December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

CHAMPION—December 15, 2014

        Sunday was semi-sunny and two hours of vitamin D straight from the source has lifted the spirit of one old Champion who feels cheated when the moon is out and she cannot see it for the clouds.  Knowing that the sun is gleaming and beaming on the other side of the hazes does not warm or comfort her.  The Geminid Meteor Shower peaked behind a dense fog with embers from the ‘rock comet’ streaking through the heavens fit to awe if they could have been seen.  (The three mile long chunk of rock called ‘3200 Phaethon’ was only discovered in 1983, so its comet tail has been unappreciated before.)  Maybe next year the skies will be clear.  For now, it looks as if Champions will trade the gloom for the cold.  Champions will not complain.  Winter will officially arrive next Sunday on the Brrrrrright Side!

        Skyline’s teacher Lannie Hinote says, “Big congratulations to the Skyline Archery Team for placing 3rd in the Middle School division at the Crane Archery Tournament.  To Cheyenne Baker for placing 3rd in elementary, Morgan Whitacre placed 6th in middle school female division and Gavin Sartor placed 6th in middle school male division, Levi Hicks placed 7th in elementary and Dylan Ford placed 10th.  Crane is one of our most challenging tournaments.“  The skills these young people are developing in this fine archery program are skills that they will be able to cultivate for their lifetimes.  They will be able to provide meat for their tables or compete in the Olympics.  Girls and boys can compete and not really run the risk of blowing out their knees—an all-around good sport.  Skyline students celebrating birthdays this month include second grader Destiny Surface whose birthday is on the 20th, and Logan Brown, seventh grader, on the 21st.  Yea! Birthdays!

        Shannon Alexander and Spike Jones share the 14th of December as their birthday.  They were born in different years but they have a lot in common.  Multitalented, zany, creative, productive (good looking) men with great smiles and big hearts are treasures in a hum-drum world.  Spike Jones and the City Slickers brought a light hearted approach to ‘serious’ music and gave America some hearty laughs back in the 40s and 50s when they were much needed.  Shannon just makes a person smile.  Then he takes a picture.  He takes lots of pictures from which emerge the portraits that are destined to be the real family heirlooms.  It takes a special eye to see the way he does.  K and Zack look at him kind of funny sometimes.  Judy Gale Ing was another jewel in the world that came to light on December 14th.  It was said of her, “Judy lived like all should live, free spirited and wild at heart.”  “Judy was everything that I perceive as being right with life.  She was more than a sister to me.  She was a life mentor and I think of her often,” said Daniel Ing, a sentiment echoed by her bereft Champion Comadre.  Jesse and Sarah Ing journeyed up to Champion from Texas with their mother on many occasions.  They jumped off the big rock at the Mill Pond, and splashed in the Bryant and Hunter Creek.  They scampered up and down the hills ferociously with their friends doing all the wild, country kid things, being rowdy and getting muddy and eating watermelon with the juice making stripes down their dirty bellies.  Judy and Sarah are off dazzling the heavens together and Jesse is having his birthday on December 16th.  He’s a big time Hollywood guy now, but he and his mother and sister occupy a big chunk of some Champion hearts.  Amanda Masten has the 16th as her birthday as well.  She has had an exciting life that started out over by Ava.  She jumped off that big rock at the Mill Pond as she was growing up and now watches her own children jump off of it.  Well, Olivia jumps off of it when she is not catching the biggest crawdads you ever saw, and Leo will be big enough to jump off of it in a year or so.  Rita Silverberg is having her birthday on the 17th.  She is reaching the same ripe age as a number of substantial ladies in this area.  Many were the happy hours she shared with friends here while their children were young.  Now her Joby Dorr is off in the wilds of the Pacific North West living an adventurous life, and Rita is in Tucson, Arizona making it a more lovely place.  Ben Cohen will have the charming Ilene sing that birthday song to him on the 22nd.  Together they do a Spike Jones like acapella bagpipe rendition of ….one cannot remember the song for the hilarity of it.  They are teachers and students and excellent examples of a perfect fit.  Happy birthday to you Champions–every one!

