June 30, 2008

June 30, 2008

CHAMPION—June 30, 2008

        In Champion Independence Day is a serious matter.  The federal holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and the tyranny of King George is highly prized.  The patriotic fervor of Champion balances nicely with temperate reticence of the community.  On every day of the year Champions celebrate Independence with orderly lives and indifference to the whims of the rest of the Nation and World.  Behind the pervasive laughter and good humor of the place is the deep thoughtfulness of a Grateful citizenry.  It can be said of Champions that they ”throw a tidy parade and participate consistently in their government at the ballot box.”  Huzza!  America!

        Good news comes from Champion’s Tennessee friend Darrell Haden, who says that “Old Man River” is twenty miles distant from him at Hickman, Kentucky.  He says he won’t be able to take the ferry to Missouri, but it sounds like he is high and dry.  Faye Twitty’s news from the Quad Cities Area in Iowa is much more grim.  Her poignant descriptions of families loosing homes and livelihoods is heart wrenching.  Champions have close ties with that area and wish them a speedy recovery.

        A number of current and former Champion residents attended the Thursday night music at Plumber’s Junction on the 26th.  The musicians were:  Sue Murphy–vocals and mandolin, Norris Woods–vocals and banjo, Jerry Wagner—vocals, yodels and fiddle, Frank Mings—mandolin, and guitar players—Buzz Woods, Robert Upshaw, and Jeff Barch, who also played the French harp.  On any given Thursday evening around six these folks can be found there playing a lot of standard country and old time music.  Other musicians frequently sit in and the onlookers always have a good time.  Onlookers this week included Phil and Jan Blazius.  Jan is a good-looking Texas woman married to this guy from Connecticut and they have settled up on V Highway.  It seems like they like these parts.  They are neighbors with Elmer and Frances Banks and shared a table with them for the evening.  Elmer was talking about when he first met Frances.  He was working on rebuilding an old historic rock wall somewhere back east and she was a hod carrier.  He encouraged her in the use of a stone ax and she straightway broke off a piece of granite that smashed her big toe absolutely flat.  He must have been very consoling, because they are still together and it has been some little while now.  During the evening several stopped by to visit with Esther Wrinkles who was celebrating her birthday early.  She received gifts of music CDs and pickled beets as well as a lot of good wishes.  River Stillwood shared some of her tasty homemade ice cream.  The General says it is the ‘best I ever tasted.’  That is saying something, since he is reported to be a Champion Ice Cream Master himself!

        Sunday was a happy birthday for long time Champion, Mrs. Eva Powell.  Visits, cards and phone calls from children and grand children marked the day.  Dinner out and plans for more fun were in the offing as those Nettleton sisters go on a tare.  Champions wish her many happy returns!  More of those kinds of returns are wished for the Old Guy who says,  “Don’t pick it up until you know where you’re going to put it down.”  He’ll be sixty nine on the first!

        Donald & Rita Krider really were surprised at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration on the weekend of the 21st of June.  Somehow no cats were let out of any bags and the surprise was complete!  The party was held a week after their anniversary which they now share with Staci and Dustin Cline.  The heavy rains did not have any damaging effects on party-goer Vivian Floyd from Rogersville.  She did come home to a surprise, however, and said, “It’s for the birds!”  As for the Clines, Dustin said he’d just as soon watch cars go by in Champion as in Durango, Colorado.  The railroad there seems to be about the only advantage it has over Champion.  How lovely it would be to go up to Norwood and get on the train and head out for distant places to see family and friends or just to have wonderful adventures.  Poplar Bluff is the nearest port of train call and The Black River by the train station may well be out of banks!

        Little Wild Flowers, common and rare, are benefiting from the climate.  Just a stroll down a country lane or a familiar wooded path brings delight to the flower lover and berry picker.  The dozens of varieties of flowering plants that can be seen in Champion just add to the long list of positive attributes of the place.  It is a real garden spot.  Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 3rd through the 5th will be most favorable for corn, okra, beans, peppers, eggplant and other above-ground crops.  The 6th through the 10th will be a barren period—good for destroying weeds.  Robin Chotzinoff’s book, “People With Dirty Hands,” came as a gift from a Texas Champion and has proven to be a great read.  Interesting gardeners of all descriptions from all over the country share their methods and observations.  Any of them would fit right in Champion.

        A US Service Person died in Iraq for every day of the month in June this year.  Champions join the rest of the Nation in extending Love and Gratitude to them and to their survivors.  Supporting the troops who come home is as important as supporting those who are still over there.

