Daffodils dazzle…

Faith and Begorrah! It is another miracle! After an off and on brutal winter and with spring arriving on Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day already sees buds swelling on fruit trees and lilacs, flowering quince and the carpets of daffodils dazzle us. The secret meeting of the Champion Parade Committee (CPC) must have been a quick one because the annual parade of four revolutions around the Square (celebrating the four leaf clover) was such a speedy affair that virtually no one saw it. Litter left behind was scant but of good quality. Ask Fae Krider. She and a friend found a green back dollar bill crumpled in the grass Sunday afternoon. Most likely it flew off the ‘Pot ‘o Gold’ float in the early hours. She said the find was reminiscent of a time when Pat Smith and her oldest daughter were walking down by Auld Fox Creek sometime after the water had receded from an inundation. They found a billfold partially buried in sand. There was no identification, but there was somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three hundred dollars in it. This happened quite a number of years ago, so no use trying to claim the cash at this point. But, back to the parade–it must have been a doozy.

They sang “Danny Boy” at the Vanzant Jam Thursday and played “The Irish Washerwoman” to recognize the occasion. J.R. Johnston had the happy-birthday song sung to him that night as well. Speculation is that he is somewhere in the vicinity of ninety. Birthday observances that did not make it to ink last week were Skyline’s Willow Townsend, first grader on the 15th, the wonderful Ms. Helen Batten on March 16th, and seventh grader Myla Sarginson on the 18th. Don Powell and the lovely Elva Upshaw share the 23rd with Judie Pennington, who has seen a bear up on Tar Button Road. Don Bishop also celebrates on the 23rd, but he jumped the gun and had a fishing expedition with a grandson that is sure to amount to great birthday memories for both of them. This week’s celebrants include fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Downs, whose birthday is on the 27th. Kindergarten student, Brailynn Cumby, celebrates on the 28th and her classmate, Tucker Johnson, enjoys his day on the 30th along with Mrs. Melissa Willhite, fifth grade teacher. Your Champion friends wish you all happy birthdays and another enjoyable trip around the sun.

Last Wednesday was a damp day in Champion, which must have been the reason for the absence of a couple of regular couples to the gathering. They missed Dave, too-blessed-to-be-stressed, and the charming Kathryn who made the long hour and a half drive from their new home to enjoy the company of old friends around wood stove in the Historic Emporium. Dave said the wind was ferocious and that their truck had been moved around on the highway. It was a little unnerving. The coming week will have the conversations centered around the Real National Emergency happening up in Nebraska as the aftermath of the ‘bomb cyclone’ has left many hundreds of people in shelters with their homes and livelihoods under water. The recovery will be a long time coming. Folks in Nebraska and other effected areas will likely have to start all over when the waters finally withdraw and dry up. They say about nine million people in fourteen states along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are threatened. Young people all over the world hit the streets on March 15th to bring attention to the issue of climate change. Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg has been nominated by three different notables for the Nobel Prize for inspiring so many of her peers to action. “The times they are a changing,” sang an old troubadour. If our youngsters may not have had time to make their own resounding music, perhaps they will just borrow some from an earlier generation as, once again, the young lead the way. Champions have experienced serious flooding in recent years and we do not forget the hard work of our county road crews as they repaired much of the 135 miles of dirt road in our county. Out here in the middle of the 815 square miles that is Douglas County, we feel fortunate.

All the reports about the Ozark Classic Kountry Show over in Willow Springs on Saturday indicate that it was spectacular. Sharry Lovan organized the event and gathered a bunch of local talent for a great evening of entertainment. Master of Ceremonies, David Richardson, did a fine job even though he is kind of shy. He says he has a photographic memory, but he has no film. Alas! He changed hats a couple of times during the show—from dapper bow-tied dandy to lonesome, rowdy cowboy. Sharry can pick them.

These beautiful days call to the gardener in us. Older people often lament their diminished output while their spouses say, “Why not celebrate what little we did get done?” They claim it is a better use of what little time we have left. The soil is warming, the moon is changing. The 22nd, 23rd, and 24th will be good days to start seed beds or to transplant if you have little seedlings started already. In the reaping what you sow department, from time to time it happens that we think we are doing the right thing and it turns out to have been exactly wrong. The best intentions may not yield the desired results. Something as precious as a friendship may be bruised. Gardeners are resilient and friendships are some of the very best things that grow on the planet. “One planet, one people, please” is the motto of some religious optimists. A bear hunter said that when you skin a bear it looks just like a man. Another old boy said if you were to skin us all, we would look pretty much alike. Ponder these things and others out in the garden. It is one of the best places for deep thought—where we do the best growing—inch by inch row by row, thought by thought. As we learn that friends close to home are suffering great adversity and loss, words of comfort and consolation can be hard to find. They know we are thinking about them with our best thoughts in Champion-Looking on the Bright Side!