The Champion Circle Garden

Sunday’s exciting thunderstorm rolled through Champion in about an hour giving us a fast half inch of rain and a pleasant cooling. Monday’s weather was not so kind to many. Folks in Seymour, Mansfield, Norwood, Mountain Grove and other places north and south experienced significant damage to buildings and trees. Days later some are still without power. The storm dropped pea to marble sized hail in Champion for about five minutes and the rain and wind were torrential for a little while, but it was good fortune for us here that there was no serious damage and good fortune overall that we have heard of no injuries or loss of life. Champions count our many blessings and extend our sympathies to those suffering from the ravages of storms and all the difficulties of our current times.

Those of us fortunate to be marooned with someone we really like are mindful of the struggles of solitary folks. Some people have always enjoyed being alone, but it is tough for others and loneliness is hard on them. Heart disease, dementia, anxiety, stress, inflammation and balance are all made worse by loneliness. Service, they say, is the most powerful antidote. Remember how good it makes you feel to help someone. A phone call can lift the spirits of people on both ends of the line, so if you find yourself feeling blue, dial up someone else who may be feeling that way. The fortunate ones can sing, ”It’s such a perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you.”

Local lore tells us that May 10th is the last frost date for this area and Champions are holding off getting their tomatoes in the ground until after that date and hoping the peppers and other tender things they have in already will survive the episode of cold headed this way for Saturday morning. Gardening is a gamble. It has the same optimism about it as fishing, but the risk of all that hard work and effort going to waste is somehow more stressful than an empty stringer at the end of a lovely day at the lake. Champion Rich Heffern lets us know, “You don’t have to be good at gardening for gardening to be good for you.”

Thursdays are particularly difficult for some folks. Skip and Ina are doing okay over there near West Plains, and so is Bertie in Dora, but they, like many others, are missing the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam. Jerry and Lena live a few miles south of Mansfield and were glad to have missed the bad weather there, but not glad to miss the Thursday jam. They are doing well though and report the same for Sally and Wilma. The McClurg jam has opened up again, but with some significant alterations in the protocol. Whenever and however we are able to get back into these wonderful gatherings, we will be grateful. A couple of years ago a young man, a high school student, showed up at the Vanzant Jam with his guitar and a mandolin. He played beautifully, keeping up easily with much more seasoned musicians. He sang with confidence has a pleasant voice and a confident presentation. Someone said, “I suppose you have a fiddle and a banjo at home too,” to which he responded affirmatively. School and a full time job kept him away from the jam thereafter. His admirers are hopeful that he is still finding time to play. He has been busy. He is a senior in Mountain Grove High School this year and has just been appointed to West Point Class of 2024. His Champion and Vanzant friends could not be more proud of him if he were our own grandson. Congratulations, Bo Parker! Well done!

What a joy it is to be in the woods on these glorious spring days. New life springs fourth under every footfall. Everything seems to be in a frenzy of growing. The birds dazzle us with their beauty and their industry. One of the many reasons to encourage dandelions in your yard and garden is that birds love them too! Shifting attitudes now make the former weed our dear friend. Walking through the garden and through the woods and walking through our days the choices we make will hopefully bring us through to some kind of new normal where we will all be comfortable again. Make the trip a pleasant one, making good choices along the way. Stay at home if you can. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion birds love dandelions.