July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008

CHAMPION—July 28, 2008


        Over in Champion people are just perpetually grateful.  Champions don’t have to cast their vision very far to find people in much less comfortable circumstances.  A frequent Champion visitor and Champion Double Cousin weathered Hurricane Dolly with sustained winds over 70 mph for hour upon hour.  There were gusts between 90 mph and 120 mph!  Fifteen inches of rain later she is fine and busy helping out in her neighborhood those who did not fare so well.  Louise’s brothers, Larry and Gary Sexton and sister Gail Carson up in Iowa had some big winds come through last Monday morning that sent a limb down through one of their roofs and wiped out hundreds and hundreds of big old trees all over their area.  They say nobody in Buffalo or Des Moines will be hurting for fire-wood this winter.  They were not hurt, however, and they too are grateful.  More good news comes in the form of health reports on Foster, Kalyssa, Madelyn and Sharon Upshaw and Kaye Johnston.  Everybody’s doing well…improving and on the mend.  So Champion is a windy place from the sighs of relief going around!

        Gardening and Haymaking are going full tilt.  Some Champions reminded one Old Girl that the ‘fruit of the vine’ does not mean the cucumber vine.  Rumors that she’s spreading cucumber wine around the neighborhood are unfounded.  She does say that the juice is best cold after it’s had a chance to settle out a bit.  She seems to be its only fan.  As to the Haymakers, the tetter grabbed Harley’s hat and sent it for a sail.  He retrieved it and while it is on the fluffy side now, it is still quite serviceable.  Lonnie lost a hat altogether in a big round baler a while back.  Leslie was out mowing without a hat and got sunburned the other day.  Once Ed Henson baled his glasses up in a small square bale.  Later that winter he was feeding the hay and found them.  The lenses were fine and with a little bending he was able to wear them!  There are all kinds of stories about bailing up snakes and armadillos.  It is an exciting enterprise:  making hay.  Wilburn said that when the equipment breaks down and nobody keeps parts in stock, sometimes the hay is about ‘gold plated.’  He also said that his little hound dog will get tears in her eyes when he talks to her. “She’s the only one who listens to me.”

        Most welcome Tennessee Family and Friends came drifting through Champion early in the week.  Everybody’s spirits get a boost in the presence of grandsons!  Even old Grandfather Weltanschauung over on 14 Highway takes a trip to goofy land in the presence of Semus, Zack and Elizabeth!  Individually, collectively or in any combination they just send the Old Fellow into sublime grins.  He can’t help it.  Grandparents are Cool!  The Tennessee Grandsons are excellent singers and most likely endorphins were let loose all over Champion.  Endorphins are small, protein molecules that are produced by the cells of the nervous system and other parts of the body.  An important role of endorphins is to work with sedative receptors that are known to relieve common pain.  They are not a single molecule, but actually come in several forms anywhere from eighteen to five hundred times as powerful as any man-made analgesic.  And, they are non-addictive.  Singing releases endorphins that fight disease and depression.  Even sad songs like “Old Shep,” or bloody ballads like “The Knoxville Girl” do the good work.  Tra La!

        There was sure some good music “UP’N AT’T” 4 H Picnic over on EE over the week end. This was the 58th year for the Holt Picnic.  A junior in Mountain Grove High School, Logan Driskoll, was working the snow cone stand.  She’s been in the 4 H since she was six years old.  She says that the proceeds from the picnic go to help the Club fund their projects for the Fair and various trips.  The group host a dinner for the Fire Fighters every year as well as other community service projects.  Logan’s cousin, Abby Peterson, was up visiting from Lampasas, TX and helped out in the booth.  Friends and Family can’t be beat!  The Champion and Skyline communities were well represented at the Holt Picnic and those folks are always present in good numbers for the Skyline Picnic that is coming up on the 8th and 9th of August.  It seems that every week-end this time of the year there is a picnic, festival or reunion.  When the ice and snow is on the ground it’s harder to get out and about.  Of course, gas prices are no small thing to country livers at this time, but still folks love to get together to help each other’s various causes.  The Skyline Picnic has been going on for close to thirty years now and the proceeds from this fund-raiser go to buy equipment and to fund training for the fire fighters.  The community wins with the fun and excitement of the get-together and then with the great community service provided by the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  The Membership really pulls together for this event with donations of homemade pies and cakes and interesting things for the Silent Auction.  Last year Mike Sims made an incredible rocking chair that he donated to the Fire Department and a nice guy from over in Cabool won it in the auction at a good price.  People are generous in these parts.

