May 28, 2007

May 28, 2007

CHAMPION – May 28, 2007


        Champions have been a busy bunch, dodging rain drops and lightning bolts to get together over the Holiday.  Like communities all over the country they gathered at local cemeteries and churches to honor all the war dead from all the Nation’s wars.  That takes a lot of honoring.  Champions do it will Love and Gratitude for all those who have served and continue to serve.  Benjamin J. Ashley, 22, of Independence, MO, died May 24th, 2007 in Balad, Iraq of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.  He was a Specialist of the 1st Battalion, 5th Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.  It is hard to decide whether or not to send condolences to a family who may not be feeling like hearing from strangers at such a time.  Still, it might do some good.  Everybody has to decide those things for himself.  In the first twenty eight days of May 109 US Service Men and Women have left behind families in sorrow.

        Over in Denlow the School Reunion was a delightful affair.  When questioned, an official spokesperson said that sixty-five was a conservative estimation of the number of attendees.  The kick off ceremony for the Civil War Soldiers Memorial had a smaller audience, he reported.  The Memorial will be dedicated next year and will be a stone located near the Flag pole in the center of the cemetery.  It will have a metal plaque that will contain the name of the Civil War Soldiers known to be buried there and some history of the battles and skirmishes that occurred in the Denlow area.  More research is being done to verify the names of three or four more individuals to be added to the list of the twenty eight known Veterans.  The new pavilion certainly saw some good use over the holiday.  It is a lovely spot for music and fellowship.  There was a lot of fellowshipping going on, as well as yarn spinning, and recollecting.  One fellow, who spoke with the condition of anonymity, related a story about Ed Henson who had said something like, “Dean, if you want to train a dog, you’ve got to be smarter than the dog!”  There was a lot of laughter in every corner.  Robert Hamilton got up and gave a speech that started out with words to the effect:  “Well, Hello, all you thieves and thugs, scoundrels, bootleggers and bushwhackers of Denlow!”  He finally realized that he was in not in his regular environs and altered his speech to suit the crown in front of which he stood.  He was fairly well received, nonetheless, and as late as Monday was heard to have said, “….I will not seek the nomination, and if elected I will not serve.”  Madelyne Ward was the “Queen of the May” being sported about in her red convertible by her Grandfather.  Her Great Grandmother was there with some sweet photographs of the child and some stories to tell about her own little boy.  She says that Richard can build anything and that was clearly evidenced by the enormous table in the pavilion.  It will get a lot of use from generations to come.  It was a disappointment to many that Cleetus Upshaw was unable to attend on Saturday.  He did make a showing on Sunday at the Proctor Family Reunion.  Esther Wrinkles has promised him an apple pie if someone will deliver it.  Someone certainly will be happy to do that and to have a good excuse to sit with him to soak up some real local color.  People like Vicky Czapla and her Mother Inez Proctor Davis travel from great distances to enjoy these annual gatherings, to touch home again, renewing old acquaintances, making new ones, and remembering other times.  These are some very good times too.

        Times are very good in Champion indeed, with so many grandchildren scampering about.  Tennessee school boys and local cousins have been hooping it up down on the farm.  One of Mrs. Eva Powell’s grandsons, Derek, is getting ready to do some traveling that will take him all the way to Timbuktu!  It is in the West African country of Mali and has long been the metaphor for remote, distant, exotic places.  The place name is said to come from a Tuareg woman named Buktu who dug a well in the area where the city stands today; hence “Timbuktu”, which means “Buktu’s well.  Perhaps he will send a postcard from that exciting place back down to the old home folks in Champion.  Champions wish him a safe journey as they do to all their precious travelers.  Just a jaunt over to Mountain Grove represents quite a trip for some folks.  It is a pleasant thing to have a chance meeting at a gate with a good neighbor.  The theme Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is being demonstrated at the “Between Fences” traveling exhibit in the over in the Mansfield Community Center and is well worth the viewing.  It is the result of a collaborative effort between the Smithsonian Institution and the State Humanities Council and local Historical Societies, Museum on Main Street.  There are some excellent photographs of the area in days gone by and some beautiful old friendship quilts and other historic items.  It will be there through June 23rd.  Anyone looking for Champion will just have to stop and ask somebody.  The sign is gone.  The wild speculation that someone from over in Spotted Hog has taken it is just flat rediculuous since their sign would need to say “Spotted Hog” and not “Champion.”  No, the mystery is greater than local rivalry and there is no interest in sparking a contriversy with heresay and inuendo.  When the proprietress of Champion’s most prominent business reported the theft to the Department of Transportation, she indicated that the sign had been taken, but the thieves had left the hole.  So Champions will take the High Road and say, …”And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat (sign), let him have thy cloke (hole) also.”  Champions will go ‘the next mile’ to get their sign back for sure.  It’s been gone for more than six weeks now.  Anybody looking to steal the hole is welcome to try.

