November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009

CHAMPION—November 30, 2009


        Champions are generally of one mind having compassion for one another and love for their brothers, for the most part they are tenderhearted and courteous.  The opportunity to express Love and Gratitude comes every day in Champion.  While families and friends gathered to feast in the name of Gratitude, a number of old Champion couples reduced to just the two of them again, made a reduced version of their traditional festive meal just for the pleasure of the left-overs which was always their favorite part anyway—family and friends notwithstanding.  One group of revelers got up from their post feast poker extravaganza to view the Space Shuttle and the Space Station as they streaked across the darkened early evening sky northwest to southeast.  The lights were visible for about five minutes and the friends standing quiet and still all gazing at the same marvel were lost in their individual thoughts of space and time and distance and perspective.

        Old Fox continues to pique nostalgia.  Several, spurred on by Hovie Henson’s remarks, were talking about the old wire swinging bridges and the importance of schooling to the Champions of the day.  Students are back in their classrooms after the Thanksgiving break, ready to knuckle down and buckle down for that last push toward goodness just in time for Christmas.  Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman made a holiday journey to Tennessee to visit cousins Dillon and Dakota Watts.  It is exciting to see the dynamic between the older cousins and the younger ones.  The old folks smile remembering their own childhood relationships.  Meanwhile, four-year-old Eli and little sister Emerson Rose spent a few days with their Grammie down on the farm.  Harley was in the neighborhood too, so there was all manner of fun going on including an onslaught of Upshaws with everything that brings to mind.  The General has been staying pretty close to home, however, not venturing further than the Junction.  Until the furor dies down concerning his recent behavior, he’ll be laying low, hoping that pumpkin pie with whipped cream has the soothing quality to round off the sharp corners of the biting sarcasm that trips him up with an overdose of triptophan, which under normal circumstances releases the chemical seretonin in the brain that often helps to alleviate pain.  Normal circumstances do not seem to apply to General Contrarian, though he is the first to note that there is no excuse for rude behavior.  Contrition is an attractive quality that adds to the mystique of one of Denlow’s Favorite Sons.

        Another of Denlow’s Favorite Sons was Cletus Upshaw.  He was a good storyteller and a keen observer.  His enthusiasm for Denlow and Champion and the area was legendary and Champions are at a loss not to be able to run into him at Henson’s Store.  For years Champions could set their clocks by him and if there was an unkind word said, it did not come from Cletus, though he certainly knew all there was to be known about just about everything in the area.  He was proud to be a Veteran.  Most any Champion would love to roll back the clock and pry one more story out of him.  Older Veterans and younger ones now all have stories to tell and a compassionate, thoughtful, understanding listener is a Champion to them.

        Fortnight Bridge found the Champion bridge player (rather the bridge player from Champion) separated from first place by a mere 120 points! That spot belonged to the Brushy Knob player.  A lively game, hosted by Vera Cruz, was marked by a splendidly executed apple crisp and as many bid slams as unbid ones.  This indicates an effective conversation between partners in a game fraught with rules and conventions.  The Norwood player pocketed the nickels and will host the next game…in a fortnight.

        The cold weather that is on the way will be doing some good work in the garden.  It will help that nitrogen get fixed into the ground and will discourage some of those noxious pests both plant and insect types.  Still there will be a sunny day to get out there and get those okra stalks out of the ground and into the compost.  Seed catalogues are arriving in mailboxes already and the most exquisite time of planning is well underway.  Linda, over at the Plant Place in Norwood will have her work load reduced a little and always has time to visit about plants.  Charlene has been busy at area craft fairs lately displaying her many unusual handcrafted Christmas ornaments and gifts.  She adds to her repertory every year and it is always a delight to visit her at the Gift Corner.

        A cousin was remarking the other day about seeing her Uncle Al all by himself out in a big cotton field toward the end of the season.  Snow flurries were beginning as he was pulling those last boles.  He would have been 93 on his birthday which was either the 26th or 27th of November.  With a houseful of kids, it might have been easy to lose track of a birthday.  Uncle Albert had a twin brother named Gilbert, who died in infancy.  Like Elvis, there might have been some room for extra heart or extra soul when living for two.  He married an extraordinary young woman who also loved the farm.  If they had a choice between twenty short rows or two very long rows, they would take the long rows every time.  They were just that way.  Hard times, tragedy and disappointment separated them over time, but they maintained an abiding appreciation and understanding of each other and the farm.  Uncle Al sang, “Seven cent cotton and forty cent meat! How in the world can a poor man eat? Flour up high and cotton down low how in the world can we raise any dough?” Singing seems to make things easier.

