December 11, 2017

CHAMPION—December 11, 2017

 


The north side bridgework progressing.

Over 100 people attended the hearing last Tuesday evening at the Ava Community Center on the future of the Bryant Creek State Park.  Most favored keeping the park as a “wild” area, without much development.  It was reported that this meeting drew a larger crowd than the initial meeting in Branson earlier in the year.  There were a number of people from the Park Service there, as well as Forest Rangers in full uniform, a representative of the Department of Natural Resources, and State officials–Lyle Rowland (our representative) and Mike Cunningham (our senator).  If you wanted to go to the meeting and could not attend, or if you just want to learn more about the 2,917 acre park with its old-growth oak and pine forests and nearly two miles of bluffs along Bryant Creek, go to the Missouri State Park website at www.mostateparks.com  There is a place there to add your ideas and your comments.  To participate, click on “Your Input on New State Parks.”

The chief meteorologist at the Vanzant Weather Burro (not Bureau) is predicting an extremely cold winter.  On Friday he reported seeing a caterpillar wearing a hooded sweatshirt and ear muffs.  A distant relative has wooly worms so fuzzy their feet don’t touch the ground and they just roll around in the breeze.  We have breeze but no rain.  Rain might be waiting for the East Champion Fox Creek Bridge to be finished.  The cold may hamper the progress, but the current, clear progress with no rain in the forecast for the next couple of weeks, may well “git ‘er done, Sis,” and then we can all wash our trucks.  A note from the Missouri Department of Conservation concerning the dry weather and fire danger recommends that landowners make a defensible space of 30 feet around homes and structures where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced in order to slow the spread of a wildfire.  The defensible area also provides firefighters room to maneuver as they make a stand against fire.  Champions are grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world and grateful for friends and neighbors who volunteer as fire fighters to protect our homes and lives.

Destiny Surface, a 5th grade student at Skyline R2 School, shares her birthday on the 20th with Rachel Prock, a kindergarten student there, also with sweet Mary Goolsby who attends the Vanzant jam regularly.  The 21st is a special day for Chris Dailey, Archie’s girl.  It also marks the day when a favorite fiddler will enter his 9th decade.  He and Lena have been married sixty years.  They will be the same age until May.  The 22nd is for very young Oliver Cohen’s Dad.  Chase Cauthron, a prekindergarten student at Skyline, has the same birthday as his dear old Dad, and as Butch Stone and as Sharon Sikes.  These birthdays, Chanukah and Christmas altogether make for a festive season.  There are parties and gatherings and music jams going on all over the place.  Christmas lists include the latest gadgets for some, bling for others, necessities for modest folks and, among all, the hope of health and happiness for all ourselves and all our precious dear ones.  Peace on Earth and good will toward men is a Champion wish.

Again the first Christmas card of the season came from the Freemans, Wesley and Karen.  Karen hand-makes cards and writes they are still kicking in Texas and celebrated their 52nd anniversary November 23rd.  Karen’s sister, Daisey Delgado, lost almost everything she had in Hurricane Harvey—personal things, house, furniture, motorcycles and trucks, but still she is grateful.  This was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting nearly $200 billion in damage, primarily from widespread flooding in the Houston metropolitan area.  That was just back in August.  Time flies and they will be a long time recovering.  Another card comes from J.C. Owsley up Cross Timbers way.  He grew up (way up) over near Crystal Lake.  He encourages:  “Thank you for adding sunshine via The Champion News on-line.”  Friends like to see his photographs taken from behind the ears of a big white borrowed mule or one of his handsome saddle horses.  Maybe he will make it back for one of Bud Hutchison’s trail rides next year.  Bonnie and Pete Mullins, living in Douglas, Kansas now, also get news at www.championnews.us and say in their card they are looking forward to having Christmas with their son and his wife.  We are hoping to see them next Denlow School Reunion.  They did not make it this last time and were much missed.  They have until May to get ready.  Merry Christmas back at all you lovely folks.

Watching the news and sitting around the table visiting with friends and family about the current state of affairs, the question comes up, “How it is that good people, with each of the opposing political points of view, wonder how so many are under such strong delusion to believe a lie?” 86 45.  We are reminded that it takes both wings for the Eagle to fly.

