February 24, 2009

February 22, 2009

CHAMPION—February 22, 2009


        After 20 days on the road and 2700.00 miles on the trip meter, a wandering Champion can dutifully report that a dead skunk in the middle of the road smells the same no matter upon what highway in America the lovely fur is spread.  Driving along a person can always say, “It smells like home!”  Home.  What can be better?

        Among the pleasant surprises waiting the wanderer, an email:  “Hi, I am writing to say how much I enjoy your article in the newspaper.  I am not a native Championite however my husband’s family owned the Cold Springs store as long as it was in operation.  My husband, Jay Mallernee, passed away in 1997 and all his siblings and of course his parents have passed away.  His sister, Vivian Robertson, taught school at Champion.  Pete Robertson, J.D. Elliott and myself are the remaining in-laws.  I have many friends that grew up and lived in the Champion and Cold Springs area.  Jay and I graduated from Ava high school and lived at Denlow before moving to Kansas for 23 years.  Keep up the good work in writing the weekly articles……Sincerely,  Catherine Mallernee”

        Tersera, the third child in her family, writes of the importance of a matter under consideration by the current state legislature.  It has to do with proposed changes to the Historic Tax Credits program.  This Champion from Champion—South strongly believes that there should be no change since these tax credits are very important to jobs and the economy of the State.  Many small contractors and their employees will be impacted by major changes in this program.  These Tax Credits create jobs (40,000 since the program began) and better our economy by lowering slum and blight, crime, and other problems in our older communities.  She suggests that citizens become informed and contact representatives, senators, and the governor to let them know that it makes no sense (given the employment, housing, and banking crises in our State and in our Country) to change this program that produces jobs when we have this level of unemployment in our state and unemployment continues to rise.  Champions are ever on the look out for the benefit of their neighbors.

        “Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat!”  That is an old calypso song that some old Champions might remember.  It turns out to be partially true.  The lemon flower is the most deliciously fragrant bloom and the leaves of the tree so shiny green.  The trees are big—fifteen feet in every direction—but these Valley Lemons from the Rio Grand Valley are not at all impossible to eat.  They are big and juicy with thinner skins than the bright yellow ones found in the grocery store and puckery good.  With luck, that traveling Auxiliary woman will bring some to the Silent Auction at the Skyline Chili Supper on Saturday.  They say there will be some real surprises at this auction.  Excitement is building as preparations are getting underway.  It will be the first of these events for a visiting double cousin, though she has been hearing about them for years.  She is a real pie lover, so she is in for a treat!  She has her quilt tickets and is ready for fun!

        In 1942 the Army Emergency Relief was founded to ease cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees and provide college scholarships for their families.  Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.  The AER is the biggest charity inside the US Military and active duty soldiers and retirees fund it.  The American Institute of Philanthropy is one of the watchdog organizations that look at all charities for fundraising practices and distribution.  The AER was graded “F” by the oversight organizations because of hoarding.  The charity has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet.  Most watchdog organizations view 1 to 3 years reserves prudent, but the AER currently has enough reserves to last about twelve years at its current level of aid.  Contributions to the fund are often extracted from enlisted personnel by what amounts to coersion by superior officers and commanding officers make the determination about who is eligible for help.  That any soldier is in need is a shame, and more is the shame when help is available and withheld.  These are troublesome times.  Champions agree that active duty soldiers and veterans all have coming to them the Love and Gratitude of their Nation.  A helping hand helps.

        Champion gardens are still chilling out.  Champions know that things are beginning to percolate under the soil, however, and soon Spring will be busting out all over.  A cousin in Arkansas already has planted a hundred pounds of potatoes!  Buddy likes to get them in the ground by Valentine’s Day.  Up here St. Patrick’s Day is the target date of some gardeners.  Mrs. Buddy hates gardening so much that she said she would wish to get snake bit just to get out of the pea patch!  Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood will soon have her planting guide almanac ready.  Champion gardens are happy places.

