September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

CHAMPION—September 8, 2014

        This week looks perfect and those not busy enjoying it will be missing something delightful.  Champions do not get ahead of themselves other than to plan well and firewood is being contracted this week.  The nip in the air is suddenly portentous of the winter ahead which some are predicting will be a rough one, as if last winter was not.  Neat stacks of firewood and lots of full canning jars are Champion preparedness.

        The extended community turned out in a big way for the benefit for Ronnie Thompson at the Skyline School on Saturday.  The event was well planned and well executed and the food was delicious.  To be a part of so many friends and neighbors from all across the area coming together in a lovely loving common cause is a gift to everyone who participated.  Helping –Champion!

        “Deep in the Ozark Mountains.  Down  by a rushing steam.  Is the place I love to wander and have a sweet day’s dream.”  Ethel McCallie’s father’s poem is timeless for lucky locals.  A recent letter from her to The Champion News revealed that the Hayden Family Reunion was well attended.  She estimated close to 78 or 80.  There were sad absentees as there are in every nostalgic reunion.  Ethel is a wonderful storyteller.   Bonnie Brixey Mullens over in Wichita, writes that Ethel’s sister was her aunt, married to Virgil Proctor.  The family trees in this part of the world look like the Briar Patch.  Bonnie is hoping to make it down to Denlow for the Proctor Family Reunion in May.  Meanwhile TCN (The Champion News) will encourage a correspondence between Ethel and Bonnie.  Look for the transcript of Ms. McCallie’s latest letter in the Champion Neighbors Category over on the right hand side of the page at  It starts out, “9-3-14 Well, Howdy Doody and a pleasant good marnin to you.”

        Skyline School first grade student Lexus Ledbetter has his birthday on September 10th.  The 13th is set aside for Tanna Jo Krider Wiseman, mother of Foster and Kalyssa, Skyline alumnus.  Breann Davis is a seventh grader at Skyline who celebrates her birthday on the 14th together with nephew Konrad Zappler, father of Sophia and Penelope.  Elmer Banks will party on the 15th and everyone who sees him is welcome to ask him just how old he is anyway?  He might have some yarn to spin about it and a wise person will take the time to listen.  Most generally Elmer has some good information to share.  The General is a little less predictable.  They are both predicted to be out on the spacious veranda over on the North side of the Square on Thursday the 18th when the West Plains Wagon Club comes rolling into town.   Coy Stone will probably be representing the Gee Haw Club out of Viola Arkansas.  He is the guy who whittled that ball and chain on display in the Chat Room in the Emporium.  Champions are hoping Diane and Jerry Wilbanks will be on the train.  Their new friends here miss them.  The wagon folks are awfully nice about letting people look at their rigs and their animals.  It is a real education for many who have just heard about the old days when the only way to get around was by horse or wagon or walking.  People might have been healthier for the exercise and they probably made every trip off the place count.  “Put on your old gray bonnet, with the blue ribbons on it, while I hitch Old Dobbin to the shay.”  Perhaps there will be an example of a ‘shay’ on this train.  Bud Hutchison’s Fall Champion trail ride sometimes has a buggy or two along for the ride.  A shay sounds kind of fast and sassy, like the hot rod of the day.  Champions will be on the lookout and invite the neighborhood to come out and enjoy the spectacle around noon time Thursday the 18th in Historic Downtown Champion.

        Thursday, September 18, 2014, the people of Scotland will vote on a referendum that restores their sovereignty and removes them from the United Kingdom.  Each side has vocal supporters and detractors.  The “Yes” for Independence people ask the “Better Together”(“No”)people, “Why is it not better already?”  People from all over the world weigh in on the issue because Scots are everywhere from Nova Scotia (New Scotland) to Perth, Australia, and they hold on to their culture.  1703 does not seem that long ago in Scots history.  Caledonia is the Latin name given to the area by the Romans.  The old song goes, “I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs that make me think about where I’ve come from.  Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time.  Caledonia, you’re calling me, now I’m going home.  But if I should become a stranger, know that it would make me more than sad.  Caledonia’s been everything I’ve ever had.”  The world is watching and hoping for the best for the fine people of Scotland.  The recount of the votes on Amendment One in Missouri’s primary election is still underway.  Results are available from some counties, but so far nothing significant has developed.  Less than one quarter of one percent margin would indicate that there are strong opinions on both sides.  Democracy rules even when it rules against the best interest of the people.  Alas!

        Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 10th and 11th will be good days for harvesting crops.  Crops harvested on those days are thought to keep well.  The 12th and 13th will be favorable days for planting root crops and fine for vine crops.   They will also be good days for transplanting.  This might be a good time to plant garlic for next year.  Some already have a good size patch of tiny turnips sprouting in anticipation of a fall visit from their favorite friends Lem and Ned.  These fictional boys are big lanky fellows who come ambling up the driveway looking for a chore to do for a housewife.  They bring their own dinner bucket and will do any kind of onerous chore she cannot get the old man to do—clean the chicken house, turn the compost, haul brush, cut sprouts, etc.  They just want a few turnips for their effort since they are independent gents, not needing much but the chance to help out where they are needed.  Daydreaming down on the wild wooly banks of Old Fox Creek or a little ways up The Clever is easy to do in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014

CHAMPION—September 1, 2014

        It has been a busy week in Champion with another busy one ahead.  Recent visitors have remarked that there seems to be a lot going on in a place so geographically small.  That is because the community extends well beyond its borders.  It turns out the world is full of Champions.  It was a joy to have so many returning for the Champion School Reunion on Saturday.  They came from Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas and one was just back from Oregon.  They shared good food and great conversations as old friendships were rekindled and renewed.  Eight stalwart individuals made the “The Walk of Ages” which was routed from Denlow to Champion this year and was led again by Royce Henson.  Mini Jo was at his side as well as their son Vaughn, and daughter, Valley and her husband Tom Mills.  The route had been chosen by Kenneth Henson (Hoovie) who scouted it out back during the spring and allowed as how there were hardly any hills at all.  He paid for the prevarication by huffing and puffing and dragging up the rear of the party.  He was lucky that his wife, Dawn Henson, was willing to drive the support vehicle with the cool water.  Brothers Pete and Frankie Proctor made that walk in honor of their Mother, Champion Ruby Hicks Proctor, who passed away since the last reunion.  When the walkers arrived they found a nice crowd enjoying the day:  Elva Ragland and her daughter Sheila Brown, Fae Krider, Wes Lambert, Elsie Curtis, Debbie Massey, Ethel Luellen Anderson from Kansas and her three daughters, Louise Rinebold, Ruth Daharsh, and Betty Bishop, Wilma Hicks Hamby, Glenna Lambert Henson, Vivian Krider Floyd, Irene Keller Dooms, Beverly Dooms Keller, Betty Henson, J.R. and Janet Johnston, Wayne and Frances Sutherland and Laine Sutherland, Robert and Sharon Upshaw, Darrel Hutchison, Harold and Eva Phillips, Jerry and Shawna Smith.  Shawna is a collector of arrowheads and found a beautiful and perfect little white specimen out on the banks of Old Fox Creek.  There were just over forty in attendance including prominent citizens and with only a hint of rain, some light sprinkles at lunch time, it was a perfect day for gathering on the old school grounds again to reminisce and to catch up with old friends.  This was the 30th year for the reunion.  Last year Russell Upshaw sat out under the trees visiting with family and friends until late in the day.  He and a number of other dear ones were sorely missed this time.

