November 28, 2008

December 28, 2008

CHAMPION—December 28, 2008

In Champion New Years Resolutions are much the same as those across the Nation.  Research shows that the following ten resolutions are the most common in the United States:  Spend more time with friends and family; Be more fit; Loose weight; Quit smoking; Enjoy life more; Quit drinking; Get out of debt; Learn something new; Help others; Get organized.  In Champion the list is more like:  Spend more time with friends and family; Help others; Enjoy life more; Learn something new; Keep a little song handy; Get out of debt; Be more fit; Eat better; Get organized; Look on the Bright Side!  As to the smoking and drinking and loosing weight…people either will opt to live better and longer or not.  No use taking up good resolutions with that stuff!  One old Champion remembers a dear friend, Buff Manion.  He was an extraordinary musician with one of the sweetest smiles ever smeared across a mug.  His perennial resolution was, “I’m just gonna treat people a little better.”  How can that be beat?

Some of the wonderful news in the paper last week was the news that Yolanda F. Hinote of Norwood, graduated in December from William Woods University with a master of education degree!  That’s Lannie Hinote!  Lannie is a stalwart, irrepressible, inspiration to Champions everywhere, an 8th grade teacher at Skyline School!  Champion congratulations to her!  Some of the sad news lately has to do with the destruction of the Senior Center in Mountain Grove by fire last week.  It was good fortune that no one was injured in the fire, but it will take a while to get things back to order.  Neighbors are reaching out to help neighbors and it will all work out in the long run.  In the mean time there is ample opportunity to be of service to each other.  It’s a Champion notion.

The end of the year finds Champion full of welcome visitors.  Those Tennessee boys, Dakota and Dillon, have been here with their folks visiting with their grandparents.  Kalyssa and Foster were there too with their parents and both sets of grandparents.  Eva Powell’s twin great grandsons, Troy and Theo were in the neighborhood visiting.  They are just a little younger than Kalyssa and are a couple of rough and tumble enthusiastic young fellows. Marty Watts spotted a squirrel that had lost most of its tail.  It can be seen in the big trees around Champion proper.  It must have had some good luck escaping whatever got its tail and perhaps the good luck extends to a well-made nest occupied by compassionate fuzzy family members.

Imagine a birthday on New Year’s Day!  The whole world celebrates! Grandma Jan Liebert of Teeter Creek is rocking out on her special day and her Champion friends and neighbors salute her!  Robert Burns words are used to celebrate long friendships in the traditional New Year’s song Auld Lang Syne.  “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?”  That’s not the way of it in Champion!  Even when the song is mistakenly called “Ol Hank’s High” or “Old Langs Sign” or even “Old Hag Sighs” which is a song that incorporates the slurred words of a weary wife who says “You’ve taken me for granted because I please you!”  She’ll get over it and cook up that mess of black-eyed peas with a slab of side meat and a big skillet of corn bread.  Vittles fit for a king!  The reason for this humble fare on the first of the year is to suggest that with luck they will eat at least this well all year.  Toward that end the seed catalogues are being dog-eared and discussed.  It’s too wet to plow…too early too…still the garden, like an old friend, calls. 

Last week the Looking Backwards section had the author of 100 years ago asking if readers felt that they had done anything in the previous year toward the uplifting of humanity.  Lofty sentiments were expressed concerning fair and honorable dealings with fellowmen.  “Have our hearts been constantly filled with love for our surroundings?  Are we living or just merely existing?”   Champions are uniformly able to answer in the affirmative.  Over the past year more than 500 US Soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq.  Champions live the year around with Love and Gratitude for their service.

Some are looking at the New Year with trepidation.  The world seems to be in such turmoil and it’s difficult to make sense of it.  Everyone has a different idea about how to fix things.  One old Champion girl says that ‘quid pro quo’ is the answer.  That is Latin for ‘something for something,’ indicating a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services.  “If’n you’ll scratch my back, I’ll scratch your’n” is a concept well understood in Champion.  Most generally any Champion can find a door jamb to wriggle his itch against or a stick of kindling to reach just that spot and so that is self reliance at its best.  As for the spirit of cooperation and the willingness to combine efforts for the overall good of the community, Champion is Champion!  The year ahead will be just like the ones past, full of triumphs and failures.  Champions will move ahead as they always have with generosity of spirit and good humor. 

Happy New Year to Champions everywhere—you know who you are!  Send examples of good humor to Champion Items, Rt.2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail versions of “Old Lanks Eye” to  Savor the archives at   Lean up against a porch post at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion to soak in the beauty of the place—the tranquility.   Visitors there need not feel compelled to beller out their favorite, toe tapping, uplifting, sunny-side song, but they are welcome to do so. It’s quid pro quo in Champion where they’re always Looking on the Bright Side!



