October 27, 2008

October 27, 2008

CHAMPION—October 27, 2008


        The sun’s path is lower in the Champion sky these autumn days.  As it shines unexpectedly through seldom cleaned windows the light inside may be distorted and the view outside may be distorted.  It does not take much in the way of dirt to change the look of things.  It is the mark of a real Champion to be able to see around the distortions and dirty smears, political and otherwise, that twist, warp, contort and misshape a view or judgment.  An old Champion stepped out of Henson’s Store Saturday to Look on the Bright Side.  She was headed home to wash some windows when she happened on a couple of men talking.  One was saying that he just didn’t know how he was going to take it if things turned out the way folks are saying.  The other fellow, a life-long born and raised Champion and son of Champions, said first of all, that there’s no telling for sure what’s going to happen and a person should not worry overly.  Then he said that he figured that Americans are some of the most adaptable people in the world.  He agreed that some people are just never going to change at all, but most people are able to take whatever comes along in stride.  There are always going to be some folks who don’t like things the way they are no matter what they are.  It’s human nature and the nature of a democracy.  In Champion, however, optimism for a favorable outcome is encouraged and the polling place is waiting for voters who want to make a change.

        Danny Dry was at Champion on Saturday seeing Jamie off on Bud Hutchison’s trail ride.  He wandered around with a rope in his hand half the morning, claiming to have lost his horse.  Charlie Lambert said he thought it was off out behind the old school house.  There was speculation that it had just run off or that it had died.  Danny was heard to say the horses’ name was Spot, as he got in his truck and headed over to Drury to meet the trail ride with a nice lunch for Jamie.  By all accounts, the trail ride was just lovely.  The weather was perfect.  Thirty-one riders left Champion but only twenty-nine arrived at Drury.  That would have been the makings of a good Halloween tale but the mystery was solved when a couple of riders from Springfield turned back to Champion when their horses lost shoes.  This trail ride is one of high marks on the Champion Calendar. 

        Finally a hard freeze heralds the coming winter.  Persimmons are uniformly producing spoons in their seeds and smoke is beginning to drift up through some chimneys.  There will be some cold days for sure, but there will be “a day (even) in February when a dog will look for a shade.”  That is according to another life-long Champion who knows plenty of Old Time Champion sayings and most generally has a song in his heart.  Music has often served the purpose of distracting a person from his problems.  One of the best possible uses of music is in the healing process.  “We Live in Two Different Worlds” is the name of a song that can be heard in the Champion School Reunions category at www.championnews.us.  Lonnie Krider, Wayne Anderson and someone else sings this piece with some distinctive banjo and mandolin playing.  As to singing in Champion, of course, the louder the better if it’s good and Champion is the home of many a fine voice.  Some Champions find that just thinking a tune and the words is enough to get them to feeling better.  It also represents a kindness to others to keep a lid on it if it is sour.  Most Champions are polite enough not to say too much when a singer wanders way off key.  The thought is that a song doesn’t generally last too long and a person can generally launch himself on toward home to some important chore before the offending singer starts his next selection.  Sometimes a chanteuse is inescapable, however, and so Champions are put to the test of forbearance.  Not wishing to have strife with a neighbor can cause people to put up with a lot of things.  What Champions!

        The 30th and the 31st will be good days for applying organic fertilizer to the garden according to Linda’s Almanac over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  Those days are also good days to prune to encourage growth, and for harvesting crops, planting seed beds and killing farm meat.  There is always plenty to do on a farm.  The term farm covers a wide spectrum of agricultural production work and what one person calls a farm might be a joke to another.  The work is there to be done no matter what it’s called and the sore muscles are indistinguishable.

