March 30, 2009

March 30, 2009

CHAMPION—March 29, 2009


        In Champion the old weather adage about March played out this year.  March came in like a lion and left like a lamb.  He entered in a blizzard that startled sweet southern visitors and Chili Supper attendees.  He is leaving with lilacs in his hair across flower strewn lawns that already need mowing.  The seasons roll around.

        Great news has come from Champions Pete and Kate Proctor.  Their son, Bryan, is back in the US and by now is back home with his family.  He has been in Afghanistan.

        Any family with a soldier deployed to the dangerous places of the world has a great gladness about them when their loved one gets home.  Love and Gratitude.  Bryan’s grandmother, Ruby Proctor, says that he is a very good-natured person and he says, “It’s my job.”  She does hope that he will be home for a while.  Ruby misses Champion and living in the country.  She says it will always be home to her.  She misses making a garden but says that Barbara is working full time and making a garden too!  They are a busy family.

        “The best laid schemes ‘o mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.”  Often that line is paraphrased in English as ‘The best laid plans of mice and men / Often go astray.”  Robert Burns wrote it in a poem called “To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, With the Plough.”  He wrote the poem in 1785, but it could well have been written in Champion on March 32nd, 2009.  Not that anyone is plowing up mice, but rather trying to keep the plough out of the armadillo hole!  The first and only one time ever event previously referred to as the First Ever Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Festival has been taken a step back.  The (Secret Planning) Committee presented pertinent and worrisome issues to the General in a secret planning session at an undisclosed place and time.  An anonymous source reports that there had been no provisions made for the health and safety of the proposed spectators in the presences of so many dead and decaying armadillos, not to mention the live ones.  At the very least some variance from the Health Department or the Conservation Department should have been arranged.  This issue the General summarily and judiciously adjudicated by saying, essentially, “ Very well then!  All entries will henceforth be presented in photographs or other visual media not to include any actual armadillo parts or substances.”  The deadline for entries is April 30, 2009.

        What the General did not say was that two of the headline participants in the Art Show have each had a calamity that prevents the completion of their entries!  Barbara Krider has been flat on her back getting accustomed to her new stent!  She is making a good recovery and will in all likelihood be satisfied to simply photograph her original armadillo handbag collection.  They are couture.  She is rumored to have the largest and most complete collection of couture armadillo handbags east of the Mississippi.  Her avant guard fashion senses and adventurous nature are frequently the subjects of comment in her absence.  Charlene Dupre’s calamity came in the form of a broken arm!  A misstep and a tumble has her good right arm immobilized now and her good left arm is in training just to do the ordinary chores!  Charlene is a talented artist who works in a variety of mediums.  Many of her pieces can be seen at The Gift Corner over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  Her foray into florescent armadillo forensics will have to be put on hold until she has use of both arms again.  That plaster of Paris doesn’t mix itself.  Then, of course, the Art Guild’s own Donna Moskaly with blue ribbon winning paintings already on display at Henson’s Store, has yet to receive her invitation to participate!  The General’s confusion (partially) has been concerning the amateur status of the entries.  Ms. Moskaly is a professional artist with accolades and notoriety, not to mention a tenured spot in the hierarchy of the established art community.  It was on this point that the SPC finally took its overdue stand with the General.  He ultimately agreed that exclusivity is passé.  Anyone who wishes to participate may do so by sending a photo or rendering (no lard please) of an original art work depicting the life or demise of armadillo.  E-mail them to Champion at  Send them in the mail to Champion Items (Armadillo Department) Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717 or stop them off at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square, just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive, in Historic Downtown Champion.  (Entries from Spotted Hog are subject to dismissal without cause.)  There is no entry fee and as yet no prize, as the General has been busy.  Judging will be done in secret during the Champion May Day Celebration and the results announced eventually. 