Show and Tell at the Wednesday Champion Soiree is more interesting as time goes by.  Among all the things that have been brought to share, the best of all (according to one) was a mandolin banjo.  The guy that owns it does not play it.  He bought it (cheap) years ago and only recently paid $20.00 to a local luthier to have it restrung.  It is a lovely little thing and it languishes on a shelf, not played, while the guy collects other items that he values more.  Hopes are that he will bring it back to the Historic Emporium again soon for a communal musical.  Carnegie Hall held a hootenanny organized by Pete Seeger back in 1962.  Robert Zimmerman performed a song that lasted ten minutes.  It starts out, “Oh, where have you been My blue-eyed son?  And where have you been my darling young one?”  And goes on to say, “I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountain/ I’ve walked and I crawled on six crooked highways, I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests” and winds up “It’s a Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


The wormhole.
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December 4, 2017

CHAMPION—December 4, 2017

 


Work progresses on the East Champion Fox Creek Bridge.

With the specter of Christmas looming large, Champions are still reveling in the memories of a lovely Thanksgiving.  After the feasting an Old Champion Uncle shared the accomplishments of his niece, Kelly Cox.  She is the creator of The Original Fare, a PBS Food program where she “hunts, forages, and farms her way across the globe to search for the best ingredients our planet has to offer.”  She has Missouri roots and a perspective on food that is eye-opening.  Look for it at www.theoriginalfare.com and be prepared for some real adventures and surprises.  Another of Kelly Cox’s Champion Uncles reports that hearings are underway and a decision will be made soon about whether to keep or sell the Bryant Creek State Park, one of Missouri’s newest.  It is a beautiful and diverse property in eastern Douglas County.  He says, “It’s a jewel of the Ozarks, and one of the most rugged landscapes in the state.”  Another Old Champion Uncle enjoyed the return engagement of Boy Howdy and the Howdy Boys featuring Rattlesnake Slim and Frankie Midnight.  They played the Friday night soirée including some familiar pieces like “The Old Home Place” which has the refrain, “Why did I leave the plow in the field and look for a job in the town?”  They also shared some eclectic Bulgarian and Albanian tunes, enthralling family, friends and neighbors.  Among myriad reasons to be Thankful are Old Champion Uncles.  Kaitlyn McConnell is off in Ireland and posted a picture on the internet of musicians in a pub playing with the same enthusiasm (and some of the same tunes) as those folks at the McClurg jam.  It is a small and beautifully melodic world.

People with birthdays in December sometimes feel disadvantaged, having been given money for their birthday with the expectation that they spend it on Christmas gifts for others.  That wonderful feeling of giving might compensate for not having a real birthday.  (Perhaps they should choose a random day earlier in the year and just lie about it being their birthday.  It is a standard joke that people lie about their age anyway.)  Film maker Zack Godshall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana shares his birthday on the 6th of December with a talented local Mr. Bell.  Noam Chomsky was born December 7, 1928.  On the 8th another talented man–jeweler, woodworker, designer and cook celebrates on a creek bank with a lovebird named Trixie and a splendid spouse.  The 9th belongs to Skyline R2 School bookkeeper, Mrs. Karen.  That is also the day to celebrate Kaye Johnston’s sweetheart.  The 11th is for Bailey’s mom up in Portland, Oregon.  Danielle Gorham is an 8th grade student at Skyline.  Her birthday is on the 12th.  The 13th is for Kennedy Hinote, a Skyline kindergarten student, and for Richard Green down in the Magic Rio Grande Valley.  The 14th belongs to Zac Alexander’s dear old dad, for the much-missed comrade, Judy Ing, and for Spike Jones, who could gargle an aria with the best of them.  Amanda Mastin up at the Honky Tonk Clothier in Springfield celebrates on the 16th, as does big time movie producer Jesse Ing out in Hollywood.  Happy birthday all you people and get ready for a Merry Christmas.  No lie–it is going to be a Champion Christmas!

The fascinating full super moon shining out there helps to light up the many deer who decide to cross the highways and country lanes in front of oncoming vehicles.  Daytime drivers along C Highway, and doubtlessly other routes, see the deer on the side of the road that were unsuccessful in their crossings.  Dented fenders, hoods and worse show up in local body shops.  The fact that it gets dark earlier these days does not keep people from having to go out at night to do things.  Champions just start early and drive carefully.

