December 31, 2007

December 31, 2007

CHAMPION—December 31, 2007


        Champions are amazed at how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments.  Most of them are over before they start.  They cast a light on the future, though, and what takes up the time is the memory of those moments.

        Long time Champion, Esther Wrinkles took a ride down to visit old friends John and Neomi Haskins the other day.  She went with Theresa and Larry on a beautiful drive way down past Squires over near Thornfield out in Ozark County.  Mike and Sandy Haskins were there from Lawson, MO and Larry Haskins who lives nearby as well.  John is a lot of fun, Esther says, and told some good jokes.  They were still laughing about some respectable lady climbing through her own front window.  Esther had brought one of her famous peach cobblers, and Neomi said that she had heard about Esther’s pies for years, but had never had one.  There about erupted a brawl over it with servings dished out before dinner was served and the whole thing pretty much devoured before the visit was over.  John said, “Come back ever chance you get, but don’t come back without one of those cobblers!”

        This will have been one of the memorable Red Neck Parties held out in Champion-West.  Rear Admirable Robert Upshaw was there (out of uniform) in a cowboy hat dangling a corncob pipe and hoorawing a sweet niece who had just been bailed out from an unfortunate scrape with the law.  Since the (rear) Admiral has a great number of nieces, the felon, Miss Demeanor, will be lost in the crowd and while a little leaven will surely leaven the whole lump, Champions are not quick to judge.  They will rather enjoy the speculation about which one it was throughout the year and all the Upshaw nieces will now enjoy an additional air of mystery.

        Family portraits are some of those memorable moments in time.  One has floated on the internet over to Champion.  It has Aaron, Angie, Elizabeth, Sue, Shamus, Bob, Kay, Jacob and Shannon in several different memorable poses.  “Who took the picture?” is the question and “What a beautiful family!” is the exclamation.

        This year 180,000 family portraits are missing a US Service man or woman as they are in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Love and Gratitude are the best gifts they can receive from the Nation which asks that they be in those dangerous places.  As one thousand US Veterans of World War II die every day now, it is to be hoped that those currently serving can come home to live out long and happy lives.

        Harley and Barbara seem to be enjoying their sojourn to the pastoral delights of the relative south.  That is to say, it is more southern than where they live and they have a lot of relatives around Champion as well as cows in the pasture.  In the spinning of yarns Harley let go of one on some family member by blood or by marriage who as a youth joined with other boys to pour whiskey down the gullet of a bad rooster.  The already bad rooster, once drunk, became so fractious as to pick a fight with a fence post.  He lost and lost his life in the process.  It is hard to tell if that is a cautionary tale.  Meanwhile, Barbara is most excited about the New Years Day Parade of Champions.  She will forgo the coonskin hat as seen at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and will be wearing a new iridescent blue-green goose-down jacket with fur trim on the hood.  The fur is too light in color to be coon, so some other hapless beast has lost its hide to satisfy Barbara’s fashion whims, not to mention the poor geese.  A full accounting of the New Years Day Parade of Champions will be forthcoming.  The weather promises to be so cold that a rooster would have to be drunk to get out in it.  Proprietors of Henson’s Emporium on the Square were heard to remark that the detritus from the Christmas Parade was significant.  It took no small amount of cleaning to right things again in Champion.

        The Missouri Song list has been neglected of late so Robert Burns’ poem Auld Lang Syne published in 1796, will fit in nicely as Champions are want to hearken back to ‘Old Long Ago.”  The English translation of the old Scottish poem:  “Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind Should old acquaintance be forgot, And days of long ago.  For old long ago, my dear, for old long ago, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet For old long ago.  We two have run about the hillsides And pulled the daisies fine, But we have wandered many a weary foot For old long ago.  We two have paddled in the stream From noon until dinner time, But seas between us broad have roared Since old long ago.  And there is a hand, my trusty friend, And give us a had of yours, and we will take a goodwill draught, For old long ago.  And surely you will pay for your pint, And I will pay for mine And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet For old long ago.”  There has long been confusion about the song and its title.  Some know it as Auld Lang Syne, others as Old Langs Sign, and still others as Ol’ Hank’s High.  However it is known, Champions will embrace it and not subscribe to “Out with the Old and in with the New.”  Certainly, the New is welcome, but the Old Days and the Old Ways are great friends to Champion and won’t be abandoned for anything new fangled.  (“Fangled” means having fangs!)

