June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015

CHAMPION—June 29, 2015


A Champion Deer

        It is officially Summer in the glorious Ozarks.  A few mild days in a row keep natives happy that this is where their lucky stars allowed them to lite.  A second cutting of hay already graces some fields and others are lush with new growth.  Young deer are getting stronger and bigger on bountiful natural foodstuffs and wild hen turkeys strut across the roads like they own them.  They have reasons for crossing the roads which can remain their secret until that ‘season’ rolls around again.

Champions Harley and Barbara Krider getting ready
for their 50th Wedding Anniversary Party.

        Harley and Barbara Krider will be celebrating their Fiftieth Anniversary on Friday.  Their children are hosting a party at the Maple Lane Country Club in Elmwood, Illinois.  A large contingent of Champions will be attending and are expected to return with some good stories, and maybe with some of those fancy sliders and some cake.  The pictures on the internet are cute.  Barbara has a mischievous little smile on her face with her eyebrows up in long suffering resignation while Harley leans over with a big grin and that two fingered peace sign above her head to look like rabbit ears.  They are still having fun after all this time.  The fun will continue on for them with cook outs and fireworks the next day as the whole Nation observes Independence Day.  Those who will not be making the trip will still be wishing the two of them many more years of happiness together while they celebrate in their own back yards and on local creek banks.

        Mild weather threatens to interfere with swimming on the 4th.  Someone said that it hardly seems fair to have the 4th of July fall on a Saturday, as if America needs a special extra day to express its collective joy.  John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, saying that the signing of the Declaration of Independence ought to be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”  Champions will do their best.  Old Tree Huggers will have their annual Jubilee down on the creek and marvel at the swift passage of time.  It is unclear whether The General will be available to lead the parade.  He may be off partying at the Maple Lane Country Club with his Mishbucha (meaning ‘related, but not by blood,’ him being the brother of the wife of the brother of the groom).  If he is around to do so, it is fully expected that he will again lead the Sunrise on Freedom parade that heads up in pre-dawn hours at the east end of town.  The parade route is as follows:  From thence off County Road 234 up on to the pavement of WW then a sharp turn into the west entry of town, in a direct line south hugging the west side of the Square with a sharp left turn just at the old Champion School, then in an easterly direction to the Monolithic Bee Tree which will be circumvented three times in a clockwise direction, then north along the wide, wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek with a 90° turn to the west just shy of the garage bringing the procession directly in front of the reviewing stand that is the Veranda on the Recreation of the Historic Emporium, and from there straight up the steep hill of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive where it will stop at regular intervals to give pageant participants the opportunity to catch their breaths and to look out in appreciation across the broad expanse of Champion—one of the world’s truly beautiful places.

        Skyline students will miss Mrs. Judy Sleep who was their librarian for 15 years.  She has recently passed away but will be well remembered for her love of books and her love of the children.  She requested that people remember her by helping others.  Her family has asked that if people would like, they can make a contribution for Scleroderma Research in her memory.  Contact Skyline R2 School for additional information.

        Foster Wiseman was helping his dad do some hard work on their place last Saturday.  They used old fashioned tools to set cedar posts in the ground as part of a cow-shed building project.  For their efforts with a post-hole digger and an iron bar for breaking rock, they were able to get three of the six necessary posts set.  They will keep after it until the job is done.  As they wound up their work for the day on Saturday, Foster said that he was getting in the trailer that his dad was pulling with the riding mower when his dad asked if he was ready.  He was almost ready, that is to say, sitting down in the trailer, but not quite, and when his dad asked he said he was ready even though he was not quite and the mower and trailer lurched forward as Foster lurched backwards and landed flat on his back with his heels up.  The wind was knocked all of the way out of the boy as his dad looked back only to see his feet up in the air.  It did not take him long to recover and it is a good natured young man who will tell a funny story on himself.

