August 27, 2007

August 27, 2007

CHAMPION – August 27, 2007


Champion After DarkExcitement in Champion is running high!  The Champion School Reunion is about to happen and soon Champions from all over will be congregating on the old school grounds.  The weather is auspicious for such a gathering with milder temperatures and the grass greened from recent rains.  People will start arriving by ten or so on Saturday morning with lawn chairs and dishes for the pot-luck lunch.  There will be music and wonderful fellowship as people catch up on the past year’s news.  Some of those stories about the old timers may surface for the edification of some new comers to the beautiful place.  Someone asked how many Champions it will take to reach from one side of town to the other.  The signs do not appear to be more than a hundred yards apart.  Measurements might be taken.  Someone else said that now that everybody knows how to get to Champion and how proud Champions are of their signs, that it will just be a matter of time before they go missing.  Surely not!

        In response to an inquiry last week by Darrell Haden about Wood Van Eaton, the Champion e-mailbox received this message from Patsy Stover of Springfield:  “I was born in Ava, however have never lived there.  I still have many family members and friends in Douglas County.  My maiden name was Robertson.  I especially enjoy your column that does so much for your community and its history.  This week you mention news about Wood Van Eaton.  I don’t know if this was in jest, but if not:  He lives in Mansfield on U Highway near the Wright/Douglas County line (near my parents Gene and Lorene Roberson).”  The news has been passed along to Mr. Haden, so perhaps old acquaintances will be renewed.

        A couple of weeks ago Linda and Glenn Cooley’s wedding anniversary was reported here.  Their accomplishment was underreported by a decade!  They’ve had their knot tied since August of 1962!  That’s forty-five years—not the reported thirty five.  Congratulations to a fine pair of Champions!  This error is regrettable, but somehow it represents a balance of sorts since there have been random and unfounded accusations of ‘embellishment’ to the news in these columns.

        A Champion writes to Champion’s soldier in Afghanistan:  “Dear Raul, We haven’t heard from you for a while and we just imagine that is because you are very busy and that you don’t have a lot of leisure time to be writing.  Whatever is going on, we keep you in our thoughts and hope that you are well and safe.  Here in the Ozark hills the weather is finally starting to cool down a little.  We have been blessed with some rain after a long dry spell and everyone’s spirits are lifted because of it.  We look forward to hearing from you whenever you have the time, but please write to your family first.  We know that they are missing you.  For Your Service to Our Country we send you our Love and Gratitude.  Sincerely, Your Friends in Champion.”  Staff  Sergeant Raul Moreno Jr. is Champion’s soldier through the Adopt A US Soldier program.  He is in a forward operating base near the border with Pakistan in Eastern Afghanistan. His mailing address is:  SSG Moreno, Raul /4-319th, TF SABER / FOB NARAY/ APO AE 09354.  People from all over the ‘free’ world are serving together in the coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  On July 14, 2005, KY3 News reported that a newlywed and former Ozarks resident had died in Iraq.  He was 22 year-old Sgt. Timothy James (T.J.) Sutton.  He was a 2001 graduate of Fordland High School and was based out of Fort Carson, Colorado.  He died when he drove his HumVee over a land mine in Baghdad.  As of August 26th there have been 3,732 US Service People to loose their lives in Iraq.  356 US deaths have occurred in Afghanistan as of August 13th.

        Once again Louise Hutchison and Sharon Sikes are doing all the work!  When the Skyline VFD Firefighters hosted a class at the Fire House on Mobile Water Supply on Friday and Saturday, they and a few others of the Ladies’ Auxiliary were busy preparing food for the students which included a big lunch on Saturday.  Betty Dye, Ruth Hamilton, Karen Griswold and others contributed food and assistance in getting the men fed.  The Firefighters always appreciate the contributions of the Auxiliary and it is generally acknowledged that the Skyline Fire Department enjoys solid community support.

