August 14, 2017

CHAMPION—August 14, 2017


2017 Skyline VFD Picnic

While it looked a little threatening, dismal, dreary and drizzly on Friday evening, the Skyline VFD Picnic took off and wound up being a delightful event.  Friday was also the forty-fifth wedding anniversary of Darrell and Barbara Cooper and the whole crowd wished the happy couple well.  Well-wishing and fellowshipping was the overriding factor both nights.  Pleasant temperatures and no threat of bad weather boosted Saturday’s attendance, which one knowledgeable spokeswoman figured was easily a thousand.  David Richardson, in addition to his other many talents, turned out to be an efficient and entertaining master of ceremonies as he kept the audience laughing and things moving right along.  He and Brenda Coffman Massey are often seen behind about every good work in the area.  Brenda flipped burgers on the grill and flashed her sunny smile at anyone who suggested she might be working hard.  They are not the only ones (Teresa Wrinkles and others) whose good energies benefit the rest of us.  We have the good fortune to live in a place where community matters and the effort it takes to keep it that way is happily extended by the core group of neighbors upon whom we have all come to depend.  A stranger to these parts from the big city said he had never seen anything like this—no security details needed—people of all ages having a good time and enjoying each other.  The flag ceremony particularly impressed him.  Everyone was quiet and respectful.  “Awesome,” he said, together with a whole lot of other things.  Skyline School’s teacher, Carolyn Willhite, was the winner of the fire pit and lawn chairs.  She has a nice spot for it on her place and her friends are pleased for her to have won.  The 50-50 drawing was won by Jeanuine Burch, but there was no report as to the amount of the cash pay-out.  Here is hoping it was a bundle!  The year will go by quickly and we will get to do it all again if we are lucky.  Look at this week to see pictures of your friends and neighbors having fun on Saturday night.  The camera battery became exhausted before the whole enjoyable affair was documented, so you will just have to rely on your memories or your vivid imaginations for your favorite images.  If you took some good shots you would like to share, send them to

Elizabeth Johnston and Roger Lawrence had
a good time.

Mrs. Willhite might consider the grand picnic prize as part of her birthday celebration.  That will be on August 23rd.  Lauren Collins is a prekindergarten student at Skyline and her birthday is the 25th of August.  Teahna Oglesby has her birthday on the 22nd, and the next day is her nephew, Drayson Cline’s day, and the next one belongs to another nephew, Dakota Watts, and the next one to Aunt Barbara Krider and the next one to Aunt Rita Krider on the 26th.  Those are not all the August birthdays for this family and it is party time from Missouri to Illinois, to Tennessee.  Champions cheer for your birthdays!

Sally Prock always enjoys the picnic.

The Perseid Meteor Shower was to be at its peak on August 12 into the 13th and it is reckoned that there was a real show somewhere up above the thin veil of clouds over the Skyline Picnic.  In places where the skies were clear, observers surely enjoyed the vision of many wish laden shooting stars though the bright moon may have obscured it to some degree.  The astronomical spectacle of the total solar eclipse (The Great American Eclipse) will soon be upon us—August 21st.  Here in Champion the best information available says that we will experience our version of the event to about 95.91% coverage of the sun.  It will begin at 11:44.24 am and reach its maximum at 1:13.21 pm and end at 2:41:03 for a total of 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 39 seconds of unusual sky.  It is the first time in 148 years that the sky has looked like this.  The next time will be in 2024.  There are instructions on line for building a pinhole camera to view the eclipse.  There are also special glasses available for sale in town.  Some use the glass of a welding helmet to protect their eyes.  However you go about it, learn how to be safe and to take care of your precious eyesight.

Alvin and Beverly Barnhart with their son.

Visiting family, the picnic, the eclipse, the garden, canning and yard work all do a good job of keeping us away from the news.  While some are of the opinion that we have an obligation to stay informed, there is some relief to be ignorant of the current situation.  It seems that we see a cruel, frightening upheaval all over the world.  Some of our anxiousness may be connected with the enormous amount of news, information and opinion that is available these days or with the jangling of jingoism that keeps our eyes off what really may be important and who knows what that is?  “Silence is complicity,” they say, but who are they?  Whatever ‘side’ you happen to be on, remember that it takes two wings for the bird to fly.  Once our beliefs are established in us we are not likely to change even in the face of fact or truth.  There is good and bad in every outfit.  We Champions just figure that we know how to behave and we wished to Heaven that everybody else did.

