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EDINBURGH—April 14, 2014

Travelers coming into Champion from distant places are met with hospitality and veiled curiosity.  One does not wish to be nosey or rude but it is interesting to know what brings a wanderer through the village.  It is a tribute to a beautiful place and good people that someone from the great outside can be so easily enticed to stay a while.  “Out goers and in comers made, make every land.”  These words appear on a tapestry which was taken from a design by Alasdair Gray.  The tapestry is a square about seven feet to the side.  It features thistles (the National flower) at every corner and in the center with arrows going in and out signifying lands and nations.  It is actually  a ‘gun tufted’ rug  tufted at Dovecot Studios by a gentleman named Jonathan Cleaver.  The studio is housed in the building that was the first heated indoor swimming pool in Edinburgh back in the time of Queen Victoria.  The pool has been covered over by a gleaming floor where the massive wooden looms stand.  The Weaving Floor Viewing Balcony is open to the public to view the weaving studio below.  Go to for an amazing virtual tour.  It is easy to ‘google up’ Alasdair Gray as well.  The world seems to be quite at one’s fingertips now days.  It is sure that old Champion out goers will be happy incomers once more just as the Upshaws came home again to roost after their great family visit to Dalton, Arkansas.

The General said, “I went on a trip today to Dalton, Arkansas (first time farther than eight miles from home in many moons).  A hand written sign taped to a window at the only business in town, ‘FREE to a good home, speckled roosters.  Do Not Eat.’  I lost interest in the bargain after reading the last three words.”  Highlights of the clan adventure were The Grand Canyon and the Rice-Upshaw Homestead.  The Rice-Upshaw House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 as an excellent example of an early nineteenth century log dwelling.  It was built in 1826 and is now the oldest standing building remaining in Arkansas, and a rare surviving example of a building from Arkansas’s territorial period.  Reuben Rice came to Arkansas from Hawkins County , Tennessee, in 1812.  His granddaughter Lydia married Andrew Jackson Upshaw and contined to live in the home which had become known as “Old Monarch.”  The house, owned by Rice and Upshaw family members for almost 180 years, was donated to the Black River Technical College.  The home has been restored and is open for tours by appointment.  This trip was clearly well planned and the Upshaws all looked like they were having a wonderful time.  Some of that might just be that they really enjoy each other’s company.

Dylan Watts would have had a good time on that family jaunt.  He is over in Tennessee where they all came from to start with and when he is not motocross mud jumping motorcycles he is picking the banjo in with a bunch of guitar playing cousins.  He just had his birthday on the 12 of April and it is a fairly sure bet that he had a good time.  Bob Berry celebrates his birthday on the 14th of April.  Champions miss him and Mary Goolsby of in their new situation.  It would sure be nice to see them pulling into Champion in the beautiful old Studebaker again.  Maybe summer travels will find them coming ‘home’ again.  Champions would like that.  Bob shares his day with Skyline first grader Coby Wallace and with 7th grader Morgan Whitacre.  Prekindergarten student Wyatt Lakey has his birthday on April 15th so people will always be able to remember that something special is going on that day.  Dusty Mike might be out on the road on his special birthday, the 15th.  Drayson will be glad to see his old Papa when he makes it home.  Vivian Krider Floyd will be enjoying her birthday that day too.  Cards and phone calls and cyber messages from family and friends will let her know that she is much loved.   Then the inimitable George G. Jones over in Stockton can stroll by the mirror and figure he is still looking pretty good all things considered.  Olivia Trig Mastin will have her birthday on the 16th.  She lives up in Springfield near her grandmother and is therefore a lucky young lady.  Toby Marceaux is in the 8th grade at Skyline.  His birthday is on the 17th so he might get to do a little partying in school.  Next week a whole new group of preschoolers can get their start at Skyline.  Helen says that preschool screenings will be held during the week of April 21-25.  She says to make an appointment with the office and bring birth certificates, shot records, social security number and proof of residency.  It is a real asset to the community to have this wonderful little school getting the future voters, doctors, farmers, musicians and adventurers off to a good start.  Champions all!

Linda says that people are not quite ready to get their gardens in since there is another hard freeze on the way and the possibility of more before the weather gets really settled for Spring.  She has been selling lots of hostas and peonies and perinneals of that nature.  Her cole crops and other vegetables and flowers are coming along nicely.  Her Almanac says that the 16th and 17th will be good days for planting beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, peanuts and other root crops.  Also good for cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, celery, and other leafy vegetables.  They will be good days for starting seedbeds and for transplanting.  Get a copy of the Almanac there at The Plant Place in Norwood or consult it on the buletine board at Henson’s Downtown G & G or on the website at

Over in Edinburgh Champions have been busy enjoying the National Gallery where there are real Rembrants, Van Goghs and Reubens.  They have seen some of the many treasures of the National Museum and have climbed almost to the top of the extinct volcano that is Arthur’s Seat in the middle of town.  They have seen great tapestries in the making and bird sanctuaries and narrow mysterious streets winding up and down steep hills.  And music!  Bluegrass is as sweet in Edinburgh as it is in Vanzant or McClurg.  A monthly gathering at the Revarie finds friends meeting who have  been playing together for thirty years.  Gordon is a guitar virtuoso, also a fine fiddler and autoharp enthusiast .  Bill plays banjo but his main instrument is the dobro.  Graham plays a fiddle, a guitar, or a mandolin all of which he made from a single salvaged slab of American black walnut when an old bank building was being refurbished.  Ian is a banjo expert.  He is playful and generous and brilliant.  How lovely it would be to get him and Wayne Anderson together!  The young bass player never misses this jam session and on this particular Friday the group was enhansed by a young Englishman  carrying the Gibson mandolin he inherited from his great grandfather and a little Romanian guitar with its face scarred from his rowdy and passionate playing.  Add then a lovely young Canadian lady with her cello.  When it was her turn to kick off a tune she went for “Ode to Joy” which all the fellows joined in with great enthusiasm and somewhere along the line let it morph into “Yankee Doodle” then back again with all the lovely smiles and comeraderie that musicans are known for.  The world over they seem to be looking at the bottom of the clouds when they are searching for a melody or a lyric.  What ever may be the object of your search, if it is pleasant and convivial it is likely to be found in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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