Work continues on the East Champion Fox Creek Bridge.  As of Thursday the tinhorn was in place and a great deal of chat was arranged in such a way to allow for a good concrete pour.  It will be exciting to get back that way to see what the fine fellows of Douglas County have wrought.  If the draught continues there will hardly be a need for bridges anywhere.  Dean Brixey was in the neighborhood Wednesday.  He may know when it might have been this dry in the past—maybe in the 1950’s.  It is a gift that ‘old timers’ (sorry, Dean) are willing to share their history and experiences in the place we enjoy so much today.  He may well have come down to the Historic Emporium to get some of those beautiful Champion Christmas Cards or just on the hopes of running into old friends there.  If you cannot make it over to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek, look at www.championnews.us for some vicarious enjoyment of one of the world’s truly beautiful places.

Paul Harvey said, “In times like these it helps to recall there have always been times like these.”  Will Rogers said, “The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.  Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up.  Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow.  But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”  Another Old Champion recalls a similar quote from an earlier century:  “If you feed your horse enough oats, some will pass through to feed the sparrow.”  A song cheering the NRA (National Recovery Act—not the National Rifle Association) appears in an anthology of music called “Boom, Bust, and the New Deal.”  “There’s a new day in view.  There is gold in the blue.  There is hope in the hearts of men.  (86 45)  From the plain to the hill, from the farm to the mill, for the road is open again” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


More progress…
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November 27, 2017

CHAMPION—November 27, 2017

 


Frankie and Jonnie frolic on the farm.

There is no shortage of Gratitude in Champion.  Gatherings of old friends over the holiday give everyone the chance to catch up with each other, with the joys and sorrows of the past year and the plans for the year ahead.  They revel in the successes and attractiveness of each other’s grandchildren.  They commiserate over health issues and the swift passage of time.  They shake their heads in disbelief at the sorry state of affairs they find themselves in as a society.  86 45.  They discuss remedies and find reasons to laugh and reasons to be optimistic.  Champions are indeed Thankful and are acutely aware of their good fortune in contrast to many of their neighbors and much of the rest of the world.

December slipped up on us.  The year has gone by quickly.  Three years have gone by quickly and already Luxe Krider celebrates her third birthday on December 2nd.  Her grandfather, for whom Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive in historic downtown Champion was named, is remembered on his birthday on December 4th.  The 5th belongs to Angela B. who is now at level 36 in the Farmville game on-line.  That is also the birthday of Michael Hall, a first grade student at Skyline R2 School.  His birthday is on the 5th of December.  Champion friends say, “Happy birthday Luxe, Angela and Michael—many happy returns of the day!”

The holiday or the arduousness of the task, or unexpected complications, or any number of things may have interfered with the completion of the bridge over Fox Creek just to the east of the Square.  It may just be that expectations were unrealistic, but significant progress has been made and those nice Douglas County men will, most likely, have it done in the week ahead or sometime soon.  Champions are a calm, patient people who know good things often take time.

Wednesday found a trio of Upshaw brothers enjoying the pleasant gathering at the Historic Emporium.  Several interesting things were discussed including the virtues of the Sound Choice Karaoke equipment, particularly the hard drive version.  They talked about the good old days when their folks owned the movie theater in Mountain Grove and what it was like being teenagers back then.  They remembered a lot of the movies from the time like “Planet of the Apes” and “Cabaret.”  Cowboy movies are a favorite of a number of the Wednesday regulars and one that was brought up in conversation was the 1942 film called “Arizona Trail.”  It featured Tex Ritter as the hero, Johnny Trent.  Trent’s friend, Kansas, was played by Fuzzy Knight.  There were some minor musical numbers and moments of humor that carried throughout the film in the easy going tone of the westerns of the 1930s.  The story had Trent and Kansas returning to Trent’s father’s ranch in Arizona.  His father was having trouble over water rights and someone trying to take his ranch away from him.  There was some animosity between father and son as they dealt with the mystery of who was pulling the strings of the gang trying to force old man Trent off his land.  One of the songs from the movie was “Stay Away From My Heart” by Tex Ritter and Johnny Bond’s Red River Valley Boys.  There may be songs being written now about the real life struggles of land owners over water rights and the threat of pollution from oil pipelines.  There are issues of eminent domain for private gain and broken treaties.  Indigenous peoples all over the western hemisphere are facing difficulties in controlling their tribal lands.  Greed seems to be the culprit.  Wind and solar technology and other sustainable sources of power have a hard fight to gain parity with the petroleum industry.  Like in the movie, it is hard to tell who pulls the strings.  Where there is money to be made, good behavior seems to lose out.  It appears to have always been that way.  Alas.

