July 1, 2020

CHAMPION—June 30,2020

 

The Fourth of July on a Saturday and a Full Moon makes this one a special one. We may miss getting to share it with our friends and families as we celebrate in different places together. Yes, there will be lots of gatherings, but many older, vulnerable folks will picnic alone with their bar-b-que, watermelon and apple pie, thinking about the current State of the Nation and the good changes they hope will come. The necessary cancellation of the Old Tree Huggers Jamboree that has a history of more than 30 years will thwart and stymie the myriad enlightened conversations that would have been had over the past, present and future. Those discussions are still going on if only around the kitchen table with the old man or with friends on the phone. Some people just talk to hear their head rattle, but ever so once in a while, something rings true. Whatever that is that rings true for you, it generally conforms to whatever you already believe. There is hardly any point in trying to convince folks who believe differently that you are right and they are wrong. We better just look at each other and grin, maybe shake our heads and leave unspoken our wonder and amazement that people we like and care about can be so obtuse. Harmonize with them if you can “…and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”

If you wonder if you are doing a good job of hand washing, just get a little fish emulsion on your fingers. By the time you get the smell off, you can be pretty sure your hands are clean. No one has come to claim the bottle that replaces the one Jonnie, the good dog, chewed up. Lena says a person’s fingernails ought to be dirty during the summer. She claims hers are as she works with her flowers and splits wood and what-not outside. She says that Sally and Wilma are doing fine these days. She is making quilts for great granddaughters and keeping track of Jerry and his comings and goings. Maybe he plays the fiddle for her sometime or turns the radio on for a dance. They have been seen to cut a lovely rug. He may know Fiddlin’ John Carson’s tune, “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” That is from 1923, a little before Jerry’s time.

Reports are that the Ava Farmers’ Market is doing very well with many more young people participating as vendors and shoppers. That is good news. A note from Champion-South: “the garden is doing well considering the abundant rainfall earlier in the spring everything was slow to start. oh weeds were not slow but produce was very slow we usually have squash by now but just blooming. onions garlic potatoes lettuce dill carrots cukes (just blooming as well) doing good eating snow peas and beans along with lettuce and onion. had a blackberry yesterday there are lots of tomatoes green of course but the peppers were the slowest to start but are hitting their stride now.” Home grown vegetables are dandy, capital letters and punctuation notwithstanding.

A friend shared a great recipe for a refreshing summer iced tea. It makes half a gallon: 2 quarts of water, one and a half inches of ginger root, thinly sliced, a heaping tablespoon of powdered turmeric, one teaspoon of black pepper, and three tablespoons honey. Simmer for half an hour stirring often. Do not strain it. Refrigerate it and enjoy a pleasant tea that turns out to be very beneficial for folks with arthritis since it has all those ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties. Arthritis comes from working hard. Dear friends come from our good fortune. Thank you for sharing the good things. Another friend shares a recipe for jewelweed broth. She says, “Not only is this a tasty cold soup for summertime, it is a superior remedy for poison ivy rash. Sipping 2-4 cups of jewelweed broth, hot or cold, will quell both skin and joint inflammation. Harvest jewelweed (Impatiens pallida or canadensis) by pulling every 4th or 5th plant up by the roots. We are using the entire plant. The redder the root, the more effective this remedy. At home, rinse your jewelweed and place it, roots and all, in a pan, pressing it down very well. Add just enough cold water to barely cover the jewelweed and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the water is orange. Cool, then refrigerate or pour into ice cube trays and freeze.”

Unusual atmospheric conditions have rendered our golden hour more golden yet. It is as if Rembrandt has slathered another coat of shellac over our bucolic landscape, a glimmering varnish of softened light. As we go through these stressful days, we hope to know all our friends and families are well and safe. We celebrate the 244 years since 1776 and hope for the safety and health of our Nation. Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!

Facebook

June 24, 2020

CHAMPION—June 21, 2020

 

The appreciation day for paternal parents was a resounding success. The internet was graced with the images of many a fine old gent in his younger days, many of whom have passed on, though the mystic chords of memory hold them close to us no matter how long they have been gone. All those fine fathers and father figures with us now, who work to perpetuate the lessons and values of their predecessors, either want to be the kind of dad they had or want to be a better one. The negligent, hardhearted and heavy handed ones do not get much celebration. Hooray for you good guys and mighty men, and thanks for all you do to teach, guide, protect, strengthen and inspire your off spring.

