March 19, 2018

CHAMPION—March 19, 2018


Daffodil Dog

Looking back at the archives from a year ago shows that some things were a little farther ahead.  The Bradford pear was blooming by March 6th.  On the 13th of March there was snow on the daffodils.  Looking farther back to 2015, there were dire predictions that have indeed come to fruition.  Would it not be nice if we could project ourselves forward to see the consequences of our actions today?  If that were possible, would we then be willing to listen to our returning selves when we say, “Proceed with caution.”  Caution has been thrown to the wind.  Some disparage the usefulness of history, but surely the account of these days will read like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky met the Three Stooges and hilarity ensued.  Or like a besotted Charles Dickens lamenting today’s unbridled selfishness and contempt for the common good.  The March 23, 2015 edition of The Champion News references Romans 5: “Tribulation works patience and patience, experience and experience, hope.”  Another quote from that edition: “If you were a dainty dish of sweet cream butter and I were a fancy filigreed silver butter knife, I’d smear you all over these hills, just like the daffodils.”  People with grandchildren down in Texas can soon hope to be getting pictures of the little darlings in fields of bluebonnets.  Those fields will look like they were spread with blueberry jam.  When those pictures do not come, some Old Champions are content to settle for pictures of dogs in daffodils.

Good things are going on at Skyline R2 School.  New raised garden beds are going up around the green-house area.  Students are learning to grow food—a great program.  Douglas County Health Department Nurse, Elizabeth, was there Tuesday doing free blood pressure checks for area residents.  She also spent time with the youngest students on her monthly visit, this time teaching about poison awareness.  Despite best efforts, sometimes poisonings can happen.  The nurse says if you suspect a poisoning do not wait for symptoms to appear.  Call the Poison Control Center right away!  1-800-222-1222.  On the 27th of March, Skyline third grade teacher Mrs. Downs will have her birthday.  Bus Driver Mr. Ted, also celebrates that day.  Prekindergarten students Brailynn Cumby and Tucker Johnson have their birthdays on the 28th and the 30th.  We wish Happy Birthday to our great Skyline students and staff.  Happy birthday wishes also go out to Jack Masters, a senior line-backer at McCallum High School in Austin, Texas.  He was born on March 27, 2000.  Uncle Al Masters was his great grandfather.  Bobbie Nicholson is a talented Scot singer songwriter.  “It Wasne Me” is one of his great pieces.  His birthday is on the 29th of March and the fair Morag Edward celebrates on the 31st.  If she follows suggestions, she will have been celebrating since the 15th.  Next Tuesday will be the 27th–the last Tuesday of the month the Douglas County Health Department nurse will be at Champion doing the blood pressure checks and other health screenings from 9 to 11 a.m.   Bad weather kept her (Nurse Tina) away last month, but she is back on schedule now providing a valuable service for the community.

Just as a good point of information, if you are going over to the Vanzant Jam of a Thursday evening and intending to play “Oh! Danny Boy,” the standard key for that tune is C.  It is always a pleasant evening with good food (potluck at 6), good music (7-9), and pleasant visiting with friends and neighbors.  The other evening Sherry Bennett said that Sharry Lovan had asked about when the Champion Spring Fling was going to occur.  The Prominent Champion Girlfriend has promised an announcement once Spring has officially arrived.  Last year it was on May 6th—a Saturday and a lovely event.  All kinds of events are being scheduled.  Bud Hutchison will have his Spring Trail Ride from Champion to somewhere and back sometime in May and the Ozarks Older Iron Club will be having its Spring Show on May 11th.  It will happen over in Cabool—a great place to bring the family to enjoy some old time stuff.  There will be an antique tractor show and tractor pull along with gas engines and all kinds of antique equipment displays.  Tell us about your favorite special events by email at or snail mail to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.

A woman who moved to this part of the world a few years ago from a big city remarked that she had been surprised and saddened to see how often she saw litter along the roads.  She said, “I wanted to say, ‘Don’t you people know what you have here?  This is a beautiful part of the world.’”  If while going down our beautiful country lanes, you are offended by litter, do yourself a favor.  Stop and pick it up.  The feeling of doing something good washes away the aggravation of seeing what careless, thoughtless people do.  It turns out that people are more likely to litter in an area where litter is already present.  It may be that a gentle word in some nonjudgmental tone might encourage an habitual litterer to stop.  Kindness is a more effective communicator than harsh rebuke.  People who throw beer cans and bottles out on the road one at a time are doing so so as not to have ‘empties’ in their vehicle.  Be careful of people’s feelings and be careful picking up their trash as the weather warms up.  It is always a good idea to have a pair of gloves in your car or truck anyway.  You probably have an extra Wal-Mart bag around and if not, you can probably find one along the road somewhere.  Wasps and ants may occupy cans and you never know when you will run into a copperhead in the springtime.