        The Skyline Auxiliary’s meeting on July 1st is slated to be a productive gathering.  Members will have the chance to view the Rose Star Quilt and to report on their ticket sales.  Details of Picnic preparations will be hashed out fully.  “It is auspicious” say some that the Skyline Annual Picnic will start on 08-08-08 this year!  August 8th and 9th will be some entertaining and busy days around Skyline.  Excitement is building and The Annual Picnic will doubtlessly prove to be another smashing success!

        “When we sing instead of speak, we have intonation, melody line, and crescendo, which gives us a broader vocabulary to express ourselves,” says Suzanne Hanser, chair of the music therapy department at Berklee College of Music.  “Because singing is visceral (relating to, or affecting, our bodies), it can’t help but effect change.”  It is proven that singing reduces stress and pain.  Studies have linked singing with a lower heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and reduced stress, according to Patricia Preston-Roberts, a board–certified music therapist in New York City.  Some Champions report that the song, “Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck may be somebody’s mother!” is sung to the tune of “Stars and Stripes Forever!”  Cool!

        Harley’s haying is done for the time being.  His wonderful singing voice will be missed, but it is time for him to go home for a while.  Barbara can hear him sing, “The barefoot boy with his shoes on came running down the street, with his pants all full of pockets and his shoes all full of feet.  He was born when he was a baby and he died when he got old and that’s how in the world the Old Folks tell that it ain’t gonna rain no more!”

Reports of fervor, fun, family and friends are all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail words to that song to Champion News.  Sing that song or any other on the porch at Henson’s Store.  This charming mercantile is on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion where Champions are ever singing, “Look on the Bright Side!”

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June 23, 2008

June 23, 2008

CHAMPION—June 23, 2008

 

        The Longest Day of the Year was celebrated in style in Champion this year.  Raymond and Esther Howard have become great grandparents again!  Vanessa and Danny Howard are the parents of Noah Sebastian Howard who arrived on June 21st weighing in at well over eight pounds.  They live over in Strafford but have Champion great-grandparents.  Champions are hoping that Raymond and Esther can come home again one of these days for a visit.  They always liven the place up so.  Linda Watts, who lives over in Tennessee, was home visiting family in Champion on the First Day of Summer and celebrated her presidential birthday.  She is officially old enough to run the country now and people who are acquainted with her figure she could do a good job of it.  While her background could certainly stand the scrutiny, she is not inclined to enter the race.  She has other fish to fry, or bake or broil.  She really enjoys being back on the farm and her folks are always glad to see her.  Dakota has been a big help during his stay but will soon go back across the big river to Tennessee with his Mom.

        In Champion Father’s Day sort of slipped by this year without much fan-fair.  There were phone calls, cards and general expressions of Love and Gratitude to the Old Boy for all his selfless service as the backbone of the family and the community and the Nation.  Perhaps an entry in the upcoming 4th of July parade will feature The Founding Fathers.  They could give free advice and wisdom to onlookers:  “Always whittle away from you.”  “Don’t spit into the wind.”  “Be sure the switch is in the ‘off’ position before you plug in your power tools.”  “If you trade your liberty for security, you will have neither.”  “If truth is once deserted, unity and peace will not last long.”  “That metal button on top of your hat will conduct electricity.”  “Know where you are going to put it down before you pick it up.”  Sound advice and wisdom are always available in Champion.

        It may be that Father’s Day got lost in the hoopla around the first wedding in Champion in more than twenty years!  The Fiftieth Wedding anniversary of Donald and Rita Krider, got lost in that same hoopla.  They were honored in a surprise celebration over this last weekend.  Their anniversary was on the 14th of June, a date that they now share with Staci and Dustin Cline.  Harley, who has been down on the farm for a while now, went with sister Vivian Floyd and niece Diane Strickland back to Illinois for the party.  They had a good time and made it back home safely.  Vivian lives in Rogersville and it is hoped that the wet weather is sparing her any damage.  Diane lives over in West Plains.  She has just completed her RN degree!  Congratulations to all the above including great grand parents, birthday celebrators, Fathers, anniversary markers, newlyweds, and Nurses–Champions all!