        Russell Upshaw was the inspiration behind the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam which is a pot luck affair happening every Thursday night at the Vanzant Community Building—supper at six.  Readers of TCN ( The Champion News) on line can simply ‘click’ on this link and see 38 minutes of a session in April, 2012.  “This particular Thursday night there were people in the audience from New Jersey, Idaho, and Iowa.  Max Cooley, playing dobro and singing, lives in Nebraska,” reported an attendee.  Looking around the room it was like a Who’s Who of Bluegrass–a spectacular evening.  David Richardson of Whetstone is probably responsible for the video.  He records a lot of the good stuff that goes on in the area and it will be good to have another of his pieces up on the website.  More of the good stuff going on has to do with the community benefit for its Champion Ronnie Thompson.  The advertisements in the papers say that it will start with a chili supper at 5 on Saturday at the Skyline School.  There will be an auction and a volleyball tournament.  Ashley Pierson (417-686-0164) is the contact person.  The ad says to bring a pie for the auction.  What the ad does not say is that the Thompson family has been a part of the real infrastructure of the community for generations—ideal neighbors and friends.  Champion!

        Wayne Anderson celebrated his birthday on Saturday.  He took a rambling ride with his family over to the Clever Creek Unity Cemetery.  It was established April 5th, 1928.  The trustees were Elijah Anderson, president, Isaiah P. Henson, secretary, James H. Schudy, treasurer, Harve G. Mears and Fleming Ghear.  From there the party made a swing up through Denlow, then over to Mt. Grove for dinner, and back down through Champion.  They missed the school reunion but enjoyed visiting and hearing all about it.  Laine Sutherland had been there and it was her birthday too.  Bernice Wiseman said, “Thank all of you so much for helping me grow old.  It is a pleasant journey with friends like you all.  Appreciate everyone so much.”  That was her response to the many birthday wishes she had received.  Tennessee grandson Dillon Watts was in Champion on Sunday.  He has just had his 21st birthday.  His cousin, Drayson Cline, is a one year old boy now and on the run.  It will take more than The Champion News to keep up with him.  Larry Wrinkles birthday is on September 1st.  Skyline sixth grade student, Ethan Poppas, has his birthday on the 4th.  Eighth graders Derek Camp and Donavon Sarginson both celebrate on the fifth.  Renaissance woman, Jeannette C. Tharp, will start merry making Friday for her Monday birthday.  Her friends will help!

        Ms. Ethel McCallie had her 97th birthday on August 11th.  She was in town (Ava) for the Hayden Family Reunion over the week end.  Her Champion friends missed getting to see her this time.  They will make up for it with some nice telephone conversations soon just to see how it all went.  She lives over in Bartlesville, Oklahoma but has deep connections to the area.  Ethel is a good neighbor.

        Because the Constitution Amendment #1 was approved on the August 5th ballot by less than one quarter of one percent of the vote, Mr. Wes Shoemeyer, President of Missouri’s Food for America, requested that the vote be recounted.  The recount of the Douglas County votes will happen at nine o’clock on Friday, September 5th in the court room of the Courthouse in Ava.  The county by county by county recount results will be published on the internet at  The Secretary of State’s office takes care of that.  Mr. Shoemeyer lives over in Clarence, Missouri just a little to the west of Hannibal.  Folks on either side of the issue are aggravated that so many people did not vote and that many who did voted against their own best interest because of family tradition or lack of factual information.  Ah!  Democracy!

        Soon it will be “Oh! Pioneer” as the Descendants Gathering comes together for the 13th time on October 4th and 5th.   Before then, “Wagons, ho!” Fans of the West Plains Wagon Club will be pleased to know the wagon train will be back in Champion on Thursday the 18th of September.  They will leave from the West Plains MFA Sale Barn at 10:00 Monday morning and pass through Champion for the noon time rest on Thursday.  The General asked if there would be music again at the Champion Welcoming.  That is a good question with a couple of weeks to answer it.  He said that he would measure the response of the draft animals to the sound before he let too much air out of his accordion.  (Note:  He missed the Walk of Ages, having taken a wrong turn and winding up somewhere north of Spotted Hog before he came around.)  Bring those guitars, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, basses and good voices down to the Wild Wooly Banks of Old Fox Creek any day of the week, but that particular Thursday will be a good one to show up in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

CHAMPION—August 25, 2014

        Champions have been bringing the sheaves into the air conditioning this week, preserving the harvest in their comfortable kitchens during the heat of the day.  One remarks to another, “We have too much food.”  Not nearly everyone in the world can say that and so Champions do not complain about the work and freely share their bounty.