        It’s funny how something can be gone for a long time before its absence is noted.  Such is the case with the mustashe of the illustrious post master at Norwood.  Now, practically every Champion who gets mail gets it from Rt. 2, Norwood.  Kirk Dooms said that he had done away with that mustashe back in the fall and nobody had mentioned it until now.  Probably someone had noticed, but was just too polite to mention such a personal thing.  Well, mustashed or not, Mr. Dooms is doing a fine job of postmastering and Champions are glad to get some of their mail.  (They get it all, but are only ‘glad’ about some of it.)  Kirk was glad to hear that a shindig is in the works for his Aunt Esther’s birthday coming up next month.  He’s thinking about making homemade ice cream.  While still on the subject of noteable absences, a total of six trees were removed from the school grounds at Skyline.  It was reported that they were diseased.  It is sad to see them go.  Newcomers to the school will not miss them.  Next winter the firewood will warm people all over the area.  To every season there is a purpose.  A thoughtful Champion has decided not to enter her cherry tomato in the First Ripe Tomato In Champion contest because the plant is two years old.  That is another nice example of taking the High Road.

        The Skyline Auxiliary Ladies will be serving up some ice cream on cobbler and other good things at the Home Coming Bluegrass Festival down at the Wagon Wheel Bluegrass Park on the first and second of June.  The weather should be dried up by then and a good crowd will be expected.  Some will be headed down to Brixie to hear Herbalist Bob Liebert talk about the local herbs.  Some would like to be two places at once.

        While some scholar proclaimed that Rudy Valley was not from Missouri, the nature of the song makes that a moot point. It goes:  “Keep a little song handy wherever you go/ and nothing can ever go wrong./  Keep a little song hand and sure as you know/ the sunshine will follow along./  Any little single jingle that sets the toes a tingle/ is welcome when you mingle in any single throng/ so keep a little song hand wherever you go and nothing will ever go wrong!”  Champion is certainly…….. ‘Wherever!’

        Another nice letter has arrived from Champion’s Tennessee friend, Darrell Haden.  His cousin, the famous basssist, Charlie Haden, has collabarated with guitarist Pat Metheny on an album called “Beyond the Missouri Sky.”  That certainly sounds like a candidate for The Missouri Song List.  Mr. Haden says, “Charlie’s grandfather, Homer Fielden Haden and my grandfather, Walter Dewitt Haden (1876-1961), grew up together in Smallett.  Their fathers were father and son while their mothers were sisters.”  It sounds like the son was also his own uncle-in-law.  Mr. Haden has agreed to share a copy of his poem “Strawberry Flats” soon and it is eagerly anticipated.

        Regarding the story of the Bad Sow of Spotted Hog that worked such mischief on Linda back in ’81, Steinbecks story, “St. Katie, The Virgin,” comes to mind.  S. T. Latent used to love to read this story in any gathering that had a preacher in it, much to his sister’s distress.  The story was about a mean farmer who wouldn’t pay his tithes.  The church sent over a young monk to collect the over due tithes and the farmer sicked this bad sow on him.  The sow was so mean that she would eat her own young if provoked.  Well, the long and the short of it is that the young monk wound up in a tree preaching to the sow down on the ground.  It sounds kind of like the old song about the Preacher and the Bear that says “Dear Lord, if you can’t help me, please don’t help that bear!”  Well, anyway the monk preached until he worked a miracle on the sow and thereafter she could spin on her tail like a top and was reported to be able to effect cures of minor ailments like hair-moles.  It is quite a good read.  George Washington’s 88th rule was “Be not Tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse.”  That is good advice.  Meanwhile, Linda’s almanac says that the 2nd and 3rd will be good days to plate late root crops.