        Some New Year’s Resolutions will already have been broken by the time the ink is dry on this week’s Herald.  2008 will see Champions in all sorts of circumstances– visiting with old friends and new ones, running into Homesteaders in town, hanging out with the Red Necks and in scrapes with the law, taking family portraits and marching in parades.  They’ll be singing new songs and old songs.  It’s a Wonderful Life in Champion.  Share any meaningful moments of it at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Parade pictures are welcome at Champion News. Visit Henson’s Store in the Historic Downtown and see Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 24, 2007

December 24, 2007

CHAMPION—December 24, 2007


        Astronomical observations are all the talk in Champion with the rarity of the full moon (The Long Night Moon) falling on Christmas Eve and the close proximity of Mars in all its red brilliance.  The sparseness of the population and the relative lack of light pollution make the night sky more visible to Champions than to, say New Yorkers!  That is just one of the many advantages of this beautiful part of the world.

        Many people are on the move this week.  Harley and Barbra Krider will be down from Illinois to visit family and friends and to look in on their cattle operation.  Hopefully their granddaughters, Elizabeth and Alexandria will be with them and that will be good news for Dillon and Dakota Watts who will be over from Tennessee with their Mother, Linda Krider Watts.  The whole bunch will be getting together and they all recognize the preciousness of those family times.

        Not all of the Hamilton brood will be at one table this Christmas.  They were able to all be together for Thanksgiving, however, and so being spread out across this country and other countries at this time will not be too hard on them.  Lots of families are scattered and sometimes uncontrollable circumstances keep them apart during the holidays.  The trick to getting through what could be a depressing time for many is to be aware of those priceless moments when they are happening and to Celebrate Family and Friends at every available opportunity.  If everybody waits until Christmas to express affection…some might loose out!  The Champion Way is to just let loose with the love year-round….  Love and Gratitude are the watch words in Champion.  At this time of the year and all year long Champions appreciate the service and sacrifice of those in the US Military and the families they leave behind as they do what is asked of them in the dangerous places of the world.

        On Christmas Eve morning some Champions watched out their kitchen window as a “Sharp-shinned” hawk killed a blue-jay on the ground and then flew off with it.  It was like something out of the “Wild Kingdom” TV show.  Champion is a Wild and Wonderful place!  It is also quite a deferential place and so when Santa’s schedule is made known with all the appearances in departments stores and Christmas Parades around the country, Champion is pleased to be last and to catch the old fellow on his way home on Christmas morning.  His appearance is no more than a nod and a wink at the annual Champion Christmas Parade, but the parade itself is hardly more than that.  He’s tired and ready for a rest from the whole thing and particularly from the endless claims of ‘goodness’ from, well, you know who you are.

        Champion’s friend, Darrell Haden, from over in Tennessee has sent a lovely Christmas card with pictures from their visit here last fall.  While the township is not so large, the spirit of the ‘village’ spreads far and wide.  Champion’s Oklahoma friends have been having a hard weather time over there.  They have Champion good wishes for a speedy recovery and restoration to a better situation.

        The Skyline Volunteer Fire Department had another class last week end, this time in ‘extrication.’  They learned how to use their new ‘jaws of life’ apparatus and in the process chewed up several cars.  The class was well attended and hopefully a good report will be made about it soon.  Some of those same nice firefighters from over in Ozark who attended the auto fire class a couple of weeks ago came.  It has also been learned that Betty Dye attended the class and took good notes and good photos. Betty is also making a quilt for the Auxiliary Chili Supper which will be held the First of March.  It’s a busy life for community minded people!  Such an asset!