        Also in these parts are some seriously irresponsible individuals.  Before eight o’clock last Saturday morning an old 1980’s model Buick Skylark stopped at the foot of Mary Graham’s drive way and dumped two puppies.  They are pretty little things with some black and white hound in them but they are certainly not what Mary needs to have to take care of!  It is criminal to slough this responsibility off on someone else. If this were not bad enough, the exact same thing happened the previous Sunday morning at about the same time.  Mary doesn’t know if it was the same individual, but she is hoping that the description of the car together with other information will be enough for the Sheriff to take some action.

        A note in the www.vanzantmo.com website informs that the General has been barred from the Waldorf Astoria on account of some sort of shenanigan about a possum stew.  His computer is on the fritz currently so the world wide web is safe for the nonce.  www.skylinevfd.com is a good place to find out more about the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  The www.championnews.us has received some good reviews which are on account of the excellent efforts of the Huckleberry Geekeette, Carol Cleveland.  The mix of technology and nostalgia is an interesting mix and the world is getting smaller in some ways.

        It is also getting more dangerous.  Private First Class LaVena Johnson from Florissant, Missouri was the first woman from Missouri to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.  She was 19 years old.  She died July 19, 2005.  Her folks still don’t know exactly how she died.  They deserve some answers and the Love and Gratitude of their Nation.

        Hapless George, a new Champion Aficionado, reports that the “Historical Dictionary of American Slang” documents the use of the phrase “I’m your huckleberry” all through the latter 19th century as meaning “I’m just the man you’re looking for!”  Champions are glad to welcome an erudite new neighbor!  Sometimes erudition is in short supply in these parts so for his good research abilities and his generous nature, H.G. will be designated as an official Champion Huckleberry! 

        Harley’s headed home to take Barbara, Elizabeth and Alexandra on a cruise!  Meanwhile, Champions are busy trading squash, peaches and green beans with each other.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that August 1st will be an excellent day for planting any crop that bears its yield above ground.  Send fantastic garden reports to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717.  Snitch on that puppy dumper to Champion News.  Do some summertime lollygagging on the porch at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square.  Sing right out loud just for the good health benefits and Look on the Bright Side!


July 24, 2008

Ms. McCallie’s Letter of 7/16/2008

Following are excerpts from Ms. McCallies letter of 7/16/2008.

My Missouri Home“Well Hello There, All of You Nice and lovely folks, In the Wonderful City of Champion.  Now wasn’t that a nice thing to say?  Well that’s the way I think and feel about you–and All Champions. 

     “And I can’t hardly wait for the good ole Douglas County Herald, sos I can read the Champion and News of the Homestead Stories.  I cut all of them out of the papaer and keep them. Someday (I hope) to make me a scrapbook, and they’ll be in it.  My sons Larry and Phillip both enjoy reading them to, when they visit me.  My son Phillip lives in Golden City, MO, about 120 miles from you.  And my son Larry lives in Hutchinson, KS.  But one thing for sure I’d better get buisy on the scrap book, because my 91st b.d. is coming up, August11th, which is only a few weeks away.  Tell Esther Wrinkles I wish her a late Happy B.D.  She beat me a few weeks.  I’m so hoping I can come to Champion in Sept. when I come to our Haden Family reunion Stptember’s 1st weekend. 

      “….I enjoyed seeing and meeting you and Mrs. Henson so very much and I think you were both so nice.  Also I really liked seeing the little store of Champion.  It brought back so many memories of the old store at Smallett, MO. Where We went to sell eggs, frying chickens, old hens and roosters to buy our groceries when I was a child in the 1920’s.  We had to walk to the store.  It was quite a ways too.  We lived about half way between it and the Silver Shade School house where I went my first 6 years of school.  Darrell Haden also went there too, but he’s about 100 years younger than me, haha.  No Actually he’s just almost 14 years my Jr.  I liked from the 6th of July, till the 1th of August being 14 years old, when he was born….(1931).

     “….Another thing we did as a child was to sell cotton tail rabiits.  Daddy made my sister and I a bunch of rabbit traps, with trap-doors on them and we’d throw a handfull of shelled corn in them and set the trigger and take the ones we’d catch to the store and sell them.  We’d get from .05 to .15 a piece for them.  It was our money for Christmas gifts.