        Ms. Ayn Thrope writes in with her opinions.  “It has been a newsworthy week across the Nation with the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Charleston, with a boost for health care in some places, while the stars and bars float down and the rainbow rises.  The dangerous murderers have been killed and caught up in upstate New York.  Terrible and wonderful things happen everywhere and our attention is pulled from one to the next endlessly.  Hardly any mention is being made about this terrible Pacific Trade Agreement.  It will effectively protect corporations, foreign and domestic, from the people, meaning companies will be free from the constraint of National Law if it interferes with trade.  The implications are far reaching.”  Most information that comes over the internet should be prefaced, according to some, by a shirtless hillbilly in overalls and a ragged straw hat, chewing on a piece of grass leaning over your computer saying, “I heard tell of thus ‘n such..”  “Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with” according to Robert Staughton Lynd who was an American sociologist born in 1892.  He also said “Friendship will not stand the strain of very much good advice for very long.”  Gardeners will look for advice from Linda’s Almanac that says the 6th and 7th will be good days for planting beets, carrots, radishes, turnips and other root crops.  Also those will be good days for transplanting.  Look for Linda’s Almanac for July up at The Plant Place in Norwood, on the bulletin board in Henson’s Downtown G&G and on-line at www.championnews.us

        “Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck may be somebody’s mother.  Be kind to your friends in the swamp, where the weather is very warm and damp.”  The parody lyrics to John Phillip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” help some old timers to remember the melody of the song.  Sousa wrote it in 1897 with much more serious words which include the phrases:  “Hurrah for the flag of the free.  May it wave as our standard forever.”  “Let eagle shriek from lofty peak The never-ending watchword of our land; Let summer breeze waft through the trees The echo of the chorus grand.  Sing out for liberty and light, Sing out for freedom and the right.  Sing out for Union and its might.”  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

CHAMPION—June 22, 2015

~ After the Deluge ~
from the hills over the bridge to the ocean

        At last summer is here.  The solstice moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter has overseen the arrival of the prime season of the year.  Hay is down, drying in the fields; floodwaters are receding; peas and new potatoes, squash, greens and tomatoes are coming off.  Morning dew evaporates in a haze and mysterious mists grace valley floors at the end of the day.  Champions will be making the most of them as each successive day gets a little shorter than the last and the seasons roll on.  In the midst of the appreciation, many of the old guys being celebrated on Fathers’ Day looked at their sons and sons-in-law to see what the next generation has going for it in terms of paternal goodness.  They can be pleased with the results of the example they set whether or not it was a good one.  Young men have learned well from their own fathers how to be and how not to be.  Grandchildren are lucky people in Champion.

        Linda Krider Watts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Sierra Parsons of Portland, Oregon share the Summer Solstice as their birthday.  Linda grew up in Champion and gets back over this way as often as she can.  Sierra has grandparents living west of Ava who are amazed that their first grandchild is already eighteen years old.  Elizabeth Warren’s birthday is June 22nd.  She was born in Oklahoma in 1949, and is a U.S. Senator for Massachusetts who helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and who is working to make the big banks behave.  Douglas County’s own Cinita Brown shares the day with Senator Warren.  She knows the history of the area like no other.  Alyssa Strong will be in the seventh grade at Skyline when school starts up in August.  Her birthday is June 23rd.  The 24th is for Prekindergarten student Easton Shannon.  He will be 4 years old.  The 25th is special for Nick Massey and Sherry Bennet.  Nick was part of the Seven Springs group that came from all around the country to settle in the Ozarks in the early 1970s.  He was the fellow who pointed out the Solstice moon with Venus and Jupiter at the Solstice Celebration on Saturday night.  There was a nighttime rainbow in the picture as well—a magic moment.  Sherri Bennet is sharing her musical talent and her beautiful smile all around the country.  Find her on Thursday evening over in Vanzant where the fun is going on.  Devon Scott will be in the third grade and will be eleven years old on the 26th.  The 28th is still remembered for Esther Wrinkles.  Her Skyline Fire Department friends are missing her as preparations are underway for the summer picnic.  Champion Eva Powell who is a great rememberer of birthdays and anniversaries will have her own birthday on the 29th.  KZ88 radio personality, Butch Kara, also celebrates his birthday that day.  He has a recipe for Hodgkin’s Mill gingerbread with sour cherries that sounds almost too good.  Just hearing about it one Champion said, “My ears are salivating!”  Faith Ann Lansdown had a 13th birthday slumber party at her house over the week end.  Her mom said, “Cheers to Daddy Terry and I as we enter the TEEN years once again!”  Happy Birthday to all you lovely, interesting people.

