March 26, 2021

CHAMPION—March 22, 2021



Phyllis Proctor is about to have her second vaccination.  She said Pete had chills and felt bad for a while after his second shot, but it sounds like he is doing better.  He and other members of the American Legion have stayed busy this whole last year officiating at the funerals of Veterans.  They were sometimes called on twice a day and were often called far afield.  It is a moving ceremony for the families of those Veterans being honored and they appreciate the solemnity and dedication of the Legion officers.  Recently another post up north of here has been certified to perform the ceremony which will ease things for Pete and our other local officers.  When Thomas Edison needed a wheelchair, his friend, Henry Ford, bought one too so they could have wheel chair races.  That is a mark of real friendship.  Phyllis said that the American Legion has wheel chairs out on loan to local Veterans.  If you have one you no longer need, they will gladly accept it as a donation and will put it to good use.

Elderberries, lilacs, dogwoods and those beautiful non-bearing Bartlett pear trees are swelling and budding and leafing.  March is marching on as we progress into Spring.  Does that make us progressive?  Two people looking at the same field may see it differently.  One sees a sea of weeds to be dealt with, while the other rejoices in the wildflowers.  Attitude might be the difference.  Looking back through the archives here, the same bunches of daffodils, the same creek crossings and distant vistas show up about the same time every year.  The website began to regularly have photos attached in about 2014.  For the seven years before that, all the pictures were painted with words.  Music links came along a couple of years ago, so progress is being made.  A neighbor in Vera Cruz called to introduce TCN to Lou and Peter Berryman who are purveyors of old time music in the folk/cabaret tradition.  There is something about the old time music that is comforting and reassuring.  Describe what progress you are making or what comforts and reassures you in an email to or let John deliver those good words in a letter to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717-9446.

Some of the synonyms for the word ‘liberal’ are tolerant, unprejudiced, broad-minded, open-minded, enlightened, and forbearing.  Others are abundant, ample, and generous.  Marge is liberal in her use of chocolate chips when she makes cookies for Doug.  She has not been baking much lately, so he has had to eat store-bought cookies.  “Poor Doug,” she says, but he is not complaining.  (She did write that she made brownies using their abundant garden zucchini that she shredded, froze and brought with her from Wyoming.)  Esther always liked to cut her pies in five pieces so that everyone had a generous slice.  Days are suddenly getting longer and warmer with copious amounts of sunshine.  Among the few complainers concerning the changes of the seasons are those with ample dislike for lawn mowing and picking ticks, yet they forbear to keep peace in the family.  ‘Family’ is another of those words full of deep good meaning, though there are hardly any other words that convey that special significance.  If you are lucky enough to be part of a tolerant, accepting, affectionate family then you are liberally blessed.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 20, 2021

CHAMPION—March15, 2021



The soothsayer said, “Beware the Ides of March!” We can be wary any day of things unknown and we can celebrate any day for the good things we do know. As to good things, the 15th of March is the birth anniversary of Justice Ruth B. Ginsberg, U.S Supreme Court, of Sam Lightning Hopkins, Texas blues man, of Jacob Masters, 3rd baseman batting .400 and of his second cousin, several years his senior far over the sea. Champions stay on the lookout for good things every day of the year, unconcerned about the unknown. We know about St. Patrick’s Day, however, and will enjoy our individual and family ways to observe the occasion. We think of corned beef and cabbage, shamrocks, leprechauns, sparkling castles on the Emerald Isle and sweet Molly Malone. Many of us are descendants of the Irish emigrants who arrived here a hundred years ago. R.D. says, “It’s like the old boy says, everybody’s got to be somewhere.”

Knowing full well that Champion’s official last frost date is May 10th, gardeners are eager and struggling not to be too early with their efforts. The on-line almanac says the 21st and 22nd will be excellent for sowing seedbeds and flower gardens. Lawns will soon enough need to be mowed, so let the grumbling begin.

Champion mail. [enlarge]

A favorite percussionist favored the Sometimes Porch Band at Champion Wednesday with her spoons. Spoons themselves are prehistoric, and you can say there have been spoon players around since the invention of the spoon. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all played spoons and now a retired foot-soldier of the USPS is a master of the art—a virtuoso. She is a fan of The Champion News and is known to have at least one article preserved in her bible. That one was about Cowboy Jack when he landed flat on his back in a cold creek a few years ago. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Hopes are the water going over the Clever Creek Bridge will recede enough by Wednesday to allow the band to meet up again for a few more tunes. Music is one of the great unifiers of people and a great medicine for what ails you. “Keep a little song handy where ever you go and nothing can ever go wrong.” That is what Rudy Valley said.