     “It was pretty cold sometimes when we’d bait our traps, and also when we’d get a rabbit in them.  Usually the best catches was when there’d be a big snow on the ground.  Once I’d saved .35 and Wowee!  It was the most money I’d ever had (haha).  I was 8 or 9 years old.  Can you feature seeing 8 or 9 year olds out in the snow now days doing that?  They almost scoff and laugh at you now if you give them $#5.00.  They’ll say, ‘Huh!  That won’t buy anything!’  I don’t really believe they appreciate anything like we did as a child.  I was so proud ant thankful for everything I had or got.  We go so little in material things, but oodles and gobs of love.  @3 (4) four children lost our Mother when we were very young.  (She was so young to die–only 30).  My oldest sister, Elaine was 9.  Next sister, Blanche was 7.  I was 4, by brother was 15 months old.  That’s what my poor Daddy was left with, but he was so watchful over us, just like an ole Mother hen with four little chicks.  And he entertained us every night after he’d get home.  Daddy was a carpenter.  He built several of the houses and buildings in Ava, and a lot of buildings in Douglas, Taney and Ozar Counties.

     “We children fully obeyed his orders when he’d leave to go to work, and left my oldest sister Elaine in charge and told us to obey her for he’d instructed her what to do and how to take care of us.  And I still praise her today, for doing a to job.  She had t learn so young and really never had a young child’s life.  Always had to watch after us younger ones and take care of the house.  We had a hard life but Daddy done the best he could.  He was only 31 when Mother died.  He was a year and 3 days older than she.  His BD, September 4th, 1890 and her’s Septembre 7th, 1891.  Mother died 3-22-1922.  Actually they were just kids, but kids them dyas had to grow up fast and learned to work and handle responsibilities.  We had to do the same.  But daddy was so thoughtful and helfpful with we childred.  He’d tell us girls after supper to clean the kitchen up and we’d do something good.  And some nights he’d play games with us like  hide the thimble or “please or Displealse” and other nights he’d read the Bible or Zane Gray or Harld B. Wrights books to us.  He had every one of their books, the sotries I rmembered most, from the Bible, was when Jesus was born and on through his 12th birthday.  And the one I liked bes in Zane Gray’s books was about a red horse named “Wildfire.”  And Harold Belle Wrights was “Shepherd of the Hills,”  Those stories have stayed with me through the years.

     “Well as I promised this is the ‘caboose’ so bye for now.  Love and best wishes to you and all Champions. 

Your Friend in Okalahoma,

Ethel (Haden) McCallie



July 21, 2008

July 21, 2008

CHAMPION-July 21, 2008


        In Champion the Harvest has begun!  Champions are rejoicing and bringing in sheaves.  Some have put up green beans until they’re blue in the face.  There are pickled beets on the shelf and every possible permutation of preserved zucchini.  Cucumbers are plentiful and the tomatoes are coming on.  Ahh!  E. B. White said that living in the country is a full time job in itself.  He indicated that there is hardly time to go off to earn a living with all the chores to be done.  He was born in 1899 and was a Champion wit.

        “Maybe this is the song you want, from 1918.”  This note was signed, “The Hapless Homesteader.”  It included this computer information:  DeVincent Sheetmusic, that will take a person directly to a copy of the sheet music “Huckleberry Pie.”  It is in the library at Indiana University.  “I  sat down and wrote a song not too short and not too long.  Doesn’t mean a gosh darn thing to you, but I hope you like it ‘cause I want you to.  It’s a tune that’s bound to cling, a simple little thing to sing. (Chorus) H U uc-kle buc-kel  B U uc-kle, buc-kle  that spells huckleberry Pie … …..I love that huc-kle berry Pie!”  It’s a sweet song made more so by a sweet memory associated with it.  Thanks for finding it, Hap!  Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, used to sing:  “I love you a gallon and a quart, a gallon and a quart, you dirty little wart!”  That is a Champion expression of affection!  Champions, who do a good job of living in the here and now, freely express affection for one another and are never embarrassed to do so.  Who doesn’t have a friend who managed to slip out of the world without hearing how much he was appreciated?  A Champion neighbor spoke of a friend who had been like a Leprechaun.  To paraphrase her:  “He could be in your face and get on your case, but he did it in such a charming and loving way that you could never be mad at him.”  A friend who teaches you about yourself is a gift.