        An old man who calls himself a Curmudgeon was sitting on a Champion porch this week talking to a young man who has been thinking about joining the military service.  The Curmudgeon said that while he was not a party to this incident he did remember hearing about it when he was a kid.  “When them Dough-Boys came back from World War One all shot up, burned and blind from the mustard gas they went to the Government for the help that they was promised they would get if they got wounded over there.  When they couldn’t get nobody to talk to them they marched up in front of the White House.  Well, the folks in the White House called the National Guard on them and shot ‘em up some more.”  This sounds like the historic event known as The Sad Tale of the Bonus Marchers.  The Bonus Army was the American Expeditionary Force that fought in Europe and was promised a bonus upon their release because they had been willing to serve at a reduced pay rate.  The depression intervened and when the unemployed veteran soldiers began to ask for their bonuses early they were refused.  They marched in protest and President Herbert Hoover ordered the U.S. Army to run them out of downtown Washington.  The troops were commanded by Douglas Mac Arthur, and his subordinate officers including Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton.  According to the Washington Post, “There were perhaps as many as 60,000 members of the “B.E.F.” (the Bonus Expeditionary Force) in Washington at that time.  They were racially integrated.  Veterans congregated by their state of origin, and there was no color line.  Nor was there when Mac Arthur — ignoring the objections of D.C. Police Chief Pelham Glassford and defying Hoover’s order not to proceed across the Anacostia River — attacked the bonuseers with full-strength tear gas and then burned their tents and shacks.  Four people were killed.”  The impact of these events subsequently caused a different approach toward the veterans of WW Two.  Still, it is to be noted that Our Veterans do not always receive the treatment that they deserve after they have completed their Service.  The old Curmudgeon wound up his tirade to the young man by suggesting that while the Military Service is Honorable, “a body should volunteer and go work in a Veterans Hospital for a solid year before he joins up.”

        The Missouri Song List has been neglected.  A person keeping all these songs in his head would stay busy smiling and being glad to live in a place that inspires such music!

  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
  10. Keep a Little Song Handy
  11. Company’s Comin’

        There are probably a lot of songs that relate to Missouri that are not on this list.  Champions are musical.  Toes tap in these parts.  There is humming at the clothes line, in the milk barn, in the hay fields and feed lots.  Whistling and yodeling happen spontaneously and a car trip is just an opportunity to belt out a favorite song.   News has come that Young Foster has a new favorite — “Working Man Blues.”

        Exciting things, musical things, reports of hardworking people, and of old Curmudgeons are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Underreported things (accusations of embellishment notwithstanding) can be e-mailed to Champion News.  As always, Henson’s Store is a good place to spin a yarn about the old days and the old ways to keep nostalgia humming along.  As Champions come home to roost they are…. LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!

Henson's Store


August 20, 2007

August 20, 2007

CHAMPION—August 20, 2007


        For forty days and forty nights Champion baked!  Brown leaves curled and crunched in the parched grass underfoot and dust plumes billowed high behind even a slow moving truck.  Overnight it changed and once again Champion is lush and green—full of relaxed and optimistic people.

        It was an all day celebration as the new Champion signs went in on Monday.  Ms. Stephanie Stogsdill of District 8 of the Missouri Department of Transportation did not have to bother calling (and did not) and still the place was all abuzz watching the single MODOT employee install TWO signs.  Previously Champion had one sign with writing on each side.  Now there are TWO signs with writing on only one side each.  They have been placed judiciously on either side of town so that both coming and going visitors to Champion will know where they are and where they have been.  It is marvelous!  Champion Parade Committee members were careful to clean the right of way after the celebration, so there is no sign of the balloons and confetti nor of any of the soggy sheet music that may have blown off the music stands of the brass band as strains of “America the Beautiful” and “We Are The Champions” wafted over Fox Creek between rain showers and thunder rumbles.  At nightfall only a few strands of crape paper were left to remind locals of the riotous antics of the day.  As usual the speeches went on a little long and may have been a bit overblown with hyperbole, but the fireworks and refreshments made up for the long-windedness of local dignitaries and everyone was glad for the rain to ameliorate the fire hazard.  All in all a lovely time was had and once again Champion is Sitting Pretty!