        Gardening tips, reports of delightful affairs, old timer stories, travel logs, examples of taking the High Road or happy songs, noted absences, good advice and good poetry are all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717, or e-mail those things to Champion News.  Anyone wishing to hand deliver items to Champion’s seat of urban culture, Henson’s Store, can go down to the end of WW highway where the pavement is about to end and look for the hole that the sign used to set in, if it’s still there.  CHAMPION—LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE


May 20, 2007

May 20, 2007

CHAMPION – May 20, 2007


        The very Good news in Champion this week is that Bob and Sue wish to announce the birth of their only granddaughter, (3 boys before), Elizabeth Heffern, born at Cox on May 15, 2007.  She weighed 8lbs l.2oz.  “We could not be more pleased and wished to share this with all of you.”  Shamus will be an excellent big brother and Ethan and Zach will be the kind of cousins that will keep a girl on her toes.  She is a lucky girl indeed to have devoted Champion grandparents living in the country but not too far away.

        Dillon and Dakota Watts will be in the country visiting Grandparents this week.

        There will be stories to tell of the Tennessee turkey hunts and much reveling to be done concerning the end of the school year.  Some Skyline students have been stunned and heartbroken over the loss of the enormous tree from the playground at the school.  Laying on its side with its great limbs lopped off it looked like a huge fallen giant.  Generations ahead will not enjoy its expansive shade and the secrets of its long past will have to live in the memories of Tigers young and old.  They will say, “Goodbye, Old Friend.”  The tree was assessed to have lived beyond its maturity.  Let that be a lesson.

        Alumni of Denlow U. are getting ready to swarm!  They will be saying “Hello” to old friends and new ones at the Denlow School Reunion on Saturday, May 26th.  The festivities will begin around eleven in the morning, but people will be arriving earlier.  North Woods, a local band, will be playing at eleven and the pot luck lunch will take place at 12:30.  At two in the afternoon there will be a dedication ceremony for the kick off of the Civil War Veterans Memorial Project.  This is a fine opportunity to show off the new pavilion.  The weather is portentous for a lovely event and it is hoped that the turn out will be substantial.  Everyone is welcome.  Cleetus Upshaw will be there and hopefully some old stories can be wrung or pried from him.  Robert Upshaw will most likely have something to say.

        Armed Forces Day was first celebrated in 1950.  It is a day that affords the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces … to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world.  This year it was celebrated on May19th.  Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in Our Nation’s service.  It will be celebrated Monday, May 28th.  Champions observe these holidays with Love and Gratitude.

        As of May 20th, there have been 3,404 confirmed deaths of US Service Personnel in Iraq.  There are currently 18 Deaths that are pending Department of Defense Confirmation.  The total since the beginning of this conflict is now 3,422.

        It is good news to hear that Mrs. Vivian Floyd is making some substantial progress in her recovery.  Some of her old friends are getting in touch with her again to wish her well.  Things are going well generally in Champion.  Hay is down waiting to get bailed if it will dry out.  Louise has tomatoes the size of quarters already.  The Race for the first Local Ripe Tomato is on!– The First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest.  A quorum of Local Yokels (to be appointed) will judge and verify ripeness and the Grand Prize will be an Antique Genuine Ball Mason Jar—a Blue one!  It will be on display in Henson’s Store in the Heart of Champion.

        Auxiliary Ladies of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department are busy already with preparations to provide the concessions at the Home Coming Bluegrass Festival to be held at the Wagon Wheel Bluegrass Park on the first of June.  E-mails with schedule information are flying back and forth on the internet, phone calls are being made about ice cream and trips to the big town for supplies are being cooked up.  It promises to be a lively affair.

