Fierce winds blew the clouds apart in the middle of the night long enough for the soon to be full moon to shine golden down into the face of the sleeping Champion. Being awakened in such a pleasant way made it easy to slip back into the comforting dreams of coming spring. At daylight the winds were still howling around the corners of the house blowing snow in every direction not letting it stick anywhere. Though the March is not yet over, the adage of ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb’ seems to be reversed. Champions are grateful for the moisture and most are happy to acknowledge that the unpredictability of the weather makes this an exciting place to live.
The wind has been whipping around the corners of Wilburn and Louise’s house up there on the high spot. They have a nice view, but with it comes vulnerability to the wind. Wilburn says he has seen some real tornadoes over the years. He says that he and Louise are doing fine and are comfortable where they are, in his old family home place. He is happy to have good long handled underwear to keep the draft away. His grandfather Samuel Bradford Hutchison had an old sweater that he really liked about which he said, “It’s more holey than righteous.” I.P. Henson, the Krider family and Wilburn’s grandfather all came to this part of the country about the same time back in the 1800’s. He thinks they came from Tennessee or Kentucky, somewhere over in there. Those family names are still part of the local phone book. Wilburn says he has burned a lot of wood this year and that he appreciates living in a community that is full of good neighbors to help out getting in the wood and loading the stove. He is particularly fond of Ms. McCleary, whom he teases mercilessly about her cooking out of a box and the density of the biscuits. She sets the standard for a positive attitude and sense of humor and is well known as the Fashion Icon of Champion. Her smile makes anything she wears just beautiful.
In the middle of the 1960’s a couple of Champion sisters pooled their money and had a friend from church make a deal for them for a rose pink 1958 Chevy Impala. It was a four-door model—a beautiful car. They loved it and shared it for their purposes of going to work in Springfield and coming home on the weekends to help their Mother take care of their invalid Grandmother. On one occasion the younger sister was on her way home and just east of Ava on highway 14 in the middle of a bridge had a head on collision with a local man who had already been drinking quite a bit that morning. She was not hurt, but the car was never the same again. She had called her sister at work to report the sad news. Their next car was a new Dodge Dart. Now that younger sister and her husband have a nice Buick. On the way to church Sunday up at Strafford they hit some ice that spun them around 180 degrees and put them over in a ditch. It was their good fortune to have a cell phone and a son-in-law with a big enough truck and the willingness to help them out. That old story about having an ox in the ditch did not apply this time. They made it to the service and home safely if a little roughed up for the experience. The car is fine. Most likely that beautiful Impala would have survived the incident as well. Dusty Mike had an unpleasant car experience over the week end. It was a combination of unfortunate things that included a headlight falling out and a tire running over it and a road hazard warranty not being honored at the last minute because he had not made an appointment. He had a few things to say before he went over to the Firestone store and bought a new tire. It is complicated being out on the road.
Skyline School students enjoyed a snow day on Friday as did everyone in the area. The deep white stuff was just right for snowman making, wet and heavy. The snowmen did not last long out in the rain and the only complaints heard about them melting were by the young builders themselves. Taegan Peanut Krider made her first snowman and used daffodils for eyes. She told her Grammie the next day that it was ‘melding.’ Local roads stayed open and safe and no significant problems were reported. School is on again and Jazmine Barker is a first grader with a birthday on the 27th. Gavin Sartor celebrates on the 29th. He is a fifth grader in Ms. Ryan’s class. Lindsey Fisher and Samantha Moore are both in the second grade. Lindsey’s birthday is on the 30th and Samantha’s is on the 31st. Second graders are an interesting group of people. They are busy learning about suffixes and prefixes, how to add and subtract and how to measure things. (One of them should go visit with the General who measured four times and got 25.5761 inches of snow over in Vanzant.) A new friend over the wide ocean also celebrates her birthday on the 31st. She is an author, an artist, a fiddler, a storyteller, a great painter of penguins, who invites a crow to her shoulder to share the coziness of her candy apple red/pink hair and has been heard to say, “Oooo, I like a little draft.” People accustomed to living in two or three hundred year old houses learn to like a wee draft. She makes chocolate covered ginger and makes people smile-happy to know her. So, Edina! A braw happy day to Scotia’s darlin lass!
Contemporary songwriter Dillon Bustin wrote, “Oh my friends it’s springtime again. Buds are swelling on every limb. The peepers do call, small birds do sing and my thoughts return to gardening.” The 29th and 30th will be good days to apply organic fertilizer to the garden. From the 27th through the 30th Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that it will be a favorable time for planting root crops, fine for sowing hay, fodder crops and grains. It is an excellent time for starting seedbeds and good days for transplanting. The weather is so unpredictable; gardeners will just have to gamble, maybe replant some things and certainly be happy for the rain and nitrogen fixing snow. They might have to get ready for a bumper crop! Share your gardening or bumper crop songs at [email protected] or at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Come down to the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion and find some real Straight Eight cucumber seeds. When you slice a Straight Eight cucumber kind of thin and toss it together with some onions and a little vinegar and oil and a pinch of sugar in a small amount of water and set it in the ice box until dinner time, you have a treat in store. Looking at the seed packets will soon have you thinking about fried okra and your mouth will water just thinking about pulling a ripe tomato off the vine. Optimism is Champion– Looking on the Bright Side!