Something beautiful in Champion.

Monday might have been that day that Lonnie Krider alluded to about this time every year:  “There’ll come a day in February when a dog looks for the shade.”  It seems early in the month, but Champions will take a pretty day any time we can get one.  A local Old Pollyanna says she can find something beautiful in every day in this part of the world.  She is a big Willie Nelson fan (“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”) and recently noted a quote by her hero:  “We are the same.  There is no difference anywhere in the world. People are people.  They laugh, cry, feel, and love, and music seems to be common denomination that brings us all together.  Music cuts through all boundaries and goes right to the soul.”

One hundred twenty six archers from six area schools participated in the archery tournament at our Skyline R2 School on Saturday.  The previous two tournaments had been canceled or cut short by bad weather, but Saturday was a beautiful day for the archers, coaches, and spectators to be out.  Skyline student, Joshua Garner took second place for middle school boys, and Faith Crawford took third place for middle school girls.  It is a quiet sport.  The tournaments are well organized and executed with an emphasis on safety.  Dean Brixey enjoyed coffee from the concession stand and watched some of the morning flights.  He attended Skyline back in the 1950s when there were only four teachers.  He has watched the facility grow over the years and enjoys any opportunity to attend a function there, particularly since he has grandchildren in attendance.  It was a treat to spend a day around a gymnasium full of well behaved, thoughtful young people.  It is inspiring to see their confidence and their competence.  It is also pleasant to observe competition that is not aggressive.  They encourage each other.  The physical skill, the concentration and the rewards of diligent practice must surely carry over into academia and other aspects of life.  They are generous and helpful to each other.  For example, the Skyline R-V and Norwood R-1 Archery teams invite everyone to attend the Pirate State Qualifier Archery Tournament in the Norwood multi-purpose gym on Saturday, the 9th, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  This event is dedicated to the family of the Manes R-V archery coach who recently lost her 19 year old daughter in an auto accident during inclement weather.  This is another chance to get out and enjoy an exciting, if quiet, sporting event and to help someone who can really use the help.  That is one of the benefits of living in this beautiful part of the country—neighbor helping neighbor.  Champion!

Cowboy Jack will celebrate a birthday on February 7th.  He does not ride much these days, but he has some great stories to tell about trips down the trail.  Poetry has been written about him.  Aidan Acree is a second grade student at Skyline with a birthday on the 8th.  That is the special day for a special daughter-in-law, the beautiful mother of Champion granddaughters.  Joshua Garner, Skyline sixth grade archer, shares his birthday on the 13th with the lovely Claire Shannon Johnson, and Sondra Powell who attended Skyline some several years ago.  The 14th is for Ms. Shelby Ward, and the 15th for seventh grader, Jaime Casiano.  Madison Bradshaw, fifth grader, celebrates on the 16th.  We celebrate our friends and family as they complete another trip around the sun.  “Now’s the end of the beginning.  The days are flying faster than the sun.”  That is a line from Graeme Laird’s song over in Edinburgh at The Royal Oak–a folk music pub that has been around for a long time, known as the ‘song-pub.’  The many favorable responses to these music links included on the Champion News website only go to encourage the practice.

A pretty note comes to The Champion News (Rt.72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717) from Eva Henson Phillips down in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  She was writing on January 29th and said, “We are staying warm by the fire side.  It is 9◦ this a.m.  Been cold and windy.  Had 3 little snow flurries.  Not a big amount.  We still work at the thrift store and pick up items that are donated.”  A while back, her friend, Sally, had mentioned that ‘Tiny’ might be coming back to Ava for an alumni luncheon.  She did not get to come, but she included this note about her friend:  “I’ve known Sally Wagoner a long time.  When we went to church at Drury, she was among the beautiful teen girls.  I was about 10 and envied them because they could go and come as they pleased.  Everyone back there calls me ‘Tiny.’  Most think that is my name.”  She goes on to say that they are planning to come for the Champion School reunion.  “I so enjoy the day.  I walked every day to and from school in all weather.”  It will be a treat to see the whole bunch and the reunion is just a few short months away.  The time goes by quickly and much will have happened between now and then.

Heads are set spinning just trying to keep up with everything that is going on.  We seem to be in a time unlike any we have ever known when, for example, each of the cabinet members of the government seems to have been handpicked for a determination to dismantle the agency he or she leads.  And, once again, we are reminded by Frank Zappa that “Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex.”  We are living in a violent world, already over populated, with the population slated to sky rocket in the coming years.  The great Mahatma Gandhi said that there are seven blunders of the world that lead to violence:  “ Wealth without Work, Pleasure without Conscience, Knowledge without Character, Commerce without Morality, Science without Humanity, Worship without Sacrifice, Politics without Principal.”

Come on down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion for a chance to share your favorite philosopher with your friends or to go back in time just a little way to where things seemed normal.  Maybe Pat Smith will bring her spoons to play along with the Wednesday-jammers.  Perhaps she will bring her Bible where she is known to preserve important papers.  She is reported to have a copy of that epic poem there that starts, “Cowboy Jack was flat of his back…”  A search of the archives at has not located the poem, but surely it must be there somewhere.  Whether or not you find the poem, the cyber stroll through this site is well worth the effort.  You will enjoy it if you have a connection to the place because of your own history.  You might enjoy it because it is the kind of place you wish you had lived or the kind of place you hope to live someday.  Perhaps you should come in person—down to the end of the pavement where country roads meet near the confluence of The Clever and Aulde Fox Creek where optimism is a thing–Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

More beauty.