        The Tyranny of Green is what some call the fast growing lawn that requires such frequent mowing.  Haymakers have different ideas about it and so as usual, some are happy and some are not.  It’s like that pretty much everywhere.  Tomatoes are growing and will ripen someday!  It was the 27th of June, a Wednesday afternoon, when Donna Moskaly came sashaying down to Henson’s Store last year with Joe at her side and her luscious prize winning tomato in her hand.  Excitement is rising!  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 26th, 27th, and 28th will be poor planting days…Good for general farm work.  The 28th will be a perfect day for wishing Champion Esther Wrinkles Happy Birthday.  The 29th and 30th will be good for planting root crops.  Some folks are still just now getting things in the ground.  Says one, “The frost is going to get that stuff!”  But the optimistic old gardener thinks, “Maybe not.”  Rather than rule out the possibility of something good happening, the Old Dear is willing to put a little effort into something that might just as easily be a fool’s errand or a bountiful harvest.  “Well, if you don’t plant it, for sure it won’t grow!”  Another old girl with dirty hands figured that she would just enjoy working at it whenever she can get to it and just never mind what all is not getting done.  It is amazing what can be accomplished with a happy heart.  There is also a little comfort in knowing it can’t all be done.  It is a matter of perspective.  “Well, I look at it like this!” croaks the old Champion who then squints one of his rhumey old eyes shut and cocks his head to one side, grinning like he has a gold tooth, which he does not.  Very funny.

        On July 30, 2006 a young man wrote from Iraq, “I am 19 years old now. In the last three years, four months, and eleven days, 149 19 year olds have been killed in Iraq.  I turned nineteen on May 8th, 2006.  Two days before that, on May 6th, Lance Corporal Leon Deraps, U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Logistics Group, died in an Improvised Explosive Device attack in Fallujah.  He was from St. Louis, MO.  He was 19 years old.  He was a Boy Scout who won 35 Merit Badges and was his Senior Prom King in High School.  Remember, he was 19 years old.”

        The Skyline Area VFD Ladies’ Auxiliary will have a meeting on July 1st.  Louise Hutchison has asked that Esther Wrinkles bring the Rose Star Quilt to the meeting to be sure that all the members get a chance to see it.  Bonnie and Pete Mullins from over in Wichita, Kansas have bought a lot of tickets for the quilt.  Hopefully they will be able to get over for the picnic in August.  What would it be like without some of Bonnie’s wonderful pies?  Pete and Bonnie have for years been most supportive of the Skyline Fire Department.  They are the kind of folks that keep things fun and keep the important things going.

        Report important accomplishments to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Report Champion birthdays or share some good advice or wisdom at Champion News.  Sit out on the porch at Henson’s Store on the North side of the square and release some of those healthy, disease fighting endorphins singing:  “The night was dark and stormy, the old cow she was blind.  She backed right up to the barbed wire fence and scratched her never-you-mind!  Oh! It ain’t gonna rain no more no more.  It ain’t gonna rain no more!  How in the world can the Old Folks tell that it ain’t a gonna rain no more?”  They can tell because they are Champions and they are a looking on the Bright Side!

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June 16, 2008

June 16, 2008

CHAMPION—June 16, 2008

 

        Champion is still all smiles over the beautiful wedding that took place on Saturday in the little church just South of the Square.  Lonnie Krider and Karen Faye Upshaw married there almost forty years ago.  A little later Richard Johnston and Linda Kaye Upshaw married there.  Next came Larry Wrinkles and Theresa (Sartor) Reese in 1987, and now Dustin Cline has married Staci Krider in the same place.  All these previous marriages have ‘stuck’ and there is every reason to believe that this young couple will have a long and happy life together.  All of Champion wishes them every success.

        Family and friends kept a tight rein on the General for the wedding.  At the last minute it was happily discovered that someone had hid both his kilt and his accordion and so the parade that left Champion and wound its way all the way to Skyline for the wedding reception turned out to be both dignified and pleasant.  The couple arrived at the reception in style driving a beautiful 1940 model Ford convertible—very elegant.  The bride’s cousins had prepared a lovely table for the cake and punch.  The General was at all times monitored when he approached the punch bowl, as his family is keenly aware of his nature.

        Foster Wiseman made quite an excellent ring bearer.  He and his distant but close cousin Madelyn Ward were key players in the ceremony and performed their duties with precision and humor.  Foster celebrates his third birthday on the 17th of June and his dad is reminded that he will be ready to drive in twelve or thirteen short years!  Rodger quails at the thought!

        Tennessee boys and Illinois girls who are regular visitors to Champion will catalogue this event as one of their special childhood memories for future reflection.  Dakota was aiming to stay on the farm for a few days to help out with the hard work that goes on this time of the year.  He is taller than his parents now!

        The Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary had its meeting on Tuesday evening the 10th of June.  They are getting ready for the August Picnic already.  The meeting was held in the home of the recently elected president, Betty Dye, and was well attended.  It was agreed that the next meeting will be held Tuesday evening, July 1st, to seriously get the ball rolling.  It was revealed that tickets for the Rose Star Quilt are being sold in California, Kansas, Tennessee, Illinois and Texas.  No doubt some are going to Iowa too.  It seems that a quilt has been won by a ticket holder from that state!  Louise Hutchison sold that winning ticket.  She was having a bout of bronchitis which kept her from the meeting.  The Auxiliary all joined in extending hopes that she makes a speedy recovery.

        Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that 20th -21st will be good days to plant late beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and other root crops.  The 22nd –23rd will be poor days for planting.  Kill plant pests, spray, fertilize, do general farm work then. The 24th-25th will be a favorable time for planting late root crops, also good for vine crops and to set strawberry plants.  The heavy rains in June have made hay-making awkward but gardens are generally flourishing.  Esther Wrinkles reports having some trouble with aphids on some of her tomato plants.  Several are having the same difficulty with the pesky little bugs.  People spray them with a variety of things that range from Malethion to Ivory Liquid.  Tomato plants are being carefully watched in Champion.  Betty Thomas from over in Yates wants to enter the First Ripe Tomato In Champion Contest.  No ruling has been made as to her eligibility, but she hasn’t turned up with a ripe tomato to share either!  She and Dale are getting geared up for the Pioneer Days already.  That doesn’t occur until October so between now and then they will be seen out supporting all the local communities with their summer picnics and festivals.  They are good neighbors.  (Mrs. Wrinkles has a good neighbor who slips around behind her back to mow her yard when she’s not home.  Imagine!)

        Forty-four American servicemen have died there so far this year.  4101 have died in Iraq since the war was declared there.  Americans find ways to express their Love and Gratitude to those serving and to the survivors of those who perish in the dangerous places of the world.

        A few dry days have been a real gift to Champion.  Haymakers are busy.  Many have friends and family who live in parts of the country that are flooding or are recovering from floods.  When the ground is saturated it doesn’t take much rain to make for a dangerous situation.  Champions are grateful for the rising water table, but they keep a weather eye out as well.  Champion’s Tennessee friend, Darrell Haden, lives just a little way from the Mississippi River and as the run-off from the big rains moves down the river it is hoped that he and his family stay safe and dry.  “Oh! The night was dark and stormy.  The air was full of sleet.  The old man stepped out in the yard and his shoes were full of feet!”

        Any cures or treatments for aphids on tomatoes will be welcomed at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail verses to “It a’int a gonna rain no more, no more” to Champion News.  Sing it right out loud on the porch at Henson’s Store in glorious downtown Champion where it is understood that singing has a positive effect on health but not much effect on the weather.  Still, in Champion, rain or shine, they are always looking on the bright side!

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June 14, 2008

Staci & Dustin

Mr. and Mrs. Cline

Staci Elaine Krider and Dustin Michael Cline exchanged marriage vows Saturday night, June 14th at the Champion Church of Christ. Donald Powell performed the ceremony in the presence of many of the couple’s family members and friends. Staci’s sisters, Linda Watts of Murphysborough, TN, and Tanna Wiseman of Marshfield, MO, were her attendants. Dustin’s brothers, Todd and Jeremiah, stood up for him. Foster Wiseman and Madelyn Ward served as ring bearer and flower girl. The bride was given in marriage by her parents, Lonnie and Faye Krider. The couple drove a 1940 Ford convertible from the Church at Champion to the Skyline School where the reception was held. Staci’s cousin, Elizabeth Johnston, made the delicious three-tiered cake and provided many of the decorations. The enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers included Dustin’s parents, Cindy and Delmar Cline, his maternal grandmother and both his paternal grand parents, Charlie and Erma Cline. They joined many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends in giving the newlyweds a grand send off with sparklers and fireworks. The couple will make their home in Seymour. Mrs. Cline will resume teaching at Skyline in the fall and Mr. Cline will continue operating his Republic business, Cline Collision.


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June 9, 2008

June 9, 2008

CHAMPION—June 9, 2008

 

        When the excitement reaches a fevered pitch in Champion, Champions just let out a little sigh and think about those blissful quiet days when nothing much happens at all.  Those kinds of days will be rolling around again soon enough and in the meantime enjoying the here and now is one of the very definitions of a Champion.  It is the mark of an exceptional person who knows when things are good and acknowledges it at the very moment.  It is kind of sad to think, “we were so happy back then and didn’t know it.”  Sometimes people can even get so caught up in taking pictures that they let the real beauty of the moment slide by.  If a person forgets to take his camera to the creek, then he doesn’t have to worry about dropping it in the water, or losing it, and he just has to rely on his memory to replay the joys of the day the way people always have.

