On a Saturday morning foray out into the big world an Old Champion paused to appreciate some pretty puddles along the way pondering the past dry months and remembering the floods of last Spring.  On that warm day in February when the dog was looking for the shade, the Surprise Lilies and the Snow Drops were peeping up along with some Jonquils and other bulbous beauties.  Spring is knocking on Champion’s door.  Hello!

A grateful accident victim contacted The Champion News to find out how to send money to the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  He had taken a serious fall, was hurt and in a great deal of pain.  His wife was not able to get him into a vehicle to take him to the emergency room.  She called her emergency number (Douglas County Sheriff’s Office–683-1020) and a couple of first responders from the SVFD were soon on the scene.  They handled the situation with calm confidence and in a short while the injured man was transported by ambulance to Springfield.  He is home recovering now and is appreciative of the efficiency of the well trained fire fighters/first responders.  He was told to send his money to Skyline VFD, Rt. 72 Box 254, Norwood, MO 65717.  Skyline first responders recently used their Jaws of Life tool to free a young Drury man from a wrecked truck over near Sweden.  They are volunteers, willing to drop what they are doing to come to the aid of their neighbors.  The dues that the fire district membership pay do not nearly cover the cost of operating these vital public services, so any time there is a fund raiser, go and have some fun while supporting the organization.  Participate.  It is acceptable to express gratitude with money any time.  It is also meaningful to those volunteers to be recognized and valued.

The Winter Olympics have been a marvelous diversion from domestic turmoil.  Beautiful young athletes doing incredible feats of skill, strength, speed and daring lift our spirits and make us again feel that there are lofty ambitions and honorable people all over the world.  For people who have been feeling like the Nation is somewhere between 1928 and 1929 and on the upstream side of Niagara Falls, the distraction is more than welcome.   Television likely is a bigger part of the lives of many than is healthy.  Those athletes did not get where they are by sitting around being entertained, lulled, informed, inflamed, soothed and marketed.  Selecting wisely among the available viewing choices is a challenge for Champions.

Skyline School students are looking forward to Spring Break.  That will happen from March 5th through the 9th.  Actually counting weekends, they will be free from the 3rd through the 11th!  That could be counted as nine days—certainly enough time to go see Grandma!  Mindy Johnson from over at the Douglas County Herald is sending in her box tops to help Skyline raise funds through the Box Tops for Education program.  Most General Mills products have official coupons printed on them that are worth $.10 each.  One old Champion is amazed at how many Best Choice products she uses—yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, napkins, snack bags, all kinds of canned vegetables.  The part of the label to save is the part with the bar code.  Save a bunch of them and drop them off at the school or mail them in to Skyline R2 School—Box Tops, Rt. 72 Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717.

Jeffery Goss Jr. from over near Gainesville sent some flyers to be posted locally concerning a conference to be held March 8-9 at the West Plains Civic Center called “Bringing Back the American small Farm.”  Featured speakers will be Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, Hank Will of Mother Earth News and GRIT Magazine and Patrick Byers, MU Extension Horticulturalist. For more information go to or call 417-293-0590. Jeffrey said that he saw that the Health Department is offering screenings at various rural locations including Redbud store.  He wants to know if it is still open “(Not Redbank, mind you, but Redbud.)”  The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 is the address to respond to Jeffrey’s inquiry.  This week the “Lofty Thoughts” mail included a quote from Major General Smedley D. Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps, a two time winner of The Congressional Medal of Honor, who said in 1935, “War is a racket.  It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.  It is the only one international in scope.  It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.  A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to be to the majority of people.  Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is really about.  It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”  Another thought was attributed to the actor and great dancer, Christopher Walken, who was reported to have said, “If you know how quickly people forget the dead, you will stop living to impress people.”

Vanzant Bluegrass Jammers were not providentially hindered from their Thursday gathering.  The pot luck supper (6 p.m. every Thursday) was bountiful and the music (7 to 9) was excellent with twenty musicians from far and wide participating.  Music has such healing properties.  It lifts our spirits when we are down and soothes us in sorrow.  It gladdens our hearts and carries us away from our difficulties.  An old World War I song goes, “…What’s the use in worrying? It never was worthwhile so, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile!”

Tina, our Douglas County Health Department nurse, will be in Champion for her monthly fourth Tuesday visit on the 27th.  She will be at Henson’s Store until 11:00 a.m. doing blood pressure and blood sugar checks.  This time she hopes to have the cholesterol machine and other testing equipment.  Champions feel fortunate to be well cared for.  It is a treat to be on the wide, wild wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  Last Wednesday’s Valentine party was a sweet success.  Friends gathered to enjoy cookies, cupcakes, lasagna and good conversation.  Many comments heard around the ancient wood stove are prefaced with, “Now this is not for publication…” and then they go on telling stories about things that happened around here long ago and sometimes not so long ago.    Of course, the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square is open every day (except for Sundays and Monday afternoons for restocking) so there is ample opportunity for folks from out in the big world to amble by for fellowship, victuals, chicken feed, nostalgia and enlightenment.  “On the sunny side of the mountain where the wild red roses grow” in Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!