What better harbinger of Spring than an early morning yard full of robins?  When these migratory songbirds are feeding in flocks, they are vigilant, watching other birds for reactions to predators such as hawks, cats, and snakes.  They are some of the first birds to sing at dawn, and their song consists of several discrete units that are repeated.  The Missouri Department of Conservation says they are a cherished symbol of springtime and their value to the human spirit is reflected in poetry and song.  “He rocks in the treetops all day long/ Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song/ All the little birds on Jaybird Street/ Love to hear the robin go tweet-tweet-tweet” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 12, 2018

CHAMPION—March 12, 2018


A Champion Spring Deer

On March 20th our sun, well, everybody’s sun, will sit directly over the equator, so day and night all over the world will be of equal length–nice to remember we share commonalities with all the other people in the world.  In the Northern Hemisphere it marks the beginning of that special season.  Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”  So does the fancy of many of our woodland critters—raccoons, skunks, turkeys, cats and dogs and who knows what all (?) are on the prowl.  Herds of deer graze in fields along our country lanes and prudent drivers keep a keen eye out for wildlife day or night.  The Prominent Champion Girlfriend had a run-in with a deer a while back up on WW from which she happily walked away.  Now she is ready for a colorful pedicure and her flip flops.  Her Champion friends are looking for a date for her Spring Fling.

Skyline School’s sixth grade student, Myla Sarginson, shares her birthday with prekindergarten student, Justin Pendergrass, on the 18th of March.  Though he may well celebrate every day there in Edinburgh, the 23rd is the official birthday of Mr. Gordon Reynolds, a great patron of Scott’s music and a fine musician himself.  That is also the special day for one of Mrs. Eva Powell’s sons, one of The General’s fair daughters (Elva), Reba’s sweetheart (Don) and the Wapaho Dude’s darling (Judie).  Happy days to all you fine Champions—enjoy every day as if it were your birthday.

Elmer Banks was chosen from among all the people across the country with his particular heart condition to undergo an experimental surgery to improve the quality of their lives.  Sixty-five world renowned surgeons and nurses crowded the room to participate and observe the procedure.  That was Tuesday.  He came home Wednesday and Thursday drove over to the Historic Emporium.  He was there again on Saturday afternoon talking about having fed cows and pitched hay and any number of other things that another person with those kinds of incisions might think about putting off for a couple of weeks, as the medical professionals recommend.  He says that other than being cold all the time he feels just fine.  There was a great get-well card circulating for him—seems a moot point since he is back in his regular routine already.  What a Champion!

Elmer is a prime example of the fact that you cannot look at a person and know what all they have been through.  He has two sets of batteries in his chest, but you would not know it just meeting him on the street.  By the time a person is grown, he or she may well have experienced grief, heart-aches and disappointments, car crashes, tornadoes and lightning strikes, violence and betrayal, or the horrors of war.  Things add up.  Just one of those things or a combination of those things can add up to post traumatic stress disorder—PTSD.  We have become aware of the condition because of the condition of many of our returning Veterans, but it turns out that anybody can suffer with the debilitating malady.  It can manifest itself in many ways, so, once again, we are admonished to reserve judgement when someone behaves badly or disproportionate to the occasion.  Empathy and compassion take more effort than sanctimonious derision.

Gardeners are spreading that good stuff around.  It makes the soil rich and fertile and beautiful.  They have difficulty this time of the year.  It is hard to wait.  Tantalizing seed catalogues and warm afternoons tempt them to jump the gun.  According to some, the official last day for a frost in Champion is May 10th!  Two long months!  The Mother Earth News says that onions, peas, and spinach can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.  Some folks like to get their potatoes planted by St. Patrick’s Day.  Window sills bristle with little plants waiting to be hardened off and planted in the garden.  Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac for 2018 says that the 19-21, 24, 25, and 30 will be good days to plant crops that yield above the ground and the 31st for below the ground crops.  Get in out of the cold wind to talk gardening with your neighbors over on the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  A spot near the ancient wood stove in the meeting room of the Re-creation of the Historic Emporium is the perfect place for the casual interlocutor.  ‘Interlocutor’ is a new word supplied by an avid reader of The Champion News who complained that he had not had to go to the dictionary lately.  It means conversationalist.  Share your big words or garden advice at or in person in the heart of Champion on the North Side of the Square.

