March 30, 2008

March 30, 2008

CHAMPION—March 30, 2008

 

        In Champion the spirit of April Fool’s Day is persistent though the new breed of jokers can hardly hold a candle to the likes of Ed Henson and some of the other old timers.  The stories of marauding mules and exploding Denlow out-houses are the foundation on which much of the current humor of the area is based.  At any given moment all year Champions can be found laughing until the tears roll for some silly reason.  In these parts jesters commonly send others on ‘fool’s errands’ (looking for things that don’t exit) such as the mushroom hunt, and trying to get people to believe in ridiculous things like the word ‘potentiometer.’

        Long time Champion, Mrs. Esther Wrinkles, says that last Monday morning’s freezing temperatures constituted the ‘Easter Squall,” and that most generally there is a real cold snap around Easter.  She also remarked about the thunder in February and the resultant probability of frost in May.  She has been a little under the weather herself for the past couple of weeks and all of Champion hopes she gets to feeling much better soon.  Last year the first humming birds of the season were seen on Easter.  The earliness of the holiday this year may make the little birds seem behind schedule.  Martins are already populating some houses in the neighborhood and the jonquils and forsythia would make a foreign visitor think that Champion’s favorite color is yellow!  The favorite color here is green accented with the flower of the hour!

        Champion is part of the top 28% of the United States of America in awareness.  It was an interesting bit of information to learn that the majority of the Nation (72%!) is unaware of the fact that over four thousand US. Service Members have died in Iraq in the past five years.  Almost thirty thousand Americans are reported to have been wounded there.  Of course, the true number of wounded will probably never be known.  The number of Iraqi people estimated to have died in the past five years is in the hundreds of thousands…in the neighborhood of six hundred thousand people.  The number of wounded in that land is inestimable.  Love and Gratitude are the two words.

        Champions most often apply to the U.S. Service people who do what is asked of them by their Nation.  The great majority of the casualties come from small towns and rural areas in America, according to national news sources.  They are Champions.

        People with dirty hands are growing food already.  Little spinach and lettuce plants and radishes are popping up all over the place.  Peas will be out of the ground soon and certain persons are busy hunting mushrooms….and Finding them!  Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 1st through the 3rd would be good days to harvest crops, but not good days to plant them.  The 4th will be a very good day to plant any root crops that can be planted this time of the year and the 5th will be good for any crops bearing yield above ground.  Both of those days will be good for planting vine crops and setting strawberry plants.  It’s nice to have Champion friends who know what they are talking about.  Linda hosted a bridge game over west of Spotted Hog on Saturday night.  The group joined with all the great cities in turning off the lights at 8 o’clock until 9 to help spotlight the need to save energy Worldwide.  Bridge by candlelight is still a wildly exciting game though that would not be apparent to any nonparticipating observer.  The players sit stock still, poker faced and, for the most part, silent while everyone plays except the dummy.  The game broke up at midnight and the friends inched their way homeward through the perilous dense fog not wondering for a moment why they play.  On this occasion the winner walked off with $.60 and the looser won $.50.  What a deal!

        Dakota and Dillon Watts from Tennessee were over helping their grandparents on the dairy farm for a few days.  Their little cousins, Foster and Alyssa, are just wild about them.  Everybody has a good time when they are around.

        An e-mail has arrived from the Daughter of Grace in response to the proposed community mass dog killing.  Her resident Curmudgeon proposes a DogGone business which carries the motto ‘Have Gun~Will Travel’ and a stipulation for a discount to customers who provide their own disposal.  He is, of course, not serious but at least he is willing to put some thought to a serious problem.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Graham reports that the beautiful little hound dog has found a good home.  No sooner was she gone than another dog arrived.  This one Mrs. Graham is calling ‘Little Joe.’  He looks like a pure breed German Shepherd and is a puppy who has tripled his weight in the short time he has been at her house.  He has a beautiful black saddle and a tawny mussel—“He’s a gorgeous dog,” she says and she thinks that he will be big—“over seventy-five pounds,” she estimates, when he’s grown.  He will sit for her already, “doesn’t stay long yet,” but is an intelligent dog with a great appetite.  Anyone interested in adopting such a lovely pet can inquire for Mrs. Graham at Henson’s Store in Champion.

