April 28, 2008

April 28, 2008

CHAMPION—April 28, 2008

 

        Champion merry-makers expecting the May-pole to be hoisted up in the Square for a riotous celebration of the arrival of Spring instead are reminded that May Day is International Workers Day.  The celebration had its origins when the American Federation of Labor adopted the historic resolution that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1st, 1886”.  It was the beginning of a long and difficult struggle for the Labor Movement and Champions more than a hundred years later acknowledge being the beneficiaries of those efforts.  Country people know that a ‘man must work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.’  There have been some controversial struggles in that arena as well, but Champions generally try to stay out of other people’s business.  As Ms. Powell says, “That’s their possum.  Let them wool it.”

        In Champion a little touch of frost is just what some things need to make them sweet.  Spinach doesn’t mind, nor turnips, nor broccoli.  People with dirty hands need to ‘hold their horses’ just a little longer when it comes to planting tender things.  It is difficult, but local wisdom says that it can frost clear up until the tenth of May!  Champions have their fingers crossed that the fruit trees survive this year.  Linda’s Almanac over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the first and second of May will be good for those late underground crops and for vine crops and setting strawberry plants.  The third and fourth will be ‘barren days,’ but then the fifth and sixth will be good for those above ground crops again.  Truck loads of manure are going from here to there and tillers are churning the soil.  “Pullin’ weeds and pickin’ stones We are made of dreams and bones Need a place to call my own ‘Cause the time is close at hand.”  That is a ‘ditty’ discovered in researching ‘apple blossom time.’  Most of the rest of the results of the search had to do with the Andrews Sisters’ song, “I’ll Be Seeing You in Apple Blossom Time.”  It is very romantic and kind of maudlin in its sentimentality.  Champions don’t mind ‘sentimental,’ but they are not much for ‘maudlin.’

        “Has J.L. come yet?” one old Champion calls out to the other.  The high point of the day for a lot of Champions is when the mail comes.  ‘J.L’ is the nickname for an unpredictable mailman.  He is always welcome (mostly) whenever he shows up.  He recently brought a note from Champion’s Tennessee friend, Darrell Haden, giving Douglas Holt permission to make a tape of “All the Late News from the Courthouse,” for an interested Champion.  Mr. Holt had e-mailed that he just happened to have the record of Professor Haden’s song that he would share with permission.  Darrell writes, “I remember when Douglas Holt was a young man growing up on Springcreek.  I knew and appreciated him, his father and grandfather.  Doug is a cousin of Douglas County’s most famous old fiddler, Bob Holt.  Bob and I went to grade school together at Silver Shade in the late 1930’s.”  Sharing music is a Champion activity.

        A message from the hyper-vigilant, critical, Champion grammarian points out an error in the use of the possessive in the sentence apologizing for the error in subject and verb agreement the previous week.  While an oversight committee is a lovely thing, fear of making an error is one of the great stumbling blocks to creativity and productivity.  Champions forge on unafraid!

        An e-mail from Kenneth Henson arrived saying that “Hovey does not remember the dirty in-side-out t-shirt story, but does remember growing up dirty and ragged!  Glad that Ruby is feeling well, tell her hi.  Growing up she was known as ‘Ole Rub.’”

        One of the request for the first song in The New Champion Songbook came from a lady in Mountain Grove who has the same last name as the street on which she lives.  Across the back of the envelope she wrote, “Remember our Service Men, Women and Freedom.”  Staff Sergeant Ronald C Blystone, 34, of Springfield, MO was killed in Iraq last week.  He was the father of three children and was on his fourth tour of service in Iraq.  Champions extend their Love and Gratitude to him and his family, joining with the rest of the Nation in doing so.

        A Wannabe Champion who hopes to gain the status by marrying a native is a good yarn spinner.  He was heard recently talking about a distant cousin of his.  This cousin several times ‘removed’ (that is to say that he is the cousin of his granddad or some such) and lives off over in Tennessee.  Jeff is the cousin’s name and he is reported to be a serious yarn spinner himself.  “When he closes one eye and starts to shaking his finger at you, you know you are going to be there for a spell.”  This fellow is very talented and has had a great exciting life full of many truck wrecks and near misses.  He is afraid of wild pigs but will go into a cave after a bear with a pistol!  The distant cousin of a man like that will be welcome in Champion!

