May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009

CHAMPION—May 25, 2009


        Empathy and Compassion vie for prevalence with Love and Gratitude for the top spots in the vast lexicon of sentiment in Champion.  Bully!

        Arlene Cooley called as soon as the paper hit the stands and was gratified to learn that the information concerning the Proctor Reunion as reported here last week was completely erroneous.  She said, “Never have I been so glad to find out something was so wrong!”  It seems she has some interest and perhaps responsibility in that Reunion and she was sure that she had another week to get ready.  Sometimes people will make a mistake just to insure that the subject matter gets enough attention in the correcting of the error.  That is not the case here.  Hopefully every Proctor will be at the appointed place and time.  Wherever that is, they’ll be having a Champion good time!  Ruby could not be reached for comment.

        All families have their quirks—little idiosyncrasies that set them apart at the same time rendering them all the more loveable for their childishness and naiveté.  Sue Upshaw does not care for accordion music.  This is not news to the family and not even relevant except that her brother-in-law, The General, fancies himself quite the virtuoso on the accordion.  He has studied the bellows driven free reed aerophone instrument intermittently since last fall…thinking that his time in the Air Force would have given him the advantage.  Alas! In a protracted and unfortunate display of contempt for excellence in music he finally strung out enough notes in the right order that Sue was able to recognize “A Bicycle Built For Two,” and thus put the poor thing to rest.  This occurred at the Denlow School Reunion on Saturday.  Fortunately Phil Blazes quickly cleansed the aesthetic pallet.  His keyboard performance of the Hawaiian Wedding Song was interpreted in dance by Kaye-Hula Hula Upshaw Johnston, Peggy Hancock Hula Hula Somebody, and Cathy Hula Alsup Hula Riley Hula Hula.  Lavish costumes of custom fit grass skirts and exotic floral leis lent authenticity to the piece.  It was a tribute to the Den-aloha Aloha oy Interpretation of the Omens.  Sixty odd attendees at the Den Aloha Lou Ow tacitly agreed that it had been ominous that the big ancient tree had come down just the week before.  Fred Follis, Frank Proctor, Earl and Carol Spencer, Richard Johnston, Steve Kutz, Jimmy Schrader, Robert Upshaw, Pete Proactor and probably others participated in a rapid clean up of that event.  As is true in Champion, a small civic-minded percentage of the population usually justly takes credit for the majority of the accomplishments made.

        “The Armadillo has left the State.”  That is according to Robert Upshaw who officiated at the auction at the Denlow School Reunion.  He was referring to Champion Barbara Krider’s couture armadillo handbag, which she had generously donated to the cause of Denlow.  “I hated to part with it, but I was glad to see it get out of Missouri,” stated Upshaw.  The bidding was contentious and the final outcome was shrouded in secrecy in terms of who actually purchased the object and how much was paid.  An attractive young relative of the late Cletis Upshaw has taken the thing to Kentucky—Fulton, KY.  As more information becomes available concerning the disposition of the piece, determinations will be made about making it public.  An unofficial spokesperson for the Denlow Reunion observed that the attendees were, for the most part, convivial and decorous, in sharp contrast to the behavior of the bellicose mob of last year, which the General had likened to Irish Hillbillies.  Old acquaintances were renewed and people came from far away to remember their youth together.  Any official remembrances are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.