        The Skyline Picnic is still much the topic of conversation.  It was good to see Pat Bryan on that Saturday evening.  He spent some time near the kitchen on the flat place where he could maneuver his walker without much difficulty.  Louise Hutchison said that she and Sharon Sikes had a wonderful visit with him.  She said that he expects that it will still be a year before he can get back in the UPS truck to run the Champion/Skyline route.  It seems miraculous that he has been able to make such excellent progress after the devastating accident that occurred back in May when he was struck head-on by a driver who had crossed the center lane over on Highway P.  The driver who has taken his place with UPS for a while is also a very pleasant fellow, but it will be a joy to have Pat back on the route.

        Esther Wrinkles from over in Vanzant reported a conversation with Pete Procter of the Mtn. Grove VFW.  He was surprised to see his picture in the paper and pleased to have his Post 3770 recognized for its support of the Skyline FVD.  When the Fire Department was first getting started Eual Smith and his wife, Freda, used to come to every picnic and always presented a check to the Fire Department on behalf of the Mtn. Grove FVW.  Since Mr. Smith passed away, Pete Proctor has done those honors.  Mrs. Wrinkles also said that there was a full house over at the North and South on Sunday.  Bertie makes an excellent dressing with her secret receipt and Esther was sorry to have shown up a little latte to get any.  Wally and Bertie, proprietors of the North and South were also at the Skyline Picnic and had one of those souvenir photos taken.  They have a pair of sweet smiles!

        A card has come from Darrell Haden over in Tennessee.  He said that they will be attending the Haden-Kay-Sellers Reunion which is held annually on the last Saturday before Labor Day.  That is the same day as the Champion School Reunion which he said they would ‘crash’ if they were not otherwise obligated.  He also said, “I do remember going to school at Ava High with Champion teacher Arthur Porter.  He, his father, Everett, and sister, Nola Jean, could make the hair stand up on the back of one’s neck with their fine harmony on “Old Daniel Prayed.”  Does Woody Van Eaton live somewhere between McComb and Norwood”  He was my friend from 1952-1954 at Ft. Leonard Wood.”  The Champion sign has gone back up, so Mr. Haden should be able to find the beautiful berg that he has come to know through these ‘items’ with no difficulty.  From the Norwood exit off Highway 60, he can go South on Highway C.  In about 12 miles he will come to the intersection with Highway 76 where the Skyline School sits.  About three miles farther on C Highway he will find WW Highway.  A left turn to the East will bring him to Champion in about two miles.  Just before the pavement ends at the Fox Creek slab he can glance to the right and see Henson’s Store and the little church that was the Champion School in years gone by.  He will be in the Heart of Champion at that moment.  Champions will have the Welcome Mat out!

        It is a small world.  Travel has become relatively easy.  Well, it can still be a pain, but it’s not like the old days when 76 Highway was as muddy, rocky track.  It was a real boost to this area when the roads were paved.  Some Champions think there is probably enough pavement now, but they like it that they can go anywhere they please.  (Mrs. Eva Powell’s grandson Derek, has just been to Timbuktu!) “Neighbors” are just the people who live next door.  There have been 4,005 coalition deaths—3,707 Americans, two Australians, 168 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, one Czech, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 33 Italians, one Kazakh, one Korean, three Latvian, 21 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadorian, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians—in the war in Iraq as of August 20, 2007.  A neighbor from Pineville, MO, Private 1st Class Christopher L. Marion, died there on February 22, 2006.  In Afghanistan there have been 650 coalition deaths—423 Americans, one Australian, 70 Britons, 67 Canadians, one Czech, four Danes, nine Dutch, two Estonians, one Finn, 10 French, 21 Germans, nine Italians, two Norwegians, one Pole, one Portuguese, four Romanians, one South Korean, 21 Spaniards, two Swedes—in the war on terror as of August 19, 2007.  Champion’s neighbors are a diverse and interesting lot and their soldiers join with those of their neighbors to do what the leaders ask of them.  They are all patriots and Champions and Love and Gratitude is their due the world around.  The world also seems small because information is now available to ordinary people in ways that have never been available before.  The population of Ava in the 2000 census was 3,021.  Just in Douglas County Champions have about 13,648 neighbors.  An official census of Champion might be an interesting pursuit.  Would the counting be done by voter registration or by proximity to the epicenter of the town.  Perhaps there is enough information available already.  Champions’ opinions are welcome.