        “Well, what happened to Linda up in Spotted Hog in 1981?” someone asked.  Well, it must have been pretty early in the Spring because Linda was wearing her heavy denim coveralls and the pigs were still quite small.  Bob was on the tractor moving a big bale of hay.  Uncle Kenneth and his friend, visiting from Shreveport, were just out enjoying the beautiful morning.  As it happened, one little pig out of the litter wandered off and became entangled in the brush.  Linda saw the situation and set about to free the little fellow.  As she struggled in the tangle of the brush to pull the piglet out, it began to squeal in a frantic panicked way.  It wriggled in her grasp and continued its desperate squealing.  This alarm reached the Sow whose attention had been elsewhere.  She turned her fierce pink eye toward the sound of her young one in distress.  This is a good point to talk about this pig.  She was a Chester White.  All three breeds of white pigs commonly raised in this area are considered desirable for their large litters and excellent mothering ability.  There is a breed called Landrance and then there is the Yorkshire which has a long big frame and erect ears.  The Chester White is large and has medium sized drooping ears and boars of this breed are usually quite aggressive.  This was a huge white sow.  Herman Melville devotes an entire chapter, Chapter 42, of Moby Dick to “The Whiteness of the Whale.”  He goes into the awe-filling spiritual aspects of the color with its array of angels and its specter of death and ghostly foreboding, its history of heraldry, the symbolism of purity and surrender and on and on.  On this day, this enormous beast vied with Ahab’s nemesis for fury and speed and cunning.  It bore down on Linda with a rage, knocking her down and then picking her up in incredible strong jaws, tossing her in the air like a rag doll.  Linda yelled for help and tried to protect her head and neck while the sow continued to throw her about.  Bob, with the tractor running, couldn’t hear her, and by the time Uncle Kenneth and his friend ran to her aid, this nearly 400 pound monster had thrashed Linda soundly.  The men armed with sticks, beat the sow until she relinquished her prey.  It was Linda’s good fortune to be wearing her heavy coveralls so the sow did not break the skin with its massive gnashing.  She managed to walk away from the scene but with deep bruises on both arms and both legs, on her shoulders and torso.  A friend asked her the other day if she still felt the effects of that incident and she reported that until quite recently she still had some knots in muscle tissue as a result of the hog bites.  She said that she has been using an herbal drink called Mangosteen that seems to have caused these knots to dissolve.  So that’s what happened all those years ago.  Linda doesn’t raise pigs any more.  She spends her time in town at The Plant Place enjoying the calm benignity of the botanicals.  Her almanac says that from the 26th through the 30th it will be an excellent time to plant corn, beans, peppers and other crops that bear yield above-ground.  These are also good days for starting seedbeds and planting leafy vegetables.  Her almanac also fills us in on the Blue Moon this month.  Once in a Blue Moon … is a common way of saying not very often, but what exactly is a Blue Moon?  According to the popular definition, it is the second Full Moon to occur in a single calendar month. The average interval between Full Moons is about 29.5 days, whilst the length of an average month is roughly 30.5 days. This makes it very unlikely that any given month will contain two Full Moons, though it does sometimes happen.  On average, there will be 41 months that have two Full Moons in every century, so you could say that once in a Blue Moon actually means once every two-and-a-half years.

        “Blue Moon, You saw me standing alone,/ Without a song in my heart/ Without a love of my own.”  There are many artist who have recorded this song and it is indeed a lovely one, but for Champion purposes Rudy Valley’s “Keep A Little Song Handy” will be the focus of the musical news this week.  It goes:  “Keep a little song handy where ever you go/ And nothing can ever go wrong./  Keep a little song handy and sure as you know/ The sunshine will follow along. /  Any little single jingle that sets the toes a tingle/ Is welcome when you mingle in any single throng/ So Keep a little song handy wherever you go/ And nothing will ever go wrong!”  Rudy Valley was quite a popular fellow in the early 1930’s.  Even Chimera Bea Latent liked him.  It was because he parted his hair in the middle and had big round eyes that smiled down on just her from the movie screen.  S.T. would mimic Valley crooning and wearing a bow tie with his overalls to aggravate Chimera, which was not a difficult task to accomplish.  It’s a wonder he lived so long.

        Wonders, once in a Blue Moon stories, escapes from pigs, happy songs, any kind of Good News about Champion is all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 and at Champion News.  The First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest rules and Grand Prize may be viewed at Henson’s Store in the municipal center of Champion.


May 13, 2007

May 13, 2007

CHAMPION – May 13, 2007


        What a fortuitous week for Champions!  Mother’s Day on Sunday brought younguns home from far and wide and cards, letters, and phone calls galore.  It was a regular extravaganza of attention and appreciation for Champion Mothers.  Cards and photographs were displayed and compared and sweet stories of childhood pranks and pleasures were exchanged.  Wednesday, the long awaited Last Day of School for Skyline, made the whole week extra wonderfully special.  The swimming holes will soon be full of kids and they think that the summer will last a long time, that there will be plenty of time for every thing they want to do.  Old timers know that a beautiful summer day just passes in the blink of an eye.  Seasons slip by.  It’s a good thing that Champions understand the importance of living in the moment.  The past has great value and it’s good to review it for it’s lovely parts and good information.  The future is just a maybe, so Now is the best time we can have.  Richard Saunders said in Poor Richard’s Almanack, “Dost thou love Life?  Then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.”

