CHAMPION—June 30, 2013

        Thirty days has September, April, June and November…all the rest have thirty one, except February, etc.  The old poem does not allow for an occasional extra day in June.  That is what Champion got by the way of Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  Do not blame Linda.  One of her longtime friends has been putting the almanac together for her for a dozen or so years now as part of Linda’s birthday present (March 5th).  This year the friend was distracted (planning a great adventure) and rushed to get the entire gardening year’s almanac together before her departure.  It is a process that requires some concentration.  Alas! June was not well represented in spite of being a glorious month for gardening.  Now it works out that by having 31 days in June, July gets to start on Paul Kennedy’s birthday.  He is a bus driver at Skyline school and a lucky man with a birthday on July the ‘tooth.’  One particular Old Champion accustomed to having his birthday on the first, missed it altogether.  Too bad.  It was a real milestone.  He will just have to wait until the fourth to party with his Old Tree Hugger friends at the National Birthday Celebration on the creek.  He will make an early start to get a good seat for the much anticipated Grand Old Flag Parade around the Champion Square and up and down Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  The General (who continues to make friends by not participating) is presumed to be in the throes of planning the Vanzant Community Picnic which might be held the following week end.  For various reasons Spotted Hog is not expected to have a float this year, but still Champions will be waiving their flags in different places together … everywhere singing, “Oh! Say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave…”

        There is no one alive today in the U.S.A. who has firsthand experience with the noxious British rule that led to the Declaration of Independence.  As the wonderful document is celebrated on July 4th, the memory of the abuses heaped upon the colonies by George III and the annoying Red Coats would have disappeared altogether had it not been for history lessons that many slept through in high school and a few good songs.  King George was deeply in debt because of the way he had handled the French and Indian war starting back in 1754.  By the 1760’s taxes and tariffs were working a real hardship on the colonists as Britain sought to recoup its financial losses.  Then the Quartering Act was imposed on the colonists requiring them to house and feed the occupying soldiers and to put up with warrantless searches and confiscations.  The whole ‘taxation without representation’ issue played a significant part in the discontent of the colonists.  By July 1776, they had had enough, and their actions then allow modern Americans this magnificent freedom.   Practically every American can find some flaw with the government currently, but none would like to go back to being ruled by the British.  Today many Scots are similarly vexed by British rule.  Their current arrangement with Britain goes back to 1703, but on September 18th this year.  Scotland will have a referendum and will vote YES or NO for independence.  Of course, it is not a simple issue and the ‘better together’ folks in Westminster would like to maintain control of the significant natural resources of their northern neighbors.  Many Scots are feeling that old pinch of taxation without representation as they sense they are being levied disproportionate to the benefits allotted them by the distant London government which views them with disdain.  Grievances are deep and long standing.  This year marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots scored a celebrated victory over the invading English which secured Scotland’s status as an independent country until the early 18th century.  It will be most interesting to see how it all plays out.  The history of those islands is ongoing, as is our own.

        Video of Darrell and Max Cooley and Wayne Anderson playing music at the Cooley Family Reunion Saturday was a gift on the internet.  Laine Sutherland has been a gift to the area as she is a prodigious supporter of local music, local folks and has a great perspective and generous world view.  Welcome home!  What a Champion!

        The 4th through the 8th will all be good days for gardening, especially for planting above the ground crops and leafy vegetables.  This comes from the recently edited and corrected version of Linda’s Almanac for July.  Find it on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square.  It can also be found on the counter up at The Plant Place and on line at  Summertime visitors will be helpful out in the garden.  There are weeds to pull and a few things like cucumbers and squash to pick along with wild raspberries and assorted ticks and chiggers.  The calamine lotion will flow freely.  No word has come as to the first ripe tomato in Champion yet, but there is likely to be a braggadocio around the round table in the Historic Emporium.  The Cowboy and others will have to know that seeing is believing.  If they plan to do much bragging they had better bring the proof with them.  The amiable shop keeper has a salt shaker.  No prize is being offered this year as it is figured that home grown ripe tomatoes should be enough for anyone.

        Summer is whizzing by.  Soon the Skyline Picnic days will be here.  The 8th and 9th of August are the dates set.  This year a prominent local craftsman is furnishing a handmade cedar chest as the grand prize for the fund raiser.  It was reported a while back that this marvelous work of art would be on display at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium, but it is yet to appear.  The eccentric artist will not be rushed, though it has been suggested that ticket sales might be more brisk if the prize could be seen.  “All in good time.”  That is a common phrase and one that suits the situation.  There is no need to be in any kind of a hurry.  Uncle Al used to say, “Take it eeeeeasy.”  Bring your summertime stories, music, poetry, and patriotism down to share out on the wide veranda overlooking the wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  Someone asked about the ‘wooly’ part of this description.  Some of it has to do with the debris of last August’s flood still stuck high in the trees.  The dense lush growth along the creek bank accounts for the rest of the ‘wooliness.’  Come form your own opinion and feel free to share.  You will be in one of the world’s truly beautiful places (a fact)… Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!