        President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a holiday in 1887.  The celebration of the American labor movement is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.  The holiday was meant as a tribute to their contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.  Canada shares Labor Day celebrations with its southern neighbor while 80 or more countries world-wide celebrate May 1st as International Worker’s Day.  An interesting posting on the internet says that if we want to live in a country that produces things, we need to buy things that are made here.  It stands to reason.  Whatever political motivations President Cleveland had for choosing September for the observance, and history says there were several, current observers will find bargains and reasons to celebrate….friends, family, music, corn on the cob, peach cobbler, watermelon.

        Celebrating starts on Saturday for those attending the Champion School Reunion.  The Walk of Ages is taking a new route this year.  Royce Henson and party will be leaving the Denlow Cemetery at ten in the morning with the plan of walking to Champion.  They will have to step right along if they plan to get there for lunch.  The General will be accompanying the group and will most likely mark cadence.   “Let’s go on and have some fun…walking on down to Champ-i-un…one, two…”  When they get there they will find a big crowd already in the midst of the fun.  Temperatures are forecast to be more mild, but even mid 80’s will be hard on the General who probably does not spend an hour a day on the elliptical machine and then an hour swimming as Royce does.  There will most likely be some support vehicles and cooling stations along the way as well as some new Burma Shave signs.  A favorite one of those from 1939:  “A peach looks good…With lots of fuzz…But man’s no peach…and never wuz… Burma Shave.”

        Anyone driving late at night in the area needs to be on the lookout for deer.  Fortnight Bridge players on their way back to the rendezvous point Saturday night slowed down to see an enormous deer standing by the road, not very interested in the passersby.  The Norwood player said that she sees deer every bridge night on her way home.  Conversations about deer had the Champion player (winner of the nickels) reporting seeing deer in the late afternoons out at the edge of the woods.  Often they become visible by the movement of their tails as the constant flicking of white catches the eye.  Those tails are busy flicking flies, gnats, ticks, fleas and any number of other pests that might plague a wild mammal.  It was speculated that such a handy thing as a tail would eliminate the need for bug spray and would, for a person working out in the garden, leave hands free for weeding, pruning and picking.  The Vera Cruz player (winner of the quarters) said that if people had tails they would never be able to hide their feelings.  A recent Nation Geographic article reveals that there is an ongoing study concerning the emotional context of the dog’s tail wag.  So far it has been determined that wagging to the right is the excitement of recognizing the dog’s master or another friendly dog.  Wags to the left also indicate excitement, but contingent with some anxiety.  Imagine the tails on the tattle tales and the tellers of tall tales down at the Historic Emporium.  No secret would be safe.

        Birthdays are not secrets.  People benefit by a little annual attention.  Drayson Cline had his first one on the 23rd.  He is walking with purpose, running and busy.  His cousin, Dakota Watts, is a grown up now and has his birthday on the 24th, as does a favorite nephew in Pennsylvania, Daniel Cohen.  Barbara Krider has her birthday on the 25th.  Champion friends hope Harley feels like singing that song to his sweet wife.  Across town, Donald might sing to Rita Krider on the 26th.   Seneca Parsons will have a beautiful birthday on the 27th with is dear ones around their kitchen table.  The 29th is a special day for third grader Rowdy Woods, who will be nine years old.  He shares the day with local Champion Bill Smith and with Mini Jo Henson who will be at the Champion School Reunion to meet Royce when he comes strolling down the hill.  August 30th is the day of the reunion and it will be Laine Sutherland’s birthday too.  Maybe she will bring some of her lovely musician friends with her for the enjoyment of all.  It is rumored and hoped that The General’s guitar might be waiting for him when he comes stepping into the square.  Sunday will be the best day of the year for Kalyssa Wiseman and Jenna Brixey.  One is older than the other by an hour or two.  They will both be seven.