        The up side of the dreary off and on rain and significant humidity is that it’s perfect Perfect weather for transplanting.  Those sturdy fragrant tomato plants with their long hairy stems and rich root balls just want to be planted deep and fed well.  Rita Krider suggested planting some paper matches with pepper plants so that the roots can get the phosphorous that they need.  Someone else thinks that a little powdered milk in the hole with the new tomato plants will help prevent the blossom end rot, which is thought to be a result of a calcium deficiency.  Whatever the method, good record keeping is a great gardening tool.  Relying on memory from one garden season to the next does not always maximize the use of the information.  Garden journals often get neglected about the time the hard work is really underway.  It is a matter of priorities.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 27th and 28th will be most favorable for corn, cotton, okra, beans, peppers, eggplant and other above-ground crops.  Plant seedbeds and flower gardens.  The next really good days for these crops will be the 3rd of June through the 5th.  Recently a patient asked her doctor, “Do you plant by the signs?”  He said, “Does that stuff really work?  Isn’t it just hocus-pocus?”  The gardener held her tongue about how could anyone belonging to the American Medical Association possibly accuse anybody else of ‘hocus pocus?’  Finally she returned that the garden lore found in almanacs and other sources is based on an accumulation of the knowledge of record keeping gardeners and astronomers over a period of centuries.  Modern medicine is much more recent.  In any event, Linda will be happy to discuss any garden lore, philosophies, procedures and successes and failures.  Just stop by.

        Over in the Arlington National Cemetery, Section Sixty is the saddest acre in America.  The Old Guard oversees the planting of the Veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan there.  On Memorial Day twelve more names were added to the honor roll of fallen soldiers on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.  The youngest was 19 years old and the oldest was a man from California named Hutchison who was 60.  A soldier named Brooks from Joplin, MO died there recently.  He was 38 years old.  Champions remember those who serve every day with Love and Gratitude.

        Tennessee boys are loose in Champion again.  They have been busy helping out on the farm, playing with the little cousins, continuing their good connection with their mother’s home place.  It is a nice tradition to carry on.  Champion spirits are always uplifted by their presence.

        “Where were you on the night of June the 3rd?  Where were you on the night of June the 3rd?  Did you meet a stranger?  Did you take a walk?  Was you heart in danger?  You better talk!  Just remember I heard every word.  ‘Cause we were together on the night of June the 3rd!”  That date is coming up so it will be a good time to take note.  It is a Fat’s Waller tune.  He played a great stride piano and sang, “Don’t let it bother you, if now and then castles tumble, never grumble, count from one to ten.  A smile is a frown upside down.  Turn that frown upside down and smile!  Sing!  La da da di da di zing zing zing!”

        E-mail examples of hocus pocus to Champion News.  Keep looking for pictures of the great Armadillo Handbag (couture) on the website  Step out on the porch at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion and freely express your views.  (Rush Limbaugh ‘earns’ $123,287.67 per day—including Sundays and holidays–$45 million a year, expressing his.)  Express your views, belt out a joyful song, or just let your gaze wander about the broad expanses of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive where every step of the way is fraught with history and optimism.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009

CHAMPION—May 18, 2009


        If asked, “How do you like ‘em?” Champions will say, “Sunnyside Up, Please!”  Some might be talking about eggs, but this time of year almost every question relates to the weather.  The Boston Globe reported that Dr. David Mischoulon, a specialist in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), says that the addition sunlight exposure that comes from daylight savings time means potential cheerfulness for our souls.  Champions, like Paul, have learned in whatever state they are, to be content.  The additional sunlight that comes from the end of weeks of rain and gloom has, however, raised the contentment level in Champion to an unprecedented level.  The new week had not even begun when the hum of haymaking machinery was being echoed up and down valleys and lawn mowers were going at break neck speed.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 23rd will be good for planting root crops and the 24th will be favorable for planting beans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, peppers and other above ground crops.  Gardeners in low-lying areas are still a little concerned about an odd late frost.  Up on the ridges things are already in and growing to beat the band.

        Saturday saw a big clean up project at the Skyline VFD Picnic grounds.  The recent storms going all the way back to Hurricane Ike, a category 4 storm, last September have brought down a lot of trees in the picnic grounds.  Six firefighters and three or four auxiliary members spent the day up to about 1:30 in the afternoon hauling brush and cutting wood.  They brought in a backhoe to level out the ground where the root balls of the huge trees had been up ended by the big winds.  The same core group of hard workers that constitute the backbone of the fire department were there to accomplishe the task with the same good spirit of community service that makes Skyline a Champion kind of place!  There is more work to be done before the annual picnic which will be on the 14th and 15th of August so there will be time for the Johnny Come Latelys to get in on the action and the fun.