        Hoovie’s sister, Eva Loyce Henson Phillips, had her picture in the Herald last week together with classmates of the 1953 graduating class of Ava High School.  She is a Champion from way back and still has a charming cousin living just over the hill from the old home place.  It is notable that the photograph shows twenty-seven or so very nice looking people.  Everyone is trim, fit looking and in a good mood.  No doubt yarns were spun and nostalgia ruled the day.  They are planning their next reunion for 2013.  Optimism is a Champion quality!

        A letter has arrived from Champion’s Friend from Oklahoma, Ethel McCallie.  She is looking forward to her 91st birthday on August 11th.  She has excellent penmanship and writes an informative and interesting letter in an easy conversational style.  She was recalling her visit to Champion last year and said, “I really liked seeing the little store in Champion.  It brought back so many memories of the old store at Smallett, Mo, where we went to sell eggs, frying chickens, old hens and roosters and to buy our groceries.”  She sends fond regards to Champion and hopes to get to come back this fall when she is in the area for the Haden family reunion the first week-end of September.  See a photo of Ms. McCallie at Henson’s Store and read more of her letters at www.championnews.us  She can be found in the Champion Friends section.  Also in that section there is a picture of her cousin, Darrell Haden and his wife Betty, when they made a Champion visit last year.  They are some of Champion’s Tennessee Friends.

        Champion Sam Moses sent an E-mail:  “Greetings from Greenwich, the arbitrary longitudinal center of world.”  From there he has moved on to Glasgow, “to my eyes, the most gorgeous city.”  He is making music and friends where ever he goes.  It is exciting on the other side of the pond!  On this side of the pond a lovely event occurred on Saturday the 13th.  Esther Wrinkles and her sister Irene Dooms together with all of their children and most of their grand children met together at the home of Irene’s daughter Brenda Blake up in Strafford.  There were twenty-two family members altogether plus a neighbor who was a most pleasant and entertaining fellow.  It was the first gathering of the whole bunch at Brenda’s new home and from the sounds of it there will be more to come.  Champions love getting together with family and friends.  To the great delight of locals, Ruby Proctor spent Sunday morning in Champion.  She pointed to the place where she watched Johnny Hatfield wrestle a bear when she was ten years old.  There were both Hatfields and McCoys in this neck of the woods, but they seem to have been pretty peaceable.  It was the bears that had to be careful!

        One old Champion has said to another one, “That is just about the sorriest looking bunch of tomatoes ever I saw!”  The Old Girl agrees with him but is so far unable to come up with a remedy.  She doesn’t want to put poison on them and the ‘shield’ (stink bugs) are stinging them and that makes them ripen in an ugly way and then rot.  The blossom end rot has got some and then there are the black worms that show up on the inside of them.  It’s a caution.  The Old Dear struggles so but continues to fight her fight for beautiful tomatoes.  Recently she was told by a Native Champion that back in the old days when there were so many tomato canneries in these parts, the farmers would set aside some ‘new ground’ for the tomatoes.  Some place that hasn’t grown tomatoes in the past will have fewer insects and disease.  Then some gardening books suggest growing them in the same place year after year and in using compost made of the plants.  It is a learning process.  Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 26th and 27th will be good days for planting root crops and so will the 30th and 31st which will also be good for sowing seed beds and planting flowers.

        Champions are glad to hear that the General’s wife is home and feeling better.  Little Foster and his sister Kalyssa, and their cousin Madelyn have all been a little under the weather on these hot days.  Parents and grandparents much prefer the ruckus of slamming doors and rowdy play than to see the little fellows pale and feeling poorly.  Champions are anxious to hear that they are on the mend and back up to their rambunctious ways. 

        It has been reported that one million, one hundred thousand civilian citizens of Iraq have lost their lives.  Four million are displaced.  The US has lost 4,125 service personnel there.  Some who have made it home are being lost to the emotional stresses they suffered there.  The Love and Gratitude of their Nation shown in meaningful ways will be the first steps in their healing.  E.B. White also said, “Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.”  Some Champions are now starting to worry about who owns the new voting machines that will be used in the Presidential Election this fall.  Who made them?  Who sold them?  Who profits?  It is said that it matters more who counts the votes than who does the voting.  Champions are pleased with their local election board, but some are suspicious of the National process.

        The Skyline Firefighters and Auxiliary had a meeting early in the week to kick off the official Picnic Plan!  The efforts of these hard working people and the organizational skills of their leader show up in a Great Picnic every year.  This one has an auspicious date beginning as it does on 08-08-08!  Point out auspicious dates by mail at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO, 65717.

