AUSTIN—It is strongly recommended that a person get up and go elsewhere every now and then. Just get out of Dodge. Look around and try to grasp the reality that there are more than seven billion people in the world—a billion being a thousand million. It may be that everyone thinks his own part of the world is best, and it is easy to be confident of that when living in Champion. Champions have lots of good neighbors on Planet Earth, and while it is nice to be neighborly and to go visiting, it will be glorious to be back home in the beautiful hills.
The big rain over by Springfield on Saturday was big news on the internet. Friends and family living over there are much in the thoughts of their Champions. Golf ball size hail does not sound good for the garden. The forecast looks like more for the week ahead, so it is hoped that the hay is in bales already when the rain comes and that it comes in just the right amount and that all the golf balls land squarely in the fair way.
Reports are that Champion kids and cousins had a great time at the fair. Jacob Brixey and Teagan Krider were the youngest farmers to show their livestock. They are both three years old and both won a bucket, a halter and a trophy for youngest exhibitor– Jacob’s in blue and Teagan’s in pink. His folks say that Jacob has not wanted to put his trophy down. He wanted it in bed with him but settled for having it next to the bed where he could reach it as soon as he woke up. Jacob’s sister, Jenna, showed her calf and their cousins Maddax and Tyler Klingensmith also came to show again. Teagan’s cousins, Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman of Marshfield, and Dillon Watts from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, were also a big part of the exhibition again this year. This seems like a Champion farm family tradition. Young farmers are what the world needs to keep itself fed and healthy. Champions all!
“Alcea” is the scientific name for the flower known as the hollyhock. There are about sixty species of the plant and they are said to have originated in central Asia, though a few are native to southeast Europe or Egypt. They must have arrived in America during the Victorian era (1837 to 1901) when they were commonly planted around out-houses so that a young lady visiting would not have to ask the embarrassing question about where it was. These days, they are a much enjoyed garden ornamental. They grow on tall stalks in shades that vary from deep purple, almost black, through all the pinks and reds to white—a very lofty elegant plant. They are quite drought resistant and do well in the full sun so a person who sows the seeds along their fence row might expect to see their lane dressed up and lovely to drive through. While some seeds fall on stony ground and others are crowded out by tares or eaten by birds, a few will take root and one did out in East Champion a few years ago. It has been making seeds every year but none of its offspring have caught on and the beautiful single pink sentinel has been waving in the breeze all alone until last week. The gardener who sowed the seed lives close to the road and happened one day to notice a bright red, very new pick-up truck driving very slowly down the road. That is good because between showers dust billows behind speeding vehicles. The gardener watched in amazement as the truck stopped at the bottom of the hill and a woman emerged with a shovel and began to dig up the single hollyhock. She made short work of it and soon had the tall plant lying flat in the back of her truck. The bewildered gardener watched as she drove away. It is to be known that the plant has a long deep tap root and the chances of a mature plant surviving a transplant in the heat of the year is slim. So the gardener is deprived of its beauty as are admiring passersby and the robber will most likely not succeed in having the coveted plant thrive in her own patch. Ex-Route 2 mailman, Bob Chadwell , will tell a person straight out that it is illegal to pick up rocks out of the creek and to dig roadside plants. The part about rocks has not been verified, but there was a law passed in 1994, that levees a fine of $500.00 and up to six months in jail for digging roadside flowers for transplant. Since the rule was established to protect native species, it may not apply to the hollyhock. Still, the woman in the new red truck with the windows rolled up to stay cool could just cruise the roads slowly and enjoy the beauty of what is there. If she must possess it, she could go to a nursery and buy herself some hollyhocks. Linda probably has some over at The Plant Place in Norwood. Meanwhile, the gardener with the missing hollyhock might put up a sign on the fence where the plant was dug saying—what?
Say, “Happy Birthday!” to Daniel Parkes who will be in the second grade at Skyliine School in the fall. His birthday is on the 19th of June. That is also the birthday of a Champion nephew who spent a great deal of his formative youth on the farm on Cold Springs Road. Joshua Cohen had many good jokes with Ed Henson. Now he is an older fellow, still much loved. Alyssa Strong will be a fifth grader and her birthday is on the 23rd. Dillon Watts’ mother, Linda, has her birthday on the first day of summer. It is hard to believe she has completed her second score! Sierra Parsons, the granddaughter of great Champion friends from over west of Ava, also has her birthday on the Summer Solstice. It is the longest day of the year, a good time to celebrate. She and her sister, Bailey have been visiting with their grandparents. They live in Portland, Oregon and like to come to the Ozarks whenever they can. Of course, their grandparents like it too. They have a wonderful garden and the girls will have a chance to pick some peas and strawberries and swim in the creek. Summertime is wonderful in Champion.
“Summer time and the living is easy” unless you live on the farm and then there is work to do. It is healthy, wholesome work though, and nobody really complains about it very much. Since it has to be done anyway, there is hardly any point in complaining, but a person can brag about how hard he works though. He can go down the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square and share some of his produce which is the price of bragging. Sing your summertime song or do a little bragging while you stand on the broad inviting veranda and look out over one of the truly beautiful places on Planet Earth, Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!