        In Champion, as in other places, when a group of friendly people get together, it is hard to keep track of all the conversations going on at the same time.  Larry Powell, visiting his Mom, Mrs. Eva Powell, for Mother’s day, was heard spinning a yarn about someone having tied a brick on to the tail of a cow in an attempt to keep the cow from swatting the milker in the face so often.  As it turned out the milker then enjoyed a brick in the face.  The eavesdropper did not learn who tied the brick, who got it in the face, when it happened or where, but this was not the only yarn spun that day.  Mrs. Powell reported that she has been cooking some poke salat in with her fresh spinach lately.  The subject of edible wild greens came up and she and her daughter-in law, Mrs. Betty Powell, talked about ‘nar-dock,’ maybe ‘narrow dock,’ as opposed the wider leafed variety known as ‘bitter dock.’  Several Champions think they know exactly which plants are being discussed, but are looking for some confirmation.  Euell Gibbons doesn’t have much to say about ‘dock’ other than a contrived way to make it produce in the winter time for salad greens, of which he, by the way, is not overly fond.  Frances Densmore’s book, How Indians Used Wild Plants, which was published in 1928, shows both bitter dock and yellow dock as being used as medicine for cuts, ulcers and eruptions.  A friend named Crespo used dock immediately on a copperhead snake bite, or maybe that was plantain.  In any event, his home remedy proved better than the town doctor’s treatment on an earlier occasion when he had been bitten by another copperhead.  He needs to keep his hands way from the snakes!  Meanwhile, Betty Powell reported that her sister, Mona, reads the Champion Items to her on the phone on a regular basis.  Mona and her husband own and operate the café across the street and to the south a little bit from the Court House in Ava.  The café is called Mona’s Café and they are open from early in the morning until about two in the afternoon on week days.  That is a hard business to maintain, every bit as hard has dairy farming, just a few different kinds of duties required.

        An e-mail came in the Champion News.  It’s subject is  “Old Turner Stories”  Here is what it said.  “Dear Champion, I seen your article in the Douglas Co. Herald.  I have been doing research on my Turner & their connecting line’s for several years to pass on to our future generation’s so they may know who we were.  My great great grandparent’s were: Edward Turner/Elizabeth Nancy Clements.  They migrated to Douglas Co Mo. in the year of 1865 from Blue Mound, Illinois, and homesteaded near Arno, Mo. [They had] nine children, all raised in Arno, Missouri: John Ward, Daniel Edward, George Washington, Martha Elizabeth, Charles Vallandingham, Jesse Vorhess, Perry Oliver (died young), Samuel Edward, Willis Washington.  I am interested in old stories that might have came to light with your program on any of this family.

        “Edward & Elizabeth helped organize the old Mt. Tabor Church–donated land for it & Mt. Tabor Cemetery.  They are buried there, as many Turner’s are.  The first old church was burned by a angry father, when his boy’s caused a disturbance at one of the church services.  He was sent to prison, but was released soon afterwards.  Any early, old info on this church would be greatly appreciated, or old pictures, if [there are] any.  The old church was replaced in 1947, by a donation from Neiman, in honor of his mother who started Sunday school at the beginning of the old church for the children.  The church is now known as the: Mt. Tabor General Baptist.  Respectfully,  Bob Turner, PO Box 1733, Owasso, Oklahoma 74055 (919) 274-0474,”  “Dear Mr. Turner,” went the reply.  “Thank you so much for your e-mail.  It will be included it in the next Champion Items.  Perhaps someone will be able to give you more information about your family.  It is most encouraging to know that there are people who wish to preserve their past in order to give their future generations some solid footing.  It sounds like your family has a rich history.  Good luck in your search.  Sincerely, a Champion Friend.”

        “Ifn you got to swaller a frog, don’t look at it too long!”  Ms. Satterfield’s advice from over in Little Creek is some excellent advice.  The richness of the local native tongue is treasure indeed.  A long time Champion resident says, “I don’t care to….” to mean that she would not mind doing whatever.  Champions certainly don’t mind having such interesting neighbors.  Good neighbor and former Champion, Ms. Vivian Floyd is making slow progress in recovering from the auto accident that occurred a couple of weeks ago, but progress nonetheless.  She has the good wishes of many Champions helping her along.  Champions also send Love and Gratitude to the families of the seventeen US service people who lost their lives this last week in Iraq and to the families of the three missing soldiers.  Now the total is 3,398.  The total of the wounded is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 42,400.  Memorial Day will be coming up soon.

