May 17 – Champions have measured five inches of rain in five days and are ready for some serious sunshine. Flooding has been a problem for many and some folks will be stranded till the creeks go down. It is Springtime in the Ozarks. Gardeners will be socially distancing themselves out pulling weeds, planting seeds and setting out seedlings. Current anxiousness about the food supply is inspiring many to garden again or maybe for the first time. In 1919, the National War Garden Commission put out a pamphlet that said, “Small things count.” The Victory Garden movement encouraged all citizens to garden in whatever spaces they could and allowed that there was nothing more valuable than self-sufficiency, than working a little land, no matter how small, and harvesting your own eggplant and tomatoes. The message was serious: “Prevention of widespread starvation is the peacetime obligation of the United States….The War Garden of 1918 must become the Victory Garden of 1919.”
With our newly realized awareness of our connectivity with the rest of the world comes the thought that every little community has its share of interesting people, solid citizens and scalawags. Stories about Ferlie Lambert still circulate in Champion and Cletis D. Upshaw gave us plenty to talk about and was quite a good talker himself. We wonder what our old timers and the old timers of little communities all around the world would have to say about these days and how we are behaving. We would particularly be interested in what Ed Sutherland might have to say. His granddaughter, Laine, recently posted a picture of him that she had taken a long time ago. Someone else shared an audio clip of him playing “Indian War Whoop” on the fiddle. Not having heard it before, it was quite reminiscent of the 8th of January and well executed. Laine said, “Music was his passion.” She responded to Pete Howard who said that he did not know she had a fiddler in the family by telling him about her great grandfather, William Franklin Sutherland, who was a left handed fiddler. Ed’s brother, Ellis, she said, played the fiddle and the violin. It is a relative rarity for one to play both. There is much that we could learn from the old folks if they were still around. We will just have to take some old farmer’s advice and make our fences horse high, pig-tight, and bull strong. We will try to keep skunks, bankers and lawyers at a distance and will plow around stumps.
Good conversations this week include one with Corrine over there in Vanzant. She’s doing fine and had been to town to gas up her truck. She had spoken with Frances Banks the day before and reported that Frances is doing well too. Judy Russel indicates that she and Eldon are getting along nicely, of course they always get along with each other, and they are very much missing the music. A good rumor is going around that the jam may start up in some fashion the second Thursday in June if all goes well. That is something to hope for!
Looking back in the Archives to last May we see things were different and the same with wild weather all around. Big rains had caused the Spring Fling to be canceled. Bud Hutchison’s Spring Trail Ride had taken place and The General had been on the Honor Flight of the Ozarks with his daughter up to Washington, D.C. They toured all the monuments there and returned home to find a large appreciative crowd waiting for them at the airport. Pete Proctor had been on one of those flights a couple of years ago and found it to be a very moving. He was still recounting the experience at the Denlow-Fairview School Reunion. This year the reunion will be May 23rd. It will be the 34th reunion for Denlow students. The Fairview students started their bi-annual reunions in 1997. They changed to annual reunions in 2015, when they combined their observance with Denlow. These kinds of gatherings may now have to be done differently. We will see how those ingenious Wildcats do it this year. Good luck! Looking back to those precious school days, we are reminded that our Skyline R2 School is the last vestige of a way of life. However, whenever school resumes, it will need help. We can vote on June 2nd for the small tax levy increase that will raise the level sufficiently to qualify for additional state and federal funding. Meanwhile, the Grab-and-Go food program will carry on from June 2nd through the end of June. Our school supports community. Will the community support our school? Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!