Darrell and Barbara Cooper celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary at the picnic.

Travis Hathaway will be pleased to know that his version of “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy” was the hit of the Skyline VFD Picnic cake walk.  Travis is often at the Vanzant Jam.  Last Thursday several musicians who come infrequently joined with all the regulars and the music circle swelled to more than 20.  In the audience Granddad Webber had daughters, sons in law and grandchildren in from both sides of the continent with him.  Lynette Cantrell with her marvelous mandolin was also there, just having celebrated her own birthday.  Everyone reported that her first Monday Night Acoustic Jam on the Mountain Grove Square had been a great success.  Everyone is welcome to bring your acoustic instrument and join in or just come to listen.  It starts at 6:30 and goes on until 8:30 every Monday evening.  By the time cold weather gets here she expects that she will have found a free indoor venue.

The mild weather we are experiencing is unusual for this time of the year and no one is complaining.  When we enjoy our measure of health, our precious family, our dear friends, our comfort in our idyllic environment and measure it against the circumstances of the great majority of the people living in the world today, we find ourselves to be fortunate indeed.  Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek to enjoy one of the world’s truly beautiful places.  Sit a spell and visit or share some old song that makes you feel like you are at home where you belong or like things are going to be OK because there is enough good around to share.  ”There’s a dark and a dreary side of life.  There’s a bright and a sunny side too.  Though we meet with the darkness and strife, the sunny side we also may view” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Playing for the picnickers, the group known as “Music 30.”

August 7, 2017

CHAMPION—August 7, 2017


The lawn chairs and fire pit offered by the Skyline VFD are on display at
Henson’s Grocery and Gas until the picnic starts on Friday.

Someone asks, “Will there be those excellent, mouth-watering catfish fillets at the Skyline VFD Picnic this year?” The answer is, “Yes, indeed!” Additionally there will be those curly potatoes and all the picnic fare including the pies and cobblers generously donated by the Skyline Fire District membership. There will be games and free prizes and the music, music, music. There will also be the chance to connect with friends and neighbors you have not seen since the last picnic. This year the grand prize will be a fire pit and a pair of stylish, comfortable lawn chairs, which will look good on some lucky winner’s patio. Volunteers are working hard to make it a nice experience for everyone in the community and the community responds bigheartedly to support the vital organization that protects our property and our lives. Those volunteer fire fighters are all first responders who know how to get us out of a wrecked car or how to administer CPR if we need it.

August birthdays to celebrate include Champion grandson Seamus Heffern on the 2nd and Lavonne Carter on the 6th. Kalyssa’s old Dad celebrates on the 8th. Three Skyline second grade students have birthdays in early August: Caleb Harden on the 5th, Jaycee Hall on the 10th, and Cryslynn Bradshaw on the 12th. Kids with summertime birthdays might miss out on parties with their classmates, but they enjoy their birthdays nonetheless. School will be starting up again soon and with it will come renewed friendships, new friendships and all the excitement of learning that the teachers and staff of this vital little rural school work so hard to make possible. They are Champions every one!

Lynette’ Cantrell’s wonderful acoustic jam has been relocated to the square in Mountain Grove. It happens on Monday evenings starting at 6:30. Everyone is welcome to come and bring your acoustic instruments or just come to hear your friends and neighbors sing. Bring your lawn chairs and your music appreciation. The Thursday jam at Vanzant was another lovely evening. The pot luck is always terrific and the circle of musicians changes from week to week but every time it is great. It is a rare set of words that Dean Upshaw does not know and it is always a treat to see people in the audience singing along.

The big wolf spider does not concern the Champion hummingbirds swarming after the rain.