        Among the emails in the mail box is another from Ms. Anne Thrope.  She says, “OK, you’re enjoying ‘low’ gas prices now, but think about it.  Do take advantage of two dollar gas, but don’t figure that you’re getting a bargain.  You’re going to pay for it sooner or later at whatever price they stick you with and there won’t be anything you can do about it.  You can fairly well figure it is just a manipulative, nasty ploy by Oli Garkey and his oil producing companies to assert:  # 1.  That on account of ‘fracking’ we’ve got just way lots of oil.  #2.  Gas prices being down, no use investing in any of that funky alternative energy like ‘solar’ and ‘wind.  #3.  Don’t bother buying a car designed to get good gas mileage.  #4.  Figure that oil is good, hence Keystone is good (or will be when they jack the prices back up).  #5.  Some say Saudi Arabia is doing this to drive small American producers out of business, but they (Saudi Arabia, British Petroleum, Shell, hell, all of them) are in cahoots.  For a while it looked like the lower cost of oil was a manipulation to punish Vladimir Putin for his intrusion into Ukraine and a way to punish ISIS for their million-dollar-a-day oil habit, stealing out of wells in war torn areas to finance their heinous nastiness.  Shoot!  If we can have two dollar gas to punish Putin & ISIS, how come we can’t have two dollar gas to benefit hard working Americans?  I’m just saying that things are rarely what they seem, so enjoy it while you can and don’t be surprised when it changes in ways we cannot imagine now.”  Other emails in the box say things like, “Thanks for all the good news from Champion!  You folks sure have a lot going on.  You make everyone want to be a Champion.” 

        Imagine, if you can, The General, in his alter ego, holding hands with Dorothy and skipping down the Yellow Brick Road with the gang headed off to Oz, or ‘himself’ standing at the helm of Aladdin’s magic carpet, wind in his face.  That kind of thing is what he has been up to this week according to Ms. Coolforests.  His whole existence has become like a dream.  ‘Euneirophrenia’ is a noun that represents the peace of mind that comes from having pleasant dreams.  Though it takes some time to figure out the pronunciation (you-knee-row-frenia), it will be a handy word to use in a sentence around the old wood stove at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium.  Come and join the holiday fun over on the North Side of the Square on the wooly, wide and wild banks of Old Fox Creek.  Sing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.  Where the tree tops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.”  Then you can say, “We sure do have a lot of nice euneirophrenia in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!”

December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

CHAMPION—December 8, 2014

        The population of Champion was increased on Tuesday, December 2nd, with the birth of Luxe McKenzie Krider.  Her big sister Taegan, her parents, grandparents and all her cousins, aunts and uncles are delighted with a new addition to the family.  Champion is improved.  To paraphrase, “Welcome to our world.  We’re so glad you come on in.”

        The General, in his alter ego as Robert Hood, has made the cover of Time Magazine.  Acclaimed journalist and restaurateur, R. Quiet Timber, has documented lavishly for the internet, the heretofore unknown exploits of this dynamic individual who played back up behind Hank Williams, rode the Apollo 13 rocket to the moon, chatted up the Dali Lama and the Pope, hobnobbed with Queen Elizabeth II and FDR, applied diplomacy to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jon Un, taught George Clooney how to ride a bicycle, advised the Supreme Court, and currently unofficially officiates at the Thursday night Bluegrass Pot Luck and Jam Session under the bright lights of Old Vanzant.  Get out your fiddle and rosin up your bow!  The fun starts at 6:00 with supper and then music!

Workers from Southern Construction have been clearing the electric right-of-way for the White River Electric Co-op in Downtown Champion.

        Once again, Aaron L. Hawkins and the nice folks at Hawkins Home and Lawn are donating a new washer and dryer to a home in need during the giving season.  They are a generous outfit and have always been kind and supportive to the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department and other worthwhile organizations all around the area.  Marjorie Carter over there at the Downtown Pawn is a regular reader of The Champion News and also a regular supporter of the Skyline VFD.  Located midway between Ava and Mountain Grove, the VFD and the Skyline R2 School get good support from both directions.  It is a luxury to live in a part of the world where the community supports local merchants and the merchants support the community.  The White River Electric Co-operative is also part of that good reciprocal alliance.  Those fellows from Southern Construction have been busy cleaning up the right-of-ways (rights-of-way) for the White River electric lines with a bunch of big heavy equipment and a lot of hard working men.  This is a good time of the year to do this kind of work.  The leaves are down for the most part and the county brush hog has already been down the road chewing things up (in a good way) so that the initial mutilations of the landscape are not as unnerving as they might otherwise be.  Champions are alert to the possibility of a little blinking of the power while the dangerous work goes on.  There are quite a few folks around who remember when the first electric lines came to this part of the country way back when.  It might be interesting to see how well some young folks could navigate off the grid.  It would take some adjustment.  Brother Dave Gardner said, “If it weren’t for Thomas Edison, we’d all be sitting around watching television by candlelight.”

