April 16, 2023

CHAMPION—April 10, 2023



TLC stands for ‘tender loving care’ and for Theresa, Lynette, and Carol, a sweet gospel trio.  They play all around the area in nursing homes, the Senior Center, and were even featured at the Denlow School Reunion last year.  They joined the Vanzant Jam Thursday to celebrate their friend, Candi Bartsch, with old tunes they had played together in days gone by—“That Little Mountain Church House” and others.  There were sixteen in the circle that evening from all around the country, all with good memories of a good friend.  A student of David Scrivner, Candi played “Red Wing,” “Old Indiana,” “Florida Blues” and other old fiddle tunes.  Her husband, Jeff, says he will make it a point to be at the jam every Thursday going forward.  It is a good plan and good comfort for anyone needing some uplifting.  Music is good medicine.  “There stands a glass,” said Jerry Wagner.  He also said that he and Lena had been over to Seymour to see his sister Sally Prock and that she was having a good day.  To have a good day is our best hope.

Mistakes in The Champion News give us a chance to revisit a nice subject.  Beverly Coffman Emery’s birthday was April 7th, not April 6th as reported here.  The fun connected with her birthday is worth reporting twice.  At least once she was seen on the internet in a sombrero being Generally serenaded. “I’m surprised ain’t nobody shot you yet.”  Was a laughing comment from Butch Linder when this permutation of the “Champion Items” was new sixteen or so years ago, as he perceived the article to have taken a liberal bent.  He may or may not have meant it, but he is cordial these days and may appreciate his birthday, April 3rd, being mentioned, even if late.  Kim Linder Porter spilled those beans.  Check out www.championnews.us online going back to 2006 to see what other beans may have been spilt.

April 15 and 16 will be good days to plant root crops, according to the almanac.  Then the moon changes and the 20th and 21st will be good days for above the ground crops.  The 24th to the 26th will be good days for starting seed beds, planting flowers and other above the ground crops.  Asparagus is beginning to pop up.  Just ask Edie and Lee Richardson.  You can ask them most anything about gardening and bee keeping.  They are founts of knowledge and willing to share.  If you have willpower, try a trip to Sue’s Greenhouse up north of Norwood.  She seems to have acres of everything wonderful that you wanted and more acres of things you did not even know you wanted.  It is really spring.


The tornado that caused such havoc in Little Rock recently leapt over into Tennessee to tear things up there.  Fortunately, Readyville saw no serious injuries or loss of life, though there was a great deal of damage to an historic old mill and homes built in the early 1800s.  Champion daughter, Linda Watts, was visiting here when it happened.  She and her family cut their visit short to get back there to check on their business and property.  She said that though some of their workshops and vehicles were damaged, they were fortunate that the business office was spared with all their computers and records.  She also remarked that it was beautiful to see the community coming together to help get things back together.  Champion daughters are a source of much joy.  Deward’s great granddaughter Emily just enjoyed a trip to Greece.  Our Scots daughter is still in Argentina swimming with wild penguins and cormorants.  Another spent a few days here helping the old folks in the garden and the kitchen and then headed back to Atlanta to be at work on Monday morning.  Springtime company is some of what keeps Old Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!


CHAMPION—April 3, 2023


She did not want a funeral. She wanted a party. She got one. The enormous turn-out for Trish Davis was a testament to the many lives she touched. Friends will be planting forget-me-nots for her.

A wise man from the east (Vanzant) made the wise decision to enter Champion from the west on Wednesday in lieu of fording Old Fox Creek churning high and wide. Our “Ozarks Alive!” friend, Kaitlyn McConnell, came in from that direction too. Happily, her wide circuit brings her to the Bright Side now and then. She has put 31,000 miles on her car, just a year and a half old. She says her little car is not like a horse that can get used to a rough road, so she tries to take it easy, but she gets around.

Brenda & Gloriabell got into it in the Mt. Grove Post Office on Tuesday. “Just what proof do you have that I read your newspaper?” Friends can shout at each other, frowning and grinning at the same time. “Oh, yea?” It seems to have started over the obituary of a widow woman, though details were vague. Gloriabell folded her paper with a flourish, tucked it under her arm and strode out in a huff. An innocent bystander, just trying to mail a package, let amusement drown alarm and shouted, “You’ll read about this in The Champion News!” We can appreciate a little fun at the post office or anywhere. We poked fun at Big John, John the Generator, our Rt. 72 carrier, as he pulled into Champion in his big new mail truck. It is a beauty, even under all that mud. He says he can go about anywhere.