        The lilac bushes are budding out.  Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, would have thought to sing, “Where the mockingbird is singing in the lilac bush.”  It was a source of some embarrassment to his now senior-citizen daughter that everything reminded him of a song which he would sing with the slightest provocation.  Now she finds herself in the habit of annoying people in that same way. “It’s spring time in the mountains and I’m full of Mountain Dew!”  Things change and sometimes they change in sweet and sentimental ways.  Some others are harder to take and it is suggested that anyone who has not been by the old Ruth and Orville Hicks place for a while should be prepared for a rude and disheartening shock.  Against the advice of wiser Champions, some are despondent over the ruin.  With no recourse, Champions are urged to let go of those hopeless feelings, of anger and despair and to focus on the persistent beauty that exists all around.  Bluebirds are home again.

        Persistent things, April Fool pranks, new business ideas, and wildly exciting things of all kinds are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail those things or any examples of persistent beauty to Champion News.  Be enchanted by the scenery from the porch at Henson’s Store in Historic Downtown Champion.  It’s a fine place to enjoy whatever comes into view.  Champions are always looking on the bright side!

Facebook

March 24, 2008

March 24, 2008

CHAMPION—March 24, 2008

 

        Champion is delighted with the report of the birthday festivities held for Mrs. Minnie Snoddy at the Ava Place on Saturday.  It was her 99th birthday and there were easily a hundred people there!  Shane and Bonnie Hutchison were there from Davenport with their three children,  Amanda, Nicole and Michael.  Rich and Joyce Turner were there also from Iowa and Louise and Wilburn Hutchison attended from Champion.  It was a beautiful party.  The tasty and gorgeous cake with pink roses was made by a dear friend from Seymour.  There was much singing and laughter.  Celebrating loved ones is a favorite pastime in Champion.

        Long time Champion, Mrs. Esther Wrinkles, says that Monday morning’s freezing temperatures constituted the ‘Easter Squall,” and that most generally there is a real cold snap around Easter.  She also remarked about the thunder in February and the resultant probability of frost in May.  She has been a little under the weather herself for the past couple of weeks and all of Champion hopes she gets to feeling much better soon.  Last year the first humming birds of the season were seen on Easter.  The earliness of the holiday this year may make the little birds seem behind schedule.  Martins are already populating some houses in the neighborhood and the jonquils and forsythia would make a foreign visitor think that Champion’s favorite color is yellow!  The favorite color here is green accented with the flower of the hour!

        Such a spectacle was the Easter Parade of Champions!  Barbara Krider with her enthusiasm and joie de vivre led off the longest and most well attended Easter Parade held in Champion in many years.  Her beautiful granddaughters, Elizabeth and Alexandria Slater, followed along in the processional with their great Aunt Rita Krider and (quite a number of ) others.  Elizabeth’s dress had a black bodice and a bright geometrical print skirt in primary colors.  She wore a beautiful butterfly pen on her left shoulder.  Alexandria chose a spring floral print dress with a turquoise bolero.  Large purple polka dots were the eye catching accent on Chante’s white sleeveless dress.  Alyssa’s frock was beige with a floral trim down the front and around the skirt.  Vivian Floyd said that she has taken many a turn around the Square in Champion over the years.  As she waved and smiled, her great affection for her girlhood home was obvious.  There were no motorized vehicles to distract from the pomp and gracious splendor of the occasion, though the parade route itself was lined with cars from both sides of Clever Creek as well as a number of distant states.  The enchanted onlookers, applauded wildly and called out words of encouragement and support to the gallant marchers.  (“Hey, Lady!  Where’d you get that hat?”)  Barbara threw candy to the crowd, being sure that Harley caught a piece in the scramble.  Rita’s sister, Ruthie, was in the press of observers, but it was not determined if she had caught any candy.  They had traveled down from Illinois together for the occasion and will have much to talk about on their return trip.  General Upshaw was conspicuously absent and the speculation is that he has as yet to recover entirely from the protracted St. Patrick’s Day revelment.  His public persona will probably not surface again until the Civil War Memorial Dedication on Memorial Day week end.  The community should be about ready by then.

