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Monday morning finds Champions once again in the winter wonderland that marks one of the four annual seasons.  Like clockwork, they come around.  Winter is first on the calendar, then along about March 20th comes the Vernal Equinox which heralds the coming of Spring!  Some are saying that the summer will be as hot as the winter has been cold and they long for straw hats, sun screen and trips to the creek to cool off.   A full luscious color palate of leaves that have not yet been dreamt of by the trees that survive the ice and wind will be falling again ere long and then our glorious winter will return.  It will seem just that fast.  In Champion the current season is the favorite.

Sarginson is a fifth grade student at Skyline.  Monday the 3rd is her birthday and one that she will have enjoyed at home because of the snow.  Teacher Deborah Barker had her day Monday as well.  Ms. Barker has entered a photography contest at The Ozark Times with a picture of a weathered red barn on a green field with a brilliant hillside of fall foliage in the background.  As her sister Elva says, “It is a classic Ozarks scene.”  Whatever the prize may be, her Champion family, friends and students will be rooting for her to win.  A favorite little Champion granddaughter, Bailey, lives out in Portland, Oregon.  Her birthday is the 6th of March and her Grandma and Papa are all smiles just thinking about her.  Krenna Long and Linda Hetherington share a birthday up in the Norwood neighborhood on March 5th.   They have a lot in common with gardening, knitting, cooking and sewing.  Linda was the big winner at the regular Fortnight Bridge game on Saturday night.  It was an exciting and very close game as each of the players was at one time high scorer and then low.   It is like Bob Dylan said, “The winner now will later be last, for the times they are a changing.”  That is what the hardworking Skyline Auxiliary is counting on for the beautiful deep snow of Monday morning to change into just a small amount of mud on Saturday for the chili supper.  Hopefully school will be well under way for Rylee Sartor to have her birthday in her prekindergarten class.  Monday, March 10th will be second grade teacher Katie Vivod’s birthday.  On the 12th Jennifer Casper will have her day.  She teaches art and music at Skyline.  The great Christmas programs and the wonderful hall displays are due to her teaching skills.  The 12th is also the birthday of Cathie O’Neal.  She claims that she will be 80, but just looking at her that seems hard to believe.  When she learned that she shared her birthday with Geoff Metroplis she said that she had known him and thought he was a nice person.  Indeed, he was. Like Cathy, he was a great appreciator of music.  He was a farmer, a builder, and a good friend.  He could defy gravity high in a tree with a chainsaw and was tinkerer extraordinaire.  He had a great sense of humor and a keen eye for detail.  As precious friends slip away we can hold them close again in our memories.

“Now I’ve seen the lights of old Broadway, but they can’t compare with what I saw the other day. “  He was following the scent of a nice picnic ham when he ran across the Vanzant Bluegrass jam! The lights shown bright across big open fields under a clear starry sky and the parking lot was packed to show that on the inside were farmers, lawyers, sheet metal workers (tin knockers), housewives, horse traders, bootleggers, secretaries and perhaps a few retired people.  Sherry Bennett always gets to park next to the door because her fiddle is one of the big kinds.  Some people call it a “dog house.”    Bill Conley was there, but he did not bring his fiddle.  He said he was going to practice up on “Chicken Reel” when he got home.  That will be a fun one to hear.  He says people like to dance to that one.  Norris Woods played “Hot corn, cold corn, bring along a demijohn.”  Yes, sir. Many of the ‘regular’ musicians were there and the pot luck was just a thing of beauty.  This happens every Thursday and everyone is welcome.   With the promise of more exciting weather ahead, Thursday night was a gala evening.  The General was working on his forecast which finally came through late Sunday night: “UPDATE; Vanzant Weather Station and Barnyard Bi-Products Distribution Lab:   Watch Out,  Winter is making a last Hoo Rah here in the Ozark region.  Spring may get here as soon as winter is over.  High winds will occur above 195,000 feet, surface winds will occur at ground level at speeds above 12.6 MPH with rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow.”  (It makes some question what one might call a prediction of something that has already happened.)  After Sherry kindly read all the pertinent information about the upcoming Skyline Auxiliary Chili Supper, Cathy O’Neal remarked to a new friend that the Auxiliary must really be missing Esther.  That is certainly the case.  She is missed not just for her glorious pies, and quilt ticket sales, but for her genuine enthusiasm for the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  Cathie also mentioned Louise and Wilburn.  They are not able to be active with the Auxiliary any more, but their interest in its success is still keen.  Teresa Wrinkles has agreed to help Betty Dye at the quilt table that night so it is a continuance of a nice tradition. Look at the post for January 20, 2014 at to see that Jigsaw Puzzle quilt.  Karen Griswold will sit at the door to take the donations as people come in.  Her husband, Bill Griswold, was a Volunteer Firefighter and much respected by his colleagues.  He passed away recently and his family honors his attachment to the fire department with their continued participation.  It is the way of this solid community.

Next year Champions will be ready for our Oscars.  Some are thinking that they should be called the “Ferlies” here.  There will be awards for the most longwinded story (Almartha’s own is in line for this one up against the nice transplant from Transylvania, Louisiana), for the wettest cowboy, for the driest humor, for the most visually impaired driver, the most ecologically obtuse, best troller and the most sightings of mountain lions and bears.  Send your ideas about this project to “The Ferlies” c/o The Champion News, RT. 72 Box, 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to

Bring your ideas about the statue, about the various categories, the dress code, the music, the host and walk the red carpet up the broad gracious steps to the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square.  Paparazzi are warned to keep their distance because the stars are frequently armed in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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