        A wise, wild and wonderful woman who does not celebrate birthdays and shall remain nameless has her birthday on December 10th.  Her friend and The Champion News salute her for her positive resilience, her persistence, her creativity and her steadfastness, tenacity and grit.  Eva Coyote (Kai) Parsons celebrates her special day on the 11th.  She lives out in Portland, Oregon with Sierra and Bailey, whose grandparents are homesteaders over on the west side of Ava.  There are a slew of lawyers, barristers, counselors, advocates, defenders, prosecutors and magistrates who share birthdays on the 10th or the 11th…notable folks on opposite and similar sides…all very what you call ‘civil.’  Things are getting pretty exciting for the young folks at Skyline R2 School as they endeavor to add their names to the seasonal “nice” list.  Devin Burdette and Tevin Burdette are in the first and second grades there and their birthdays are on 12-12.   The next day is written on the calendar 12-13-14.  It is the birthday of Richard Green.  As a youth, he served an extended stretch of time in Viet Nam in what was known as The Brown River Navy.  An article from the September, 1969, issue of “Stars and Stripes” says, “Nearly any day will find the three-year veteran of Navy service somewhere along the 25 miles of the meandering Vam Co Dong, 25 miles west of Saigon, which his division covers with visual recon missions, blocking stations, troop lifts and the like.  It is a job that has taken Green through more than 25 fire fights.  A job he says is often “boring as hell except for brief stretches when it is more exciting than anyone cares for.”  The anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor has Veterans much in the thoughts of Champions.  Men and women serving in uniform in dangerous places around the world and those who have served have Love and Gratitude due them from a Grateful Nation.

        Our favorite Dr. Schmeckle, while trading affectionate jibes with, Mr. Chide, happened to let loose of a piece of interesting information about the only time in history when the continental United States suffered an aerial bombardment in wartime.  It happened on September 9, 1942, on Mount Emily, near Brookings, Oregon, when a Japanese floatplane, piloted by Nobuo Fujita, launched from a submarine, was loaded with incendiary bombs and sent to start massive fires in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest.  The attack caused only minor damage.  Dr. Schmeckle says they did not account for the annual rainfall in their target area.  Fujita came back to Brookings in 1962, and presented the town with his family’s 400-year-old samurai sword in friendship.  Seventy-three years later Pearl Harbor is still a tender spot for both sides.  Dr. Schmeckle lived in Japan for a number of years and can attest to the sincerity of the Fujita apology.  Thanks for the insight, Doc.

        The Skyline Archery Team competed in a tournament in Rogersville on Saturday against some big schools from Arkansas and Missouri.  Lannie Hinote says, “Congratulations to Cheyenne for placing 3rd, Dylan for placing 4th, and Morgan for placing 5th, and Levi for placing 8th, and super proud of the entire team for placing 4th over-all against some really tough competition.”  Champions all!

        Instead of enjoying the sweet story of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on T.V. Saturday night of how Clarence got his wings, and how George Bailey gets a second chance to live and learns that Bedford Falls was much the better place for his having lived there, Ms. Anne Thrope writes in to The Champion News to say, “Potter did not give back the $8,000.00!  It is emblematic of everything that is messed up in the country today.  The government has been loaning money to the big national banks at less than one percent interest with the intention that the banks will lend money to people who will spend it in order to stimulate the economy.  Instead, the banks have been buying treasury notes from the government that pay more than one percent and pocketing the difference while executives are enjoying bigger bonuses than ever.  It is as crooked as it gets, there is no oversight, and that is why the economy is being so slow to recover.  It’s just crazy.”  This lady may have been raised a pessimisterian, but she makes her point.