        Champion is part of the top 28% of the United States of America in awareness.  It was an interesting bit of information to learn that the majority of the Nation (72%!) is unaware of the fact that over four thousand US. Service Members have died in Iraq in the past five years.  Almost thirty thousand Americans are reported to have been wounded there.  Of course, the true number of wounded will probably never be known.  The number of Iraqi people estimated to have died in the past five years is in the hundreds of thousands…in the neighborhood of six hundred thousand people.  The number of wounded in that land is inestimable.  Love and Gratitude are the two words.

        Champions most often apply to the U.S. Service people who do what is asked of them by their Nation.  The great majority of the casualties come from small towns and rural areas in America, according to national news sources.  They are Champions.

        People with dirty hands are growing food already.  Little spinach and lettuce plants and radishes are popping up all over the place.  Peas will be out of the ground soon and certain persons are busy hunting mushrooms….and Finding them!  Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 28th and 29th would be good days to harvest crops, but not good days to plant them.  The 30th and the 31st will be very good days to plant any root crops that can be planted this time of the year.  It’s nice to have Champion friends who know what they are talking about.

        Dakota and Dillon Watts from Tennessee are over helping their grandparents on the dairy farm for a few more days.  Their little cousins, Foster and Alyssa, are just wild about them.  Everybody has a good time when they are around.

        No one has written or e-mailed with an alternative to the proposed community mass dog killing, but no such event has been scheduled for the foreseeable future.

        The lilac bushes are budding out.  Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, would have thought to sing, “Where the mockingbird is singing in the lilac bush.”  It was a source of some embarrassment to his now senior-citizen daughter that everything reminded him of a song which he would sing with the slightest provocation.  Now she finds herself in the habit of annoying people in that same way.  Things change and sometimes they change in sweet and sentimental ways.  Some others are harder to take and it is suggested that anyone who has not been by the old Ruth and Orville Hicks place for a while should be prepared for a rude and disheartening shock.  Against the advice of wiser Champions, some are despondent over the ruin.  With no recourse, Champions are urged to let go of those hopeless feelings, of anger and despair and to focus on the persistent beauty that exists all around.  Bluebirds are home again.

        Favorite pastimes, fashion commentary, spectacles of all kinds are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail those things and any pictures of the Easter Parade or examples of persistent beauty to Champion News.  “There went Peter Cotton Tale, a hoppin’ down an Ozark trail…hippity hoppity Easter’s gone again….”  It may be that Old Pete paused on the porch at Henson’s Store on the north side of the Square to enjoy the Parade.  It’s a fine place to enjoy whatever comes into view.  Champions are always looking on the bright side!

Facebook

March 18, 2008

March 18, 2008

CHAMPION—March 18, 2008

 

        Champions all join with the Champion family of Minnie (Reed) Snoddy to congratulate her as she observes her 99th  birthday on March 19th.  Her party will be held at the Ava Place on the 22nd.  Much of her family will be home for the festivities.  Families gather in times of joy and in times of sadness.  The important thing is that they gather and celebrate each other.