Jonnie and Frankie

A few drops of rain are forecast for the middle of the week.  Otherwise they say we are looking at warm temperatures and beautiful weather.  Champions will not complain, but will be hyper-vigilant about fire and will take advantage of the continued dry spell to call upon the kindness of dairy farmer neighbors to share the bounty of old composted manure to spread liberally on their gardens.  A couple of enthusiastic young folks visiting from the city for the holiday shared their good energy in some local gardens, cleaning up last year’s bean and squash patches, as well as tidying up flower beds.  They split, hauled and stacked firewood.  They asked for chores, did scullery and as a special gift played music.  They had to head back to the city on Sunday morning.  The old folks were sorry to see them go.  They had a big Catahoula swamp dog traveling with them named Frankie.  She is a sleek, black 60 pound beast with big feet and a bigger appetite.  She joined up with Jonnie, the resident 50 pound hound with boxer ancestry, for a great deal of hilarious dog romping and chasing–Frankie and Jonnie–what a pair.

The holiday season is officially here.  Already behavior is being modified in hopes of getting on Santa’s good list for the year.  Chances are good that friends at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday evening will be able to get Roberta to sing “Christmas Time’s a Coming.”  The official Champion Christmas Post Card is already available at Henson’s Downtown G & G (Grocery and Gas) on the North Side of the Square.  It is a peaceful scene of Champion in the snow taken years ago.  Snow may be a thing of the past.  Who knows?  Come down to the end of the pavement where country roads meet and make your own prognostication about the severity and duration of winter.  Sit around the ancient wood stove and talk about your favorite cowboy movies.  Learn some local history or teach some.  “Now some folks like the summertime when they can walk about.  Strolling through the meadow green it’s pleasant there’s no doubt.  But give me the wintertime when the snow is on the ground, for I found her when the snow was on the ground.”  Bill Monroe did a beautiful job with that song.  Come share your rendition out on the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  You can belt it out, “I bless that happy day when Nellie lost her way, for I found her when the snow was on the ground” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


Champion in the snow.
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November 20, 2017

CHAMPION—November 20, 2017

 


This is the seventh bridge that the Douglas County fellows have rebuilt since the May flood.

Progress on rebuilding the Fox Creek Bridge just east of the Square in Champion has been helped along by the dry weather.  Saturday’s wind might have blown some of those big chunks of concrete around, but, for the most part, conditions have been favorable for the work and the Douglas County gentlemen employed to move the work along are doing a splendid job of it.  One of the young men on the crew speculated that the project would likely be finished this week.  This is the seventh such bridge to be rebuilt since the May floods.  There are about that many more that need this kind of attention, some smaller and some more expansive.  The 815 square miles of Douglas County require a lot of tending.  It is a beautiful place to live.  The big winds stripped dried foliage away on some of the high ridges, exposing houses that had been secret the day before.  The extent of the view available from those lofty perches is the envy of folks in the deep valleys.  Country lanes have also been swept of leaves, leaving the old and new litter exposed.  It turns out that a little litter picking makes a person feel virtuous while being annoyed that other people are so thoughtless is more time consuming and aggravating.  Those bridge builders say they will take the old tinhorn with them so things will be tidy when the job is done.  Champion!

Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy

The lists of reasons to be thankful will be passed around tables with the gravy on Thursday.  We live in a beautiful place and have family and friends and good fortune.  We have the gift to see that our troubles are no worse than those of many in the world.  Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, celebrated his birthday on November 27th.  Every so once in a while his birthday would coincide with Thanksgiving.  It was always a special time.  His son, the baker, would make a giant pumpkin pie and draw a turnkey on it with purple icing.  November 23rd is the Thanksgiving birthday of a spectacular grandmother living over the river and through the woods.  Her family and friends will be all over her place in another Thanksgiving extravaganza.  The 25th will belong to Skyline eighth grade student Levi Hicks.  Fifth grader, Faith Crawford, shares her day, the 26th, with Lannie Hinote.  Lannie used to teach at Skyline.  She is now up in Mountain Village, Alaska on the Yukon River.  She frequently posts pictures of what it looks like outside her classroom.  She has a view of the wide Yukon River at a bend.  It is frozen over now.  Her last picture is a snow scene stretching to the horizon.  It is time to get out her snowmobile or four wheeler or whatever interesting conveyance she has.  She has an exciting life.  Third grader, Billy Strong, will have is big exciting day on the 29th.  Jhonn Rhodes and Lane Watkins both celebrate on the 30th.  Jhonn is in the seventh grade and Lane is a fourth grader.  Your Champion friends and neighbors are wishing you all Happy Birthdays and a Beautiful Thanksgiving.