        Make things a little easier with a song on the porch at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion.  Once it is out of your system go on in and stand around the stove.  It is a fixture that warms more than just the little wooden building.  It is a gathering place and a touchstone for people who long for that real feeling of home and community.  Even people who rarely go there, or have gone for the first time or who just remember being there as a child seem to feel an ownership in the experience of Champion.  Send a story about Cletus Upshaw to Champion Items, Rt.  2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or e-mail it to Champion News.  Read all the Champion news since August, 2006 at  Before that you’ll have to find a Champion to ask.  Look for them out strolling the broad and pleasant musical expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  They are in Champion and they are Looking on the Bright Side!


November 23, 2009

November 23, 2009

CHAMPION—November 23, 2009


        Champions just stay Grateful, so having a special day set aside for being thankful is something that the rest of the country does just to catch up.  Turkeys are native to this part of the world and pumpkin patches were prolific this year producing ponderous specimens that will be popping out of Champion ovens in the form of pie, pie, and more pie.  Even the now famous annual Champion Thanksgiving Day Parade had a pie theme this year with a pie train featuring “American as Apple Pie,” “Four and Twenty Blackbird Pie,” “Bebop a Rebop Rhubarb Pie,” and the prize winning “Giant Pumpkin Pie.”  Champions in the know came armed with their forks.  Champion appetites made for short work of the parade.

        A nice note came from Kenneth (Hovey) Henson regarding Old Fox.  “Old Fox sired two horses on our farm, Peggy and Joe, named after the Proctor children.  You said Fox Creek was recently flooded, reminding me of school days at Champion School.  You got a silver dollar if you didn’t miss a day of school, half a dollar if you missed because the creeks were up.  I still have mine.  They built swinging bridges so we didn’t miss school because of the creeks.  The swinging bridges were frightening to the little kids.  Older ones would jump up and down and make them sway, scaring the younger ones.”  Hovey did not say if he was an older one or a younger one.  There are still some Champions who remember how those bridges were made and there are still some remnants of them attached to some old trees.

        Esther Wrinkles reported having had a blast at Plumbers last Friday night.  One of her favorite groups, Backyard Bluegrass, played to a packed house.  She said that they played a lot of her favorite songs and that they have agreed to play at the Skyline VFD Chili Supper on the 6th of March.  She said that about the time they got started the General came trailing in with his musical contraption barely concealed in a guitar case.  He insinuated himself into the band and did a fair job until about half way through the set when the band just stopped cold.  “You are out of tune,” one of them finally told him, whereupon he rummaged around until he came up with some kind of big old wrench and proceeded to twist around on the tuning pegs of his outfit.  Esther couldn’t tell if it was a pair of vice grips that he used or a regular monkey wrench.  Speculation says that he has had a firm grip on vice for a spell now so probably it was the latter around with which he was monkeying.  She did not mention seeing Lem around anywhere, but the music was good anyway and everybody had a nice time.

        Caleb James Barker was born November 17th, 2009 to Deborah and Tom Barker and brother Kyle Alexander Barker.  Caleb weighed eight pounds six ounces and was quite tall for a newborn at twenty-two and a quarter inches!  His brother Kyle, who will be three in January, thinks Caleb is pretty nifty and the family is enjoying a good get acquainted period together.  Young Caleb joins the legion of four General grandchildren and the hope is that he will fare as well as the others have considering the influence.

        Those first holidays away from the family can be hard ones.  It can be a lonesome time full of sweet memories and regrets.  “It’s been ten long years since I left my home in the hollow where I was born where the cool fall nights makes the wood smoke rise and the fox hunter blows his horn.  What have they done to the old home place and why did they tear it down?  And why did I leave the plow in the field and look for a job in the town?” Some leave for a job in the town, some to join the service.  These days, closeness is not always about geography and families reach across oceans and continents to show their love and support for those serving the Nation in the dangerous parts of the world.  Love and Gratitude are appropriate year round and the world around.  When the soldiers do come back to their dear old home place, Champions all hope they will be met with the compassion and comfort and assistance they will need.

