anti-gun Senate, anti-gun House of Delegates and anti-gun Attorney General have left a lot to clean up as far as anti-gun legislation goes.
Just as a reminder, Virginia has one gun a month, lost state wide preemption and has now gotten local gun bans. Worse, as part of the unseen portion of any anti-gun administration anywhere, is the appointment of anti-gun people to positions in the government. These will be difficult to root out and will plague Virginia and many other states for years. The 2022 elections may help if the VCDL can replace them in the Virginia State with pro-gun members. They have a good start but their fight is long from over.
Things are quiet on the judicial front for the most part. The oral arguments for the Vivian Brown case have been rescheduled for March 2022. Recently, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and several gun makers have filed for a Preliminary Injunction in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen lawsuit. The basis for the injunction involves the criminal misuse of firearms and holding the gunmakers responsible for the actions of criminals. It is obvious to all, except those on the left, that criminals are responsible for their own actions. It is beyond belief what some of the left-wing think. They want to blame everyone and everything but the criminal. Around 2003 or 2004, we had a case in Illinois which involved a homeowner charged for using a firearm to defend himself and his children. One attorney claimed the homeowner should be prosecuted because his watch dog was in the wrong place. That was only one of the arguments and the homeowner was let go but this shows how far those on the left are willing to go.
About a year ago Ruger acquired Marlin Firearms. Ruger moved over 100 truckloads of equipment to North Carolina. The new Marlins will be marked “Mayodan, NC, and the serial numbers will carry the prefix “RM”. The first of the new Ruger made Marlins are in production. The first will be the Model 1895 in .45-70. The Model of 1894 and the Model 336 will follow. The quantities will be limited at first so Ruger advises consumers not leave deposits with retailers who do not have confirmed orders.
The General Assembly will be starting on January 4, 2022. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the ban on carrying a firearm on Cook County Forest Preserve trails had been struck down by the courts. As expected, HB 4296 has been introduced by State Representative Denyse Wang Stoneback to overturn the court ruling. The ISRA is, of course, opposed to this and it may just be the tip of the iceberg. There is no scheduled hearings on this bill at this time. We will keep you posted. In the meantime, go to the ISRA website and review the procedures for filling out witness slips.
As of 12/21/2021:
December 23, 1814 - The War of 1812 officially ends with the Treaty of Ghent (Belgium). During the War of 1812, the British burned the White House and it was not reoccupied until 1817. Despite this affront, the War of 1812 went pretty well our way. We drove the British out of North America below the 48th parallel. The U.S. attacked Canada three times but we were rebuffed. The height of the War of 1812 actually occurred after the war was officially over. No one knew it was over because it took weeks for word to come back to the United States. Old Hickory, General Andrew Jackson, humiliated the British Army at the Battle of New Orleans. Still, it served a real purpose. The Battle of New Orleans served as a warning to the British to leave the United States alone. The British were considering invading the area known as the Louisiana Purchase because they considered it part of France and they had defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and France. They thought it should have been part of the spoils of war. The United States had other ideas.
December 25, 2021 - While the birth of Jesus Christ is commemorated by millions of people around the world with Christmas celebrations on December 25th, many scholars agree He wasn't born on that day or month, suggesting His birth was somewhere between 6-4 BC.
December 26, 1776 - George Washington’s victory at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington defeats 1400 Hessian (German mercenaries). While not the biggest of victories, it gave Washington and his army a morale boost and gave hope to the colonies.
December 27, 1895 - The legend of Stagger Lee is born. The song Stagger Lee is based on fact. In St. Louis, “Stag” Lee Sheldon got into an argument with Billy Lions. While the song claims it was over a game of dice, it was actually over politics. Billy Lyons grabbed “Stag” Lee Sheldon’s hat off his head. Sheldon pulled his .44 and shot Billy Lyons in the stomach three times, picked up his hat and walked out the door.
December 28, 1975 - Roger Staubach throws a “Hail Mary” pass to Drew Pearson in the final seconds of the Cowboys v Vikings playoff game. In the after-game interview, Staubach referred to the pass as a “Hail Mary” pass, you only complete one in a hundred times. The name stuck and such passes have been called that ever since.
December 29, 1845 - The Republic of Texas accepts annexation to the United States as the 28th State. This helped set the stage for the Mexican War which lasted from 1846 to 1848. The future generals that fought in the Mexican War included Ulysses S. Grant, George Meade, George McClellan, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and George Pickett. Two future Presidents also served, Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce.
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Upcoming Events: ISRA Calendar
For more information, visit www.isra.org
Tuesday, December 28, 2021 & January 4, 2022
Tuesday Night Air Rifle League (5:00-8:00)
Tuesday Afternoon Air Gun League (1:00-5:00)
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Concealed Carry Class
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Concealed Carry Class
Saturday, January 1, 2022
Range Work Day
Saturday, January 8 & 9, 2022
Triple Threat Defense CCL Class
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Air Pistol League
Winter Wars XVIII
Gun & Trade Shows
Kane County Sportsman’s Show – St Charles, IL
Kane County Fairgrounds
Date: January 9, 2022
Hours: Sunday: 7:30-1:30
Crown Point Gun Show – Crown Point, IN
Lake County Fairgrounds
Dates: January 22 & 23, 2022
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-5:00
Kankakee Gun & Sportsman’s Show – Kankakee, IL
Kankakee County Fairgrounds
Dates: January 22 & 23, 2022
Hours: Saturday: 8:00-3:00
Westville Gun Show – Westville, IL
Direside Event Space
Dates: January 29 & 30, 2022
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-4:00