        Gardeners who were able to nurse their tomato plants through the intense heat now find their beautiful tomatoes splitting!  It’s always something.  A recent afternoon had a few gardeners meeting down at the Mill Pond to discuss their relative garden situations and to share produce.  That is to say, Linda shared a lot of wonderful peppers, beets and okra.  Her almanac from the Plant Place declares that the 24h and 25th will be a good time to plant above-ground crops and the 28th and 29th will be good for root crops and vine crops for those thinking about a nice fall garden.  A neighbor from far away remarked at the beauty of place wiht the bluffs and the trees and the pleasant temperature down by the water.  Young ones, loose from school for the afternoon, splashed and squealed and made a memory of a perfect summer afternoon.

        Memories of perfect afternoons, celebrations, opinions about a Champion census, news about Champion’s interesting neighbors or ordinary people (whoever they may be), secret receipts, hearsay of any pleasant sort is welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717.  Examples of things sitting pretty, things that make the hair stand up on the back of one’s neck or any news about Woody Van Eaton may be e-mailed to Champion News.  Report those things in person if that seems best, though there is no real need to say a word at Henson’s Store.  Meditation benches are available inside and out for anyone who enjoys just soaking up the pleasant ambience or reflecting on days gone by or planning Something Wonderful in Champion—LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!


August 13, 2007

August 13, 2007

CHAMPION—August 13,2007


        Whew!  What a Picnic!  Temperatures sizzled and still they came!  Attendance was down a little on Friday night for the Skyline VFD Picnic, but Saturday was a rip roaring event!  Volunteers needed a few days to recover from the preparations, the picnic itself, and then all the work of shutting it down and cleaning everything.  Sunday and Monday saw a lot of volunteers resting on their laurels and talking on the phone to each other about what fun it had been and how glad they are that it is over for the year and what changes and improvements will be made for next year.  A year passes quickly in these parts.  A young fellow said that that wasn’t ‘laurels’ that his Pap was resting on, but was his back-side!  “Laurels” is just a nice way of saying ‘back side’ around here.  It’s a euphemism.

        School busses are running again.  How quickly the summer has flown by!  Skyline students and teachers are back at it again and ready to have another great year.  There are some new children in the neighborhood and chances for some new friendships.  Ms. Curtis and all the excellent Skyline staff are helping the students make some wonderful memories for the future while they prepare them to succeed as they move on to higher education.  The Champion School Reunion will be held on the First of September.  Old friends will gather to reminisce and to catch up on the news of the past year.  The festivities get started fairly early in the day and folks bring a dish for a pot luck lunch, and lawn chairs for comfort under the big trees.  There is always music and good fellowship.  The yarn spinning is of epic proportions.  Mrs. Ruby Proctor and Mrs. Esther Wrinkles enjoyed each other’s company at the Picnic Saturday night.  They have been friends since the early 1930’s when they went to school at Champion.  Mrs. Proctor said that Champion used to have wonderful picnics long years ago.  They had a big wooden dance floor down by the creek and Johnny Hatfield used to come and wrestle his bear there.  She said he lived somewhere down on Fox Creek below Oscar Krider’s place and had a pet black bear.

