October 30, 2013

Ms. McCallie’s Letter of October 21, 2013

Dear Wilda,

This is a poem my Father, (Blake Haden) wrote when we were in Reedley, California in January, 1930.

We’d left Ava, MO in October, 1929, after selling our farm at the insistence of my Aunt Allie Huffman.  She was Dad’s only sister.  She had six other brothers, but my Dad was her favorite.

He,(my Dad) was a carpenter and a good one too and Aunt Allie said her other brothers were working my Dad to death, he was working for them daily from sun up to sun down for $.75 a day and it made Aunt Allie very angry at them for treating Daddy like that and she told them so.  And on this occasion, she’d just returned from California and came to see my Dad and says, “Blake, I want you to sell this ‘torn down’ farm and go to California with me.  You can make more there in one day than you can here in a month doing what you’re doing now.  So Daddy sold our farm, and bought a new 1929 Model A Ford Coach, paid $628.00 for it–full price then.  Can you imagine that?

But the car salesman (Harry Martin) at that time, says to my Dad, “Now Blake you tell me you have four young children at home and you’re going to where you’ve never been and you aren’t sure whether you’ll get work soon after you arrive there, so I suggest that you pay me $400.00 and keep the $228.00 for food, etc. in case you don’t get a job right away.  But in case that does or doesn’t happen, I’m going to give you the title to the car anyway, so’s you’ll not have any trouble as you cross the state lines of Missouri and Kansas, and etc.”  (Because) At that time it was a Federal Crime to cross a state line in a mortgaged car.  So Daddy did as the salesman asked him to and after arriving in California, Daddy didn’t find a job, as he looked and hunted everywhere, so he had to use the $228.00 for food, rent, and gas for the car.  And after a few weeks, ad detective came and took the car and put Daddy in jail, till my Grandpa and uncles, raised enough money to pay the $228.99 which took ten days.  And it just literally broke my heart to see my Daddy in jail.  So that’s when he wrote this poem that I’m sending you.  I’m telling you all of this sos’s you’ll know why Daddy was in jail.  I was so thrilled and happy when he got out.

Tell Mrs. Henson, Hello for me and Thank you so much again. 

Please write again,

Sincerely, Ethel

The following poem was written in January 1930 by Blake Haden when we were in Reedley, California, to his parents, Rezin and Frances Haden.


Dearest Parents,

This is my lamentation.  Oh how I’ve lived my life
By following willful Satan, trying not to do the right.
My past life was so wasted, my road, oh how entwined
With briars, thorns and brambles, with sunlite it was not lined.
 
I walked through prayers of Christians, I heard them pray for me.
That I would be the Christian, that I had ought to be.
But yet I walked with Satan, in the road that is so wide
Heeding not the voice of Jesus as he walked so close beside.
 
Still I heeded not the voice, till it was most too late
And now a California prison holds me behind it’s gate.
So in the Reedley jail house, and the iron door is on me closed
My sins loomed up like mountains, I could not sleep in sweet repose.
 
Still I heard My Savior calling, in that sweet low tone
And about the hour of midnight, I heard Him Bid me come.
As on my knees I bended, my burdens how hard to bear
I prayed to Him for Mercy, religion seemed so near.
 
And my children, Oh! God bless them, how I long to teach them true.
Train them how to serve their master, Jesus Christ their Savior too!
May they never, oh no never walk the pathway that I’ve trod.
For it is a road of trouble, and is not the way of God.
 
Pray that I will walk the pathway, in the strait and narrow way.
Shunning all the snares, and pitfalls scattered all along the way.
Oh! My soul now feels so happy, All my sins are washed away.
Pray that I will do His bidding, till my body turns to clay.

This poem was recopied by his daughter
Ethel Haden McCallie, April 30th, 2001

March 25, 2010

2010 Skyline VFD Chili Supper

March 6th – Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Chili Supper

(click the flyer to enlarge)
Esther’s “Queen Star” quilt:
Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary President Betty Dye presents the Queen Star Quilt
to winning ticket holder Terry Chastain of Ava. Terry is a New Member
of the Skyline VFD Fire Department and a welcome one.

