The most anticipated day has finally arrived at 5:29 a.m.  Is it spring?  It feels like spring.  If it is indeed so, the prominent girlfriend is truly happy.  She has already been wearing her flip flops.  Some Champion gardeners were able to get their potatoes planted before St. Patrick’s Day, which is said to be ideal in this part of the world.  On Wednesday, The General led Charlie’s brother, Thomas’s grandpa, the Flint Knapper and Reba’s sweetheart in an investigative study of various natural materials provided by Deward’s granddaughter.  The Flint Knapper identified the tree section as, most likely, black locust, which he says makes excellent bows.  The other item of interest was a short section of a slender sprout, about two feet, wrapped about in serpentine circuitousness by a similar sized vine dried the same color as the stem around which it twined.  Wisteria or trumpet vine? “that was the question.  The General opined with aplomb if not expertise, “Probably not wisteria if it is looped counter clock-wise.”  Champions appreciate his gravitas.  Surreptitious plans were being forged for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade slated for Friday.  Friday, however, turned out to be such a pretty day that the parade did not happen.  Everybody was about his own business, but humming “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and “Danny Boy.”

Many folks in this part of the world are of Irish or Scots-Irish lineage.  Elmer Banks will tell you about his heritage with an Irish grandmother, a Scottish one and an Englishman in the mix.  A Champion great grandmother was brought here from Ireland as an infant.  She is now buried out in West Texas and has a hoard of descendants to remember her-Sarah Brady was her maiden name.  She was part of the one million Irish immigrants that arrived on these shores back in the mid-19th century.  The Potato Famine killed a million Irish and a million emigrated.  In part, the famine was caused by the potato blight, but the key factor was in the way the government handled the problem. There are books written about the situation, the gist of which is that in addition to the fundamental failure of the English government programs, workhouse, public works, and soup kitchens tended to concentrate the people into larger groups and tighter quarters.  This allowed the main killer of the Famine, disease, to do its evil work.  The greed of absentee landlords and the repeal of The Corn Laws, which had been of some protection of farmers all contributed to this great calamity.

The General’s fair daughter, Elva, will enjoy her birthday on the 23rd.  Great nephew, Jack Masters, down in Austin, may be about sixteen years old on the 27th.  Special people at Skyline School are also due celebrations that day.  Mrs. Downs teaches third grade and Mr. Ted drives a bus.  The 28th will be the big day for first grade student Joseph Fulk and the 30th for prekindergarten student Tucker Johnson.  Skyline Tigers roar, “Happy Birthday!” Over in Fair Edina, Gordon Reynolds will be celebrated on the 22nd and Bobby Nicholson on the 29th and lovely Morag Edward on the 31st.  They are all talented, creative people–musicians and artists- making the world a sweeter place.

A Champion granddaughter asked her mother why anyone would eat margarine when she could have butter.  Her mom said that so much of what we think is bad or good for us depends on our conditioning.  She said that when she was a girl, it was just understood that margarine was preferable for a number of reasons relating to obesity and heart disease.   In recent years explications about the effects of trans-fats and other chemical properties of some margarine make it seem that butter is better.  She pointed out that five years ago coconut oil was considered to be one of the worst things of its kind on the market.  Now it is perceived to be one of the best things.  A shifting view (a shifting base line) brings to mind that Johnny Cash song, “…and the lonely voice of youth cries, ‘What is truth?’”

Jonnie is a long legged, big footed, thirty-five pound, boxer/hound mix about two years old.  She is playful, curious, affectionate, and anxious to please.  A couple of old folks who have been by themselves for a number of years are suddenly being amused and called upon for regular interaction with said dog.  Visiting grand-girls made fast friends with her and now that they have gone home, Jonnie is lonesome.  Her howl is plaintiff and makes a person want to join in the song like the sound of a steam train the next ridge over.  Her antics through the day and the process of getting acquainted make the days interesting- certainly things have changed.  Rules will have to be learned.  Who is doing the training, the people or the dog?

Enjoy these warm days and the beautiful blooming things along the roadsides as you make your way down to the broad banks of Auld Fox Creek- the wide, wild and wooly banks, where country roads meet the pavement and where neighbors meet to exchange views, examine natural phenomena and share histories and hopes.  The big clump of old fashioned spirea is blooming flagrant white there by the west entrance to the Square. On warm days the wide veranda of the Historic Emporium offers a place to sit and ponder.  On cold days the old wood stove offers warmth and comfort as it has for generations in Champion-Looking on the Bright Side!