        School is starting for others too.  Charlee Smith, daughter of Wes and Pat Smith of Champion will be starting at Crowder College in Neosho this year.  She will leave on Sunday the 18th and Pat and Wes will have to learn how to get along without her around the place.  They have had practice in having daughters move away.  Their first daughter is in Springfield with their 4 month old grandson their middle daughter is in Mountain Home with their 3 year old granddaughter and another grandchild on the way.  Charlee’s softball talent together with her excellent academic record have won her a full scholarship at Crowder.  She hit more home runs for Norwood High School than any other player there in history.  Her first college game will be in Springfield on September 28th.  Champions imagine that her parents will be in attendance.

        No news has come from Champion’s soldier this week.  He is Staff Sergeant Raul Moreno and he is stationed at a Forward Operating Base at Naray Afghanistan near the Pakistani border.  That part of the world is hot, not just temperature wise, but politically as well.  Champions don’t complain about the weather here and they keep Raul in their best thoughts.  His address is SSG Moreno, Raul / 4-319th, TF SABER / FOB NARAY / APO AE 09354  Email:  raul.morenoju(at)  The Plant Place in Norwood donated 200 bags of daffodils to be planted to show support and respect for the troops.  They were given away as free gifts at the Skyline VFD Picnic this year.  Raul and all his fellow soldiers serving in dangerous foreign places can benefit from the good thoughts of people here at home.  Champion found Raul through the Adopt A US Soldier program on line at  It is an easy thing to do and the opportunity to be of cheer and comfort to those who are doing their Country’s work is not to be missed.  Three thousand six hundred and ninety US service personnel have lost their lives in Iraq since that conflict began.  The number of wounded may never be known.  In May 2007, Staff Sergeant Russell K. Shoemaker of Sweet Spring, MO was killed there.  To his family and to the families of all the fallen and wounded ones, Champions express their Love and Gratitude.

        Mrs. Eva Powell’s grandsons were with her at the Skyline Picnic.  Derek had stories to tell about his travels to Africa and to Paris this summer.  He had pictures on his lap-top of himself in Timbuktu!  There were pictures of him with giraffes and camels.  He is quite and adventurer, but it sounds like he was glad to get home and he and Brian are always welcome and happy visitors to Champion.  There were some great pictures taken of them at the Picnic with their sweet Grandmother.  They are all Champions.

        Linda and Glenn Cooley of Champion celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on August 12th.  J.T. and Betty Shelton celebrated their 47th anniversary on the 15th of August.  Champion is a place that likes to commemorate its excellent occurrences all year long.

        Betty and Dale Thomas enjoyed themselves at the Skyline Picnic.  They are getting ready for the Pioneer Descendents Gathering that they will host down at Yates on October 6th and 7th.  There will be a lot of exhibitions and demonstrations and it promises to be a lively affair.  Champions are looking forward to it.  It is such a gift to the Present to be reminded of the Heritage of this Lovely Place.  When somebody asked, “What is all the big deal with our Heritage anyway?  What difference does it make?”  Somebody else said that if you don’t know where you have been, you don’t know where you are going.  Abraham Lincoln once told a biographer that his worst fear for America was that the Revolutionary experience would dilute as the country grew older.  His parents remembered the Revolution as a part of their own experience.  He remembered it as a vivid part of his parents experience.  His fear seemed to be that the struggles of the Founding Fathers would become just so much boring history like the struggles of the ancient Romans and the Freedom they won with such difficulty would be taken for granted by future generations.  Champions do not take their Freedom for granted and they are happy to recognize the hard work and skill that it took to survive in this part of the world just a couple of generations back.  The Douglas County Sesquicentennial Celebration is coming up soon also, so there will be ample opportunity to wax nostalgic all the way through October.