        “What ‘sailors’?” someone asked about the reported rowdy Wassailors and Christmas Carolers described last week.  “Does Champion have a Navy too?”  Unless and until the Spring rains come, there won’t be enough water to float a boat if the Champion Navy existed and had a boat.  Clever Creek has long been underground and Fox Creek only runs big when it rains now.  It does run into the Bryant though, which runs into the White River and that into ….well a person might eventually get to the ocean. Distinguished Denlow University Alumni and a former member of the US Air Force, Robert Upshaw, might well be the Rear Admiral of the Champion Navy since he claims to have seen the Ocean one time.  He hasn’t said which one.  He may not even know that there is more than one, however, any further inquires about the matter may be addressed to him.  He is quite nautical.  A CPC member said that most of the floating done around here is connected with the frequent parades.  One local gardener still has some beautiful ornamental cabbages blooming and would sacrifice them to a float for the Champion New Year’s Day Parade though she won’t be able to attend on account of having to keep the fire going under the black eyed peas all day.  Someone answered the question about why people eat black eyed peas on New Years Day by saying, “It means that you will eat at least that well all year.”

        It is a sure bet that there will be lots of good cooking going on over at Esther Wrinkles’ house through the holidays.  That is a family that enjoys its time together and knows how to show it.  The pies will be popping out of the oven and the love and laughter will keep the place jumping.

        Sure bets, New Years Resolutions and reports of good holiday cheer may be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail any kind of good news or fantastic examples of nature to Champion News.  Stroll into the Village and spend some time at Henson’s Store.  It is on the North Side of the Square with its back to the cold wind and its Friendly Hospitality wide open All Year.  Happy New Year from Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 16, 2007

December 16, 2007

CHAMPION—December 16, 2007


        When the sun came out on Sunday in Champion and shone dazzlingly on the bright white snow, Champion hearts and spirits swelled and soared!  The question, “Who doesn’t like a week-long 34 degree rain?” can go unanswered.  The snow was enough to satisfy the desires of most children without making too much mess for the rest of the population.

        A Christmas note from a notable Champion says that “Old timers long ago referred to Champion as ‘the Village.’  Locals would refer to it as going down to the Village.”  It would be interesting to know what Christmas was like for the Champion Villagers in those days gone by.  The emphasis was most likely on the same things that are considered important in Champion today, that is, family and friends.

        AChampion from just over east of Fox Creek sent pictures of the fall’s amazing huge Spinach leaves and of an exotic night blooming cirrus.  She is the daughter of Grace and a transplant herself, like most here.  Linda at the Plant Place over in Norwood still has tulips bulbs and allows that they can be planted as long as the ground isn’t frozen.  It would seem that the Champion Planning Commission/Parade Committee will not have been able to get the Champion Time Capsule Project together before the ground freezes and it appears that the Christmas Parade is slated to be a low key affair so as not to spark the interest of certain Spotted Hogs.  The Committee is being urged to let bygones be bygones and not to abandon the spirit of fun for the sake of dread or reprisal.  It is not in keeping with the Season.  Christmas Carolers and Wasailors are more the order of the day.

        The schools are about to let go of their charges and the countryside will soon be overrun with modern day versions of ‘skinner wheels’ and the same kind of jolly ruckus that has hit these hills this time of the year since this country was first settled.  Some things don’t really change and many of those are the good things.

        As the number of US Military fatalities in Iraq approaches 4,000 and the number of wounded there passes 40,000 it is good to remember that those people are Champions whose Service to their Nation requires the Nation’s Love and Gratitude.

        One Champion is already making New Year’s Resolutions.  “I’m just going to try to be nicer to people.”  That’s a lofty goal.  Lofty goals, Christmas lists, and the names of those who do like a week-long 34 degree rain are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Reports of any kind of ruckus whether made be school children on holiday or rowdy Wasailors can be e-mailed to Champion News.  A trip down to the Village is a charming excursion any time and any time spent with the charming proprietor of Henson’s Store is time well spent.  The festive atmosphere, the cozy fire, the community news and pleasant banter are delights that endure the year through in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.


