Champion

The weather may be unsettled this time of the year but Champions do not mind.  They are busy getting things done so that when the weather is perfect they will have nothing to do but enjoy it.  This productivity may not be so much the result of good planning as it is the rapid passage of time.  Some of the things that are getting done now are things that got started a couple of years ago.  Champions are patient and persistent, plugging along day after beautiful day.

A ride through the country to gawk at the redbuds coming out and the wild plumbs, forsythia and the like brought a Champion to the Post Office in Norwood.  In the midst of business the sudden awareness of a difference in the space gave pause for thought.  The current staff is certainly efficient and pleasant and the mail goes out and comes in like the tide.  It is reassuring.  Things change and still go on.  Post master, Kirk Dooms, has retired and is presumably off getting sore elbows from hauling in one fish after another out of some wild wilderness stream or some mild local rivulet.  He is most likely busier than ever, lending a hand wherever it is needed and keeping up with his chores.  Over there in Sweden, he probably has the prettiest garden around and his Champion friends will hope that the raccoons stay out of his corn and that he will have the time and leisure to grow back his moustache. The way the light came through the front window, it was always nice to visit with Kirk and try to decide if his eyes could really be that green.  There is a spot in the lobby were Cletus Upshaw used to sit.  He passed away a few years ago.  His birthday was March 31st and he would have been 84 this year.  He took on Route 2 when he got out of the Marine Corps and he was the mailman for many long and interesting years.  There are lots of good stories about him, but mostly it was Cletus who told the stories.  He was a good storyteller and a keen observer.  He knew the history of every nook and cranny in these parts and of everybody who lived in them.  It was always a treat to see him coming to the mailbox even if the mail was not always good.  Some very agreeable people keep the Post Office operating nicely in the drafty old building that is so full of memories, even for people who only arrived here thirty some odd years ago.

It is on account of Cletus that Cowboy Jack has any standing in the community at all.  It was one cold winter day a few years back when the Cowboy was out checking on his cows and he happened to run upon Cletus who had hit a slick spot in the road and got his truck stuck in a ditch up against a bank and couldn’t get it out.  He had walked and slipped and fallen on the ice and cracked his noggin and was cold in rough shape when Jack came upon him.  Because Champions are so grateful for this happenstance heroism, they have a soft spot for the Cowboy.  He has probably been out hunting mushrooms though someone said he has been under the weather.  His friends hope to hear he is feeling better and would like to get an understanding of mushroom etiquette from him.  Say, if a person finds mushrooms on his own place and they are still too tiny to pick, should that person leave a note saying, “I found these first.  Leave them alone!”? He has such mushrooming experience; he ought to share his thoughts at least, since it is a foregone conclusion that he will not be sharing his finds.  He may find himself saddle side down in the creek again one of these days and wish he had built up more good will.  It will be Bud Hutchison or some of his gang that pull him out next time, maybe even the coiffeuse from the bottom of the hill dragging up the rear as usual.  Bud’s Spring Trail Ride is just around the corner now.  They will be glad to have the Drury Café open again.  That extends their ride.  They can have Breakfast at Champion and lunch at Drury as they used to do in the old days.  Maybe Wilma will beat them to the café and be ready to take their picture for her special Trail Ride Album when they come riding in.   This is an exhilarating place to live—Champion!

Wildlife is on the move.  It is not uncommon to see deer crossing the highway at night and raccoons.  There are all too infrequently dead armadillos on the side of the road.  Ground hogs are scampering around and snakes are out.  Just before daylight the other morning, when Clare Shannon’s Dad was out doing his early morning ablutions, the ruckus in the henhouse proved to be a raccoon that had ripped up the roof of the chicken house and was engaged in mortal combat with the rooster.  Well, the rooster came out of it with ruffled feathers and missing an eye.  The raccoon got the business end of the shotgun and will not be back in the neighborhood.  Hopefully Clare gets back to the neighborhood often from her scholarly, exciting life in the metropolis.   Her lovely Mom has retired now and stays busy losing track of what day of the week it is, taking cyber piano lessons and generally being a contented lady of leisure.

Skyline School’s Teri Ryan has been dodging squirrels on her drive to work in the mornings.  She has a big green machine that gets her to school safely.  Ms. Ryan is on the Skyline R-2 School Foundation Board and that group always has a little something interesting in the works.  The wonderful little rural school can use all the support it can get.  Fourth grader Haley Wilson shares her birthday on the 23rd with Mrs. Elaine who is the school’s paraprofessional.  She has another name, but students know her as Mrs. Elaine.  Shelby Wilson is a prekindergarten student who has her birthday the next day.  There are lots of interesting things going on at school this time of the year.  Birthday parties are always good.

The 17th and 18th will both be good days for planting crops that bear their yield above the ground.  So will the 23rd and 24th.  Then Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood shows the full moon on the 25th and so that day and the next one will be good days for planting root crops again.  Share garden lore, historic reminiscences, broad speculation and any favorite melodies out on the porch at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.   Clare Shannon reminded friends on social media of the great song sung by old timer Jimmy Durante, “I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through…In a small café, the park across the way…” or in beautiful Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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