April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013

CHAMPION—April 29, 2013

        The bright beautiful days in Champion speak for themselves. They are the halcyon days that are the ideal ones that people will remember. Halcyon means untroubled and peaceful. The definition provided here is for the benefit of a great Champion friend who called last week looking for a definition to a particular word in the article. It was a lovely chat. She was pleased to find out what the word meant and provided some first-hand information that Louise Hutchison has made herself comfortable at the Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare Center in Ava, She is receiving mail and visitors there. Address your note to Louise Hutchison, Room 205 Heart of the Ozarks, 2001 South Jefferson, Ava, 65608. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Wilburn is busy getting the garden in. He has some help and is putting forth some good effort to teach and to ‘learn’ his protégé how to make a garden. They had it all plowed and raked and ready to go (with some neighborly mechanical help) when the big deluge hit and washed it all over the place. These nice days will see them getting it all back together again. The lovely Ms. McC says they have radishes and lettuce up looking good. Champion!

        A week’s worth of special birthdays goes like this: April 30th–Taegan Krider, fourth (or maybe fifth) generation Champion celebrates her third birthday! Then: May 1–Ida Mae Green, Texas cousin and great friend of Champion, Glen Ford, actor, Scott Carpenter, astronaut, Mrs. Teri Ryan, super Skyline math teacher, Silvana Sherrill super Skyline kindergarten student; May 2—Catherine II Empress of Russia, Mrs. Sleep, Skyline School Librarian, Madison Shearer, fourth grade student at Skyline School, Brenda Lee Mastin, special Springfield girlfriend, Baron Von Richtofen, Germany’s WWI “Red Baron,” May 6—Linda Heffern Kansas City Champion, Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, Rudolph Valentino, actor, George Clooney, actor; May 7th Gracie Nava, preschool student at Skyline, Robert Browning, poet, Johnny Unitas, NFL quarterback; May 8—Mrs. Dixie, Skyline School bookkeeper, Harry Truman, 33rd U.s President, Melissa Gilbert, actress who played Laura Ingalls Wilder.

        Peanut Taegan had bad luck for her third birthday. There was a big party planned for her and all the family was going to be there including all the kids and it was going to be great. Not only did it rain, but the birthday girl got sick. The party would have gone on in the rain anyway. Everybody is so happy for the rain that they would not complain. But it was not to be. Taegan’s tummy trouble ruled the day. Her Mom and Dad did give her a new big-girl bed for her birthday and her bedspread has horses on it! Horses are her favorite. Her birthday cake even had horses on it—My Little Pony. It was an enormous amazing cake made by Debbie’s Custom Creations. The homemade butter cream frosting was purple, turquoise and pink with flowers and ribbons. Some of the cake was chocolate and some was just delicious. The cake was shared generously around the neighborhood since the party had to be called off and Peanut’s friends all say, “Happy Birthday, anyway and thanks!” Find a picture of Taegan’s cake and many other extraordinary confections on line. Just look for Debbie’s Custom Creations—Unique One of A Kind Cakes & Cookies in Mountain Grove, MO. Enjoy!

        Sue Upshaw loved the bluegrass music at the Vanzant Community Jam. She loved being out among her friends and family enjoying themselves. She wore red lipstick and had a wonderful welcoming smile that made people feel like she was genuinely glad to see them. Sweet and generous, a most gracious lady, Sue will be remembered well and long. Her children and her husband of 55 years and all her dear family will hold on to their own person l memories of her and will be happy and grateful to have had her in their lives. Having been an only child, she had a great appreciation and affection for a large loving family. She was as blessed by them as they were by her.

        “It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” That is the first line in George Orwell’s novel “1984.” It has been almost 30 years since 1984, and more than 60 years since the book was written in 1949. www.championnews.us sponsored a free give away of the book for a week. It was quite successful and soon several people will be getting their free book in the mail. When the people who responded to the advertisement have received and read their books, it is the hope of their cyber-benefactor that they will take a few moments to give the book a review. What did you think of it? How do you think it has informed the world of today? Then, it is hoped they will give the book away to someone whom they are sure will read it. Next time the FREE column ad will come with the caveat that the recipient read the book, review the book and share the book. At the time it was written, it was probably considered science fiction. Today it might be called something else, perhaps visionary.

