Vera Cruz

Twenty-seven tornadoes in the general area and four confirmed in Douglas County made for an exciting beginning to the week.  Downed trees and washed out roads are still making things inconvenient for some for a while, but the gentlemen who run the road graders on the county roads have made good progress on repairing the damage.  A few hours without power for one Champion family was a reminder of what it was like in the old days.  They are fortunate to have gravity fed spring water and a gas cook stove, so a lack of power is not really a big deal for them.  Still, the quiet and the disconnect from the tumult of the troubled world was kind of a gift.  A few quiet hours of candlelight and reminiscing were pleasant enough.  Some with all-electric homes were without power for six days.  They enjoyed the extended experience of life as their forbearers knew it.  However, the old timers considered hauling water for every need as just part of every-day life and early to bed was the way everyone did it.  Champions will be grateful that it was not worse and will extend their hands to help neighbors with difficulties.  Linda Clark posted pictures on the internet of the flood damage at Vera Cruz.  A camper lost his life there.  It is important to heed the warnings.

The Champion Spring Fling on Saturday the 11th will be an excellent chance for friends and neighbors to share their stories, to compare their rain fall totals and harken back to accounts of historic storms and floods.  It will also be a good chance to enjoy some excellent food, music by local jammers and the fellowship of friends and neighbors.  Bring your lawn chairs, your sun hats or parasols if it is going to be sunny, or your wraps if you expect it to be chilly, maybe an umbrella.  Who knows?  Festivities will begin around 11 in the morning and will go on well into the afternoon.  Everyone is welcome.  Kathy Pollock is part of an internet group called Southern Missouri History, Families and Photographs.  She posted a picture taken at the New Hope Cemetery with Ferley Lambert, Tom Hancock, Frank Giles, Floyd Hancock, Tom Dobbs, J.T. Shelton, CC Cooley and Tolbert Shelton.  Go to to get a gander at these Champions of Yore.  Come to the Spring Fling and enjoy Champion Today!

Oliver Sacks was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science and author.  A friend recently shared an excerpt from his book, Everything In Its Place, published after his death in 2015.  He said that in 40 years of medical practice he found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases:  music and gardens  He was known to be a compassionate, caring person.  He use the words ‘biophilia,’ the love of nature and living things, and ‘hortophilia,’ the desire to interact with, manage and tend nature.  He said the effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological.  Sacks wrote a book called Musicophilia:  Tales of Music and the Brain and another called Gratitude.  These will go on the Champion Reading List.  Gratitude comes in to play when we talk about dear friends who are willing to share the good things.

May the 3rd would have been Pete Seeger’s 100th birthday.  He passed away in 2014, leaving us with a great treasure trove of music.  It was said of him that he knew there were possibilities that we could–through collective participation and struggle–build a better world.  So now that the hickory leaves are as big a squirrel’s ears, we can get out there and plant that corn while singing, “This Land is Your Land.”  Back in 1950 Seeger was a member of the singing group the Weavers.  Their recording of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene,” topped the chart for 13 weeks.  Do you sometimes get a song in your head that just stays with you?  That happens to The Prominent Champion with, “Give me some green alligators, some long necked geese some humpty back camels and some chimpanzees…”  He saw a monkey out on 95 Highway one night coming home, just ask him.

Twenty-four Upshaw family members gathered at the Vanzant Community Building on Sunday the 26th of April.  They came from near and far for the fun of it and The General said, “I was amazed how well some behaved.”  Birthday celebrants, expected to behave but have fun on their special days include Skyline 5th grader, Gracie Nava, on the 7th and kindergarten’s Timmy Logan on the 8th.  Bonnie Brixie Mullins celebrates on the 9th.  She probably has some interesting stories to tell about growing up in these parts and attending school in the exciting berg of Denlow.  Fourth grader, Conner Jonas, will have his big day on the 12th sharing it with all America’s mothers.  On Mother’s Day, phones will be ringing off the hook.  ‘Off the hook’ may be a phrase that is slipping out of use since most telephones are no longer the kind that hang up on the wall or sit on a table.  When a modern phone recently ceased to function, an old fashioned rotary dial phone was put in its place.  It is an antique.  Old people smile when they see it, enjoying the memories.  Youngsters just think it is funny looking and cannot imagine putting their finger in the hole and turning the dial around.

J.C. Owsley called in to Champion on Saturday looking for more information about the running gunfight in Vanzant.  Per capita, Booger County has as much mischief and lawlessness as many other parts of the country.  Still, overall, we feel safe.  Mother’s Day provides an opportunity for everyone to adhere to some sound motherly advice:  “Just act like you have good sense.”  That is what we try to do every day in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Ferley Lambert, Tom Hancock, Frank Giles, Floyd Hancock, Tom Dobbs, J.T. Shelton, CC Cooley and Tolbert Shelton