        Readers may remember that last week the Daydreaming Country Housewife while pinning clothes to the line overheard a conversation in which Ned asked Lem about the new derivatives.  It turns out that Lem is the smart one, but Ned does all the talking.  When she brought up the question later, Ned relayed his understanding that the new derivatives are conglomerated lumps of life insurance policies and “folks buys chunks of the lumps and if they don’t hold up the market falls apart.”  Dim as is Ned, he figured, “Reckon they ort to put some kind of a regulator on them life insurance derivatives?”

        Harley is back in the country, looking after his country interests.  No word has come about Barbara yet.  She may make her entrance later if Donald and Rita Krider decide to make the trip south for the great Turkey celebration.  The great jovial crowd will congregate at Vivian’s house again and the good times will roll!  They will roll up and down the hills anywhere old friends and families gather together to feast and frolic.  One invitation says, “Bring a side dish and All your poker money.”  Esther will have all her family around, so many that some will most likely be sleeping in the floor.  Everybody has done that as a young one and it makes for good memories.  The victuals are prime at Esther’s house!

        Winter will be here in a few weeks, but there will still be some mild and lovely days before the hard weather sets in.  There is yet time to get the garden cleaned up, some manure spread for next spring and those last shrubs and trees planted.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says the 24th, the 25th, the 28th and 29th will all be good days to prune to discourage growth.  For encouragement, look to Jean Farbin.  She is celebrating her 75th birthday!  A body couldn’t tell by looking at her!  Champions will hum “happy birthday to you” while shopping at Jean’s Healthway.

        Hum a tune while shopping for Champion picture postcards and other pertinences at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square in the heart of the commercial district in Downtown Champion.  They make lovely Christmas gifts and come in gift packages of ten—the complete set.  Use one of those or any other to drop a note to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 with any kind of news of interest or any thoughts about derivatives.  Look in on Champion at just to see what a beautiful place it continues to be.  E-mail your suggestions for next year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade theme to Champion News.  This year they are still singing, “Saddle me up a big white goose, tie me on her and turn her loose!  Oh me! Oh my! Love that Country Pie!”  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


November 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

CHAMPION—November 16, 2009


        Champion is one of the rare and special places in the world populated mostly by lovers.  Lovers think that rain and wind are just other kinds of beautiful weather.  Champions who have waited patiently for the earlier and the later rains are well rewarded.  Their yea’s are yea’s.  Champion is an uncommonly pleasant place.  It is not commonly known why Champion’s Clever Creek is so named, but current residents are want to believe that it is because it cleverly goes underground at unpredictable spots.  One low water crossing may be dusty dry and the next one a trickle or a torrent and those roles reversed the next day or next hour regardless of rainfall.  Clever.

        Hunters are out in numbers, some prowling the ‘back’ roads at a snail’s pace looking for those unpurpled areas, hoping for the chance deer to walk out in the road and hoping no one will be around when he does.  To residents living out in the wild places, those places are ‘home’ not hinterland wildernesses.  Some keep their car keys handy to activate the panic button when the shots get too near for comfort, thinking a honking horn might alert the hunter to the presence of a house and people.  Foster went out with his Dad and Uncle Dusty on Sunday evening.  It may not have been his first hunting trip though the lad is somewhere in the neighborhood of only four years old.  He is good company.  Different hunters handle their kills in different ways.  Some haul the carcass around for a while to show their friends and get their picture taken, some take it off to a processing plant and hope they get their own deer back in the paper packages, some hang it up for a few days, some jerk it right away, some share with friends and neighbors.  That’s Champion.

        An e-mail has come from a faithful Texas reader who happened to hear Barbara Ehrenreich speak at the Texas Book Fair concerning her book, Bright-Sided:  How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.  “She is (gasp and then hold your breath) a self proclaimed socialist and for some reason this political perspective seemed to be important to her talk-or at least important enough to include in her introduction.  From my perspective, positivism or negativism transcends political ideologies and therefore really shouldn’t be a part of the conversation.  I disagree with her theory that positive attitudes have no effect on the immune system.  She is a molecular biologist or some other high falutin title with a PhD attached to it.  While I liked her overall message (nothing worse than hollow optimism-if I know you are always going to respond ‘Fantastic’ then why should I ask how you are?)  I found her talk a little arrogant, especially when she started attacking breast cancer survivors and the ‘necessary positive attitude.’  Her theory being that cancer sucks, so you have the right to be depressed or negative.  Check.  However, my contention is that if you are going to die anyway, why be miserable, and guess what?  We are all going to die.  Note also that I had attended the Komen Race for the Cure that morning so it was a little tender to me to hear the attack-which quite frankly, I think was as much for effect as message.”  This reader is always a welcome visitor to Champion and her perspective is appreciated.  As a breast cancer survivor and the survivor of a mother who did not survive the disease, she knows what she is talking about.