        These last hot days have turned the roads powdery dry so dust coats the wilted weeds and bedraggled grapevines drooping out of the withering trees that over spread country lanes.  Summer is winding down and leaving the countryside weary.  Just a little rain will restore enthusiasm.  Imagine that first breath of cool air that precedes a gentle shower.  Imagine that little feeling of relief and hope being inhaled everywhere so that societal and political tensions might be soothed a little.  Bring all that kind of courage and optimism with you down to the wild wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  Deward Henson went down to “the village” every day but one for fifty years.  That was the day National Geographic showed up to feature the place in the book America’s Hidden Corners.  The picture in the book shows a good sized pile of firewood stacked up just where the good sized pile of firewood is stacked now.  Seasons change and so it is in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

CHAMPION—August 18, 2014

        The first Monday after Labor Day was the first day of school for many back in the ‘old’ days.  These days school is already in full swing with all the contingent excitement and anticipation for a good year ahead.  A preschool teacher was quoted as having said, “I will not believe all the things your child tells me about you if you will not believe all the things he tells you about me.”  This happened a number of years ago and is not to say that the children are, or were, necessarily prevaricators, but rather that they have a distinctly different point of view about most things based on their lack of experience.  That is what school provides—information and experience.  Skyline School’s Communications Arts teacher, Carolyn Willhite, will celebrate her birthday on August 23rd.  Third grader Rowdy Woods will have his special day on August 29th.  Jenna Brixey will be in the first grade.  She and Kalyssa Wiseman share a birthday; they will both be seven years old.  Champions!

        The Champion School Reunion happens on the Saturday before Labor Day.  New old memories will come to the surface to be shared among the many.  Last year the event took place on the hottest day of the year.  (TCN—September 2, 2013) “That did not seem to make much of a difference to the fifty or so stalwart Champions, families and friends who enjoyed the afternoon under the ancient walnut trees in the old school yard.  Ruby Proctor pointed to the tree that was home base and told about the batter who let go of the bat after a hit.  It hurled right into her face and she said she still had the scar, but her sweet smile hides it well.  Some of the others who passed the day with Ruby were Elsie Curtis, Debbie Massey, Connie Brown, Robert Brown, Paul Brown, Lee Brown, Richard and Kaye Johnston, Karen Krider, Ray Hicks, Pete Proctor, Harold and Eva Phillips, Elva Ragland, Sheila Brown, Betty Henson, Fern Bishop, Kenneth and Barbara Anderson, Wayne and JoAnn Anderson, Russell and Dean Upshaw, Frank and Freda Proctor, Arlene Cooley, Tom Cooley, Laine Sutherland, Frances Sutherland, Billy Jo Lambert and his son, Don Krewson, Anita Krewson, Wayne Sutherland, Modeen Dooms, Mrs. LuAllen and two daughters, her son and his wife, Benton Hutchinson, Jackie Coonts, Dale and Betty Thomas, Leslee Krider, Bill Smith, Wilma Hutchison Pointer and her husband, Royce and Joe Henson and Vaughn Henson.  Royce and Vaughn completed the Walk of Ages again from Cold Springs to Champion.”  That was last year.  This year Champions will miss some of those dear ones.  To the many in the area who have Champion connections and history, this is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and recollect.  The pot luck luncheon on the grounds is always a feast.  Everyone is welcome.  You never know who you will see on the Bright Side!

        It seems that the same people in any given community do all the hard work that makes it a real community.  On a warm Saturday afternoon a week after the Skyline Picnic, a certain prominent citizen and prominent girlfriend were observed up at the fire house continuing to work.  They were doing the final tidying up after the picnic and beginning the process for another sterling event next year.  Neighbors at KZ88 FM Real Community Radio in Cabool will be broadcasting four hours of the picnic music from Saturday night together with a short interview with the Skyline Fire Chief.  It will be broadcast from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Saturday night, August 23rd, and then again on Sunday, the 24th,  from noon to four o’clock.  It will be like being there again!  Thanks KZ88!

