CHAMPION—March 23, 2009


        In Champion the flowering trees have just become full blown and already the wind is dispersing those blossoms.  So it is in life—it all happens so quickly.  Champions stay in the moment appreciating the beauty while it’s going on.

        Mary Graham, who lives over in Champion East, has a pretty little terrier-heeler mix at her house that showed up there back in December badly mauled.  He’s healthy now and is a good little watch-dog and varmint dog, going after rats and rabbits.  Mary thinks he is about two years old.  He weighs 10 to 12 pounds and has short brown hair.  She calls him Brownie.  He’s not house-broken so he will need a pen or a fenced yard, but he will make somebody a good little pet and Mary wants to see him go to a good home.  Find out more from Mary at 948-2755.  Over the years she has found homes for many stray dogs…such a Champion!

        Last weekend was surely a good one for long time Champion, Esther Wrinkles.  Her granddaughter, Dianna Harris, came down from Olathe, Kansas to visit with her folks, Lonnie and Verla Mears.  They all came over to Esther’s house and joined Larry and Theresa Wrinkles there for dinner on Saturday.  Making time for family and friends is one of those real Champion things to do.

        When some folks make a washtub bass, they take an old tub and turn it bottom side up and tinker an eye-bolt into the middle of it, generally using a big washer on the inside and locknut.  Then they take a nice length of clothes line and tie it to the eye-bolt on one end and through a hole in one end of a broom handle on the other end of the line.  Some folks cut a notch or groove in the bottom of the broom handle so it can ride on the edge of the tub.  With a small chunk of something on the floor to raise the edge of the tub up a little bit, the musician is all set to go.  With one foot on the tub and the other on the floor, the virtuoso then puts the groove on the rim of the tub and pulls back on the stick to make the line taut and then plucks away, pulling and relaxing the stick to change notes.  It can be a marvel.  There are all kinds of variations and preferences depending upon the virtuoso in question.  On Thursday over at the Junction, diners were treated to an infinitely more sophisticated version.  David Richardson, from out west of Norwood somewhere, has produced the Stradivarius of washtub basses.  His is an upright double bass with a wooden sound board and four strings.  It has regular tuning pegs and a tub big enough for a family bath, though it is clear from its dazzling shine that this tub has never seen any lye soap!  It is just a beauty to look at and David really knows how to play it.  He joined with Sue Murphy, Norris Woods, Jerry Wagner and that welcome visitor, Mr. Hancock of Idaho, plus a number of other regulars to make a lovely evening of music.  Lynette Cantrell came over from Cabool with her mandolin—a rare and welcome treat.  While the General was in attendance, the orchestra seemed well enough peopled and he occupied himself productively working the crowd.  He still hasn’t let the armadillo out of the bag as to the nature of the prizes for the First Ever Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Fair and the 32nd or the 32th–the thirty-tooth is drawing nigh!

        Since the war began in Iraq on March 19, 2003, there have been 4,260 American Military Casualties there.  The total number of wounded is estimated to be over 100,000.  There have been 1,320,110 Iraqi Deaths due to the U.S. invasion.  Since 2001, 667 U.S. Service personnel have died in Afghanistan.  No matter whether one agrees with the philosophies behind these actions, it is understood that the troops serving, those who have returned home, and the families of those who will not return home, all deserve the Love and Gratitude of their Nation.  They are all Champions.

        There was a splash of laughter the other day when a favorite Champion remarked that she had heard that retirement is like giving nuts to a squirrel after he has lost all his teeth!  “When a fellow loves a Maiden, and that Maiden doesn’t love him, it’s the same as when a bald man finds a comb upon the highway!”  That is a translated verse from the old Mexican song “La Cucaracha,” and it kind of expresses the same sentiment that so often life plays a little trick and the result is squandered youth!  Alas!  With Spring so evident, it is a sure bet that Champions will be ‘gathering rose-buds while they may.’

        Champion falls between 6 and 7 in the Arbor Day Foundation Hardiness Zone Map of the United States.  It’s just about the same for the District of Columbia, so out there on the South Lawn of the White House, the First Lady of the Land and a bunch of school children have dug up 1100 square feet to plant a vegetable garden!  It is the first vegetable garden there since Ellenore Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden to feed the troops back during the War.  Some folks will say that there is plenty of natural fertilizer in Washington D.C. and that’s no doubt true.  It is certainly going up and down the roads by the truck loads here.  The number of vegetable gardens in the country is increasing by 40% this year according to the U.S.A. Today people.  Gardeners are a generous and thoughtful lot of people.  It is a good sign during a time when good signs are so much in need.  Champions will watch to see if Mrs. Obama plants by the signs and will wish her every good luck in her endeavor.  One of the Beautiful things about America is the willingness of its people to help each other when things are difficult.  Any number of Champions would be willing to help the First Lady get started.  Ed Henson would tell her to wrap those seed potatoes in newspaper to keep the dirt out of their eyes.  She will no doubt have advice from all over the Country.  Even the scoffs and skeptics and respectful dissenters, sore looser, bigots and fear mongers of the Nation like home grown tomatoes.  “There are just two things that money can’t buy and that’s True Love and home grown tomatoes.”  Linda’s April Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood will soon be available and research is being done to find all the words to the “Homegrown Tomato” song.

        Describe good week ends, pretty dogs, interesting musical instruments at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail any song about tomatoes to Champion News.  Go over to the website to get a picture of a tidy little Champion garden.  Go over to Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  There the gardening advice will flow like honeydew vine water and they are always Looking on the Bright Side!