Tim Tamburinno of the Midwest Bluegrass Directory

Folks acquainted with the Midwest Bluegrass Directory know that Tim Tamburrino has recently spent some time in the Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital after his bypass surgery.  He thinks the place could use some music.  Call them up and mention Tim’s name if you have time and are inclined to play for some people who would really appreciate it.  The healing properties of music are well documented.  The place is located at 5904 S Southwood Road, Springfield, MO 65804, and the phone number there is (417)227-9000.  Tim’s mailing address is (c/o) The Campbells, 1469 E. Wayland, Springfield, MO 65804, in case you want to thank him for all the fine work he does to promote local music and bluegrass in particular and would like to encourage him to make a speedy, solid recovery and get back out there doing what he does so well.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a Canadian singer-songwriter.  People of a certain age may remember her for her time on Sesame Street back in the late 1970’s.  She was also known for her brilliant songs that brought attention to difficult social injustices of the day.  She won an Academy Award Oscar for “Up Where We Belong,” which was featured in the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman.”  She has received two medals from Queen Elizabeth II in addition to many other awards and degrees.  She recently said, “I think a lot of things have changed for the better.  My motto is that the good news about the bad news is that more people know about it now.”  She says, “Progress is always too slow when you’re going uphill, but when you’re looking back downhill you realize how far you’ve come.  It doesn’t do us any good to just hate on the oil people—we have to find ways to settle things, like convincing them to reinvest in clean energy.  Aboriginal people are practical—that’s how we survived.”  The 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of Keystone Pipeline oil that spilled the other day in South Dakota has clean-up crews racing to protect surrounding wetlands, aquifers, and land, but the worst damage has already been done.  It was for reasons like this that thousands of people traveled to Standing Rock last year to attempt to stop the construction of another pipeline.  Some of those people are still facing serious legal charges.  Some will be pleased to know that Ammon Bundy and his bunch have been exonerated for taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  There has been no report about whether they will be held responsible for all the damage during their prolonged occupation.  Perhaps Buffy will write a song that will explain the difference in the law’s approach to these separate, yet similar, situations.

Retired journalist, Frank Martin, says, “The first half of yesterday/felt like the first day of May/a cold front moved in/Where the warmth had been/And blew my spring fever away.”  Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Aulde Fox Creek and compose a limerick that lifts your spirit.  Inspect the new bridge on the east side of town.  Challenge someone you can beat to a game of horseshoes.  Get together with friends for some good conversation about folk music, the fair application of the law, and what you plan to cook for Thanksgiving.  Send some good recipes to champion@championnews.us or to The Champion News, Rt.72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  The days are slipping by quickly and it is like Nobel Laurette, Robert Allen Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


The old tin horn will be taken away.
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November 13, 2017

CHAMPION—November 13, 2017

 


The contraption turned the compromised portion of the bridge into rubble.  Progress is happening in Champion.

Back in May, Champions were pleased to report that difficulties caused by the heavy rains were not insurmountable and not as severe as many neighboring communities had experienced.  Evidence of the spring floods is seen in clumps of old hay still in the high up forks of creekside trees and great logjams of tree trunks, brush and debris in a bend or cut in the bank.  That evidence also appeared in cracks in the bridge over Fox Creek just east of Champion.  It is the bridge raised in memory of Dave Simpson by his family and friends.  The dedication stone says “1934—1993.”  After the water receded and things started looking normal again, the cracks began to appear in the concrete.  A big hollow area under the bridge was the result of water undermining the structure, the tinhorn not able to handle the volume.  “Bridge Closed” signs went up on either side, but people continued to use the bridge, just doing so with care and monitoring the difference in the surface from one passing to the next.  Our current drought made it possible to make a bypass loop into the dry creek bed, so there has been little interruption of traffic.  One day last week a little contraption started work from the downstream side of the bridge turning the compromised span into rubble.  It is exciting to see something important to the community getting done.  Farmers and gardeners are hoping for some much-needed drought relief and, at the same time, favorable conditions for bridge building.  There may yet be time for some environmentalist to stroll up the upstream side of Auld Fox Creek to pluck some of the white flapping plastic out of trees that was left there by the spring floods.  The opening of deer season may account for the extra beer cans and other litter along our country lanes.  We can stop to pick it up, but be careful.  There are armed people in the woods.  Good luck to the hunters and thanks to the bridge builders.