How delicious it is to have our wonderful water table recharged with gentle rains as our daffodils are blooming to herald the emergence of all the other spring delights. Among those are the mushrooms that are considered treasures in this particular part of the world. The season begins after a few warm nights. The seasons change, times changes and the configuration of the community changes as people pass on or move away and as others arrive looking for a home. We are reminded that in the big picture, we are all transients. So we welcome our new neighbors and enjoy hearing from Champions who live elsewhere now, but still consider this home. Hovey Henson writes from Houston, Texas to say he and Dawn have recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary and to proclaim they are still hopelessly in love. While he is at it, he shamelessly brags about their brilliant granddaughter, Avery. Dawn says he is obnoxious about it, but he does not care. We enjoy his kind words and are reminded that words count and have consequences. An off-hand remark or one carefully constructed can have unforeseen and unintended effects. In hopes for peace and understanding, we endeavor, though not always with success, to choose our words wisely in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 12, 2021

CHAMPION—March 8, 2021


Green to Gold to Green again…

J.c. says “Meet Becky. Abilene’s legacy…”

An Old Champion is working to get the potatoes in the ground before St. Patrick’s Day. That is what his Mother-in-law told him to do, and he took everything she said to heart. His yield was not very good last year on account of the borers, but planting time is always a wonderful time for optimism. He favors the Yukon Gold and has ten pounds of seed to show he is serious about it. Young Felix the Farmer is probably seeing garlic he helped to plant poke up through the mulch. Children with their hands in the dirt will be feeding us the healthy stuff in years to come. He has some great teachers to show him how. J.C. Owsley up in Cross Timbers (or over in Jordan), has heirloom tomatoes sprouting. He has Lone Star Abilene long-horn fertilizer, as well as all the horse hockey he wants to spread in his patch. He will tell you himself that he is a lucky man—lucky for having the lovely Kay by his side and exceptional children and grandchildren. He also seems to enjoy what he does for a living. Not everyone can say that. Perhaps he will join a Champion Trail Ride sometime in May and will lollygag out on the wide veranda to describe how he weathered the winter.

Due south of the Vanzant Convention and Wisdom Center, at one time known as The Bloated Goat, the “Chateau B & G” is serving up Biscuits and Gravy to a select clientele. With possible rare exception, it would seem a person needs to be blood kin of the cook in order to get a table. Food critics rave about biscuits from scratch. Does he use butter, shortening, or lard? Buttermilk? His secret is safe in the family. Ice cream season is on the horizon, however, and it is said that standards loosen so that practically anyone can enjoy the famous fancy frozen delight in an al fresco experience if invited. ‘If invited’ is the caveat. There will be time to curry favor before summer.

Spring Peeper

The green that turned to gold in December is green again and the swift subtle shifts in color enchant the eye. “I wandered lonely as a Cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden Daffodils; Along the lake, beneath the trees, Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.” Wordsworth paints the picture for us. See the whole poem in the March 5th, 2018 posting here and wander through the archives of Marches going back to 2007, if you have forgotten what glorious spring wonders are soon coming our way. Linda Clark over Ava way reported hearing a chorus of spring peepers and Ms. Oyl in Champion East was pleased to report the same.

Bob calls down to Champion from way up on Fox Creek every week or two to say they are well and miss their visits to the Bright Side. He calls early in the morning while Ethel is probably doing the breakfast dishes. Then she will spend some pleasant hours opening gates for him. Farmers do the hard work no matter what the weather and we have them and many others to thank for the relative ease with which we have passed these recent months. They have been significantly more difficult for countless others. The time changes on Saturday and we look for good changes for those suffering hardship around the country. For us, we are counting on garden starts and music to help us keep our hearts light as we Spring forth in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 6, 2021

CHAMPION—March 1, 2021


What is the best way to water a Christmas cactus? Donna DeWitt and a young nurse at the Douglas County Health Department had that conversation while Donna and Jim were waiting the requisite 15 minutes after their vaccination to verify no reaction. Others, who were also waiting, joined in the discussion. Some say watering from the bottom is the best. Another heard that a few ice cubes every now and then was the best way. The nurse said her plant came from her great grandmother and that many in her family have descendants of the same plant. Fifteen minutes is enough time for a lot of conversation. Jim was happy to get his vaccination on the occasion of his 80th birthday. He had received some funny birthday cards which he very much appreciated. He was looking forward to being comfortable about being more active. Donna thought he was active enough, reporting that he had multiple episodes of snow shoveling during the recent storm. They weathered it well, but some of their children in Texas had serious problems.

February was fraught with difficulties. Meteorologists are saying the Valentine week ice storm was not necessarily a ‘one off’ event as climate change advances. In the future, southern building contractors may be adding insulation and rethinking running a water line through the attic to the ice maker in the refrigerator. Driver education classes may enhance the curriculum for driving on snow and ice. Learning from complications is progress. Does that make us progressive? We march into March with optimism and a willingness to learn.

National Guard troops shepherded scores of second timers through the vaccine maze on Saturday. Local health care personnel, firefighters, law enforcers and others joined the Douglas County Health Department in generating another efficient event. A fleet of golf carts driven by civilian solid citizens ferried folks from and to their distant parked cars on a beautiful day when they might have otherwise been playing golf. Alighting from one, an Old Champion complimented the driver on the excellent organization. He said that he really appreciated hearing that. His hat said, “City of Ava.” She asked, “Do you work for the city?” “I’m the Mayor!” said Burrely Loftin, “I love this town!” “Then, you’ll read about yourself in The Champion News!” He was pleased to say he knew a lot about Champion. Stan Lovan had told him about Wednesday gatherings at the Historic Emporium. Besides that, he had been well-acquainted with Clifford and Esther Wrinkles as well as numerous others in the area. He said Esther was a good friend and he enjoyed dinner at her house on occasion after their move to Vanzant. In the brief encounter it was clear that he is enjoying being Mayor of the Treasure of the Ozarks. City administrators have serious responsibilities and seem to be doing an excellent job. For some reason, other administrators come to mind these days: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, real Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!

The buzzards are back!