        The contrition and overall good behavior shown by Champion St. Patrick’s Day Paraders was just laudable!  Perhaps the tirade of the Champion Parade Committee after the shameful spectacle at the New Year’s Day Parade of Champions (2008) has done some good.  The General has taken it to heart and the business moguls of Champion will be hard put to find a single burst balloon or string of green Mardi Gras beads, sequined shamrock, or Blarney Stone.  Apparently, the stringent tone of the CPC on the matter held sway:  that with the Champion Easter Parade just around the corner no shenanigans would be tolerated by elf, gnome, or fiddler.  With a Barbara back for the occasion, it is clear that the Easter Parade will be the height of the season!  Fashion will rule!

        Spring Break is a big deal in a lot of communities.  South Padre Island off the Gulf Coast of Texas is just overrun with kids from all over the country.  The opportunity to get away from home in an unsupervised atmosphere is just too tantalizing for some to resist.  Their friends are going and they don’t want to be left out.  It is sort of like that in Champion except for the unsupervised part.  Harley and Barbara will be down from Illinois with their beautiful granddaughters, and those Tennessee boys, Dakota and Dillon, will soon be in with their folks.  That rowdy bunch from Marshfield that includes Foster, Kalyssa, Madelyn, and Chante` will be swarming all over Champion together with Eli and Emerson Rose and others.  For the next ten days it will just be bedlam and the old folks at home are so glad.  It is a delight to have such an infusion of youth and vigor in the community, even for a short while.  Champion is a bustling and vital spot on the map on a slow day, but made all the sweeter yet by these dear visitors.

        Old timers around here always tried to get their potatoes planted on St. Patrick’s Day.  This year some old Champions are confused because the almanac says that the 17th is a ‘barren’ day and the next good time to plant root crops will be the 23rd of the month.  It would be a matter of more concern if the old fellow had his patch worked up and ready to plant.  It’s lucky for him that the best planting time is a little way off in the distance.  Perhaps he’ll have a good harvest this year.  It has happened to some that all their good planting efforts came to naught with a hard killing freeze six weeks later!  Gardening is a gamble in Champion as elsewhere.  Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood is busy getting tomatoes started.  She always has some good advice for gardeners to help them have a productive growing season.

        Twenty year old Arkansawyer, Michael R. Sturdivant, died in Iraq on January 22, 2008.  He is one of 3,989 U.S. Service Personnel who have perished there.  They are not “summer soldiers” or “sunshine patriots.”  They deserve the Love and Gratitude of their nation for whom they are doing what is asked of them.

        Over on Jim Bob hill,  the Grahams are having some issues with people dumping dogs.  It’s not like the Champion grandmother wrestling with her hatred of cats, these folks like dogs, but they can’t take care of all the dogs that get dumped on their road.  Mountain Grove’s Animal Control officer, Brad Loveless, says that there is no place in the area to take abandoned dogs.  The nearest Humane Society facility is in Houston, MO.  “Texas County has a good program,” he says.  “They are just getting started, but they are doing a good job.”  He also noted that there is a rescue organization in Douglas county called Bear Creek Rescue, but they just take care of horses.  He said that the woman who runs the operation did help him place some dogs one time, but that is not their focus.  Lorrie in the City Hall of Norwood says that they have a small fenced area for dogs that they pick up in town and they don’t keep them there very long, but she did not know of any place in the area where a person could dispose of a dog.  An official in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department suggested that the dogs be transported to the Humane Society in Springfield or perhaps try to give the dogs away on the ‘tradio’ programs.  Lisa at the Douglas County Animal Hospital also said the Springfield Humane Society or the one in Branson would be the best bet.  She also had some information about the newly organized Animal Welfare League, Jr.  This group is comprised of teachers and students of Ava Schools who meet regularly and work to help raise money to assist the spay and neuter programs for area animals.  There seems to be no place for these animals.  Everyone agrees that it is a big problem in the area.  The Grahams are tenderhearted people who do not want to see these dogs suffering, but they can’t afford to take care of them.  It is also not feasible to transport these dogs great distances, though people have given them rides out to the country.