The closed bridge has not much interfered
with traffic so far.

Our spring floods hardly compare to Harvey down in Houston.  Kenneth (Hovie) and Dawn Henson live down there and were spared damage themselves, but Dawn said ten of their church families had water in their homes.  One 99-year-old lady who lived alone flagged down a canoe and left with just the clothes on her back.  She is still in a shelter.  Hovie and Dawn spent a few days in and around Ava and Champion recently, making a trip to Rockbridge and to the Bryant Creek State Park.  He had been unwilling to join Royce and his bunch for the “Walk of Ages” back in September on the occasion of the Champion School Reunion because he said it was 110 degrees that day.  Just to prove he could, Hovie started off at Cold Springs and walked all the way to his old home place, about two miles, where Dawn was waiting for him.  She said that she walked about 100 yards up the road to meet him.  From there they made their way to the Historic Emporium in time to join up with the Wednesday bunch.  It was hard to tell if Hovie was growing a beard or had just stopped shaving.  He was his gregarious self, if grizzled, spinning yarns and greeting cousins.  He secured the tour guide services of The General who took him down the Fox Creek Road toward Denlow pointing out the precise spot of some mayhem (an ambush shooting) long ago.  Then they toured the Denlow Cemetery where there were probably many more tales told.  The next day Hovie and Dawn were to go to Springfield to visit with Royce and Jody.  From there the four of them were going to caravan down to Bella Vista Arkansas to see Eva Loyce and Harold Phillips for a family get-together.  Hovie said Eva had been brushing leaves off the top of a shrub in her yard when she encountered a copperhead there and suffered a bite on her finger.  It has been a difficult ordeal, but he said he thinks she is doing better after some aggressive medical treatment.  Her Champion friends wish her a speedy recovery.

A nostalgic Kenneth (Hovie) Henson looks out across the Square, remembering his childhood in Champion.

A person might have thought that one of the Soggy Bottom Boys had fallen off the turnip truck on Thursday.  David Richardson debuted his rendition of “A Man of Constant Sorrow” at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam and had good help with the refrain.  Along with the music there comes a lot of laughter and good-natured fun.  Dave Medlock is a regular now with his wonderful banjo.  He says he is a regular but not all that dependable.  He played “Grandfather’s Clock” complete with the harmonics—nice.  There is a nice potluck dinner there at the Vanzant Community Building every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) starting at 6 o’clock.  The music begins at 7 going on until 9.  It is a pleasant opportunity to visit with friends and neighbors.  Mary Goolsby will show you pictures of her beautiful redheaded granddaughter who is going to college in Virginia.  You might get to hear Jerry Wagner sing a sweet ballad about a soldier boy writing to his mother from the trenches or Sherry Bennett singing “Five Pounds of Possum.”  That ditty requires more cowbell, which The General is pleased to provide.

Conditions were right for one Old Champion to get her garlic planted on Saturday even though the almanac indicated that Monday or Tuesday would have been a better day.  Sometimes a person just has to get it done when the getting is good.  Saturday was Veteran’s Day and there were observances and ceremonies all around the country to acknowledge and express gratitude to all those who have served their Nation in uniform.  These good men and women are the ones who get it done for the rest of us.  Even as our Veterans have, those currently serving are putting themselves in harm’s way and do what is asked of them with courage and without complaint.  The percentage of the population who are active in our military is small, but the job is a big one that has far-reaching implications.  The whole world seems to be in an uproar these days and we are reminded by literary giants that during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.  86 45. They say that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, come invariably from people who are not fighting.  Orwell said that a people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.  Come down to the wide wild wool banks of Auld Fox Creek and sit on the sunny veranda to think about it all.  Mull it over during a game of horseshoes or sitting around the stove in earnest conversation.  A perpetual optimist declares that it will all be alright eventually, but it is going to take thoughtful people doing the right thing.  Our Thanksgiving holiday will soon be here and we have plenty for which to be grateful.  “My Country ‘tis of Thee, sweet land of liberty, of Thee I sing” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


Some our our local Veterans enjoying the day in Denlow back in May…Champions all.
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