CHAMPION—March 9, 2009


        Champions are awakening to beautiful greening yards full of daffodils and robins.  The word of the day is optimism.  Many Champions have their taxes done and can just start visiting their favorite mushroom spots in anticipation.  Some of the waiting is already over for one Champion from Champion-East.  He has picked his first tick of the year!  The seasons roll by and Champion is the ideal spot to view them in their steady passing splendor.

        The Champion mail-boxes have been busy.  Another newsy letter has come to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO from Oklahoma friend, Ethel McCallie.  She reports on her Tennessee cousin, Darrell Haden, that he isn’t doing too well currently and that she sure misses visiting with him on the phone.  She went on to talk about what it was like during the great depression when her family was out in the Imperial Valley in California.  “We were simply starving under Hoover.  They called jack rabbits ‘Hoover Hogs.’  A poor ole jack rabbit sure didn’t dare show his head, if he did, he’d be sure to get shot.  Oh yes!  I can remember those depression days very well.  But Roosevelt sure got things going—soup lines and shelters for the starving ones living on the streets, and he created a lot of jobs like ‘CCC’ camps and ‘WPA-CWA.  My husband worked on both of those and my brother was in the CCC.  My dad got a farm loan, bought milch cows and sold milk.  FDR didn’t fool and piddle around.  He really helped the poor folks to get back on their feet so’s they could do for themselves.  They didn’t want charity or handouts—just wanted to be able to do for themselves on their own.  Roosevelt was the first president I voted for.  I turned 21 that year.  I like our new President and I think if they’d not keep trying to tie his hands, he’d get some things done that’s badly needed done.  I remember when FDR was elected, they tried to do him the same way, but they didn’t get the job done—but he did!  We were starving under Hoover!”

        Mail to the site came from Michael Greengard who said, “I learned the song you call “Take Me Back to Where I Came From” (with only slightly different words) from my late father, who grew up in St. Louis.  If he ever told me where he heard it, I don’t recall.  Can you tell me who wrote it and who (if anyone) first recorded it?”  Uncle Al—The Lonesome Plowboy used to sing the song that he called “Whur the Mocking Bird is Singing in the Lilac Bush,” but he only remembered from the part that said, “I met a man in Kansas City and he asked me if I thought that I would like to step around….”  Mrs. Catherine Coffman of Mountain Grove, Missouri filled in the first verse that says, “I’m going back to whur I come from, where the honey suckle smells so sweet it darn near makes you sick…”  She says that the singer Phil Harris recorded it.  A search of his recordings did not reveal a title that sounded like the song, however, there were many good ones:  “The Preacher and the Bear,” “I’m My Own Grandpa,” “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” and “If You’re Ever Down In Texas Look Me Up.”  “If You’ve Got Someplace to Go, Go Ahead” is another of the Phil Harris recordings that sounds like it could be pretty lively.  While not much was learned about the song in question during this research, it is clear that as surely as one thing leads to anther, with adequate time stumbling around from one wonderful musical website to another, marvelous discoveries will be made and chances are reasonable that all will be revealed concerning “Whur I Come From.”  Meanwhile, Champions are most interested in learning any version of the song and hope Mr. Greengard will share his.

        The third letter came to the Champion at address.  It is from Belizean, Rebecca Quexacotl who has relished sylvan afternoons on Champion hillsides and shares this philosophy about the ‘opportunity to respond.’  “You have the opportunity to respond to whatever happens in your world.  And the way you respond determines the quality of your life.  What matters most is not what happens to you.  What matters most is the way you respond.  You can respond any way you choose.  So choose those positive, empowering responses that will move your life forward.  It may seem in certain situations that a negative response is the only possible response, and yet that is never the case.  Always, a positive response is just as possible, just as realistic, and a whole lot more beneficial.  Get clear on your purpose and know your intentions.  Respond to whatever happens in a way that moves your life in the direction you have chosen to go.  For the opportunity to craft your own response to each event in life is indeed the opportunity to set the direction of your life.  Remember always that you have a choice, and use that choice to add great value to your world.”  Perhaps summer will find Ms. Quexacotl reveling out on the Champion scenic overlook again.

        A trip for chicken manure on a cold day turned colder as the old truck broke down on the road and the double cousins had to be rescued by Linda from over at the Plant Place who took time from her busy transplanting to transplant the two in out of the cold wind and back to their place—63 words with no punctuation.  That Linda is a good neighbor and her gardening friends have a new old truck already full of manure and life goes on.  Things are really starting to percolate over at Linda’s place.  Her new almanac is out for March and it sure gets the gardeners excited—it’s a doosey!  It can be seen on the www.championnews website over on the right hand side under Champion Links or pick up a copy in person at The Plant Place.

        A chance glance at the world news shows it the to be in an uproar everywhere.  Champions appreciate their peace and tranquility and extend good thoughts and best wishes for the whole troubled world to be so sweet a place.  When the soldiers come home from the dangerous places where they have sacrificed to serve their Nation, let them be met with Love and Gratitude and Help.  The seriousness of the Veterans’ situations cannot be overstated.

        As the 32nd of March rapidly approaches, Armadillo Rights Activists (ARA) from over at Spotted Hog are rallying to protest the General’s planned First Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Festival in Champion.  (If a jack rabbit is a ‘Hoover Hog’ then an armadillo is welcome in Spotted Hog and they can just keep them over there.)  Ideally, the Art Show is accepting only two-dimensional entries–flat and painted (with spots?).  All others will be automatically entered into the Great Elimination.  Details have yet to be revealed as the General is being secretive if not furtive.  There is a fine line between a festival and a circus.  Perhaps the General will remember that this time.

        Harley and Barbara are in town for the nonce.  They have a requirement of a certain amount of time in Champion annually just to keep their spirits up and their humor lively.  Champion always benefits from Harley’s lovely singing voice and Barbara’s sense of style.  They make a lovely place more lovely.  Find them and other Champions enjoying each other’s company around the stove or out on the front porch at Henson’s Store taking in the sites.  From the North Side of the Square there is a broad view down Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive—Looking on the Bright Side!