        Bud Hutchison’s Spring Trail Ride will happen next week. Wednesday the 8th of May. The outfit will saddle up at Champion and amble over to Drury and back on one of the various routes they can take. The trail riders can breakfast at Champion and lunch at Drury the way they used to do just a few years ago before some peculiar changes altered things for a while. Hopefully, the Cowboy will feel like going and will be able to get through the creeks keeping his powder dry. His friends will keep an eye on him. From all reports, the Drury Café is enjoying a good business and providing the general neighborhood with another comfortable gathering place. Some would say that they ought not to be so gathered up like that, but should be out on the farm doing what needs to be done this time of the year and everybody knows that there is plenty to do. In their defense, the trail riders plan this trip every year. They have done what needs to be done in advance of the trip so that they can polish their saddles with impunity. Well, they will really be doing it with their blue jeans, but they will be doing it guilt free. As for the loafers, the liars, and the lonesome, they just naturally get together anywhere there is a good pot of coffee and a spot to lite. Industrious people out on errands like to pause by those tables sometimes and catch up on a yarn. The smart ones do not linger long though if they mean to get their work done. “Keeping your hand on the plow” is not easy. Just ask some old timer sitting around in the Reading Room at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion. On a warm day they might be out on the spacious veranda enjoying the sites and passing the time with their neighbors. About any of them can tell you just how hard it is to keep your hand on the plow.

        Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 4th through the 6th will be excellent days to transplant, to go fishing, to plant any kind of root crop, or vine crop. It is good time to set strawberry plants. In 1947 Peggy Lee wrote “It’s a good day for singing a song,/ it’s a good day for moving along…./It’s a good day for curing your ills./So take a deep breath and throw away your pills/ ‘cause it’s a good day from morning to night!” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013

CHAMPION—April 22, 2013

        Spring! It is the very definition of tumultuousness. Things are roiling in the earth and in the sky. Soil is heaving and zygotes are cleaving in men and beasts. It is a fecund time of year. Some calendars designate April 22nd as Earth Day. It is certainly worth celebrating in Champion!

        Bravo for those fine men of the Douglas County road maintenance outfit who work out of the Drury Shed! The road graders were out in force even on Saturday. Washed out roads and low water crossings were revisited, revamped, restored, reworked and brought up to snuff in short order. The many and rapidly rising waterways washed out roads in new and unexpected places as well as the regular ones. This might have been the “hard rain” that Mr. Dillon said was “a-gonna fall.” It is lovely to see the ponds filling up and the creeks running well again. Perhaps this will be the growing season for which so many Champion gardeners have long longed—one that will be forgiving of sloth and ineptitude and just grow much good fruit and many fine vegetables. Friday will be the last good day for planting crops that bear their yield above the ground for this month. The 30th begins fruitful days again for root crops. Check out Linda’s Almanac on the website at www.championnews.us. There is a great deal of useful information on one piece of paper. Well, there is actual paper on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G and on the counter at The Plant Place over in Norwood. For example, the 27th through the 29th are said to be ‘barren days.’ They are not good days for planting, transplanting, fertilizing, pruning, or fishing, but would be ok to harvest crops or to wean on those days. While there is always something to be done about the place, it is nice to have a couple of sanctioned lazy days. When prodded to get up and do something a Champion can say, “I was just going by the almanac!”

