By way of a disclaimer, it is not necessarily the case that every Champion agrees with the observations and opinions as proffered in The Champion News. However, every Champion who has the good fortune to see an eagle light in a big dead tree up on WW Highway shares the joy and excitement. That includes the Cowboy, the Prominent Champion, the Essential Shop Keeper, Deward’s Granddaughter and numerous others. Deward’s daughter, Marian Conradi, who lived on the old home place, was a great appreciator of the eagle. Her note cards most often featured eagle pictures and she referenced the link of the great bird with patriotism. From her hill top vantage point she must have often seen a local resident pair and those migrating this time of the year. Her daughter, now on the old home place, the Henson Centennial Farm, sees them there occasionally and reported seeing a young one and one with a white head and tail on Friday. “Beautiful!” she said. Indeed!

The General was a little late getting to Champion on a recent Wednesday. He sent a message that he had an appointment at 9 am to get a new muffler and tailpipe. This prompted some Champions to ask if the muffler was for himself or for his truck. Then they suggested that when he arrived, they might require him to turn around for an inspection. By and by they moved on to other topics and let that opportunity for levity pass. Levity had its place however, when The General recalled that there was a day when a person might cough in order to disguise that funny noise that happens sometimes when digestive gases escape the human body. These days it is the cough that is to be disguised, but the method in reverse is not nearly as voluntary or predictable.

A local gardener, a while back, was said to have used fertilizer provided by miniature donkeys. That year all his produce was miniature with little bitty potatoes and tomatoes. Don Bishop reported a dismal harvest from his garden this year—small potatoes. He did not say what kind of fertilizer he used, but he said if he had a couple of big ones in addition, he might have enough sweet potatoes for a mess. There is a big doe with three fawns routinely patrolling and feasting upon his plantings. He would put her in his freezer but for Reba, who is not a fan of venison. Maybe the mama deer will wander onto neighboring property and be harvested by some hunter. A fat doe makes good eating. The season has commenced with much wind and rain, thunder and lightning. The harvest will be appreciated for the extreme conditions as much as for the kill and the resulting good food. Traffic has increased on country lanes so much as to exhaust vigilant yard dogs. Champions wish all the hunters good luck and a safe chase.

Political discourse swirls around ancient wood stoves, cafĂ© tables and over fences and the internet. A room can be squelched to a sudden silence at the arrival of someone perceived to hold unpopular (other) beliefs. Tension is so high as to vilify the nonconformist. Not since Sir Walter Scot introduced the term in 1816, has the cold shoulder been turned with such conviction. Real power, a prominent figure has declared, is fear. The fear of change and of altering values, the fear of losing something and of people with nothing getting something are some of the general fears that help drive the divisiveness. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” said another prominent figure in 1933. Someone said that courage is not not being afraid but doing what needs to be done even when you are afraid. Champions are courageous, though some are pleased to say we don’t know what we are talking about.

Home is the best thing there is according to Jerry Wagner. He is pleased to be spending these days with the Fair Lena. He admits not playing his fiddle like he should. There is nothing wrong with his playing; he just does not do it as often as he ought. Otherwise, he says they are doing fine, and he, like all of us, is looking forward to the time when we can all get together again. One of his tunes is “I wonder how the old folks are at home.” The Christmas cactus that Esther Wrinkles shared a decade ago is blooming mightily, making us remember her and the many old folks who have gone on to the ‘better home.’ We will all get there eventually. Champions! Looking on the Bright Side!