June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

CHAMPION—June 29, 2009

        Champion is a relaxed and happy place where industrious people are ready to jump up and do what needs doing and they never tire of doing good.  Being always ready is the state of equipoise and Champion is full of it.  No one confuses being relaxed with idleness and a busybody has to put out a prohibitive amount of effort to work much mischief at all.

        A letter from Eva Henson Phillips of Oklahoma City says “The Ava, all school, high school Picnic was held at Lake Springfield on June 13th.  Champion school was well represented by:  Vivian Krider, Glenna Lambert, Eva Henson.  Pete Robertson, of Republic, MO. also attended.  His wife, Miss Vivian, taught at Champion in the 1940’s.  We had a good visit about the one room school we attended.”

        Correcting an error from last week, Prince William’s last name is Windsor, not Spenser.  Spencer was his mother’s maiden name.  He is Prince William Arthur Phillip Louis of Wales and while he is only about 27 he has accomplished a great deal in life already.  Of course, much is expected.

        It is expected that the Forth of July Celebration in Champion will be marked with much solemnity and humility this year.  Gratitude goes to the Founding Fathers and Mothers and to the previous patriotic generations who have defended the beautiful Constitution against all threats both external and internal since the United States of America was founded in 1776.  Other nations in both hemispheres are currently in turmoil with questions concerning the legitimacy of regime changes.  This country exemplifies democracy in the sweetest way.  If a person were in Washington DC over the Fourth of July he could meet up with other marchers at 7th Street on Constitution Avenue at 11:45 a.m. Eastern time and proceed all the way to 17th Street.  The National Parade features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and VIPs.  Champion VIPs will stroll down Lonnie Krider Memorial Way.  They will come in from the South down the portion of the thoroughfare that has previously been known as the “Old Road.”  It was the main road prior to the construction of the black top of WW some time back in the 50’s…It is the road that Lonnie and his siblings used to walk to school at Champion.  It is the road to everywhere.  It goes past the church that used to be the school, past Henson’s Store and out the East end of town without ever encountering a speck of pavement.  Champion marchers will carry Love and Gratitude in their hearts for all those who serve the Nation in and out of uniform.  Champions Love of their Country.

        Esther Wrinkles has been celebrating her birthday for a solid week.  Her friends Louise and Sharon with their spouses took her out to supper at the Cajun Kettle on Tuesday.  Sister, Irene, took her to the Golden Coral on Thursday.  On Friday, the Slagels treated her to supper at Plumbers and then Sunday there was a big lunch at church for her including a lovely cake made by daughter-in-law, Theresa.  Esther was surprised further when later on Sunday evening a planned small gathering turned into a house full of 15 family members to help her get her partying done.  There was three gallons of homemade ice cream and no small amount of fun and laughter as her 92 years were acknowledged!  Esther is a Champion!  Another Champion is commemorating 70 years on the planet!  What a guy!  A Champion fellow, if ever there was one!

        So much of gardening is observation.  A quick eye can spot an insect infestation before it gets out of hand.  One old Champion has found her first green tomato hornworm already.  She doesn’t have a tomato close to ripe yet, but the pests are already beginning to find their favorite foods.  Plants are being traded still out among friends and it is reckoned that corn can be planted as late as the 15th of the month with the expectation of a harvest.  Choosing the right variety is important to be sure there is enough growing time left in the season.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood shows that the first through the fourth will be excellent days for planting above ground crops.  By the 8th and 9th the signs will have changed and the crops that bear their yield below ground will be the favored ones to plant.  Sometimes a Champion is busy hoeing the corn and becomes aware of the shadow of a large bird passing overhead.  The brim of her hat or the dazzling sun or her own disorientation may obscure the bird and she may not ever know what bird caused the shadow that had passed over her.  It is an eerie feeling that goes to worldview and perspective.  Bill Pool from over in Tennessee has been sending pictures of his ripe tomatoes.  They are gorgeous.  Too bad, Bill.  While you are certainly a Champion by history, family ties, and sentiment, you simply don’t live here and your Nashville, TN tomatoes do not count toward the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest.  He said, “I grew up 7 miles south of Gentryville on Brushcreek & Bryant, a Cousin to Eva Powell, also you may know my mother, Esther Richmond.”  Ms. Powell began her own birthday celebration on Monday and was expected to be chasing around with daughter, Saundra, and various other loving family.  She smiled to hear about her cousin’s tomatoes and remarked that his mother is in a rest home in Mtn. Grove.  Eva is not growing tomatoes this year, but it is hoped that she has had a Champion Birthday.