The July 24th edition of The Champion News reported that the Missouri State Checker Champion was Vernon Douser, when, in fact, his name was Vernon Dowsey. His nickname was Skillet. He was a dairy farmer who lived south of Mountain Grove and came to state wide checker fame in the 1950s. The checkerboard is ready in the reading room at the recreation of the Historic Emporium. The proprietor keeps it up on a shelf so that youngsters too young to play the game do not scatter or eat the checkers. Brave folks are welcome to give the game a try. If there are spectators, you can be sure they will be quiet so as not to break your concentration. Sharon Sanders is ready and waiting to take on all challengers at the Douglas County Museum in Ava any Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Many Champions are old enough to remember the lovely Swedish actress, Ingrid Bergman, in that great film Casablanca. She was born in 1915 and had many great roles in the movies including one with Charles Boyer, where his character set out to destroy her perception of reality. He used persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction and lying to sow seeds of doubt to make her question her own memory, perception and sanity. This behavior is known as ‘gaslighting’ after the name of that 1944 movie. Sometimes lately it seems the world has been turned upside down and the whole nature of truth is in question. For example, one rambling neighbor suggests that Communists and liberals do not allow God. Who knows what Communists believe? It does turn out, however, that the biggest liberal of them all was a Jewish carpenter who ministered to the poor, the sick and suffering. His philosophy was based on compassion, equality, inclusion, forgiveness, tolerance, peace and, most importantly, love. Liberals generally support ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation. That people are so contentious with each other these days is more than a little troubling. Folks get worked up easily in these unsettling circumstances. When the dust settles, we will all still be neighbors and, hopefully, friends. One Old Champion says she wants a liberal piece of pie, not some conservative little sliver of ‘I Wish I Had More Pie’ pie. Bob Dylan’s song ‘Country Pie’ says, “Raspberry, strawberry, lemon and lime/What do I care/ Blueberry, apple, cherry, pumpkin and plum /Call me for dinner/ Honey, I’ll be there!” Founding Father, President John Adams, said, “Government is instituted for the common good: for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interests of any one man, family, or class of men.” While we do not know what his favorite pie might have been, the honorable President Adams has certainly given us something to chew on.

The solar eclipse is getting a lot of attention, as well it should. It is being called the Great American Eclipse. There will not be another like it until July 2nd, 2019, and they say it will be visible in the South in North America, in much of South America and the Pacific. There are plenty of interesting things going on in the heavens. The biggest meteor shower of the year will be Saturday the 12th of August. Pause on your way home from the picnic to look up into the sky. You are likely to be rewarded with the vision of many shooting starts. Make your best wishes. When the eclipse comes around, be sure you have protective glasses. They are available in stores already. The rain and cooler weather has been refreshing after what seemed like a long episode of hot and dry. The week ahead looks favorable for getting some things done in the cool and Volunteers are optimistic that the picnic will be a great success.

A nice article on the internet describes how actor Bill Murray recently had problems with his rental car while passing through West Plains. A number of people came to his aid in a short time and what seemed to impress him the most was that they did not recognize him and were just genuinely helpful, friendly people. In an interview on the radio (wrpm33) he said, “I’m telling you, these people in West Plains are the real deal. I’m going to move there after I retire.” It is to be noted that the radio station posts a disclaimer: “Most of the articles on are works of fantasy or satire and are not true. This website is meant for entertainment purposes only.” Still, it was a nice story. A Champion abroad is working up the tune “Accentuate the Positive” to add to his repertory. He will do it in the key of D most likely. Whatever key is most comfortable for you, feel free to belt it out while you are on the wide veranda overlooking Auld Fox Creek and one of the world’s truly beautiful spots. “You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum/ Bring gloom down to the minimum/ Have faith or pandemonium’s/ Li’ble to walk upon the scene” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side! See you at the picnic!

Champion mud puddles are a welcome sight after a long dry spell.

July 31, 2017

CHAMPION—July 31, 2017


A long lovely road to Champion.

The swift passage of time is illustrated as open enrollment at the Skyline R2 School will be on August 2nd and 3rd, 2017 from 8:00a.m to 3:00 p.m.  Any new students or new preschool students will need to fill out enrollment papers.  If you have any new neighbors please let them know about these dates.  More important dates to keep in mind are August 11 and 12.  That will be the time for the Annual Skyline VFD Picnic.  Reports are that the Holt Picnic was another great success.  The General reports:  “The hamburgers, pies, and music, and all the games—plus the weather was wonderful making both evenings very pleasant.”  These summer picnics are the summertime equivalent of Christmas in these parts.  Sure, they are fund raisers for their various good causes, but they are also opportunities to get acquainted with your neighbors, to see old friends you only see at these events.  Community is a Champion commodity.