        “We will kill a chicken and churn!”  That is the sentiment that goes with the open invitation to good neighbors and old friends.  A few miles across the county is still not a long trip, but as days fill up more quickly as the years have gone by, old friends who see each other rarely make it a celebration and special occasion when they can get together.  With technology and transportation improvements, closeness is less about geography now than it has ever been.  The neighborhood is big and good neighbors are a great gift.  They share the garden produce–awash with squash and unnumbered cucumbers.  They share the hard work, the troubles and triumphs.  For those who do not get The Champion News (TCN) through the Douglas County Herald, last week the paper ran an ad for a benefit to be held for Ronnie Thompson and it was the first that many had heard of his illness.  Ashley Pierson (417-686-0164) is the contact person for that event.  It is news to some that Harley Krider is also having some health issues.  All those suffering ill health and loss benefit from the ministrations of their good neighbors, friends and family.  Both these Champions are getting good health care and have a good prognosis for which their vigilant good neighbors, friends and family are grateful.  Compassion is a Champion notion.

        Not everyone has a good neighbor.  It is sad but true.  Complicated human relationships and seemingly unrelated events sometimes throw incompatible people right next to each other for better or worse for the duration.  How issues are resolved and circumstances tolerated can make the very exciting subtext of a crime novel or of a treatise on tolerance and forbearance.  “The sun comes up and the sun goes down and the hands on the clock go round and round.  Life gets tee-juss, don’t it?”  That is part of an old song that might fit the dreary life of someone who declines to be a good neighbor.  It takes two. 

        Neighbors over in Vanzant are continually kicking up their heels.  Those Thursday night bluegrass jams are still in full swing and let him who has a foot to pat come on over for a pot luck dinner about six and then enjoy an evening of great music.  “Saturday Night Under the Stars” over at the Vanzant Country Store is getting some good press on the internet and Champions on their way to Mt. Grove have seen some expansive attention going into what used to be the Junction.  By contrast Champion seems all the more laid back and easy going.  Plenty happens, however, and a lot of it out on the spacious veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium overlooking the bucolic Square wrapped and boundried by the wild, wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  The veranda is situated to catch the lovely summer breezes offered by nature and the verbose windiness of farmers, cowboys and charming itinerant vagrants and loiterers.  Check out TCN (The Champion News) at to get a clear view of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

CHAMPION—August 11, 2014

        A cool week ahead with the potential for a little rain has Champions comfortable and optimistic, but not smug.  It is that kind of place where gratitude plays an active part in daily life.  The anniversary of the Fox Creek Flood of 2013 was observed quietly.  Some debris is still lodged in trees “higher than the Cowboy could reach if he were sitting on his high horse.”  If memory does not serve, a review of the archives at reveals that the previous August was a dry, hot one and in 2011, every drop was being measured and appreciated.  Country folks, gardeners and farmers are particularly attentive to the weather as they go about their work in harmony with the atmosphere.  Champions all!

        The 28th annual Skyline VFD Picnic lived up to its reputation as one of the sweetest events around.  Friday started out hot but as the sun went down the air became most comfortable and was filled with music and laughter and the sounds of happy reunions as old friends embraced and visited.  At five o’clock Saturday the faintest little drizzle toyed with the hosts and would have been threatening had they not all studied the radar intensely.  Some firemen used their radios to listen to The National Weather Bureau with its ominous impersonal voice crackling through the static saying, “thunder storms possible.”  People began arriving anyway and, as if by virtue and force of confidence, the clouds dispersed leaving just enough humidity around to remind revelers that they were still deep in the throes of summer.  Several hundred people from around the area and from distant parts settled in the natural amphitheater to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.  Bluegrass and gospel music is really one of the great calling cards for this extraordinary gathering.  The many local and area performers are most impressive not just in their talent but in their generous willingness to show it off.  Ray Bradley continues to amaze with his rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.  He hits those high notes solidly and makes us all feel good about the whole thing.  Others of the hundreds milled about enjoying the food and games.  The silent auction was brilliant as friends outbid each other for those Jewel Tea bowls, each hoping to give them to another of their mutual friends.  Tim Scrivner’s excellent bird feeder was snapped up by another fine wood worker who will probably steal the idea.  The author of the cedar lined red oak blanket chest can be satisfied that the raffle brought in a sizeable chunk of money to benefit the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  Can he top it next year?  Champion Jerry Garrison was the lucky ticket holder for that piece that is destined to become a family heirloom.  His friends and neighbors are almost as happy for him to have won it as they would have been for themselves.  Alas!  The hard work of all the volunteers before, during and after the picnic gives them a special spot in the community heart.  The merchants and organizations in the area that support the Skyline VFD can expect ‘mutual aid’ as the community pays back with patronage.  KZ88 Community Radio was on hand to record all the evening’s music as well as a short interview with the Skyline Fire Chief.  It will air sometime next week and those who were unable to attend will hear what they missed and those who were there will get to relive a lovely experience without the distractions, and, sadly, without the pie.  The Champion News Facebook page (‘like’ us please) will report the KZ88 broadcast schedule of the recording when it becomes available.

