May 1, 2022

CHAMPION–April 25, 2022


Excitement comes along with warmer weather.  Darcy and Donnelle are out on a tear.  The pilgrims from Idaho, after several unnecessary turns, came ambling through the territory on Wednesday, bravely fording the deep, swift waters of Fox Creek to enjoy a family sit-a-spell around the old wood stove in Downtown Champion.  Charlie Smith was there too.  She came over from Mt. Home to hear her mom sit in with the Sometimes Porch Band.  If that were not enough, the northerners showed up at Vanzant where they feasted with family and friends.  It was there that the charming Donnellle was subjected to the roasting jibes of The General who ushered her into the family fold with his musical rendition of Reincarnation.  Where do cowgirls go when they die?

Jim and Kenny, those good looking cowboys from Mountain Grove, were caught sauntering down Cold Springs Road on Saturday on their handsome steeds.  It was the perfect day for a trail ride.  Andrew Harden expects that the Champion Spring trail ride, begun years ago by the late Bud Hutchison, will take place in mid-May.  He will share the date in time for local and distant equestrians to saddle up.

Jim and Kenny

Andrew came in third, on foot, in the adult division at the Skyline School Fun Run 5k Doughnut Dash on Saturday.  There was a good turn out for the event with 49 runners and many spectators.  They finished the race with water, bananas, doughnuts, awards, prizes, and praise for their good efforts.  As one of the two little rural schools left in Douglas County, it is a delight to see our Skyline R2 School flourishing and turning out the well prepared community leaders and solid citizens who will be running things before long.  The hard work and good guidance of the administration, teachers and all the staff is paying off.  Thank you.

J.c. Owsley writes that the highlight of his morning was watching two gobblers strut in the hayfield just out of range for a camera photo.  He said several hens were watching the display.  He is up in Jordan around Cross Timbers, but the same sight can be seen in these parts.  We have turkeys, deer, skunks, possums, groundhogs, turtles, ticks, and other critters populating and enjoying our beautiful countryside along with our farm animals and domesticated pets.  We acknowledge and grieve the turmoil in much of the world, while we are awash with gratitude for our good fortune in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


CHAMPION–April 18, 2022


When the creeks are up, Old Champions are just as pleased to stay at home, but any chance trip out this time of the year is a great delight.  From day to day things change in a remarkable way as redbuds and dogwoods replace the Bradford pears and serviceberry.  Wild peach trees, the result of someone casting a stone onto the roadside, bloom with a promise of wild summer fruit.  May apples have us poking around in the woods looking for certain treasures and being careful not to reveal the location of our own patches.  A few warm days will have us into full blown spring.  Can it be too soon?

In a pleasant internet exchange, a Champion up in Wolf Pen Hollow lamented that even though his family has been in these parts for generations, he did not know half as much about the Denlow area as The General.  The General responded, “The older we get, the easier it is to make up stories and there is no one from the previous generation to dispute our word.  Although, I did get a lot of information from Cletus Upshaw.”  Old stories circulate around the old stove at the Re-creation of the Historic Emporium and anyone lucky to get an earful is indeed lucky.  Occasionally, there is an offering of poetry as well.

“Is that you, Myrtle?” is an old song that made Myrtle Harris smile.  She smiled a lot, loved her flowers, and said, “God bless you” to many of us often.  Friends and family remember her on her birthday on April 19th.  Her charming sister’s big day was March 1, 2, 3, 4!  She said, “You’re smart.  Figure it out.”  Skyline fifth grader, Jordan Ellingsworth, has his birthday on the 23rd.  The 24th is for a tree climber, arrowhead hunter, Jacob Moffett, and for Shelby Wilson, eighth grader at Skyline.  Champion Ruby Proctor’s youngest son celebrates on the 26th.  We well remember Ruby’s good humor and sweet smile.  We celebrate you all and the beauty of home and family.  Glen Brandstedder likes to see his name in The Champion News and makes the trip to Vanzant most every Thursday for the bluegrass jam.  He can join in the song that did not get sung for Bob Berry last week.  He and Mary were off on a jaunt, having a good time.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  So begins George Orwell’s novel.  In 1983, Walter Cronkite said we have seen Big Brother in Stalin, Hitler, and Khomeini.  There have been several others since then, and now we have Putin.  Totalitarianism is a big word.  Mr. Orwell, in an interview after his book was published and popular, sometime in the early 1950s, said it is up to us to fight it.  The brave Ukrainians are doing just that.  Even as we applaud their heroics and wish them great success, we count our own many blessings.

The hummingbird scouts have arrived.  Gardeners are getting prepared and trying not to be impatient.  The weather has been dreary, but hearts are lite in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!