        A cranky old Champion says, “Well, we ort to just have a dawg-shoot.  We could organize the thang and advertise it and sell tickets to pay for the ammunition.”  His idea is that someone with a back hoe could dig a hole and the community could just get together and have a mass dog killing.  While the notion is absolutely absurd, it would certainly draw attention to the problem and maybe some philanthropic organization would be so appalled that they would cough up a few dollars to address the issue.  This same crank suggested alternately that a bounty could be paid for stray dogs.  “If these folks could get ten dollars for a dog someplace, they wouldn’t be dumping them out here!”  He fails to say who would pay the bounty or deal with the consequences of the ensuing raft of dog theft.  “Well, is there a law against dumping dogs?” he asks, “Is there one against shooting them?”  Champions don’t have the answer but it is certainly being thought about.  Champions do not advocate random dog killing and imagine that such an event would lead to prosecution, though it seems to be OK to let them starve to death……a conundrum.

        “The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size,” writes a distant Champion friend.  She is so right.  The daffodils and crocus and emerging tulips are lifting spirits!  People are out getting their hands dirty and enjoying watching the greens become deeper in color as Spring officially begins on March 20th!  Lilacs are swelling as are hearts with the hope that the long winter will soon be over and old creaking bones can be warmed in the sunshine.

        Blarney, conundrums and absurd notions, things that lift the spirit and swell hearts are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail parade pictures or commentary to Champion News.  Stop in at Henson’s Store in the Village any time.  It is on the North side of the Square and is stocked with an eclectic assortment of the finest merchandise.  Additionally, the proprietor will share the phone number of Mary Graham who has a very nice little hound dog to give away to a good home.  In Champion everyone looks on the bright side!

Facebook

March 17, 2008

March 17, 2008

CHAMPION—March 17, 2008

 

        The contrition and overall good behavior shown by Champion St. Patrick’s Day Paraders was just laudable!  Perhaps the tirade of the Champion Parade Committee after the shameful spectacle at the New Year’s Day Parade of Champions (2008) has done some good.  The General has taken it to heart and the business moguls of Champion were hard put to find a single burst balloon or string of green Mardi Gras beads, sequined shamrock, or Blarney Stone.  Apparently, the stringent tone of the CPC on the matter held sway.  The real spectacle, however, was the Easter Parade of Champions!  Barbara Krider with her enthusiasm and jois de vive led off the longest  and most well attended Easter Parade held in Champion in many years.  Her beautiful granddaughters, Elizabeth and Alexandria Slater, followed along in the processional with their great Aunt Rita Krider and (quite a number of ) others.  Vivian Floyd said that she has taken many a turn around the Square in Champion over the years.  As she waved and smiled, her great affection for her girlhood home was obvious.  There were no motorized vehicles to distract from the pomp and gracious splendor of the occasion, though the parade route itself was lined with cars from both sides of Clever Creek as well as a number of distant states.  The enchanted onlookers, applauded wildly and called out words of encouragement and support to the gallant marchers.  Barbara threw candy to the crowd, being sure that Harley caught a piece in the scramble.  Rita’s sister, Ruthie, was in the press of observers, but it was not determined if she had caught any candy.  They had traveled down from Illinois together for the occasion and will have much to talk about on their return trip.  General Upshaw was conspicuously absent and the speculation is that he has as yet to recover entirely from the protracted St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  His public persona will probably not surface again until the Civil War Memorial Dedication on Memorial Day week end.  The community should be about ready by then.