        Not only is March 32nd April Fools Day, but it is a poor day for planting. The second through the fourth will be good for planting anything that bears its yield above ground.  That is according to Linda’s Almanac.  A distant Champion e-mailed that “Homegrown Tomatoes,” the song, was written by Guy Clark.  “There’s nothin’ in the world that I like better than Bacon, lettuce and home grown tomatoes Up in the morning and out in the garden Pick you a ripe one, don’t get a hard un.  Plant ‘em in the springtime eat ‘em in the summer, All winter without ‘em’s a culinary bummer.  I forget all about the sweatin and the diggin Every time I go out and pick me a big’un.”  It is a three cord song, so even the General could play this one! 

        Mary Graham still has the little dog Brownie who needs a good home.

        Meanwhile, tomato songs, reasons for Love and Gratitude, garden advice and best laid plans of mice and men may be sent to the usual addresses.  Wander around in the website just for another look at Champion.  Ms. McCallie will be pleased to know that her Champion picture postcards are in the mail and now she can join Champions in Looking on the Bright Side!


March 23, 2009

March 23, 2009

CHAMPION—March 23, 2009


        In Champion the flowering trees have just become full blown and already the wind is dispersing those blossoms.  So it is in life—it all happens so quickly.  Champions stay in the moment appreciating the beauty while it’s going on.

        Mary Graham, who lives over in Champion East, has a pretty little terrier-heeler mix at her house that showed up there back in December badly mauled.  He’s healthy now and is a good little watch-dog and varmint dog, going after rats and rabbits.  Mary thinks he is about two years old.  He weighs 10 to 12 pounds and has short brown hair.  She calls him Brownie.  He’s not house-broken so he will need a pen or a fenced yard, but he will make somebody a good little pet and Mary wants to see him go to a good home.  Find out more from Mary at 948-2755.  Over the years she has found homes for many stray dogs…such a Champion!

        Last weekend was surely a good one for long time Champion, Esther Wrinkles.  Her granddaughter, Dianna Harris, came down from Olathe, Kansas to visit with her folks, Lonnie and Verla Mears.  They all came over to Esther’s house and joined Larry and Theresa Wrinkles there for dinner on Saturday.  Making time for family and friends is one of those real Champion things to do.

        When some folks make a washtub bass, they take an old tub and turn it bottom side up and tinker an eye-bolt into the middle of it, generally using a big washer on the inside and locknut.  Then they take a nice length of clothes line and tie it to the eye-bolt on one end and through a hole in one end of a broom handle on the other end of the line.  Some folks cut a notch or groove in the bottom of the broom handle so it can ride on the edge of the tub.  With a small chunk of something on the floor to raise the edge of the tub up a little bit, the musician is all set to go.  With one foot on the tub and the other on the floor, the virtuoso then puts the groove on the rim of the tub and pulls back on the stick to make the line taut and then plucks away, pulling and relaxing the stick to change notes.  It can be a marvel.  There are all kinds of variations and preferences depending upon the virtuoso in question.  On Thursday over at the Junction, diners were treated to an infinitely more sophisticated version.  David Richardson, from out west of Norwood somewhere, has produced the Stradivarius of washtub basses.  His is an upright double bass with a wooden sound board and four strings.  It has regular tuning pegs and a tub big enough for a family bath, though it is clear from its dazzling shine that this tub has never seen any lye soap!  It is just a beauty to look at and David really knows how to play it.  He joined with Sue Murphy, Norris Woods, Jerry Wagner and that welcome visitor, Mr. Hancock of Idaho, plus a number of other regulars to make a lovely evening of music.  Lynette Cantrell came over from Cabool with her mandolin—a rare and welcome treat.  While the General was in attendance, the orchestra seemed well enough peopled and he occupied himself productively working the crowd.  He still hasn’t let the armadillo out of the bag as to the nature of the prizes for the First Ever Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Fair and the 32nd or the 32th–the thirty-tooth is drawing nigh!