        Examples of epics, what sizzles, what needs waxing, commemorating, celebrating, emphasizing or euphemizing may be sent to Champion Items at Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717.  Those things or reasons to be glad that school has started can be e-mailed to Champion News.  As the Missouri Song List has been much neglected due to all the Picnic Folderol, anyone is Free to burst into spontaneous song on the porch at Henson’s Store where the “H” stands for Heritage.  CHAMPION—LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!


August 6, 2007

August 6, 2007

CHAMPION – August 6, 2007


        Congratulations to Champion Grandparents!  Lilly Ann Hamilton was born in Springfield on Friday evening, August 3rd to Coy and Kristy Hamilton of Marshfield.  She weighed close to eight pounds and has a beautiful head of black hair.  Her grandparents, Ruth and Rob Hamilton were on the scene and are still walking on air over the new arrival.  Rob said this was the first time he has got to hold one of his grandchildren when they were newborn.  The others have been a month old or so before he could get his hands on them to start the spoiling.  Lilly has three cousins, two boys and a girl.  They all live over in Oklahoma, but that’s not too far away to be close.  Someone said that closeness has very little to do with geography, particularly these days with so many technological advances within easy reach.

        The “dawg days” of summer have lumbered into Champion and have unceremoniously flopped down on the porch, panting with tongue lolling out and not enough energy to snap at the flies!  It’s a caution.  It gets about this warm every year and many can remember temperatures much higher.  Champions are not really complainers.  They just make the most of every situation.  Like Ed Henson’s dog, Toby, who would wait around for George Tom Proctor to share a carton of chocolate milk with him on a warm afternoon.  Someone said that along about the end of January days like these will be remembered fondly.

        Years ago Fox Creek ran most of the time.  It didn’t take too much rain for it to run high over the road there just East of Champion Proper.  In the mid 1980’s the Champion-Skyline communities decided that it would be a good idea to have a fire department on the West side of that creek since the Eastern Douglas County Fire Department had a long way to go around to serve these people when the creek was up. With the hard work of some dedicated Volunteers by 1987 the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department was in full swing.  Twenty years later Fox Creek rarely gets up anymore but the Skyline VFD is still a vital and going concern.  Now it has over 200 members and covers an area of 125 square miles in addition to providing Mutual Aid to all its surrounding fire departments.  Auxiliary Ladies hosted an Italian luncheon for the Volunteers and Firefighters who met on the picnic grounds on Saturday the 4th.  The ladies cleaned and organized the kitchen while the men-folk manicured the grounds and began setting up the various games and booths in preparation for the Picnic which will be held on the 10th and 11th.  In addition to the good food and hard work, there was an ample amount of fun.  There are some exciting (by local standards) new attractions that will surprise Picnickers this year.  It will be plenty warm too—just the right kind of weather for getting out to enjoy the festivities.

        The Champion School Reunion is coming up the Saturday before the Labor Day week end.  This year it will be on September 1st.  “Bringing back forgotten memories and refreshing those which still linger is what this book, Champion School Memories, is about.”  That is a quote from the forward of the book which was compiled in 1985.  It is 108 pages jam packed with history, records, reminiscences and photographs.  Most Champion School Alumni are probably familiar with it, but those who are not may peruse a copy at Henson’s Store.  Included in the book are hand written letters from many of the Champion teachers.  First it has to be noted that the penmanship in all the letters is just excellent.  That seems to be an art that is loosing ground these days.  Betty Dean Keller who taught first through fourth grades from 1942 to 1944 said, “Many amusing and memorable things happened during those years, but to me the happiest of the memories are of having been a small part of so many lives.  Especially when I think of the many intelligent and useful citizens that have gone forth in so many walks of life and have accomplished so much in this busy and complicated world of ours.  To have shared only a small portion is such an honor.”  Arthur Porter, who taught from 1957 to 1959 said, “Many of my week ends were very exciting because most every student spent a week-end with my wife, Gustava, and me.  Usually two, three, or four came at the same time.  We worked on Saturday, went to Church on Sunday, and then to Uncle Charley’s country store to get some pop, peanuts, ice cream, etc.  Larry, Harley and Eldridge came together to spend the week end with us and it was during their visit that Larry received some unforgettable experiences.  When entering the kitchen to meet Gustava, Larry missed the kitchen step.  He fell and slid across the floor one way, while his lunch bucket flew another.  Next the boys went outside to play on the seesaws and Larry fell off the seesaw while high in the air, backwards.  Larry decided to stop playing with Eldridge and Harley and went to lay down in my trailer, not knowing it would dump until Eldridge and Harley dumped it, turning Larry upside down.”  Larry still lives in the area and can often be seen at local gatherings.  Eldridge (a.k.a. “Punk”) is seen from time to time.  Harley lives off in Illinois and makes it back to Champion to visit fairly often.  It is to be hoped that he will make it back for the reunion this year.  Those three were quite a popular vocal trio.  Arthur Porter was their music teacher and they were a great delight to him.