Jake is a three and a half month old blue heeler who has made a home with Bob and Ethel. He is helping them get over having recently lost the old dog that had been their companion for 16 years. They have been in the hay these days and all seems well with them. Ethel opens gates, cooks and is ready with tools or parts when things break down. They are looking forward to getting back down to Champion one of these days and were glad to hear that things are well here. That is the good news we hope applies to all our friends and kin. With still only three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Douglas County, we are considering ourselves fortunate while we still take safety precautions. The primary election coming up in August is one of those opportunities to participate we do not want to miss. Any registered voter can get an application for an absentee ballot by calling the County Clerk’s office (683-4714) or by stopping in at the court house. When you return your ballot by mail it will not need to be notarized if you are 65 years old and if your reason for voting absentee is your concern over the coronavirus. If you are mailing in your ballot, it must be there 13 days before Election Day. A person can also request an application for a ballot on-line at the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. Some folks are most hopeful that the whole Country will be able to vote by mail at the upcoming National Election. Some are deeply opposed.

A good conversation with Jody Henson revealed that she and Royce are doing well. He will be 87 in October and is still mowing five lawns a week. Jody does all the driving but they are not going much. They have been doing church at home with the East Sunshine Church of Christ via the internet. A good neighbor has been getting their groceries for them for the last three months and vehemently refuses compensation. She says the Bella Vista Hensons and those in Houston are all okay and their families as well. They are wondering if the Champion School Reunion will be happening this year. When we find out, we will let you know.

A Fish Emulsion mystery: First of all, Jonnie is a sweet dog. Just like Old Rattler, she would not harm a fly. Well, actually she is rough on flies, wasps, mud-daubers and hornets, but the rabbits, armadillos, squirrels, ground hogs, possums, lizards, toads and frogs she leaves alone. She would like to play with some of them, but they run away. She came in the other night stinking of fish, which is most unusual, since we have not been fishing, and there are no fishing holes near about. The next day the half full pint plastic bottle of Fish Emulsion appeared in the front yard with the top badly chewed up. Thinking she must have taken it from the neighbor, on the next trip to town a replacement was purchased. The neighbor, however, said that the stuff did not come from them. So the mystery is who has lost a pint of Fish Emulsion up on Cold Springs Road? Stinky. But sweet is the fragrance of the elderberry blossoms. It may be almost too late to harvest a few for elderflower fritters. Blackberries are blossoming and raspberries are already purpling the tongues of itinerant wanderers.

At home, three crows harassed and harried a hawk all across the sky above a Champion garden early on the first morning of summer. They have their own worries and dramas and we have the leisure from our garden bench to observe, assess and judge without the exact perspective of either party. The birds might say, “Mind your own business,” but they hardly pay us any mind. So the best we can do in these stressful times is what Mother said, “Act like you have good sense.” We are doing the best we can out here on our garden benches. Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!

Facebook

June 18, 2020

CHAMPION—June 16, 2020

 

At 4:43 p.m. on Saturday, June 20th, the sun will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer and for the whole world The Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year. It is the day when the earth is farthest from the sun and the day many consider to be the first day of summer—astronomers do, but meteorologists think summer begins on June 1st. Up in the Arctic Circle they will have 24 hours of daylight. People around the globe will celebrate with feasts, picnics, dances and music. In Northern Hemisphere cultures the day is traditionally thought to be mid-point of the summer season and midsummer celebrations are common in many European countries. The Swedes and others put up maypoles and fun ensues. We say the sun is over the Tropic of Cancer, but we could also say that the Tropic of Cancer is under the sun and the sun does not come up and go down, but the earth spins around and around. Perspective is a tricky business. The very same thing can look different to people depending on many variables, yet we are all Earthlings.

Mail to The Champion News (Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717) suggests that the whole earth is such turmoil, that perhaps we need a common enemy to draw us together. This crack-pot would like to see real aliens show up and he says they should easily be identifiable by color, not our Earthling red and yellow, black and white, but some different color like blue or chartreuse or purple. He also thinks they should be configured differently, like people but with lizard heads and hands, and either really big or really small, so there would be no way they could pass for human. They would come in nasty, people eating swarms and it would be OK to hate them. Everybody in the whole world would hate them. They would stop hating each other and just hate the nasty aliens. While our cracked-pot is out looking for space aliens, the rest of us can work on trying to get along with our fellow humans here on our planet.

