Easter seemed early this year, but some reading reveals that Easter Sunday can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25, since it is set to correlate with Jewish Passover and that holiday is based on solar and lunar cycles.  It was certainly a glorious day and the Champion Easter Parade went off without a hitch.  Out of state dignitaries and lovely local yokels made a fine showing.  Foster’s new haircut is startlingly short. One imagines a pint and a half of sandy curls lying on the barber’s floor.  Now his noggin is beige velvet and hidden from the sun under his baseball cap.  Kalyssa had the outstanding frock of the day.  It is one commissioned by her great grandmother, Goldie Krider, for her youngest granddaughter back in the 1980’s.  It features faced scallops and bows in a style called old-fashioned now, but so charming it has a timeless elegance.  Her grandmother has preserved the little dress well and the child makes it an adorable picture.  Two great aunts and a great uncle visiting from far away made the whole occasion very special.  There was great singing and heartfelt acknowledgement of the beauty of the day.

Skyline eight grader, Tristen Shearer, has his birthday on the 4th of April and his classmate, Mark Blakey will have his on the 12th.  Next year these young men will be high school freshmen and the world will be changing for them dramatically.  The value of a rural school education is not lost on many of the people who live here.  Charles Lambert went to school at Champion when he was a kid before all the little schools were consolidated into the Skyline R-2 School Districts.  He has lived in this part of the world his whole life.  He is a great mandolin player and is often seen playing with various groups around.  He used to play with Lonnie Krider and Wayne Anderson whenever he could.  He and Zilla were at the Champion Grand Opening Celebration a couple of years back.  They are loyal supporters of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department as well.   Zilla has recently had a car accident and suffered some injures including cracked ribs.  Her friends and neighbors are wishing her a speedy recovery.  They will be looking forward to seeing her and Charlie at the picnic again this summer.

Linda’s Almanac has some new fans.  They are the Ava Garden Club and their member Rachel introduced them to it.  Rachel is new to the area and new to planting by the signs.  She likes the idea and her garden club friends, who subscribe to the practice, like the format of the almanac as it provides all the necessary information in an orderly way.  Rachel is planning a trip to Champion one day soon to collect the item that she purchased in the silent auction at the Skyline VFD chili supper back in early March. She is in for a real treat when she sets foot for the first time in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Since she was never in the original emporium, the contrast and similarities will not be obvious to her.  She will just see a well ordered business in a bright and inviting atmosphere.  Business is business, they say, but Champions generally very much appreciate a locally owned and operated enterprise.  People work where there are jobs, but when it comes to spending those hard earned dollars, it is wonderful to support neighbors.  It is great to see the Drury Cafe open and operating.  They had a big prime rib dinner Friday night and reports are that it was superb. They are going to have a special menu and music every Friday night for ‘date night.’  Farmers and friends gather for coffee and gab during the week and it is another good place to get some news.  Bud Hutchison’s Trail Riders will be glad to have the place open again when they start polishing their saddles again on a regular basis.  No doubt the Ava Garden Club will check out The Plant Place and will enjoy taking advantage of all of Linda’s hard work to make growing things easy for the novice as well as the seasoned gardener. A copy of the almanac can be found on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G, on line at and there in Norwood at  The Plant Place.  The 5th and 6th are said to be an excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy and other plant pests.  Then the 7th through the 9th will be good for planting root crops and extra good for vine crops and setting strawberry plants.   Some old Champions expect the first hummingbird to show up around April 23rd.  The seasons are moving quickly.  The days are just whizzing by.

The Caterpillar Company is a global leader in the manufacture of construction and mining equipment and a great number of other things that make progress possible around the world.  Building the world’s infrastructure is what they do and they are headquartered up in Peoria, Illinois.  They have been around for a while and back in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, one at a time, the oldest and then the youngest of the Krider boys decided to leave the farm and go to Peoria to get a job.  Well, they got their jobs alright and settled in.  Before long Donald had met Rita and Harley had met Barbara.   They were city girls, neither with much of an eye toward the farm, but something romantic about Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, and city girls just got the best of the boys and they never came home.  Oh, they come home.  They have family, and property and holdings here, but they are held in place in Peoria by new ties and Champions are just happy to see them when they can make their way back for a rare and always too short visit.  Still, Champions can understand the lure of Caterpillar, Peoria and city girls. There are lots of songs that fit the occasion.  One is by Aaron Watson and it says, “(we are) Bringing together the better of both worlds, the country boy and the city girl!”  “Misery Loves Company” is one that the younger brother was heard quoting the other day.  Maybe he will take Barbara out to Drury on Friday for lobster on ‘date night.’  There will be music and maybe romance!

A note from Karen Ross, Rt. 2 mail carrier, informs that recently her son, Mike Ross, came in contact with a murder suspect who was on the run from Illinois.   This may have been the guy that stole a car up there and then abandoned it in the parking lot of a shopping center somewhere in this area where he stole another car to make his getaway.  The news was reported on KSPR 33 and a browse through their on-line archives might fill in some of the blanks.  Look for an update.   Do any updating of information at or at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or do it in person on the porch of the mega-mercantile in the heart of the downtown enterprise zone.  Someone said “I don’t share my thoughts because I think it will change the minds of people who think differently.  I share my thoughts to show the people who already think like me that they’re not alone.”  Feel free to share those thoughts in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!