In Champion the gardener waits for the harvest and has patience for it and like James said, he is patient while waiting for the early and later rain. Some particular Champion husbandmen would like that later rain to come on early.  It seems dry, so some are watering and mulching and all are paying attention.   James is the same guy who said, “Sing if you are happy.”

Champions cannot sing enough the praises of the U.S. Postal Service.  There are stories about a mail carrier from the old days who drove like he was flying low.  Homer Akins was his name and people on Route Two made decisions about being out on the road based on whether it was time for the mail.    Cletus Upshaw took on the route when he got out of the Marine Corps and he was the mailman for many long and interesting years.  There are lots of good stories about him, but mostly it was Cletus who told the stories and he was a good storyteller.  He knew the history of every nook and cranny in these parts and of everybody who lived in them.  A guy with that kind of information could have been quite a gossip, but that is not something that anyone who knew him ever says about Cletus.  Bob Chadwell drove the route for a while, but now he has people out on Route One looking both ways before they enter the road way.   Karen Ross is the smiling face that brings the magazines, the bills, the letters from grandchildren and other family and friends and she does an excellent job.  Her boss, who had a pleasant and successful fishing trip recently, has plenty of good things to say about her too.  She brings all the fan mail to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717, one of which last week was a glowing piece from Darrell and Betty Haden over in Tennessee.  The kind Professor always offers such encouragement.  He is a Champion.   Ms. Ross also brings the newspapers about which Mark Twain said, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”  Champions know what they are getting!   A note in the mailbox refers to last week’s reference to the novel, “1984.”  She says that “the mutability of the past” is the most frightening aspect of the whole thing.   Her concern seems to be that by systematically ignoring the truth of the past and glorifying the fiction of the past, the population can be manipulated in the present.  She cited the appalling Iran/Contra Scandal that was going on in 1984, as an example and encourages some careful study before jumping on the bandwagon for another war.  Champions pay attention.

Harley and Barbara, Donald and Rita, all Kriders, all made it home safely after a too short but most pleasant visit to Champion.  They are a nice bunch to meet in the Club Room at the Historic Emporium where coffee and pleasant conversation flow freely.  Peanuts on the table aid yarn spinning and an enjoyable hour can pass quickly.  It cannot be too soon to reprise the holiday.  They had made a pilgrimage to a place over on McCraddock creek where Donald lived as a young boy.  The sound of the waterfall there was the same as in his youth and the memories came in a stream that left a contented smile on his face.   He told a joke about somebody dreaming they were a muffler and waking up exhausted.  That was the best of the lot of his jokes, though he seemed to think they were all funny.  Funny.

The Skyline School Board has two new members—Wes Woods and Brian Sherrill.  They will be interested to know that a seventh grader named Mark Blakely will be thirteen on the 12th of the month and Morgan Whitacre will have her twelfth birthday on the 14th.  Toby Marceaux will also be twelve on the 17th and Brice Atchison will be twelve on the 18th.  This wonderful little school always has some excitement going on.  It is great to see parents interested and active in the education of their children.  These children will be the people who will be running things in just a few years.  Hopefully they will be prepared to do a better job of it than their antecedents.

On the KY3 News at noon the other day, a Champion happened to see a photograph of a magnificent morel mushroom laying in the palm of a man’s hand and it reached from wrist to the end of the fingers and was perhaps half the breadth of the hand in width.  The announcer said that the picture was sent in by someone named Jones from Stockton.  Hearsay is that this is the same George G. Jones whose birthday falls on the fated fifteenth of April, Income Tax Day, and for that reason is always remembered.  He may be remembered for other things too, as is Dusty Mike who shares that same memorable birthday with his charming wife’s dear Aunt Vivian.  They all like mushrooms so that is another thing they have in common.   C.J. (Cowboy Jack) asked the other day if anyone had a chain available to lend out since he had found a mushroom down in the holler so big that he could not get it out by himself.    Remember, he is the guy who would not mislead you, though he certainly will haul you a load.  C.J. is the gardener’s friend.  Linda’s Almanac says that the 13th and 14th as well as the 18th and 19th will all be good days for planting below the ground crops like beets, carrots, turnips, radishes and onions.  No use speculating about the weather.  Every gardener must decide for himself how early he will get things in the ground.  The Almanac does offer some good guidelines and it can be perused at Hensons Grocery and Gas on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion or on line at in the links section.  Find a copy to take home up at The Plant Place in Norwood and ask any garden questions you may have while you are there.

“It was sad.  It was sad.  It was sad when that great ship went down (to the bottom of the ocean).  Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives.  It was sad when that great ship went down.”  That is an old song about the sinking of the Titanic one hundred years ago.  There are so many books and personal accounts of the disaster that it will likely not be forgotten and the finding of the wreckage, though it is miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, will keep the truth of the occurrence safe.  Champions have those serving in the U.S. Military to thank for keeping the Nation safe and extend their Love and Gratitude to those serving now and to those who have served.

Send your sad song by the U.S. Postal Service, by e-mail or sing it in person out on the porch of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium located in the exact spot where Cletus Upshaw and Ed Henson wove their yarns and pulled their jokes and kept history straight.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!