        The Skyline VFD Auxiliary met recently to get a start on picnic planning.  Ruth Hamilton has pieced a quilt of the popular 1930s pattern, Broken Dishes.  It takes a lot of four inch blocks to make an 80 x 92 inch quilt.  She says that it is every color under the sun and her Auxiliary friends are looking forward to having it on display down at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Champion.  Look for the announcement that it is there.  There will be good pictures on The Champion News facebook page.  Everyone misses Esther’s quilt ticket selling ability.  Marilyn Alms says that the Douglas County Historical Society has a quilt that one of their members made for a quilt raffle for a fund-raiser for the Douglas County Museum at Ava.  She says they have never done this before.  They will have their drawing this fall during the Glade Top Trail Picnic and Tour in October.  Betty Thomas is most likely working on her quilt for the Pioneer Descendants Gathering which is usually the first week in October.  Quilt lovers and communities willing to support each other will be buying quilt tickets one from another.  This is a nice place to live.  Back to the Skyline VFD Picnic—it will be August 7th and 8th this year.  A meeting of the Auxiliary is scheduled for the 8th of July at Henson’s G & G.  Auxiliary meetings start at 6:30 and anyone in the fire district is welcome to attend to see how the community goes about getting the picnic done, or anyone interested in actually doing some of that hard work is welcome to attend to get some good ideas about how to help.  The Skyline VFD, in addition to fighting structure, brush and forest fires, also provides health and wellness checks and emergency services at auto accidents and any kind of calamity in the area.  Community support is Champion!

        It is about to get hot and the bugs are about to get bad.  Potato bugs, squash bugs and flea beetles plague the garden.  Ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes are just a few of the pests that make it an itchy place to live here in the beautiful Ozarks.  No one complains much since it is such an unproductive activity.  Haymaking can bring out the snakes and a report on-line that has not been verified had Faith Ann’s dad in mortal combat with an enormous copperhead right there in their house in town.  It was in the middle of the night, in the dark (copperheads are nocturnal, they say) and the thing was somewhere between the bureau and the bedpost with an idea of coiling around a human leg.  That would not do and the broken furniture in the aftermath of the fracas testifies to the seriousness of the situation.  The snake was but a dream—a dream so real that it put a foot through a bureau drawer and gave clear evidence that the man stands ready to protect his family asleep or awake.  The accuracy of this report will have to be verified with Connie.

        Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood informs that the 24th to the 26th will be favorable for planting peas, beans, tomatoes and all crops that bear above ground.  The 27th and 28th are extra good for fall lettuce, cabbage, collards and other leafy vegetables.  Find the Almanac on the bulletin board at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, up at The Plant Place in Norwood, or on line at www.championnews.us.  “Oh! You can’t go home by the way of the mill.  There’s a bridge washed out at the bottom of the hill.  The big creek’s up and the little creek’s level.  Plow my corn with a double shovel.”  That is a good song inviting people to “stay all night and stay a little longer.  Dance all night.  Dance a little longer.  Pull off your coat.  Throw it in the corner.  Don’t see why you don’t stay a little longer.”  Eventually the visitors have to leave and that may be as welcome as their arrival.  Getting ready for company is an exciting time.  You might wonder what a stranger or someone seldom seen might observe when they walk into your house for the first time.  It would likely surprise you.  It is probable that they have just come to see you anyway so do not stress overly.  Register your surprise or relieve your stress among friends out on the wide veranda.  Sing your summertime songs there or just marvel at the phenomena of the world’s tallest bee hive visible all the way across town.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015