        Tombstone was a movie made in 1993, staring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as the enigmatic Doc Holliday.  On the occasion of intercepting a foe in a wooded glade in the middle of the night Doc stepped forward and intoned, “I’m your Huckleberry!”  E-mail what you think he meant by that to Champion News.  Sing that Huckleberry Pie song down on the porch at Henson’s Store.  In Downtown Champion they are always looking for those spirit lifting, disease fighting, depression walloping endorphins released by song and they’re always Looking on the Bright Side!


July 20, 2008

Texas Expert Explains Armadillos

            Native Texan and Armadillo Expert, Zoey Louise, informs Champion grandparents that the nine-banded armadillo is not a Native Texan.  It is from South America and first entered Texas in about 1849.  By the mid 1970’s it had immigrated all the way to Southern Missouri.  It is considered to be a nuisance, certainly, as it burrows for grubs and insects in lawns and gardens.  The young lady is shown here pointing out what she calls a “Good Armadillo.”  

Zoey Louise points out a 'Good Armadillo.'
Zoey Louise points out a 'Good Armadillo.'

The Department of Conservation, however, says that they should not be wantonly killed but that shooting is a precise and effective way to control them.  The one shown here was killed by a vehicle on the road and after the passage of several vehicles and several weeks it was rendered odorless and altogether flat.  This one likely has three siblings roaming the area, as armadillos typically raise identical quadruplets.  They have one litter per year which Zoey Louise believes to be one litter too many.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was popular to make handbags out of the whole critter.  They can still be found in flea markets occasionally.  It is not impossible that this could be a recurring fad.  According to one of the expert’s grandparents who once killed an armadillo with a boat oar and then fed it to guests, the meat is light in color, dense and relatively tasteless.  Every particle of fat needs to be removed before cooking, however, as it has a rancid quality much like that of possum it is said. The invaders continue their Northward trek and there have been some sightings on the other side of the Missouri River.  Unfortunately they have left settlers all along the way.   No plans are known to be in the works for profiteering off the remains of the good armadillos.  That they are Good ones is enough at this time.



July 17, 2008

The Rose Star Quilt

        This queen size quilt was hand pieced during the course of a winter by veteran quilt maker Champion Esther Wrinkles.  It was quilted by the talented machine quilter Faye Chaney who has since passed away.  The quilt has been offered to the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department for it’s fund raiser which will occur the second week end in August, 2008.  The quilt will be awarded in a drawing which will be held at the Skyline Picnic on August 9th.  Tickets for an opportunity to win the quilt are available from any Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary member.   Scroll down to see a picture!

Esther with The Rose Star Quilt


        Kim Kelley of Ozark, MO is the lucky winner of the 2008 Skyline Picnic Quilt.  She purchased her ticket at the picnic on Friday evening and was delighted on Sunday to get the call from Esther Wrinkles that she had won the quilt. She said that she has been buying tickets from Esther for twenty years now and that it has been worth the investment.  She has only missed one Skyline Picnic since they began over twenty years ago.  Kelley attended Skyline School (Valedictorian 1979) and went on to Ava High School and graduated from Norwood High School.  She has lived in Ozark for fourteen years where she works for AMPAC.  While this is the first Picnic Quilt she has won, it is not the first of Esther’s quilts that she has.  Over the years her husband has given her quilts that Esther has made as Christmas gifts.  When she came to collect her prize on Saturday she did a little quilt shopping of her own.  Her daughter Shandi Kelley is getting married in September and she has two younger daughters Dakotah and Myka as well.

Kim Kelley wins the Rose Quilt

        This year the Picnic Quilt earned a record $2,061.00 for the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  Ms. Wrinkles sold $1,263.00 worth of tickets single handedly before the Picnic.  She is one of the founding members of the Fire Department and has been a genuine asset to it from its beginning.  She has been saying, however, that this will be the last time she goes out to sell quilt tickets.  She is so grateful to all of those who have bought tickets from her over the years and would really like to thank them. “It is a shame that there can be only one winner,” she says and she fears that people will grow weary of buying tickets and not winning.  Fire Department and Auxiliary members strongly disagree with her.  The essential services provided to the rural communities by the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department are made possible by community support.  Kim Kelley would certainly disagree as she fully expects to be buying quilt tickets from Esther again next year.