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September 21, 2009

West Plains Wagon Club – 2009

        Champion is a bright spot in the world.  There is no denying it.  The West Plains Wagon Club got wet every day of their trip until Thursday.  On Thursday as they came to Champion, the sun came out.  Eleven wagons’ worth of teamsters and passengers and 21 horseback riders will be pleased to say that Champion was the Bright Spot of their week long ride from West Plains to Mansfield.  Clifton Luna has headed up this ride since the late 1980’s.  He is 84 and shows no signs of slowing down.  There were quite a few children on this trip.  The youngest was Breanna Webster, two years old, traveling with her Grandparents Nancy and Marvin Webster of Bloomfield, MO.  Granddad, Don Breauchy of Vanzant enjoyed the company of his 10-year-old grandson, Jeffrey Bingham.  Gary Carter’s grandsons, Trent and Trevor, were also out of school for a couple of days getting life experience and education in the saddle.  There were several new to this ride this year and sadly, some missing who have made it every year.  Don Crawford of Salem, Arkansas, passed away this year.  He had made this ride every time.  He also headed up a ‘no-shuttle’ ride in the spring and the fall every year.  That ride was generally about 100 miles and participants had to bring all their own food, feed, and gear for the trip as they had no support on the trail.  Several different folks remarked on his absence on Thursday.  A number of Champions were on hand to enjoy the spectacle of the wagon train.  Upshaws came from as far away as Mountain Grove and Vanzant, and Wisemans came from Marshfield.  Foster and Kalyssa enjoyed some time in the saddle though their feet are still a long way from the stirrups.  One of the muleskinners was heard to say how much they all appreciate having the spectators come out to see them when they come to Champion.  “It is a real highlight for us,” he said.

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August 29, 2009

General Upshaw — The Stalwart


Introduction


Getting Settled


Tuning Up


Playing Along


Receiving Calls


Waving to the Crowd


Looking Natural

July 3, 2009

The Old Straw Hat

By: Betty Dye
September 2007

Straw Hat        You can see it on a nail in Mom’s kitchen now.  The old straw hat my daddy wore is hanging there today. 

        He wore it when he mowed the grass, or when he plowed the fields.  When he cut hay, or fed the cows or hunted in the woods.  If he chopped wood or fixed the fence or any other chore, you would always find a straw hat sitting on his head. When to town he would go, with mom and all us kids.  To buy the food or pay the bills or whatever needed done, an old straw hat would be there to cover up his head.

Daddy        Down through the years the styles would change, the colors would change too, but you would always see a straw hat placed upon his head.  As children grew and grandkids came, and age began to show, a straw hat would be sitting there like a crown upon his head.  The years were long and many, the hard ships quite a few, but the joys he found in his family made the hardships fade from view.

        He taught his children that hard work would get them through this life.  If you gave your word you should always keep it and never take it back.  He believed the truth was always best, and a lie would never do, and a spanking every now and then, would teach children right from wrong.

        He loved our mom for fifty years, with a love so strong and true, and even when they disagreed that love would come shining through.

        The day finally came, and we always knew it would, when dad would not be with us for the Lord had called him home. We miss him in so many ways but the memories are so clear.  The love he gave to each of us, we feel it more and more.

        I know for me, my memories bring tears and even joy. And when I see his straw hat the stronger they become.  I know that in my heart, he’s here with me right now.  He’ll always be a part of me as I continue on, and his old straw hat will help remind me of all he had said and done, and forever have a part in my memories of time.

September 22, 2008

West Plains Wagon Club – 2008

Champions and citizens of neighboring communities turned out in numbers to greet the West Plains Wagon Club as it passed through Champion in central Douglas County on Thursday, September 18, 2008.  The wagon train was on its annual trail ride from West Plains to Mansfield.  This year there were twelve wagons on the train when it pulled into Champion and there were about twenty-five accompanying outriders.  From year to year the numbers vary but the welcome is always warm and friendly in Champion.  Under the direction of 83 year-old Wagon Master Clifford Luna, the wagon train left West Plains on Monday morning.  They routinely make about twenty miles a day and stop at predetermined camp-sites.  On Thursday they camped at the Black Gate Farm just north of Skyline.  They arrived in Mansfield on Friday with few incidents to report.  A couple of outriders were thrown from their horses—one, when it was spooked by a motorcycle, and another when someone in a pickup suddenly opened a door and yelled.  The riders were not seriously injured and the trip overall was a pleasant one.  Luna and the West Plains Wagon Club will enjoy more rides this year, but Champions will have to wait until next year to see them rolling through the community again.

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