        Since the war began in Iraq on March 19, 2003, there have been 4,260 American Military Casualties there.  The total number of wounded is estimated to be over 100,000.  There have been 1,320,110 Iraqi Deaths due to the U.S. invasion.  Since 2001, 667 U.S. Service personnel have died in Afghanistan.  No matter whether one agrees with the philosophies behind these actions, it is understood that the troops serving, those who have returned home, and the families of those who will not return home, all deserve the Love and Gratitude of their Nation.  They are all Champions.

        There was a splash of laughter the other day when a favorite Champion remarked that she had heard that retirement is like giving nuts to a squirrel after he has lost all his teeth!  “When a fellow loves a Maiden, and that Maiden doesn’t love him, it’s the same as when a bald man finds a comb upon the highway!”  That is a translated verse from the old Mexican song “La Cucaracha,” and it kind of expresses the same sentiment that so often life plays a little trick and the result is squandered youth!  Alas!  With Spring so evident, it is a sure bet that Champions will be ‘gathering rose-buds while they may.’

        Champion falls between 6 and 7 in the Arbor Day Foundation Hardiness Zone Map of the United States.  It’s just about the same for the District of Columbia, so out there on the South Lawn of the White House, the First Lady of the Land and a bunch of school children have dug up 1100 square feet to plant a vegetable garden!  It is the first vegetable garden there since Ellenore Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden to feed the troops back during the War.  Some folks will say that there is plenty of natural fertilizer in Washington D.C. and that’s no doubt true.  It is certainly going up and down the roads by the truck loads here.  The number of vegetable gardens in the country is increasing by 40% this year according to the U.S.A. Today people.  Gardeners are a generous and thoughtful lot of people.  It is a good sign during a time when good signs are so much in need.  Champions will watch to see if Mrs. Obama plants by the signs and will wish her every good luck in her endeavor.  One of the Beautiful things about America is the willingness of its people to help each other when things are difficult.  Any number of Champions would be willing to help the First Lady get started.  Ed Henson would tell her to wrap those seed potatoes in newspaper to keep the dirt out of their eyes.  She will no doubt have advice from all over the Country.  Even the scoffs and skeptics and respectful dissenters, sore looser, bigots and fear mongers of the Nation like home grown tomatoes.  “There are just two things that money can’t buy and that’s True Love and home grown tomatoes.”  Linda’s April Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood will soon be available and research is being done to find all the words to the “Homegrown Tomato” song.

        Describe good week ends, pretty dogs, interesting musical instruments at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail any song about tomatoes to Champion News.  Go over to the website to get a picture of a tidy little Champion garden.  Go over to Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  There the gardening advice will flow like honeydew vine water and they are always Looking on the Bright Side!


March 16, 2009

March 16, 2009

CHAMPION—March 16, 2009


        In Champion a man calls his dear silver haired old Mother on his birthday just to say, “Thanks for the trouble you took to have me and I hope you like how I turned out.”  It is a Champion kind of thing to do that a boy takes on as a habit at an early age and it comes out of an atmosphere of optimism and gratitude—looking on the bright side!

        On Tuesday the 10th the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary got together to go over the results of the Chili Supper.  About the time for the meeting to get started at Henson’s Store there came such a deluge of rain that it fell faster than it could soak in or run off.  So there were a few wet feet, but the meeting was well attended.  Only Esther Wrinkles had the good judgment to stay in out of the rain.  She also lives the greatest distance from the meeting place and knew that she would be appraised of all the happenings.  The consensus of opinion was that the Chili Supper was a grand success.  It was a matter of great note that so many braved the elements to attend.  The snow was one of those beautiful snows that comes down in big fluffy flakes.  The second wave of it was the deciding factor for many to stay home and stay safe.  No reports have been received of any difficulties out on the road that night.  At the meeting the Auxiliary members reported on the receipts and wrote thank you notes to the bands and various other folks who had helped with the event.  The meeting was punctuated with laughter and topped off with carrot cake and coffee.