Saint Patrick’s Day commemorates the death of the man on March 17, in about the year 460 A.D.  A research fellow at Cambridge University, Dr. Roy Flechner, says that the accepted story that Patrick was kidnapped from Britain, forced to work as a slave, but managed to escape and reclaim his status, is likely to be fiction.  “The traditional legend was instigated by Patrick himself in the letters he wrote, because this is how he wanted to be remembered.”  His family were tax collectors for the Romans, a very dangerous job during that era.  Rather than take up the profession, and fearing for his life, he fled to Ireland.  The researcher believes that he bought slaves in England and then used them to trade when he moved to Ireland.  The new version of Saint Patrick’s life as a slave-trader is certainly controversial, but now controversy in every arena seems to be the mode-o-day.  The take-away and comfort lies in the assurance that eventually the truth will come out, though hopes are that today’s Machiavellian machinations will not take 1558 years to be undone.  Meanwhile, enjoy your shamrocks, your four leaf clover, your green beverages and your favorite song…”When Irish eyes are smiling /Sure, it is like a morning spring /In the lilt of Irish laughter /You can hear the angels sing” in Champion—looking on the Bright Side!


March 5, 2018

CHAMPION—March 5, 2018


William Wordsworth’s lyric poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” ends with these two lines:  “And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils!” Look for the whole poem in this week’s post at  Deep sighs are heaved at the thought of Spring, as time springs forward (on the 11th) to greet it.  There may be winter days yet, but they will be fewer and then will be gone.  Champions cherish waning winter for the purpose of resting up in advance of the hard work to come and for finishing those inside projects that were begun last fall.  Wet, dreary days give some old timers the chance to pull those dusty guitars out from under the bed to tune them up.  There were some seldom seen musicians at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday night.  The music circle is different every time, but the fellowship is always lovely and the pot luck (at 6pm) is always a feast.  An Old Champion, coming home that night saw a beaver—a beaver!  The large broad-tailed rodent climbed up the concrete on the north side of the New East Champion Fox Creek Bridge just as the headlights lit it up.  He took his time ambling across the bridge and down the south side where he slipped into the swift downstream water.  Spring!  One time a Prominent Champion was on his way home from Mountain Grove when he saw a monkey in the road, so seeing a beaver is not that big a deal.

Frances and Wayne Sutherland

Frances and Wayne Sutherland have just celebrated 68 years of marriage.  Anyone who has ever been married knows that is a big deal.  They took their mothers (Elsie Doane Cooley and Minne Schuette Sutherland) with them down to Mountain Home, Arkansas to sign permission since they were under age–17 and 19.  It seems those youngsters have made a go of it.  Congratulations.  Birthdays are a big deal.  Dennis Shumate of Backyard Bluegrass fame had one on the 3rd of March.  He was playing at The Star Theatre in Willow Springs that evening and probably had a good time.  Skyline School’s lovely music and art teacher, Mrs. Casper, celebrates on the 12th.  She orchestrates great holiday programs for the student body to perform and the art on display down the hallways shows how she guides and inspires them toward their own creativity.  Brava!  Willow Townsend is just getting stated at Skyline.  She is a kindergarten student with a birthday on March 15th.  That is the special day for Jacob Masters and his distant cousin, 30 years his senior, now luxuriating in the Port of Leith, and Ursula Donnelly, a lively Irish lass and mother of Dimitri.  The 16th is a Friday, so school will be in session and Mrs. Helen can hear “Happy Birthday!” from students and staff all day.  Some Champions will be stopping by the school to drop off their Box Tops for Education and lots of Best Choice UPC barcodes cut out of labels on English muffins, butter, napkins, sandwich bags, canned vegetables and many other common products that we use all the time.  Those little things translate to money for the wonderful little school that is shaping the citizens who will be in charge of us when we get old….really old.  They can use all the help they can get.