It was already hot late last Tuesday morning when Lem and Ned made their re-acquaintance with some Old Champions.  The pair came ambling up the drive way waving their hats and grinning.  It was a fine reunion.  Lem had the shoulder strap twisted on his bib overalls.  Ned said that kept him safe from getting hit by lightning.  They were most pleased to have made it back to Booger County for Turnip Day.  “On the 25th of July, sow your turnips, wet or dry!”  They headed right on out into the garden.  The plot was overgrown.  They began to pull the tall weeds and to beat the soil out of the roots against the sides of their brogans.  They went hard at it and made some good progress.  Directly, they stepped into the shade for a dipper of water and Lem said, “Ned if we start getting ready to plant our turnips on Turnip Day, reckon what Old Mr. Fortiefive will do on Lame Duck Day?” [July 28, 2017]  “Well, Lemuel, I reckon he ought to goose step hisself off for a spell and find him a wide stump to sit on and cogitate.  He’s got some serious deep reckoning to do, but he don’t seem apt for it.  Now, you and me go around planting turnips all over the country, because we like them and they are good food and easy to grow, and our friends don’t care how many turnips we plant or where we plant them, but what if we was sowing tares—bitter sneezeweed, pig weed, musk thistles, stinging nettle, cockleburs, burdock and dandelions?  The missus wouldn’t in no way be accommodating to let us work up her garden spots and do all those little chores the mister don’t want to do.  No. There’d be no dippers of cool water and no gooseberry pies, and no turnips.”  Back out in the weeds once more, Lem asked, “Ned, reckon he knows the difference between tares and turnips?”  “It’s a quandary for sure.  He is a naturally mendacious critter.  We don’t seem to have any kind of functioning democracy at the moment, but they say it takes character to stand up to the rigors of indolence, so most likely we’ll be all right.”  A gooseberry pie can buy a lot of hard work and perceptive philosophy if you have friends like Lem and Ned.  They seem to agree with their host that things are a mess on the federal level, that it seems that every cabinet appointment has been chosen to destroy anything of human significance in that part of the government, that the parts of the structure that are beneficial to human beings and to future generations are being systematically dismantled, and with very little attention.  Still, Ned reckons we will be OK.

In the mailbox:  “We are Russ and Teryl Penner and we were in Alberta visiting our son Max and our beautiful daughter-in-law Camilla.  Max’s Vanzant friends will be happy to know he’s thriving under single payer health care.  They took us fishing on Lesser Slave Lake where Teryl caught the biggest fish on the smallest rod.  Beautiful country and friendly people.  We enjoy The Champion News.”  It was nice of the Penners to share their Canadian adventure.  It turns out that friendly people find friendly people wherever they go and the biggest fish is always good.  It will also be nice if America gets some form of single payer health care when the dust settles.  There is plenty of settling that needs doing.  Some particular worrisome things these days have to do with the examples being set for children.  Parents need to continue their efforts to foster the civilizing emotions in their children—empathy, self-control, morality and realistic self-regard.  It is a natural parenting tool to point out when things are wrong, so Champion parents also put good effort into recognizing when things are good.  “If you have a warm heart and you care for others you’ll be happy and the community in which you live will be happier too,” said the Dahli Lama.  Another lovely message comes from the fair Morag Edward in Edinburgh.  “A juvenile sparrow is hanging out with me today.  When the rain escalates to monsoon level, he comes indoors, all muddy feet and rat feathers, then when it stops he hops out into the honeysuckle and delicately sips rainwater off each leaf.”  How splendid it is to get good mail.

In what year were you born?  How old are you going to be at the end of this year?  Those are some nosy questions, but Elmer says that if you add your birth year and your age together the answer will be 2017.  He always has something interesting to report.  A couple of those handsome and athletic young men from the White River Valley Electric Cooperative happened to be in the neighborhood for lunch on Wednesday.  They had come from a job over west of Highway C, where they had come upon a big black bear, or rather, the bear had come upon them.  He was right out in the middle of the road and an ominous fellow.  The linemen got their work done and skedaddled.  They took their lunch out on the wide veranda and listened to the music for a little while.  This time of the year a walnut can let go of the tree unexpectedly onto a tin roof with a “Bang!”  A person in deep concentration can jump out of her skin at the sudden impact and an observer such as one of those young gentlemen can get a kick out of how high.