November 23, 2008

November 23, 2008

CHAMPION—November 23, 2008


        Saying that Gratitude is a Champion sentiment is like saying Tom Turkeys gobble!  This time last year Champions led by Sharon Woods were getting ready to hold a chili supper to help Lannie Hinote with medical expenses.  These days a person headed toward Norwood on any week day morning is liable to meet Lannie as she heads to work still riding heard on those Skyline R. II 8th graders.  They love her and she is an inspiration to anybody who might be thinking times are rough.  Times are rough, however, on any number of folks for one reason and another.  Champions are full of encouragement and support where they can.

        There is not much to be done about one unexpected calamity over on Mt. Buzzard in near North Champion.  The worst of it found a new truck balanced high center on a concrete foundation wall with the front wheels dangling out over a corn planter.  Some hours later with a tow truck and various tractors and expertise the truck was extricated from the side of the barn.  The barn needs six pieces of tin and a new truss.  The truck which was parked with the brake on and in four wheel low, with the key off and no one inside may need a good looking over to figure out what caused it to take off against all odds and the brake!  No one was hurt and everyone is grateful for that!

        Kalyssa Wiseman had her belated birthday party on Friday night.  The General’s lovely wife had celebrated her birthday on the 6th of November so it was a grand celebration for a family that likes to get together.  It was just a year ago that Kalyssa’s big brother Foster was bounding around with a cast on his leg.  He has made a good recovery and his family is grateful for that!  A year slips by quickly.

        Champions are grateful for the opportunity to say good-bye to long time Champion Cletis Upshaw.  He was a native of Denlow and had an interesting life.  He worked for the post office for 42 years and much of that time he was the rural carrier for Rt. 2, Norwood.  A person could set his clock by Cletis and could always count on him for good humor.  He was a genuine historian and a genial good natured person.  So Champions are grateful to have had him in their lives and are glad that he knew that the community held him in high esteem.  A U.S. Marine color guard gave him a beautiful send off at the Denlow Cemetery on Friday.  He was a Veteran of the Korean War.  It was a cold day, but bright and sunny—just right.

        “Thank God for dirty dishes!  They have a tale to tell.  While others may go hungry we’re eating very well.  With home and health and happiness, I wouldn’t want to fuss.  By the stack of evidence, God’s been very good to us.”  That is the legacy of one Old Champion’s Mother.  She is long gone, but close the way family stays.

        Friends and family will be gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving together.  There will be feasting, reminiscing, and merry making of all sorts.  Champions in Douglas County and US Military Personnel serving in dangerous places around the world will be singing, “God Bless America!  Land that I love!  Stand beside her, and guide her through the night with a light from above.  From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam God bless America, My home sweet home.”  Champions will be singing that song and Looking on the Bright Side!


November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008

CHAMPION—November 16, 2008


        Champions were delighted with the week-end weather that greeted the hunters this year.  Brutal cold wind, brief hard snow and enough rain to make things perfectly miserable are the elements that set the stage for significant memories.  In Champion it often happens that “pure minds are stirred up with remembrance.”  This will be one of those years when a young person’s first deer or turkey came with enough discomfort to make the event truly memorable.

        A young fellow named Connor Ash made his first trip to Champion on Sunday.  He came with his older sister Selina and their parents Victor and Emily to visit Emily’s grandmother, Ms. Eva Powell.  Foster and Kalyssa Wisemen were also visiting grandparents and so the whole place was full of wonderful kid racket.  The day could only have been made brighter by Chante’s presence, so maybe that will happen next time when she is in Champion with her grandparents.  Grandparents are some of the most interesting and venerable residents in Champion.

        Harley & Barbara are in town for a while.  It may be that they will stay all the way through the Thanksgiving holiday.  Champion will certainly be jolly place if that is true.  The General’s remarks last year about Barbara’s parade outfit were completely uncalled for.  Not too much has been heard from him for a while, but that only indicates that he is laying low for some reason.  As yet no word has come from the Champion Parade Committee concerning this year’s Champion Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Last year the group decided to hold a special meeting to discuss the shameful incident that had left the square in such a frightful condition and to allocate responsibility for the veterinary bills.  (Don’t ask.)  It was determined that at the very least a moratorium should be in place to prohibit the participation of all pigs in future Champion Parades.  It had been hoped that once tempers cooled and the square was back to normal that some of the hurt feelings would be assuaged and a more moderate approach to the problem could be found.  Still no word has come.

        As the woods thin of foliage it is interesting to see more of the topography of the land immerge and houses reappear that had been obscured from view a few days earlier.  Lush spring and summer growth had softened the devastation of some of the predatory logging done in the area.  A short term, absentee land owner from a few counties north hired loggers not local to the area and their slipshod and careless methods left a wretched mess that is once again heartbreakingly visible.  Spring will come again and summer growth will help the place heal.  A dozen years from now it will still be ugly, but better and the Champions who care will have become accustomed to the place as it changes while treasuring their memories.

