Fancy finches…

Spring has had an auspicious beginning.  The last time we had a full moon on the vernal equinox was in 2000.  The next time will be in the year 2030.  These nineteen years have gone by in a hurry, though in some ways it seems like a very long time ago.  The next eleven years are the mystery before us.  As Exer Hector said, “Just act like you have good sense.”

There is a Morel Mushroom Hunting Club that a person can join on the internet.  It can be found on YouTube.  Chris Matherly does an annual Morel Season forecast including many detailed maps, amazing photos, current hot spots and ten day forecasts.  Local hunters will wake up after a few warm nights, step away from their computers and get out in the woods.  Expectations are for a good year in the Missouri Ozarks.  A successful hunter says, “We’ve had a lot of moisture but not too much.”  Will Cowboy Jack find his?  Competition for the first, most and best in Champion will soon be on.  Soon the Ava Farmer’s Market will be open.  The first day is scheduled to be April 6th.  If there are Morels there, they will not last long.

Guess where…

Organizers of the Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks are already meeting on a regular basis getting ready to lay the groundwork for this great event which will occur in October.  It requires a lot of planning.  Sherry Bennet is on the lookout for ‘old time’ musicians.  She is not necessarily looking for old folks, though old musicians are welcome and much appreciated, but for folks who play the old music.  If you are one of those folks, or if you know someone who would like to share the good old stuff, get with Sherry.

I heard the bluebird sing.”  Eastern bluebirds are already making an appearance in Champion.  The Missouri Department of Conservation has good directions for building bluebird houses and they tell you where to place them for best results.  Bluebirds, phoebes, red wing black birds, and those fancy, feuding finches fill the air with the sounds of Spring.  The obligation for ‘spring cleaning’ is easy enough to ignore when sweet tweets and twitters call us outside.  Good deeds so often go unsung.  That will not be the case for the gentleman routinely strolling down Ivy Lane.  Thanks to his efforts, that section of the Road to Champion is pristine, free of refuse, and presenting a portrait of a well-loved place, and of a people with principals.  It is inspiring more righteous litter picking.  Bravo, Sir!

Far East Champion was rocking and rolling in celebration of one of three favorite daughters on Saturday.  It was a soggy affair, but well attended.  Grandmothers and aunts stayed inside but were able to enjoy the music vibrating through the walls.  That happy birthday song shook the rafters.  Kalyssa, who has the distinction of being the Great Niece of The General, sat with her avuncular kinfolk, letting her clear, lilting voice override his relentless strumming, enough so that it was surprisingly harmonious.  “Farther along,” she sang and it went out over the air and into the house to grandmothers and aunties, and out over internet for the enjoyment of Champions near and far, lovely.

Some of the world’s most interesting people were born on March 31st.  On this side of the Atlantic Ocean we had Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), a great Civil Rights leader who did good work for farm workers in California and across the country.  Christopher Walken will be 75 years old on the 31st.  He has appeared in more than 100 movies and is a fantastic dancer.  Check out the movie “Pennies from Heaven” if you have not seen it.  On the other side of the ocean, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is described as an immortal composer who revolutionized religious and secular music.  He was much admired by Mozart.  Bach was born on the 31st as was the gifted artist, Morag Edward.  She currently has works hanging in prestigious galleries and venues across Edinburgh.  She is, in addition, a fine musician, a Sea Swimmer, and much sought after coxswain for local rowers, a wonderful cook, and a student of squirrel behavior among other things.  Your Champion friends wish happy birthdays to you talented people on both sides of the wide ocean.

Matthew Henry said, “If truth is once deserted, unity and peace will not last long.”  Though the Welshman passed away in 1714, his words ring true yet.  His was the first quote edited from The Champion News by the Herald staff back in August 2006.  There have been a few edits since then.  A look back ten years ago in the archives at finds detailed instructions, though not illustrated, for the building of a genuine washtub bass.  Further reading revealed that David Richardson, from out west of Norwood somewhere, had produced the Stradivarius of washtub basses.  He joined with Sue Murphy, Norris Woods, Jerry Wagner and a welcome visitor, Mr. Hancock of Idaho, plus a number of other regulars to make a lovely evening of music at the Junction.  Lynette Cantrell came over from Cabool with her mandolin to add to the fun.  Later on, at the behest of Russell and Sue Upshaw, that jam was relocated to the Vanzant Community Building, where it still flourishes.  There was also a notation in the archives about the First Ever Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Fair that was to be held on the 32nd of March that year.

Folks in Nebraska, Iowa, northern Missouri and other parts thereabout will not have the luxury of Morel mushrooms this year, but it is the least of their worries.  The flooding there will have far reaching, long lasting effects for mushroom hunters, for farmers and their communities.  Recovery will take time.  Many here and there are experiencing hard times and loss.  Words of comfort are hard to find.  Empathy is in the consolation of that hug from a friend or from family with the pat on the back, “There, there.”  Our best thoughts go out to everyone struggling with illness, injury and the loss of loved ones–from Champion—Looking on the bright side!

Good night Champion.