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The first day of the week was a good one to have started off with rain.  Champions do not complain.  The skies were full of lightning through Saturday night and wind whipped everything that would bend or blow away.  The moisture was well received.  In the ‘old days’ the creeks were running year around and the constant caution during severe weather was ‘turn around, don’t drown.’  Residents became acquainted with their local low water crossings and learned how to navigate them.  It may happen that things get to be like that again, but it will take a lot of rain.  Champions will welcome it.  Even Cowboy Jack has probably dried off/out/up enough to be ready for another creek crossing.  His trail riding buddies will keep an eye out for his safety as they take to the saddle more often this spring.  They are Champions.

The Skyline VFD chili supper is still being discussed and enjoyed in the Skyline/Champion area.  Tim Scrivner shared another one of his great bird feeders.   Several builders were looking at it on the silent auction table with the critical eye of competition, and others out and out stated they were figuring to steal the design.  It is a great design.  People who have managed to win one of these beautiful feeders at previous Skyline VFD functions have discovered that the only trouble with them is keeping them filled.  The birds love them.

The chili supper was also a chance for one underemployed, yet well quaffed, individual who lives way at the bottom of a hill, seven tenths of a mile long, to suggest, with his dazzling smile,  that any writer might benefit by ‘the’ fair and balanced view.  He registered astonishment that the correspondent had not yet provoked the reading population to violence.  (What he really said was, “I’m surprised that with what you write nobody’s shot you yet.”)   The fair and balanced view he touts so convincingly is probably why he is able to easily identify left leanings.   They are most visible to a bird whose right wing is over developed.  It just goes around in circles and to the left at that!   ‘Birds of a feather flock together’ is an old adage and, while it is indeed lovely to have like-minded friends, it  also a takes a balance of two strong wings for a bird to make any forward progress or to stay aloft at all, if progress is not the goal, which would seem to be the case in this instance.   “Circular logic,” was the assessment of one old Champion previewing this paragraph.

Some Champions braved the threatening weather Saturday night and ventured into the county seat to hear music in the new Performing Arts Center.  What an excellent hall!  It is bright with very comfortable seating, good acoustics in spite of being made of bricks, and very sturdy as it doubles as the town’s tornado shelter.   The Ozarks String Project held a benefit concert there to help buy instruments for young musicians in the area.   The project got its start in 2007, with 12 students and now has more than 40 young people who are interested in making traditional music and learning about other forms as well.  Anyone interested in donating to the program or who would like more information about it can contact Barbara Deegan:  email at or at 417-683-5450, ext.  136.  This part of the world has a rich fiddle history and needs to keep it going.  Ms. Elizabeth Johnston is taking fiddle lessons on an instrument presented to her late uncle Lonnie Krider by his brother Donald some years back.  Her aunt has given her the long time loan of the fiddle, and her dad has had it reconditioned and strung.  Now it is up to her.  Perhaps she will get with her young Tennessee banjo playing cousin, Dillon Watts, and get a good start on a family band.  Certainly practice space can be found in Champion!

Bailey is the granddaughter of some Champion News fans who live over in western Douglas County.  She is a precocious and beautiful young sprite who lives too far away.  So often it is thus with grandchildren, alas!  Happy birthday across the miles to Bailey, and at home to Skyline School’s second grade teacher Mrs. Katie Vivod, who had her birthday on Sunday.   Tuesday is the birth anniversary of Geoff Metroplos.  Geoff passed away last November and his absence is keenly felt by his family and by his many friends who knew him to be inquisitive, energetic, and good humored.   His birthday is also that of music and art teacher Mrs. Jennifer Wilgus.  She is the force behind all the wonderful musical presentations at Skyline and it is easy to see how music can keep a person young.  The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to March 15.  It is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BCE.  A soothsayer had warned Caesar not to go to the theater that day saying, “Beware the Ides of March!”  It might have been a good day to die for Caesar.  It was certainly a good day to be born, as can be attested to by the parents of Sam, Jacob, and Ursula.   Sam and Ursula both live in Edinburgh just south of the Firth of Forth and are both great appreciators of music.  Sam is a fiddler and grandson of Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy.  Jacob is ten years old now.  He lives in Austin, Texas and is the great grandson of Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy.  He probably has some musical bones in him that he doesn’t even know about yet.  The 16th of March is Mrs. Helen Batten’s birthday.  She is the secretary over at Skyline School and does a good job of keeping things organized and pleasant there.   Happy Birthday, Helen!

The 16th and 17th of March are both good days for planting above -ground crops, according to Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  Find a copy of the almanac there at The Plant Place or on-line at or posted on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G.   The 13th, 14th, and 15th are all good days to prune to discourage growth.  Youngsters, who have been neglecting their chores, sassing their grandmother, or otherwise acting out, should spend some time out in the fence rows cutting sprouts.  It is a good chore for boys about ten or twelve years old.  It is a punishment they will remember as having been awful, and as the years go by and they become adults they will remember themselves as having had to do it all the time.  To hear them tell it off in the future will be kind of like being around the stove at the Champion Chat Room on any rainy day.  Why, it is amazing that there is any brush at all left in this whole country.

Send reminiscences of the good part of country living to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to   You are welcome to spin your yarn of exaggerated memories around the stove at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  The establishment is located on the broad and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek at the bottom of several steep hills and at the conjunction of several county roads just where the pavement starts.  On your way there you can sing “Keep Your Hand on the Plow, Oh Lord!”

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