CHAMPION—January 26, 2015

        One of the many lovely things about living in Champion is that it is just not very crowded out here.  Almost everyone can find a spot where there is no other person to be seen.  For some the favored way to live is in solitude and for others solitude is a place of refuge from the cares and worries of the world if only for a few minutes every so once in a while.  Henry David Thoreau, who had much to say about nature and human existence, lived for a couple of years near Walden Pond to experience a Spartan kind of deliberate living.  The property belonged to his friend, R.W. Emerson, so he probably did not have to pay rent and recently some historian revealed that Henry’s mother did his laundry and brought his meals to him.  That does not detract from the value of his observations but perhaps speaks to the leisure he was given to observe.  It is nice to have a meeting place, like Henson’s Downtown G & G, where keenly observant folks can share at their leisure what they have seen and what they think about it with people who will share what they remember and with those who predict how it will all be in the future.  That is society and a pleasant thing to think about particularly on the way back to the peace and quiet of home.  Champion!

        Atmospheric conditions seem to be providing some spectacular sunsets these days.  The spectacular part might be that it is warm enough to step out and enjoy them.  While so many favorite trees just resemble vertical brush piles this time of the year, little things are swelling and beginning anew.   The ‘wild’ flowering quince is growing little dots of color and soon the witch-hazel will be decorating the creek banks with its delicate flowers and scent.  Meanwhile it is a treat to notice all the big nests high in the trees.  They will soon disappear in the foliage again.  Seed catalogues, almanacs, truckloads of manure and rafts of garden lore will soon be the topics of most conversations around the stove.

        The Skyline School parking lot was full of parents waiting for the school bus Saturday night as the Skyline Archery Team made its triumphant trip home from Skyline Urbana and the Archery Tournament there.  Congratulations to Skyline Archer Dylan Ford for shooting a career high and taking 2nd place.  Coach Lannie Hinote puts a lot of good effort into the team and the results are clear.  What an asset to have such a dedicated, hard-working, fun loving educator guiding the young people about to take over the running of the world.  A note into is from an excited 14 year old who says, “Ours is the voice of the climate change generation.  In the light of a collapsing world, what better time to be born than now?  Because this generation gets to rewrite history, gets to leave our mark on this earth.… We will be known as the generation, as the people on the planet that brought forth a healthy, just, sustainable world for every generation to come. … We are the generation of change.”  The Greatest Generation was followed by the Baby Boomers, then Generations X, Y, and Z.  Now comes along the Generation of Change.  It is to be hoped that they will have learned something from history.  Will Durant said, “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”  Good luck!

        “We’re not ‘hills.’  We are an eroded plateau:”  This says an Old Champion who, while as much an admirer of Abby Dyer as anybody in the Ozarks, is aggravated that she and other weather people say 37° when it is only 31° or they say 92° when it is 98°.  It aggravates him.  The old woman says, “You know where you live.  Add or subtract for yourself and don’t blame Abby and her bunch for being inaccurate when they live up on the plateau and clearly we live in the eroded area….6°s of erosion.”  He would like a more personalized weather report from the charming Ms. Dyer, one more spot-on accurate for the south and west sides of a couple of hills on which he pays the taxes.  Various invitations are being sent in the hopes that she will make an appearance at the Skyline Auxiliary Chili Supper in March.  One suggested she might do a weather report from the Veranda of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  The Auxiliary is excited about their fund raiser this year.  Plans are well underway and the prize to be awarded this time is a fire pit and a cast garden bench that will give some lucky person a place to enjoy some solitude or if he is even luckier the place to share some solitude.

        The big oil spill in the Yellowstone River is a tragic thing.  The beautiful clear natural water is what makes this part of the world such a treasure.  Not having oil seems to be a gift here.  There will be no fracking unless that is a way to access our considerable lead deposits.  They are still not altogether cleaned up from the Exxon Valdese spill in Alaska years ago, and the Gulf Coast is still a mess out in the areas where the tourists do not go.  Had it not been for a teenage girl with a cell phone, the disaster in Mayflower, Arkansas two years ago in March might not have been known.  It did not get much publicity.  Many people who were able to have left the area and the rest will be dealing with the health effects and economic disruption for generations.  The Canadian tar sands oil that spilled out of the pipeline there in Arkansas is another gift from Exxon.  Enough.  Thank you.

Exer Lynnie Hector Masters

        The United States Census U.S. and World Population Clock indicates that in the world there is a birth every 8 seconds and a death every 12 seconds.  That means that every 16 seconds the world gets a net gain of one new person.  Today the world population is 7,220,411,000+.  There are plenty of people, but the new ones do not replace the old ones.  Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759.  He was a hard working farmer, a great poet and passionate lover.  He died at the age of 37, leaving a large body of well-loved poetry, quite a number of children and several untidy personal relationships.  People come and go.  One left on January 25, 1975—a lifetime ago.  Forty years and one still misses her dear Mother.  Exer Lynnie Hector Masters was her name.

        The tune “Once More” was recorded at the Skyline VFD Picnic in August 2007.  It featured Lonnie Krider on mandolin, Wayne Anderson on banjo, Linda Clark-vocals, Brenda Dartt-bass, and Luke Dartt-guitar.  The Champion News is pleased to report that the YouTube video can be seen on line at  It appears on the post for January 25, 2015 and is accessible from a number of links over on the right hand side of the page—under “Music”  “Lonnie and Wayne” and under “Champion Videos.”  It is a gift that the musicians and their families will share these happy memories and, for all the aggravations associated with it, technology is also a gift.  “Once more I’d give a fortune if I could see you once more”…in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!