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In Champion the groundhog jumped back in his hole on Saturday and commenced to shove the daffodils up out of the ground.  There is a rumor that there are actual blooms  over in West Champion, but for those along county roads North of the Metropolis the bulbs had sprouted up to be only two or three inches tall by Sunday afternoon.  It is a sure sign that real Spring will eventually arrive.   With winter doldrums as the mode o’ day in some quarters, the prospect of colorful blooms and warmer days is very exciting.  Excitement is standard in Champion where one family looked out to see a genuine flock of bluebirds–in the neighborhood of a hundred of them!  It was the size flock generally associated with robins, but these were genuine blue bluebirds and simply lovely.

Whatever the weather, Champions are lined out for a great week ahead.  A phenomenal Champion daughter-in-law has her birthday on the 8th of February and then Cheyenne Baker, third grader at Skyline School will have her birthday on the 11th.  Joshua Garner, in kindergarten, will celebrate on the 13th along with Ms. Powell’s little girl Sondra.  Shelby Ward, Champion great-niece, will continue to be everybody’s Valentine on her special birthday–the 14th.  She is two years old and has a wonderful big sister and perhaps the most kind and loving grandmother ever a child could have.

The Douglas County Museum is doing an excellent job of preserving the history of the county and publishing family histories in the Douglas County Genealogical and Historical Society Journal.  The new Winter Journal of 2012 came out in early December.  The families in it this time are Dobbins, Thurman, Porter, Tooley, and Wilson.  There are also some interesting letters and pictures of Saturday on the Square.   There is an index available at the museum listing all the families that have been featured in the Journal.    Volunteers can help a person find his family history and there are sixty issues of the Journal to draw on.  The Museum has been publishing a lot of interesting pictures on the internet lately, but of course not everyone has a computer.  Currently the Museum is only open on Saturday’s from ten in the morning until two in the afternoon.  It is staffed by volunteers.  The Museum could stand to raise some funds to operate this summer so that folks coming back home from far away can enjoy mementoes of the place they remember.  Everything seems to take a little money to operate.  The good thing is that they have a nice membership program offered and the Journals are available for a very few dollars so it should be not such a big deal to help out.  Generally there is a copy of the Journal on the table in the Reading Room near the wood stove in The Recreation of the Historic Emporium known as Henson’s Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  This unique establishment has itself been the subject of the Journal in years past and of any number of other serious publications of local and national acclaim.  Champions like their past and enjoy greatly their present.  The future has some great promise with a whole new crop of dairy farmers growing up in the area.  They can trace their families way back—Champions.

Someone said we hate what we fear and we fear things we do not understand.  It is also true that fearful people can do stupid things.  Some do not like the world ‘stupid’ because it sounds rude.  It is rude.  Ignorance, on the other hand, is just not having information.  Stupidity is having the information, but behaving ignorantly anyway.   All this goes to the hypocrisy of one particular Champion who hates football with a passion.  Her friend in high school back in 1962, died in his sleep one night of an aneurism after the big game.  In spite of having been a grade school cheer leader, she turned against the game and subsequently found all kinds of reason to dislike it.  She dislikes the money it generates that could be used for wholesome, healthful things, and the mean spirited, macho, gladiator culture.  She has been known to disparage the costumes particularly, saying that women dressed in such a manner would be considered to have sketchy morals.  The hypocrisy part comes in here where she admits a particular liking to the boys in the gold britches.  She does not care what team they are on, and she prefers them not to have stripes down the legs.   The stupidity part comes in here where she willing discusses her hypocrisy.  “Push ‘em back!  Push ‘em back!  Waaaay back!”

Some gardeners in the area try to always have their potatoes and onions plants planted before Valentine’s Day.  Others say to plant lettuce and greens out in the garden on Valentines and wait until St. Patrick’s Day for potatoes.    Some old timers say that the one-hundredth day of the year is the proper day to plant potatoes, regardless of the weather or any other considerations.  Certain old gardeners are careful to plant onions and potatoes on opposite sides of the garden, believing that potatoes will not do well if onions are growing too close.  A little boy who asked about this was told that the odor of onions “makes a ‘tater cry its eyes out.”   A note in “Ozark Superstitions” says that while gardeners may disagree on the best date for planting, they fairly well agree that potatoes should be dug in the light of the moon, otherwise they will rot.  Some had such good luck with their potatoes last year that they have the first seed of their own to plant.   It’s a long way until potato digging time, but Champions are thinking about it anyway.  Charlene Dupree over at the Plant Place in Norwood had very good potato luck last year planting in tires.  She put her seed potatoes in a tire on the ground and added some good quality soil.  Then as the plants grew she added tires and soil.  When it was harvest time she had tires full of big perfect potatoes.   She can probably give a better explanation of just how it worked the next time you are over in that neighborhood.

A song written about gardening back in the 1970s by Dillon Bustin says, “Polish your hoe till the blade it does shine.  Likewise your rake and sharpen each tine.  Dress up your spade with a light coat of oil.  Then you are ready to prepare your soil.”  When the melody is discovered, a link in the form of an MP3 will appear in the website at

Meanwhile any good garden song is welcome at or at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Take a trip down to the beautiful garden spot, next to the famed Mercantile on the broad and lush banks of Old Fox Creek, where hearts are light and the honey bees buzz– in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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