Our appreciation of the USPS only grows as we are so much at home these days. The USPS has always been a vital amenity for rural people. Mail-order is still important in the country, though many of us may be shopping on the computer rather than with the Sears and Roebucks catalogues that were a mainstay back in the day. We have been getting our packages reliably for a long time. We handle our finances through the mail and get those precious grandchildren’s photographs and drawings. If we were broadcasting on Radio WTCN, “your dedication station,” we would dedicate this one to John—“John the Generator.” Thanks to all you mail carriers out there on your rural routes.

The Vanzant Bluegrass Jam reopened on Thursday with good safety precautions in place. There was plenty of room for social distancing and hand sanitizer and gloves were available. Some had masks or bandanas down around their necks. It was a small gathering which seems just the right size even though we look back with great fondness to the place having been packed in days gone by. Maybe it will be like that again one day, but for now, our good judgement must prevail, like Luke Combs says, “Six Feet Apart.” Meanwhile, we can enjoy Tim Tamborino’s postings on the Midwest Bluegrass Directory. He shared a piece recorded on June 14, 1923, of Fiddlin John Carson doing “The Little Old Log Cabin in The Lane.” He said, “Many music historians consider this song to be the first recording of a country music hit, and the first country music recording with vocals and lyrics.”

“Wild flowers don’t care where they grow,” according to Dolly Parton, who is a favorite in Champion on account of her great music and her terrific Imagination Library. She has given away millions of books now. She has also been reading bedtime stories for children on-line during the pandemic lockdown. Roland R. Kemler said, “What a lonely place it would be to have a world without a wildflower.” He is an acclaimed photographer who said that pursuing the beauty that nature has to offer is his greatest adventure. He is welcome to venture down any of our rural lanes to be dazzled by the wildflowers and overarching boughs. Along the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek, at the bottom of several lush, green hills, where country roads meet the pavement is one of the world’s truly lovely places—Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!

Facebook

June 10, 2020

CHAMPION—June 7, 2020

 


 

The good news that Skyline voters approved the raise in the operating tax levy is offset a little by the Governor’s announcement of $131 million in budget restrictions on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There may be help from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) in the short term, but all our schools will share in the shortfall. Back to the good news: the Skyline community supports our school and will continue to do so while adjustments are having to be made. Superintendent Donnie Luna, all the staff, and the school board will be doing the hard work of keeping our great school going strong. Thank you. And thank you to everyone who is being safe in the pandemic.

Private W.A. Masters, United States Army Air Corps, WWII Anti-Fascist

The Merriam Webster Dictionary folks define “fascism” as #1: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. #2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control. 75 years ago all Americans fought against fascism. All our “Greatest Generation” of World War II Veterans were anti-fascists. My Dad and all my uncles were anti-fascists. Woody Guthrie had a sign on his guitar that said, “This Machine Kills Fascists.” We may remember him best for “This Land is Your Land.”

Gardens are glorious this year, sending some new fresh vegetable to the table every day and blooming with the optimism of much fruit to come. One Champion noted that when her garden is weed free, well mulched, attractively arranged and bursting forth with produce, no one stops by to see it. On the other hand, when she has let it get away from her and it is weedy, diseased or failing, she can hardly keep people out. They want to take pictures! So it goes. The omniscient they say any time you see a pretty garden there is someone in it. All this isolation makes it easier to be out there even if no one sees. Things that only you see in your garden make it the pleasant place to be in today’s tumultuous times—a butterfly with a tattered wing, a beautiful ribbon snake, or visitors to a dandelion. These recent nights have been so bright a gardener could almost work in the middle of the night. The lightening bugs might help.

Local hay-makers have done a good job dodging the rain and fields are dotted with big round bales. Sometimes the air is full of the hum of distant hay making machinery. It looks like a good year for hay so far. Monday night’s rain was 2.5 inches in North Champion. J.C. Owsley up in Cross Timbers (or over in Jordan) reported almost four inches piling up in his rain gauge and at 8:20 in the morning was still coming down. Cooler weather is on the way for a few days, they say. Last week some were looking for their 12-inch, 3-speed oscillating fan. It is the Ozarks at the end of Spring with summertime fast headed our way.