A local luthier and famous-on-two-continents musician was visiting in Champion on Wednesday and entered into a conversation with The General.  They were laughing still about an incident that occurred in 1954.  The much loved and missed Champion, Cletus Upshaw, and Jimmy Hopper had put two sticks of dynamite in Uncle Isle Upshaw’s outhouse.  (The General figured half a stick would have been sufficient.)  Cletus was said to have watched from a distance and reported a great light and then “everything was gone.”  The musician said, “It was all light and no smell.”  The dynamite likely came from a local iron mine.  There was also a story in which a hard twisted old gal played a part.  The story fades from memory but the term “hard twisted” is one of those Ozark expressions that speaks to the nature of the area.  Maybe the lady was fractious and/or just plain spoken.  It is not necessarily an insult, but clearly a revealing description.  The conversation came around to current affairs and the reprise of the old adage:  “the rich get rich and the poor get children.”  A recent study showed there are more poor people now than fifty years ago.  In 1968, 15% of children were in poverty in the United States.  That number is now 21%.  Some Champions who lived through the Great Depression say they did not really think of themselves as poor because everyone they knew lived just like they did.  Circumstances can throw even a prudent, responsible person into dire straits with little warning.  Vulnerability is one of the universal commonalities of all people regardless of resources.  To extend a hand to those less fortunate without judgement is a common tenet of most religions.  Among the “Lofty Thoughts” mail this week at is this note:  “Never have I had so much respect for the Office of the President of the United States.  Who knew that it could come to this?  It is truly amazing.”  That could be taken in any number of ways.

When asked how much rain had fallen one reported that he had a five gallon bucket full.  He did not remember when he put it out—maybe in December—but it was full to overflowing.  When the freeze threat is over, rain gages will come out for precise measurements.  Until then odd buckets and peach cans will have to do.  One realizes that using a finger to measure displaces water and renders an inaccurate reading….up to my second knuckle.  A charming Champion came into the Historic Emporium the other day for a deserved rest and sat down beside the Prominent Champion.  “I have a burning question.”  She has been cleaning fence rows and wondering if it is safe to burn.  Though we have had good rain recently, the wind dries things out quickly– Woods and grass are tinder.  The Skyline Volunteer Fire Department assisted the Eastern Douglas County VFD on Saturday as they contained a fire that burned nine acres.  The fire endangered three house, two garages, and two barns over in Vanzant on Highway 95 near W and CR 240.  Good neighbors want everyone to be safe and greatly hope not to impact others with carelessness.  More than one trash fire has spread unexpectedly this time of the year.  The winds are sometimes sudden, fierce, and changeable.  In 1935, Ruth Etting recorded a swinging tune:  “March winds and April showers make way for sweet May flowers, and then from June, a moon and you….Ooh, March winds and April showers Make way for happy hours…” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


February 26, 2018

CHAMPION—February 26, 2018


The New East Champion Fox Creek Bridge after its first significant submerging.

Was ever a week so beautifully begun?  It was an exceptionally sunny Sunday after so many monotonous dreary drenching days–dull and dank.  The landscape was washed and bright with sunlight dancing on every still pond, puddle and flowing stream.  The inconvenience of having to go the long way around instead of over the low water crossing was mitigated by clean distant vistas and burgeoning daffodils.  A bucket over in east-Champion, a mile from the square, registered six inches on Saturday afternoon.  We think the drought is over.  Certainly the New East Champion Fox Creek Bridge has enjoyed its first substantial submerging.  Farmers endure hardships connected with weather that others of us are spared.  By Monday some of those farmers were out burning brush, clearing fence rows and doing farm chores in the sunshine.

The date for the Second Annual Champion Spring Fling has yet to be set though several inquiries have been made.  Stay tuned for an update when one becomes available.  The Prominent Champion Girlfriend says that she will make the announcement as soon as Spring officially arrives.  That will be March 20th or very soon thereafter.  The General has already started the ball rolling for the annual Denlow/Fairview school reunion.  It is to be May 26, 2018, Memorial Day weekend, at the Denlow Church and Cemetery.  There will be a big pot-luck (side dishes and desserts requested) around noon and then a program and auction of donated items at 2 p.m.  The General says, “Anyone with or without talent may bring a musical instrument or [any who] can sing/partially carry a tune are encouraged to join the sensational Fox Creek Renegade Musical…” something or other.  He goes on and on, warning of unknown out of state visitors and extending the invitation to come early and stay late.  It is a great place to renew old friendships and to look over old ancestral haunts.  Hopes are that Pete and Bonnie Mullins will make it down from Wichita this year.  They always make it a sweeter affair.  It is almost three months away, but early planning makes for a successful event and it can be said that The General is on top of it.