        More news concerning the Skyline VFD Auxiliary has to do with the lovely queen size quilt that was one of the centerpieces of the Chili Supper fund raiser.  The winning ticket for the quilt belonged to Toni and Kurt Clinkenbeard of Ava.  When Esther Wrinkles took the quilt to town to deliver it she was met with a pleasant surprise.  Because of her years of service to the Skyline Fire Department as a founding member, the Clinkenbeards decided among themselves to give the quilt to Esther as a gift.  The Clinkenbeard family has always been a great supporter of the Fire Department and this gift to Esther is just another example of their good community spirit.  The further news is that Esther has decided to donate the quilt back to the Fire Department!  The Auxiliary will be pleased to be able to offer the chance to win this quilt again at the summer Picnic!

        A pair of marauding mules have been wandering freely about the Champion community.  The storekeeper at Henson’s store was kept busy fielding reports of their whereabouts for several days.  They are a beautiful matched pair of young mules.  One has short white stockings on the rear feet but otherwise they are perfectly matched, tall with thick black coats.  For several days they wandered about nibbling the new grass but leaving the daffodils and other bulbs alone.  They are not shy–they will look right in a window.  They have been corralled over in Champion—East waiting the interest and effort of their owner who is said to live down on the Fox Creek road somewhere.  Things are never dull in Champion.

        Plumbers Junction, over a little North of East Champion, was certainly a happening on Thursday.  The General led the band that included an itinerate yodeling fiddler, Jerry Somebody (“Waiting for a Train”) from over in West Avee.  Sue Murphy (“Just Because”) and that banjo player (“Frauline”) kept things going.  Brother and Sister Green Mountain Messengers (“Orange Blossom Special”) joined in comfortably.  Then some fellow came in with signatures all over the face of his guitar, a nice hair cut, and some kind of electronic tuning device attached to the pegs of the guitar.  The gadget appeared to work because he fit right in singing several good songs and it was all most harmonious!  A certain Mr. Hancock from up Idaho way sang a stirring rendition of “I Saw the Light.”  When he realized that his cousin, The General, is personally putting up the prize for the First and Second Place winners of the First Ever Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Fair, Mr. Hancock saw the opportunity to continue his sojourn in the warmth of the Relative South (with his relatives, Sister Peggy,  He is rumored to have an entry for the Art Fair which has yet to be presented to the jurors.  It seems that all those Cousins get kind of jittery when there is a jury involved.  The General was so jumpy Thursday that he was seen several times handing his guitar over to a mandolin player while he just sat staring off into space.  He must be doing some serious planning or conjuring to come up with the appropriate prizes.  The General seldom fails to surprise if not delight.  (He may also just be turning loose of that guitar when a song comes up that does not require the three cords he knows.)  The 32nd will soon be here and he is under pressure.

        Champions are sure that Spring has not arrived too soon.  Potatoes are going in the ground and truck loads of manure are being driven about and evenly distributed.  It is all so exciting.  The economy has lots of people thinking about growing food.  Seeds have become expensive.  Gardeners are routinely some of the most friendly and generous people in any community.  To be able to share the harvest and abundance with others is one of the real products of gardening.  As the soil warms and frost seems less of a threat there will more sharing of starts and information, lore and advice.  Linda’s almanac is available in the Link section of the site.  She has copies available at the Plant Place in Norwood.  Occasionally one can be found at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  A person can read it while they stand around the stove trying to soak up the lore.  This is not lore, but a pure true story that has probably already been told around several stoves.  It was about last Wednesday evening, the 11th, when five of the stalwart , virile, city fathers of Champion, including the mayor, the head of the tenants association, the absentee landlord, the neighbor on the hill, and the self proclaimed mushroom king of Champion got their collective rear ends kicked trying to load one small calf in a trailer.  It must have been a comedy of epic proportions.  Unless everybody clams up about it more will be revealed.

