Champion Spring Turkeys

Champion goldfinches have put on summer yellows to rival daffodils for brilliance. Clever Creek and Fox Creek are running high and fast. Elderberries are leafing out. Redbuds are about to bloom and lilacs and dogwoods are swelling. More hard freezes are in the forecast. Some intrepid foragers have found a few mushrooms already. Turkey gobblers strut their stuff in open fields in the morning sun when it is sunny and in the morning drizzle when it is doing that—all to impress those attractive hens. (Spring Turkey Season runs from April 16th to May 6th.) Feeders for the first hummingbird scouts of the season are going up this week. All of this is to say that things are moving along normally. We know what to expect, just not exactly when to expect the various surges of the season. The average last date of frost hereabouts is said to be April 15th and the last day of recorded frost on May 10th. That may be wrong. Every family and neighborhood has its own lore, its own story of just when and how things happen, one of the precious things about family in ancestral haunts. Some are fortunate to live among them and have dinner with them every Sunday and to have swarms of grandkids making mischief and being wonderful company any day of the week as a welcome relief to parents. But, even when family is at a distance and seldom seen, we follow Johnny Cash and ”keep the ends out for the ties that bind” because family is the best thing around. We also have dear friends, glorious nature, music and chocolate—and myriad other things about which to be grateful in Champion and everywhere.

Forrest Johnson celebrates his birthday on April 2nd. He is one of the Howdy Boys, Rattlesnake Slim, traveling with the Boy Howdy Troupe. Any time he spends with his Champion family throws the old folks ahead in their garden work and their deeply deferred maintenance and fills their evenings with music, feasting and merriment. Bud Hutchison will have his birthday on April 8th. Wilma will probably have some kind of enjoyable shindig for him and his Champion friends will be looking forward to having him and his bunch amble through on his annual Spring Trail Ride. Back in the fall Andrew Hardin stood in for Bud on his Fall Trail Ride. Hershel Letsinger, Jeff Alcorn, and Gary Braden were on that ramble and hopefully they and others will be back with Bud this Spring.

Champion Morels

The Skyline Fun Run will start at 8:00 A.M. on Saturday the 14th. It may be that the Prominent Champion Couple will be there in their matching Skyline Fun Run t-shirts, smiling and strolling hand in hand for five kilometers. The event is being hosted by the Skyline Wellness Committee to benefit Practical Parenting Partnership which does a lot of good work to support the school. It is nice to see people paying attention to health and wellness in the community. It will be a good chance to look in on the new raised garden beds going up on the school grounds. If you need more information about the Skyline Fun Run, contact Helen or Bridget at 417-683-4874. See you there! According to the Missouri Association of School Administrators more than 59% of K-12 public education funding comes from local sources in Missouri. Nationally, the average is approximately 37%. Missouri’s local districts are providing nearly 22% more funding than the national average. The new austerity in the state and federal budgets for public education is another blow to the common good. Until such time as administrations and/or consciousness change in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., the well-being of our wonderful little rural school is largely in our hands. If you think you do not have a dog in this fight just because you do not have children in school, think again. These youngsters are going to be running things soon. They say that an uneducated population is much easier to control than one where critical thinking is encouraged. If you just clip those ‘Best Choice’ and ‘Always Save’ barcodes and bring them to the school or to the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, you will be doing something real to help.

What comes to mind if someone says they had a ‘one night stand’? Musicians and thespians might say it was a non-recurring musical or theatrical performance. Most frequently the phrase is thought of as describing a very brief romantic encounter. However, when a very mature person brags that he had a one night stand, he is most likely saying that he only had to get up one time during the night. This is a good example of how perspective can vary broadly on any given subject and how it can change over time. Maturity is a subjective term that relies on expectation and age. Just because a person is old does not mean that he is mature. One might look around to find any number of such examples from the rank suburbs of Wasola to the denizens of Denlow. Often these old timers figure that being mature puts a person out of the business of having fun. “It’s no fun getting old,” you hear it said. In an effort to shift his perspective, the Prominent Citizen gets an annual note that says, “Remember, if you act like you are having a good time, pretty soon you will forget that you are acting, and you will really be having a good time.”

Friends will gather at the Topaz Mill on Saturday, April 7, (4:00 P.M.) to say goodbye to Paul Clark, who passed away in February. He moved here from Iowa in 1971, and worked for Ozark Action from 1977 to 2011. He helped many local people. An accomplished musician, piano and guitar, he loved the classical composers and the blues. There is a story told about his childhood piano teacher who discovered, after several years of lessons, that Paul was playing everything by ear. He had a great many friends, a great laugh and could take a story the long way around. He liked Lightning Hopkins who sang, “Trouble in mind, I’m blue, but I won’t be blue always. The sun’s gonna shine in my back door someday”… in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!