        Tales of the open road are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717.  E-mail calypso music or letters to the gov’ment to Champion News.  Bob Conrad from Spokane, Washington sent a note asking about how to find the most current Champion items on the www.championnews.us website.  Then he e-mailed to say that he had found out how to go to the archives to get the latest news.  If he were here, he could get it around the stove at Henson’s Store.  The great Armadillo Round Up may be a topic of conversation there if the General wanders in.  He ‘generally’ only shows up to stir up trouble or mischief of some kind.  Still he is a welcome site in the cultural hub of Champion.  It is on the North side of the square, just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  The picture postcard business is booming in Champion.  Far-flung Champions and other unfortunates have their optimism renewed by that great view:  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


February 11, 2009

February 9, 2009

CHAMPION—February 9, 2009


        The further downhill a person goes from Champion the more clearly he remembers the view from that beautiful place.  Why anyone chooses to leave is a mystery, but life is mysterious and people go wandering for any number of reasons.  A temporary absence is the best kind and the Homeward Trail is the best one to travel.

        A letter from Eva Phillips Henson says: “We have snow, ice,sleet and 17 degrees.  When [a Champion cousin] wrote that Lonnie Lowell Krider passed away, it brought back memories of the Champion School.  Lonnie was a good singer and always in our Christmas programs.  Our teachers would begin in October planning who would do what.  When Kenneth, my brother, [Hovie] was in the first grade, he had a poem.  ‘On Christmas morning I get up so early, I beat all the other folks.  Pa says every morning should be Christmas, but that’s just one of his jokes.’  In 6th grade I recited ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and never missed a word.  I was Proud!  We all were so proud of our program and our parents were pleased.  Then ‘Santy Claws’ would come.  It would be a rotund ‘plump’ man and the kids would not know him.  One year no ‘rotund’ man was available, so Ed Henson played ‘Santy.’  He was tall and skinny with no padding.  We all knew who that ‘Santy’ was.  Then the little sacks of hard candy would be passed out, and our program was over or another year.  Some of my teachers were Vivian Robertson, Doris Giles, Edgie Tate, Opal Powell.  While I was there, no man ever taught school at Champion.  Just thought I’d pass on some history, back in the 40’s and 50’s.  Have a good winter, Eva Henson Phillips.”

        An e-mail came to the Champion box from Cindy Peterson.  “Lonnie was a wonderful person who was our high school counselor.  I never knew anyone who did not like Lonnie.

        “Nothing more has been said about the lightning strike that may have happened at the Champion School (or some place nearby) except a comment made by Mark Twain to the effect that choosing exactly the right word might be the difference between a lightning bug and lightning!

        News reaches other parts of the world that the ice and snow have  melted and things are windy and about to get stormy in Champion.  It is also reported that the seed orders are beginning to arrive in the mail.  Not too far South already vegetable plants are beginning to become available and a little farther South yet, the Boggy Creek Farm is harvesting many winter vegetables.  The farm is about six densely planted acres surrounded by a big noisy city.  On Saturdays and Wednesdays city dwellers flock to the farm to buy organically grown broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, chard, turnips, beets and green onions among other things.  The produce is more expensive than the regular supermarket fare, but it is well worth it to folks who are hungry for good food and the feel of country life.  City children enjoy feeding the Boggy Creek chickens and it is a good educational experience for them.  Some of them already know The Chicken Song:  “C–that’s the way to begin.  H–that’s the next letter in.  C-H-I-C-K-E-N  That is the way to spell Chicken.”  There are many versions of The Chicken Song some say ‘C–is for the cluck, cluck.  K–is for the kackle, kackle.”  Uncle Al, The Lonesome Plowboy used to play the Chicken Reel on the French harp and a person might start looking for eggs!  The Chicken Song is a good one for any musical repertoire.  Over at the Plant Place in Norwood, Linda frequently has some wonderful brown eggs for sale.  She is getting things ready for Champion gardeners to get a good start on growing some wonderful food.  It won’t be long now!