CHAMPION—June 15, 2015


A Champion Deluge

        Father’s Day is coming around on the calendar again.  Those fortunate children with a living father can celebrate him with cards, gifts and phone calls.  Those who lost him years ago or just recently will remember the good things about him and perhaps become newly aware of what he was about, how hard he worked and what you meant to him.  The idea of the commemoration was long standing before it became an official holiday in 1972.  One story about the beginnings of the observance of Father’s Day has to do with the Monongah Mining Disaster of 1907, near Fairmont, West Virginia.  An explosion occurred that instantly killed most of the 367 miners working inside the mines.  Coal dust or methane gas was ignited and more than a thousand children lost their fathers that morning.  The exact number of fatalities was never determined, though later investigations in the 1960’s suggested a fairer number to have been five hundred men and boys.  Today there are monuments in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Fairmont and in San Giovanni in Fiore, Italy from which many of the miners emigrated.  “The sacrifice of those strong men shall bolster new generations,” says the Italian monument.  This terrible accident and others sparked public demand for oversight to help regulate mines and as a result the United States Bureau of Mines came into being.  The celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society is part of American and World history now.  New generations are encouraged by the examples of those hardworking fathers whose rules and regulations and oversight have kept you in line and shown you the way.  He is always looking out for you.  Thanks, Dad.  Linda Clark has already posted a picture of her dad and his banjo upon the internet.  Celebrate Champion Fathers.

Kindergarten student, Caleb Harden, was joined by parents, students, community members and staff at the first Skyline School Work Day on Friday, June 12th.

        There was a good turn-out for the first Skyline Work Day.  Terri Ryan reported that they were able to give the gym and the stage a much needed coat of paint.  She said “It was great to have parents, students, community members, and staff come together and get things done.”  A grant from True Value came through Cooper Lumber in the form of gallons and gallons of red and white paint. Caleb Harden, a kindergarten student at Skyline, was the youngest participant on Friday.  He was joined in the venture by Sarah, Dana and Lydia Harden, Andrea Strong, Lisa Shepherd, Diane and Xue-Lin Altendorf, Nicky and Scott Johnson, Clayton and Jessica Chlarson, Jocelyn Downs (Skyline’s new third grade teacher), Katie Vivod, Wes Woods, Jeanne and Billie Curtis, Lisa Shepherd, Wilda Moses, and Roy and Terri Ryan.  There is still much to do and hopes are that there will be more opportunities this summer for the community to help to get the little school ready for another great year.  School secretary, Helen Batten, was pleased Monday morning when she came to work to see how bright and clean it all looked.  Daniel Parkes Jr., who will be in the third grade when school starts in the fall, will be nine years old on the 19th of June.  He will have a fresh, bright perspective on the year ahead.  He will know that people in the community care about his education—Champion!

The group painted the gym and stage and had a wonderful time doing it. Look for the opportunity to participate in the next Skyline Work Day to be announced.

        A long tradition of Champion children showing livestock at the fair continues with this generation of youngsters.  Foster Wiseman won the Grand Champion prize over the Jersey’s.  Brixey farmers Jenna and Jacob won prizes for herdsmanship.  Kalyssa Wiseman and Taegan had a wonderful time showing their calves.  They all won prizes and made memories that will build upon memories to make them life-long farmers and family farms are what the Nation needs.

        The television series Gunsmoke frequently figures in the conversation at the Wednesday gathering in the Historic Emporium over on the North side of the Square in downtown Champion.  Strother Martin is a favorite of the actors who played interesting rolls in the series.  His quote from “Cool Hand Luke” gets a regular mention:  “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”  Martin was a swimming instructor in the U.S. Navy during World War II and after the war he moved to Los Angeles and got his start in the movies.  He died young—age 61.  “Island in the Desert” is a favorite of his episodes on Gunsmoke.  “Little Girl” is another favorite, though Martin is not in this one.  Marshal Dillon had to find a suitable home for Charity Gill, a young orphan, after the little girl’s father died when his cabin caught fire.  Charity insisted that she should live with the Dodge City lawman.  He arrived back in town with her to find that the women had all gone to Topeka to fight for Women’s Suffrage.  “If they get it, we’ll all suffer,” said one of the men of the town.  That brings us back to the Historic Emporium down where country roads meet the pavement at the bottom of several steep hills on the wide, wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  It is 2015, and some ornery agitators, uninformed instigators, still rue the day the 19th Amendment passed guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.  Beginning about the time of the setting of this Gunsmoke episode, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve their goal.  They were murdered, imprisoned, tortured, beaten, starved, force fed, and intimidated in countless ways.  It is a hard-won right.  Considering that only 36.4 per cent of eligible voters participated in the last National election, if all the women in the country were to vote there might be some positive changes made.  The suffragist song, “We As Women” says, “Now then, all forward together!  But remember, every one, that ‘tis not by feminine innocence the work of the world is done.  The world needs strength and courage, and wisdom to help and feed.  When ‘We, as women” bring these to man, we shall lift the world indeed.”