        An old Champion music lover has just had her eyes opened!  She had long heard about a song called “When The Work’s All Done This Fall,” and thought that it would be about the futility of life and that one might be putting off important parts of living today for a time in the future that would never come, because country people know that the work is never all done.  She had never heard the song and still has not, but the words fell into her lap the other day and it turns out that it is a cowboy song. “A group of jolly cowboys discussing plans as ease…”  One of them said that he had broken his mother’s heart when he left home and though it had been many years since he had seen her, after the round up is over and before his money is all gone he’s going straight home to see his mother.  Now that is sentimental!  Old Champion mothers always love it when their children come home!

        Champion’s great friend and neighbor, Esther Wrinkles, spent the winter piecing a quilt by hand that she has offered to the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department for the August Picnic.  It is an extraordinary piece in rose, pink and burgundy in a traditional eight pointed star pattern.  (Many Champions just sat around the fire all winter and have nothing to show for their time except for a few extra pounds.)  Bonnie Mullins from over in Kansas e-mailed for a picture of the quilt and said, “ I am….cousin to most of Denlow and Champion people and I’ve been around the Champion Square many times, although some of my memories of Champion might make all my cousins renounce me.”  Perhaps some of those intriguing memories can be coaxed out of her!

        Zach Alexander’s grandmother, who is a real Champion, emailed what some advice about dealing with the burdens of life.  One of the things she suggested was, “Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”

        Send May Pole pictures or requests for pictures of the Rose Pink Star Quilt or copies of “Keep on the Sunnyside,” to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail intriguing memories, good advice or examples of local sentimentality (nothing maudlin please) to Champion News.  Wool a possum (quietly) on the porch at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion on the north side of the square and get a copy of the first song in the New Champion Songbook.  The proprietor only has three copies left, but can get more.  All the time, more Champions are Looking on the Bright Side!

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April 20, 2008

April 20, 2008

CHAMPION—April 20, 2008

 

        Champion is the seat of much that is beautiful and pleasant in the world.  It is full of love and sweet surprises and sadness and loss.  It is one of the microcosms of the world where every aspect of life is represented.  True, it may be heavy on the beauty, serenity, fellowship, and compassion and a little light on the pillaging and despotism, but still it is fairly representative of this part of the planet.  With food riots, famine, war and injustice rampant worldwide, Champions move eloquently through their placid days well aware of their good fortune.  They cling to their families, their friends, their guns and their religion with the comfort of the self reliant.  They are Champions.

        Planting by the signs is considered old fashioned and cumbersome by folks who are so busy they feel lucky to get a garden in anytime at all.  They are right.  Any good effort is better than none, and any honest and heartfelt effort, even applied in ignorance, can yield disproportionately to expectations by virtue of virtue.  Gardening like all aspects of life can be unpredictable.  There is always the possibility in Champion for things to turn out unexpectedly well.  Over at the Plant Place in Norwood, Linda’s Almanac says that 24th to the 26th will be a barren period but the 27th and 28th will be good for planting any root crops.  Linda’s bedding plants are looking really good and Charlene has been putting together a splendid selection of appropriate Mother’s Day gifts at decidedly low prices.  She has a good eye for appealing gifts, knowing that Mothers most appreciate the thought.

        The “signs” are subjects of more interest.  For example, people born on April 15th, are in the astrological demarcation of Aries and are said to represent the qualities of desire, initiative, courage and action.  Personal traits of an Aries person are openness, enthusiasm and individualism.  They are outspoken, alert, quick to act and speak. They prefer to speak than listen. Arians are ambitious, with lots of drive and a strong desire to lead. They make poor followers.  Fiercely independent, they usually take the side of the underdog in any controversy.  They are champions of lost causes and losing battles. This trait is due to a strong belief in their own abilities to turn any situation around.  A certain Champion is optimistic not to be loosing a daughter, but to be gaining an Aries son-in-law!  Good hearted and industrious, he must have had an excellent upbringing.  Other people born on Tax Day are George G. Jones (not the singer) and Vivian Floyd!  Champions hope they each had a happy birthday!