        On the television news on Monday morning, it was reported that singing causes the brain to release endorphins that help the immune system to fight off disease, infection, and depression.  Therefore, Roger Miller’s song, Walking in the Sunshine, will summarily be added to the Missouri Song List.  Some of its lyrics are:  “Walking in the Sunshine/ Sing a little Sunshine Song.  /Put a smile upon your face as if there’s nothing wrong. / Think about a good time we had a long time ago.  /Think about, forget about your worries and your woes./  Walking in the Sunshine/ Sing a Little Sunshine Song.”  The song list now stands:

  1. The Missouri Waltz
  2. Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie
  3. I’m Goin Back to Whur I Come From
  4. The Westphalia Waltz
  5. The west Plains Explosion
  6. My Missouri Home
  7. Kansas City, Here I come
  8. May The Good Lord Bless and Keep You
  9. Walking in the Sunshine

        Champions are urged to sing at every available opportunity, especially out in the Garden. Linda’s almanac says that the 19th and 20th will be most good for corn, cotton, okra, beans, peppers, eggplant and other above ground crops.  Plant seedbeds and flower gardens.  After a little more investigation a complete report of what happened to Linda over in Spotted Hog in 1981, will be reported.

        Fortuitous occurrences, narrow escapes, information about edible wild greens, songs suggested for the Missouri Song List, any information about Bob Turner’s family or the Latent family, and always any old stories about Ed Henson and his crowd are welcome by mail at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717, and by e-mail at Champion News.  Any of those things, together with any good advice, gardening tips or good neighbor gossip is welcome to be told right out loud in Henson’s Store in the Heart of the Business District of bustling Downtown Champion.  CHAMPION—LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE


May 7, 2007

May 7, 2007

CHAMPION—May 7, 2007


        Good news in Champion takes many forms.  Just now there is much Gratitude that former Champion and good neighbor, Ms. Vivian Floyd was not hurt worse than she was in a traffic mishap last week.  She was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a driver running a red light.  She is quite bruised and battered from the seat belt and air bag, but is making a good recovery at home.  Lonnie Mears is also on the mend from an eye surgery that will keep him rather subdued for a couple of weeks.  Champion friends and family send them both best wishes for a quick return to their Good Health and Vigor.  The Herald’s Ms. Fish, the Champion Editor has had a bout with the strep throat which it is hoped she has summarily conquered.

        There was a meeting held on Sunday of the former students of the Denlow School.  Attending were Robert and Sharon Upshaw, Richard and Kaye Johnson, Faye Krider, Cleetus Upshaw and a number of others.  A Denlow School Reunion is being planned for Saturday the 26th of May.  It will start about ten in the morning.  There will be more information concerning this event as the date draws nearer.  Anything that gets Cleetus Upshaw back in the neighborhood is a welcome event.  He is a repository of yarns and local history that needs a good plumbing!  Moreover, he has far and away the most nominations for Grand Marshall of the Champion Parade Committee.

        The Ladies Auxiliary of the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department will meet again on Tuesday the 8th of May at the Wagon Wheel Bluegrass Park.  They will be making further plans for their participation in the Home Coming Bluegrass Festival being presented by Duke and Connie McIntosh the first week end in June.  The Auxiliary will be providing the food concession for the festival.  It will be a lot of work, but it will be an opportunity to be of help to Duke and Connie who always support the Skyline Fire Department.  Proceeds from the food concession will go to the Fire Department and hopefully the event will mark the beginning of a long and mutually profitable association.

        The good Tennessee Turkey report is that Grandchildren, Dakota and Dillon got their turkeys over the last week end.  Dakota shot his on Saturday and Dillon got his Sunday morning.  Now everyone in that clan has a turkey except Staci.  Someone looked over at Dustin and said with a grin, “Aw, Staci’s got a Turkey alright.”  Dustin’s laugh was the heartiest, so no harm was done by the so called quick-witted observer.  She was just back from Texas where Zoey Louise and Alexandra Jean kept her entertained for a few days.  A.J. is about to take her first step and Zoey is about to drive her old Grannie to distraction with some unruly three and a half year old behavior.  They will work it out over time, surely.

