The Grand Old Flag waved and the music swelled and American hearts pumped with pride in our Nation on our 244th celebration of Independence.  This year we seem more mindful, more thoughtful about the whole concept.  It does a citizen good to re-read the Declaration of Independence.  Molly Ivins said, “It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.”  The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall was in Springfield over the holiday week end.  It is a humbling experience to view it.  Thanks to all who have served and are serving yet.  It was brats and beer in seclusion on the Fourth of July for many who still harbor hope for a bigger celebration in 2021.

If March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, how will July go out, after having come in with such a thunderous wet and wonderful beginning?  An inch and a half of rain came down in the middle of the day on Wednesday, July 1st, washing away worries of drought.  Friends in Vera Cruz recorded two and a half inches and others out east had an inch and a half.  Local haymakers had it bailed already so there were no complaints to be heard.  It was another delightful day down on the broad banks of Auld Fox Creek made even more pleasant by visitors out on the wide veranda.  Eldon and Judy Russell, from somewhere between Gentryville and Richville, passed a pleasant couple of hours enjoying the little Wednesday Outside Jam, which was much improved by Roberta, Ms. Country Pie!  She says she is making more pies than ever and the most popular one is coconut-cream.  Roy’s is doing well, she said.  Floaters are stopping in.  We are in the midst of full-blown summertime.  Roadside flowers are spectacular and summer skies sublime.

Summertime was on full display on Wednesday the 8th, as waves of local youth rallied on the Square getting ready for a picnic trip to the creek.  Harley and Barbara are visiting for a few days and it was a pleasant visit out on the wide veranda.  Harley added his voice to the Outside Wednesday Jam on some old songs.  He was remembering one called Tall Pines.  He said it was kind of a sad song but in a good way.  He and Barbara have been seen scooting up and down Cold Springs Road on a little red 4-wheeler.  He said the machine was about at its load limit—like driving Jell-O.  The youngsters made him recall the games he and his fellow Champion School mates played.  They invented ball games and made up all the rules.  They played complicated games of marbles and shot so much he rubbed a hole through his thumb nail “right down to the meat.”  They were unsupervised out on the school yard at recess and everyone survived.

Two pieces of mail arrived in The Champion News mail box concerning the letter cited in the June 16th post.  One was from the Crackpot himself, pleased to have been quoted and to have had his idea recognized.  He said he “would just as soon” be known as Crackpot and expressed gratefulness at not having been identified and allowed as how he would be pleased to share more of his good ideas in the future.  The author of the other letter also did not wish to be identified “for obvious reasons,” she said.  She said she liked the Crackpot’s notion that the world could be unified by fighting a common enemy like space invaders.  She thinks we have one in Covid19.  She goes on to say that it would be nice if we could be unified in appreciation, understanding and affection rather than hate and political incompatibility.  She said she remembered the letter because she had seen a posting on the internet that said, “One thing the pandemic has taught is that if America is ever attacked by actual invaders, the Democrats will join the enemy.”  “As a Democrat, your neighbor and friend, my feelings are hurt that you think so poorly of me.  I love our Country as much as you do and I have never been disrespectful of you or your views.” The strident divisiveness of these days makes it hard to not take things personally.  The purpose of so many of those kinds of posts is to spread that kind of divisiveness, so let us try not to get het up and “love thy neighbor.”  Another internet posting: “The law of the universe is simple.  What you focus on not wanting, is what you will get more of.”  Mail on these subjects or any other is welcome at TCN, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or

Someone said, “I can’t go out because of the virus” sounds weak, whiny and boring.  Try this instead:  ‘I’ve sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from the lands.’  That sounds more principled, valiant and heroic—and people might even think you are carrying a sword.” These shut-in days make a thoughtful greeting card in the mail even more appreciated.  Ethel must have her calendar full of special days for people.  Thanks, and thanks to the mail carriers out here doing their good work.  In the early days of the pandemic we recognized the importance of the post office, of grocers, truckers, and all the health care workers and others upon whom we depend.  They are still important and this thing is not over.  Be grateful to those folks and be kind to them.  Be safe and kind to yourselves and strive for Optimism the way we do in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!