Butterflies and beer cans are some of the colorful things along the roadsides and creek beds in the area.  Of course, somebody who has consumed four or five cans of beer probably does not want to have the empties in his vehicle when he is out on the pavement and is likely to be stopped by the constabulary.  He might be considered to be considerate when he leaves them all in a dry creek bed right by the road so that an environmentalist could easily collect them.  Butterflies get collected as well, but mostly just their digital images (not on film any more).  See what you can see on your way to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  “I see skies of blue and clouds of white, The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, And I think to myself what a wonderful world” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

More colorful than beer cans–Champion butterflies!

July 24, 2017

CHAMPION—July 24, 2017


Champion cattle looking for a cool spot.

Lost and found, a dear friend went for a walk in the woods and forgot to come home. She has a chronic neurodegenerative disease that causes memory loss and other cognitive issues that interfere with her daily life. She also has an army of people who love and care for her. It was a relief when she was found safe and an inspiration to see the community rally to find her. is a link to the Alzheimer’s Association where a great deal of important information on the disease can be found, together with resources including a 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

There is a Cree Indian proverb that says, “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” Recently, the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners rebuffed the North Carolina company known as TigerSwan, citing a legal complaint filed by a similar North Dakota agency charging that the outfit operated in that state without legal permission. It also operated in concert with government to terrorize peaceful American citizens protesting eminent domain for the private gain of corporations in extractive industries. Some of those citizens are still incarcerated after months with no adjudication. A rare positive note in the struggles of Native Americans and other private land owners against corporate interests concerns the Blackfeet Tribe. A majority of tribal members approved the Blackfeet Water Compact and Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act with Montana and the federal government. It was four decades in the making and confirms the Tribe’s water quantity and rights, the Tribe’s jurisdiction and its authority to manage those rights on the reservation. Montana’s legislature ratified it in 2009, Congress approved the bill, and it was signed by the President in early January 2017. Good hopes are that the governments of Montana and the United States of America will break with history and honor the treaty. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “As individuals we can influence our government at every level. But we must accept this responsibility. We must know what we think and speak out, even at the risk of unpopularity. In the final analysis, a democratic government represents the sum total of the courage and the integrity of its individuals.” It is the antidote to a kakistocracy. Look that one up. Meanwhile, a Seneca quote is, “While we wait for life, life passes.”

On July 18th Joy Ann Coonts Firrell said to Inez Proctor Davis, “Happy Birthday today sweet, dear Inez! Hope your day is full of family and friends and fun along with cake and ice cream.” The sincere wish accompanied the picture of a cake blazing with fire. “You can still eat the corner pieces if you hurry and blow real hard!” Inez is first cousin to Joy Ann’s grandpa, William Roosevelt Shelton. Lots of people got a kick out of the birthday greeting including Bonnie Brixie Mullens, Cheyenne Alsup-Sermon, and Kristi Towe. Skyline School student birthdays are: Jude Hicks, 1st grade, July 14; A.J. Frey, kindergarten, July 18; Mr. Prock, July 20; Mrs. Gunter, July 23; Grace Crawford, 7th grade, July 25; Jaci Borders, 3rd grade, July 27; Teegan Cannucci, 4th grade, July 27; Mrs. Sartor, July 29, and Eugene Elliot, kindergarten, July 30. One of Vanzant’s favorite singers, the lovely Roberta, has her birthday on the 28th. She sings Ghost Riders in the Sky in such a way that even the most reserved audience member catches herself singing, “Whoopee kia yea! Whoopee kia yo-oo!” Champion’s wonderful mail carrier, the lovely and intrepid Karen Ross, celebrates on the 29th. She delivers. Happy birthday to all of you fine folks, your families and friends love you and want you to know that they think you are all Champions.

