Things got altogether better with the weather last week.  Kids returned to school.  Champion geezers got to town for grub.  Blaine Denlow’s dear old Dad pulled a guy out of the mud and then got stuck in his little Chevy and then got stuck in his dump truck and then had a two mile hike in the rain to get the USDA inspector back to her rig.  John Homer came to the rescue.  It was just another Wednesday.  A bunch of Champions came to the Historic Emporium that day to celebrate the young and restless Squire of Coonts Holler on the occasion of his birthday the day before.  Sweet treats, music, laughter, lies and true accounts of his many exploits kept the throng entertained until his abrupt departure for his daily 11:30 appointment with his television friends in Genoa City.  Reaching back to The Champion News of April 30, 2012 (www.championnews.us) we find the poem that Pat Smith may still have preserved in her Bible:  “Cowhand Jack would have landed flat of his back if the horse had thrown him off on the ground.  Instead of a ‘thud’ and a ‘grunt,’ it was a ‘slosh’ and a ‘splash’ and a true wonder the Cowboy didn’t drowned.  They had a nice plunge but forgot the sponge and left the barber (Butch Linder) astounded.  There will be stories to tell of how he rose and fell, but this one in truth is well-grounded.”  He was not riding Old Red.

The second Wednesday of each month the Ozark Food Harvest brings two big pallets of food to our Skyline R2 School to be dispersed among the community, regardless of income.  This month the boxes contained apples, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions.  Mr. Luna says the boxes are always gone by the end of the week as everybody can stand to have their food budget stretched or knows someone who could use the help.  Driving by the school, you might notice a big pile of steel laying in the front yard.  It will be going up as the superstructure for a canopy to cover the sidewalk, so students lined up for the bus do not have to stand in the rain or snow.  There is always something exciting going on there—basketball and archery.  There is a Spring Fling Dance coming up for the whole school on St. Patrick’s day if a few more chaperones can be rounded up.  Sixth grade student, Aidan Acree, had his birthday on February 9th, and second grader, Rayleigh Harvey, will have her big day on the 18th.  Middle school history and language arts teacher, Ms. McKay celebrates her birthday sometime in February.  We enjoyed her violin solo at the Christmas program and her collaboration with music teacher Cheyenne McIntosh.  We will hope for more of her fine fiddling as time goes by.

Jerry Wagner

Some Champions have a real soft spot in their hearts for fiddlers.  (Hello, Jerry Wagner!)  “Keep It Old-Time” is the third, and final book in the series from Dr. Howard Marshall documenting Missouri fiddling.  Alvie Dooms will tell you that fiddling in this part of the country is unique.  Meanwhile, Cheyenne’s folks visited at the Vanzant Jam on Thursday and Connie was enticed to share her lovely voice.  She and Duke seemed to have a good time and beamed to hear the compliments of their daughter’s great musical accomplishments at Skyline.  She will have a Tiger Bluegrass Band going before long.  Some of the mental and physical benefits of music education include an improvement in vocabulary and language, more self-confidence, more self-discipline, increased motor skills, improved listening skills, and enhanced social skills.  New Grass Attack has had some well received performances in at the Norwood pizza parlor lately.

In this part of the world, it is not hard to find something to beam about, for example, by three points, The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions.  Post-game conversations among old ladies centered around the civility of brother against brother.  In the weeks of pre-game hype, there did not seem to be much in the way of ‘trash’ talking.  Each team seemed to appreciate the strengths and accomplishments of their opponents.  Maybe that is just what the old ladies want to think as they bask in the familial emotion.  On a simple level, could we not take this example to heart and to politics, they query.  Must we vilify each other?  They ask if we could recognize the good in each other and the good intentions, even if we disagree on what is good for the country.  They wonder why it is so hard to treat each other like brothers (and sisters) when it comes to governing.  Eileen Williams has three reasons why grandmothers should rule the world:  “1.  Innocent people would not be injured or killed simply because of their religious beliefs and customs.  2.  The gap between the haves and the have-nots would continually shrink.  3.  There would be far less division between countries, ethnicities and people of various creeds.”  While that is not likely to happen anytime soon, we can still be amazed that the dangerous and brutal game of American football can show us an example of graciousness and courtesy.  Champions! — Looking on the Bright Side!