        It is good news to Champions to hear that Pat Bryan, the UPS driver who was so seriously injured a few weeks ago on Highway P East of Ava is making a good recovery.  The driver who has replaced him says that Pat is doing well and that he expects to be driving again one of these days off in the future.  It will be recalled that he was injured when a vehicle crossed over the center line and hit the UPS truck head-on.  Even the most cautious and experienced driver cannot control the actions of other people.  These are such beautiful roads, but they require vigilance.  Pat called the other day to say that he will be at the Skyline Picnic Saturday night.  It is great that he is getting out and Champions will be glad to see him!

        Highway WW has had it’s face lift.  It has been patched and paved, oiled and graveled with new yellow stripes running right down the middle of it.  It is in wonderful shape.  One of these days the “Champion” sign will go back up and Champion will be sitting pretty once again.  No word has come yet from Stephanie Stogsdill of MODOT concerning the date of the sign replacement, however, all preparations have been made for a gala ceremony to occur at a moment’s notice.

        A Champion writes to Champion’s soldier:  “Dear Raul,  It was so nice to hear from you and it is especially good for us to know that in spite of the fighting and hardships that you endure you are still able to recognize the beauty of the place.  A friend e-mailed that it is 122 degrees there.  We hope she was exaggerating.  I have no good advice for you concerning home buying.  It seems like prices are really falling in different parts of the country so it maybe a good time.  Buying property can be pretty tricky and you have to be careful of variable rate interest loans and requirements for balloon payments, etc.  You are very wise to research the process.  Good luck with it.  How old is your daughter?  We know that you must get very lonesome for your family.  You know that they are missing you too and one of these days you’ll all be together again.  We will hope it is soon and that you have a happy life together.  Your package is going in the mail today so I guess you can look for it in a couple of weeks.  It has a little bit of everything in it and we hope it is a help to you.  Keep a happy heart!  We send Love and Gratitude from your friends in Champion.”  His address is SSG Moreno, Raul / 4-319th, TF SABER / FOB NARAY  / APO AE 09354  Email raul.morenoju(at)  As of August 5th 3,671 US Service People have lost their lives in Iraq including Staff Sergeant Gina R. Sparks of Drury, Missouri. who died October 4, 2004.

        Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood has been busy transplanting the Cole crops for us for the fall.  When she had to go out of town for a couple of days to take her Granddaughter, Danielle, to meet her Dad, she took the baby seedlings with her!  She couldn’t leave them unattended so the broccoli and cabbage will have been to the Lake of the Ozarks!  Funny.

        Funny things, Congratulations, examples of walking on air, and reminders that the weather could be worse can be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Old school day memories and people who will be sights for sore eyes can be e-mailed to Champion News.  Any of those things or any interesting trips made by garden plants or produce can be reported in person at Henson’s Store in the Prettiest Little Spot in the Country…..CHAMPION—LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!