        In addition to some interesting and pertinent information about the  coming electrical rate changes in April, the Rural Missouri monthly paper had a nice mention of the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department Chili Supper coming up on the 28th of February.  The Ladies Auxiliary is having meetings and making arrangements for musical entertainment as well as that great chili, the ham and beans, the chicken and noodles, and all those scrumptious donated pies that come in the door with the membership of the Fire Department.  This event marks the end of winter’s gloom and is the sure cure for the cabin fever.  There will still be some dark and damp days before full-blown Spring sets in, but Champions are happy for rain and not interested in complaining about the weather!  One of those Auxiliary members is making a Southern trip and will be down near the Mexican border gathering up some nice surprises for the Silent Auction that will take place at the Chili Supper.  Tickets are being sold for the drawing for beautiful queen size quilt from one end of the country to the other.  One of the great sights on the way was an enormous wind farm just North of Abilene.  There are hundreds of windmills generating that clean power.  They are huge and graceful against the big, blue Texas sky.  Douglas County has a few windmill electricity generators!  It is said that Booger County is a “windy” place for a number of reasons.

        No new letters to the Government have shown up in the Champion mail box this week, but Champions are still paying attention to everything that’s going on up there in Washington.  One terribly sad report says that in January more active duty U.S. Service Personnel took their own lives than died in combat.  When the Veterans of these conflicts come home they should be met with Love, Gratitude, Understanding, and all the Help they need.  It is the dear Hope of all Champions.

        It has recently come to the attention of the CEPC [Champion Events Planning Commission] that The General plans to sponsor the First Biennial Great Armadillo Round-Up to culminate in a Festival on the 32nd of March.  As he has not as yet cleared the project with the Committee, no real specifics have been learned.  He did suggest that entries would be limited to the first one thousand, though ‘dead or alive’ has not been indicated.  The General was overheard to say something about ‘the best paint job.’  He is such a rogue element in the community that the details will likely be sketchy up to the very last moment.

        Sketchy details, chicken songs and life mysteries are welcome at  Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 36, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail dear Hopes and copies of letters to the Gov’ment to Champion News.  Look around in the archives at 222.championnews.us just to see what has gone be3fore.  Stand around on the porch at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive to see what a beautiful community looks like.  Picture post-cards of the dear place are available in limited supply.  They have been know to lift the spirits of unfortunates living out in the dreary and dull parts of the world.  They bear the motto:  Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!


February 1, 2009

February 1, 2009

CHAMPION—February 1, 2009


        Champion is a beautiful place under ice and snow, under rain and mud or leafy boughs.  Champions, for the most part, have adopted the Champion attitude that changing weather is just an opportunity to adapt.  That is easy to do when the power doesn’t go off and there are no major catastrophes.

        Champions have been lucky and they know it.

        Barbara Krider currently of Elmwood, Ill, has suggested that Main Street in Champion be renamed “Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.”  It’s a good idea.  Bernice Morgan, of Marshfield, dedicated this poem, entitled “My Good-bye” to the Krider family.  “Do not sorrow for me now, nor mourn me if you please.  I’m going home! To be with God where I’ll have rest and ease.  And though we now must part awhile, we have done so before, And soon to never part again, we’ll meet on heaven’s shore.  So share my joy, I’m going home.  I’ve been away too long.  If you want to please me now, then sing a joyful song.  Then if you wish we’ll meet again when you too can come home.  We’ll spend eternity with God, where never more we’ll roam.  For I know as Paul of old, I have fought well the fight.  I have a mansion and a crown.  They shine forever bright.  And when you too have finished with your work down here below.  You’ll join me there to praise and share the love of God, I know.  Sing no sad songs then for me; no tears should flow this day, But songs of joy and praise to waft my soul upon it’s way.  And if you’ve loved me in this life then you must love Him too.  And we shall share His promised joy where life begins anew.”  Ms. Morgan is a talented poet—a Champion.

        There are some who think that the lightning strike that killed the school teacher who was standing under the stove pipe may have happened somewhere other than Champion, but in the general area.  Virginia Jacobs wrote to say that she had not heard of the story.  No one has come forward with any information other than it most likely didn’t happen at the Champion School.  Someone said it must have been over at the Cheney, but residents there say that while there was a store there, there was never a school.  Students attended the Old East Dogwood School.  The store at Cheney is now a barn and Rick and Judy Sleep occupy the adjacent residence.  He is recuperating from a broken hip and hobbles around on his walker fighting off cabin fever.  Judy is holding up well and is most grateful for good neighbors named Mastrangelo.  D.J. comes over to do her chores morning and night.  He is a Champion fellow!  He is a junior firefighter with the Skyline VFD as well as a solid citizen and good neighbor.  Perhaps the lightning strike story will get sorted out, meanwhile it spurred the telling of another story about Ellis Brixie.  There came up a big storm and all the kids ran for the feather ticking, because it was believed that lightening would not strike a feather bed.  Ellis, however, stretched out on a sofa right by a window.  Lightening struck and killed a dog that was just outside the window.  Ellis was not harmed. Interesting.

