Cowboy Jack was heard to say that he heard someone say that the very best time to water the garden is just before sun up. That works a hardship on certain individuals who have become accustomed to a solid eight to ten hours sound sleep between intermittent interruptions. With no cows to milk, no hay to pitch, or chickens to feed or hogs to slop, some Old Champions just get up when they do. Morning has broken. Of course, the Cowboy is a fairly regimented person. Do not attempt to delay his leaving Champion if he is on his way home to his soap opera. Is it “The Days of Our Lives” or “As the World Turns” that has his devotion at precisely 11:00 a.m. each week day? (It turns out, he is a fan of “The Young and The Restless.” He is aggravated now because they are not filming new shows on account of the virus, so they are going back to the beginning of the program with reruns. He came to Champion about 11:30 on Wednesday!) A local Spoon Virtuosi says she does her watering at night. She is the fan of the Roma tomato, for which her esteemed grandfather, on account of their configuration, had a comical bovine anatomical term. They are ripening and that makes her happy which benefits the rest of us on account of her beaming smile. It is contagious.

Almartha’s Bard has gained new favor on account of his infrequent appearances and altered costume. He missed the music of the porch jam because, he said, Lena Bell has moved their scrabble game up to 8:00 A.M. on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 and that she spends a lot of time thumbing through the dictionary trying to beat him. He said her Fiddler had been going to the barber shop for a little while, but once the number of Covid cases began rising in the county, there are 100 now; he is mostly hanging out at home. Hopes are that he has learned some new old songs or remembering ones like “Sitting on Top of the World.”

Go to the mailbox for fun if you have distant grandchildren. Go there for your medications and your bills. The kerfuffle over voting by mail may impact this vital service. We can call Senator Blunt at (202) 224-5721, Senator Hawley at (202) 224-6154 and Congressman Smith at (202)225-4404 to suggest to them that the USPS is imperative for rural people. It needs all the support it can get so that old folks can get their medications and newspapers and so that our much appreciated retired old postal carriers can get their pensions. While you are chatting with our representatives, you might inform them that there are 3,865 people in Douglas County (population 13,373 as of 2018) who receive Social Security as old-age people, survivors and people on disability. That is about 30% of us. Efforts to undermine or defund Social Security will not go over well with Ida Mae and her folks.

While you are making phone calls, remember your old friends who may still be sheltering at home for their health and who might be getting lonesome. You might ask them about elderberries. They are ripening at a ferocious rate. While they are tedious to stem for processing, they are said to have medicinal properties supporting the immune system against the flu and common colds. There are good recipes for elderberry syrup that include ginger, cinnamon and cloves as well as honey or sugar. Your old friends have great storehouses of information to share. Just ask them. One might tell you about Abby and Martha Brewster, a couple of old maids, who had a special recipe for elderberry wine. It is too late now for elderflower fritters, but think about them for next spring. They are a favorite of a favorite nephew.

The recent wonderful rains have made weeding a delight. Why, the weeds fairly jump up into your hand. Even The General has had unusually good success with his garden this year. He says he has tomatoes enough to give away. He attributes this success to having watered the plants during the dry periods. Fall garden crops that can be planted now include beans, beets, spinach and turnips. The Missouri Botanical Garden folks say that spinach may germinate better if the seeds are refrigerated for a week before planting. Popeye the Sailor was often pit against formidable adversaries and was always able to prevail on account of spinach.

The No-Skyline-Picnic-Quilt is getting some good action down at Henson’s G & G in Champion and on The Champion News Facebook page. Distant Champions are receiving tickets and return envelopes in the mail. It will be a surprise to many, but we have until October 1st to generate some much needed revenue for our wonderful volunteer fire department. Some folks are just stopping in the store to donate the dollars they had in their budget for the picnic. Keep a bright hope for better times ahead and take a drive down our beautiful country lanes and out through the amazing country side for a reminder of our good fortune to be Champions! Looking on the Bright Side.