        Will Harley ever get his hay in?  These are unsettled days weather-wise.  Good luck to all you farmers out there.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood indicates that the 17th and 18th and the 24th through the 28th will be good days to plant crops that bear their yield above ground.  “Plant three rows of peas:  Peas of mind, Peas of heart, Peas of soul.  Plant three rows of squash:  Squash indifference, Squash selfishness, Squash hate.  Plant three rows of lettuce:  Lettuce be kind.  Lettuce love one another.  Lettuce grow our own food.  Water freely with patience and cultivate with love.  There is so much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow.”  Cindy Winchester of San Antonio, Texas shares this thoughtful poem by email at champion@championnews.us.  Share yours that way or by snail mail at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or in person down on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium.  Look across to the South Side of the Square and marvel at the Behemoth Bee Tree.  It seems to be sprouting a few limbs way up at the top.  Look in on www.championnews.us to see more of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015

CHAMPION—June 8, 2015


enlarge

        June is the month for weather just like this.  It has been wet and it is humid.  Soon it will be the very definition of hot.  A few short months ago what we see now as green and verdant was white with brown brush, defoliated tree trunks and some pines and cedars sticking up in it and covered with it.  The word of the day was, “Brrrr!”  Now every kind of wildflower seems to be blooming and some domesticated plants seem to be blooming for the first time in years.  Vegetable gardens are already copiously producing beets and greens, cauliflower and broccoli.  Imagine how incredible the place we know every day as ‘home’ must seem to new arrivals.  They have entered into a wonderland.  Welcome to Champion!

        A community work day is scheduled for Friday, June 12th at the Skyline R2 School.  This little institution has been serving the community well since the 1950s.  It currently has about a hundred local children enrolled from prekindergarten to eighth grade.  It is a solid little institution offering all the things a student will need to move forward in the world.  Local merchants have donated paint to paint the gymnasium and skilled painters, as well as people who just like to paint, are encouraged to come out and lend a hand with the effort.  Bring your brushes and rollers.  The work day will start at 8:00 a.m., but there is no time clock for the volunteer.  Anytime you arrive will be a good time.  For people who would rather work outside, there are landscaping projects, ball field maintenance and the opportunity to explore, tend, and extend the nature trail that heads up between the greenhouse and the outdoor classroom.  Bring your rakes, shovels, nippers or any other favorite appropriate tool.  The many alumni who live in the area are encouraged to come back to school for a day of fun and accomplishment.  Newcomers are invited to get acquainted with the school, the administration and their neighbors as the community comes together in service of the school that is preparing the productive citizens of the future.  These future citizens will be running things soon and this is an excellent opportunity to set an example for community service.

        Every day is the birthday for a lot of people.  The number representing the world population is becoming sizeable.  June the 2nd was the birthday of a local archeologist whose recent interesting report on the mitigation phase of the archeological investigation at Lake Gilmer in Texas weighs almost four pounds.  Margie Cohen up in Stroudsburg, PA celebrates on June the third.  She is a skilled artist in, among other things, yarn, glass, paint, clay, music and life.  Wayne Sutherland was 85 years old on June 7th.  He is a Champion from way back and has stories to tell that are worth a listen.  His wife, Frances, and daughters, Laine and Greta, helped him celebrate.  Skyline 7th grader, Destiny Jeffrey also celebrates on the 7th.  She will be thirteen.  Ms. Powell’s lovely daughter-in-law has her day on the 9th.  Skyline student Jacob Shannon will be five on June 10th.  Glenn Dylan Ford graduated from Skyline this year.  He is off to the 9th grade and will have his 14th birthday on the 13th.  Zachary Coon will be a 4th grader in the fall.  He enjoys his birthday on June 15th.  Foster Emmet Wiseman will be ten years old on the 16th.  The years pass quickly as old folks watch the young ones grow up.  They can all remember being that young and it did not seem to be that long ago, relatively speaking.