Show and tell at the Historic Emporium has been interesting lately. A gas powered flat iron was on exhibit there for a while, and has since been taken to a recycler. Another item was brought in the other day by a regular Champion visitor and was identified as a horse clog. It is a three pieced wooden apparatus configured to go around a horse’s foot in such a way to prevent the animal from being willing to run. It is an old thing, but it would still work.

The reward for making a recent rare trip to town was running into Karen Ross. Karen was the Champion mail carrier for a long time. She has another route now and seems to like it just fine, though she asked to be remembered to all her old Rt. 72 friends. Her husband, Mike, is running for sheriff of Wright County, so she must be extra busy these days. We miss Karen, but are very pleased with our new guy, John. Often lately his is the only vehicle going down Cold Springs Road. The USPS has always been an important amenity for rural people. John is doing a good job and is much appreciated.

These are being beautiful days in Champion in spite of the great National and global turmoil. In times like these we think of FDR. He spoke often of our four great freedoms: freedom from fear and want and freedom of speech and religion. Those are things we contemplate in the comfort of our peaceful, rural homes. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


 
Facebook

May 31, 2020

CHAMPION–May 28, 2020

 

Every path has a few puddles. We, in Champion, do not have to haul water to fill our puddles these days, though in days to come we may pray for rain. Meanwhile, we pray for the health and safety of our dear ones—our family and our friends, and for the health and safety of our Nation and of the whole world. Odd times, these. Odd, yes, but glorious out here in rural America—when have we had such a magnificent spring? Each spring seems like the first, always amazing. The grass in the broad rolling fields is high and the contours are softened making that “Sea of Grass” illusion very clear. Back in 1936 Conrad Richer wrote a novel by that name. It was set in the late 1800s and dealt with the clash between rich ranchers, whose cattle ran freely on government-owned land, and the homesteaders, a version of that fight still being fought in some areas. It portrays the end of the cowboy era on the Great Plains. Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn appeared in a movie based on the novel in 1947. Romance and conflict make good entertainment. Conflict seems ubiquitous these days. Brian Haggerty (February 26, 1953-July 27, 1976), was wise beyond his years. He said, “Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you.” He passed through Champion in the 1970s making it a livelier, better place for a few days. He was an optimist and, as Susan Bissonnette said, “An optimist is the human personification of spring.”

As of the 11th of May, the community got even better with the arrival that day of young James IV. His parents, D.J. and Talisha Mastrangelo, are delighted with their 7lb 5oz baby boy. He has a full head of beautiful straight blonde hair and a home full of the joy and excitement that comes with such a wonderful package. He is named after both his great-grandfathers, Dominick and James, so he is another D.J. Mastrangelo–the fourth one. He will be called James to avoid confusion.

There may be some confusion about how to drive in the rain as there have been reports of several accidents recently. It was the smile of good fortune that there were no serious injuries on 76 Highway on Thursday. Our local firefighters and first responders were willing to work out in the pouring rain to keep traffic moving around two separate accidents. James’ dad was among those volunteers and we can always pretty much count on him for a smile. Later there was a report of someone having to be towed off the Fox Creek Bridge, but details are sketchy, which leads to speculation that the creek came up fast and hard and his rig drowned out in high water, or that someone pausing to take pictures off the bridge was then unable to get her car started again. Look for a complete report about the incident laden with facts sometime in the vague indefinite future. Meanwhile, here is the promised account of the Fox Creek crossing by Bud’s Intrepid Trail Riders. Andrew Hardin said they had no difficulty with the horses crossing Fox Creek there just east of Champion. He said he might not have been willing to drive across it, but the horses had no trouble. The water was wide and fast moving, but not too deep. Their trouble had been at the crossing up on Fox Creek Road with a tree down over the slab. Andrew and half a dozen other guys wrestled it around so that it was crossable. One horse was good for stepping in water and for stepping over trees, but to step over a tree into the water was more than the animal had in mind without some serious coaxing. Eventually everyone was able to cross and, at the end of the day, the excursion was considered to have been a sterling success–a beautiful day.