        Friday night the 31st of October is portentous for being cold and gloomy.  It gets dark early in Champion.  Soon even the owls stop their calling and the coyote’s distant howl trails off to nothing in the chill of the somber murky night.  The wind whistles and moans around corners and branches snap suddenly to mask the sound of a hard following foot-fall in the dark and the rush of a heavy wet breath and a clammy hand just missing the back of the neck of some unwary innocent who thinks to extort candy by the threat of a trick!  Trick or treat!  Indeed!  Even The Headless Cobbler of Smallette Cave would quail at the thought of approaching Champion with such a demand!  His thoughts are in the pumpkin he carries under his arm for a head! Little Champion goblins are thinking twice about making mischief….as well they should.  Boo! Ha! Ha! Ha!

        Raymond and Esther Howard were in the neighborhood over the week-end to the delight of many Champions.  Raymond was talking about squirrel hunting and kept the place lively with his infectious laugh.  Esther was fetching in her new red hat and her sweet good humor.  Champion is always in a good mood when they visit.

        Soldiers serving in dangerous places in the world have made available to them the materials and support in order to cast their ballots in the coming National election.  There are specific rules and procedures for this kind of voting and it is hoped that they all get their say.  Whatever the conflict or the assignment of duty, that they wear the uniform insures Citizens here their voting franchise.  Some of those serving will not return and many will return wounded one way or another.  They will have the Love and Gratitude of their Nation on Tuesday the 4th of November, on November 11th—Veterans’ Day, and every other day of the year.  They are Champions.  Ella Fitzgerald sings, “Vote for Mr. Rhythm!  The People’s Choice!  Vote for Mr. Rhythm!  Let freedom ring!  Change your woe into wodie oh doe!”  She says it is the true meaning of the ‘swing vote.’  Jack Teagarden played the trombone and sang, “I Swung the Election!”  It was a swing tune for the swing states.  Some say, “Vote early and vote often!” To new Citizen and new voter, Sally Miller, Champions say that they take the vote seriously and are delighted that she will be joining the throngs at the polling place this year.  Hip! Hip! Hooray!

        Everybody wins in a democracy!  Celebrate your Victory at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail Exultations and the name of the third person in the trio singing “We Live in Two Different Worlds” to Champion News.

        Sing your campaign song loud and long, on or off key right on the porch at Henson’s Store in the geo-political nexus of the absolute Heart of Douglas County.  (Just a little to the Right of Center-or a little to the Left if you’re looking from the inside.)  Left, Right or Center, in Champion they are always Looking on the Bright Side!


October 18, 2008

October 18, 2008

CHAMPION—October 18, 2008


        A beautiful Sunday afternoon sometimes finds sightseers touring Champion.  They come from Mountain Grove and other places that are not too far distant from Champion, though Champion is a world away from the hustle bustle of even a small town.  It is one of those phenomena like the summer time way it takes so much longer to get to the Mill Pond than it does to get home from there.  Champion is where the Heart is for Champions.  So it is understandable that Sunday day-trippers might make the tour for the pleasure of the autumnal vista or to somehow acquire and draw down the distinctive culture of the place by observing it on the sly.  As a Sunday diversion it renders an impression of picturesque postcard quaintness.  The visitors stroll about then unimpeded and take photos at will, as if they could capture the place in its quietness.  Weekdays, however, find Champion a vital hub of activity… a veritable hot bed of commercial hubbub.  The economic downturn of the place is felt equally among Champions as with Warren Buffett.  Mr. Buffett is immune to the travails of the market on account of being fantastically rich.  Champions find themselves mostly immune as well.  In the words of Bob Dylan:  “When you aint got nothing, you got nothin to loose.”  Being in the same boat with Warren Buffett is sort of a Champion thing! What a deal!  (Mr. Buffett is a bridge player.)  He is also a successful investor and a great philanthropist…he sounds like a Champion…like you could meet him walking up on the porch at Henson’s Store.  He may never have spent a depression winter and summer feeding on turnips because that’s all there was to be had…but he might have.  Champions will be sure to ask next time they see him.