        The 19th of November all the way through Sunday the 23rd will be excellent days to destroy weeds according to Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  Tell that to Elva Ragland who will be 71 on the 19th.  Most likely she will not be out killing weeds on her birthday.  Sue Needham will be old enough to know better (finally) on the 23rd and will most likely not be out pulling weeds either.  The Almanac will not be getting much use in Champion this week, but Charlene’s Gift Corner will be getting lots of traffic as people look for interesting and reasonably priced Christmas presents there.  A nice visit with Esther Wrinkles the other day revealed that she unexpectedly has extra quilts!  Arrangements that she had made to sell a couple of her beauties fell through so she has some to spare.  What luck for someone!

        Esther was in good spirits and said that she had enjoyed the Herald’s fish fry the other day.

        Champion Pete Proctor’s picture made the papers last week at the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table for the Veteran’s Day Celebration by VFW Post 3770.  He is such a Veteran!  His son Bryan is serving currently in Afghanistan.  Pete and all Champions know that the U.S. Service Personnel are due the Love and Gratitude of the Nation now and in the years to come.

         A musical note came from Champion’s Tennessee Friend, Darrell Haden, the other day.  He talked about the song that is currently on the site.  “We live in two different worlds, dear That’s why we’re so far apart……If you stay over in your world, Oh, how my poor heart will pine.  Darling, someday when your memories wander, Won’t you come over to mine?”   He said, “Have you heard my cousin Charlie’s “Ramblin’ Boy” on Decca?  Charlie’s grandfather ‘Buss’ Haden grew up with my grandpa Haden at Smallett before ‘Buss’ married Cora German of Squires 107 years ago and moved to Springfield.”  He had some nice things to say about the column and said “Please continue to quote the good old songs!”  Administrators of the website plan to make available more of the songs from the CD made by Wayne Anderson, Luke Dartt and Lonnie Krider soon.  Meanwhile there are some good versions of When Johnny Comes Marching Home and America the Beautiful that can be heard there.  Send any musical suggestion to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News.  Sing any good song out on the porch at Henson’s Store.  Singing is good for the overall health of the person singing and for others if the singing is any good!  On or off key, Champions are Looking on the Bright Side!


November 9, 2008

November 9, 2008

CHAMPION—November 9, 2008


        When Champions plow, they plow with hope the way Paul directed the Corinthians to do.  Not that all that much plowing is going on this time of the year, but now that the political dust is settling Champions are optimistic for a good harvest of the fruits of a participatory democracy.  Citizens of the Greatest Nation are idealist by definition.

        Looking for fun is another Champion enterprise.  One of his brothers said that Donald Krider who lives in Illinois now and his Dad, Oscar, looked up one day to see Clinton McCoy coming up the road riding a cow and leading a horse!  It was funny.  It turns out that Clinton was a prankster.

        Veteran’s Day brings all those who serve in Uniform to the forefront of Champion consciousness.  The requirement for Love and Gratitude toward the US Service Personnel cannot be overstated.  The years ahead will find those Veterans in unexpected situations and Champions will be there with encouragement and understanding.

        The full moon in November is called the Beaver Moon.  It occurs at 12:17 a.m. on the 13th of the month according to Linda’s Almanac from the Plant Place over in Norwood.  “Beaver, more than any other animals besides humans, alter the environment to meet their needs.  The dams they build in streams, the trees they cut for food and the channels they dig to increase their mobility in the water bring diversity in plant and animal life to the area.”  This is according to the publication:  Missouri’s Beaver, A guide to Management, Nuisance Prevention and Damage, available through the Missouri Department of Conservation.  The birthstone for the month of November is the Topaz!  It is an interesting stone—quite lovely in a buttery, caramel, sorghum kind of way.  It is mined in Utah and Arizona in this Wonderful Country.  Its most common colors range from pale yellow to brown, but it also occurs as a clear stone.  Treated with heat or other circumstances the clear stone can become blue like aquamarine or pink in a color that looks like it wants to be a garnet.  Topaz–a lovely stone, which can exist in a wide range of color and is often multifaceted.  Many famously charming Champions celebrate birthdays in November.  Among them are Sue and Bob Weltanschauung from under the hill (not nearly over it) and Elva Ragland who will be celebrating on the 19th…quite a substantial birthday!

        Enjoy a buttery topaz, gloriously golden autumn morning on the porch at Henson’s Store.  It is on the North Side of the Square where Patriotic Champions are softly singing a sanguine song and are insatiable in their interest in everything natural.  Champions are perpetual optimists—ready for fun and Looking on the Bright Side!