        All of Champion is pleased to learn that Barbara Krider is recovering from her fall.  In geological time it happened shortly before the earthquake that occurred in their neighborhood last week and may have had a causal effect.  She allowed that the fall happened in her kitchen earlier and that both she and Harley slept right through the earthquake on Friday morning.  An aftershock later rattled dishes in an antique cupboard, but nothing was broken—neither dish nor any of Barbara’s bones.  She is back to her golf game.  She and Harley play often and she generously reports, “Oh, he is a much better golfer.”  Barbara is gracious.  Harley just bought a new club hoping for improvement in his game.

        Mary Graham has the brightest red house coat anybody might ever see!  It is a beautiful fire engine red and she was seen out in it feeding her dogs one morning.  She likes dogs and has several, but it is to be noted that she lives way out in the country with few neighbors.  (It was just a fluke that she was seen out in her pretty red house coat by a nosey passerby.)  Pam Davis, in Ava, has had dogs in the past and has enjoyed them.  She hasn’t any of her own these days but feels as if she were living in a kennel.  There seems to be no enforceable ‘barking dog’ ordinance in town and dog owners seem to be oblivious to the barking.  Someone hoping to hear a bird sing in the city limits might be disappointed.  Perhaps there will be some positive resolution.

        Not everyone in Champion has a computer and not everyone wants one.  It is nice to have the choice.  For people who have a computer and access to the internet there is a site called Faces of the Fallen:  Iraq and Afghanistan Casualties.  It is a collection of information about each US service member who has died in those places including pictures.  There is a great deal of information including the fact that 33 have died at the age of 18 years and 252 at the age of 19 years.  454 twenty year olds have died.  There have been well over four thousand casualties in all now.  Champions every one.  Love and Gratitude is the debt owed to them and their survivors by their Nation.

        Mail from last week pointed out a grammatical error of subject and verb agreement in the first sentence of last weeks Champion column and suggested “Epiphany” as a suitable name for a granddaughter.  “It is also a noble word,” says the grammarian.  It is a delight to be mailing out copies of the first song in The New Champion Songbook.  Tennessee Neighbor, Darrell Haden, has furnished a copy of this song with the words and music.  It is Keep on the Sunnyside.  Any kind of up-beat, up-lifting, sunny side kind of song that is in the ‘public domain’ will be considered for page two!  Since this is a build-it-yourself, loose leaf, three ring binder kind of songbook, music lovers can personalize their selections to their hearts’ content.  Send a self addressed, stamped envelope to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 for a free copy of the first song in The New Champion Songbook.  E-mail those requests or interesting names for granddaughters or any other signs or pertinences to Champion News.  Pick up a copy of the song at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in downtown Champion where the sun shines every day and where noble, contented hearts are ever looking on the bright side!

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April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008

CHAMPION COMMUNITY NEWS—April 14, 2008

 

        Champions are pleased that Monday morning’s frost was not as severe as they thought it might be.  It is always a treat to have pessimism thwarted.  Lilacs in low lying places may yet bloom and the late dogwoods will still be a delight to the eye.

        Raymond and Esther Howard were in Champion over the week end last week, so the place was quite jolly.  Raymond is not willing to jump the gun on squirrel season, but he’s looking forward to it.  Esther was full of her lovely smiles and remarked about how well she feels!  (What a good example that is—thinking about the things that feel good!)  Jack and Wilma Herman were also visiting and that is a rare and pleasant treat.  They are not milking any more but staying busy the way country people do, which is exactly as busy as a person wants to be.  Kalyssa and Foster had a busy week on their grandparents’ farm, helping with the milking and keeping track of that Old Red Rooster.  Foster thinks they ought to send him “on down the road to Texas.”  It was surprise during this last week when Jack walked into that milk barn in his boots and coveralls ready to help out.  Neighbors helping neighbors is a common thing in Champion.