        Spring Break is a big deal in a lot of communities.  South Padre Island off the Gulf Coast of Texas is just overrun with kids from all over the country.  The opportunity to get away from home in an unsupervised atmosphere is just too tantalizing for some to resist.  Their friends are going and they don’t want to be left out.  It is sort of like that in Champion except for the unsupervised part.  Harley and Barbara have been down from Illinois with their beautiful granddaughters, and those Tennessee boys, Dakota and Dillon, will be around for a few more days.  That rowdy bunch from Marshfield that includes Foster, Kalyssa, Madelyn, and Chante` have been swarming all over Champion together with Eli and Emerson Rose and others.  For the next week it will just be bedlam and the old folks at home are so glad.  It is a delight to have such an infusion of youth and vigor in the community, even for a short while.  Champion is a bustling and vital spot on the map on a slow day, but made all the sweeter yet by these dear visitors.

        Old timers around here always tried to get their potatoes planted on St. Patrick’s Day.  This year some old Champions were confused because the almanac said that the 17th was a ‘barren’ day, but starting on the 23rd root crops can be planted up until the 27th of the month.  The 28th and 29th will be barren days, but then the 30th and 31st will still be good for root crops again.  It has happened to some Champions that all their good early planting efforts came to naught with a hard killing freeze six weeks later!  Gardening is a gamble in Champion as elsewhere.  Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood has her monthly almanac pages available at no charge.  She is busy getting tomatoes started.  She always has some good advice for gardeners to help them have a productive growing season.

        Twenty year old Arkansawyer, Michael R. Sturdivant, died in Iraq on January 22, 2008.  He is one of 3,989 U.S. Service Personnel who have perished there.  They are not “summer soldiers” or “sunshine patriots.”  They deserve the Love and Gratitude of their nation for whom they are doing what is asked of them.

        Over on Jim Bob hill, the Grahams are having some issues with people dumping dogs.  It’s not like the Champion grandmother wrestling with her hatred of cats, these folks like dogs, but they can’t take care of all the dogs that get dumped on their road.  Mountain Grove’s Animal Control officer, Brad Loveless, says that there is no place in the area to take abandoned dogs.  The nearest Humane Society facility is in Houston, MO.  “Texas County has a good program,” he says.  “They are just getting started, but they are doing a good job.”  He also noted that there is a rescue organization in Douglas county called Bear Creek Rescue, but they just take care of horses.  He said that the woman who runs the operation did help him place some dogs one time, but that is not their focus.  Lorrie in the City Hall of Norwood says that they have a small fenced area for dogs that they pick up in town and they don’t keep them there very long, but she did not know of any place in the area where a person could dispose of a dog.  An official in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department suggested that the dogs be transported to the Humane Society in Springfield or perhaps try to give the dogs away on the ‘tradio’ programs.  Lisa at the Douglas County Animal Hospital also said the Springfield Humane Society or the one in Branson would be the best bet.  She also had some information about the newly organized Animal Welfare League, Jr.  This group is comprised of teachers and students of Ava Schools who meet regularly and work to help raise money to assist the spay and neuter programs for area animals.  There seems to be no place for these animals.  Everyone agrees that it is a big problem in the area.  The Grahams are tenderhearted people who do not want to see these dogs suffering, but they can’t afford to take care of them.  It is also not feasible to transport these dogs great distances, though people have given them rides out to the country.

        A cranky old Champion says, “Well, we ort to just have a dawg-shoot.  We could organize the thang and advertise it and sell tickets to pay for the ammunition.”  His idea is that someone with a back hoe could dig a hole and the community could just get together and have a mass dog killing.  While the notion is absolutely absurd, it would certainly draw attention to the problem and maybe some philanthropic organization would be so appalled that they would cough up a few dollars to address the issue.  This same crank suggested alternately that a bounty could be paid for stray dogs.  “If these folks could get ten dollars for a dog someplace, they wouldn’t be dumping them out here!”  He fails to say who would pay the bounty or deal with the consequences of the ensuing raft of dog theft.  “Well, is there a law against dumping dogs?” he asks, “Is there one against shooting them?”  Champions don’t have the answer but it is certainly being thought about.  Champions do not advocate random dog killing and imagine that such an event would lead to prosecution, though it seems to be OK to let them starve to death……a conundrum.