        Another big tree, one of the ancient ones, just inside the cemetery at Denlow came down in a storm the other night.  Some Proctors and Upshaws and others cleared the debris away in preparation for the 23rd Annual Denlow School Reunion, which will occur on Saturday the 23rd.  Students, teachers, board members and friends will gather at the old school with the festivities starting about 11 in the morning.  At two in the afternoon the much-anticipated Auction will occur.  One of the items on the block will be the famed couture armadillo handbag generously donated to the Denlow community by Champion Barbara Krider.  As a one of a kind object d art, the piece will be on display at Henson’s Store in Historic Downtown Champion until Thursday when a courier is expected to transport it to Vanzant where it will be placed in the custody of General Upshot for safekeeping until the auction.  While the efficacy of that move is debatable, the commitment has been made and Champions will simply hold their breaths and hope for the best.  A complete numbered set of Champion picture postcards has been pledged.  Fae (Upshaw) Krider-President of the Board was heard to say that she plans a trip over to The Gift Corner in Norwood to find some additional items for the auction.  She has a good eye for appealing things and Charlene has a good selection.  It will be worth the wait to see what all is brought forward and who walks away with what.

        There will be lots of Proctors in attendance, many from as far away as Oregon!  They will have their family reunion on Sunday and will use the Denlow School Reunion to get themselves in the mood for fun!

        Secretary of Defense Robert Gates refers to himself as the Secretary of War.  He said, “Every single person in combat today I sent there, and I never forget that for a second.”  As Memorial Day approaches it is good to know that the person in charge of the Military has deep respect, Love and Gratitude for all those serving.  He joins Champions in those sentiments.

        Mary Graham still has the little dog, Brownie, at her house.  She would sure like to find him a nice home.  She thinks the little dog needs a little boy!  Brownie is about a 20 pound dog, part healer and maybe a little Jack Russell.  He is about two years old and is a very loving and playful little fellow.  Mary is at 948-2755.  She grew up over in Florida and Alabama and has a lot of interesting stories to tell.  Her Daddy had bought a big Morgan horse that had started out to be a saddle horse.  Somewhere along the way the horse had been abused and mal-handled so she was too ornery to ride.  Mary’s Daddy got her at a good price to make a stock horse out of her to pull wagons and the like.  When Mary and her 3 brothers and sisters got home from school one day and found the horse there, they were very excited.  They had never had a horse before.  The four of them got busy and brushed her up and combed her tail.  Mary braided up her mane in lots of little braids and tied ribbons on them.  Their Daddy came in after dark and warned the kids to stay away from that mean horse, saying that she was a killer.  Wasn’t he surprised to find her all dolled up the next morning?  They named her Dolly and she proved out to be a gentle beast that never hurt a child or chicken.  That story was brought to Mary’s mind during a conversation about horse-trading in general.  It is a fine art practiced in these parts and one enters into the practice with the caveat:  “buyer beware!”

        May 18th marks the 97th birthday of Exer Hector.  She was born in Kaufman County, Texas and was an excellent horse trader.  She almost always got the better end of the deal, but always allowed her trading partner the dignity of saving face.  She never rubbed their noses in their losses.  She was an organic gardener before it was cool.  She was a talented artist with a keen eye for beauty, a sharp wit and sense of humor that showed up in surprising ways.  Her patients and gentle spirit were balanced nicely with her complete willingness to point out exactly where the coon crap was on the pump handle at any time.  Her youngest child has now lived longer than she did.  Champions always remember their Mother’s birthdays.  Her favorite songs were “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” and “Trouble in mind, I’m blue, but I won’t be blue always. You know the sun’s gonna shine in my back door someday!”

        Paul also said to meditate on whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report, virtuous or praiseworthy.  Examples of any of that kind of thing or any kind of Sunnyside song are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717 or at Champion News.  Go down to Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive to get a good look at Barbara’s couture object d art.  (There will be some good pictures of it posted on the website a at  Then go out on the porch and shake your head.  Any way you look in Champion you’re Looking on the Bright Side!


