The Fourth of July on a Saturday and a Full Moon makes this one a special one. We may miss getting to share it with our friends and families as we celebrate in different places together. Yes, there will be lots of gatherings, but many older, vulnerable folks will picnic alone with their bar-b-que, watermelon and apple pie, thinking about the current State of the Nation and the good changes they hope will come. The necessary cancellation of the Old Tree Huggers Jamboree that has a history of more than 30 years will thwart and stymie the myriad enlightened conversations that would have been had over the past, present and future. Those discussions are still going on if only around the kitchen table with the old man or with friends on the phone. Some people just talk to hear their head rattle, but ever so once in a while, something rings true. Whatever that is that rings true for you, it generally conforms to whatever you already believe. There is hardly any point in trying to convince folks who believe differently that you are right and they are wrong. We better just look at each other and grin, maybe shake our heads and leave unspoken our wonder and amazement that people we like and care about can be so obtuse. Harmonize with them if you can “…and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”

If you wonder if you are doing a good job of hand washing, just get a little fish emulsion on your fingers. By the time you get the smell off, you can be pretty sure your hands are clean. No one has come to claim the bottle that replaces the one Jonnie, the good dog, chewed up. Lena says a person’s fingernails ought to be dirty during the summer. She claims hers are as she works with her flowers and splits wood and what-not outside. She says that Sally and Wilma are doing fine these days. She is making quilts for great granddaughters and keeping track of Jerry and his comings and goings. Maybe he plays the fiddle for her sometime or turns the radio on for a dance. They have been seen to cut a lovely rug. He may know Fiddlin’ John Carson’s tune, “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” That is from 1923, a little before Jerry’s time.

Reports are that the Ava Farmers’ Market is doing very well with many more young people participating as vendors and shoppers. That is good news. A note from Champion-South: “the garden is doing well considering the abundant rainfall earlier in the spring everything was slow to start. oh weeds were not slow but produce was very slow we usually have squash by now but just blooming. onions garlic potatoes lettuce dill carrots cukes (just blooming as well) doing good eating snow peas and beans along with lettuce and onion. had a blackberry yesterday there are lots of tomatoes green of course but the peppers were the slowest to start but are hitting their stride now.” Home grown vegetables are dandy, capital letters and punctuation notwithstanding.

A friend shared a great recipe for a refreshing summer iced tea. It makes half a gallon: 2 quarts of water, one and a half inches of ginger root, thinly sliced, a heaping tablespoon of powdered turmeric, one teaspoon of black pepper, and three tablespoons honey. Simmer for half an hour stirring often. Do not strain it. Refrigerate it and enjoy a pleasant tea that turns out to be very beneficial for folks with arthritis since it has all those ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties. Arthritis comes from working hard. Dear friends come from our good fortune. Thank you for sharing the good things. Another friend shares a recipe for jewelweed broth. She says, “Not only is this a tasty cold soup for summertime, it is a superior remedy for poison ivy rash. Sipping 2-4 cups of jewelweed broth, hot or cold, will quell both skin and joint inflammation. Harvest jewelweed (Impatiens pallida or canadensis) by pulling every 4th or 5th plant up by the roots. We are using the entire plant. The redder the root, the more effective this remedy. At home, rinse your jewelweed and place it, roots and all, in a pan, pressing it down very well. Add just enough cold water to barely cover the jewelweed and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the water is orange. Cool, then refrigerate or pour into ice cube trays and freeze.”

Unusual atmospheric conditions have rendered our golden hour more golden yet. It is as if Rembrandt has slathered another coat of shellac over our bucolic landscape, a glimmering varnish of softened light. As we go through these stressful days, we hope to know all our friends and families are well and safe. We celebrate the 244 years since 1776 and hope for the safety and health of our Nation. Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!