March birthdays make for good celebrations as the gloom of winter seems to be behind us and everything is greening and growing.  Mrs. Barker who teaches at the Skyline School has her birthday on the 3rd of March.  Bridge aficionado, Linda, up in Norwood enjoys her birthday on the 5th.  Krenna Long lives further up the road north of Norwood and enjoys that day as well.  Rylee Sartor is a third grade student who will party on the 6th.  Bailey is a little girl who lives in Portland, Oregon and has Douglas County grandparents who have a chicken named Violet.  She and Violet are fast friends, though they do not get to see each other very often.  Bailey and family friend, Kay Dennis, both celebrate on the 9th.  Mrs. Vivod, first grade teacher at Skyline will have her celebration on the 10th.  Birthdays are a fine time to tell family and friends that they are loved and appreciated.  A sweet little fellow named Simon, who will be two years old in June, was the hit of a birthday party on Sunday.  The party was for a 70 year old fellow, but Simon was the star attraction, just being funny, sweet, and loveable.  In just 68 years he will be 70.  That will be the year 2086.  It seems like a long way off, but looking backwards, 68 years has flown by.  The weeks fly by.  Word comes from Ms. Helen at Skyline that the Douglas County Nurse will be at the school on the 13th rather than the 6th, since the school will be closed for Spring Break at that time.  Nurse Tina will be there doing blood pressure and other health screenings for the community.  We live in a nice place.

Kaitlyn McConnell’s Ozarks Alive program, “Preserving Old Time Music” over at the Historium in Gainesville Saturday was fine entertainment for those who could attend as well as for those who enjoyed it live-streamed over the internet.  It is splendid that new technology is helping us stay connected with some of the great old stuff.  Local longtime musicians shared stories and tunes including “Rabbit in the Pea Patch” and “The Home Brew Rag.”  Noel Scott, Alvie Dooms, David Scrivner, J.R. Johnston, H. K. Slivey and Glen Dale Robertson scrubbed off “The Irish Cobbler,” “Black Mountain Rag,” and “Statler’s Reel” while a few took to the dance floor for the pure joy of it.  Old melodies change through the generations but the appreciation the musicians have for their peers and predecessors is a constant.  More than one reference was made to Kenny Bushong who passed away recently.  Music is a rich community in this part of the world.

It will soon be time for Lem and Ned to come ambling up the driveway looking to see if they can be of any help.  In these days of almost endless discontent, it is indeed pleasant to have thoughtful, energetic young folks on the place.  They have been around and have developed what some folks consider a broad world-view–a Weltanschauung.  They can help to break our filter bubble and put us in the situation of seeing what other people think is true.  It is kind of staggering sometimes.  “Congratulations to any who can change their minds when presented with information that contradicts their beliefs.”  That is one of the “Lofty Thoughts” sent in this week to   Another comes in the form of a quote from Frederick Douglass who said, “They that can, may; I cannot.  The time for such argument is passed.  At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument is needed.  O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, today, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.”  He was a Republican.  He passed away in 1895.  Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas, for whom Douglas County was named when it was officially organized in 1856, passed away in 1861.  Over the years the political parties have switched ideologies and there is, at this moment, enough vitriol being poured into the Nation’s ear to plow a whole section if we could distill it for use in tractors.  Warming weather excites gardeners.  Those many past dry days would have been an excellent time to get plenty of manure on the soil that has been overworked and undernourished for years.  Now it is nice and wet—both the garden and the manure.  A guy named David Mallett wrote “The Garden Song.”  “Inch by inch, row by row Gonna make this garden grow Gonna mulch it deep and low Gonna make it fertile ground” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion after the rain.

February 19, 2018

CHAMPION—February 19, 2018


Champion Backyard Birds

On a Saturday morning foray out into the big world an Old Champion paused to appreciate some pretty puddles along the way pondering the past dry months and remembering the floods of last Spring.  On that warm day in February when the dog was looking for the shade, the Surprise Lilies and the Snow Drops were peeping up along with some Jonquils and other bulbous beauties.  Spring is knocking on Champion’s door.  Hello!