        Expressions of Love and Gratitude for their service can be written to U.S. Service Personnel in care of any Veterans’ organization.  They have contacts.  They have an understanding of the sacrifices made by military families and they appreciate the acknowledgment.

        Acknowledge faith, good fortune, community, family, friendship and Music at Champion Items, Rt, 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO, 65717.  Epic comedies are welcome at Champion News.  Stand on the porch at Henson’s Store and look down the broad expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  It’s getting green out there and the place is simply dazzling—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 9, 2009

March 9, 2009

CHAMPION—March 9, 2009


        Champions are awakening to beautiful greening yards full of daffodils and robins.  The word of the day is optimism.  Many Champions have their taxes done and can just start visiting their favorite mushroom spots in anticipation.  Some of the waiting is already over for one Champion from Champion-East.  He has picked his first tick of the year!  The seasons roll by and Champion is the ideal spot to view them in their steady passing splendor.

        The Champion mail-boxes have been busy.  Another newsy letter has come to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO from Oklahoma friend, Ethel McCallie.  She reports on her Tennessee cousin, Darrell Haden, that he isn’t doing too well currently and that she sure misses visiting with him on the phone.  She went on to talk about what it was like during the great depression when her family was out in the Imperial Valley in California.  “We were simply starving under Hoover.  They called jack rabbits ‘Hoover Hogs.’  A poor ole jack rabbit sure didn’t dare show his head, if he did, he’d be sure to get shot.  Oh yes!  I can remember those depression days very well.  But Roosevelt sure got things going—soup lines and shelters for the starving ones living on the streets, and he created a lot of jobs like ‘CCC’ camps and ‘WPA-CWA.  My husband worked on both of those and my brother was in the CCC.  My dad got a farm loan, bought milch cows and sold milk.  FDR didn’t fool and piddle around.  He really helped the poor folks to get back on their feet so’s they could do for themselves.  They didn’t want charity or handouts—just wanted to be able to do for themselves on their own.  Roosevelt was the first president I voted for.  I turned 21 that year.  I like our new President and I think if they’d not keep trying to tie his hands, he’d get some things done that’s badly needed done.  I remember when FDR was elected, they tried to do him the same way, but they didn’t get the job done—but he did!  We were starving under Hoover!”

        Mail to the site came from Michael Greengard who said, “I learned the song you call “Take Me Back to Where I Came From” (with only slightly different words) from my late father, who grew up in St. Louis.  If he ever told me where he heard it, I don’t recall.  Can you tell me who wrote it and who (if anyone) first recorded it?”  Uncle Al—The Lonesome Plowboy used to sing the song that he called “Whur the Mocking Bird is Singing in the Lilac Bush,” but he only remembered from the part that said, “I met a man in Kansas City and he asked me if I thought that I would like to step around….”  Mrs. Catherine Coffman of Mountain Grove, Missouri filled in the first verse that says, “I’m going back to whur I come from, where the honey suckle smells so sweet it darn near makes you sick…”  She says that the singer Phil Harris recorded it.  A search of his recordings did not reveal a title that sounded like the song, however, there were many good ones:  “The Preacher and the Bear,” “I’m My Own Grandpa,” “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” and “If You’re Ever Down In Texas Look Me Up.”  “If You’ve Got Someplace to Go, Go Ahead” is another of the Phil Harris recordings that sounds like it could be pretty lively.  While not much was learned about the song in question during this research, it is clear that as surely as one thing leads to anther, with adequate time stumbling around from one wonderful musical website to another, marvelous discoveries will be made and chances are reasonable that all will be revealed concerning “Whur I Come From.”  Meanwhile, Champions are most interested in learning any version of the song and hope Mr. Greengard will share his.

