The New East Champion Fox Creek Bridge after its first significant submerging.

Was ever a week so beautifully begun?  It was an exceptionally sunny Sunday after so many monotonous dreary drenching days–dull and dank.  The landscape was washed and bright with sunlight dancing on every still pond, puddle and flowing stream.  The inconvenience of having to go the long way around instead of over the low water crossing was mitigated by clean distant vistas and burgeoning daffodils.  A bucket over in east-Champion, a mile from the square, registered six inches on Saturday afternoon.  We think the drought is over.  Certainly the New East Champion Fox Creek Bridge has enjoyed its first substantial submerging.  Farmers endure hardships connected with weather that others of us are spared.  By Monday some of those farmers were out burning brush, clearing fence rows and doing farm chores in the sunshine.

The date for the Second Annual Champion Spring Fling has yet to be set though several inquiries have been made.  Stay tuned for an update when one becomes available.  The Prominent Champion Girlfriend says that she will make the announcement as soon as Spring officially arrives.  That will be March 20th or very soon thereafter.  The General has already started the ball rolling for the annual Denlow/Fairview school reunion.  It is to be May 26, 2018, Memorial Day weekend, at the Denlow Church and Cemetery.  There will be a big pot-luck (side dishes and desserts requested) around noon and then a program and auction of donated items at 2 p.m.  The General says, “Anyone with or without talent may bring a musical instrument or [any who] can sing/partially carry a tune are encouraged to join the sensational Fox Creek Renegade Musical…” something or other.  He goes on and on, warning of unknown out of state visitors and extending the invitation to come early and stay late.  It is a great place to renew old friendships and to look over old ancestral haunts.  Hopes are that Pete and Bonnie Mullins will make it down from Wichita this year.  They always make it a sweeter affair.  It is almost three months away, but early planning makes for a successful event and it can be said that The General is on top of it.

March birthdays make for good celebrations as the gloom of winter seems to be behind us and everything is greening and growing.  Mrs. Barker who teaches at the Skyline School has her birthday on the 3rd of March.  Bridge aficionado, Linda, up in Norwood enjoys her birthday on the 5th.  Krenna Long lives further up the road north of Norwood and enjoys that day as well.  Rylee Sartor is a third grade student who will party on the 6th.  Bailey is a little girl who lives in Portland, Oregon and has Douglas County grandparents who have a chicken named Violet.  She and Violet are fast friends, though they do not get to see each other very often.  Bailey and family friend, Kay Dennis, both celebrate on the 9th.  Mrs. Vivod, first grade teacher at Skyline will have her celebration on the 10th.  Birthdays are a fine time to tell family and friends that they are loved and appreciated.  A sweet little fellow named Simon, who will be two years old in June, was the hit of a birthday party on Sunday.  The party was for a 70 year old fellow, but Simon was the star attraction, just being funny, sweet, and loveable.  In just 68 years he will be 70.  That will be the year 2086.  It seems like a long way off, but looking backwards, 68 years has flown by.  The weeks fly by.  Word comes from Ms. Helen at Skyline that the Douglas County Nurse will be at the school on the 13th rather than the 6th, since the school will be closed for Spring Break at that time.  Nurse Tina will be there doing blood pressure and other health screenings for the community.  We live in a nice place.

Kaitlyn McConnell’s Ozarks Alive program, “Preserving Old Time Music” over at the Historium in Gainesville Saturday was fine entertainment for those who could attend as well as for those who enjoyed it live-streamed over the internet.  It is splendid that new technology is helping us stay connected with some of the great old stuff.  Local longtime musicians shared stories and tunes including “Rabbit in the Pea Patch” and “The Home Brew Rag.”  Noel Scott, Alvie Dooms, David Scrivner, J.R. Johnston, H. K. Slivey and Glen Dale Robertson scrubbed off “The Irish Cobbler,” “Black Mountain Rag,” and “Statler’s Reel” while a few took to the dance floor for the pure joy of it.  Old melodies change through the generations but the appreciation the musicians have for their peers and predecessors is a constant.  More than one reference was made to Kenny Bushong who passed away recently.  Music is a rich community in this part of the world.

It will soon be time for Lem and Ned to come ambling up the driveway looking to see if they can be of any help.  In these days of almost endless discontent, it is indeed pleasant to have thoughtful, energetic young folks on the place.  They have been around and have developed what some folks consider a broad world-view–a Weltanschauung.  They can help to break our filter bubble and put us in the situation of seeing what other people think is true.  It is kind of staggering sometimes.  “Congratulations to any who can change their minds when presented with information that contradicts their beliefs.”  That is one of the “Lofty Thoughts” sent in this week to   Another comes in the form of a quote from Frederick Douglass who said, “They that can, may; I cannot.  The time for such argument is passed.  At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument is needed.  O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, today, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.”  He was a Republican.  He passed away in 1895.  Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas, for whom Douglas County was named when it was officially organized in 1856, passed away in 1861.  Over the years the political parties have switched ideologies and there is, at this moment, enough vitriol being poured into the Nation’s ear to plow a whole section if we could distill it for use in tractors.  Warming weather excites gardeners.  Those many past dry days would have been an excellent time to get plenty of manure on the soil that has been overworked and undernourished for years.  Now it is nice and wet—both the garden and the manure.  A guy named David Mallett wrote “The Garden Song.”  “Inch by inch, row by row Gonna make this garden grow Gonna mulch it deep and low Gonna make it fertile ground” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion after the rain.