        Norwood hosted the Fortnight Bridge group on Saturday and it was quite a close game.  A mere three hundred points separated the winner from the loser.  Norwood won with 4870 points, Champion 4770, Brushy Knob 4790 and Vera Cruz 4570.  There were several slams bid and unbidden and prizes for slams made in previous games were paid out.  The Champion player collected two dollars in old slams, paid in 50 cents for two unbid ones and then recovered those two quarters with another bid one.  Champion!  It was a close and interesting game punctuated with cherry cheese cake.  Champion indeed!

        The mail boxes have been full this week.  Betty Dye sent a lovely story that she has written about her Dad, called The Old Straw Hat.  She wrote it in 2007.  It is a touching tribute to a hardworking family man who taught good life lessons and set a good example.  Look for the story and pictures of Mr. Dye in his hat under Champion Friends at www.championnews.us.

        A Champion Reader, Michael Greengard wrote, “The words I learned from my father for ‘I’m Goin’ Back to Where I come From’ go like this:  ‘I’m goin’ back to where I come from Where the honeysuckle smell so sweet, it durn near makes you sick.  I used to think my life was humdrum But I sure have learned my lesson, and it’s bound to stick.  There ain’t no use in me pretendin’.  The city just ain’t no place for a guy like me to end in.  I’m going back to where come from Where the mocking bird is singing in the lilac bush.’” There are three more verses, each a little different from versions found earlier.  What a song!  Champions at Henson’s Store the other day were still talking about that guy who called himself “Disgruntled Elsewhere.”  It was noted that there is a lot of nice property in Champion for sale if he is so anxious to live here.  Then there was the idea that such a grouchy attitude might make him not the most pleasant neighbor.  Then someone said maybe if he can break free from his encumbrances for a while he aught to just come and rent for a spell to see if it is as wonderful as he thinks it must be and to see if he is a good fit for the community.  He better slip in sort of quiet and give his right name.  He may have predisposed some to be skeptical of him.

        Skeptics are free to write to Champion Items, Rt, 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail music, tomato pictures, examples of patriotism, and good works to Champion News.  Stand out on the veranda at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Look up the hill to the South to see Lonnie Krider Memorial Way emerge from the forest and wind its grassy way down the hill, past the old school, past the old store, and all the way through the Heart of Champion—Look on the Bright Side!


June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009

CHAMPION—June 22, 2009


        In Champion the verdant, voluptuous topography is a delight to the eyes.  For the ears, sound is captured in the folds and creases of the deep hollows and is wound among the steep hills in a mysterious way that obscures its origin.  So the humming drone of the big haymaking machinery is transported to distant places and the hearer may have no idea who is getting his hay in.  Some still early mornings the train whistle can be heard all the way from Norwood.  It is part of the magic of the place.

        Any number of Champions have taken exception to the note from Mr. Elsewhere impugning the qualities of their beloved home.  The inference seemed to be that a strong delusion was being perpetrated to cause readers to believe a lie.  As it turns out Mr. Elsewhere’s sarcasm was but an artful arrangement of words adapted to the purpose of expressing his great wish to live in Champion himself.  Marooned elsewhere with history, family ties, responsibilities and a job, he casts longing glances this way and sees green.  Envy is a brutal companion and jealousy’s green is drab and sad.

        Champion’s own Barbara Krider has been struggling with bad weather in Illinois and with the resultant power outages and all the inconveniences connected with the disruptions.  She may well be glad when her own Haymaker gets home.  The First day of Summer was Linda Krider Watt’s birthday!  She is old enough now to be President of the United States.  She shares her birthday with Prince William Spenser of England.  He will be King someday and he has had many advantages but when he goes home, as Linda often does, he is not in Champion.  It is, however, the Mark of a Champion to be able to be happy no matter what the circumstance, and Champions congratulate them both on their special day.  Another Summer Solstice baby is Kai Parsons, a. k. a. Coyote.  She is home with the folks out West of Ava visiting for a week or so from Portland, OR.  It may be that this is the first trip to the Ozarks for her husband and youngest child, but daughter Sierra has spent lots of time with grandparents Parsons out on the farm.  She will be living the grandchild’s perfect dream of getting to spend two months with the doting old folks.  There will be lots of trips to the creek and reacquainting with summertime friends.  It will add to her lexicon of precious childhood memories.  Champions know they are making memories every day.

