CHAMPION—April 13, 2015

        It is a joy to see a hummingbird at the feeder again as hour by hour spring is more pronounced in Champion.  Monday morning’s hard little rain was just what the garden needed.  The mushrooms will be encouraged to continue popping up out in the woods and daily life will carry on at its most tranquil pace.  The Champion Stump over on the South side of the Square is such an eye catcher that new neighbors to the north have sought to emulate it.  The monolith has been copied with some success, but the new ones will likely be pared down to fence post height.  A little farther up the road that particular kind of logging that leaves a twisted, tortured landscape behind, full of split and damaged saplings, has been going on for a while.  The only constant is change.

        Vanzant neighbors came out in force on Sunday to help River Stillwood get started on recovering from the Good Friday tornado.  She said, ”Heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out today…You were awesome, accomplished an incredible amount and were a joy to work with.  The place looks so much better because of you.  My heart swells with gratitude…”

        The news that Lannie Hinote will be leaving Skyline School is a surprise.  She has been an inspiring presence there for a long time and will be sorely missed.  The good thing is that she will have to learn how to salmon fish.  That will be no chore for a woman who loves fishing the way she does.  She will be moving to the Western Yukon Valley in Alaska where she will teach in a place called Mountain Village.  She will be posting pictures of the Northern Lights and selfies with her salmon and, thanks to the internet, her many friends here will be able to keep up with her adventures.  All her Champion friends will be wishing her good luck and great success.

        Meanwhile, back at Skyline, Mr. Roworth, Mr. Scrivner, Mr. Krider, and Mr. Brixey have been joined by Mr. Strong and Mr. Moody on the School Board.  It is their task to take a pitiful little amount of money and spread it around to all the places where money is required to keep the wonderful little rural school going.  Someone said recently, “If we disparage education, label informed people as ‘elitist’, and regularly question proven history and science, we can get millions of Americans to vote against their own well-being.”  The Student News Daily says, “We all want the same things in life.  We want freedom; we want the chance for prosperity; we want as few people suffering as possible; we want healthy children; we want to have crime-free streets.  The argument is how to achieve them.”  These youngsters at Skyline are doing their part now to become the educated, informed voters who will be able to engage in that argument in a productive way.  A US citizen must be seventeen and a half years of age to register to vote and 18 years of age to vote and a resident of Missouri to vote here.  Champions vote!

        Ethel Leach agreed to act as an informant for The Champion News covering last week’s Wednesday Confab in the Meeting Room of the Historic Emporium, though she said, “Things just go in one ear and out the other.”  She has been doing her chores on the farm and hanging out with Bob and otherwise occupied so her report is running a little late.  According to other sources, there were some notable absences which may result in a check mark by their name on the roster if it happens again.  The Skyline VFD Auxiliary met at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on Wednesday evening.  The meeting was well attended and a variety of issues were discussed including the recent chili supper and possible changes and improvements for the event next year.  Equipment for the volunteer firefighters is always the major focus of the Auxiliary.  Currently they are looking into a specialized kind of glove that will allow the firefighters to work more safely and efficiently.  Another meeting is being scheduled for June 10th when the Skyline VFD Picnic will be the subject of discussion.  Like the school, this little rural fire department is a key element in a vital community.

        Ms. Ayn Trope and Eulalia Jasmin both wrote in this week with humorous comments about how anyone could possibly use G. Gordon Liddy as a source for a definition of liberalism or any other thing.  (He said a liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.)  “Fifty two months in the big house as the chief executive of the White House Plumbers Unit, convicted of burglary and conspiracy, does not make him a credible source for anything except how to get caught doing underhanded things to damage the political process.”  Ayn is not big on tact, which Winston Churchill said was “the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”  Ayn writes to and Ms. Jasmin writes to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Share your thoughts on tact or any other subject at either of these addresses.

Olivia Trig Mastin with her big crawdad.
Dylan Watts with his big fish.

        Olivia Trigg Mastin is turning ten years old.  She is a regular summertime visitor to the Mill Pond down at Veracruz.  She comes with her Grandmother every year to the Fourth of July festivities there.  Last year she caught a Champion sized crawdad and she is well on her way to being the fisherman that Lannie Hinote is.  “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable and a perpetual series of occasions for hope.  “John Buchanan’s quote was shared by the late Phyllis Winn, who would not say that we are naive for being hopeful.  Dylan Watts changed the picture on his facebook profile to one of himself with a fish that looks longer than his arm and bigger around, though it looks like it would take some considerable strength to hold it up.  Dylan has just celebrated his 16th birthday and now is a legal driver.  His uncle Dustin says his driver’s license picture looks like a mug shot, but the picture of him holding the license shows a nice smile on his mug.  There are pictures of him with his banjo and a bunch of musical cousins and a picture of him in his suit looking very mature as he is getting ready to compete in a national speech contest.  He has a lot going on for someone who is just sixteen.  It seems that he is destined to be an entertainer having started out at the tender age of three on stage with has granddad at the Skyline Picnic singing “I’ll Fly Away.”

        Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 15th and 16th will be good days to plant root crops, to transplant, to prune to encourage growth and to apply organic fertilizer.  The 18th is good to prune to discourage growth and the 19th and the 20th will be good days for planting above ground crops.  It is hard to remember that the tenth of May is the approximate date of last frost in this area.  It is easy to get too many things out too early.  Sing, “Wait till the sun shines, Nellie!” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!