May 11, 2009

May 11, 2009

CHAMPION—May 11, 2009


        In Champion, as well as in many nations around the world, the second Sunday in May is celebrated as Mother’s Day.  A woman named Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrase in 1912, and Woodrow Wilson signed the Congressional Bill that made it a law.  Flowers and cards, phone calls and appropriate little gifts were the usual fair in Champion.  Mothers were touched at the thoughtfulness of the young ones while remembering their own good examples for the role.  Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman came to hang out with their Grammie and Ms. Powell’s grandson, Bryan, spent the day with her in Champion.  Another of her grandsons, Travis, had been to see her late last week together with his wife and their two little ones.  Children are wonderful, grandchildren are terrific, and great grandchildren are just amazing!  Champion!

        Friday’s storms caused damage all around the country.  The post office in Norwood lost some of its roof and there were many big trees blown down.  Some were broken but many were just blown out of the rain soaked ground.  There will be a lot of clean-up going on for a long time.  Champions will take it in stride and continue to be Grateful that it was not worse.  The broad expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive was only lightly sprinkled with debris and so when Bud Hutchison’s trail ride came trough on Saturday things appeared to be entirely orderly.  Only nine made the ride this year.  One was heard to make a remark about ‘fair weather cowboys’ indicating that threatening weather had caused some to stay home this time.  Some might have been dealing with storm damage.  The same amount of enjoyment that the forty or so riders had last year was concentrated on this year’s small group and they uniformly reported having had a delightful ride.  It is a 13 mile round trip from Champion to Drury and back.  “May your horse never stumble.  May your cinch never break.  May your belly never grumble or your heart ever ache.”  That’s a good cowboy sentiment.  Bob Heard makes this ride as often as he can.  He lives over forty miles west of Springfield, but gets down this way whenever Bud’s got a ride going on.  A couple of weeks ago the two of them and four others made a 40 mile trip from Emerson’s Trout Farm through Vera Cruz and then over to Champion and Cold Springs and back again.  Bob says that Bud knows all the roads.  It took the best part of a beautiful day and they had a good time.

        Let the Good Times Roll!  That was the sentiment earlier in the week when a couple of couples came to Champion to kick up their heels.  Galen and Angilee Neher and Wayne and Doris Moore chose Champion as the place to celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.  They live in Mountain Grove but sought out Champion’s charm to commemorate their double wedding ceremony, which must have occurred in 1945!  Among the four of them there is a brother and sister, and the rest are all mischboucha (related but not blood kin) but Champions failed to find out which ones were which, though there are only a couple of possibilities.  Still, possibilities are always ripe for a good time in Champion.  Niagara Falls may have its spectacle, its honeymoon attraction, noise, commercial development and international border, but Champion has its Bright Side!

        Only 1360 points separated high and low at the Fortnight Bridge game hosted by Champion on Saturday.  Charlene Dupre sat in for the Vera Cruz player who was busy with the Audubon bird count.  She walked off with $1.50 as the low scorer.  Champion won $2.00 in nickels which means that during the course of the evening there were twenty unsuccessful contracts bid.  Sisters, Charlene and Linda, finished up their day with the bridge game after having had a busy day at the Plant Place and Gift Corner in Norwood.  The season is full blown for planting vegetable and flower gardens.  The 14th and 15th will be good days to plant late beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and other root crops.  That’s according to Linda’s Almanac.  May is called the Corn Planting Moon, but the ‘signs’ will not be favorable again for above ground crops until the 24th.  The wet weather has some running late getting things planted.  So far, Dustin’s Grandpa’s saying about rain on Easter Sunday means rain the next seven Sundays in a row…is turning out to be pretty close.  The first Sunday after Easter was dry until after midnight, but then it came a nice rain.  Champions will not complain about two or three more damp Sundays.  Champions don’t ever complain about the weather!