        Wednesday found the same rowdy crowd around the old wood stove in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  Philosophy, history, local genealogy, jokes, recipes, tall tales and pertinent observations were bandied about.  Come down to the woolier than ever banks of Old Fox Creek and do some bandying of your own.  Share your thoughts about anything in person or at  If you have a voice like Jim Reeves, you can sing “Welcome to my world.  Won’t you come on in?  Miracles, I guess, still happen now and then”…in Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

CHAMPION—December 1, 2014

        Champions have pushed themselves back from the table, draped their arms across their protruding bread baskets and smiled contented smiles that speak to more than the deliciousness of the food so lovingly prepared in all its bounty.  Family and friends shared their appreciation of each other with their histories, triumphs and failures, daydreams, plans, misconceptions, surprise revelations, games, laughter and music.  Those missing from the table, recently and long-gone, were honored with remembrance and those things that call for gratitude were called up again and again.  Follow that with a few days in a row of beautiful weather perfect for a walk in the woods or some chores in preparation for colder days ahead and that is a Champion Thanksgiving.

        The internet has been full to bursting with fine filial feeling for family and friends and photos to prove it.  Everyone is smiling and that takes the edge off the anxiety of the news of an ever more tumultuous and contentious outside world fraught with danger and uncertainty.  More and more Champions find themselves grateful for their relative isolation.  Hard work helps.  Harley is home for a few days doing some work on the place, replacing a water line.  It is good to see him around the Square.  His singing voice has changed from tenor/alto to a very competent bass, but he is still singing.  He hopes he will climb back up the scale in tone and volume and his friends always hope he gets just what he wants.  This waterline he is working on is on the place where Clifford and Esther Wrinkles lived for many years.  Larry Wrinkles grew up right there across the road from Henson’s Grocery and Gas.  He and Harley and Don (Punk) Hicks were a dynamic acapella trio.  Arthur Porter, their teacher, took them all over this part of the country to sing.  The blending of their voices was said to have been inspired.  They could bring tears with their harmonies.  Harley is home fixing the water line, Punk is presumably wandering around out West somewhere, and Larry is struggling with ill health and currently in Mercy Hospital in Springfield.  He has the prayers and good thoughts of all his Champion friends, hoping for a good and speedy recovery.

        J.C. Owsley writes that this year’s contribution to The Champion News “is given in memory of my professor, academic advisor, and friend Dr. Ralph C. Dobbs, who had deep ties to Fox Creek.”  Cathie Alsup Reilly contributes for Cletis Upshaw.  Owsley, Dobbs, Reilly, Upshaw, Wrinkles, Hicks, Porter, Krider, Hutchison, Johnston, Brixey, Coonts, Smith, Southerland and more, plus a whole passel of newcomers (grandparents not born here) contribute to the charming make up of “The Bright Side.”  Other neighborhoods have their supporters.  The General of Vanzant just posted a picture of the Denlow School Graduates of 1947-1948.  There are some fine looking folks there.  The General is not pictured.

        Special people have birthdays.  The generous and charming Bobette Spivey has hers on December 5th and Ed Bell, multitalented rock and roll cowboy, on the 6th.   Skyline School’s smiling bus maintenance man, Paul Boyd, enjoys the 7th.  The fun loving, multifaceted Chris Tharp celebrates on December 8th.  Richard Johnston, grandfather of Madelyn and Shelby Ward, will observe his birthday on December 9th, as will Skyline nurse/clerk, Mrs. Karen.  Together with Mrs. Karen, the Douglas County Health Department continues the blood pressure screening there at the school on the first Tuesday of each month.  It sets a good example for the children to see people taking an active part in maintaining their own good health.  Angela Souder, the DCHD nurse who visits Champion at the Restoration of the Historic Emporium on the last Tuesday of each month, was credited for probably having saved the life of an old Champion recently. “You need to see your doctor as soon as possible,” she said.  It was a good call.  In addition to blood pressure checks, body mass index readings, and lung age analysis, she plans to make a blood sugar test available every three months.  It is a significant service to the community and Angela reports that the number of people taking advantage of the opportunity is steadily increasing.  Champion!

