CHAMPION—May 2, 2011

        Monday morning finds Champion damp again and still grateful.  The world around Champion has changed again and Champions stay grateful for domestic tranquility, the common defense and the wonderful Constitution.  Huzza!  Love and Gratitude goes out to Navy Seals and all those serving the Nation.

        Burning plastic.  If you can smell it, it is getting into you.  Now some people (BK) will roll their eyes at this, but research shows that the fumes from burning plastic bags and water bottles are full of dioxin and cyanide and other chloride toxic fumes.  Must a person be exposed to these poisons over an extended period of time to suffer ill effects?  What about the effects on children, and future children?  It is easy enough to develop a new habit.  If recycling is not an option, there are still ways to deal with the excess of plastic in the modern life that do not require burning.  Neighbors burning plastic may or may not respond to a request to desist, but a friendly conversation might produce positive results and at the very least a person can take responsibility for his own actions.

        Mail carrier, Karen Goss, is a real Champion.  She keeps Champions connected to the rest of the world, to family, friends, creditors, and the news regardless of the weather.  She has recently enjoyed the welcome company of her daughter and family down from North Dakota.  They like to come this time of the year to help get the garden in.  Granddaughter Toni is five years old, grandson Gavin is eight and the baby,  Noah, is five months old.  Their last name is Owens and they are from Minot, N.D. where their Dad is stationed in the military.  They had a nice visit for a couple of weeks and many good memories were made, also some very tasty plum jelly by mother, daughter and granddaughter.

        Those fine fellows on the road graders from the County Shed over at Drury are doing a splendid job of getting the roads back in order after all the rain.  Champions say, “Thanks, fellows!”

        John Moreau was a newcomer to Champion and only lived here for a short while.  He passed away in February.  On Sunday afternoon about fifty friends and family gathered in the lovely pavilion at Noblett Lake to celebrate his life and to share their memories and feelings.  It was drizzly, wet and cold but the spirit of the celebration was warm and light hearted as many told stories and shared new information about their old friend.  He is missed but still very much in their midst.

        The official rain total for Champion for the Easter Week deluge was 12.2 inches.  That was before the May Day Rain.  One prominent Champion out on a tour of the country, as he is want to do during all kinds of weather, found himself hard up against a creek too deep and fast moving to cross.  Just as he was backing up to turn around a tremendous mushroom fell across the road behind his truck.  The phenomenal rain and sudden sunshine caused the monster fungus to emerge so quickly and staggeringly huge that it became top heavy and toppled over with a thunderous crash!  Stunned, and speechless (for a change) the Champion finally caught his breath and stepped up to examine the thing.  The stem was so large he could not reach around it with both arms.  The crown would have made a suitable bivouac had he been interested in holing up for a spell.  As if in a spell, he staggered to his truck, extricated his handy hand ax and commenced to chop his way through.  It was the find of a lifetime, and still, he has not enough mushroom to share. 

        Nonresident Champions, Richard and Kaye Johnston celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary the other day.  They reprised their outing of three years ago by taking fourteen other Upshaws with them on an outing to Dalton, Arkansas, where there is an Upshaw Cemetery replete with a Revolutionary War Veteran.  They visited the museum in Pocahontas, Arkansas where there is family memorabilia preserved for posterity.  Generally speaking, much fun was had and since the Old General was along for the ride, it is clear that there was much fun and foolishness afoot.  Other nonresident Champions fled the flood back to Illinois but may come back soon to get their little chores done.

        The Vanzant Community Center will have its first Pie Supper of the season on Saturday night.  Supper starts at six in the evening and then the auction will begin.  There will be surprises.  How many pies and what kind will Esther make this year?  Bidding is likely to be fierce and exciting.  This evening will be dedicated to getting the Vanzant Picnic off the ground.  It is always one of the highlights of the summer and Champions generally look forward to it.  (The General seems to be Everywhere.)

        The rain will let up by the middle of the week and even Champions in frost pockets can get a good start on their vegetable gardens.  Linda’s Almanac for May is available on line in the Champion Connections section of, at The Plant Place in Norwood and for perusal on the refrigerator in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, just across the avenue from the Re-creation of the Historic Mercantile/Emporium located on the very spot that was once occupied by the beloved old building.  It is rapidly approaching completion, though ‘rapid’ is a subjective term.  Globally speakin, it is moving pretty fast.  “When boating, never quarrel, for you’ll find without a doubt, a boat is not the proper place to have a falling-out.”  Sing the chorus if you know it, and wipe the mud off your feet before you dirty up Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.