Nearby Bears

It was an unusual time in Champion and surrounding areas on Monday morning as residents were not in their second day of recovery from the Skyline VFD Picnic. In years past the post-picnic mantra has been: “Great picnic! Whew!” Sarah Cloud, who has deep Champion connections, lives in Hurricane, Utah. She said she still has glassware that she won in a dime toss at the Skyline VFD Picnic in 1992. “Grandma Bonnie always tried to bring us kids down for it. Sure miss being close enough to drop in.” She is glad to be getting tickets in the mail for the “No 2020 Skyline Picnic Quilt.” It will not be as much fun as the picnic, but she is helping to keep the Skyline VFD going so there can be a 2021 Skyline Picnic.

No 2020 Skyline Picnic Quilt

Joy Ann Coonts Firrell reported “Hurricane in Iowa” and posted pictures of widespread destruction caused by 100mph hurricane-level winds that raged across Iowa and Illinois last week. The governor said that 10 million acres of cropland was damaged, as well as many silos and much other damage. Recovery will take some time. On her next visit to Champion she will have stories to tell about the Derecho. She will be getting some tickets too, just to help her remember her friends and family in Booger County who are wishing her well.

Diane Strickland spent ten years in Michigan, but she is back home in the Ozarks now and living over in West Plains. She makes a trip to Champion now and again just for nostalgia and for closeness with family. She will be interested to know that somewhere within a radius of few miles of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion live multiple black bears. She should have been around Wednesday when The General sang his special version of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain.” His grandsons denied having taught him the song. It’s a good idea to sing when you are out in the wooly woods of deep Central Booger County. Sing out loud and, if you see a bear, try hard not to run.

In a bit of good news, a Champion from Champion-East found the horse that he had thought might have been stolen the night before. “False alarm! There is a swamp on my west border, about half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. I started at the top and worked south. Visibility was about ten feet between plants and vines. After thirty-five minutes I’m hearing branches snapping and Moe about ran me over and out he went back into our pasture.” He thanked friends, near and far, who had commiserated with him in his loss. They joined him in relief. “I’m getting dumber by the day,” he said, but that could be said of all of us. Banjo player, Steve Martin, just had his 75th birthday. He said, “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”

A Skyline School alumnus writes in to advocate for kindness. “Imagine,” he said, “if the guys that went to high school with young Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. had only been nice to him, how different he might have turned out.” His class mates at the duPont Manual High School in Louisville Kentucky who grew up together might have been unkind to a newcomer from Athens, Alabama. The girls may have spurned him. Nevertheless, he has become one of the most influential people in the world. One might think that his experience with polio as a young child would have made him compassionate with people who lose their financial security to illness.  He said his family “almost went broke” because of the costs related to his illness.  Well, we do not know what all has happened in his life that has caused him to be the way he is–with all that money and all that influence and still so few good works.  He is only 78, so there is time for him yet.  Bless his heart.

It turns out that it was “The Young and the Restless” that has had the Cowboy’s attention at 11:30 a.m. most weekdays for decades. They have stopped filming now due to the pandemic and have defaulted to old re-runs from years gone by. The Cowboy is aggravated about the whole thing and was spotted in Champion at about 11:30 last Wednesday a little agitated. Agitation is easy these days. A current subject for it might be the lack of broadband internet in rural Douglas County. The White River Valley folks are said to have the money and to have been in the planning for years. Now would be a good time to get it going. Feel free to address other concerns with Senator Blunt at (202) 224-5721, Senator Hawley at (202) 224-6154 and Congressman Smith at (202)225-4404. They appreciate your call.

Call some old friends or neighbors today. You never know whose spirit you might lift. Find out about their gardens and tell them if you have seen bears. Ask them to tell you something for which they are grateful. The answer may be something as simple as wildflowers growing by the garden fence. One Old Champion is grateful that, so far, Wilbur has only been interested in walnuts, pokeberries and oregano.

There is no glory in defeating a weak opponent. The combination of events and circumstances (the virus, bad weather, aggravation, disappointment, isolation, politics, unrequited love, etc.) has produced a ripsnorting humdinger of an opponent. We endeavor to persevere, helping each other in whatever ways we can. Nothing makes a person feel better than helping someone else. Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!

Wilbur snacks…