December 9, 2007

December 9, 2007

CHAMPION–December 9,2007


        Champions just love the weather no matter what it is doing.  The good rain may help fill Harley’s pond which will be a good thing for the cattle.  The overall dreariness just goes to remind the community that the beauty of the place is largely a matter of perspective.  Mud, mud glorious mud!  There will be a dry day in the future when today’s sloppy mud will look wonderful.  The Christmas decorations all over down town Champion look so much brighter and more cherry through a cold drizzle!

        Other good news is that young Foster has the cast off his leg and seems to be doing fine.  His old Granddad had a birthday last week and it went by without much fanfare.  After so many they don’t seem to get much attention.  There was another very sweet and rowdy little guy by the name of Rowdy at the benefit that was held for Lannie Hinote on the First of the month.  He is in the neighborhood of two years old and is just loaded with beautiful Grandmothers….two of whom are named Sharon.  There were great grandmothers, aunts, uncles, grandpas and a bunch of friends all of whom put together could hardly keep up with him through the course of the evening.  It will be an exciting proposition to watch him grow up! One of these days he’ll be in Lannie’s eight grade class, and then he will have met his match!  In the area of excitement the World Wide Web has been a buzz with request to view the “whirley blurs” on the night of the benefit that were Clayton and Robert in their wild rendition of what must have been the rain dance that brought this weather to the region.  That evening is still a bright topic of conversation in the community.  Anyone wishing to participate in the good time that comes from giving back can still do so by contacting Helen at Skyline School at 683-4874 or at Rt. 2, Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717. 

        It is good to see that the US Service personnel serving in dangerous places around the world are being remembered by their countrymen and women back home.  The letter writing campaigns and the packages that go out to them are lifelines to home for them.  Just a Christmas card means so much.  Champion’s soldier is SSG Raul Moreno.  He is at 4-319th  / TR SABER / FOB NARAY / APO 09354.  He has been serving in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border for a long time.  He is a real Champion.  So are they all and they all have the Love and Gratitude of their Nation due them.

        The flood of suggestions concerning the Champion Time Capsule is being sorted out by the Champion Planning Commission.  What to bury, where to bury it, and the duration of it’s burial are all being hashed out.  Some are adamant that it should be more ‘capsule’ like and not look so much like a coffin which was the look of the affair buried on the courthouse grounds in Ava last week.  “It looked like a cemetery vault!” someone said.  This person is more in favor of something like a coffee can.  Another Champion thinks probably there are some time capsules already buried around and people have just forgotten where they are.  It sounds like something that Ed Henson and Furley Lambert might have done.  “Reckon where they’d a put ‘em?”  Speculation is rampant and the Commission is requesting that anyone who is prospecting for forgotten time capsules should get permission from the land owner before digging and in the event that the search is fruitless, please fill the hole back in and if it is not in an inconvenient place, perhaps plant a tree in it.  The Conservation Department has plenty of young trees to share.

        Good ideas are welcome at Champion Items,  Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Any recollections about past time capsules are welcome at Champion News.  Belated birthday wishes to prominent Champions can be dropped off at Henson’s Store where the ambient mood is Cheerful, Festive, and Optimistic.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 3, 2007

December 3, 2007

CHAMPION—December 3, 2007


        When Champions rally for a good cause it is always a splendid occasion.  So it was on Saturday the first of December when people gathered from surrounding communities for the benefit of Skyline teacher, Lannie Hinote.  It was a very entertaining evening and by the time it was over event organizer, Sharon Woods, had transformed herself into a first class auctioneer.  With lines like, “It’s only money,” and “You know he’s going to bid again,” she was able to draw top dollar for the many items on the block.  Those things included a great number of pies and cakes donated by Lannies host of friends, her family, and so many members of the community who just recognize her contribution to the future and understand the difficulties she is facing.  Additionally merchants from Champion to Cabool, including Ava, Norwood, and Mountain Grove, contributed goods and services that Sharon deftly parleyed into money.

