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In Champion, Monday was kind of cold and blustery.  The temperature was not so low, but the wind made it feel wintry as it flapped the Grand old Flag vigorously on the porch post at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.            George Washington was 28 when Robert Burns was born and so the poet grew up in Scotland much in admiration of the Colonial General who was successful in breaking the Tyrant’s grasp.  He wrote a stirring “Ode for General Washington’s Birthday,” which included the lines, “A broken chain exulting, bring and dash it in the tyrant’s face, and dare him to his very beard, and tell him he no more is feared…They shout a People freed!”   George Washington’s Birthday was designated a national holiday in 1885, and used to be celebrated on February 22nd every year.    In 1971, under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it began to be celebrated on the third Monday in February as President’s Day.  Skyline teacher Terry Ryan sent out an urgent message Monday saying, “Why am I the only one at school?”  Then she laughed and said that it is a day that all teachers remember.    Postal carriers remember it too.  Some folks are anxious that starting in August, rural mail delivery will not be available on Saturdays.  Some are very excited and happy to have their own special family postal carrier home all week end.  As in most stories there are two sides to it.  Come down to Champion to discuss any concern that you might have.  At the very least you will learn the Bright Side of it.

People born in 1945 became 67 last year.  So someone with the birthday 01-23-45 was 67.  This year they became 68 and so will people born on 02-23-45. People born in 1983 are now 30!  It is amazing!  The charming Judi Pennington of Tar Button Road fame is one of those people born on February 23rd.  Fascinating Skyline teacher Staci Cline is another.   She will have sisters coming from far and wide to commemorate her day with her.  Pete Proctor had his birthday on the 18th and his sweet mother, Ruby, has hers the next day.  Glen and Linda’s daughter, Joanna rings her birthday Bell on the 21st.  A frequent Sunday visitor to Champion has his birthday on the 22nd and managed to convince the fair Alicia to marry him on that very day.  He will not forget their anniversary and they have had a bunch of them as well as two gorgeous daughters.   Emma Evans will have her birthday on the 24th of February.  She is a fifth grader at Skyline.  That is a Sunday, so perhaps her school friends will party with her on Monday.  She shares her birthday with a big sweet Sweede whose thumbs are very green and with a precious Texas friend, Margaret, who goes by the alias of Ella Mae though many call her Peg.  Every day is the ‘special day’ of 384,000 people around the world.  That is the number of people born every day according to the World Population Reference Bureau’s “2010 World Population Data Sheet.”  It also informs that 156,000 people die every day which gives a net increase of 229,000 to the world population every day.  That is about the total of all the people in Springfield plus four counties the size of Douglas County.  Happy birthday World!

Valentine’s Day probably robbed the Vanzant Community Jam of a few of its players and a few of its regular audience, just because it was a special day for sweethearts and music lovers are, by definition, sweethearts.  Still, topping one of the many surrounding hills on that dark night, the lights of Vanzant shone out across the country with a dazzling brilliant invitation.  Inside the place was jumping.  There were musicians from all across the county and many a fine tune was offered up.  “Down Yonder” is a favorite and it was beautifully executed.  A lively novelty song by stand-up bassist, Sherry Bennett , “Five Pounds of Possum in My Headlights” was another highlight.  Ruth Collins ( ”..used to be a Fish, but got caught,” according to a gentleman who seemed to know) did a fine job of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and the plaintiff “Wayfaring Stranger.”  Sue Murphy, with her great voice and mandolin sang several favorites and Norris Woods with his pleasant smile, sat picking away on the old banjo.  Other players came and went through the course of the evening.   The long table full of appealing pot-luck food and plenty of good coffee made it all just right.  Frances and Elmer Banks were there.  Elva Ragland said that Elmer has six extra roosters that he is going to give her.  She did not say what she was going to do with them.  “Elvie” met up there with her longtime friend, Linda Collins of Richfield. They used to live on the opposite sides of the mountain and they would take their children up over the top to visit with one another.   Now their children are grown and the two friends meet up at the Vanzant Community Building on Thursdays to visit–just like old times.

“Elvie” said she might look around to see if she has some of her embroidered tea towels to put in the silent auction for the Skyline Chili Supper.  Somebody has donated a set of neoprene, nylon jersey, ‘Bone Dry,’ Redhead camouflage overalls with built in rubber boots, men size 8.  All stretched out they look like they are built for a tall man, but one figures that when the fellow puts them on, they will take the proper shape and look just right.    The year rolls around quickly.  This year The Pride and Joy Cloggers are going to perform between the band performances.  It promises to be a great show.  David Richardson, of Whetstone out of Norwood, will kick off the first set and is also providing his sound system for the event.   The Pocket Hollow Band and Calvary Mountain Bluegrass will be on the bill together with the EMT Gang out of Ava.  Every little rural fire department is a gift to the community it serves.  They are Champions!

“Plant peas as soon as the ground can be worked,” says the package.  Get down to the Visitor’s Center at Henson’s Downtown G & G to discuss garden philosophy.   Sing, “Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness, sowing the noontide and the dewy eve…” You will be in Champion—Looking  on the Bright Side!

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