The picture of the ninth graders on the steps at the Denlow School has sparked interest across the country.  Geneva Heinemann up in Wasco, Oregon was the eighth of twelve children of Lola Upshaw Proctor who was the girl in the center on the top row of that picture.  Geneva thinks that the other girl was Enola Currnut, but she is not sure.  She also thinks that the guy previously identified as Howard Spurrier was really Lester Sutherland.   Howard Spurrier would have been 24 in 1912.  All this was told to her niece, Bonna Mullins, of Wichita, Kansas who called in to the Champion News to report the information.    Bonna plans to make it to the Denlow School Reunion this year and is very much hoping for the weather to be more pleasant and less hot than it was last year.  Champion friends join their Denlow Neighbors in hopes for a nice temperate spring and summer, however they are determined to enjoy whatever conditions are the prevailing ones at the time.   Bonna’s grandchildren have taught her how to use technology to steal pictures from the internet.  She can copy pictures from the website or from her friend’s ‘facebook’ pages and then when the Snapfish people have their one cent sale she gets them printed up and shares them around.  She is one of those people who like to actually hold on to a photograph, to turn it over if she wants to write on the back.  She said that she has a picture of the Denlow School taken about 1914, and that it has the name of all the students written on it.  When she locates it she will be pleased to share it with readers many of whom are her kinfolks.   Bonna’s extended family happens to be quite a large part of the population of Douglas County particularly those who arrived here sometime before or after the Civil War.  Champions are much encouraged by her example and are looking through their pictures to find the ones that they have that nobody else has, or the ones that have unidentified people in them so they can share them around before people forget who is who.

“Slow down!” the General, hunched over his old guitar, was hard pressed to keep up with the lightening fingers of his nephew, Dillon Watts, on his beautiful Gibson banjo.  The meeting room at Henson’s Downtown G & G was the scene of the lively jam session on Friday afternoon.  They started off with Cripple Creek and the Foggy Mountain Breakdown and went on through versions of Dueling Banjos, Wildwood Flower, and Worried Man Blues featuring Dillon’s fine singing voice.  The General’s bright idea was to slow Cripple Creek down enough that it could be called Clever Creek.  It was noted that most of that creek seems to be dry most of the time.  Dillon had very much enjoyed the Thursday night jam session the night before over at the Vanzant Community Center.  It was reported that there were about sixty people there that night and the young player was much impressed with the talent of the many jammers.  He has gone back to Tennessee with his folks now, but he is looking forward to the next school break when he can come back to Champion’s Fox Creek Farms.  Champions like it when he is around.

Graham Laird is a talented young songwriter who has written a song, “Now’s the End of the Beginning.”  It is quite a catchy little tune that goes on to say, “The days are flying faster than the sun.” This year ends with Bonna’s cousin, The General himself, beginning the tenth year of the ten years that go along with the three score that defines the span of a man’s lifetime.  Nobody ever says, “three score and nine.”  So, bravo! General!  Welcome to your tenth year!  This time next year it will all be over, that is to say, the tenth year.  Thereafter, your Champion friends will be pleased to celebrate your “three score and eleven years and twelve, and thirteen, etc. up to nineteen, then they will celebrate your four score.  You’ll be getting up there then. Congratulations!” Other notable birthdays include Skyline student, Jacob Coon who celebrates on the third of the month, two days after his Dad’s birthday. That is New Year’s Day and the birthday of Harper’s Grandmother, the rock and roll bassist of Teeter Creek.  It is also a day that speaks to new beginnings.  When the sixteen year old orphan, David Balfour, turned the key in the lock of his father’s house for the last time and sat out on his adventure, the first person he met was an old family friend, the local minister, who gave him some good advice:   “Show yourself as nice, as circumspect, as quick at the conception, and as slow of speech as any.”  The advice seems applicable to any young person or any old one.  Young Davie went on to have some great adventures and made some fine friends.  He would have made an excellent Champion.

These cold days remind a person that it is time to prune fruit trees, and do the things that can be done this time of the year to get the garden ready for the growing season ahead.   Chances are pretty good that food prices will continue to go up.  Gardening is not just the good exercise that particularly older people need, but it can be the splendid source of the most nutritious food available anywhere, and it may end up being the most cost effective.  Of, course, gardening is not altogether inexpensive as the seed catalogues indicate, but the bulk of the cost seems to be in the labor.  On a snowy winter morning it is easy to daydream about how hard a person will work this spring.  As for resolutions, however, Champions are generally mild in setting up expectations for themselves.  One says, “We can resolve to be a little more kind to ourselves and each other, to acknowledge beauty and goodness with gratitude, and to express the love we have for each other while we are living.”  Those seem to be most appropriate ideas and one would add only “to keep a song in your heart” and to come often to Champion to Look on the Bright Side!

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