Spring!  It is the very definition of tumultuousness.   Things are roiling in the earth and in the sky.  Soil is heaving and zygotes are cleaving in men and beasts.  It is a fecund time of year.    Some calendars designate April 22nd as Earth Day.  It is certainly worth celebrating in Champion!

Bravo for those fine men of the Douglas County road maintenance outfit who work out of the Drury Shed!  The road graders were out in force even on Saturday.  Washed out roads and low water crossings were revisited, revamped, restored, reworked and  brought up to snuff in short order.   The many and rapidly rising waterways washed out roads in new and unexpected places as well as the regular ones.  This might have been the “hard rain” that Mr. Dillon said was “a-gonna fall.” It is lovely to see the ponds filling up and the creeks running well again.  Perhaps this will be the growing season for which so many Champion gardeners have long longed—one that will be forgiving of sloth and ineptitude and just grow much good fruit and many fine vegetables.    Friday will be the last good day for planting crops that bear their yield above the ground for this month.  The 30th begins fruitful days again for root crops.  Check out Linda’s Almanac on the website at  There is a great deal of useful information on one piece of paper.  Well, there is actual paper on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G and on the counter at The Plant Place over in Norwood.  For example, the 27th through the 29th are said to be ‘barren days.’   They are not good days for planting, transplanting, fertilizing, pruning, or fishing, but would be ok to harvest crops or to wean on those days.  While there is always something to be done about the place, it is nice to have a couple of sanctioned lazy days.  When prodded to get up and do something a Champion can say, “I was just going by the almanac!”

Shelby Wilson is a prekindergarten student at Skyline School and has a birthday on April 24th. That is right in the middle of the week so her classmates can enjoy her birthday too.  Miss Chante` Michaud has her birthday on the 27th and must be getting to be about seven years old.  Time goes by so quickly for old people, Chante`, and it has been so long since they have seen you, forgive them for not remembering exactly how old you are.  Isaam Creed is a third grader and has his birthday on April 29th.  Isaam’s birthday is on Monday.  He will probably have been celebrating all week end and can continue to do so with his school friends.   May Day will be on Wednesday.  There are a many interesting people with birthdays in early May and they can combine their personal anniversaries with the traditional celebrations of their choice.   Maybe there will be old fashioned May baskets left secretly on the porch by some fleeing suitor filled with flowers and candy, or maybe the Maypole will go up in their neighborhood.   Champions feel like world citizens.

For all the joy and excitement of the season, there is also sadness and care.  Pat Smith’s Mother has passed away after a long illness.  All her children were with her though and she had lived a long life.  It is hard to say words that really comfort people in times of loss, though that loss comes to everyone at some time.  “Sweeter than the Flowers” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “The Mom and Dad Waltz” are all sweet songs that evoke a sense of consolation and ease.  “My life flows on in endless song./Above earth’s lamentation./I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn/That hails a new creation./Through all the tumult and the strife/I hear it’s music ringing,/It sounds an echo in my soul./How can I keep from singing?”    Published August 7, 1868 in the New York Observer, this song was attributed to Pauline T. and titled “Always Rejoicing.”   It is always hoped that the sadness of loss will soon be replaced with sweet memories.   A number of Champions are experiencing significant life transitions and their friends wish them well on what they call ‘the uneven journey of life.’

Some are observing that people become more careful as they get older.  It may be that they know they no longer have the strength to back up their bravado.  It may be that life experience has taught them just what is at stake, so they are less likely to take risks.  Life is a precious commodity which Champions hope to live well and happily without strife in the here and now.  A good friend who has visited in Champion a number of times over the years writes to say something about strife and resentments.  He has been reading a couple of books that have explained to him just how it is that ducks do not build up resentments the way people often do.   A guy named Eckhart Tolle wrote the books and according to Champion friend, Tom, he observed that after two ducks get into a fight, which never lasts long, they will separate and float off in opposite directions.   Then each duck will flap its wings vigorously a few times, thus releasing the surplus energy that built up during the fight.  After they flap their wings, they float on peacefully, as if nothing had ever happened.   Tom says that if the duck had a human mind, it would keep the fight alive by thinking, by story-making, and by blaming.  He said that the duck’s story would probably be:  “He came within five inches of me.  He thinks he owns this pond.  He has no consideration for my private space.  I’ll never trust him again.  Next time he’ll try something else just to annoy me.  I’m sure he’s plotting something already.  But I’m not going to stand for this.  I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t forget.”   So Tom says that as far as humans are concerned the fight continues, the emotions are kept alive and the energy it generates can last for years.  It seems like the major story that people write for themselves is, “I was right, and they were wrong.”  It turns out the whole thing is a matter of ‘ego’ and it is a difficult part of the psychic apparatus over which to rise.  Mail your story of rising above your ego to or to Champion Items, Rt.2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Go tell it on the mountain or on the graciously appointed veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square situated on scenic Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive in the heart of old down town.  The water is still up in Old Fox Creek and a keen observer might well see ducks swimming placidly by—as free as birds in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!