        An interesting article in a national newspaper talks about a 61 year-old Vietnam veteran who was drafted at age 19.  He went to the service willingly and did his duty.  He came home with a bullet in his head, a fairly useless left arm and a dragging foot.  He finished his education and became a civil engineer.  Now he teaches drafting at a high school in an economically depressed area.  He is a patient person, likes teaching and is well liked by the students.  His classroom is located on the hallway where the military recruiters meet with the students and where the Junior ROTC members meet.  When the No Child Left Behind law came into effect, the military services were given the same access to students as college recruiters.  The teacher loves his school and his students and said that in a way they have become his children.  He says that he recognizes the need for national defense, but that he feels that high schools students are too young and unformed to really question what they are told and that the intensity of the recruitment seems very like exploitation, particularly in low income areas of the country.  The teacher researched the law to determine to what extent the schools are required to assist the military and found that there is a good deal of latitude.  “I did a very good job for the military, but it’s torn me up for my whole life.”  He grew up in a small town and is content with his life as a good husband and grandfather, but he is still troubled by his military experience.  He wants the kids to know that it’s not a joke.  He has Love and Gratitude for those who serve and those who have served and for those who will.

        Guy Clark, popular song-writer of “Home Grown Tomatoes” and many other worth while songs wrote words to Soldiers Joy 1864:  “First I thought a snake had got me it happened dreadful quick.  T’was a bullet bit my leg, right off I got sick………..Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy, you know what I mean.  I don’t want to hurt no more my leg is turning green.”  The words seem to fit into the well-known fiddle tune, though they are lengthy and gory.  A person might just have to sit on the porch at Henson’s Store and pat his foot to mental music sometimes.  Any other words to Soldiers Joy are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion News.  Listen to a nice version of When Johnny Comes Marching Home at  Ramble around on that site to find a few more songs and lots of nice pictures of Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!


May 4, 2009

May 4, 2009

CHAMPION—May 4, 2009


        Champions know that “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”  That is another jewel of Champion wisdom from Longfellow who also said:  “Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; behind the cloud is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.”  Champions are just grateful for the rain, knowing that the gentle way it has fallen this time is just a nice boost to the water table.  Undaunted by dark and dreary, between drops they are out watching the gardens growing and pulling weeds.  When the ground is so wet even a big old dandelion will sometimes just slip out of the mud with only a little pulling.  Sometimes the sound of the roots being torn from the ground puts thoughtful gardeners into thinking about the sodbusters when the prairies were being turned over for the first time.  Sodbuster generations later it is a wholesome and wonderful sound full good farming lore and family history.  Indigenous ears hear it differently and hearts still break at the taming of the earth.  Perspective is rife in Champion.  “What’s old Hanks wads worth anyway?”  One asks, “Wads of what?”

        This time last year Bud Hutchison’s Trail Ride was being arranged and riders from all around the area were getting ready for their annual outing.  It was a fine day for it and the ride went off ‘without a hitch.’  They are doing it again and this year the riders will congregate at Champion about 10 in the morning on Saturday and take a nice ride over to Drury.  They will get back to Champion about 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon, so it is a good chance for folks to join in the ride or just to enjoy the spectacle.  Forty or fifty people horseback, the squeaking of saddle leather, and general horse noises and smells make for some fine entertainment.  Probably somebody will be singing, “Old Paint’s a good pony.  He runs when he can.  Good morning, young lady.  My pony won’t stand.  Goodbye…”  Perhaps they will talk about that Kentucky Derby winner and wish they had had two dollars down on him…at 50 to one odds…a good investment.

        Several Champions spent the rainy week under the weather with various combinations of flu symptoms.  Most have made a good recovery or are, at least, well on their way to recovery.  The notion of a flu that spreads quickly around the world is a matter of no small concern in the crossroads of America.  Champion connections are far reaching and the truth of it is that no place is ‘safe.’  Champions drink a lot of good water; wash their hands often; get lots of wholesome exercise, and pay attention to their surroundings.  The Center for Disease Control has many smart, productive people working on problem.  President Obama said that under the administration of former President George W. Bush, a sophisticated system was set up that allows for the fast dissemination of information and material to the whole nation in a very short period of time.  Champions understand the importance of each doing his part.

