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!