A visit to the archives of The Champion News (www.championnews.us) gives us this:  “January 18, 2010:  Champion is a privileged place.  No resident or visitor, however casual or important, can deny it.  Even the National Resources Conservation Service has used Champion as a source and inspiration.  Champions know the NRCS to be part of the United States Department of Agriculture.  A soil scientist from Wisconsin traveling in these parts wrote, ‘It sticks and stacks.  It squeezes through cracks.  Between your toes goes mud.  It plops and drops and oozes and goozes.  Thick or thin, it’s mud!’  The piece goes on to extol virtues of mud and what a glorious and wonderful mud is this mud.  Champions agree that a little dirt cannot hurt and yet, while still not at all complaining, they indicate that they prefer their mud a little warmer.”  Ten years later, cozy around the fire with victuals aplenty, not much has seemed to have changed, but it is a different world.  We grow through what we go through.  A trip to town on a cold, sunny day reveals a winter beauty in exposed topography and subtle color contrasts.  Champions can enjoy the splendor of today, mud and all, particularly knowing that Spring is only 42 days away….what a wonderful world!

Still making beautiful music together.

Susanna and Wesley Hancock celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on January 19th.  She had some lovely things to say about him, how good-looking he is and what a great husband he has been.  He was born over on Fox Creek and grew up in Mountain Grove.  After high school he moved to Idaho where he and Susanna have lived all these years.  He has a raft of good looking kin-folks in this part of the country.  He and Susanna get down this way every now and then.  Congratulations!  Susanna said, “Wesley and I met at a local café called Hazel’s, where I was working at the time.  It was ‘love at first sight’ for me and I chased him unmercifully until I caught him or he slowed down and let me catch him.  We were married here in my hometown of Wilder, Idaho on January 10, 1963.  Yes, I still have my wedding dress which my aunt made.  We have been happily married for 57 years now with four fantastic kids, 12 loving grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.  We live across the field from where I was raised and are very active in our church and community.  God has really been good to us and we can’t thank Him enough for the blessings he has given us all these wonderful years.”  Susanna is following one of those Champion Rules by which to live:  When it is good say so.  “You’re perfect just the way your are, I wouldn’t change you if I could.”

How could we forget Dolly Parton’s birthday?  She is quite a bit older now than our Preeminent Champion, with whom she shares the day, the 19th.  Our Champion keeps us in necessities at the Historic Emporium, and Dolly, among many other accomplishments, has given away 130 million books as of December 2019, through her Imagination Library program, supported wholeheartedly in Champion.  J.C. Owsley is a cattle farmer who knows the difference between the price he gets for his cattle and the price of beef in the grocery store.  He used his birthday to promote the Organization for Competitive Markets, the mission of which is to define and advocate the proper role of government in the agricultural economy as a regulator and enforcer of rules necessary for markets that are fair, honest, accessible and competitive for all citizens.  That is a lofty goal, but he is a tall guy.  Skyline second grader, Blake McIntosh, shares his birthday on the 24th with kindergartener Lexi Webster.  Young Thomas Jarnigan can sing to his old dad that day.  The 26th is for eighth grader Brooke Johnston, and also for the Champion Cowboy’s sweetheart, Joyce.  Skyline alumnus, Katherine Alexander, is a great fan of the octopus and of his garden and will party big time on the 27th.  On the 28h, we remember a favorite turkey hunter, Dwight Collins.  He passed away last March, but his great smile and infectious laughter is part of the collective community memory in Vanzant.  The 29th is for Kimberly Wallace in the sixth grade.  “Gramma loves u!”  That is what Loneda Bennet wrote to Paislee Renay Robbins concerning her third birthday, which was on January 18th.  Gramma’s birthday will be on the 30th, along with James Brixey who was 40 years old in 2012.  Seventh grade’s Erika Strong also enjoys the 30th for her day.  Your friends in Champion wish you all the best of birthdays.  Enjoy.

For those who like to read for a little while before going to sleep, an excellent choice of reading material is the almanac.  There are a number of different almanacs available these days, but generally they are small, paperbacks of about 100 pages.  They are not liable to be damaged by having been dropped on the floor as you fall asleep, and not likely to damage you if you drop it on yourself.  Moreover, there is an abundance of information that can be helpful to you even if you are not a farmer or gardener—interesting things like astronomy, fishing, weather forecasts, and all kinds of helpful hints for things you can do when you get up tomorrow.  Rest well you Champions!  Looking on the Bright Side!