        Champions rarely want to air their dirty laundry.  Mostly the things flapping in the breeze on the close lines in these parts have already been washed.  Once a long time ago there was a Champion in Henson’s store by the name of Hovey.  His friend noted that Hovey had his t-shirt on inside-out and said something to him about it.  Hovey replied that he knew it was inside-out and said that the other side was dirty!

        A delightful visit with Mrs. Ruby Proctor reveals that she is feeling pretty well in spite of having had some blood pressure issues lately.  She said her sister-in-law, Virginia Andrews, had been down from Springfield and the two of them had gone to see Bertha Woods.  She said that it was a good visit and that she is looking forward to having her brothers come home for Memorial Day.  She recalled that April Fools jokes around Champion frequently involved turning over the out-houses.  She said that Edgar Henson’s out-house was turned over many times and she thought that Ile Upshaw over in Denlow was sitting in his when it was turned over.  She mentioned some who might have been involved in that prank.  Champions have good memories.

        The Skyline VFD Ladies’ Auxiliary held a meeting in Henson’s Store on Tuesday evening.  It was well attended and a number of issues were discussed.  Among them was the success of the Chili Supper back on the first of March and the preliminary plans for the Picnic which will be held the second week-end in August.  Betty Dye was elected as the new president of the organization by a unanimous vote and the group is optimistic for another good year ahead.

        Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 15th to the 19th will be a good time to grub out weeds, briars and other plant pests.  Then the signs change and it will be time to plant root crops again from the 20th through the 23rd.  The 22nd and 23rd will also be good for cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, celery and other leafy vegetables and good for starting seed beds.

        A certain Champion wanted to make a cautionary note that the big rains in the area wash a lot of agricultural chemicals off the fields and into the streams.  There is also a lot of trash and big debris such as tree trunks and limbs that go rushing down fast moving streams with great speed and force.  It is very exciting to watch and also very dangerous.  More than one teen-age boy has been lost in the Ozarks in recent flooding.  Dirty, fast moving water is no place for little children to be playing even with a Mother’s supervision.  “A tragedy is altogether unnecessary!” chirps the old lady who claims to have become so old by being careful.

        Champion’s Tennessee friend Darrell Haden, originally from Smallette, has sent the words and music to Keep On the Sunny Side of Life.  His notes say that it was written in 1899, the words by Ada Blenkhorn and the music by J. Howard Entwhistle.  He said that it was recorded for the first time ever on May 9, 1928, in Camden, N.J. by the Victor Talking Machine Company which became RCA Victor the next year.  Because it is over a hundred years old it is in ‘the public domain,’ which means that it can be used by anyone without fear of copyright infringement.  It will be the first song in the New Champion Songbook which will be a loose-leaf build-it-yourself book—for Champions, by Champions.  Pick up a copy of the first song for free at Henson’s Store on the north side of the square in Champion or send a self-addressed-stamped envelope to the Champion Items mailbox.  This is a new project.  It replaces The Missouri Song List, which sparked a lot of interest but also quite a number of unfulfillable requests for CD’s of the music.  With the New Champion Songbook everyone can have a song in his heart!

        It has been noted that as of the first of March, 29, 320 U.S Service members have been hurt in the Iraq war.  The complete number of nonfatal casualties in Iraq according to the Department of Defense is 60,645.  This includes people who were injured in non-combat situations and 23,052 people who became ill and required medical air transport from the war zone.  Nearly 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have already sought care from the Veterans Administration.  Many Veterans and their families struggle with paperwork and months of delay to get the help they need.  It is reported that 154,000 Veterans are homeless.  Love and Gratitude?

        A Champion home for a too short visit has added a pleasant new word to his lexicon:  ‘eudaimonia.’ It is a word of Greek origin that means ‘the distinctively human good and function.  Thought and behavior in accordance with reason.’  A dictionary also shows it as spelled ‘eudemonia’ and says that it is happiness or welfare.  In a certain philosophy it is  ‘happiness as the result of an active life governed by reason.’  This is a decidedly Champion word in that it could easily be used to name a granddaughter—Eudemonia Hickenlooper, for example with her sister Impunity.

