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It is easy enough to see that Champions are resilient and a stoic people who rarely complain about the weather as there is hardly any point in doing so.  They do, however, express their delight in a glorious day.  “Isn’t this wonderful?” One pair out on a lark to Ava Saturday ventured out on 14 and returned on 76.  It seems that along both roads as well as C highway many have accomplished quite a little cleanup of their property.   Certain yards are suddenly fairly free of refuse and are beginning to look altogether tidy.  It could have been Thursday’s big wind that did the trick.  There were reports of some roof damage and downed limbs but nothing too serious locally, according to a preeminent Champion.  There is plenty of reason to be grateful.  Meanwhile, what treasures and surprises there are to be found in the woods and fields in the days ahead!

Parents and grandparents are hugging their young ones close to them in the wake of the recent tragedy in Springfield.   The uneasy feeling of vulnerability comes with the distressing news and the realization that catastrophe can happen anywhere.  It is a terrible reminder to stay watchful as compassion for young Hailey’s family wells in Champion hearts everywhere.  There is no fixing this.

A distant reader of The Champion News inquires about the timber thief.  A call to the Court House reveals that a continuance was issued and now the date to set the date for the preliminary hearing will be March 20th.  (The attorney of the accused had a family emergency.)  The preliminary hearing will determine whether there is substantial evidence that he committed the crime.  Witnesses will testify in front of a judge who will, if he finds the evidence compelling, send the case to the Circuit Court for trial.  The witnesses who saw Mr. Bobby Davis of Willow Springs attempting to leave the scene with a semi-truck load of red and white oak logs taken from private property adjacent to the Mark Twain National Forest in eastern Douglas County are the Forest Ranger who blocked the exit and Sargent Vernon Johnson of the Douglas County Sherif’s office who responded to the Ranger’s call.   Ninety 50 and 60 foot red and white oak trees amount to a good size chunk of change and the mess left behind by the woodland marauder will be evident for a long time.  The crime occurred on December 13th.   The arraignment was on the 23rd of January.  The date to set the date for the preliminary hearing was February 20th, now March 20th.  The wheels of Justice roll on.  In the “Perry Mason” television series, the courtroom scenes were almost always preliminary hearings.   Tree huggers and other Champions will be watching.

Skyline prekindergarten student Mattalynn Hutsell will have her birthday on February 27th.  Frankie Proctor has not been in school for a long time, but he still has birthdays just not very many of them.  His is on the 29th of February so he is not scheduled for another birthday until 2016!  He and Freda always look like they are having a good time anyway.  See them at  in the snapshot called Ruby’s Family.  They are a nice looking family which brings us back to “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Yes, Old man Potter got away with the $8,000.00, but he was destined to die a twisted, thwarted, lonely old man with no one to love him or mourn his loss, while George and the garlic eaters proved to be a resilient community able to rely on each other for financial and moral support during stressful times.  During the Great Depression, the film’s director, Frank Capra, became America’s preeminent filmmaker, leavening despair with his irrepressible optimism of the Everyman triumphing over seeming insurmountable odds.  He said, “I always felt the world cannot fall apart as long as free men see the rainbow, feel the rain and hear the laugh of a child.”  That is very American and very uplifting.  He sounds like a real Champion.  Still, some want Potter to give back the money.

Remnants of Blackberry Winter and Rene Woods’s Jazz Trio were some of the entertainment at the Yellow House in West Plains on Sunday.  The benefit for the listener supported local radio station KZ88 out of Cabool turned out to be a lovely affair.   It is great to have a local station with so much interest in the old time music and such an appreciation of local musicians.   Excitement is building for the Skyline Auxiliary Chili Supper and chances are quite good that some of those nice radio people will be there.  Last year KZ Perkins made a recording of much of the program and it was nice to hear it repeated a couple of times in the following weeks.  With Backyard Bluegrass, Whetstone and Flatline on the program this year it ought to be a special time.   Jerry and Diane Wilbanks will be at the Chili Supper.  They were in Ava on Saturday having lunch with their beautiful granddaughter and her beau.  They are a smiling family, a positive addition to the community.  They came ambling through town with the West Plains Wagon Club a while back and decided this part of the country was home.  Diane said that Ray Gibson of Paragould, Arkansas has bought a place in the area as well.  He belongs to the Gee and Haw Club out of Arkansas.  Welcome neighbors!

Drayson Cline will be ready for the Olympics in no time.  He had his six month birthday on Sunday and is ready to start crawling.  He is getting quite a voice too and seems to have figured out that it is himself making that wonderful sound.  He is a pretty good traveler and it looks like he will enjoy watching the races with his old Dad.  Round and round.  It will not be long before he is up and running around with Taegan and Foster and Kalyssa.  Time seems to fly faster around young ones.

Linda’s Almanac is up on the top of the page on The Champion News website.  It is on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G.  It says to finish pruning the grape vines and other fruit trees and late blooming shrubs such as Rose of Sharon and spirea, but not lilacs or forsythia.  The Jigsaw Puzzle quilt that will be the Skyline Chili Supper treasure this year is on display at the G & G as well.  Get a look at it and you will want to have it.

Bring your enthusiasm for Spring and your love of music that gets a person up and moving to the conversation lounge behind the wood stove at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  Send any of that kind of thing to or to The Champion News, Rt. 72, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Daffodils will soon be showing up and Wordsworth’s poem will be circulating through peaceful thoughts:   “I wandered lonely as a cloud/ that float on high ore vales and hills, when all at once I saw…” Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


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