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Unrelenting optimism and profound Gratitude are some of the hallmarks of Champion as a community and of Champions as individuals. One Champion, as she turned to address a long series of kinks and crimps in her garden hose, smiled recalling the absolute delight that she had felt last winter upon finding such a wonderful bargain on a fifty-foot garden hose. It was easily a third less expensive than the last one she had purchased. Such a bargain! Prudence requires her to use the hose now though it is time consuming, easily by a third, and inconvenient. Next year when she has to replace this one, as she surely will, she will recall with a smile how seldom she had sworn at the old one. When her neighbor’s numerous cats visit her garden beds as if they were sand boxes, she recalls how often she has seen one of them leaving her place with a large rat in its mouth. Balance, perspective, forbearance, humility, and humor are all Champion traits, along with Love and Gratitude.
Champions traveling to Norwood have been treated to an unusually brilliant display of Echinacea blooming along both sides of the road for several miles. Sections of this stretch of highway have always sported nice stands of the charming pink flower but this year is unusual. Perhaps the abundant rain earlier in the year had an effect. It may be that reduced funding for MODOT has caused a slowdown in the roadside mowing. Maybe the mowing will come after the blooming. The stringent rules concerning the harvesting of roadside plants may have been a factor. Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, Champions are pleased at the sight and glad for the conservation of such an interesting and beautiful plant. Echinacea was one of the basic antimicrobial herbs of eclectic medicine from 1850s through the early 1900s and its use was documented for snakebite, anthrax and for relief of pain. In recent years it has been used to help stave off colds and flu. It is said that Native Americans learned of Echinacea by observing elk seeking out the plants and consuming them when sick or wounded. Seek them out at The Plant Place up in Norwood rather than on the side of the road. Linda always has some good information to share about whatever growing thing interests you. Check out her almanac at www.championnews.us or get a copy from her. She will tell you to deadhead your flowers to encourage them to continue to bloom since the plant’s goal is to produce seed. “Deadheading” means to pick off the wilted, spent flowers. The term is also used by truckers who are driving down the road without a load. In aviation, deadheading is a term used when members of an airline’s flight staff are carried free of charge but not working. The term also applies to the recipients of free tickets to theaters, concerts and the like who are seated in unsold seats after the performance has started as a way to increase the audience’s overall responsiveness to the performance. To deadhead a pump means to restrict its discharge completely. That is not a problem for centrifugal pumps, such as sump pumps, but for horizontal split case pumps, positive displacement pumps, turbine pumps, piston pumps and jet pumps deadheading can be the death of the pump. Champions know their pumps and have no concern about vandals taking the handles. Some use ‘deadhead’ to comment on the intellect of another person (not Lem or Ned) or to indicate that one is a die-hard fan of the band The Grateful Dead. Bluegrass mandolin legend Jesse McReynolds has released “Songs of the Grateful Dead” on Woodstock Records according to www.mandolincafe.com. Songs covered on the album include The Wheel, Fire on the Mountain, Deep Elem Blues and Black Muddy River. Champions who have not been over to Poplar Bluff in a while wonder how folks there are getting along as they recover from the big flood of the Black River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said this summer’s Missouri River flooding could rival the record years of 1952 and 1993 in some places in Missouri where it could rise as much as ten feet above flood stage. It all goes downstream. Champions extend their best wishes for a good recovery to all the storm and flood victims all around the country. The Missouri National Guard has been and will continue to be responding to these disasters. Champions appreciate all those wearing uniforms of the Nation.
A Champion friend informs gardeners that sweet-corn can be planted as late as July 15th with the expectation of a good harvest. It seems that haymaking is one of those activities that can really get in the way of a gardener. Timing is everything. Harley was heard to say that if they had not paid attention to the weatherman they would have had their hay in by now. He left some nice tomatoes and green beans in his garden up in Illinois and will be glad to get back to see how they are doing and to enjoy the always pleasant company of Barbara. He seems to be glad to be wherever he is at the time and that is the mark of a real Champion. Foster and Kalyssa have been having a good time with cousins Eli and Emmie who have been visiting for a few days. It is summertime and children are enjoying their heyday.
Champion, New York is a town in Jefferson County in the north central part of the state. It was named after General Henry Champion, settled in 1798 and at the 2010 census it had a population of 4,494. The Black River flows along the town’s east boundary, but it is most likely not the same Black River that flows through Poplar Bluff. Champion, Missouri, by contrast, sits on the broad shady banks of Fox Creek. Population estimates are subjective and vary according to who is doing the telling. No real information has come to light concerning the origin of the name of the beautiful place, so if you know, share your knowledge of the place name at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO or at Champion@getgoin.net. Stroll around the square to count the locals, or to assess the relative merits of the old and new as the recreation of the Historic Emporium settles in next to the tidy little garden and starts to appear as if it has always been there. It is not a replica of the old store, but it very much has the flavor of the old place and affection and appreciation for its many fine qualities is growing steadily. Off in the future it will become the old store that many remember from the prime of their Champion lives. “Sometimes the lights’s all shinin’ on me, other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.” What a trip! To Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!