        Don Bishop is a frequent visitor at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  He grew up around these parts but has wound up way over in the general area of Vera Cruz.  He lives up on a hill out on Highway 14 somewhere near a big pile of firewood.  Last Wednesday at the regular noontime confab he said a while back his wife had gone to town (or somewhere) and he was sitting in the living room reading the paper (or something) when he heard a backfire/gunshot/explosion (or something) out in the kitchen.  When he investigated he found that a can of biscuits had been left out on the counter and had blown up.  It blew all the way to the ceiling and some biscuits were stuck up there.  The rest were all over the place.  The incident brought on a number of other biscuit can stories and admonitions to be sure to use them before the expiration date.  A certain popular farrier had a bear story to tell that happened around Thornfield somewhere.  It sounded like it was going to be an interesting story, but overlapping conversations and fabrications obscured it.  Hard- of-hearingness seems to plague persons of a certain age while others just do not seem to be able to defer to another, perhaps more interesting, storyteller.  The show-and-tell portion of the confab had another gadget that worked with steam.  Dave Partell and Bob Leach were studying it.  It was a smallish, cubical thing easily held in the hands, but its purpose was not revealed.  Last week a fine pair of silver plated six shooters was on display.  Their purpose was clear.

        ‘Relatively speaking’ is a way to make comparisons.  Considering all the difficulties that are present in completing any enormous project, any amount of accomplishment is significant.  Expectation is a recipe for disappointment.  Haymaking is one of those things.  Considering how much rain has fallen, how few dry days in a row, how heavy the hay, the condition of the equipment, the availability of help and a dozen other variables, the quantity and quality of hay that will be put up is wildly unpredictable.  So it is in life.  One cannot look at a work in progress and estimate the time of completion without knowledge of the capricious nature of the work itself.  It is true of people as well.  Some people are open books and it is easy to tell how they are–when they have lost at scrabble or won.  Others are opaque and may never reveal that they are suffering ill health, disappointment, struggles or grief.  It seems that joy is harder to conceal, but knowing what is going on with another person is not necessarily discovered just by looking at him.  That is where nonjudgmental compassion comes in—a truly Champion concept.

        Compliments came in emails to champion@championnews.us concerning the “continuing genocide of indigenous peoples”.  Ms. Ayne Thrope is appalled that Apache holy land may be given away by Congress to a mining company owned by Australia and Britain which will, if they get their hands on it, make an open pit, thousand foot deep mine.  She references a song by a well-known Cree songwriter/singer:  “Now here you come, bill of sale in your hand and surprise in your eyes that we’re lacking in thanks for the blessing of civilization you’ve brought us, the lessons you taught us, the ruin you brought us, Oh! See what our trust in America’s wrought us!”  The give-away is in the form of a rider to a must-pass military funding bill.  Opposition to the rider can be voiced to your Congressman.  It is said that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.  Living in the past is a favorite amusement for some who see their prime to have been back then.  Flag Day is coming up on the 14th of the month.  The Stars and Stripes will be proudly on display on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square across from the monolithic bee tree that shows some small sign of sprouting new growth high up.  Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!

June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015

CHAMPION—June 1, 2015

        Memorial Day gatherings and reunions of families and schools have brought many wandering Champions home to look around and remember.  A treat down at the old Champion Store is often a favorite memory that comes with an image of Ed Henson or Anna behind the counter in the dimly lit little building with cardboard on the walls and the floor boards worn thin and smooth.  Ed’s birthday was May 27, 1903.  He was born in Douglas County, the son of Fred and Rebeca James Henson.  He was a merchant in Champion for 58 years.  There are many stories connected with this gentleman who was curious about everything and judgmental about very little.  His legendary memory of faces and families and keen, mischievous sense of humor keep him in high regard among his Champion friends long after his passing in 1998.  How lovely it would be to be pranked by him again.

        Wayne and Joann Anderson celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary over at Denlow on the 26th.  They were just kids when they married.  She was seventeen and he was nineteen.  That must be why they still look so young.  It could also be that they are the great grandparents of triplet infants about four months old, which must be hilarious.  Barbara & Harley Krider, another youthful pair, have a big anniversary coming up, their 50th.  The party will be on July the 3rd.  Pete and Bonnie Mullins will have their 60th on October 7th.  That will be just after Pete turns 88 on the first of October.  Pete is in fine fettle yet but a good conversation with him included the information that when you are younger and are able to be of some real help to some old guy, it makes you feel good—very good.  When you become that old guy it is important to let the younger guy help.  It is a favor to him.  It makes him feel good.  The gist of it being:  recognize as soon as possible when you need help and give the gift of allowing your loved ones to help you.  It is a challenge that all will face sooner or later.  Watch how graceful people do it and try to remember it.  Meanwhile, The General sends out messages to the out of state holiday visitors, “There are rules and regulations about transporting livestock over state lines so if you have by accident or design unlawfully transported some of our ticks, well, come and get the rest of them!”