        “Strange,” says another reader, “you mentioned the jug band Pete, Ben, Lem and Clem and in the very same article asked about Lem and Ned!  Lem is a direct descendent of that Lem in the jug band, I’m pretty sure.  Old Lem did look a lot like Junior in that picture in the paper with the General, but it wasn’t him.  The story I heard was that Lem took off from his folks when he was just a boy.  The jug band was touring around the country and Lem jumped off the back of the truck somewhere in Illinois.  He was gone for about three years.  When he got back to his home in old Kentucky he found that his folks had moved.  He never found them, but he found Ned and the two of them made a good pair.”  This anonymous source may or may not be reliable, but even today there are country housewives who would love to look out their front door screens to see those two coming up the lane.  The hardest, dirtiest and most tedious work that husbands often shy away from is just their cup of tea.  It seems that Ned does all the talking.  “Me and Lem couldn’t help but notice what a nice turnip patch you’ve got there and we couldn’t help but notice that yer out house looks like it’s prime fer fallin over.  We could move it over and dig you a new hole and fill up the old one and set yer little buildin over the new hole and transplant some of them pretty hollyhocks onto the old spot ifin that’s something that you’d care fer.  Ah, don’t bother none fer us, Missus, we brought our dinner bucket but ifin you could spare a few of them pretty turnips, we’d be much obliged.”  So in the housewife’s dream they set about their work and while she is pinning clothes on the line she overhears a conversation.  Ned asks Lem, “Well, just what are them new derivatives that thay’re talking about anyway?”

        Sixteen American soldiers killed themselves in October in the U.S. and on duty overseas, an unusually high monthly toll that is fueling concerns about the mental health of the Nation’s military personnel after more than eight years of continuous warfare.  The October suicide figures mean that at least 134 active-duty soldiers have taken their own lives so far this year, putting the Army on pace to break last year’s record of 140 active-duty suicides.  These figures do not reflect the condition of the Veterans no longer on duty.  Love and Gratitude is a start to the understanding process.  They all need more.

        Fortnight Bridge was a pleasant event on Saturday.  One rubber required thirteen hands to play out.  A broad range of hands made for an interesting game and good visiting made a nice evening.  Vera Cruz reported on a friend who was celebrating some exciting life changes.  Brushy Knob reported improving health.  The Norwood player had sad news about the loss of her sweet old dog and Champion had granddaughter pictures to share.  A receipt for a delightful pistachio desert shared by a friend made for an unusual success for the Champion hostess.

        Look in on Champion at  Drop a note to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News.  Sing any kind of uplifting song out on the porch at Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion.  It is on the north side of the Square on the broad expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  Rain or shine when you’re in Champion, you’re Looking on the Bright Side!


November 9, 2009

November 9, 2009

CHAMPION—November 9, 2009


        It has been noted that the community of Champion is located just a little to the right of the exact center of Douglas County.  The question has been raised about whether this location is as it appears on the maps or is as it appears from the driver’s seat.  The concerned party suggested that looking at a photograph of himself finds his right thumb on his left shoulder.  Champions are sure of their place in the world, showing by good conduct that it is a patient and mild place, a seat of wisdom, always ready to comply with truth.  Therefore, the photo in question needs must be taken on (or from) the porch at Henson’s Store so that the Bright Side will reflect the correct side and lift the cloud of confusion.  Champions are compassionate.

        Tuesday found nieces Linda and Karen visiting with their Aunt Vivian Shannon who had enjoyed reading about Old Fox a couple of weeks ago.  They were reminded of a little horse that belonged to Harley Van Shannon.  Old Fox seems to have stirred up memories for a number of Champions.  The sisters nee Upshaw also visited with their Mother’s sister, Aunt Ruby Anderson, who has recently celebrated her 97th birthday.  The General’s wife had her birthday celebrated vigorously on the 5th of November in bash at Plumber’s Junction.  It was a Thursday.  Not since last year have disbelieving eyes flashed so rapidly between the General and his Better Half!  Overheard:  “What was she thinking?” “Cradle robber.”  “May and December.”  “General Lucky.”