You Champions and Skyline folks are reminded that there is an electronics recycling pick up at the Skyline School scheduled for Tuesday, August 1st at 10:00 a.m. Anyone can bring items up to the school the day before. Let them know if you need to bring your things that Monday. The number at the school is 417-683-4874. They will take anything that plugs in. There is a $10.00 fee for recycling televisions, otherwise it is free of charge to get rid of all the electric and electronic things that no longer work or are now obsolete.

Sharon Sanders, who operates the Douglas County Museum, shows off the original checker board from the basement of the Douglas County Court House. It is a handsome, if rustic, homemade affair with a glass cover that will allow it to stand much use yet. There is a table in the kitchen room of the museum where she invites any who think they can beat her at the game to come and give it a try any Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00.m. She is the official Douglas County Checker Champion. This challenge is likely to be taken up by her old school chum, The General himself. As a teenager, want to hang out in the Mountain Grove pool halls, he once found himself in a situation where he was the only available opponent of an expert. He played until another experienced player arrived and, upon gracefully relinquishing his chair, the expert complimented him, saying, “You play a fair game.” His hero is Vernon Douser, who grew up south of Mountain Grove and became the Missouri State Checker Champion. The current 3-Move State Champion of Missouri is a guy named George Cook. The GAYP State Champion is Wilma Wolverton who is also listed as the Ladies GAYP National Tournament Champion according to the American Checker Federation. The term GAYP is a mystery to a checker neophyte, so if you know what it means, share the information at It is too hot for horseshoes these days, so look for the checker board in the meeting room at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion. One is reminded of the rivalry between Doc Adams and Festus Hagen on Gunsmoke.

There will be a lot of good food and good music at the Holt 4-H picnic on Friday and Saturday, the 28th and 29th of July. Thereafter, the Skyline Picnic will be on August 11th and 12th. These community picnics give us the opportunity to see people that we rarely see and to participate in supporting vital community entities. 4-H Clubs offer hands-on learning and education programs for kids building skills like responsibility, resiliency and hard work, helping them to succeed in life—head, heart, hands, and health in a lucky 4 leaf clover. The Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department is there to protect our property and our lives. Volunteers are to be commended for their selfless service.

This long stretch of hot weather has cows looking for the cool in local ponds that are fast drying up. The checker board awaits in the cool comfortable confines of Henson’s Downtown G & G. Sit a spell and visit or read the local papers in the reading room. Cardinals are popular in this part of the world for reasons of baseball and the beauty of the bird. They have been seen carefully harvesting a green tomato horn worm and other insects. Buffy St. Marie sings, “Red Bird, Red Bird, what makes your head so red?” “I been picking your corn so darn long, it’s a wonder I ain’t dead, dead. It’s a wonder I ain’t dead” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion Cardinal on insect patrol.

July 17, 2017

CHAMPION–July 17, 2017


Miss Khylee May Sanders shared her music on the wide veranda in Historic Downtown Champion on Wednesday.

A good measurable inch of rain fell on Champion on Friday evening just before sunset.  It was a gift to gardens and to the old folks tending them.  The days ahead look hot and dry, so the gardeners will be up and out early to get the heavy work done.  As to the green tomato hornworm, it is suggested that as much of the damaged plant as possible be removed when the culprit is discovered so that any new damage is immediately obvious.  Any fruit that has had a bite taken out of it can be turned into fried green tomatoes which go good in a summertime lunch.  Squash blossoms are also edible and quite tasty.  Find recipes on line where you can also learn about the male and female flowers and about how to deal with those pesky squash bugs.  If you see a pretty garden, there is generally someone in it, except during the heat of the day in the steamy Ozarks.

Skyline School’s own Ms. Helen kindly shares student birthdays with The Champion News, however a glitch in the Microsoft Windows 10 update obliterated the email that contained those for the months of June and July.  It will show up again and those youngsters will eventually get their names in the paper.  Meanwhile, Champion grandson, Ethan Alexander and his Uncle Zee both celebrate on July 19th.  Young Thomas Journagin’s grandpa will have a birthday on the 25th of July.  Thomas and his cousins and their folks will be coming from coast to coast to visit their Grandpa Webber in early August and the fun will be all over the place.  Ms. Helen also reminds folks in the area that the date for the electronics recycling pick up will be August 1st at 10 a.m. at the school.  Things can be dropped off on Monday if necessary.  They will take anything that plugs in–computer, lamp, toaster, hair dryer, whatever.  The only fee is for televisions–$10.00.  It is a great opportunity to get rid of some of the stuff that no longer works and clutters up our lives and, at the same time, keep some bad stuff out of the landfills.