        Shelby Wilson is a prekindergarten student at Skyline School and has a birthday on April 24th. That is right in the middle of the week so her classmates can enjoy her birthday too. Miss Chante` Michaud has her birthday on the 27th and must be getting to be about seven years old. Time goes by so quickly for old people, Chante`, and it has been so long since they have seen you, forgive them for not remembering exactly how old you are. Isaam Creed is a third grader and has his birthday on April 29th. Isaam’s birthday is on Monday. He will probably have been celebrating all week end and can continue to do so with his school friends. May Day will be on Wednesday. There are a many interesting people with birthdays in early May and they can combine their personal anniversaries with the traditional celebrations of their choice. Maybe there will be old fashioned May baskets left secretly on the porch by some fleeing suitor filled with flowers and candy, or maybe the Maypole will go up in their neighborhood. Champions feel like world citizens.

        For all the joy and excitement of the season, there is also sadness and care. Pat Smith’s Mother has passed away after a long illness. All her children were with her though and she had lived a long life. It is hard to say words that really comfort people in times of loss, though that loss comes to everyone at some time. “Sweeter than the Flowers” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “The Mom and Dad Waltz” are all sweet songs that evoke a sense of consolation and ease. “My life flows on in endless song./Above earth’s lamentation./I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn/That hails a new creation./Through all the tumult and the strife/I hear it’s music ringing,/It sounds an echo in my soul./How can I keep from singing?” Published August 7, 1868 in the New York Observer, this song was attributed to Pauline T. and titled “Always Rejoicing.” It is always hoped that the sadness of loss will soon be replaced with sweet memories. A number of Champions are experiencing significant life transitions and their friends wish them well on what they call ‘the uneven journey of life.’

        Some are observing that people become more careful as they get older. It may be that they know they no longer have the strength to back up their bravado. It may be that life experience has taught them just what is at stake, so they are less likely to take risks. Life is a precious commodity which Champions hope to live well and happily without strife in the here and now. A good friend who has visited in Champion a number of times over the years writes to say something about strife and resentments. He has been reading a couple of books that have explained to him just how it is that ducks do not build up resentments the way people often do. A guy named Eckhart Tolle wrote the books and according to Champion friend, Tom, he observed that after two ducks get into a fight, which never lasts long, they will separate and float off in opposite directions. Then each duck will flap its wings vigorously a few times, thus releasing the surplus energy that built up during the fight. After they flap their wings, they float on peacefully, as if nothing had ever happened. Tom says that if the duck had a human mind, it would keep the fight alive by thinking, by story-making, and by blaming. He said that the duck’s story would probably be: “He came within five inches of me. He thinks he owns this pond. He has no consideration for my private space. I’ll never trust him again. Next time he’ll try something else just to annoy me. I’m sure he’s plotting something already. But I’m not going to stand for this. I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t forget.” So Tom says that as far as humans are concerned the fight continues, the emotions are kept alive and the energy it generates can last for years. It seems like the major story that people write for themselves is, “I was right, and they were wrong.” It turns out the whole thing is a matter of ‘ego’ and it is a difficult part of the psychic apparatus over which to rise. Mail your story of rising above your ego to Champion at getgoin.net or to Champion Items, Rt.2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Go tell it on the mountain or on the graciously appointed veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square situated on scenic Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive in the heart of old down town. The water is still up in Old Fox Creek and a keen observer might well see ducks swimming placidly by—as free as birds in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013

CHAMPION—April 15, 2013

        The weather may be unsettled this time of the year but Champions do not mind. They are busy getting things done so that when the weather is perfect they will have nothing to do but enjoy it. This productivity may not be so much the result of good planning as it is the rapid passage of time. Some of the things that are getting done now are things that got started a couple of years ago. Champions are patient and persistent, plugging along day after beautiful day.

