CHAMPION‚ÄĒFebruary 8, 2016
A typical scene…
¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† It was just a year ago that Champions were surprised to see the ancient tree that had served as home plate for ball players, now in their nineties, had been pruned down to a 35 foot tall stump.¬† It was thought to be a threat to the old Champion School building, now a church, because of its enormity and a slight list.¬† The bee colony that has occupied the tree for decades survived all the way through to the beginning of winter.¬† On a sunny day soon Champions will discover if the bees have wintered well and speculation will begin about whether or not the stately old tree will make another effort to live.
¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† One of the interesting items brought for inspection at a recent gathering was a flintlock pistol made in 1848.¬† It was said to have been picked up on the battlefield at Little Big Horn.¬† It was the property of an elderly lady who bequeathed it to a grandson who subsequently sold it to Rob.¬† Rob always has something interesting to share.¬† People unfamiliar with pistols in general are surprised to discover how heavy these old firearms are.¬† It would take a substantial person to wield such a weapon effectively.¬† Not to be outdone, The General came in brandishing two flintlock handguns.¬† One had a filigreed hatchet attached to the end balanced with an ominous hook.¬† Like Rob‚Äôs, the metal work was ornate and the stocks were a dark heavy wood.¬† Rob‚Äôs gunstock was probably American walnut.¬† The wood for the stocks of The General‚Äôs guns was probably harvested in the hills overlooking the Turkish town of Smyrna.¬† Most likely these antiques were manufactured as toys or as tourist baubles.¬† From Denlow to Smyrna and back‚ÄĒwhat an adventurer!¬† His nephews, Dailey and Dean Upshaw were among the crowd for the first time in a while and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.¬† Reba Bishop came with Don and met up with old friends.¬† Hopes are that JoAnn Anderson might make a visit with them one of these days.¬† Her friends miss seeing her out and about.¬† Community is a gift to be enjoyed.
¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, ‚ÄúThere is a growing strain of anti-intellectualism in our country that may be the beginning of the end of our informed democracy.‚ÄĚ¬† Champions consistently work toward maintaining an informed populace and to that end have begun to offer elocution and vocabulary lessons to wayward sojourners of the hinterlands and backwaters north of Romance.¬† The first step toward knowledge is a willingness to admit abject ignorance.¬† A gracious admission of that circumstance was followed by a recitation of the week‚Äôs lexicon which included the surprising discovery of a related word, ‚Äėdogmatic,‚Äô which seemed to excite the student.¬† An ancillary benefit of the interchange seemed to be in the realization that apologizing does not always mean you are wrong and the other person is right.¬† It means you value your relationship more than your ego.¬† The best apology is changed behavior.¬† Having embraced humility, the sojourner took his leave.¬† ‚ÄúThere are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.‚ÄĚ¬† Words of his hero, R. Reagan, pounded in his heart.
¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† The Champion News is pleased always to acknowledge birthdays.¬† Recent celebrants include Cowboy Jack, hopefully not flat on his back, on February 7th.¬† Aidan Acree is a preschool student at Skyline who celebrates on the 8th, and shares the day with Sarah Rucker, lovely mother of Champion granddaughters.¬† Joshua Garner, a third grader, shares his day with Sondra Powell, who is a grownup alumnus of Skyline School.¬† An impromptu birthday celebration for Ronald Reagan (his 105th) was held on Wednesday the 3rd of February.¬† It is figured that he was so well regarded in this area that he chose to come back from the grave for a Champion birthday.¬† His birthday was February 6, 1911, but knowing what a rocking place Champion is on Wednesday, he chose that day for his post mortem appearance to the amazement of all present.¬† Seizing the moment, your intrepid Champion News reporter posed the question, ‚ÄúRespectfully, sir, whom among the current contestants for the highest office do you recommend?‚ÄĚ¬† He must not have been keeping up on contemporary events since his demise as he had no recommendations other than that the winner should be from his own party.¬† His idea was that the government could not solve the problems of society, because the government was the problem.¬† The upcoming election will be a referendum on that very dichotomy.¬† A local pundit suggests that Democrats generally believe that government can and should fix the problems of society, while Republicans believe that government is the cause of the problems.¬† President Reagan said, ‚ÄúWe can‚Äôt help everyone but everyone can help someone.‚ÄĚ¬† ‚ÄúPeace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.‚ÄĚ¬† ‚ÄúFreedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.¬† We didn‚Äôt pass it to our children in the bloodstream.¬† It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.‚ÄĚ¬† By today‚Äôs standard, these are down-right centrist sentiments.¬† Champion!¬† This week there was a photograph of Susan B. Anthony circulating on the internet.¬† Her birthday is February 15, 1820.¬† In this photograph she had been knocked down in the street and beaten by a group of men in top hats.¬† She had been trying to vote.¬† It was 1872.¬† She was arrested may times in pursuit of women‚Äôs suffrage.¬† She lived until 1906.¬† It was not until 1920 that women won their right to vote.¬† February 17th is the last day to register to vote in order to participate in the important election coming up on March 15th.¬† In the primary election, while the actual ballot is secret, one must declare his party.¬† No intimidation is allowed at the polls, so, Ladies, everyone, vote your conscience.
¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúLet me call you sweetheart.¬† I‚Äôm in love with you.¬† Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.‚ÄĚ¬† Romance is in the air with Valentine‚Äôs Day on Sunday.¬† The Cowboy will be crooning to Joyce.¬† Bob will be flashing his winning smile at Ethel.¬† The Prominent Champion will woo the Prominent Champion Girlfriend, who will bat her big eyes at him and smile that sweet smile.¬† Elmer and Frances will exchange some pleasant words.¬† Wes and Pat of Champion West will have plans, and Louise and Wilburn up the hill always have something going on.¬† Then there is St. Janice nee Hill, who lives just north of Romance.¬† She is in for a raft of flowers, candy and jewelry from her narcissistic spouse who fears his remarks about her in public and behind her back may get back to her.¬† Well earned, dear Lady!¬† Dave and Sue will be harmonizing.¬† That is how they met‚ÄĒin a big hall, singing.¬† Their voices blended perfectly and they found each other.¬† They sing over in Vanzant on Thursday evenings at the Bluegrass jam, always a pleasant evening.¬† Pot luck at 6:00 then music.¬† Bring your voice and your instruments or just your appreciation of an old fashioned music party.
¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† Weather patterns have favored the area so far with a few warm and lovely days, a few bitter cold days, a little rain, more warm days, maybe a skiff of snow, a blast of artic wind and then a few more warm days.¬† Any complaint is short lived because the weather changes.¬† Gardeners are getting excited about the soil again, some wishing they had a good layer of manure and mulch over the whole thing just ready to be tilled in and planted again.¬† Gardeners are at least as optimistic as fishermen.¬† Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Aulde Fox Creek for a step back in time.¬† You can buy a picture postcard to send to loved ones who languish out in the great elsewhere, longing to be back in Champion‚ÄĒLooking on the Bright Side!