        Champions are looking for that ad in the paper from Shelter Insurance that will mark the arrival of the planting guide that is so specialized for this area.  Plans are to incorporate it into Linda’s regular monthly almanac on the website, which is currently a combination of Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac and Ramon’s Brownie Calendar.  Perhaps next year it will be called Linda and Rick’s Almanac, since Rick DeGraffenreid with the Shelter folks, will help to make it happen.  Click on the link at the top of the page that says “Linda’s Almanac” and find that “This is the month to rest up for busier times ahead and to make plans for the year’s operations.  Draw out a plan for your garden, order catalogues and select varieties.  Get your equipment in shape.  As days permit, clean up your garden area.  Spread manure and phosphate aids such as bone meal, wood ashes and fish wastes on garden areas, even on top of the snow.  Start onion seeds indoors late this month.  Keep bird feeders filled with seeds, bread crumbs and related foods.  For something bright, try forcing into bloom cuttings from flowering wood plants such as forsythia, flowering quince and crabapple.  Bring inside and place in water.”  Not everyone is wise to the virtue of planting by the signs.  Decrying the practice as “pure hokum,” a recent Champion guest, Professor Hiram P. Schmeckle, was impressed by the clean country air and fascinated by the nocturnal activities of the creatures inhabiting the creek near where he was staying, but otherwise a skeptic.  He is a city slicker, moreover a most stylistically promiscuous ambassador of all city slickery, and while he is an excellent cook, he is a relative neophyte when it comes to country living.  Dr. Schmeckle and Mr. Chide (Snide) spent many hours wrangling husbandry (animal, plant and female), history, philosophy, and about anything that did not include music.  On that they agree and found much good and pleasant to share.

        The broad and bonnie banks of Old Fox Creek are the setting for one of the world’s truly beautiful places.  The Recreation of the historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square, the little church nestled under the ancient walnut trees, the meeting of country lanes at the foot of lovely wooded hills all combine to define tranquility.  Bring your own definition and share it around the old wood stove that has warmed the spot for generations.  If there is a song that makes you feel warm when you are cold, please share it at or TCN, Rt. 72, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  “I really can’t stay.”  “Baby, it’s cold outside.”  “I’ve got to go away.” “Baby, it’s cold outside” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

November 24, 2014

November 23, 2014

CHAMPION—November 23, 2014

        Friends and family flooding into and out of Champion are readying for the feasts and celebrations of the season.  Hopes are for everyone to be safe on the road.  It is a dangerous place at best, with people thinking about the smells of pot luck dishes flooding the car, who they will see when they get there, things left undone at home and myriad other things.  Subtle color changes and damp pavement winding through dense woodlands and open fields with turkeys and bald eagles perched high and ready, the very definition of equipoise, and the possibility of deer appearing out of nowhere at any time, make giving attention to the road an exciting and challenging prospect.  Mix that concept with conversation and/or music and a driver needs to pay attention.  Arriving safely is plenty of reason to be thankful—turkey or not.

        Linda’s granddaughter is Danniel.  She just had her 20th birthday back on November 7th.  It is amazing that the years have gone by so quickly.  Linda has kept her sweet friendly smile and has maintained a good close relationship with the lovely Danniel.  Deward’s Daughter, the fair Marian, has just had her 85th birthday.  TCN has Marian to thank for “Looking on the Bright Side!”  She said that her dad had that good kind of attitude and passed it on.  She said he would talk about Champion as ‘the village.’  The Village of Champion wishes Marian a great day.  She is probably being overrun by cousins, daughters and the like.  When Champions see eagles, they think of Marian, because she is a real fan of the National bird.  South Champion Sue is reported to have been ‘Sue t’ bly’ celebrated on her day, the 23rd.  Brava!  Skyline fourth grader, Jhonn Rhodes, and first grader, Lane Watkins, share November 30th as their birthday.  They are fortunate to each have several years ahead of them at this fine institution.  Danniel is studying to be a teacher, Sue taught math, and Marian taught fourth grade for many years.  The Skyline R2 School is one of those precious little rural schools that define the heart of this community.  What a gift it will be to them in the future to be able to say, “There were eleven people in my fifth grade class.”  The good stuff is going on for them right now.  By the way, if you are headed down to the ‘Bright Side,’ feel free to drop your change or some extra bucks into that fruit jar that has the little note on it about The Skyline R2 School Foundation working toward getting some modern water fountains into the school.  Champion!