Okra

Champion BFF, Felix the Farmer, heard his old (grand) Papa say, “If I had it to do over, I would put our garden on a hilltop somewhere.” Papa will be sure there will be plenty edible pod peas for Felix to munch and when things dry up, he will be glad his garden is where it is. He has a birthday coming up on Election Day, Tuesday the 2nd of June. He would elect to have people straighten up and act right during these bizarre and unfamiliar times. He said he loved okra but never planted it because his family did not like it, but now that he is an old man and can do what he wants, he reckons he will plant a couple of hills, a Central Texas heirloom variety. Some are surprised that there are such great perquisites in becoming old. You know you are old when what you used to think was old now seems young. Enjoy!

As far as doing it over, well, that might be a wish for many of us about one thing or another. We are reminded that timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance, that good judgement comes from experience and a lot of that experience comes from bad judgement. We are, as a general rule, doing the best we can, making the best decisions we can with the information available. Reliable sources of information are those which conform to your personal beliefs. A lot of the other person’s point of view just makes you sick. Ridiculous, how can they believe that stuff? Are they mentally deranged or evil? Many of “them” are our friends, our neighbors, our families! We better find a way to get along. Behave the way your Mother taught you.

There was Great Plague back in 1665. Samuel Pepys, a member of the British Parliament and Secretary of the Admiralty, wrote in his diary, “The taverns are full of gadabouts making merry this eve. And though I may press my face against the window like an urchin at a confectioner’s, I am tempted not by the sweetmeats within. A dram in exchange for the pox is an ill bargain indeed.” Just west of Fox Creek, and south of Clever Creek, at the end of the pavement and at the bottom of several beautiful hills, folks are being safe, careful, thoughtful, helpful and kind—Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!

Facebook

May 24, 2020

CHAMPION—May 18, 2020

 


Looking west towards Champion from the east side of the Fox Creek bridge.

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.” Many are familiar with the Victory Gardens of World War II, but they were started back in the first big war or maybe long before that. Descendants of farmers say they were not really aware of The Great Depression because everyone they knew was in the same boat. Self-sufficiency has always been a Champion notion. Young Felix Parsons is getting a good garden education and he is a willing worker. He loves to go to the library too. He is just the kind of fellow to have around to help with the chores and to keep everyone in a good positive mood—a genuine Champion.

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 beautifully played. 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. Ed was a rarity and so is his granddaughter. He might well have said of Laine, “She’s the dammedest thing that ever peed behind a pair of tennis shoes!” He was a colorful character. 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.

Marjorie Carter writes, “We left Drury on May 8th and got home Sunday May 10th.” Their home is in Sheridan, Wyoming. She said it was a windy drive and raining some when they got home, threatening snow. Bleak weather there finally reached the 80s. She said they could use some rain. “….just a little to help me get weeds out of my flower garden. We miss everyone.” Doug is working at the community garden mowing and trimming. They have two plots and were glad to have been able to get to Bakersville to get seeds before the shut down.” She closed her note saying she had to go. “No matter where I am, must continue to bake cookies for Doug.”


Skyline Summer Send-off from left to right: Terry Prock, April Mayberry, Carolyn Willhite, Melissa Willhite,
Jocelyn Downs, Samantha Adler, Jana Brixey, Deborah Barker, Crystal Sartor, Terri Ryan, Katie Vivod

Teachers and staff lined up outside the school to wish a happy summer to Skyline students in their drive through parade on Tuesday marking the last day of school. It was the last day for Mr. Prock, who is retiring after 25 years. Mrs. Helen is retiring after 15 years. They will both continue to be active with the school as volunteers. Mr. Prock will likely be fishing more down at Vera Cruz and Mrs. Helen has lots of grandchildren to keep her busy and happy. Congratulations to all students everywhere graduating without much fanfare. Your Champion friends and family care! Good luck to you!

Wilma and Joe Hamby were among the 19 equestrians enjoying the Champion Spring Trail Ride on Wednesday. Somewhere along their path, Wilma said there was a big tree down across the road at a deep creek crossing. She said it was a little dicey, but they were able to make it through. She and Joe and a few others made a short ride of it and were back at The Historic Emporium by noon-thirty for lunch. A couple of them had wet feet. The rest of the party continued on to their routine destination. It was thought that they would have to retrace their steps rather than make the full circuit as they generally do. They arrived back in Champion around three o’clock and reports were that they had come in from the east. Residents up a mile and a half from Fox Creek were alerted to voices on the road and saw perhaps a dozen riders pass by in the neighborhood of noon so it must have taken some while to cross Fox Creek. Those handsome steeds may have had water wings, or perhaps they found a ferry, though that brings us to remember Josey Wales and the Missouri Boat Ride. Inquires will be made and a full report will be forthcoming.