Wanda’s little dog, Janie, turns out to be a man-magnet. She is a tiny black and white critter with a long soft coat and a winning personality. She never leaves Wanda’s side. On a recent day she caught the attention of three different men. Wanda’s lovely smile indicated that she did not seem to mind. She sits by her sister-in-law at the Vanzant jam with little Janie in between them. On the other end of that same bench sat a couple of guys from Wisconsin, neither of them named John Johnson. Applause welcomed Jerry Wagner, a seldom seen but welcome sight. He allowed that he was doing well but said his sister Sally was not. She is currently in a nursing home in Seymour. Her many friends from all around the country wish her a speedy recovery from what ails her. Jerry asked us to “pardon me if I’m sentimental.” It was sweet to see Doug and Bonnie Bean and to hear Doug sing “I’d rather be here than wherever I am.”

Tim Tamburrino said, “Started out a normal morning, then we decided to take a short drive. Of the things seen were many early redbud trees, then right in the middle of the road was a Bald Eagle, enjoying his catch.” He went on to say that upon arriving home they saw the International Space Station moving from NNW to SSE into the shadow of the Earth. They were able to confirm with tracking their observation. Redbuds are showing themselves up on WW Highway too. Soon enough we will have dogwoods. A hummingbird feeder is going out in Champion this week.

Gary Jones

Daniel Roth of Elixir Farm hand-drew a new logo for Jean’s Healthway. It features a honeybee and echinacea, representing some of the many things relating to a health food store—agriculture, functional medicine, local economies, community, planet health, natural birth, food as medicine, etc. The store has been a boon to Ava and the whole area since 1979, and we are glad to have it still being such a bright spot on the square.

April is a beautiful month for birthdays. Champion grandson Dillon Watts has a birthday on April 12th. He has a lovely wife and baby son and plays the banjo and sings. Studebaker Bob Berry celebrates on the 14th. Mary will be sure he has a nice day. The 15th is for Dustin Cline, Champion son in law, living in Tennessee now with Staci and their two sons. Staci’s aunt Vivian Floyd, who grew up in Champion, shares the day with Dustin. That is Income Tax Day and the big day for Wyatt Lakey who is an eight grade student at Skyline. Saturday, April 15th some friends will have a one o’clock lunch at Rockbridge to remember Gary Jones on his birthday. For many reasons, they think of him as a Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 4, 2023

CHAMPION—March 27, 2023



Warm sunny days help us dry out from last week’s torrent. They help us lift our spirits as we lift our garden tools out of the shed again. Battered daffodils still show their lovely faces to the sun, even as they are replaced by the yellow polka dots of dandelions in our lawns. Sun in our faces help dry the tears as we empathize with the storm victims out west and in the deep south, earthquake and war victims, victims of poverty and neglect the world over, and as we mourn our own hard losses. It is true that the longer we live the more people we know who are no longer living. Each loss is weight. We say to each other, “Keep your heart light,” knowing that is not easy to do. We may linger over the long list of loved ones and dear ones who have left us with memories of themselves and the part they shared in our lives. Lucky are we to have our lives still going on and to have them filled with dear ones still. “As the life of a flower, as a breath or a sigh, so the years that we live as a dream hasten by.” Laura Newell (1854-1916) wrote that old hymn and many others and was described as a very modest and unpretentious lady, who went about her daily work as cheerfully as her poems advise others to do.

Cheerfully, we acknowledge the birthday of Skyline 8th grader Jhonn Phillip Rhodes on April 1st. April 4th is for Skyline first grader, Frederick Smith. The 5th is for Madelyn’s mom, born in 1984, and the 6th is for Beverly Coffman Emory, “born to be wild!” Just ask her. Bud Hutchison was born April 8, 1935. He was a farmer and trail ride boss whose trail rides are still going on, though he went on in 2018. We miss him but still have smiles and many good stories associated with him. Skyline School’s superintendent, Donnie Luna, and special education teacher, Mrs. Mayberry, will both have their birthdays on Easter Sunday this year. Happy birthday to all of you in a beautiful time of the year to celebrate.

Back in 2002, the Herald printed weekly installments of “The Black Kettle Ride” by Cinita Brown, which had been published in 1997. Lorene Johnston cut them out of the paper and pasted them in her notebook. It took 26 pages. The story is about Tom Brown and his two newborn twin daughters as they join other pioneer families traveling by wagon train from Indiana to Missouri in 1844. The book is still available from various sources online, but the yellowing newspaper print adds something. Pasted next on the last page we find a “Thank You” from Logan and Cinita Brown for all the kind attention they received in honor of their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Lorene’s handwritten note said they were marred in 1952. Her papers are proving to be a gold mine. The Grand Old Opera, the Wagon Wheel Bluegrass Park and the Pioneer Descendants Gathering are all featured among them. Our own piles of paper accumulated over decades are calling on us to sift, separate, save and disperse. We should have done that last winter. It is spring now.

We keep some good songs in our heads as we go on about our daily work getting the garden ready. School is resuming after a break and there will be music there. Students, teachers, and staff are all working hard and learning. Merchants and farmers are doing what comes next in their busy days and we all do the best we can to stay optimistic as Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!