        An article in the paper about a professional timber harvester program hit a sad and sour note with some Champions.  Grieving over what can’t be undone is a sorry waste of time.  Butch Stone’s deer kill with his homemade bow and arrows is another story.  It is good to know that Douglas County has some folks who not only know and care about the old ways, but put them into use.  Champion!

        Letters to the Government have been pouring in.  A couple of them from Champion-South contain the following and were addressed to senators and representatives:  “Please oppose the bill to allow utilities to charge customers in advance for building power plants.  This legislation could lead to very serious consequences for utilities customers.  There would be virtually no cap on the costs, no way to know when the plant was paid for, and no say in the type of plant built.  We don’t want nuclear power.  The nightmare of spent fuel rods has not actually come to light yet.  That is just a matter of time.  We can ill afford to add to our 300 million tons of nuclear waste.”  In another missive addressed to Kit Bond, Claire McCaskill and Joann Emerson:  “I can not believe that Wall Street institutions would use the argument that these bonuses were necessary to keep the top talent.  These are the same people who got us in this mess in the first place and if these people are the only ones qualified to do the job one wonders why we bailed them out in the first place.  They should be up on criminal charges, not paid for a lousy job performance.  Surely, in the whole of America there are more qualified individuals.  Certainly to promote these is ridiculous.  Please take actions to correct this mistake.”  This Champion makes sense.  Often those items in the Looking Backward section of the paper from 75 and 100 years ago are humorous to readers.  Sometimes as history seems to repeat itself they act more as a warning.  The new administration in Washington faces some terrific problems.  It’s good to see that there are people out there like the Champion from Champion-South offering some positive suggestions.  The 1932 movie with Groucho Marks called “Horse Feathers.”  There is a great song in it that could be directed to obstructionist who would rather see something fail than to lend a helping hand for the overall good of the Nation.  The song “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It” was written by Harry Ruby and the words were by Bert Kalmar.  “I don’t know what they have to say, It makes no difference anyway—Whatever it is, I’m against it!  No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.  Your proposition may be good But let’s have one thing understood—Whatever it is, I’m against it!  And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it, I’m against it.  I’m opposed to it—On general principles I’m opposed to it!  (Chorus) He’s opposed to it!  In fact, in word, Indeed!  He’s opposed to it!”

        Champions have sent in their orders and are waiting by their mailboxes for those seeds to show up!  Linda came through the snow to the Plant Place in Norwood to get the cole crops started.  She is making arrangements to get the onions sets and seed potatoes in.  Charlene is having a birthday on Groundhog Day so there will be celebrating going on over at the Gift Corner as well.  Congratulations to a good Champion friend.

        An e-mail from Champion Bob Conrad in Spokane shows two deer with their heads poking out of what looks like 4 foot deep snow.  The note says, “Winter’s almost over and we can see the deer wandering around.”  It is as cold in Iraq as it is in Champion.  Much of the winter gear provided to Marines is made of synthetic material–polypropylene, which the U.S. Military has learned—the hard way—melts much like plastic around a fire—like a roadside bomb—and can cause burns.  So soldiers try to layer their clothing of natural fibers for warmth when they have to go out.  Champions hope to be joining the whole Nation in expressing Love and Gratitude for their service.

        Beautiful poetry, applicable songs, old stories, and good advice are all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Those blind copies of letters to the Government are appreciated and informative.  Keep them coming to Champion at getgoin.net.  Look around Champion via the website www.championnews.us and see what all the wonderful fuss is about.  Stand near the stove at Henson’s Store (but not against it!) just to soak up the warmth and comfort.  The Store is on the North side of the Square just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  A limited edition of the third picture postcard in the series is currently available.  Where ever the US Postal Service can reach out in the dull and dreary parts of the world there are folks hungry for a Champion view—looking on the Bright Side!