        It turns out that not everyone in Champion is connected to the internet.  Some unconnected people wonder sometimes just what they might be missing.  As a service to them, TCN (The Champion News) offers a transcript of some of the Facebook activity of last Friday evening.  Robert Upshaw posted:  “I’m proud of myself today.  Some wind bag was trying to get me to believe a farfetched tale of which I don’t think there was a whole lot of truth.  So I just asked him, ‘Do I have stupid written of my forehead?’  That pretty well shut him up.  All he said after that was, ‘Ha! Ha!  That wouldn’t be necessary,’ as he walked away.”  By 9:39 Linda Clark, Loretta Upshaw, Elva Upshaw Brott and 21 others had ‘liked’ this.  Tracee Davis said, “LOL.” (Laughing Out Loud).  Kristi Towe said, “Lol!” (Laughing out loud).   Sami McCleary said, “Lol now Robert did you visit Champion today?”  Brenda Coffman Massey said, “lolol.”  Rusty Ingram said, “Way to go Robert Upshaw.”  Lynnette Cantrell just laughed, “hahahahhaha.”  Cathie Alsup Reilly said, “lol.”  Brent Nunn said, “You got the best of that guy.  It got me thinkin, though, if anybody really has that on their forehead, and I looked in a mirror, just in case.  I’m probably OK, although I can’t read anything backwards.”  Connie Klund said, “Ya got him didn’t ya…”  Debbie Stone said, “Robert, you’re such a quick thinker!  Haha.”  Sylvia Williams McClellan said, “You weren’t talking to yourself were you?”  Robert Upshaw then said, “I used to ask myself questions, but the answers were so complicated I couldn’t understand them.”  Sylvia Williams McClellan said, “I figure that’s how I get the best answers.”  Brent Nun said, “Been known to argue with myself, and lose.”   River Stillwood said, “You really told him, Mr. Brilliant!”  Jewell Hall Elliot said, “Go Robert!!!” then “Oh, I forgot Go Robert Earl!!”  Tom Culler said, “…you must have been talking with someone who ‘works’ in Washing D.C., Bob!”  (A sad emoticon appears next.  It is just a combination of punctuation as in “:(”.)  And Virginia Canada said, “Ha! Ha!”   All this transpired over the course of two or three hours but references to it will probably go on for a day or two.  Scrolling on down, a person can see somebody scratching the belly of a tiny pig and then there might be a little video of The McClurg Jam.  In the middle of many of other things the next day was this:  “I’m thanking River Stillwood at the Vanzant Country Store in advance.  She is going to make a little plague for my forehead which will read, “STUPID DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE.”  She thinks, for my best interests, I should wear it 24/7.  Again, Thanks, River.”  To end this extraordinarily long paragraph, do you folks without computers think you are missing much?

        Ms. Anne Thrope writes in as if TCN is her personal soap box.  “You Liberals think you’ve won this Keystone XL thing, but you are in for a fight.  They’ll not give up on this.  The Koch brothers have mountains of money you cannot imagine that they will throw at this thing until people are so tired of it that they will forget to care.  Nobody will spend a dollar or a minute to remind people about the Mayflower oil spill in Arkansas.  Didn’t hear about it?  Surprise, surprise!  Everybody was so warped out of shape over Benghazi and the House of Representatives has just issued its report that says it was a non-deal.  Come on people!  Are we foxes or coyotes?”  She did have some nice things to say about those old hippies Neil Young and Willie Nelson out there in Nebraska giving concerts and support to the farmers and Native Americans.  Perhaps she will explain the foxes and coyotes in her next rant.  Feel free to join the discussion at or in person around the big wood stove.

        On Wednesday a visitor to Champion met up with Dave Partell, who responded to, “How you doing?” with, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”  That seems fine.  As the morning passed more regular Wednesday folks arrived…Ethel and Bob Leach were looking good and seemed to be comfortable with the weather and the things that change with their regular chores as a consequence.  The first week end of regular deer season resulted in the harvesting of 1,000 deer in Douglas County.  There are reports of some exotic game in the area as well.  Stay tuned for more information about this.  The population of the area is about to be boosted as Peanut Teagan-Super-Girl is about to be a big sister.  It is very exciting to be a resident of the Village, at the bottom of several hills, at the end of the pavement, on the wide, wild banks of Old Fox Creek.  Sing your favorite song of thanksgiving out on the spacious veranda of the Historic Emporium.  “Saddle me up a big white goose, tie me on her and turn her loose! Oh! Me! Oh My!  Love that country pie!”  Every day is full of Thanks giving in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

CHAMPION—November 17, 2014

        Sunday‘s dusting of snow was just enough to decorate each leaf in a way that made its shape more defined and the stresses of the cold on their colors precipitously invisible under the perfect garnish and it all looks clean and cool and perfect—like spring, but white.  Sycamores, white in colonnades along the creeks, are a conduit between snowy earth and sky.  An early entry to winter has Champion busy with preparations and plans for a snug few months ahead.  “What’s all this nonsense about global warming when we are so cold?”  The Old Champion replies, “Global warming is not climate warming.  It causes climate change, which will make it warmer or colder, wetter or dryer, depending on your location.  We’ve been colder than Alaska this week.  What climate change brings with it is extreme conditions.”  Champions are ready for whatever comes.