        Rogene Paskins is another bridge player.  She is a new neighbor who moved in some distance South of Champion a couple of years ago.  Some Champions met her at Sally Miller’s Citizenship Shebang on Saturday.  A hundred people showed up to congratulate Sally on her new status and to celebrate in general.  It was a great event!  Sally was moved by the outpouring of so many genuine good wishes and the well-wishers were much elevated by her acknowledgment.  When someone wants what you have it makes you look at it with a new appreciation.  The registered voters of whatever persuasion were given a timely reminder of the value of their ballot.  Red, white, and blue balloons, and American flags flying on every table and wall were the decorations.  Decidedly live American music swelled the hearts of all.  General celebrations included birthdays and anniversaries and the chance to see seldom seen friends and to become acquainted with new ones.  Rogene will soon be completing foursomes and revealing whether she bids the convenient minor or will open a four card major.  (Reckon Warren Buffett is a proponent of the convenient minor?)

        The big topics of conversation in Champion these days are the ‘wooly worm’ and the persimmon seed.  People have seen solid dark wooly worms and solid pale ones.  There have been reports of wooly worms dark on each end and light in the middle.  There are reports by some that very few wooly worms have been seen at all.  Persimmon seeds are proving to be spoons inside, by and large.  Someone said he opened a seed that had two spoons in it.  Some squirrels have very fluffy tails and some are thin and scrawny.  The upshot of all this, General, is that the winter will be whatever it will be.  These tell-tale signs like all prognosticating tools are subject to interpretation.  The Champion thing to do is to be prepared for a hard winter and then if it is an easy one it will be very easy.  “It’s a challenge to live in a sylvan setting,” says a Champion neighbor Franciscan Brother Josef.  “It grows on you.  The wildness is so freeing. You do develop a relationship with nature.  That in itself brings you closer to God.”  He sounds like a Champion too!

        Last year Champion pumpkin saw first frost on October’s last Monday.  It came a little earlier the previous year and so far this year it has been in the weather forecast but has yet to make its chilly appearance.  Some are ready for it.  Gardeners persist and see that Linda’s Almanac designates the 23rd through the 27th as good days to grub out weeds and briars and other plant pests.  The walnut harvest has gone well.  B.and B. Barnhart had hauled off 1300 pounds of them by the end of last week!  So the seasons continue to roll by.  Bud Hutchison’s trail ride will be making its way in and out of Champion on Saturday.  Last year it took seventeen stock trailers to get all the horses to Champion.  From there they saddled up and made a pleasant amble through the back country to Drury for lunch and then back again.  This is a much anticipated event in the area as local residents show up at Champion to get a look at the outfit or just wait around on their front porches for them to pass by.  Like most Champion parades, there is as much gawking done by the paraders as by the observers.  Somebody will probably be singing old cowboy songs.  “I ride an old paint and I lead an old dan.  I’m going to Montana to throw the hoolihan.”  Or perhaps someone will sing the saga of the Strawberry Roan.  Some Champions might just stay close to the fire and listen to their old Marty Robbins records.

        “We are tenting tonight on the old camp ground.  Give us a song to cheer our weary hearts, a song of home and friends we love so dear.”  Songs of war seem to fit for every war.  “Alas for those comrades of days gone by Whose forms are missed tonight.  Alas for the young and true who lie Where the battle flag braved the fight.”  Civil War songs fit for the remebrance of the 4185 who have fallen in Iraq and the thousand more so far in Afghanistan.  Their survivors have Love and Gratitude coming from their Nation.  Meanwhile, the seasons are changing ‘over there’ and another long cold winter approaches.  Champions keep those who serve in their best daily thoughts.

        Other Champion thoughts are full of birthday wishes for Madelyn Jean Ward who celebrated her second birthday on October 16th!  Congratulations!  Other birthdays are being celebrated by a talented artist up on C Highway and by a sweet potato grower over on Cold Springs Road, now eligible for her Old Age Pension!

        Persimmon receipts or any kind of optimistic statements are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion News.  Look in on the internet at www.championnews.us to catch up on old news or to hear a tune by local yokels.  Look for Warren Buffett on the porch at Henson’s Store in the financial heart of Champion where stock is on the hoof and Champions are Looking on the Bright Side!