        A ride through the country to gawk at the redbuds coming out and the wild plumbs, forsythia and the like brought a Champion to the Post Office in Norwood. In the midst of business the sudden awareness of a difference in the space gave pause for thought. The current staff is certainly efficient and pleasant and the mail goes out and comes in like the tide. It is reassuring. Things change and still go on. Post master, Kirk Dooms, has retired and is presumably off getting sore elbows from hauling in one fish after another out of some wild wilderness stream or some mild local rivulet. He is most likely busier than ever, lending a hand wherever it is needed and keeping up with his chores. Over there in Sweden, he probably has the prettiest garden around and his Champion friends will hope that the raccoons stay out of his corn and that he will have the time and leisure to grow back his moustache. The way the light came through the front window, it was always nice to visit with Kirk and try to decide if his eyes could really be that green. There is a spot in the lobby were Cletus Upshaw used to sit. He passed away a few years ago. His birthday was March 31st and he would have been 84 this year. He took on Route 2 when he got out of the Marine Corps and he was the mailman for many long and interesting years. There are lots of good stories about him, but mostly it was Cletus who told the stories. He was a good storyteller and a keen observer. He knew the history of every nook and cranny in these parts and of everybody who lived in them. It was always a treat to see him coming to the mailbox even if the mail was not always good. Some very agreeable people keep the Post Office operating nicely in the drafty old building that is so full of memories, even for people who only arrived here thirty some odd years ago.

        It is on account of Cletus that Cowboy Jack has any standing in the community at all. It was one cold winter day a few years back when the Cowboy was out checking on his cows and he happened to run upon Cletus who had hit a slick spot in the road and got his truck stuck in a ditch up against a bank and couldn’t get it out. He had walked and slipped and fallen on the ice and cracked his noggin and was cold in rough shape when Jack came upon him. Because Champions are so grateful for this happenstance heroism, they have a soft spot for the Cowboy. He has probably been out hunting mushrooms though someone said he has been under the weather. His friends hope to hear he is feeling better and would like to get an understanding of mushroom etiquette from him. Say, if a person finds mushrooms on his own place and they are still too tiny to pick, should that person leave a note saying, “I found these first. Leave them alone!”? He has such mushrooming experience; he ought to share his thoughts at least, since it is a foregone conclusion that he will not be sharing his finds. He may find himself saddle side down in the creek again one of these days and wish he had built up more good will. It will be Bud Hutchison or some of his gang that pull him out next time, maybe even the coiffeuse from the bottom of the hill dragging up the rear as usual. Bud’s Spring Trail Ride is just around the corner now. They will be glad to have the Drury Café open again. That extends their ride. They can have Breakfast at Champion and lunch at Drury as they used to do in the old days. Maybe Wilma will beat them to the café and be ready to take their picture for her special Trail Ride Album when they come riding in. This is an exhilarating place to live—Champion!

        Wildlife is on the move. It is not uncommon to see deer crossing the highway at night and raccoons. There are all too infrequently dead armadillos on the side of the road. Ground hogs are scampering around and snakes are out. Just before daylight the other morning, when Clare Shannon’s Dad was out doing his early morning ablutions, the ruckus in the henhouse proved to be a raccoon that had ripped up the roof of the chicken house and was engaged in mortal combat with the rooster. Well, the rooster came out of it with ruffled feathers and missing an eye. The raccoon got the business end of the shotgun and will not be back in the neighborhood. Hopefully Clare gets back to the neighborhood often from her scholarly, exciting life in the metropolis. Her lovely Mom has retired now and stays busy loosing track of what day of the week it is, taking cyber piano lessons and generally being a contented lady of leisure.

        Skyline School’s Teri Ryan has been dodging squirrels on her drive to work in the mornings. She has a big green machine that gets her to school safely. Ms. Ryan is on the Skyline R-2 School Foundation Board and that group always has a little something interesting in the works. The wonderful little rural school can use all the support it can get. Fourth grader Haley Wilson shares her birthday on the 23rd with Mrs. Elaine who is the school’s paraprofessional. She has another name, but students know her as Mrs. Elaine. Shelby Wilson is a prekindergarten student who has her birthday the next day. There are lots of interesting things going on at school this time of the year. Birthday parties are always good.

