Champion

EDINBURGH—April 28, 2014

The seasons lag a little behind in Champion’s Sister-City, Edinburgh.  The countless cherry trees are just coming into their pink and white near perfection out on The Meadows.  It is reported that the dogwoods and redbuds are glorious out on CR 234 and 243, on Cold Springs and Fox Creek Roads.  Most likely the little blue and purple wildflowers are lining the roads there now with mushroom and turkey surprises around every turn.  So it is in Scotia’s fair city.  Around every turn is a new wonder, a delight, a mystery or a startling piece of history.  New friends say that it is blistering hot in the south of Spain now while a warm raincoat is still the order of the day on the wide, wild and wooly banks of the Fourth River.  Severe weather reports for the Ozarks reach across the broad Atlantic and hopes are that the hail and wind will leave a few blossoms for returning Champions to enjoy.  The best hopes are for the safety of all the friends, family members and their dear ones in the area.  While power outages are making things difficult in parts of Douglas County,  some not too far away are having a much harder time of it and Champions everywhere wish them well.

As soon as early civilizations developed calendars that made an organized reckoning of birthdates possible, birthday celebrations took hold and traditions evolved.  Everyone has his own idea about just what is the perfect birthday.  Dovie Dooms had lots of good wishes directed her way on Sunday.  Ida Mae and Bob down in the Valley share their birthday on May Day with Silvana Sherrill who is a first grade student at Skyline.  Mrs. Ryan is a teacher at Skyline and Beth Caudill drives a school bus.   They have their birthdays on May Day as well.  Skyline librarian, Mrs. Sleep, and 5th grade student Madison Shearer have the second of May for their celebration.  Lee Mastin up in Springfield will roundly be celebrated that day (or one convenient) by her birthday bunch, Carol, Sue, and Jan.  Next Sunday will be Star Wars Day as people around the world say, “May the fourth be with you!”

May Day is a familiar celebration in the United States though it is not as popular as it is in other parts of the world where it has been used to organize and recognize labor (Workers of the World Unite!) and political groups as well.  The ancient Druids of the British Isles divided the year into halves marked by May 1st–Beltane, and November 1st–Samhain.  The May Day custom in the old days was the setting of new fire.  It was one of those ancient New Year rites performed throughout the world.  The fire itself was thought to lend life to the burgeoning springtime sun.  Cattle were driven through the fire to purify them.  Men, with their sweethearts, passed through the smoke for good luck.  Up on Calton Hill, surrounded by the great city, on Wednesday night the fire will be extinguished ceremoniously and rekindled.  Blue painted people will be drumming and singing and carrying their torches.  Up on Arthur’s Seat sweethearts celebrate in the usual ways.  The dew of May Day is thought to have powers of rejuvenation and ladies wash their faces in it to maintain their youth.   The May Day dew up on Mount Champion certainly could do no harm.  At the very least some faces could get a layer of grime removed.  There seems to be no holiday for washing the back of the neck.

Linda’s Almanac from up at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 3rd through the 5th will befavorable for planting beans, corn, cotton, okra, peppers eggplant and other above-ground crops.  The 6th to the 10th will be barren days during which time any number of chores can be finished up around the place.  The 8th, 9th, and 10th are all good days to prune to discourage growth.  That means weeding and lawn mowing too.  There is never a shortage of work to do around the farm.  If a person lays off for a while and does not get much done he can be sure that it will be waiting for him.  People who are waiting for someone to come along to help out better just plod along and accomplish what they can.  Help is probably not on the way.  Lem and Ned may have their own gardens to make.  Meanwhile, over at Skyline the first graders are enjoying watching their turkey eggs hatch.  Young farmers are learning about nature.   Champion!

One of the nice things about Tuesdays is that Laine Sutherland’s videos of the McClurg Jam show up on the internet.  It is sweet to see familiar faces and to hear Ragtime Annie and all those other great tunes.  Music is a marvelous glue holding peoples, their culture and traditions together and it is one of the best ways to share those things with others.  Alvie Dooms is legendary now in Auld Reeke, Edina, the Athens of the North, for having put the family fiddle back into play.  Generations to come will enjoy its bright clear tone.  It will stand alone and will join in harmony with other instruments to thrill, delight, comfort and soothe, as music is a great healer.   The Flowers of Edinburg, The Westphalia Waltz and many dozens of other tunes will be given their lovely due.  Thank you, Mr. Dooms.

No place on Earth is significantly older than any other place.  No place is significantly nearer or farther from the center of the Earth than any other, or significantly closer to the sun.  Every place has history that goes all the way back.  Some places do, however, seem to have more of it written down and remembered.  The reason for remembering is to avoid making the same mistakes again and again.  A new acquaintance remarked the other day that no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.  He said in an r rolling brogue, “A lot of bad things are going to happen to you.  First off, you’re ‘gain to dee.’  So, that said, there’s not much to worry about…No matter what else happens, you have only two options:  you can either handle things well and be happy, or you can handle them poorly and  be miserable.”  He sounds like he would fit in pretty well out on the Veranda of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  A person would be able to tell right off that he is from the great elsewhere on account of his accent and his clothes, but Fearghas would feel at home and enjoy the hospitality and the novelty of being in another of the world’s truly beautiful places—Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

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