        Young Doug Dobbs, a Skyline fifth grader, was the lucky ticket holder who won the pony donated by Buzz Woods.  Arlene Petty who lives down the hill over on the Bryant donated a beautiful patriotic quilt which was also disposed of in a drawing.  There were door prizes on top of a hearty bowl of chili—an all around good deal.  Lannie was surrounded all evening by well wishers, friends and family.

        During an intermission in the auction, the popular bluegrass group, The Kellys, from Norwood entertained.  They have all know Lannie and the Hinotes for years.  (That sounds like another singing group!)  They did a variety of tunes including some favorite sacred songs, some hot standard bluegrass, and some original pieces like “Whooptee Do!” written and performed by Bridget (Kelly) Lawson.  When Clayton called from the stage for bids to see him dance with Robert Upshaw, the auction was closed in a matter of a few short minutes!  Robert barely had time to get his boots off and his pink and white crochet hat on before the capers started!  All attempted photos came out a blur!  They are spectacular photos, however, and available for view by request at Champion News.

        There is a Champion who wants to know who donated the pink portable sewing machine to the silent auction.  It is quite a substantial piece of machinery and the new owner is interested in its history.  Please e-mail or drop a note to Champion Items, Box 367, Norwood 65717 with any information about it.  Anyone wishing to participate in this wonderful benefit after the fact can contact Helen at Skyline at 683-4874 or at Skyline School, Rt. 2, B ox 486, Norwood, MO 65717.

        On Sunday afternoon young Foster handed his Granddad a stick and said, “Let’s go hunting, Granddad.”  His Granddad said “OK,” and asked what they would be hunting.  “Deer and moose!”  So off they went and Foster called out “Goodbye, everybody!  We’re going hunting!”  Soon they were way out in the Pretend Woods and Foster saw a big one!  “Pow Pow!” he shot.  His Granddad said, “Well, now that you’ve killed it, how are we going to get it out of these woods?”  Pretty soon they sat down on some pretend logs to think about it and decided to sing a song instead.  It was quite a successful hunting trip anyway you look at it.  Some Champions looked at it through the moist eyes of sentimental grandparents.  So sweet!

        Friday and Saturday the 1st of December, the Skyline VFD hosted a class on Vehicle Fire Fighting.  It was quite a big deal and drew firefighters from all around.  It turns out that one of the Ozark Firefighters who came over for the class has a Champion connection!  His cousin is Charlee Smith.  He was ‘wowed’ to hear of her hunting exploits, but was not surprised.  Champion observers were ‘wowed’ by the scope and quality of the class presented by a professional firefighter out of Jefferson City.  Saturday was a cold, windy day and the volunteers might well have enjoyed being inside watching football.  In stead they endured the conditions to take advantage of the situation to gain the knowledge necessary to keep the community safe.  They are all Champions!

        Another Champion is Specialist Kyle Reece, 24, who died in a vehicle damaged by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.  His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Parachutist’s Badge.  He is survived by parents, a wife and two children.  They are all Champions and have the Love and Gratitude of their Nation.

        It was with no small sense of chagrin that certain Champions realized that the ‘time capsule’ that was put together by the Douglas County Sesquicentennial group over in Ava for the Bicentennial Celebration to be held there in 2057, had found its way into the ground with no article representative of the Champion Spirit!  Alas!  Busy Champions say that the philanthropic fervor of citizenry obscured the calendar and allowed that ship to sail without them.  The CPC (Champion Parade Committee a.k.a. Champion Planning Commission) has been called upon to take the matter under advisement toward the end of a possible Champion Time Capsule.  Champions are urged to voice opinions on the matter, or to offer suggestions  by the US Postal Service or by e-mail.  They can be dropped off or spouted off at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square where refugees from Spotted Hog or Homesteaders are welcome anytime to watch civic zeal in its purest form.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!