        Imagine the General wearing a kilt and leading a bridal procession through Champion while playing an accordion.  That is reported to be his current plan!  He is so excited about the upcoming wedding of his niece that he is about to drive family and friends to distraction!  The hope is that his antics will not prove so extreme that the attention is taken from the lovely bride.  She is the very portrait of calm repose.  No roguery however avuncular will rumple her placid poise.  The bridegroom, however, is apt to be adversely influenced by her Illinois uncle who attributes his own long-term marital successes to having worn white sox to his wedding.  He indicates that just wearing them is not enough.  They must figure significantly in the wedding pictures.  Some of the groom’s kin may show up armed for a little pre-nuptial coyote hunting and, as is the case with any large gathering, the unknowns are rife with possibility.  It will be a day to remember, one full of promise and optimism colored overall with the love and good wishes of family and friends.

        Linda’s granddaughter, Danielle, from Kansas City has been over in Norwood tending the store for her Grandmother.  While Linda has been busy working with the plants and helping people find things, Danielle and her distant cousin have been minding the shop, waiting on customers and keeping things orderly.  It is a rare situation that is not improved significantly by the presence of a granddaughter or great niece.  This week Linda’s almanac says that the 13th to the 15th will be favorable for planting peas, beans, tomatoes and other fall crops bearing aboveground.  Sow grains and forage crops.  Plant flowers.  The 16th and 17th will be extra good for planting fall lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and other leafy vegetables.  All above ground crops planted now will do well.  Plant seedbeds also.  It is nice to have such a long period of time when conditions are just right for a favorite activity.  If the weather will cooperate, Champions will have to tell everybody how good the gardening has been.  It is a luxury to be able to wait for the weather to be good to do what one wants to do.  Farmers have things that have to be done no matter what the weather.  Then there are so many things in agriculture that are weather dependent like cutting hay.  There are so many berries on the black berry bushes that people are holding their breath in hopes of getting just the right rain.  This may be the blackberry crop of the century in Champion.  Young visitors were too early for a lot of the berries that will be ripening in these parts, but they harvested a variety of other things including some yearling ticks.  Sophia and Penelope are back in Texas now with just a little itching to remind them of the good times on the farm.

        Some have only blooms, while some have real tomatoes.  The rules for the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest are simple:  The tomato must have been grown in Champion; must be shared with judges (anyone present at Henson’s Store) and ideally will have its picture taken with the winning gardener for publication.  There is no second place prize.  The winner will receive acclaim, admiration, a blue antique fruit jar, $5.00 worth of tickets to win the coveted Rose Star Quilt hand pieced by Esther Wrinkles which will be given away at the Skyline Picnic on the 9th of August, and two dozen canning jar flats—a dozen each regular and wide mouth.  The decision of the judges will be final and the tomato will be eaten on the spot.  Any contestant unwilling to share his tomato will be disqualified.

        After five years in Iraq, the U.S. military has suffered over 33,000 casualties, more that 29,000 wounded and 4,000 dead, and it remains engulfed by three converging currents that constitute the Iraq War—the underlying military conflict, the battle for political control, and grinding civil strife.  The Pentagon has diagnosed roughly 40,000 troops with post traumatic stress disorder since 2003.  Love and Gratitude for their service is the requisite start for healing.

        One time a Champion was standing beside a famous person who said something that some found quite objectionable.  It turned out that the Champion then had to convince people that knowing the famous person who said the objectionable thing did not mean that he also subscribed to the thought.  Then people said that the Champion was distancing himself from his associate and indicated that there was something wrong with that.  It is a good thing that Champions know how to think for themselves.  A pleasant letter came from Tennessee Champion friend, Darrell Haden, who was talking about Vernon Dalhart.  He was very influential in getting country music up and going in the mid-1920’s.  Prof. Haden said, “Probably one of the chief reasons Dalhart is not so well known as (Jimmy) Rodgers and the Carters is the fact that Texan Dalhart trained first to sing grand opera, which he did from 1910 until about 1916.”  This is the guy who made the “Wreck of the Old ‘97” popular.  It is a great thing that as people progress through life, they grow and change and learn to appreciate new things.  How dreary it would be to be stuck with only the thoughts and attitudes one held in the bloom of his formative youth!

        It is unknown if there are more endorphins released in a person who sings grand opera than a person who sings “Sadie’s Got Her New Dress On,” which is one of Young Foster’s favorite songs.  It is known that those endorphins help the immune system fight off disease and depression.  Champions are encouraged to sing at every opportunity (where song is appropriate, General Upshaw!)

        Acknowledge good things at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail secrets for marital success to Champion News.  Release some endorphins on the porch at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion where the beautiful brides are always looking on the bright side!

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