        Waist high grasses waving in the breeze and forecasts for several dry days in a row have haymakers poised for action.  The countryside will be humming with mowers, rakers, tedders and balers.  “It was the hardest work for the least pay in my life,” said one erstwhile Champion of his hay bucking experience toward the end of the last century.  Big round bales are more popular these days and are probably more energy efficient to produce, though one wonders, looking at a hayfield recently harvested, how many miles of driving it takes from the time the fertilizer is spread until the hay is in the barn.  Farmers will be taking a rest out on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium discussing weather prognostications, machinery maintenance and repair, and yield.  They will likely harken back to earlier times with stories of adventures out in the field with snakes and armadillos and will express some gratitude that, while it is still hard work, it is much improved.  June is the month when all the feeding, weeding, hoeing, and controlling of insects pay off with a thriving, healthy and productive garden.  Look for Linda’s Almanac up in Norwood at The Plant Place, at Henson’s Downtown G&G and on-line at www.championnews.us.  Now is the time!  Rascal Flatts sings, “In a book in a box in the closet/ in a line in a song I once heard/ in a moment on a front porch late one June/ in a breath inside a whisper beneath the moon.”  The red rose is the flower for the month of June and the pearl is the birthstone.

        A pleasant woman in Minnesota who happens to own stock in the McDonald’s Corporation recently had a big agriculture company buy land in her neighborhood to grow potatoes for her company’s famous French fries.  The topsoil there is shallow and sandy and made suitably acid for the growing of potatoes by years of decaying pine needles.  The company cleared all the pines, poured on the fertilizer and crop dusts once a week to control pests.  The neighborhood, once adjacent to a lovely pine forest, is now enjoying blowing soil and chemicals from the fields as the aquifer is simultaneously being depleted and poisoned.  When she attended the stockholders meeting of the corporation to address these issues she was denied entry.  She is upset.  Her investment has proven as detrimental to herself as it has in years past to the indigenous Yanomamo people of South America who were relocated to concentration camp like ‘reserves’ or slaughtered outright so that the rainforest could be bulldozed to make room for corporate cattle production so there would be burgers to go with her fries.  While the corporation struggles with its public image across the world with its charitable activities, its minimal adjustments to the pay scale of its employees and cosmetic adjustments to the menu for the illusion of healthiness, Ms. Stockholder is becoming aware that the decisions she makes ranging from her investments all the way to what she has for lunch can have far reaching implications.  Ethics are tricky.

        On the subject of trickiness,  “At the very last minute, Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake just snuck a provision into a must-pass military funding bill that gave away holy Apache land to an Australian-British mining company that plans to turn it into 1,000-foot-deep crater.  It is the first time in American history that Congress has handed over a public, sacred Native American site to a foreign owned multinational corporation.”  According to Lydia Millet, author and contributing opinion writer, this deal is an impressive new low in congressional corruption and it is unworthy of our country’s ideals.  The rider should be repealed unless people figure that as long as it is not ‘our’ holy ground, it does not matter.  Then there are those that think retirement age should be raised to 68 or 70 so we can ‘lower the deficit.’  Social Security does not add a single dollar to the deficit.  If you do not like the government, change it with your vote.  Figure out who is really looking after your best interests.  Register and vote.

        On June the 12th the Skyline R2 School will have a community work day.  It will start at 8 in the morning and go on until ‘whenever.’  There is painting, landscaping and work on the nature trail to be done.  Feel free to bring whatever tools you might like to use.  This is the little rural school that is educating the children who will be running the world before long.  It is a good investment.  Look for an announcement on the bulletin board down at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in thriving downtown Champion.  Share your June music and poetry at champion@championnews.us or at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Tell your haymaking stories there or get political out on the spacious veranda overlooking the world’s most limbless bee tree.  Like golden arches, optimism is a brand in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!