        The 17th and 18th will both be good days for planting crops that bear their yield above the ground. So will the 23rd and 24th. Then Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood shows the full moon on the 25th and so that day and the next one will be good days for planting root crops again. Share garden lore, historic reminiscences, broad speculation and any favorite melodies out on the porch at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square. Clare Shannon reminded friends on social media of the great song sung by old timer Jimmy Durante, “I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through…In a small café, the park across the way…” or in beautiful Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

CHAMPION—April 8, 2013

        The second week in April seems to have a theme running through it over the years.  Last year this article began:  “April 9, 2012–In Champion the gardener waits for the harvest and has patience for it and like James said, he is patient while waiting for the early and later rain. Some particular Champion husbandmen would like that later rain to come on early.  It seems dry, so some are watering and mulching and all are paying attention.   James is the same guy who said, “Sing if you are happy.”  The previous year: “April 11, 2011–Champions are pleased for the rain, pleased for the good company of friends and family visiting, pleased for the progress in their gardens and various other enterprises.  Overall the Champion neck of the woods is quite a pleasing place full of the glories of spring and happy people.”  The year before:  “April 12, 2010– Champions, alert to the inevitability of change, welcome it with the same ease and grace with which the seasons come and go.  Even so.  Let it be.  The genuine heart of Champion does not change–the part that acknowledges the importance of good neighbors and good deeds and that part that recognizes and celebrates the beauty of the place.”  It just on and on like that.  The second week of April every year seems to be rife with acknowledgement of the pleasures of natural beauty, pleasures of family, friends, and community.  Champion!

        Bostonian Charley Burlile was down this way on a rendezvous with his Dad and sister at her place over near Vera Cruz last week.  He was most complimentary to the area saying that it had been a long time since he and been here at this time of the year and he had forgotten just how glorious the place is as the fields green from hill to hill and how distant and pleasant the views can be before the foliage fills in.  He probably would not ever have wandered into the place had his sister not married Tim Scrivner all those years ago.  He thinks his brother-in-law gets too much press but seems to like him well enough.  He was happy to report that his home place up in Massachusetts had not suffered ill effects from the big hurricane Sandy last fall.  They did not even lose power up in Boston.  He did say that when Manhattan floods like it did, it does cause people to think that climate change, whatever the cause, is not really a myth.  He was also curious to know if Herman Melville is still a favorite author in these parts.  He can be pleased to know that his suggestion of the Norton Critical Edition of Moby Dick graces certain Champion shelves and has a bookmark on page 47 where the Sermon is being presented.  Between gardening, construction, sewing projects, grandchildren,  bridge games, correspondence, and a certain amount of daydreaming, the Champion hopes to have made considerable progress in the book so has to be conversant about it if Boston Charley makes it back for a summer visit.  His family has been seen at the Skyline VFD Picnic in the past.  Life seems as fast paced and busy in the country as it is in town.  Reckon?

        “Fast paced” does not do justice to the description of things when the General makes it over to Champion.  He brings excitement with him and ramrodded a bunch of his blood kin, including brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren, in an extended episode of mountain climbing, kite flying, music making and fish frying.  Champion had just been relieved of an influx of his mishpocheh (city girls who blushed and hurried home to be with their handsome farm boys).   Dillon Watts was one of those kite flyers.  He was also a turkey hunter.  At the time of his visit he was still a ‘youth’ and was happy to get his turkey while he was visiting on Grandmother’s farm.  He has taken his old banjo and gone back to Tennessee now and will be celebrating his birthday on the 12th of the month.  Morgan Whitacre is a sixth grader at the Skyline R2 School.  He shares his birthday, the 14th, with a Champion favorite Bob Berry.  Bob was the automotive go-to guy for Esther Wrinkles and for many in the area around Gentryville for a long time.   Look for him and beautiful Mary in a snazzy Studebaker of an early 50’s vintage out and about at area festivals and gatherings this spring and summer.  On April 15th Skyline prekindergarten student Wyatt Lakey will join a group of distinguished people who have ‘tax day’ as their birthday.  Some of them are Vivian Floyd of Rogersville, George G. Jones of Stockton, D. Mike Cline of Seymour, Kathryn Coffman of Mountain Grove who will be 95, Leonardo Da Vinci of Italy (born 1452), Roy Clark of Hee Haw fame, Bessie Smith–the Empress of the Blues and Nikita Khrushchev.  So Wyatt, you have some interesting astro-twins.  Enjoy your birthday!  Enjoy them all.  Some sage said, “Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.”

