The appreciation day for paternal parents was a resounding success. The internet was graced with the images of many a fine old gent in his younger days, many of whom have passed on, though the mystic chords of memory hold them close to us no matter how long they have been gone. All those fine fathers and father figures with us now, who work to perpetuate the lessons and values of their predecessors, either want to be the kind of dad they had or want to be a better one. The negligent, hardhearted and heavy handed ones do not get much celebration. Hooray for you good guys and mighty men, and thanks for all you do to teach, guide, protect, strengthen and inspire your off spring.

Jake is a three and a half month old blue heeler who has made a home with Bob and Ethel. He is helping them get over having recently lost the old dog that had been their companion for 16 years. They have been in the hay these days and all seems well with them. Ethel opens gates, cooks and is ready with tools or parts when things break down. They are looking forward to getting back down to Champion one of these days and were glad to hear that things are well here. That is the good news we hope applies to all our friends and kin. With still only three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Douglas County, we are considering ourselves fortunate while we still take safety precautions. The primary election coming up in August is one of those opportunities to participate we do not want to miss. Any registered voter can get an application for an absentee ballot by calling the County Clerk’s office (683-4714) or by stopping in at the court house. When you return your ballot by mail it will not need to be notarized if you are 65 years old and if your reason for voting absentee is your concern over the coronavirus. If you are mailing in your ballot, it must be there 13 days before Election Day. A person can also request an application for a ballot on-line at the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. Some folks are most hopeful that the whole Country will be able to vote by mail at the upcoming National Election. Some are deeply opposed.

A good conversation with Jody Henson revealed that she and Royce are doing well. He will be 87 in October and is still mowing five lawns a week. Jody does all the driving but they are not going much. They have been doing church at home with the East Sunshine Church of Christ via the internet. A good neighbor has been getting their groceries for them for the last three months and vehemently refuses compensation. She says the Bella Vista Hensons and those in Houston are all okay and their families as well. They are wondering if the Champion School Reunion will be happening this year. When we find out, we will let you know.

A Fish Emulsion mystery: First of all, Jonnie is a sweet dog. Just like Old Rattler, she would not harm a fly. Well, actually she is rough on flies, wasps, mud-daubers and hornets, but the rabbits, armadillos, squirrels, ground hogs, possums, lizards, toads and frogs she leaves alone. She would like to play with some of them, but they run away. She came in the other night stinking of fish, which is most unusual, since we have not been fishing, and there are no fishing holes near about. The next day the half full pint plastic bottle of Fish Emulsion appeared in the front yard with the top badly chewed up. Thinking she must have taken it from the neighbor, on the next trip to town a replacement was purchased. The neighbor, however, said that the stuff did not come from them. So the mystery is who has lost a pint of Fish Emulsion up on Cold Springs Road? Stinky. But sweet is the fragrance of the elderberry blossoms. It may be almost too late to harvest a few for elderflower fritters. Blackberries are blossoming and raspberries are already purpling the tongues of itinerant wanderers.

At home, three crows harassed and harried a hawk all across the sky above a Champion garden early on the first morning of summer. They have their own worries and dramas and we have the leisure from our garden bench to observe, assess and judge without the exact perspective of either party. The birds might say, “Mind your own business,” but they hardly pay us any mind. So the best we can do in these stressful times is what Mother said, “Act like you have good sense.” We are doing the best we can out here on our garden benches. Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!