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The rapid arrival of Spring is a subject getting a lot of attention in Champion.  Everything has seemed to bloom at once and lavishly.  There are already reports of mushroom finds and big rains on the way give rise to hope that mushroom hunters who have had little luck in the past will at last be rewarded for their doggedness. There is relatively little hope that the most successful hunters in the area will share their finds with many other than their relatives.   However, since they are always so very generous with their manure, Champion neighbors do not feel the least bit slighted and will hunt their own mushrooms, thank you very much.

Tennessee grandsons are back in the area sharing their Spring Break with their Grandmother and it is delightful to see them growing up to be such handsome and pleasant young men.  Adolescence and respectfulness do not always go hand in hand, so this is one of those excellent sets of circumstances that smacks of a good upbringing. Champion! Other Grandmothers are wiping the ‘sticky’ off the stair banisters and finding precious little treasures left behind by bevies of grand-girls and great-nieces.  Some houses seem unnaturally quiet.  This will be the quiet before the storm, hopefully not the meteorological type, but the great wave of visitors from near and far who flood the area from the instant that the redbuds first show their purple welcome.  It is the official opening of Tourist Season in Champion.

The mystery of the damaged Champion City Limit sign is still sparking conversation.  There has always been kind of an outlaw element in the area and it is the hope of more sedate residents that this display of bad behavior will satisfy the perpetrators to the extent that they will feel no need for further mischief and property damage.  Long time readers of the Champion News will recall that several years ago this same sign had been stolen altogether, leaving only the hole in the ground.  One of Mrs. Powell’s grandsons sited the scripture that says something to the effect that should one steal your coat, you should give him also your cloak.  This concept was applied to the situation and Champions extended the invitation and kept an eye out for the thief to come back for the hole.   Before that could happen, the lovely MODOT people came and installed a sign on either end of town.   The Westernmost of these two is the sign that sustained the damage.  Though some have thought that a stout group could wrestle the post back in the hole and maybe straighten the bent sign, others think that a better job of it could be done by the professionals at the highway department. Speculation was rife back during the earlier episode of trouble with this sign that marauders from up at Spotted Hog had been to blame.  Jealousy over not having a sign themselves was perceived to have been the impetus for the insult.  Investigate the history of the rivalry between these communities at  to see that Champion is clearly Champion!

Research into the archives revealed that the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Champion came to an abrupt end about the time the Admiral made his lateral and diminished transfer to the retired ground forces and unilaterally assumed Grand Marshallship of the procession.  In lieu of the parade, Champions have for the past few years spent part of each St. Patrick’s Day being grateful not to have to endure another one.  To his credit, General McUpshaw has since reassigned his good intentions to the Vanzant Community Center and can be found there most Thursday nights ready to fill in should a musician wish to demonstrate his superiority by comparison.  What a guy.

Champions remember those in bonds and those suffering adversity.  While perhaps not technically ‘in bonds’ those serving in the U.S. Military in all capacities have sworn allegiance and have obligated themselves by their word to protect and defend the Nation and the wonderful Constitution. Adversity is frequently the nature of the service and certainly when they return many Veterans find themselves in circumstances they could not have anticipated.  It will be Love and Gratitude that makes the difference for them.

Champions do not forget to entertain.  They love company and have hospitality to spare.   It will be party time for someone named Elva (not Elva Ragland) on the 23rd.  Perhaps she is the Generals daughter, the dear girl.  That is also the birthday of one of Mrs. Powell’s sons, and of Judie Pennington over on Tar Button Road.  Elva Ragland (who has her birthday in November) has her onions and potatoes in and is concerned that the peach trees blooming now will get frozen back.  There is certainly every reason to believe that it could happen just that way.  It is, after all, March.   On the outside chance that it does not freeze them, it could prove to be a very fruitful year.  Champions will just wait to see what happens and do the best they can.  The 21st is a good day to plant root crops and the 22nd will be good for crops that bear their yield above the ground.  The next two days are considered to be barren days when it is not advisable to plant, but good days to prune to discourage growth.  The 24th through the 27th are all good days to plant above the ground crops.  Linda’s broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and the like are up and ready to be planted out.  A copy of her monthly almanac is available on line on the Champion website or at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square in Downtown Champion or at the Plant Place there in Norwood.

Scouring the Champion Archives for history brought one Champion to the posting of September 6, 2010, where Norwood neighbor, David Richardson, had shared a little youtube movie of Lonnie Krider and Wayne Anderson the last time they played together at the Skyline VFD Picnic.  The song is “Once More” and it is a touching and beautiful piece to hear.  Another old Champion said, “If you’re looking for a song try, “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile.”  It is an interesting choice.  It was published in London in 1915, and became wildly popular boosting the moral of the British troops as they sustained heavy losses in World War I.  “Smile, boys, that’s the style.  What’s the use of worrying?  It never was worthwhile.  So pack up your troubles…”  Send your uplifting, morale boosting tune to or to Champion Items, Rt.2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Join the throngs of tourists and sing it on the spacious front porch of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium in its original location on the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  It is just at the spot where several country roads meet, where hearts stay lite and Champions are Looking on the Bright Side.

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