The creeks are already roiling and, with another week of rain ahead, we may all have wet feet before it is over. Those poor folks up in Michigan are really suffering from the catastrophic flooding. The world over things seem calamitous. Yet, we still have much reason for gratitude. Memorial Day finds us grateful to the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S Military, a somber reminder of their brave sacrifice to keep the United States a free and just society. The Denlow/Fairview School Reunion is always held on the Saturday of the Memorial Day week end. Veterans play a big part in the program every year. Saturday is predicted to be a ‘dry’ day, prime for decorating and for gathering carefully. There will be lots of smiles and expressions of thankfulness and much nostalgia for those long ago days when life seemed so much simpler. Looking back to those precious school days, we are reminded that our Skyline R2 School is the last vestige of the way of life we celebrate with our little school reunions. However, whenever school resumes, it will need help. Those of us in the Skyline R2 School district 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. The rest of us can drop a check in the mail to Skyline R2 School, Rt. 72 Box 486, Norwood, Missouri 65717. Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!


Looking south towards Champion from the north side of the Clever Creek slab.
Facebook

May 16, 2020

CHAMPION—May sometime, 2020

 


Champion Comfrey

Local print newspapers are going through changes. The Mountain Grove News Journal and the Mansfield Mirror are joining forces to become the Wright County Journal, effective June 3rd. The Champion News may continue to show up in its few pages from time to time even though we are in Booger County. The Douglas County Herald, “Dedicated to all the people of Ava and Douglas County,” also has fewer pages lately and frequently the folks there are unable to find room for The Bright Side, even though we are very near the geographic center of the county…just a little to the right. It may be that we do not meet journalistic standards or it may be that the new folks there just have not yet been out our way to see that Champion is truly a perfectly delightful place. They may have troubles of their own, so we at TCN will not take it personally. The lockdown has brought out the procrastinator in our staff and colored things over with a haphazard, lackadaisical brush, which causes our on-line posts to be tardy. We plan to straighten up right away.






Harsh weather has caused trouble for people to the north, south, east and west of Champion. Pictures of flooding and wind damage overflow on the internet and we are left with but gratitude that there have been no reports of serious injury, apart from some folks who were caught out in that hail storm on May the Fourth. They did not photograph their mushrooms but their bruises were that amazing shade of purple that show up on people after a hard blow. Somewhere a cell phone tower blew down. It is spring after all. Creeks are out of their banks and over the roads. The owner/operator of the recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North side of the Square says that no one is approaching the city limits from the east currently. Champions apply their “Turn around—Don’t drown” wisdom to high water. Detour! There’s a muddy road ahead. There is room for lots of wisdom in our present-day situation. It is easy, out here in a wonderfully remote part of the country, to forget that we are part of the whole wide world. Two episodes of frost in the month of May were just two episodes too many for some worried gardeners who, relying on their experience of recent years, had many tender things in the ground already. The up-side is that it is still early enough in the season to recoup losses with more of that stuff called hard work.

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! “Whispering Hope” was one of Uncle Al’s favorite songs.

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 cancelled. 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 few 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 have to be done differently. We will see how those ingenious Wildcats do it this year. Good luck!

Last week the country heaved a simultaneous sigh, smiled and said in unison, “Gee, thanks, Ma!” The cards, flowers, phone calls and messages lifted Mother’s hearts. She has done well by us all these years, teaching us lessons, standing behind us. “But it’s not fair!” The frustrated lament of youth, feeling put upon these days, gets the answer from Mother who says, “Get used to it. Much of life is not fair. Make the best of it or change it. It doesn’t get better. We get better.” Those of us who had parents who lived through the pandemic of 1919, the Great Depression and World War II had the advantage of an upbringing that included the possibility of world-wide turmoil. Here we are again and may the strength of our forebears inspire us to our best response. These difficult times may forge the strength in our young people that will enable them to insure domestic tranquility when they are running things. Good luck. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


 
Facebook