        It would be great to think that every part of the country is divided up into overlapping communities that rally for each other in their celebrations and in their need the way folks do around here.  It seems that people never feel so good as they do when they are helping someone else.  As people age they might wonder who is getting the comfort when the baby is being rocked.  All the festivals, fund raisers and benefits tie communities together in a great network of compassion.  Elmer was at the picnic both nights.  He is happy about the job the men from the county road crew did on V Highway.  Those fellows have a big job to do to keep the roads open and viable, tying all the communities together.  One of them could use a little help now.  Ashley Pierson (417-686-0164) can answer questions, take donations, and sign your volleyball team up for the tournament that will benefit a special one of those fellows as he deals with a serious health issue.  The volleyball tournament, chili supper and auction will kick off at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 6th at the Skyline School—for Champion Ronnie Thompson.

        It was quiet on Sunday afternoon as the little church yard emptied out.  From up near the church, weaving through the trees along the creek bed came a red shouldered hawk, flying silently and low, crossing the drive to light in the big walnut tree behind the garage.  It rested there a moment and then sailed across the road into Harley’s pasture and back along the creek.  It is a huge bird.  The American kestrel is quite a small hawk.  Actually, it is called ‘North America’s littlest falcon.’  Ethel Leach sees them over in her North Champion neighborhood in the headwaters of Old Fox Creek.  They hunt for insects and other small prey in open territory, perching on wires or poles or hovering facing into the wind, flapping and adjusting their long tails to stay in place.  They are native year round residents of this part of the world.  Big hawks, little hawks, turkeys, deer and bear are neighbors to other year round critters like bob cats, ground hogs, raccoons, possums and now armadillos.  What a remarkable place!

        Gardens are pouring forth and it is still warm enough to enjoy going to the creek.  This must be the perfect time of the year.  An old neighbor, Ruth Hicks, who used to write the Champion items, would recite a poem by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885).  (Maybe kin to Myron.)  “The golden-rod is yellow, the corn is turning brown, the trees in apple orchards with fruit are bending down.”  The name of the poem is September, but already it comes to mind in the golden shower of walnut leaves and as the sneeze-causing wild aster, goldenrod, comes into full bloom.  Presently the sumac will change colors and it will be time for the old Champions to gather.  Deward Henson’s old home place is now being occupied joyfully by his granddaughter, Jenny Coradi John and her brush hogging husband.  They had a good time at the picnic.  Her cousins will soon be pouring out of Springfield and other places to come to the Champion School Reunion on the Saturday before Labor Day.  Time marches on.

        March on down to the village, as Deward called it, and bring some of those squash to share.  Bring some poetry with you or some stories or a good song.  “Every day (tenor), every day (soprano), every day (alto), every day (bass) God’s sun is shining brightest beams across the sky.  On this way (tenor, soprano, alto, bass) we shall not falter, it’s the brighter side of life!”  In Champion—Thanks for the motto, Deward.  Looking on the Bright Side!