        Cautions, pleasant words, jolly times, and good memories can be mailed to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail those things or uplifting sunny-side songs in the public domain to Champion News. Have some Cheetos and a soda pop on the porch of Henson’s Store in the beautiful blooming village of Champion where they are always looking on the bright side!

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April 13, 2008

April 13, 2008

CHAMPION—April 13, 2008

 

        Champions are pleased that Monday and Tuesday mornings’ frost was not as severe as it was thought they might be.  It is always a treat to have pessimism thwarted.  Lilacs in low lying places may yet bloom and the late dogwoods will still be a delight to the eye.

        Other delights to the eye include Ms. Kalyssa Wiseman in her new Spring frock!  It is obvious that she will be an excellent singer and her big brother Foster has begun to appreciate her on many levels.  He will be a kind and loving big brother just the way his Great Uncle Russell was to his Grammy when she was a little girl.  It was a nice surprise to Kalyssa’s Mom during the week when Jack Herman came walking into the milk barn in his boots and coveralls ready to help out.  Neighbors helping neighbors is a common thing in Champion.

        Kay Talley from San Diego, CA sounds like a regular Champion.  Her letter to the editor last week was most complimentary to the Herald and really addressed the solidarity of small towns and rural communities.  It is to be hoped that this quality of life is represented well across the whole country, but naturally there is only one Champion.  When the hustle and bustle of the big towns get too much for Ms. Talley, she will always be welcome to come ‘luxuriate in this beautiful place!’

        Champion neighbors over at Fieldstone reported having had a good church meeting that wound up on Sunday with an excellent dinner.  Mrs. Ester Wrinkles was pleased to have her son Lonnie Mears and his wife Verla as overnight guests.  Larry and Theresa Wrinkles were over after church on Sunday as well and they were joined by Barbara Mather, Pauline Riley and Lois Thompson.  Barbara came up from Texas, picking up Pauline in Arkansas, so the two of them could visit with Lois.  It was a nice get-together, Esther said, with some good old reminiscing.  Esther reported that she had a nice conversation with niece Helen Ice from over around Licking, MO.  Helen subscribes to the Herald to keep up on things from this part of the world.  Hopefully she finds out what she wants to know.

        Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 15th to the 19th will be a good time to grub out weeds, briars and other plant pests.  Then the signs change and it will be time to plant root crops again from the 20th through the 23rd.  The 22nd and 23rd will also be good for cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, celery and other leafy vegetables and good for starting seed beds.  A Texas Champion has sent a book to the Champion mail-box called People with Dirty Hands.  It is subtitled The Passion for Gardening and was written by Robin Chotzinoff.  Cowboy poet, Baxter Black really likes it.  It will be something to read while resting from the weeding!

        A certain Champion wanted to make a cautionary statement that the big rains in the area wash a lot of agricultural chemicals off the fields and into the streams.  There is also a lot of trash and big debris such as tree trunks and limbs that go rushing down fast moving streams with great speed and force.  It is very exciting to watch and very dangerous.  More than one teen-age boy has been lost in the Ozarks in recent flooding.  Dirty, fast moving water is no place for little children to be playing even with a Mother’s supervision.  “A tragedy is altogether unnecessary!” chirps the old lady who claims to have become so very old by being cheerful and careful.

        The Skyline VFD Ladies’ Auxiliary held a meeting in Henson’s Store on Tuesday evening.  It was well attended and a number of issues were discussed including the success of the Chili Supper back on the first of March and the preliminary plans for the Picnic which will be held the second week-end in August.  Betty Dye was elected as the new president of the organization by a unanimous vote and the group is optimistic for another good year ahead.