October 12, 2008

October 12, 2008

CHAMPION—October 12, 2008


        Champions are generally pretty fond of Italian food and are pleased to celebrate Columbus Day even though there is still controversy among some about whether or not the Western Hemisphere might have been better served if Cortez, Columbus, DeSoto and that whole crowd of explorers simply had not returned to Europe with their tales of discovery.  Eventually, it is thought that they would have stopped coming here if none of them ever returned there.  Well, it didn’t turn out that way and all these years later Champions together with all their neighbors in the Americas have become accustomed to being part of a great mixture of people from all over.  Many ancestors of current Champions came from Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.  Their ancestors had come from Scotland, Ireland, England and other places.  The world is very full of people now and they move around.  The indigenous peoples are rarely the majority of the population of any given area, but it still happens sometimes in remote places.  All this is just to say that it takes Champions to appreciate the diversity and the mutability of a community.

        A couple of real Champions celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on October 12.  One of them might have sung to the other, “Let me call you sweetheart…etc.”  They keep the love light glowing and represent enduring love to their children and family.  Sweet!  The Shannon family had a reunion on October 11th over at the Vanzant Community Building.  Miss Kalyssa Wiseman,1, was the youngest family member in attendance.  Kalyssa’s Grandmother is Faye Krider and Faye’s Aunt Ruby Anderson was the most senior in attendance.  She celebrated her 96th birthday in August.  She was one of Faye’s Mother’s sisters.  Lucille Ketchum, 86, is another of those sisters.  There were somewhere between 32 and 40 Shannons in attendance from all over the country including Idaho, Florida, St. Louis and Champion.  General Upshaw and a sensible young relation, who hopes not to be linked with the General in print, officiated at an auction and oversaw various entertainments and formalities.  Notably absent from that gathering was Dave Shannon who is currently in St. John’s Hospital in Springfield recovering from a recent and very serious truck wreck.  Everyone wishes him well and a speedy recovery.

        If oil of vitriol were available at the pump to run the farm truck or if it could be used in the kitchen to fry chicken and okra it might be in demand in Champion if it didn’t cost too much.  Still, if it just cost a dollar a gallon and a person could drive fifty miles on it, it would still be much too expensive.  The vitriol that is in such great supply these days doesn’t have octane ratings or regular and unleaded versions.  This vitriol is found in the abusive and venomous language used to express blame and censure and bitter deep-seated ill will.  Uncertain times frighten people and frightened people are dangerous.  They are unpredictable and subject to extreme influences.  So as the impassioned opinions swirl around in the outside world, blown by gusts of nefarious incompetence and greed, Champions just go on about their calm and orderly lives.  This part of the world has never been burdened with excessive prosperity and so a sudden lack of it has not much effect.  Champions continue to set the standard for reticence and general good behavior.

        “Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell.  Full of that yankee doodle dum.  Half a million boots went slogging through hell and I was the kid with the drum!  Say don’t you remember?  They called me Al.  It was ‘Al’ all the time.  Say don’t you remember?  I’m your pal.  Buddy, can you spare a dime?”  At least one Champion says that this is not a Champion song because it is evocative of a troubled time.  The soldiers in the current conflicts are doing what their Nation asks them to do and they are doing it with a will.  With 4181 mortal wounds in Iraq and another one thousand in Afghanistan, U.S. Military Personnel know the risk they take.  As the living wounded return it is to be hoped that they will be met with the Love and Gratitude of their Country and with some assistance to rebuild the lives forever altered by their Service.

        Day breaks in Champion to reveal spectacular fall foliage more pronounced every day.  Wild turkeys are being brought to the table by some lucky hunters and thoughts of the coming winter have other folks optimistic for some idle days to spend catching up on deferred maintenance, correspondence, good deeds or rest.  Pantries are bulging and harvest festivals are the social opportunities to renew acquaintances and firm up long time friendships.  There will be much of that going on as friends gather to celebrate with Sally Miller her new status as a Tax Paying U.S. Citizen and Registered Voter!  Congratulations Sally!  Welcome!  The Nation is much improved by you.

