Lawnmowers and weed-eaters have been working overtime in this post picnic dry spell. Those willing to get up at a decent hour have been able to enjoy the ethereal beauty of mists rising from valley floors and fog hanging on hill tops. Coming home from town in the early evening, viewing the familiar scenery in a new light, Champions are amazed at the verdant splendidness of the place they are fortunate enough to call home.
Ogden Nash was born on August 19, 1902. He said, “Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore, and that’s what parents are created for.” It is sure that Eli and Emerson Rose Oglesby will not ignore the chance to sing happy birthday to their Mother this week on the 22nd and the 24th will be the birthday of their cousin, Dakota Watts, over in Tennessee. Daniel Cohen up in Pennsylvania has his birthday on the 24th as well. He spent some of his formative months/years in Champion where he learned to make an exceptional pineapple upside down cake and proved himself to be extraordinarily good company. He teaches literature now in a private school in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and lives in the 200 year old house where he grew up all except for the wonderful time he spent in Champion. People like their roots.
Thirty or so Upshaws celebrated their roots together with ice cream and family fun over in Upshaw (Swanky) Suites and Spa in the Villa at Vanzant. The General is said to have spun yarns and ice cream freezers and is accused of spinning the press as his picture seems so prominent in local papers. Family members poured in from Marshfield, Champion, Alaska, Mountain Grove, Idaho and other places just as the rain was letting up. Those from farthest afield were able to stay around for a few days to see things dry up (the General notwithstanding). Darcy Cecil found a way to get the quilt she won at the Skyline picnic home to Boise and so all is well. It makes for happy hearts when so much of a family cares enough about each other to spend time together in this fashion. They are Champions all, even those with Denlow leanings.
Gardeners have an abundance of grass cuttings set aside now for garden mulch and just need to spend these early cool mornings weeding their rows. More seasonable weather might bring on a resurgence of produce and though some things look a little worse for all the water, no one is complaining. Linda’s Almanac says that the 22nd and 23rd will be good days for planting root crops, as will the 27th and 28th. One old girl will be sure to get some turnips in the ground against the possibility of having Lem and Ned stop by late this fall. These are a pair of roaming hillbilly boys who show up on occasion looking for hard work to do in exchange for a sack of turnips. They like them raw or can tell you just how to go about making a turnip pie. It is kind of like a pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It is not a favorite of many around here which may be why one rarely hears about it, though it turns out there are 42 different turnip pie receipts on one internet site alone. www.yummly.com/receipts/turnip-pie. Who would have thought it? While she sows her turnip seeds, the woman will think about how she would like the old chicken house cleaned up and the grapevine taken down out of the far yard trees and some big rocks moved out of the drive way. Those boys only come by once in a blue moon, so she generally has a backlog of work lined out for them. She might be surprised to know that August’s full moon on the 20-21st is considered to be a Blue Moon. The seasonal definition for the term is the third of four full moons in a single season—a season being defined as the time period between a solstice and an equinox or vice versa. (The popular definition is the second of two full moons in a single calendar month.) She will be caught short of turnips if they show up this week. Perhaps some immature parsnips would do, or perhaps some of the Kohlrabi that was up for bid at the silent auction at the picnic. It is sure that if two stout young men with good attitudes show up looking for work, vegetables can be found to satisfy their fee.
Rebellious, non-progressive, tree hugging, eco-greenie, conservationist radicals are taking advantage of the prevailing conditions to catch up on their laundry as they string their non-electric, zero carbon foot-print, non-toxic, solar powered clothes drying apparatus from tree to tree. It is an ancient technology as useful and efficient today as when Eve pinned the family fig leaves there on that first wash day.
The Champion School Reunion is just around the corner. It is expected that the crowd will be bigger than usual as school alumni return to verify that their wonderful old building has been reclaimed from the flood waters. They will be delighted to see that big industrial floor drying fans were implemented to good effect. The reunion comes on the Saturday before Labor Day every year and marks the beginning of the fall social season. Soon Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride will be ambling through town and the West Plains Wagon Club will be traipsing through. Those Pioneer Descendants will gather down at Yates to see what the flood wrought there. The trail rides will be a little less interesting as the erstwhile barber who generally rides drag will be absent. He has sold his horses and has plans to move to town. His Champion friends might miss him if they saw more of him. He has a guitar and the coiffure of a country music star. He probably knows that old saw, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” He has a choice piece of real estate and so chances are good that one of these days new neighbors will be getting acquainted with all the mysteries and magnificence of their new home and their beautiful neighborhood, while he settles into the conveniences of town living. Change is good and Champions wish him well.
Pictures of the flood in Champion are on the website at www.championnews.us. The broad inviting veranda is there high and dry and available for anyone to use as a platform for looking out over one of the world’s truly lovely places—Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!