        Louise and Wilburn, Champions on the move, enjoyed exceptional weather for their trip to Oklahoma to visit Louise’s sister Doris and her husband George Gillis.  Louise came home with a nice ceiling fan and two computer printers for the next Skyline Chili Supper silent auction, scheduled for March, 2010!  There will be time to gather all kinds of great items for the auction and that, together with all the pertinences connected with the fundraiser and the Auxiliary, will have been hashed out decidedly by the time these words are ink.  Champion!

        Champions living on the other side of Fox Creek were just up a creek from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning due to the four inches of rain that came down all day in a deluge.  Some traveling Champions had met that rain head on just south of the Ouachita Mountains in an adventure that otherwise proved delightful.  The peak of the fall colors through the Ozarks and Boston Mountains was a spectacular trail to travel for grandchild face time.  Runny noses on the little faces caused runny noses on the old faces by the time they returned to find the leaves all down and the colors changed to greens and mostly grays and browns.  The roads must have washed significantly and the returning Champions are once again impressed by the speed and efficiency of those fellows from the County Shed over in Drury.  Those nice guys do a wonderful job of keeping the beautiful roads in good condition.  Champion!

        These mild November days can be productive ones in the garden.  Linda from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says, “Plant trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials before the really severe weather comes.”  It is a good time to complete garden clean up and to apply and turn under coarse organic materials.  Apply mulches, not to keep the ground warm but to maintain an even ground temperature.  Better late than early.  November’s moon is called The Beaver Moon.  It is a reminder to stay beaver busy while the weather permits.  Those short cold winter days and long cold winter nights will soon be providing opportunity to sit back and plan next year’s garden and read that book, and write those letters, and finish those quilts, and get all those photos organized.

        When Veteran’s Day comes around every year, patriotism swells again in the hearts of Champions and Citizens all over the Nation.  Concerns for National security, the economy, health care, influenza, safety of the food supply, clean water, and the politics of all of that and more can spin the head of the most informed and thoughtful individual.  Those who are on the front lines in the dramatic armed conflicts of the Nation, or who will be or have been on those lines are facing additional concerns that are overwhelming.  A Nation known around the world for its compassion must be compassionate to its Veterans, serving in and out of uniform.  The Love and Gratitude due them is nonnegotiable.

Tom Waits’ November song says, “Made of wet boots and rain and shiny black ravens on chimney smoke lanes, November seems odd..”  Duncan Sheik’s song says, “The past we seek some certainty, the seasons we remember, the light of May and darkest days, the month we call November.”  No words could be found for Sonny Boy Williamson’s song “November Boogie,” but it is thought to have been one of the first cross-over tunes from Boogie Woogie to Jug Band when it was taken up by the preeminent Jug Band of Pete, Ben, Lem and Clem who like many Champion antecedents came from Kentucky.  From Tennessee came Linda Watts and all her men folk for a good visit with Champion family over the last weekend.  News has not been released about the hunting expeditions, but it is easily imagined that excellent memories were made.

        Send any examples of confusion or its clearing to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or e-mail to Champion News.  Certainly any news about Lem and Ned would be welcome there.  Complete sets of all ten Champion Picture Post Cards are available at Henson’s Store in the central commercial district on the North side of the Square in picturesque Downtown Champion.  Step up on the porch to sing your own November song or to get your picture taken…smiling, in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


November 2, 2009

November 2, 2009

CHAMPION—November 2, 2009


        The constant flow of convivial visitors through Champion is part of what makes the place such an ideal spot in the world.  One has hardly as to go out into it.  The world comes to Champion!  Manuel and Sue Hutchison have been on a ramble that took them through sixteen states before they arrived at Champion.  They took a reluctant leave of the seat of so many family ties and happy memories with the promise to return soon.