        An old Champion who enjoys history said that General George Armstrong Custer, believing that he could win at Little Big Horn, led his troupes himself.  He said that he was glad to read in the Herald that Missouri honors disabled vets and former POWs, regardless of where they live.  He was talking about the article that reported the Missouri Conservation Commission extending permit exemptions to all disabled vets and POWs as “a gesture to let them know how deeply grateful we are for their service and sacrifice.”  The complete number of nonfatal casualties in Iraq according to the Department of Defense is 60,645.  This includes people who were injured in non-combat situations and 23,052 people who became ill and required medical air transport from the war zone.  Nearly 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have already sought care from the Veterans Administration.  Many Veterans and their families struggle with paperwork and months of delay to get the help they need.  It is reported that 154,000 Veterans are homeless.  Love and Gratitude?  Yes.

        A favorite Champion, home from great adventures for a too short visit, has added a pleasant new word to his lexicon:  ‘eudaimonia.’ Webster also shows it as spelled ‘eudaemonia’ and says that it is happiness or welfare.  In Aristotle’s philosophy it is  ‘happiness as the result of an active life governed by reason.’  This is a decidedly Champion word in that it describes a noble concept and could easily be used to name a granddaughter—Eudemonia Hickenlooper.  It is reminiscent of that Latent family with the boy, Squander T.  No one has said just what the T. stands for.  It must be Tennessee.

        It is a delight to be mailing out copies of the first song in The New Champion Songbook.  Tennessee Neighbor, Darrell Haden, has furnished a copy of this song with the words and music.  It is Keep on the Sunnyside.  Any kind of up-beat, up-lifting, sunny side kind of song that is in the ‘public domain’ will be considered for page two!  Since this is a build-it-yourself, loose leaf, three ring binder kind of songbook, music lovers can personalize their selections to their hearts’ content.  Send a self addressed, stamped envelope to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 for a free copy of the first song in The New Champion Songbook.  E-mail those requests or interesting names for granddaughters or any other pertinences to Champion News.  Pick up a copy of the song at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in downtown Champion where the sun shines every day and where noble, contented hearts luxuriate, ever looking on the bright side!

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April 7, 2008

April 7, 2008

CHAMPION COMMUNITY NEWS—April 7, 2008

 

        There is a rumor in Champion that dogwoods are blooming!  By the time this goes to ink it may be so in a widespread way.  May Apples are up two or three inches high and mushroom hunters have begun to gather ticks already.  There is a great rivalry to claim the first and most of anything among Champions.  They can’t help it.

        All over this part of the country the forsythia is in full bloom.  There are many beautiful examples of it but perhaps none so lovely as the one in Louise and Wilburn’s front yard.  It is not as large as some, but for overall beauty it is without compare.  It is so wonderfully symmetrical and each blossom seems especially large and well formed.  The branches all spring from a center core and arch themselves upward and outward like a mellifluous gilded fountain.  The open spaces uniformly highlight the perfection of each flowered bow.  Like Louise and Wilburn, it is a Champion!

        An unprecedented amount of mail has come in regarding the word ‘potentiometer.’  One comes from Kenneth Henson who says, “I must have missed something in your April Fools jokes.  Getting to believe there is a word ‘potentiometer’ is baffling to me.  That is a very common word in the field of electrical work.  Was it a play on words and I didn’t get it?”  Another says, “The potentiometer is the gizmo that dangles down in your gas tank.  It’s got a wire on it that goes up to your gas gauge to tell you how much fuel you have.”  Electronics Wizard, Gary Proctor, says that it is a ‘variable resistor’ and some of the various applications of the device include its use in tuning the CB radio and volume control on anything that has volume to control.  Someone else chimed in about the speed control (the foot feed on the sewing machine) or light level (dimmer switches).  “As potential means what is ‘possible’ as opposed to ‘actual,’ the meter that measures that in the human being would no doubt register surprising results.  What a useful tool that could be!”  This comes from a skeptical Champion who routinely sees room for improvement in others and is ever-willing to guide them to betterment.  (There’s one in every crowd.)  Meanwhile, the dictionary says that it is “an instrument for measuring electromotive force.”  No dearth of information, nor surfeit of it, including proof, convinces the skeptic who still thinks the word is absurd.