A grateful accident victim contacted The Champion News to find out how to send money to the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  He had taken a serious fall, was hurt and in a great deal of pain.  His wife was not able to get him into a vehicle to take him to the emergency room.  She called her emergency number (Douglas County Sheriff’s Office–683-1020) and a couple of first responders from the SVFD were soon on the scene.  They handled the situation with calm confidence and in a short while the injured man was transported by ambulance to Springfield.  He is home recovering now and is appreciative of the efficiency of the well trained fire fighters/first responders.  He was told to send his money to Skyline VFD, Rt. 72 Box 254, Norwood, MO 65717.  Skyline first responders recently used their Jaws of Life tool to free a young Drury man from a wrecked truck over near Sweden.  They are volunteers, willing to drop what they are doing to come to the aid of their neighbors.  The dues that the fire district membership pay do not nearly cover the cost of operating these vital public services, so any time there is a fund raiser, go and have some fun while supporting the organization.  Participate.  It is acceptable to express gratitude with money any time.  It is also meaningful to those volunteers to be recognized and valued.

The Winter Olympics have been a marvelous diversion from domestic turmoil.  Beautiful young athletes doing incredible feats of skill, strength, speed and daring lift our spirits and make us again feel that there are lofty ambitions and honorable people all over the world.  For people who have been feeling like the Nation is somewhere between 1928 and 1929 and on the upstream side of Niagara Falls, the distraction is more than welcome.  Television likely is a bigger part of the lives of many than is healthy.  Those athletes did not get where they are by sitting around being entertained, lulled, informed, inflamed, soothed and marketed.  Selecting wisely among the available viewing choices is a challenge for Champions.

Skyline School students are looking forward to Spring Break.  That will happen from March 5th through the 9th.  Actually counting week-ends, they will be free from the 3rd through the 11th!  That could be counted as nine days—certainly enough time to go see Grandma!  Mindy Johnson from over at the Douglas County Herald is sending in her box tops to help Skyline raise funds through the Box Tops for Education program.  Most General Mills products have official coupons printed on them that are worth $.10 each.  One old Campion is amazed at how many Best Choice products she uses—yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, napkins, snack bags, all kinds of canned vegetables.  The part of the label to save is the part with the bar code.  Save a bunch of them and drop them off at the school or mail them the way Mindy did to Skyline R2 School—Box Tops, Rt. 72 Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717.

Jeffery Goss Jr. from over near Gainesville sent some flyers to be posted locally concerning a conference to be held March 8-9 at the West Plains Civic Center called “Bringing Back the American small Farm.”  Featured speakers will be Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, Hank Will of Mother Earth News and GRIT Magazine and Patrick Byers, MU Extension Horticulturalist.  For more information go to or call 417-293-0590.  Jeffrey said that he saw that the Health Department is offering screenings at various rural locations including Redbud store.  He wants to know if it is still open “(Not Redbank, mind you, but Redbud.)”  The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 is the address to respond to Jeffrey’s inquiry.  This week the “Lofty Thoughts” mail included a quote from Major General Smedley D. Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps, a two time winner of The Congressional Medal of Honor, who said in 1935, “War is a racket.  It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.  It is the only one international in scope.  It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.  A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to be to the majority of people.  Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is really about.  It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the very many.  Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”  Another thought was attributed to the actor and great dancer, Christopher Walken, who was reported to have said, “If you know how quickly people forget the dead, you will stop living to impress people.”

Vanzant Bluegrass Jammers were not providentially hindered from their Thursday gathering.  The pot luck supper (6 p.m. every Thursday) was bountiful and the music (7 to 9) was excellent with twenty musicians from far and wide participating.  Music has such healing properties.  It lifts our spirits when we are down and sooths us in sorrow.  It gladdens our hearts and carries us away from our difficulties.  An old World War I song goes, “…What’s the use in worrying?  It never was worthwhile so, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile!”

Tina, our Douglas County Health Department nurse, will be in Champion for her monthly fourth Tuesday visit on the 27th.  She will be at Henson’s Store until 11:00 a.m. doing blood pressure and blood sugar checks.  This time she hopes to have the cholesterol machine and other testing equipment.  Champions feel fortunate to be well cared for.  It is a treat to be on the wide, wild wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  Last Wednesday’s Valentine party was a sweet success.  Friends gathered to enjoy cookies, cupcakes, lasagna and good conversation.  Many comments heard around the ancient wood stove are prefaced with, “Now this is not for publication…” and then they go on telling stories about things that happened around here long ago and sometimes not so long ago.  Of course, the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square is open every day (except for Sundays and Monday afternoons for restocking) so there is ample opportunity for folks from out in the big world to amble by for fellowship, victuals, chicken feed, nostalgia and enlightenment.  “On the sunny side of the mountain where the wild red roses grow” in Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!