        Swarming hummingbirds kept some of those ailing Champions entertained during the wet week.  It doesn’t take much for some.  Bird watching seems more productive than watching the news.  Senator Patrick Leahy wants to indict the former president and vice president on charges that amount to war crimes.  European activist want the International Criminal Court, which was established in 2002, to file on Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity.  The current President does not seem to want to spend valuable time in punitive exercises, but rather seems intent on working on current critical problems.  The heirs of Apache chieftain Geronimo, however, are suing senior federal government officials, Yale University and Skull and Bones, Yale’s oldest secret society.  They are suing for the return of the old warrior’s skull, which is said to have spent most of the last century in the society’s High Street tomb on the campus of Yale in New Haven, Connecticut.  Geronimo died of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but the suit alleges that members of the society exhumed the remains around 1918 and placed them in the society’s tomb.  It has long been suggested that Prescott Bush, father of the 41st president was among the group allegedly involved.  Membership rolls include George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, John Kerry, and William F. Buckley and many other prominent, powerful and wealthy men,  If they win the suit, plaintiffs hope to re-inter Geronimo in a site close to his birthplace, in the Gila Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico.  Geronimo’s descendants are legally entitled to ownership of his remains and any funerary objects buried with him under the provisions of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  Champions would not like to see local cemeteries robbed of their Champion bones.  Even the General would stand guard at the Denlow Cemetery if it came to that.  Maybe that’s what he is doing when he is seen haunting the place any day of the week.

        The official death count of U.S. Service Personnel in the War in Iraq is now up to 4,283.  The most recent fatality was May 2nd.  Injures are estimated to be ‘over’ 100,000.  The total number of dead on all sides and the total number of injuries sustained is not a readily available figure.  What is available is the opportunity to express the Love and Gratitude that Champions share with the rest of the Nation when it comes to appreciating the efforts of those who serve.

        Manuel and Sue Hutchison were down from Iowa for a few days so that Manuel could go to his 50th high school class reunion.  Louise said they had a great time and about ten of the family went over to the Junction for fish on Friday.

        The official date for the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Picnic is August 14th and 15th.  That is according to the Fire Chief and he should know.  May Day celebrations were rained out.  The next Big event after Saturday’s Trail Ride will be the Annual Denlow School Reunion.  There is time for that to come together well if certain influences can be managed.

        The long-range weather forecast does not seem to include a frost…though it did thunder in February.  By the time this issue of the paper hits mail boxes there will probably be dust blowing on the roads.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood shows that Thursday and Friday will be good days for planting above ground crops.  The next favorable time for above ground crops is on the 24th.  Meanwhile, the 9th-11th, the 14th and 15th, and the 19th and 20th will all be good for planting crops that have their yield below ground.  There is a lot of good information in the almanac and it is free.  Sometimes there is a copy at Henson’s Store, they are available at the Plant Place and on a link at the website.  Champion website designer and administrator, Carol Cleveland, has made a beautiful e-newsletter for Linda.  What a technological savvy part of the world.  Champion!

        Some old Champion mothers are pulling a switch on their kids by sending them cards for Mother’s Day!  “Thanks for letting me be a Mother!” they say, and “You have improved my life!”  Very clever those old girls!  Champion notions.

        Interesting notions, and good sunny-side songs are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Interesting stories about census takers, grave robbers or revenuers can be e-mailed to Champion News. Get out on the porch at Henson’s Store on Saturday and perhaps see “a cute little thing that lives by the spring in the Valley!  Every day she goes by with her head held up high, like a high-stepping filly.”  Watch for her among the mounted legions on Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  If you’re in Champion, you’re Looking on the Bright Side!