        Yes, the harvest is drawing to a close, but gardening is a year round thing.  Even after the frost, which some say is running late this year, there is plenty to do.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 23rd through the 27th will be excellent days to grub out briars, weeds and other plant pests.  The 30th and 31st will be good days to apply organic fertilizer.  Huckleberry George’s Champion friend will be getting that garlic planted between the 20th and the 22nd.  It is always a good time to mend fences and make plans for the next big garden.  Getting those saved seeds stored safely and a few notes made about what worked well this year and what to try for next year won’t take much time and will prove to be valuable for a future harvest.  One of the real tricks to a successful harvest is to concentrate on the successes when discussing it with friends and neighbors and just to make quiet mental notes about the failures.  There is no real need to do more about the failures than to remember them.

        Virtues of the Mediterranean diet can be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367,  Norwood, MO. 65717.  E-mail easy, healthy, non-fattening Italian receipts to Champion News“Hey!  Good looking!  Whatcha got cookin’?  How’s about cooking something up with me?”  That is a good song to sing on the porch at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion.  Spend some time inside shopping, visiting and soaking up the tranquil Champion ambiance.  When you come out, you’ll be Looking on the Bright Side!


October 6, 2008

October 6, 2008

CHAMPION—October 6, 2008


        Autumnal delights abound in Champion and Champions walk around with their eyes wide open acutely aware of the seasons changing.  Every day every vista has new character revealed according to the hour and to the eye of the beholder.  Sublime.

        Oklahoma’s Ethel McCallie was in Champion last week.  She came over from Ava where she had been visiting her girlhood friend, Loraine Nash.  Her entourage included her son Larry, of Hutchison, Kansas, and daughter Brenda Haden of Springfield, granddaughter Jessica Mead of Pinedale, Wyoming and her great grandson Ethan Mead who is two years old and required four adults to keep up with him!  They had a pleasant tour of the scenery in Champion, had their picture taken and chatted up the local yokels…a Champion diversion.

        The Upshaws took a holiday trip to commemorate the birthday of Karen Faye and Linda Kaye.  In a caravan of several cars sixteen family members left after breakfast at Plumbers Junction on Saturday the 4th and made the trek to Arkansas to visit old time family stomping grounds and cemeteries.  It seems like everyone had a good time and there have thus far been no reports of untoward behavior even by the General.  Faye has been under the weather, however, and Champions all extend their best wishes for a speedy recovery.  For a few days she is as old as her brother-in-law, Harley, but he will soon leap ahead again and be older than most Champions.  He and Barbara worked hard on their recent trip back to Champion.  Their big walnut tree out in the field near the road had suffered some serious damage in a little tornado that happened back in early August.  They cleaned all of that mess up and did lot other good work including making hay and doing good deeds for family and neighbors.  It is also noted that some serious golfing occurred.  Some Champions are just now beginning to become familiar with the rudiments of the game.  Beating the bogey man is apparently important.  That is done, they say, by concentrating on the goal.  That is to say, “Think about what you want and not about what you don’t want.”  While that sounds simple and sounds like it could be applied to many aspects of life, it seems to be quite difficult.