        “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”  So said Madeleine L’Engle.  She was born in November of 1918, and lived until 2007.  She wrote poetry, plays, short stories and novels, including “A Wrinkle in Time.”  She has a number of quotes about birthdays.  Jill Sterling’s birthday was November 13th.  She was just in the neighborhood from Tulsa. Representing the Inconvenient Minors, she sat in on the regular Fortnight Bridge game on Saturday down at Vera Cruz.  Susan Needham (Southern Champion grandmother of Seamus, Zack, and Elizabeth and astute political observer) has her birthday on November 23rd; Waylin Moon (Skyline 8th grader) has his party the 24th; Skyline second grader, Faith Crawford, shares her birthday with super-teacher, Lannie Hinote, on the 26th.  W.A. Marsters (born Richard Masters in 1831) was an English adventurer who settled on Palmerston Island in the Cook Islands in 1863.  He died in 1899 at the age of 67.  He had three wives, 23 children and 134 grandchildren.  W.A. Masters, farmer, born in Frog Level, Oklahoma in 1914, had his birthday on the 27th.  He was the survivor of twins, father of three, a one man band.  Alyssa Thornhill is a Kindergarten student with a birthday on November 28th, Ally Smith, third grader and kindergarten student, Billy Strong, share the 29th.  All the ages we have been are worth celebrating.

        Nine year old Champion, Foster Wiseman, tells the story of his first deer hunt when he harvested an eight point buck:

        History, they say, is written by the winners.  The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced back to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts, but did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660’s.  A fall harvest festival goes back beyond the English Reformation in the 1530’s.  Who knows how long the Green Corn Festival had been celebrated among the Wampanoag and other Native peoples?  The first official “Day of Thanksgiving” was proclaimed in 1637, by Governor Winthrop.  He did so to celebrate the safe return of men from the Massachusetts Bay Colony who had gone to Mystic, Connecticut to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot women, children and men.  The United American Indians of New England observe a National Day of Mourning in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day.  Every year Native people from throughout the Americas gather to stand out in the cold in peaceful dissent of the pilgrim mythology which says that the pilgrims arrived, the Native people fed them and welcomed them, the Indians promptly faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.  Now Nebraska farmers of European descent are standing alongside the Rosebud Sioux Tribe against the Keystone Pipeline as it threatens the precious Oglala Aquifer.  Everyone is grateful for the harvest—food family and friends—but history marches on.  Champions will enjoy their turkey and dressing, their family and friends, but will not pretend that any of us know the truth about how we got here.  Will you have canned cranberry sauce, or fresh?  “Hooray for the fun!  Is the pudding done?  Hooray for the pumpkin pie!”

        Cinita Brown from way across town has written in with a story about Cletis Upshaw.  While visiting with him in his home in Norwood in the late 1990’s she was pleased to find photographs on his wall of most of the early, east end Douglas County men who made history.  She inquired about a familiar looking one and Cletis answered, “Girl, that is old Robert Hicks, the first representative of Douglas County.”  Later she and Kenny Brown went back and scanned Cletis’s photo collection which she says she will be happy to share.  TCN (The Champion News) is currently working on a page for the website dedicated to Cletis and will be pleased with Ms. Brown’s good input.  Share your Cletis stories and pictures at or by snail-mail at TCN, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.

        The gentlemen from the east end Douglas County road shed have been busy down in Old Fox Creek.  They have a bucket loader down by the bridge and have been working the creek bed with the purpose of having water flow under the bridge and not over it.  Accomplishing routine and deferred maintenance is a way to keep things moving smoothly.  Angela Souder and Melissa Lang of the Douglas County Health Department will be back in Champion from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 on Tuesday the 25th.  They have probably already saved at least one Champion life with their blood pressure checking device.  Last month there were prominent citizens, and prominent girlfriends, cowboys, old timers, new-comers, some regular loafers and drop-ins who took advantage of the amenity.  Come down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the north side of the Square any day and enjoy real community.  Country music star, Lynn Anderson’s song “Top of the World” says, “Such a feelin’s coming over me/ There is wonder in most everything I see/ Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes/  And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream” … or Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!