        A country girl swings on the front porch and listens to the sounds moving through the valleys.   It is mysterious to hear a motor approach and move on without ever seeing the vehicle or an invisible airplane low and loud then fading and distant and gone.   A romantic heart can identify her sweetheart’s truck two hollows away and can be certain by the time he gets to the second low water crossing that he is on his way.  In a subtle shift of the wind the sound is gone again.  She waits.  She wanders out to the garden barefoot on the warming soil not even looking up to find the flight of turkey vultures crisscrossing her plot with their many swooping shadows.  She sings, “I’ll be waiting on the hillside for the day that you call, on the sunny side of the mountain where the rippling waters fall.”  Then she figures she will do some raking and shaping of some garden beds to ready for planting.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 12th and 13th will be good days for planting crops that bear their yield above ground.  She will work some manure and ashes into the rows and be ready when the time is right to plant.  It is hard to wait sometimes.  Spring seems like it is here but some are not sure in spite of the blooming trees and shrubs.   The sound mysteries of the mountains can carry a din away on a quiet breeze and obscure the noise of an approaching visitor.  She could turn around and find him standing there any second –as silently as spring.

        Skyline VFD Auxiliary President, Betty Dye, called members Monday morning to remind them of the scheduled meeting of the group on Tuesday at ‘the store.’  She means the meeting room in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  It is also known as Henson’s Downtown G & G.   It is the cultural and social hub of the area as well as an excellent purveyor of many of the necessities of home and farm.  Most any day of the week a person can find two or more yokels passing the time in the meeting room.  They will be shooting the breeze, caching up on local events and expounding their fair and balanced observations of the world situation as it relates to Champion.   Air your views over a cup of coffee in the reading room or out on the porch where you will get a bucolic view across Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive of the broad and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek, out past the parade grounds under the century sentry walnut trees and the little church.  Drink it in—it is burgeoning Spring in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 1, 2013

April 1, 2012

CHAMPION—April 1, 2013

        Easter seemed early this year, but some reading reveals that Easter Sunday can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25, since it is set to correlate with Jewish Passover and that holiday is based on solar and lunar cycles.  It was certainly a glorious day and the Champion Easter Parade went off without a hitch.  Out of state dignitaries and lovely local yokels made a fine showing.  Foster’s new haircut is startlingly short. One imagines a pint and a half of sandy curls lying on the barber’s floor.  Now his noggin is beige velvet and hidden from the sun under his baseball cap.  Kalyssa had the outstanding frock of the day.  It is one commissioned by her great grandmother, Goldie Krider, for her youngest granddaughter back in the 1980’s.  It features faced scallops and bows in a style called old-fashioned now, but so charming it has a timeless elegance.  Her grandmother has preserved the little dress well and the child makes it an adorable picture.  Two great aunts and a great uncle visiting from far away made the whole occasion very special.  There was great singing and heartfelt acknowledgement of the beauty of the day.

        Skyline eight grader, Tristen Shearer, has his birthday on the 4th of April and his classmate, Mark Blakey will have his on the 12th.  Next year these young men will be high school freshmen and the world will be changing for them dramatically.  The value of a rural school education is not lost on many of the people who live here.  Charles Lambert went to school at Champion when he was a kid before all the little schools were consolidated into the Skyline R-2 School Districts.  He has lived in this part of the world his whole life.  He is a great mandolin player and is often seen playing with various groups around.  He used to play with Lonnie Krider and Wayne Anderson whenever he could.  He and Zelda were at the Champion Grand Opening Celebration a couple of years back.  They are loyal supporters of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department as well.   Zelda has recently had a car accident and suffered some injures including cracked ribs.  Her friends and neighbors are wishing her a speedy recovery.  They will be looking forward to seeing her and Charlie at the picnic again this summer.