        The third letter came to the Champion at address.  It is from Belizean, Rebecca Quexacotl who has relished sylvan afternoons on Champion hillsides and shares this philosophy about the ‘opportunity to respond.’  “You have the opportunity to respond to whatever happens in your world.  And the way you respond determines the quality of your life.  What matters most is not what happens to you.  What matters most is the way you respond.  You can respond any way you choose.  So choose those positive, empowering responses that will move your life forward.  It may seem in certain situations that a negative response is the only possible response, and yet that is never the case.  Always, a positive response is just as possible, just as realistic, and a whole lot more beneficial.  Get clear on your purpose and know your intentions.  Respond to whatever happens in a way that moves your life in the direction you have chosen to go.  For the opportunity to craft your own response to each event in life is indeed the opportunity to set the direction of your life.  Remember always that you have a choice, and use that choice to add great value to your world.”  Perhaps summer will find Ms. Quexacotl reveling out on the Champion scenic overlook again.

        A trip for chicken manure on a cold day turned colder as the old truck broke down on the road and the double cousins had to be rescued by Linda from over at the Plant Place who took time from her busy transplanting to transplant the two in out of the cold wind and back to their place—63 words with no punctuation.  That Linda is a good neighbor and her gardening friends have a new old truck already full of manure and life goes on.  Things are really starting to percolate over at Linda’s place.  Her new almanac is out for March and it sure gets the gardeners excited—it’s a doosey!  It can be seen on the www.championnews website over on the right hand side under Champion Links or pick up a copy in person at The Plant Place.

        A chance glance at the world news shows it the to be in an uproar everywhere.  Champions appreciate their peace and tranquility and extend good thoughts and best wishes for the whole troubled world to be so sweet a place.  When the soldiers come home from the dangerous places where they have sacrificed to serve their Nation, let them be met with Love and Gratitude and Help.  The seriousness of the Veterans’ situations cannot be overstated.

        As the 32nd of March rapidly approaches, Armadillo Rights Activists (ARA) from over at Spotted Hog are rallying to protest the General’s planned First Biennial Armadillo Round Up and Art Festival in Champion.  (If a jack rabbit is a ‘Hoover Hog’ then an armadillo is welcome in Spotted Hog and they can just keep them over there.)  Ideally, the Art Show is accepting only two-dimensional entries–flat and painted (with spots?).  All others will be automatically entered into the Great Elimination.  Details have yet to be revealed as the General is being secretive if not furtive.  There is a fine line between a festival and a circus.  Perhaps the General will remember that this time.

        Harley and Barbara are in town for the nonce.  They have a requirement of a certain amount of time in Champion annually just to keep their spirits up and their humor lively.  Champion always benefits from Harley’s lovely singing voice and Barbara’s sense of style.  They make a lovely place more lovely.  Find them and other Champions enjoying each other’s company around the stove or out on the front porch at Henson’s Store taking in the sites.  From the North Side of the Square there is a broad view down Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 2, 2009

March 2, 2009

CHAMPION—March 2, 2009


        Champion joins with Sister-City Skyline in celebrating another successful Skyline Ladies Auxiliary Chili Supper!  The snow kept coming and so did the people.  The wind howled and the music soared.  The hot wholesome food warmed the bodies and the hearts were warmed by fellowship with old friends and family—much loved but seldom seen.  And the pie—beautiful Pie!  M.C. Steve Moody opened the musical program with a tribute to Champion Lonnie Krider, saying that his absence was conspicuous.  In very few words he expressed the feeling of the community that he loved and that loved him.  He was a founding member and staunch supporter of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department and an elegant musician with great appreciation for humor.

        The silent auction at the Skyline Chili Supper always has some interesting items that bring in good money for the Fire Department.  There was a certain hand made wooden car planter that received a lot of attention and a big basket of hand-picked Rio Grand Valley grapefruit and oranges are being enjoyed by a lucky bidder.  Somebody got a very fancy Vitamaster treadmill at an amazing price.  There were a great many wonderful things on the block and it says great things about the community that people are so generous with their donations and so generous in their bidding.  One of the items was listed as “Jesus Picture.”  It was a print of the well-known image in an 8”x 10” frame.  Teresa Blakely opened the bidding with $1.00.  Sharon Woods came along and bid $3.00 and Teresa later raised it to $4.00.  Sharon raised it to $6.00 and Teresa upped that bid to $8.00.  After fifteen bids Teresa won the bid at $35.00. Then she gave the picture to Sharon as a gift!  Fun and friendship are always well represented.