        “The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size,” writes a distant Champion friend.  She is so right.  The daffodils and crocus and emerging tulips are lifting spirits!  People are out getting their hands dirty and enjoying watching the greens become deeper in color as Spring officially began on March 20th!  Lilacs are swelling as are hearts with the hope that the long winter will soon be over and old creaking bones can be warmed in the sunshine.

        Blarney, conundrums and absurd notions, things that lift the spirit and swell hearts are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail parade pictures or commentary to Champion News.  Stop in at Henson’s Store in the Village any time.  It is on the North side of the Square and is stocked with an eclectic assortment of the finest merchandise.  Additionally, the proprietor will share the phone number of Mary Graham who has a very nice little hound dog to give away to a good home.  In Champion everyone looks on the bright side!

Facebook

March 9, 2008

March 9, 2008

CHAMPION—March 9, 2008

 

        Clever Creek is still running in Champion after the last big rains.  The water is clear and knee deep across the slab over CR 237.  Used to be the water ran there year round, they say.  Things change.  A distant granddaughter hearing last week’s Champion News read aloud called to say, “Please don’t strangle the frogs!” She really likes frogs.  ‘Peepers’ were heard for the first time in Champion on Leap Day this year and that seemed quite fitting.  The grandchild may be the only one around who doesn’t like cats.  “They eat my frogs and my birds,” she says. “I hate cats!”  Her Grandmother tries to counter such strong emotions by saying that birds eat frogs.  (Great blue herons and king fishers are always happy to eat a nice juicy frog.)  And frogs eat birds!  (Over by Vera Cruz last year a resident rescued her baby ducks from a bull frog living in the spring pond.)  Truthfully, the child’s Grandmother has never been a big fan of cats either.  Lately, however, as her neighbors seem to be acquiring more cats she has found a way to make peace with the situation.  “Well,” she said,  “I could use my pellet gun and shoot them when they are messing around in my garden, but then I would just be picking a feud with my neighbors.  That’s not a good idea.  Or I could just kill the cats outright and get rid of them on the sly and my neighbors might not find out.  Or I can just look at the critters in a different way.  Now when I see them strolling through my yard like they own the place, I remember that I haven’t had to set a mouse trap this year, and the rats that have always made such a mess in the wood shed and garage are many fewer these days.”  This Champion reports that while she has never really liked cats, she likes a lot of people who do like them and out of respect for her friends she is trying to alter her attitudes.  She said, “I just got tired of being mad every time I saw one of the blamed things.  It takes a lot of effort to be aggravated about something if you can’t fix it.  Anyway some of them are kind of pretty.”  It’s not like she doesn’t have possums, coons, armadillos and skunks parading through the place at all hours of the day and night anyway.  Champions are a curious lot.

        Granddaughters are just the cat’s meow!  Madelyn Ward was in Champion over the week end.  She is Kaye and Richard Johnston’s granddaughter and she came with her grandparents and her Mom, Phoebe, and Aunt Liz to visit with Krider family sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Madelyn and her friend Shante had a good time playing together, drawing pictures and enjoying a pretty day.  Shante and her mother, Sarah Michaud are frequent and welcome guests in Champion from over in the Marshfield area.

        Bailey Kiera Foulke is a brand new granddaughter!  She was born on March 9th out in Seattle and is the granddaughter of Champion Friend Judith Parsons.  Judith lives over on the other side of Ava and will be remembered for having won the quilt that Violet Melton made for the Rita Hicks Benefit last year.  She is known by friends for many other things, all interesting and lovely.

