Kenneth and Dawn Henson — Frances and Wayne Sutherland

In addition to all the deliciousness of approaching Spring with longer days—thanks to daylight savings time (not really), and the buttery profusion of daffodils—thanks to homemakers who planted them generations ago, there are many momentous occasions to celebrate. Dawn and Kenneth (Hovie) Henson, down in Houston, Texas celebrated 53 years of marriage on March the 3rd. Their Champion friends will look forward to seeing them this summer when they tour the Bright Side. We will sing, “Grow Old With Me” and say, “Happy anniversary!” to you two and to Frances and Wayne Sutherland who marched forth on the 4th of March seventy years ago and got married. She was 17 and he was 19. They married over the state line in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It was the fad at the time, but they had to take their mothers along to sign for them. They live up in Wright County behind a mailbox that looks like a tractor and next door to about the sweetest neighbor they could have. Mandolinist, Sue Murphy, had a birthday on March 8th, which happens to be International Woman’s Day. We can thank Sue and all of today’s stand-up women, and our Mothers and all the brilliant women who have come before us and those to come for making the world better. Miss Bailey Foulke is one of those exciting young women. She is also a cousin of young Felix Osage Maverick and friend of the one legged chicken, Violet. Bailey shares her birthday on the 9th with local broom maker and Chatty Cathy, Kay Dennis. Skyline third grader, Brice King, shares his big day with teacher, Mrs. Vivod. Mrs. Casper, Skyline impresario, has the 12th for her special day. That day was also special for a couple of nice men who have passed away. Geoff Metroplos, passed away several years ago, but is well remembered for how meticulous he was in his many varied skills. Champion musician, J.R. Johnston, passed away last summer. He was recently joined again by his wife of 68 years. Janet passed away February 25th. They were the kind of folks a person would choose for kinfolks if they had a choice.

The 14th of March (3/14) is Pi day. The Greek letter is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—approximately 3.14159. It has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. Exciting! On Saturday morning of Pi day, March 14 (7 a.m. to 10 a.m.) come over to the Skyline School for biscuits and gravy (and sausage and eggs, but no pie) at a get-together for the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department. Board members are being elected and it will be a chance to have your voice heard as you support this vital little organization that protects our lives and property.

The Ides of March, beware! Skyline alumnus, Six-foot-Sam, currently of Auld Reekie, celebrates that auspicious day with distant cousin, Jacob Masters, 30 years his junior, and Irish Ursula, mother of Demetri. Elizabeth Brown, nee Mastrangelo, was 23 in on March 16, 2013. The forever-young and lovely, Ms. Helen Batten, also enjoys the 16th as her birthday. Skyline Champion 8th grade archer, Myla Sarginson, has the 18th to enjoy her party.

One of the farmer’s and planter’s almanacs informs us that this year the spring equinox will occur on March 19th in all the U.S. time zones, making it the earliest spring we will have seen in our lives so far. The last time spring arrived this early was in 1896. The 19th is Thursday, so the Vanzant jammers will be whooping it up in time to the music. Starting at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21st, Duke McIntosh and his band, New Grass Attack Bluegrass, will give a free performance at the Skyline School to usher in the season. Alumni going back to Skyline’s beginning are invited to attend, as well as you newcomers to the area who would like to check out the school and get to know your neighbors. Doug Hutchison, a good neighbor if ever there was one, will be cooking fish and French fries and there will be Cole slaw and baked beans…all for $10.00 a plate! The proceeds will go to the school, which the school can surely use. Superintendent Donnie Luna will have information concerning the upcoming tax levy vote on April 7th. Our current rate is $2.77, well below the state average operating levy of $3.67. The initiative on the ballot proposes to raise our levy up to $3.43, the magic number that will make the school eligible for a substantial amount of additional funding from the state and federal government. Many local people remember when Skyline was built back in the 1950s. There have been additions and upgrades over the years, but at this time, the infrastructure could use some serious help, i.e. the gym roof, the HVAC system, etc. Moreover, the 2018 vote to raise the minimum wage has a significant impact on the annual operating budget. Residents, who have no interest in the school, still have interest in their taxes. If we lose the school and are thrown into neighboring districts, the tax levy will jump up to $3.66, at least, without a vote on the matter. Education is about the best investment to be made. After all, these bright young folks will be running the world soon.

Beautiful days have old gardeners weary at day’s end. Seedlings are full of promise. We pause in our labors to think of Tennessee neighbors suffering great loss from last week’s raging storm and of our friends and families across the country and the world who may be in danger of the virus. Hobert Moffis, now 100 years old, grew up over around Dora and has spent most of his interesting and productive life in the West Plains area. He plays fiddle and mandolin and says, “Mind your own business. Don’t over eat.” And he says, “Be as happy as you can.” Try to keep a happy heart in troubled times as we endeavor to do in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

A Champion Circle Garden