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Champions watched the Super-moon set on the first morning of Spring and saw the new season suddenly emerging in bright yellow forsythia and daffodils against deepening greens as the woods are thickening with swelling buds. Dogwoods will soon be showing themselves and redbuds will pink up the woods in their own special way.
Champions have lost a Champion. Betty Shelton passed away on Monday the 14th. She was 77 years old and had been in ill health off an on for a long time. She and J.T. have lived in downtown Champion for twenty-one years. J.T. grew up just a little east of Champion and Betty was from a little further east over by Bakersfield. J.T.’s sister, Gladys, and her husband Jack Burchell have spent the week with him and Dennis Shelton came down from Iowa for a few days. Betty had a good sense of humor and a great laugh. She liked to be out and going when she could. Her passing will not be unnoticed in Champion.
Good news in Champion is that Connie is feeling very much better. Louise took a moment away from her company to make the good report on Monday morning. The company was Wilburn’s brother Manuel Hutchison and his wife Sue who were on their way back home to Lost Nation, Iowa. They had a pleasant visit, which is the only kind a person could have at Louise and Wilburn’s house. They are Champions.
There is to be a meeting at 7 pm on the 25th of the month over at the Vanzant Community Building. The meeting is being called to elect board members for the administration of the building. Currently Robert Upshaw and Bobby Dean Emory are the board and the organization is looking for new membership, additional board members and some interest, ideas, enthusiasm and help. Sources close (very close) to the General say that he will be there with bells on. It is unclear why he will, but once he gets something in his head it is generally a done deal and having the General on one’s side is no small asset in any endeavor. The Vanzant School last held classes there back in the 1950’s. In recent years the building has been the site of many fundraisers and benefits for local people and people have held garage sales there and other events. The annual picnic is always one of the highlights of the area. The facilities are in need of some updating, but the soundness of the existing building and the good central location, good parking and good history make it well worth the effort. Everyone is invited. Esther Wrinkles said that Bob Berry and Mary Goolsby will be there and they live over on the other side of Twin Bridges! So from far and wide, come and meet your neighbors and help out with a good cause. There will be some Champions there for sure!
The Old Biddies will meet at the Mansfield Community Center on Thursday for their monthly bridge gtame. Good luck Ladies!
“Desire trumps time.” That is what one Champion told an acquaintance who is struggling still with the tobacco habit. Twenty years later, not having had a cigarette in all that time, the urge is still there for the Champion and so there is weight to the words. A young relative recently wrote that if you cannot change the thing that you do not like, change the way you think about it. So a possible change might be to learn to enjoy the wanting. Before, the smoke had been the reward for having finished something, the excuse for a break, and the solace for thought. Now the little unfinished feeling, the little lack of something, the tentative uneasiness could be the end in itself. To always be a little hungry is a good way to stay thin they say. If the lack of something bad is indeed the same as something good then there is a star on which to hitch your wagon. Wagons are typically easy places from which to fall, but Champions can always get back on. The handle is on the bright side. A while back someone wrote in to comment on the Old Champion’s rules by which to live. Right after #2 “Be where you are” is “Have no unsustainable habits.” (Previously, the rule had been written: “Do not get strung out on something you cannot have,” but it was decided that the vernacular was coarse and the new version has fewer syllables.) Champions support each other in their struggles and apply another of the rules: “Give us all a break!”
Dillon and Dakota Watts go to different schools over there in Tennessee and, as it turns out, they have different spring break schedules, so there will be grandson on the Fox Creek Farm for an extended period of time—just not the same one the whole time. It is not at all confusing to the family and the whole community gets a lift when they are around. Cousins Foster, Kalyssa, Taegan (Peanut), Eli and Emerson Rose will all be looking for some fun with them.
Some Champions are out getting their potatoes planted these first good days for below-the-ground crops. Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 27th and 28th will both be good days for that kind of planting. A few warm days can cause some to get ahead of themselves garden-wise. It is easy to let the enthusiasm for the activity obscure the fact that May 10th is considered to be the last frost date in Champion. An extra big bunch of turnip seeds is going in the ground in the hope that Lem and Ned will show up about the time that some serious weeding will be required. They are the daydream hillbilly boys that like the drudgery and dirty work that husbands are so often reluctant to do. They work for practically nothing (a few turnips) and have gone to the Festus Haggen School of Convoluted Syntax and so are the dad blamedest most gentlemenliest and shore fired most eloquent spoke of airy a barefoot, loose limbed, lop eared, yea-who that the likes of any of you plush bottomed rocking chair wranglin old scutters might ever have saw. Enough said—surely.
While Salem Sal was running the faro bank at the Ace Café, a rough customer became abusive toward her and was summarily dispatched by young Frank. He then proceeded to rosin his bow and perform a funeral march. This is the gist of the poem that the Old Champion hopes will be revealed in full at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion@getgoin.net.
The world is in turmoil with people struggling against natural and man-made disasters and against oppression. Safe and secure at home in Champion, it would be easy to ignore the troubles of the world, but Champions know that the world has really become quite small and, on some level, what affects one affects all. Love and Gratitude for doing what has to be done goes out from Champion to all those serving at the behest of the Nation. Come home safely and soon to the people who love you.
April 1st is coming up quite soon. It looks like it will be on a Friday this year. It may be that the waiting will be over about then. Champions who like waiting and enjoy that little unfinished feeling may be rewarded for their patience eventually. The excitement is palpable and rather than run the risk of jumping the gun, Champions will bide their time, bite their tongue, hold their horses, keep their hand on the plough and wait. Come hang around Champion for a little high quality waiting, but do not get in the way of progress. Admire the beauty of it: Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!