Wednesday turned out to be a lovely day in Champion.  Spring Break combined with young visiting Tennessee cousins allowed a hoard of Champion youngsters the freedom to romp up and down the steep hill by the church that was once the Champion School.  How many rambunctious young’uns must have struggled up it and then rolled or plunged down that grassy slope over the years!  Some of them are collecting Social Security now.  Used to, a long time ago, they call them Old Age Pensioners.  The raging bull of Champion, now an OAP, did not make his appearance in the meeting room this Wednesday.   There was no turning over of plastic furniture and titillating of small children with his roaring antics.  Optimism tells Champions that next week will also have a Wednesday.

Friends down at Teeter Creek Herbs post that Hawthorns and Sarvice Berry are the first wild blooming trees in these parts.  There are many varieties of Hawthorns in the area out in the wild and ornamentals in town yards.  Both the early flowers and young leaves (which emerge together) as well as the ripe berries in the fall are known for their high flavonoid content; nutrition that has been shown to be directed to strengthen the heart muscle.  Studies also show Hawthorn’s ability to control inflammation of the arteries.  The flowers and young leaves and berries can all be carefully dried for a tea or tinctured; the dried ripe berries are traditionally made into syrup.  The Ozark weather changes are playing havoc with all kinds of things that are budding now with snow in the forecast.  Gardeners will just make adjustments to the new normal (odd/unusual).  Some are perplexed and a little put out that the hellbenders in Fox Creek are holding up repair of a bridge out on a county dirt road. It is unclear if they all need to be caught and counted or relocated, but it will get figured out.

One of Champion’s favorite Hillbillies in Texas, Suzie Freeman, will be 70 years old on March 13th.  Join the club! She said that Wes has made his 88th truck, including a lavender flat-bed semi for her Christmas present.  He has nine rows of onions out and will be planting the rest of the garden soon.  Other special birthdays include Willow Townsend, prekindergarten student at Skyline School celebrating on the 15th.   She shares the day with a favorite immigrant to Scotland and with his second cousin, Jacob Masters in Austin, thirty years his junior, and the delightful Ursula, mother of Demetri, living on a remote farm on the east coast of Ireland.  Elizabeth Mastrangelo Brown was 23 in 2013 on the 16th of March.  Skyline’s own kind and smiling Ms. Helen celebrates on the 16th and Myla Sarginson, fifth grader at Skyline will have her birthday on the 18th.  Lizzie Heffern, up in Springfield, will have a party on the 18th.   It will be Lizzies Paws for a Cause Party and the donations of pet supplies that party goers will bring will help the dogs and cats in her community.  She is a Champion granddaughter with a big loving heart—giving back.  Happy Birthday all you sweet Champions, near and far.

Suzie Freeman said in her letter that her sister, Wilma Ramos, lived in Blue Ridge, Texas for a while.  Wilma said that Blue Ridge got its name from a ridge just outside of the city that was covered with beautiful blue flowers in every season.  First known as Pull-n-Tug, the name was changed to Blue Ridge when the first post office was established in 1860.  William Worden was the first post master there. In with Suzie’s letter and Wilma’s history of Blue Ridge was a hand full of newspaper clippings, mostly in Spanish concerning current events.  Spanish is a beautiful language spoken by millions of people in the world.

Texas granddaughters visiting for Spring Break were very excited to see Monday morning’s little dusting of snow, but would have preferred much more.  They opine that country snow is prettier than city snow and were out the door singing, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…. in Champion looking on the Bright Side!