        The benefit for Brenda and Kenny Massey was a wonderful affair!  Upwards of two hundred people crowded into the Vanzant Community building on Saturday night.  There was an excellent buffet supper and some fine music to get the evening going.  Then J.W. Collins took over.  Of all the auctioneering!  He sold the same sugar cookies four times!  They were nice looking cookies on a pretty paper plate, covered with colorful, crinkly cellophane and they brought in a lot of money for the good cause.  The house was packed and fairly rocked with good humor as neighbors gathered to help each other.  Somebody called Brenda a “giggle-box.”  She grew up over on 76 highway between Denlow and Vanzant.  She was part of the large Coffman family that still owns her grandparents log cabin.  “She grew up and married this Massey boy, and now a tree has fallen on him,” somebody else said.  This is a part of the world where neighbors talk about each other.  It is also a giving and benevolent part of the country.  If a person were to go through the Herald for the past year just to see how many benefits have been given by neighbors for each other it might be a surprise.

        More neighbor news has to do with the Denlow School.  The Reunion Planning Meeting was held on Sunday afternoon and the reunion is set for the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  Everyone will be welcome.  The program will be held at eleven with lunch at noon.  There will be ‘jamming’ in the afternoon at the pavilion.  On Monday of the Memorial Day week end the Civil War Memorial will be dedicated.  There will be more said about that in the future, no doubt.  Present at the meeting were Cletus Upshaw, Robert and Sharon Upshaw, Kaye Johnston, Russell Upshaw, Dean Upshaw, Kenneth Anderson and Lucille Ketchum and Faye Krider.

        Some old Champions have taken a page out of a recent DC Herald and have spent the winter “baking their shins and getting fat on hog and hominy.”  Now they’ve got up to do a little bit about the place and find that they have strained that group of muscles that comprise the ‘yankers.’  Hauling brush and pulling grapevine has fairly done them in  with no more than half a day’s work to show for it.  Spring always catches them by surprise and in poor condition.  They don’t complain overly, just let out a little groan now and again.  “Oh! my blessed yankers!”

        There was a note from a reader who said she liked seeing the quote by Thomas Paine repeated:  “These are the times that try men’s souls.  The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  Her remark was that everybody used to say “our boys” when talking about our soldiers serving across the world.  She thinks we don’t talk about them enough these days.  Her thought is that there will be many young men and women needing help and support when they get back home.  She says they are all Champions.  One of them was a 20 year old boy from St. Charles, MO.  His last name was Walker and he died this last week in Iraq.

        There are some pretty exciting tales about Homer Akers when he ran the mail route that Cletus later ran for many years.  76 Highway wasn’t paved back then and there are stories about him flying down that hill, throwing on his brakes, and sliding right past the mail boxes.  There is another story about a paratrooper from Denlow by the name of Vernon who got up to Evanston, Illinois on leave from his post in Kentucky.  He and his buddy met some pretty girls there and for some reason decided to give them fictitious names.  So Vernon became Bill and has remained so to his bride of many years.  His family still calls him Vernon and his little sisters were remarking the other day about what a nice brother he was.  One rainy day he worked out in their Mother’s smoke house all day and made them some little toy wooden telephones.  They both say they would just give anything if they still had them.  Later on when he was about grown he’d give his sisters a ride down to the gate on Saturday night and give them a nickel to open it and shut it behind him so he wouldn’t have to get out and get his dress clothes dirty.  Champions sure do reminisce well.

        Just as it was being revealed that the Champion Navy is totally fictitious, the ever nautical Rear Admiral was being called “General” by his sister!  Champions do so like to have accurate information.  He’s getting excited about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at Champion.  He’s polishing up his four leaf clovers and will want to be Grand Marshall General McUpshaw.  On the 18th, he’ll most likely sleep in.

        Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says not to bother planting on the 14th and 15 because those days are ‘barren.’  The next two days will be good ones though for planting above ground crops.  People are getting their hands dirty already!

        Good days of any kind, accurate information, reasons to like cats, and tips for altering attitudes about annoying blamed things are all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717.  Any good neighbor gossip or reminisces or parade pictures  can be e-mailed to Champion News.  Catch up with all the excitement on the square at Henson’s Store where Champions are always looking on the bright side!

Facebook