        An e-mail has arrived from the Daughter of Grace in response to the proposed community mass dog killing.  Her resident Curmudgeon proposes a DogGone business which carries the motto ‘Have Gun~Will Travel’ and a stipulation for a discount to customers who provide their own disposal.  He is, of course, not serious but at least he is willing to put some thought to a serious problem.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Graham reports that the beautiful little hound dog has found a good home.  No sooner was she gone than another dog arrived.  This one Mrs. Graham is calling ‘Little Joe.’  He looks like a pure bread German Shepherd and is a puppy who has tripled his weight in the short time he has been at her house.  He has a beautiful black saddle and a tawny mussel—“He’s a gorgeous dog,” she says and she thinks that he will be big—“over seventy-five pounds,” she estimates, when he’s grown.  He will sit for her already, “doesn’t stay long yet,” but is an intelligent dog with a great appetite.  Anyone interested in adopting such a lovely pet can inquire for Mrs. Graham at Henson’s Store in Champion.

        “Old Mr. Johnson had troubles of his own.  He had a yellow cat that wouldn’t leave his home.”  In this song with a hundred verses or more, Mr. Johnson tries everything to get rid of the cat.  “But the cat came back.  The very next day…”  An anonymous letter written in a lovely hand arrived in the Champion Items mail box:  “Greetings to the Grandmother who isn’t sure if she likes cats or not.  Please take no offense from this letter or the quotes enclosed.  I enjoy reading your column and was amused by the Granddaughter asking  you not to strangle the frogs.”  She goes on to extol the virtues of frogs and toads and black crickets (not brown ones) and includes quite a number of famous quotes about cats.  American cartoonist, Jim Davis said, “Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges.  Cats have the courage to live by them.”  Mark Twain said, “One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.”  A conversation with the Grandmother in question reveals that she is sure that she doesn’t like cats, but she is trying to set a good example.  The writer of this charming letter says that she “loves and respects all of God’s creatures.”  That is certainly a good example for all Champions.

        A soldier from Orrick is one of the latest Missourians killed in Iraq.  Staff Sergeant Jerald Whisenhunt of Orrick is one of four soldiers killed when their vehicle hit a homemade bomb in the road near Taaji.  He was 32 and had been in the Army since 2000.  He was a member of Stryker Brigade Combat team based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.  Champions extend Love and Gratitude to all the U.S. Service Personnel doing what their Nation requires of them.

        Deer need to be careful when crossing the road in the Champion area.  Champions love deer and don’t really go hunting them with school buses but sometimes accidents happen.  Two with one blow is not such a rarity in these parts as those who know Charlee Smith can attest, but she was using a rifle and will state that her double kill last year was a fluke.  Each of the two deer hit by the school bus on Friday last was pregnant with twins, so that is six deer with one blow—certainly a record, if a sad one.  A Champion contacted the Missouri Conservation Department to get permission to butcher the deer for his dogs and the fetal deer were discovered.  One had two bucks and the other mother carried a buck and a doe.  Sad things happen.  Fortunately no one on the school bus was injured, though they have had a life experience that none will forget.

        Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that it will be a very advantageous time from the 12th through the 14th to plant any crops that bear yield above the ground. The 10th & 11th are poor days for planting as are the 15th– to the 19th.  Then the signs change and it will be time to plat root crops again.  Time certainly is flying by!  Linda’s Cole crops are really pretty and that ‘Pacman’ variety of broccoli that she grows is a proven winner even for armature gardeners.  People with dirty hands ought to see Charlene there at the Gift Corner.  She has some soap made from emu oil that gets the hands clean and leaves them soft.  One Champion said, “It’s hard to see how you can get something clean with grease!”  It takes all kinds.

        Mrs. Eva Powell, who has an excellent reputation in Champion for decorous behavior, wishes to assure her daughters-in-law in distant places that the Easter Parade of Champions did indeed happen and was indeed a lovely affair.  While she did not parade, she observed and had only good things to say about it.

        Good things, persistent things, spectacular or symmetrical things can be mailed to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail those things or examples of decorous behavior or flukes to Champion News.  Have some cheese-crackers and chocolate milk on the porch of Henson’s Store in the beautiful blooming berg of Champion where they are always looking on the bright side!

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