Miss Khylee May Sanders, who will be four years old in August, came to Champion with her grandparents, Jack and Sherry Lovan, for the Wednesday festivities.  She brought her blue mermaid guitar, which she plays left handed, and started the music off on the porch with “I’m in the Lord’s Army.”  She has a nice voice just like her young talented grandmother, who shared some great songs.  Ere long a car with Illinois plates pulled up.  Soon the lady commenced to taking photographs and the gentleman climbed to the top of the wide staircase and turned to look out across the Square.  After the fashion of the folks in Dogpatch, a local stepped up to ask if he was a tourist (a ‘tourrister’ in the parlance of Little Abner).  He allowed as how he was indeed a tourist and that he and his family were visiting from Illinois looking for the Bright Side.  A. Lee Unger has kinfolks over in Red Bank just north of Good Hope and on the occasion of visiting his sister some while back happened upon a copy of The Douglas County Herald.  He found it charmingly provincial and subscribed and, in so doing, became an aficionado of The Champion News.  His entourage that day included his wife, Glenda the photographer, their son who had traveled with them from Illinois and their niece from Red Bank.  They joined in on several gospel songs and made a fine chorus until they were accosted by the maundering purveyor of hot air just talking to hear his head rattle.  They seemed to have a good time anyway.  Mr. Unger was pleased to meet The General who acquiesced to posing for their picture together.  He was also happy to learn about the website at where he can read the complete and unedited version of all the articles going back for ten solid years.  He will find lots of pictures and music there too.  It is nice to make new friends.

Champion Squash Blossom Beauty

The Unger family joined the Vanzant Community for their bluegrass jam on Thursday and enjoyed a great evening of music.  Banjo Dave Medlock reckons that he is a regular over there now and that is good news.  It was good to see and hear the Wagner fiddle again and to have Mr. Johnston back after their adventures up at Starvy Creek.  Lynette Cantrell also came with her beautiful mandolin and filled in rich melody.  She played “Home Sweet Home” and made everyone happy and grateful.  Lynette runs the Acoustic Jam over at the Cabool Senior Center on Monday nights from 6:30 to 8:30.  Everyone is welcome to bring their instruments and sit in, or just to listen.  Music has health benefits in physical mental, emotional and social ways.  It reduces stress and anxiety and may help with pain relief. Studies show that it may improve immune functioning and may aid memory.  It also is a big help with exercise, if it is only patting your foot.  “Put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right there….”

The Douglas County Historical Society is looking for stories of Women of Douglas County that made a lasting impression on you.  They want to know about everyday women who made a difference in your life. It can be about someone in the past or present time.  They say email your story to or mail it to Douglas County Historical Society P.O. Box 986 Ava, Missouri 65608.  The deadline to turn your story in is October 15, 2017.  They want a picture, her name, her husband and children and parents and why she is special to you.  Your stories will be printed in the Winter 2017 Journal.  If you have not been to the Douglas County Museum lately, you have a real treat in store.  There are 14 rooms of displays and a good family research library.  The museum got its start in 1988 and has been growing and improving since that time.  Everything in the building has something to do with Douglas County and it is open every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  They will have an open house and quilt show on August 19th.  If you would like to enter your quilt, call 683-2776 or 683-2536 for details.  Other exciting local events include the 4-H Picnic over on EE Highway on July 28th and 29th and the Skyline VFD Picnic on August 11th and 12th.

The last Tuesday of the month will be July 25th.  A nurse from the Douglas County Health Department will be at Henson’s Grocery and Gas starting at 9 in the morning to do blood pressure screenings.  Sweet Nannette Hirsh has retired and will be missed, but her friends here wish her good luck and look forward to meeting a new friend.  During these hot days ahead it will be an ideal time to spend some time at your favorite swimming hole or on the wide, wild and wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek in the cool meeting room in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  Stay cool and hydrated.  “We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave.  The temperature is rising.  It isn’t surprising.  She certainly can can-can…” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!