        Janet Taber, of Almartha, who writes for the Ozark County Times is a regular visitor to Champion.  An e-mail from her says, “…..A few weeks ago you mentioned a teacher struck by lightning:  the event was purported to have taken place near Champion.  Perhaps I can shed some light on that topic.  In the August 21, 1890 edition of the now-defunct Ozark County News, the following news item was published:  On last Wednesday, Martin Smith, son of W.A. Smith, was struck by lightning and killed while in a school room teaching, on Brixey, in the north part of the county.  The school was in session at the time and some fifty pupils were in the school house.  A thunder shower was passing over, and a tree near the school was struck by lightning and at the same time the electricity came down the flue and struck the teacher killing him instantly.  Many of the children were shocked by the stroke but none were seriously injured.  Mr. Smith was an exemplary young man, about 21 years old, just entering upon a life of usefulness.  His sudden death has caused sorrow among all his acquaintance, and we deeply sympathize with his parents in their untimely loss.  I am guessing that this is the incident which some thought took place in Douglas County.  The Smith family, of which this young man was a member, lived at Brixey, and in fact some of their descendants live there today.  The wording of the newspaper item says, ‘on Brixey,’ which probably refers to the fact that the schoolhouse sat very near Brixey Creek.  Brixey is in the northeast part of Ozark County.”  Ms. Taber goes on to have some very nice things to say about Champion.  They are all true.

        A change has been made in government policy that once again allows for the flag draped coffins of returning military personnel to be shown on television and pictured in newspapers.  Now the decision to show these images is made by the survivors of the deceased soldier.  Some want the procedure to be private.  Others want the world to see and recognize the sacrifice of their loved one.  Whatever the decision is, that it is a choice is a remarkable and good change.  The cost of foreign conflict is staggering financially and much of that cost has been hidden.  That the precious human cost is once again visible helps reflect the Love and Gratitude of the Nation.

        The music at the Skyline VFD Chili Supper was a delight!  Those Green Mountain Messengers continue to please.  They are young, enthusiastic and a very talented brother and sister.  They together with Spring creek and the Back Yard Bluegrass kept the place hopping all evening.  “Well, I love my gal.  She’s a little bitty booger.  Just as cute as a bug and sweet as sugar.  I’m agonna buy her a diamond ring and we’ll get married in the Spring!  Do you need any help?  No help wanted.  Could you use a little help?  No help wanted!  Just call on me if you need a little help!  I can handle this job all by my self!”  That tune was new to some…but a sweet old one to others.  Some time has passed since Champions have heard from Tennessee friend and great music lover, Darrell Haden.  Word arrived a while back that he has had some ill health.  Champions wish him well and look forward to more good correspondance with him soon.

        Linda’s almanac is available again over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  She is busy getting things together so that Champion gardeners will have what they need when they need it.  The little dab of snow fixed some nitrogen and gardeners are getting excited though they know the average date of last frost in this wonderful part of the world is May 10th!  People with dirty hands can also be impatient!

        Examples of patience, fun and friendship can be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail any kind of offers for help to Champion News.  Look around in the archives at just to see what can be seen.  There is a lovely picture of a Texas Armadillo Expert who is pleased to inform the General about the true nature of a good armadillo.  His big event, coming up on the 32nd of the month, is already causing controversy.  Those folks from Spotted Hog are rumbling about it and will not let their jealousy rest.  What a sad and forlorn little community like that needs is a bunch of Champions!  Standing around the stove at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square, just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive, Champions can’t help but Look on the Bright Side!