        An email came to the Champion News mailbox from Cathie Reilly out in Kentucky with the good news that her daughter, Stephanie, had been crowned homecoming queen of her high school.  Cathie sent pictures of Stephanie in her lovely royal blue evening gown flanked by two handsome Bulldog football players # 57 and # 23.  This remarkably beautiful young woman also enjoyed the distinction as the fortunate winner in the auction for the famous and exotic couture armadillo handbag that had been part of The Barbara Krider Collection, which was magnanimously donated by the Fashionista on the occasion of the Denlow School Reunion.  Reilly messaged to Geri and the General that owing to its pricelessness and irreplaceability, the handbag had not been part of the homecoming ensemble.  Nevertheless, Stephanie was stunning and the whole Bulldog Organization was thrilled with their selection.

        For a few days a number of Champions found themselves as old as Harley.  His birthday on the 27th, however, once again has him in the circumstance to be venerated by younger Champions.  There are so many.  Over in Champion-South Grandfather Weltanschauung will have his birthday celebration on the 8th of November and will finally be old enough to know better.  At last, he has bought into the whole idea of Looking on the Bright Side and has cast aside his life long negativity.  Now when someone mentions the anniversary of his birth, he no longer says, “Just two more years to Medicare!”  Now he says, “I’m happy to have made it this far!”  What an improvement!  The long-suffering Grandmother Weltanscauung is for once speechless at the prospect of a life without grumbling pessimism.  Breaths are being held as he demonstrates his new leaf with generosity and humor.  Champion!

        A rare trip out into the world has found a couple of old Champions distributing their agricultural largess of pumpkins, potatoes, and pickles among children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and old friends in Southern climes.  Halloween is the birthday of one Chilean Renaissance man—an Alpha guy who hosted a dinner party that will go down in history as one of the great ones—until he does it again.  The menu at Chez Fortune featured perfect beef tenderloin, green beans almandine, a sweet potato l’orange, and on and on.  Friend Cathy added her culinary skill and the mix made for the complete satiation of all the fortunate attendees.  Many Felicitates were expressed and the hostess, one Rebecca Quetzalcoatl remarked, “Less barking, more wagging,” as an admonition to complain less in life and revel more.  That is a Champion sentiment.

        The Skyline VFD Ladies’ Auxiliary will meet at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion on Tuesday, November 10th.  The Auxiliary and any interested parties will gather at seven in the evening to discuss a variety of issues and begin preliminary plans for the next fund raiser.  The fire department is a critical part of the community and the opportunity to support the firefighters is one not to be missed.  Rumors of the possibility of a walking trail through the picnic grounds are exciting and will be investigated for veracity and the opportunity to participate.  Stay tuned.

        Dr. Amanda Zappler, prominent audiologist and professor at the University of Texas in Austin, reports that hearing issues connected with traumatic brain injury and the contingent psychological issues are going to be the significant issues for American Veterans for the far reaching future.  Those young people will return to their home country to face the rest of their long lives with difficulties that they could not have anticipated.  Love and Gratitude is only the start of what they will need.

        Fortnight Bridge was hosted by Brushy Knob on Halloween night in place of the absent Champion player who was represented by an accomplished player from Seven Springs.  This player together with the regulars from Norwood, Vera Cruz and Champion-South had just returned from a three day bridge extravaganza marked by strikingly good hands and high quality play.  They were hot.  They were so hot that a bid of seven no-trump was bid and made!  It is a rare, exceptional event that thrills any bridge player just to contemplate.

        A prominent Champion is struggling with the failure of her fall turnips.  The seed germinated but failed to thrive.  It may be that the seed was old and used all its strength just to come up out of the ground and had no reserves to build turnips.  Perhaps unusual weather or competing organisms have had an effect.  Some conversation with Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood might answer her questions.  It could be that Lem and Ned will stop by to consult with her as they are such turnip lovers.  Ned could recite the tale of Stingy Jack, the Irishman, who had the Devil trapped in an apple tree and tricked him into a promise not to allow him into Hell.  St. Peter would not allow him into Heaven either, so he wandered in the darkness until the Devil tossed him a coal from the fires down below.  He kept it in a hollowed out turnip.  When the Irish came to America they found pumpkins easier to carve than turnips, hence the Jack O Lantern.  That is just the sort of information those two might share.

        Sing, “Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed” or any other homesick song out on the porch at Henson’s Store.  Share any information about Lem and Ned at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Look in on for updates on neighborhood events or just to feel that good optimism when you are in Champion and Looking on the Bright Side!