They all think they are Sycamores.

It seemed suddenly Sunday that all the bare trees had become sycamores. The beautiful sycamores gleam white against the backdrop of cedars and pines and reach up majestically from mustard colored grasses. The thin icing of each branch and twig on oak, walnut, elm and sassafras, hackberry, ash, redbud, and dogwood transformed them all to stately sycamores. It is a trick of the light to delight, and to those who can enjoy it through our windows, a beautiful sight in Champion!

Sunday’s moon.

Buzzards have returned to the area. A couple of them were spotted soaring over in Vanzant on Monday and several are roosting in Orville’s barn over on Cold Springs Road. They are not particularly attractive, but they perform an important function in nature. At this time of the year they are much appreciated as harbingers of spring, even on a frozen perch. Travelers to town on Monday were dazzled by the sun glinting on the ice coating almost everything. February has been a wild weather month—sunny and hot, rainy and dreary, now freezing and slick with a ring around the moon. “Thunder in February—frost in May,” is the old saying that has proven out over the years in this part of the world. Seeds are showing up on store shelves and that lifts the spirits of winter weary gardeners. In a few months the oppressive heat will be the subject of the conversation.

“Hot rolls or chocolate cake for Valentine’s?” she asked him. “Hot rolls,” he replied, and she made them, smiling at the flowers and candy and the card from him, still romantic after sixty years together. Lena said that one of the nicest Valentine’s gifts she had received from Jerry over the years was a weed-eater. It is the thought that counts. Sometimes he smiles at her and sings, “I love you just the way you are, I wouldn’t change you if I could.” Ricky Skaggs does that tune too, but he is not looking at Lena when he does it. It was Sweethearts on Parade at the Vanzant Jam on Thursday and all over the whole country. A day devoted to love and affection is just what we need at this juncture. It was a treat to have Sharry Lovan and Jack at the jam. They did not come on their motorcycles as they sometimes do when they visit Champion. Sharry has great things going on at the Star Theatre in Willow Springs and is about to record a CD in Branson. She grew up singing gospel songs with her family in about every little country church in the area. She said they tied the bass fiddle to the top of the car and off they would go. Plans are perking for the Champion Spring Fling—date to be announced–and we will hope to see them here again. There will be picking and singing out on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium and under the big oak tree that is the sign post for Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive in Downtown Champion. Music has such therapeutic properties. Somewhere between the cold medicine from the pharmacy isle at Henson’s Downtown G & G and the Thursday jam, The General showed dramatic signs of improvement over his cold. He reported having seen geese flying toward the southeast on Sunday.

Birthday wishes go out to Carson and Drayson Cline’s mother, Staci Krider Cline. Her birthday is February 23rd. They live over in Tennessee these days, but they get back to Champion often to visit with family and friends. Another year will go by with no aging for Frankie Proctor. His birthday is February 29th, so he is not due for a celebration until the year 2020. He will most likely improvise with the help of his family. His Aunt Amy Collins was born on February 20, 1930. She passed away on the 14th just shy of her 89th birthday. She was one of a dozen children in her family who grew up in and around Champion. Another of her nephews remarked recently that with the passing of Amy’s generation, we are closing the book on a great deal of history. He laments not having asked more questions of them. As he and the rest of us become the ‘old folks,’ will our grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews regret not having inquired of us details of our upbringing and our lives as young people? They are busy with their own lives now, so we will sit by the fire and wait, wondering if they have heard that tune, “I wonder how the old folks are at home.”

Skyline School students and teachers are busy. President’s Day and bad weather days have given them some time off, which is a good thing, but they will have to make that time up later, which is another good thing. Among the exciting things going on is another archery tournament. This one will occur on Saturday, March 2nd. The eighth grade class will have a concession stand, the proceeds from which will help them make a class trip to Silver Dollar City later in the year. Watching these talented, disciplined young people exhibit their considerable skill is an encouraging exercise for people who might spend too much time concerned over current events. We are reminded of that famous quote, “Real power is—I don’t even want to use the word—fear.” These young folks are not afraid and that is reassuring. They are gaining self-reliance and developing the critical thinking skills that will allow them to navigate the increasingly complicated world they will inherit. “May you live in interesting times” was thought to be an old Chinese curse, but it turns out that it may be attributed to a British Ambassador to China in 1936. Even though these days may remind us of what things were like in 1928 or 1936, we are, in today’s parlance, ‘chill’ here in Champion– Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion sparkles!