        The seventh annual Pioneer Descendants Gathering was another delightful event hosted by Dale and Betty Thomas over at Yates, south and east of Champion.  Betty said that Saturday was the big day this year with about a thousand spectators visiting.  In addition to a large number of Champions, there were people there from Canada, California, and Washington as well as a visitor from Amsterdam, Holland and a foreign exchange student from Israel.  There were a number of people camping there who routinely attend buffalo hunter get-togethers, mountain men rendezvous and black powder gatherings.  There were civil war re-enactors and crafts people like flint knappers and blacksmiths.  There was a molasses making demonstration and wheel righting as well as log splitting and horse shoeing.  This is a busy time of the year for these kinds of activities all around the country.  The Older Iron Club was well represented at the Gathering where they had several interesting exhibits.  They were selling chances on a John Deere NB Tractor that will be awarded at their shindig in Cabool on Saturday, October 11th.  Bob Berry won the drawing at the Pioneer Descendants Gathering for the carved walking stick made by Norwood’s mayor Dale Garrison.  It’s a beauty and it couldn’t have found a better home.  Bob drove his beautiful red Studebaker in the parade and Mary Goolsby smiled her lovely smile as she waved out the window.  Van Kelly won the hand quilted quilt made by Betty Thomas.

        A source of unpredictable trouble and complexity or an unsolvable dilemma is called a ‘can of worms.’  This concept can be applied to almost anything on a farm or anywhere there is old equipment or where there are old folks trying to make any kind of equipment work.  Champions are as much affected by the vicissitudes of aging and aging appurtenances as are any folks anywhere, but most often Champions are able to maintain a sense of humor about the whole thing.  It is a gift.  A leaking water-heater installed years ago with no shut off valve for the water or the gas will need a professional to get it up and going again.  A sprained ankle can benefit from a comfrey poultice and rest.  The word comfrey, derived from the Latin word for “grow together”, reflects the early uses of this plant.  Greeks and Romans used comfrey to stop heavy bleeding, treat bronchial problems, and heal wounds and broken bones.  Poultices were made for external wounds and tea was consumed for internal ailments.  It is a common herb with many uses and it is a pretty plant.  Like all herbs, however, it should be used carefully so as not to open yet another can of worms.  Sharing herbs, garden plants and produce is a real Champion thing to do.  Huckleberry George Simms is sharing garlic to plant this month.  Beverly and Barney Barnhart have been sharing tomatoes with less successful gardeners and Louise Hutchison has been a green bean bank for several lucky Champions.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 16th and 17th will be good days for planting that garlic and other root crops.  Above ground crops that can be planted now will do well on the 8th and 9th, and on the 12th and 13th.  Linda’s Almanac for October can be found at www.championnews.us.

        An e-mail has come from Pete and Kate Proctor.  Pete says that his son Bryan called the other day from the army base in Afghanistan where he is stationed.  He is in the mountains near the border with Pakistan.  It is a dangerous part of the world.  He will be coming home in March.  It is to be hoped that those people in uniform all get home safely and will arrive to a reception of Love and Gratitude from the Nation they serve.

        The Nance family got together in Ava Sunday for their annual reunion.  Family members came from as far away as Washington State and the Carolinas.  Some were not able to make it this year, but those who did meet had a good time and enjoyed their touch with home base again.  “Home is the ultimate value that humans venerate.”

        “Show me the way to go home.  I’m tired and I want to go to bed.  I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head.  Wherever I may roam on land or sea or foam You will always hear me singing this song.  Show me the way to go home.”

        Home is where the heart is they say.  Drop a note telling what else they say to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, Mo. 65717.  E-mail any kind of good neighbor hear say to Champion News.  Stand around on the porch at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Hometown Champion and hum that tune or any other that gets you to Looking on the Bright Side!


October 1, 2008

September 28, 2008

CHAMPION—September 28, 2008


        The good news in Champion is on every hand.  There has been more hay to make.  The community is overrun with visitors, friends and family.  The ravages of Hurricane Ike are being repaired.  Apples have made well this year.  The weather has been delicious.  While some are fighting off colds and more serious maladies, there is scant complaint to be heard.  Champion is one of those places “Whur the honeysuckle smells so sweet/ It durn near makes you sick.”   That is a metaphor for the place as being beautiful and tranquil and it is also a line from a favorite Champion song “I’m Goin’ Back to Whur I come From.”  Carson Robison was the author of that one and “The Wreck of the No. 9.”  He was from Oswego, Kansas and wrote many other 1920’s songs including “The West Plains Explosion.”  This information came in a note from Darrell Haden the other day in response to a recent plea to him for reminiscent songs of an uplifting, toe tapping, light hearted type.  He said, “We’ve all had a surfeit of honeysuckle on occasion.”  Another lovely letter has arrived from his cousin, Ethel McCallie.  It is ten pages of excellent penmanship in her free flowing conversational style of writing.  She is a great fan of Champion and was most pleased to have been able to stop in at the Champion Reunion back on the Labor Day week-end.  The full text of her letter can be found on the website: www.championnews.us.  It can be located in the “Champion Friends” section under “Oklahoma Friends.”

