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Spring fits Champion like a glove.  There is nothing about it ‘not to love.’  Dogwoods and lilacs are opening even in the low spots and busy gardeners are planting with the hope that there will not be a nineteen degree night sometime in April.  Find Linda’s Almanac to find out what to do and when, and if that freeze comes, just get ready to do it again.  Elva says that if the freeze doesn’t happen, it ought to be a bumper crop year.  Champion!

Bob Edwards from over in Mountain Grove works with MODOT.  He called at the end of the week to say that having learned of the vandalism of the Champion city limits sign from The Champion News, he had e-mailed to Rick Allen who heads up the department over in Ava to tell him all about it.  Mr. Allen used to work in the Drury Shed, but when it was closed he moved to the Ava office which handles quite a large territory now.  It turns out that he was already familiar with the situation, have incidentally been in the neighborhood early in the week.  Champions were ready to lay the prompt response at the tiny sandaled feet of Ms. Kalyssa Wiseman, saying that if you want to get something done, give it to the busiest person around and one has only to have passing acquaintance with Ms. Wiseman to see that she is one of the busiest—she and those nice MODOT folks.  There is not a lot of pavement in Champion for the Department of Transportation to maintain, but it appears that Mr. Allen and his crew are on top of it.  Before the week end arrived, the sign was picked up; the concrete was removed from the post; the pavement and the hole in the ground were marked with paint; and the sign was taken away.  It was rather reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss story:  “We’re taking it back to our workshop, my dear.  We’ll fix it up there and we’ll bring it back here!”  It is all fixed up already and the MODOT guys are just waiting to get clearance from the “Dial Before You Dig” guys.  Champions who use and enjoy the telephones and internet service that arrives via buried fiber optic cables are pleased that all precautions are being taken. Generally speaking, Champions are pleased with the good attentions of MODOT as well as the County Road folks who have been lickety-split repairing the washed out areas of the county roads caused by the recent heavy rain. Keeping things in good repair is a sign of  thriving community.  Champion indeed! Mr. Edwards keeps track of Champion through the papers and while he has not yet been to town to see the new store, he plans a trip soon and will have a delightful surprise when he arrives.

An old champion suffering from a cold or something like that spent much of the beautiful Sunday in a chair in front of her television.  The Ozarks Watch Video Magazine was on with a repeat of a program from sometime last year.  Dr. Brooks Blevins was on with Dr. Jim Baker to talk about country stores.  He said that in years gone by a person could expect to find a country store about every five or six miles in areas where it would take thirty or more minutes to drive to town.  They showed a lot of quaint pictures of little stores in Arkansas, and in Ozark and Howell County—some very inviting with tables and chairs, cracker barrels and an open invitation to sit a visit for a spell.  When they got to Booger County, there were some good pictures of Spurlocks’s over in Squires.  They called it a ‘super-store’ because it was so large with such an enormous inventory as well as a post office.  There were also some very nostalgic pictures of Henson’s Grocery and Gas.  Dr. Blevins talked about the Henson family running the store all these years and said that he knew they had taken the old one down and had replaced it in the same spot with a new one, which he understands adheres to the pure standards and qualities of a ‘country store.’  When he finally gets over here, he will be sorry to have missed the Grand Opening Celebration back last October.  In any event, Champions will extend to him an open invitation to come and look the place over any day of the week except for Sunday and for Monday afternoons.  He and Dr. Baker said that in the old days a community generally had a one room school house, a church at the crossroads and a country store.  Champion had all of that.  The Champion School Reunion happens the Saturday before Labor Day so perhaps that will be a good time for a visit from the studiers of Ozark Heritage.  Meanwhile, they can get a pretty good tour of the place at

It will be a busy week at Skyline R2 School.  There will be ball games and PTO meetings and The Science Fair which will start at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, the 29th.   Fourth through eighth graders will dazzle parents and teachers with their great ideas, while pre-k through third grades enjoy a movie and the open book fair.  Kindergartener, Jazmine Baker will be six on the 27th, and Gavin Sartor will be ten on the 29th.  He is in the fourth grade.  Lindsey Fisher, first grader, will celebrate her seventh birthday on Friday the 30th.  Their friends and families will all be singing that birthday song to them, so Champions will chime in with, ‘many happy returns of the day!’

A letter that could be showing up any day now will say, “Dear Grannie, Thank you so much for making our Spring Break so wonderful.  We love you!”  Some grannies are not holding their breaths, as letter writing seems to be a fairly lost art.  The good memories are not, however, diminished and plans for summertime visits are well underway.  Friends and families in far distant places do try to stay in touch.  Those serving their country in the military and in other capacities out in the dangerous parts of the world have the Love and Gratitude of the Nation and Champions hope that it will play out in such a way that their homecomings will be peaceful and that they can rejoin their communities to resume happy lives.

Dredge up all your uplifting, happy, springtime songs and poems for a performance on the broad inviting veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Mercantile on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  The creeks have all gone down enough to get there and your heart will be buoyed even as you enjoy the atmosphere of a tidy, well maintained place to call home.   “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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