        Linda’s Almanac has some new fans.  They are the Ava Garden Club and their member Rachel introduced them to it.  Rachel is new to the area and new to planting by the signs.  She likes the idea and her garden club friends, who subscribe to the practice, like the format of the almanac as it provides all the necessary information in an orderly way.  Rachel is planning a trip to Champion one day soon to collect the item that she purchased in the silent auction at the Skyline VFD chili supper back in early March. She is in for a real treat when she sets foot for the first time in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Since she was never in the original emporium, the contrast and similarities will not be obvious to her.  She will just see a well ordered business in a bright and inviting atmosphere.  Business is business, they say, but Champions generally very much appreciate a locally owned and operated enterprise.  People work where there are jobs, but when it comes to spending those hard earned dollars, it is wonderful to support neighbors.  It is great to see the Drury Cafe open and operating.  They had a big prime rib dinner Friday night and reports are that it was superb. They are going to have a special menu and music every Friday night for ‘date night.’  Farmers and friends gather for coffee and gab during the week and it is another good place to get some news.  Bud Hutchison’s Trail Riders will be glad to have the place open again when they start polishing their saddles again on a regular basis.  No doubt the Ava Garden Club will check out The Plant Place and will enjoy taking advantage of all of Linda’s hard work to make growing things easy for the novice as well as the seasoned gardener. A copy of the almanac can be found on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G, on line at www.championnews.us and there in Norwood at  The Plant Place.  The 5th and 6th are said to be an excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy and other plant pests.  Then the 7th through the 9th will be good for planting root crops and extra good for vine crops and setting strawberry plants.   Some old Champions expect the first hummingbird to show up around April 23rd.  The seasons are moving quickly.  The days are just whizzing by.

        The Caterpillar Company is a global leader in the manufacture of construction and mining equipment and a great number of other things that make progress possible around the world.  Building the world’s infrastructure is what they do and they are headquartered up in Peoria, Illinois.  They have been around for a while and back in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, one at a time, the oldest and then the youngest of the Krider boys decided to leave the farm and go to Peoria to get a job.  Well, they got their jobs alright and settled in.  Before long Donald had met Rita and Harley had met Barbara.   They were city girls, neither with much of an eye toward the farm, but something romantic about Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, and city girls just got the best of the boys and they never came home.  Oh, they come home.  They have family, and property and holdings here, but they are held in place in Peoria by new ties and Champions are just happy to see them when they can make their way back for a rare and always too short visit.  Still, Champions can understand the lure of Caterpillar, Peoria and city girls. There are lots of songs that fit the occasion.  One is by Aaron Watson and it says, “(we are) Bringing together the better of both worlds, the country boy and the city girl!”  “Misery Loves Company” is one that the younger brother was heard quoting the other day.  Maybe he will take Barbara out to Drury on Friday for lobster on ‘date night.’  There will be music and maybe romance!

        A note from Karen Ross, Rt. 2 mail carrier, informs that recently her son, Mike Ross, came in contact with a murder suspect who was on the run from Illinois.   This may have been the guy that stole a car up there and then abandoned it in the parking lot of a shopping center somewhere in this area where he stole another car to make his getaway.  The news was reported on KSPR 33 and a browse through their on-line archives might fill in some of the blanks.  Look for an update.   Do any updating of information at Champion at getgoin.net or at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or do it in person on the porch of the mega-mercantile in the heart of the downtown enterprise zone.  Someone said “I don’t share my thoughts because I think it will change the minds of people who think differently.  I share my thoughts to show the people who already think like me that they’re not alone.”  Feel free to share those thoughts in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!