        Someone asked if that new out-house that almost caused the sad end of its builder was finished in time for the company to arrive in Champion.  It was reported that the facility was completed with landscaping and every convenience except a roof.  While the alfresco affair makes for lovely bird watching, it was not very handy during the rain that accompanied most of the visit of the long anticipated guest.  “Don’t worry,” said the Champion to the Guest, “it will get better.”  Champions always have a Sunny Outlook.

        With all the report of the pie supper benefit for Rita and Larry Hicks, someone asked how much the pies brought.  Esther Wrinkle’s coconut cream brought $75.00 and her gooseberry pie brought $45.00.  There were some others that brought as much as $50.00 and $60.00 and quite a number in the $25.00 to $35.00 range. Anyone with more information about this is welcome to pass it along.  A lovely e-mail came to the Champion mail box from Judith Sharon:  “I very much appreciate knowing  about how the quilt that I won, (I couldn’t believe it!) was put together and I thank the kind ladies that made it for the raffle.  How lucky can I be!  I also enjoy reading your column.  It makes me want to be part of your community : ->.  Thank you to Mrs. Violet Melton and to Corrine Rogers for this beautiful quilt.  They did a wonderful job and I will treasure it.  You have a wonderful bunch of Champions there.”  It is agreed.

        Another e-mail to Champion comes from novelist, Judy Ing, who is a native of Amarillo, Texas and an infrequent visitor to the Champion community.  She says: “I have been enjoying the Champion articles although I don’t know the Krider family or their beaus. It must keep you hopping going to all those silent auctions, quilt showings, etc.  Hope it doesn’t cut into your bridge playing.  Keep ‘em coming.  Love the advice from George(Washington), Richard (Saunders) and Twain, always.”  As per Ms. Ing’s request, George Washington’s sixth rule was “Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.”

        Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood informs that the 10th and 11th will be good for planting late root crops and vine crops as well as for setting strawberry plants.  The 12th to the 14th will be poor planting days, but the 15th and 16th will be very fruitful days.  Linda has some of the prettiest impatiens around and a good variety of healthy tomato plants.  All this rain and cloudy weather is good for the gardens and some of those people who routinely put things off until it’s too late to accomplish anything are up and moving around finally.  Maybe James Brixey’s version of the “No Till” song will turn up before gardening season is over.  More attention will be paid to the Missouri Song List when there is a break from the garden.  A Champion was talking about S.T. Latent and said that he was about the laziest gardener around.  He was pretty good at harvesting other peoples hard work, they say, and there was reported some significant ruckus between him and his sister over this very thing.  Chimera Bea (Chimmey) would hoe a garden like she was killing rattle snakes.  She kept her jaw clenched and her eyes squinted and seemed to hate everything she did out in the garden.  She was generous with her neighbors though if she thought they needed help and appreciated it.  However, if anybody thought they would get the best of her in a trade or take advantage of her in any way she would turn on them.  She could be pretty “snarley.” S.T. was lazy and fairly no good by most accounts, but thanks to his twin, he was an excellent sprinter and could dodge a thrown stone like he had built in sonar.  The Champion informer thinks he might have joined the Navy in WW II.  It was said that Squander T. Latent was like a sundial in the shade.

        A week has seen many changes in the country side.  The trees are finally filling in and some of the things that were presumed to have been lost to the freeze are making their come-back.  It just takes Patience to be friends with Nature.  It will take Patience and Love to support the survivors of the US Service People who have lost their lives in Iraq.  At the end of April there were a total of 3,346 who fell in that category.  The end of the first week in May will bring the total to 3,362 plus fifteen additional deaths awaiting Department of Defense Confirmation.  That makes 3,377.  There will always be a large requirement for Love and Gratitude.

        Anyone wishing to Talk Turkey, sign up for the Champion Parade Committee, nominate a Grand Marshall for that Committee or to pursue the Exploratory Committee for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Champion is welcome to do so at Champion Items, Rt.2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail concerning those things or gardening tips, songs for the Missouri Song List, advice from notable persons, or any kind of pertinent admonition is welcome at Champion News.  Henson’s Store in Historic Downtown Champion will also accept any input for the Champion Items providing it is of a cheerful nature.  CHAMPION—LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE