A flicker joined robins filling Champion yards on Monday morning reminding us that spring will be here before long. Seed catalogues choke mail boxes and especially cold unpleasant days make those colorful pages a haven for summer garden dreams. Louise H. liked the Parks Whopper. Linda H. goes for Delicious. John W. likes both of those and Early Girl. Felix the Farmer likes Amy’s and all the varieties that his Old Papa likes. So, let the stove burn down a little so you can haul the ashes. Bring in another armload of firewood. Make a cup of hot chocolate and settle in for garden daydreaming that will go all the way past tomatoes to peppers, squash, beans and cucumbers. Over in the United Kingdom they often call a vegetable garden ‘an allotment.’ Johnny and the Raindrops sang a song about his Granddad who used to have an allotment and it meant so much to him. On these cold days inside remembering being in the garden with Granddad warms the heart.

Neighbors met on the country road by chance and enjoyed the chance to visit. They reported that their children and families are all safe and well and grateful. They talked about getting their taxes done and the phenomena that it seems to take longer to go someplace than it does to come home. That is particularly true of going to the creek in the summer. They talked about the increased local traffic. In the old days, before the turn of the century, the milk truck and the mail-man were often the only vehicles going by. Things change. Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

Jim and Donna DeWitt were in Ava on Saturday getting their vaccinations and feeling lucky about it. They have Champion connections. Jim once bought quilts from Esther Wrinkles as a gift for Donna. He had a funny way to present them to her that had her hiding under the table. There must be more to that story, but hearing loss combined with mask-muffled speech complicated the understanding. They asked to be remembered to Alvin and Beverly Barnhart. They were school mates in Mountain Grove a while back. They had read that Beverly had a hard recovery from the virus and that she is encouraging people to wear masks and to vaccinate when they can. That is good advice from a friend. The DeWitts were impressed with the efficiency of the Douglas County Health Department’s handling of the vaccination event. By the end of the day, it was reported that more than 1200 people had received the vaccine—a good start.

The Douglas County Community Foundation has awarded a grant to our Skyline R-II School for new basketball goals and backboards for the gym. It is a gift to live in an area that supports our vital little rural school where our youngsters learn the value of good sportsmanship. As the Tampa Bay team is the winner in the Super Bowl, dashing the hopes of our Kansas City Chiefs, we are given the opportunity to exhibit grace and good humor. Patrick Mahomes was genuine in congratulating Tom Brady on his victory, though it was the worst loss of the young quarterback’s career going all the way back through his college years. That generosity of spirit in the face of defeat is an example that could well serve people in other walks of life these days. Congratulations you Bucks! You earned your victory, but in our hearts the Chiefs are still our Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!