Apple blossom time.

A ride along some seldom traveled country lanes is a good way to break the monotony if a person begins to feel stifled or stymied.  Dogwoods are out up on the ridges and soon will be so in the hollows.  They join the lilacs, the flowering quince, the apple blossoms, peach and pear trees, the honeysuckle, and phlox, creeping and wild, and myriad other blooming things.  Some of that beauty may be short lived as the temperatures drop and the wind picks up.  Our native things are resilient.  In Champion we have been acknowledging every beautiful thing we see, sometimes as if we are seeing it for the first time and, at other brief moments, with the sinking sense that it is fast fleeting and may never appear again.  Our Easter parade may have been canceled, but we joyfully don our bonnet with all the frills upon it.  We dress up to feel good, and feeling good helps us to cheer on our loved ones who may be anxious and dreary.  The internet and the phone lines are humming as people reach out to connect with one another during this isolation.  Sometimes the internet seems overloaded.  It must be that it is being used more than ever.  The whole situation is unsettling, but we are reminded that Albert Camus, said “What we learn in time of pestilence:  that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.”

School kids are being required to make serious modifications in their lives.  Certainly these will be days they remember when they are adults running the world.  Meanwhile, the school is remembering students with a sign on the fence, “WE MISS YOU.”  Skyline food service is providing a grab-and-go meal program on Tuesdays for any person 18 years or younger.  The drive-up service is open from 10:00 to 12:00.  For more information call 417-683-4874.  On April 7th they served 86 people, giving out 10 meals each.  That is 860 meals, a valuable amenity to the community.  When the opportunity to help the school shows up on the ballot again, hopes are that this kindness will be remembered.

Since The Douglas County Herald has not been interested in Champion for the last month, a number of important Skyline birthdays have been neglected.  For example, fifth grade student JP Rhodes has April first for his special celebration.  He will have special attention because of that date for the rest of his life, no doubt.  Skyline staff member, Mrs. Kristi, celebrates on the 4th.  Prekindergarten student, Hunter Harris shares his birthday on the 9th with Mr. Luna.  Mr. Luna is the grandson of long time West Pains Wagon Club wagon-master, Clifton Luna.  He is also the Skyline R2 School Superintendent and is receiving great reviews for his work to preserve, protect and promote our great little rural school, one of only two left in Douglas County.  Thank you, Mr. Luna!  Seventh grader, Coby Wallace, enjoys the 14th.  Wyatt Lakey, of the 5th grade, and Destiny Brown, kindergarten student, both have the 15th for their birthday. Happy birthday, you Tigers!

1946 Studebaker….”Bob has one of these!”

What would a person give Studebaker Bob for his birthday?  Lovely Mary says, “Car parts.”  The 14th is his big day.  Banjo Dillon Watts enjoyed his birthday on Easter Sunday.  Dustin Kline has his day on Income Tax Day, along with Champion Vivian Krider Floyd and George G. Jones, currently of Stockton.  Income Tax Day has been extended to July 15th, but these charming folks can have their birthdays in April the way they always have.  Susanna wrote on April 9th, “Happy Birthday to the sweetest man on Earth.”  She had lots of good things to say characterizing him as a sensational all-around nice guy.  His cousin, The General, had reported last week that the recent earth quake, the epicenter of which was about 150 miles from him, had not shaken him from his recliner.  That was a relief for Kenneth (Hovey) Henson to read in The Champion News.  “I’m happy to hear that Wesley, our football manager at Mountain Grove High School, came through the earth quake with no damage.”  He said, “As of 4/14/20 no humming birds at 3731 Brookfield.  Being quarantined I am rereading all my James Michener books.  Love the way he can make you part of his historical novels.  Granddaughter, Avery, is doing her school work over the internet.  She is in the 8th grade taking all advance classes–2 of them are freshmen high school algebra and Spanish, very proud.  Dawn says that I’m obnoxious sticking that child in every ones face, can’t help it.”  Our response to Hovey is that having an obnoxious old man proud of her will be a gift his granddaughter will treasure always.

Judie, up on Tar Button Road, has only had a couple of skillets of morrelas so far.  Maybe warmer weather will bring more out.  Meanwhile she is out in the woods, keeping her eye out for bears and appreciating life in general.  She now has three teenage grandchildren, as the twins have now had their 13th birthday.  Other folks strolling about in the serenity of the woods are those fine folks at Teeter Creek Herbs.  Look them up at just to see what good they can do for you.  One Old Champion swears by the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.

Musicians are suffering for want of a jam.  Some are practicing at home getting better and better.  Lena said Jerry has not been playing very much since they stopped having the Wednesday morning jam at the barber shop.  He has new strings on his fiddle and they will need some breaking in.  He probably has an old guitar lying around somewhere.  Many people do.  Pull them out from under the bed, even if they have been there for decades.  Dust them off, tune them up and make your heart merry with song.  Jerry sings, “I wouldn’t change a single thing about you if I could.  The way you are just suits me to a T.”  Then he gives Lena that look and she smiles.  Music is good for us.  In response to last week’s question a distant Champion responds, “After listening again, the devil and his band of demons definitely beat Johnny, in my opinion.”  Another said, “I’m opposed to the devil outright and care not how good he might play.  Johnny was mortal, after all.”

As we struggle with the uncertainty connected with the virus and the disruptions to our daily lives, we also acknowledge that all across the south the violent weather of Easter Sunday has thrown many into additional turmoil.  A great number of lives were lost and the damage to property may never be recouped.  Even as we face our own challenges these days, there are others in more dire circumstances.  Robert Frost says, “The best way out is always through.”  And we hear that the comeback is always stronger than the setback.

The first hummingbird scout showed up in Champion North on Good Friday.  It is a comfort to know that nature is behaving as it routinely has.  Now it is just up to us to continue behaving, as Mother would say, ‘…like you have good sense,” and exhibiting patience and kindness whenever we can.  Love and Gratitude are the watchwords and we rest well with a lullaby in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Somewhere along a seldom traveled lane…