        Haymakers Barbara and Harley Krider have spent a few days in the Village.  Barbara says the apples have been good up in Illinois too.  They made a nice tour the other day that took them down to Brixie and to Rockbridge and Hodgson’s Mill.  Even Champions can get so caught up in their daily struggles and victories sometimes that they neglect the local wonders.  That can be easily remedied on October 4th and 5th when Dale and Betty Thomas once again host the Pioneer Descendants Gathering.  Somewhere down county road 341 is a sign that says “The Edge of the World.”  Their place is a sprawling farm at the end of the road down by Bryant Creek.  It is nice and flat down there at the bottom of a long steep hill and the Gathering spreads out over several acres.  There will be demonstrations of cow milking, corn grinding, rail splitting, horse shoeing, molasses cooking, chair caning, soap making, basket weaving and the like.  Antique engines and tractors will be exhibited together with a number of classic cars and trucks and old implements and wagons.  This is a public event that runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.  There will be music and food and plenty of Champions in attendance.  It is an excellent opportunity to run into neighbors and friends seldom seen.

        This is the kind of weather that finally gets some old Champions off the porch and out in the garden.  They are getting ready to plant garlic and getting ready to think about getting the garden put to bed for the winter.  Walnuts are falling at a fierce rate.  Maybe the price will hold.  Currently it is $13.00 per hundred.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that all the way through October 5th will be good to plant crops bearing yield above ground….leafy greens and things that can stand the cold.  Sweet potatoes will be filling the larder soon and the persimmons are beginning to change colors.

        A sweet little granny of an old Champion woman used to talk about making a nice green persimmon pie for the Yankee boys.  She was not particularly interested in being politically correct.  Some are saying there is hardly anything correct about politics but finally an old Champion has stepped up with some information about how the Presidential election works.  “The Electoral College is an example of an indirect election.  It consists of 538 representatives.  Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of its Senators and Representatives in the United States Congress.”  (Missouri has eleven electors but most folks don’t know who they are or exactly how they got to be there.)  “The candidate that wins the most votes in the state wins the support of all of that state’s electors.  This system was decided upon on at the Constitutional Convention on September 6, 1787.  Over the years numerous constitutional amendments have been submitted to replace it with a direct popular vote, however no submission has ever successfully passed both houses of Congress.”  It is a ‘winner-take-all’ system and Champions are more than ever convinced that every vote counts.  Now perhaps this expert will fill in the information gap about just who those electors are and how they got to be there.

        “When Johnny comes marching home again Hurrah! Hurrah! We’ll give him a hearty welcome then Hurrah! Hurrah!”  This beautiful song is happy or sad depending on the tempo at which it is sung and on whether it is sung by a single plaintive voice or by an enthusiastic crowd.  All the returning soldiers from the conflicts in the Middle East could benefit by a reception that reflects the Love and Gratitude of their Nation.  The survivors of those who do not return may be comforted by these expressions but their loss is enduring.  The war wounds that are not apparent now will be making themselves known for years to come.

        Good news is always welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Fill in the information gaps concerning politics, gardening, good neighbor gossip, and music at Champion News and look for all the words to “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” at www.championnews.us.  Lean on a porch post at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion and listen to the crack-pot notions of the opposition or drown out their rantings with a stirring rendition of any Champion song.  Those are the ones that Look on the Bright Side!