CHAMPION—April 6, 2015

The Krider family in Downtown Champion. Krider siblings in front, left to right, Harley, Vivian Krider Floyd, and Donald. Fae Krider to the left behind Harley, then Barbara Krider and Rita Krider.

        An eventful week in Champion started off in the regular way and then Harley and Barbara came home to look after their place.  With some help Harley finally finished up a project that he had started last year when he replaced a water line.  Over the course of the summer the landscaping will look as if nothing ever happened.  The only evidence of all the hard work will be in the free flowing water and the archives of The Champion News.  Then came Wednesday and the great confab in the Meeting Room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  In attendance were a number of regular participants:  Mr. and Mrs. Leach, Mr. and Mrs. Partell, various shy members of the family Stone and some who know that when they open their mouths they are obligated to say something more beautiful than silence.  What made this confab so great was the presence of Harley and Barbara Krider,  Donald and Rita Krider, Fae Upshaw Krider, and her brother Robert (The General) Upshaw, and the Krider brother’s sister, Vivian Krider Floyd and her son Larry Floyd and his wife, Gayla, and their little dog, Cloe.

Larry and Gayla Floyd and little dog, Cleo, visit with cousin Leslee Krider and Breauna. Taegan Krider is in
the back enjoying cousins Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman. It was a beautiful day for Champion gatherings.

It was a significant confab with laughter and knee slapping and reminiscing in spades. The next day was Thursday. It may be time for a new paragraph.

        A sultry and warm sunny Thursday found people working in the garden and others getting the lawn mower tuned up and ready.  Ron Hurst had everybody’s attention on the six o’clock news with dire predictions of dangerous weather.  He was on, off and on, all evening until just after midnight (about 12:20) when he said, “We see some rotation in Central Douglas County.  If you are two miles north of Champion, south of Cold Springs and east of Brushy Knob, south west of Denlow and due west of Vanzant you need to be in your storm shelter now.”  One of Champion’s favorite Ms. Powells lost the roof of her well house and soon thereafter an EF-1 tornado took the little building that had, at one time, been the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium in Downtown Champion and subsequently became a storage building for the Vanzant Country Store.  In its new location in Vanzant it was blown apart by the storm together with fifty beautiful old trees there on River Stillwood’s place.  She says the roof of her old house is a sieve and some windows were broken.  She lost a number of animals as well.  It looks as if her Grand Adventure of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail will have to be put on hold while she rebuilds.  She says it will be an adventure of another kind.  She will have help from good neighbors and the good wishes of her Champion friends.  Many big trees on the Black Gate Farm were broken or uprooted.  There was damage to the red barn that had survived when the Vanzant Post Office burned down years ago across Highway 95 from Esther’s house.  Esther’s friend and neighbor, Corrine Rogers, lost some trees and had a little damage to the underpinning of her house but otherwise her grandson Billy says they came through it fine.  Up W Highway, the perfect little log cabin that The General, who slept soundly through the storm, thinks was built by James Souder eighty to a hundred years ago is gone now.  Fortunately there are some good photographs of it, but it brings to mind the fragile nature of a number of delicate historic buildings in the area that are in decline.  The Vanzant Community Building is standing still (and chances are good that the regular Thursday night pot luck and bluegrass Jam will happen there on the 9th).  In three minutes on the ground this tornado brought significant damage, but luckily no injuries and no loss of life apart from livestock, which is indeed a loss.  There are messes to clean up and lots of firewood downed already for next winter, but there is hardly anyone who is not grateful for having been spared.  Good Friday was full of Revelation (Wow!), Resolution (We’ll be better prepared next time.) and Relief (Whew!)  It seems time for another new paragraph.

        Saturday morning between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. the total lunar eclipse reached its maximum bloody redness just as the whole thing slipped down behind the hill.  Probably Deward Henson’s granddaughter could see it well, but the folks living in Ezra’s old place missed it by that much.  Wilburn and Louise Hutchison also have an excellent vantage point and probably James and Jana Brixey do as well up on The High Road.  Maybe some of them saw the magic of the eclipse and will share their visions.  Saturday warmed up and was a glorious day—a day fit for the Champion Easter Parade.  Barbara Krider has won “Best Dressed,” hands down, in previous years when her haute couture armadillo handbags dazzled judges.  “Stunning” was the appellation.  This time the procession was elegant and reflective as the pageant made a clockwise circuit of the Square.   Posing with solemnity perched on a huge dismembered limb lying at the foot of the Colossal Stump (Vivian said, “first base,”) Barbara’s gaze was serene, and her little blue shoes were absolutely the cutest little things the judges had ever seen.  They were Mary Janes, for goodness sake, with little white straps and a round little heel and toe in the prettiest sky blue imaginable.  Once again Barbara’s style knocks it out of the park.  The Easter Bunny slept in on Sunday after all of Saturday’s excitement.  He was resting up to celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of The General and his amazing, uncomplaining, understanding, and kindly indulgent Missus.  Talk about a Champion!

        Birthday greetings go to Forrest Johnson on April 2nd.  He is a great musician, a gardener and adventurer hopefully coming back to Champion soon in good company.  Bud Hutchison has his birthday the 8th.  He’ll be trail riding through again in early May.  Dillon Watts celebrates on the 12th.  He is a natural entertainer like his Granddad.  He looks like his Grandad and would make the man proud.   Bob Berry celebrates on the 14th.  His friends hope he is taking his Studebaker and the fair Mary out for a spin.  Skyline Archer Morgan Whitacre also celebrates on the 14th.  She shares the day with second grader Coby Wallace.  Wyatt Lakey is a kindergarten student at Skyline.  His birthday will always be easy to remember.  Tax day—April 15.  He shares it with Vivian Krider Floyd, with Vivian’s nephew-in-law Dustin Cline, father of Drayson and Carson, and with Mr. George G. Jones , a gentleman of note.  The next day, the 16th, is given over to Olivia Trig Mastin who caught the biggest crawdad on record down at the Millpond last 4th of July.  Happy birthday all!

A photogenic deer enjoys some tender spring grass in Champion.

        Just a month ago there was still a great deal of snow on the ground.  Now Old Champions are being noisy on their lawn mowers trying to get ahead of the verdant growth likely caused by the beautiful snow.  In the last few days the internet is full of pictures of morel mushrooms.  Time is moving quickly.  Senator Sanders reminds us that is better show up than to give up.  Neil deGrass Tyson, the astrophysicists, tells us that we cannot blame politicians for the wretched condition in which we find our Nation and the world.  He contends that the electorate is to blame.  Help keep it a democracy by participating.  Vote every chance you get.  It has never been more important.  A friend admonishes to “Walk in Balance” and that is excellent advice in these tumultuous times.  A song for Spring lifts the spirits.  “And there was music, And there were wonderful roses, They tell me, In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!