November 2, 2008

November 2, 2008

CHAMPION—November 2, 2008


        Taft carried Missouri by over four thousand majority in 1908, according to the Douglas County Herald.  It turns out that he was the ‘portliest’ President the Nation has ever had.  He was 5’11” tall and at his heaviest weighed about 344 pounds!  He served from 1909 until 1912 as the 27th President and has the distinction of being the only President to be on the Supreme Court.  He was the tenth Chief Justice from 1921 to 1930.  He is also considered to be responsible for the seventh inning stretch at baseball games.  The president was watching a game and, in the seventh inning, he got up to stretch.  The crowd, out of respect for the President, also rose to its feet.  Since then, people have stretched during the seventh inning of baseball games.  There are several stories about how that tradition started.  Tradition is a funny thing sometimes.  One of the best traditions of all nations in the world, past and present, is the peaceful and orderly transfer of power from one leader to the next.  The founding Fathers set it up that way and Americans have been the beneficiaries of this wisdom since the beginning of the Nation.  There have been some excellent stories in the press recently about how President Bush’s office has been working with both candidates to insure that the transition is a smooth one.  Mrs. Wrinkles, an election official from over at Vanzant, said that whoever gets this one inherits a mess.  She is right and by the time this goes to ink and gets into the reader’s hands all will have been revealed.  Hooray, America! And Good Luck!  It was a treat for some Champions to hear an old Hank Williams tune recently released by Elvis Costello and Charlie Haden—“You Win Again!”  It was played on the radio the other day and these old Champions sang their own version:  “You win again, America!  You sweet old Democracy!”

        A lovely note has arrived in the Champion News mailbox:  “Hello!  Linda Clark from Ava here.  I read in the Champion items in the Douglas County Herald that you were wanting the name of the third person singing on the song, “We Live in Two Different Worlds.”  He is my brother-in-law, Luke Dartt from Brighton, Missouri.  Luke is singing the verses, and my Dad, Wayne Anderson, and Lonnie Krider are singing with him on the chorus.  This song is from a CD that was made at Plainview School house a few years back at a benefit for Relay for Life.  It was sort of a family affair with our good friend, Lonnie Krider, joining us.  My Dad, Wayne Anderson, was playing the banjo; Lonnie Krider was playing the mandolin; my sister, Brenda Dartt was playing bass; my brother-in-law, Luke Dartt, was playing the guitar; everyone got in on the vocals, and I helped sing back up on a few of the songs.  You many not have wanted all of the information above; so I guess the short answer to your question of who the third person is…it’s Wayne Anderson’s son-in-law, Luke Dartt.  😉  Have a good day, and keep Looking on the Bright Side!  Linda Clark Ava, Missouri.”  That was a welcome note and more information is always better!  Administrators of the site are planning to make more tunes from that CD available soon.

        Before another Herald hits the newsstands America will have celebrated Veteran’s Day.  President Bush has urged all Americans to observe November 9 through November 15, 2008, as National Veterans Awareness Week.  “I encourage all Americans to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers.  I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities.  I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.”  Champions are pleased to do that.  Last week it was reported that thirteen US Servicepersonnel had died in the middle east.  Nine of them were between the ages of 18 and 25.  The others were 29, 30, 33, and 39 years old.  They all had survivors, family and friends.  They have the Love and Gratitude of their Country.

        Those boys from Tennessee were back in the neighborhood for a few days.  Dakota and Dillon were helping out on the farm and going deer hunting with various Uncles.  It will be exciting to learn how that went.  Some of those Uncles have a funny way of hunting, but the boys are level headed young fellows and probably made out just fine no matter what the example set for them.  They might have been able to dodge the General this trip, but their Great Uncle Vernon Upshaw spent Sunday afternoon on the farm with them and they are no doubt better for the exposure.

        Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that November 6, 7, 10, and 11 are good days to prune in order to discourage growth.  The 14th, 15th, and 16th are all good days for destroying weeds.  There is plenty to do in the garden year round.  One old Champion is dredging her little pond and putting the mud and algae on the garden.  A wheel barrow full of liquid is an interesting push!  Some are finally getting some tender things mulched for the winter.  Some are getting the last of the produce put up in the pantry, freezer and cellar and some are pulling a nice sweet turnip here and there.  Living out in the exurbs is a lovely place to live.  Champions are happy about their gardens, their government, their peace and tranquility and Champions are good commemorators.  An estemed Champion has a big birthday coming up on the 6th of the month and there will be some fine celebrating done.  He’ll be old enough to get his old age pension and will be happy just to wake up!  Meanwhile other Champions are planning an election party with chocolate cup cakes full of macadamia nuts!  Hip Hip Hooray!

        Reasons to celebrate can be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News.  Sing any Hank Williams song on the porch at Henson’s Store in the heart of Champion.  Go “Window Shopping” or “Howling at the Moon” or just step out there for a good stretch.  It is on the North Side of the Square.  That is one of the many places in the glorious exurb where Champions Look on the Bright Side!