        It is expected that somewhere between 75 and 100 people will be attending the Cooley Reunion which will be Saturday, the 27th.  Because of the fire at the Dora White Senior Center last January, the reunion will be held at the First Freewill Baptist Church this year.  Bob and Lily (Cooley) Conrad have fifth wheeled down from Washington State will be joined by others from Washington and some New Yorker family members as well as a mob of other Cooleys, Proctors, Hickses, Alsups, Upshaws, Sheltons and on an on….  It will be a bash.  Nacy Cooley may get to go if the physical therapist says she can.  She is currently in the Autumn Oaks Nursing Home in the rehabilitation wing.  She came for the Reunion, arriving on a Wednesday from her home in Henderson, NV.  On Saturday she broke her hip and has since had a hip replacement surgery, according to Arlene Cooley who is the source for this information.  She said that while Virginia (Proctor) Jacobs was visiting with Nacy in the hospital they talked about how the Cooley family was so well regulated.  That is, they kept regular hours for their meal times and bedtime.  The Proctor family, on the other hand, had twelve children and a much more free wheeling approach to life.  There was fun to be had at Howard and Lola Proctor’s house and Nacy liked to spend time there.  There will be plenty of that kind of visiting going on at the Reunion.  Arlene said that she figured that the General would try to slip in for a while.  He’s everywhere.

        A movie came out in 1955 called More Rivers to Cross.  It was kind of a wholesome, funny frontier story just suited to show in the drive-in for the whole family.  It had a great song, “Oh, the higher up the berry tree, the sweeter grows the berries.  The more you hug and kiss a gal, the more she wants to marry.”  It is true that those blueberries on top of the bushes get ripe first.  Lilly Ridge’s Linnie Ingram was talking last week about all the folks that had come down to Eckart’s Farm in Dora for their blueberries.  It is an outing that has become a tradition among many friends.  A Champion, who usually goes with a friend, made her first solitary trip this year.  The acres of blueberry bushes are laid out in long rows and the bushes are tall and thick so that in some parts of the field people can be as close together as three or four feet and not be able to see each other.  One person picking along quietly then becomes privy to a lot of anonymous conversation.  “He just sits in that recliner and complains about his arthritis.  If he’d get up and do a little something, he would feel a lot better.”  Her friend replied, “Well, Jack just sits on the couch with the remote in his hand by the hour.”  Some younger women were talking about a wedding when one was to have been a bridesmaid.  “It was two days before the wedding and my dress wasn’t ready.  I already had three fittings and it still was no good.  So the night before the wedding I went to Walmart and bought some material and a pattern.  I hadn’t made a garment probably in 17 years.  I was in a hurry so I wasn’t all that detailed about everything, and it was a lot of fun making it.  I didn’t get it finished but the woman finally did get my dress done, and it was OK, but I really liked sewing again.”  She went on to talk about how a little boy was to pedal a toy tractor down the isle, pulling a little girl in a wagon…the flower girl presumably.  The tractor was hard to pedal and there were a lot of people watching him so he wasn’t very happy, but they were both real cute.”  Some young folks about fifth grade age picked berries in a rush in an adjacent row.  They were speaking both English and German at the same time…maybe a half sentence of each.  The subject matter was about a lot of boy-girl stuff, sweet and naive in both languages.  A few rows over some young ladies were singing Amazing Grace and other religious songs in their high pure voices.  Occasionally a little burst of laughter would rise up from among the rows.  It is lovely to have friends to share these beautiful experiences, but also very nice to see the big picture some times.

        Many Champions are thinking about their military service families, sacrificing at home and in dangerous foreign fields.  Those left behind need those expressions of Love and Gratitude from their Nation.

        The Skyline Ladies Auxiliary had a very productive meeting at Esther Wrinkles house on Tuesday.  Groundwork was laid for the Auxiliary’s part in what will be another spectacular Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Picnic.  It will be on August 14th and 15th this year.  The ladies are planning a meeting at the Cook Shack on July 7th and then another at Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion on July 14th.  There is much to do and time is flying by!  What happy days for those who recognize the beauty of the present when it is happening.

        Great Happenings, compassion for the drab and sad, sweet stories of summertime friends and lazy wonderful days at Grandmother’s house are all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Songs like, “Summertime, summertime, sum, sum summertime,” are welcome at Champion News.  Look around on the website at www.championnews.us to read what Peggy Hancock had to say about getting poison ivy while staying with grandparents Jim and Liza Hancock.  It seems that Ed Henson drove her to the doctor in Mt. Grove in his old grocery truck because her grandparents didn’t have a car.  She remembered that Ed was a nice man and that he gave her a grape soda.

        Find a grape soda in the refrigerator at Henson’s Store.  Sit around inside to hear random yarns being spun, or step out on the porch to see an example of Mr. Elsewhere’s BS.  In Champion it’s looking on the Bright Side!


June 15, 2009

June 15, 2009

CHAMPION—June 15, 2009


        In Champion the ratio of the water vapor in the atmosphere to the amount required to saturate it at the same temperature is called relative humidity.  When concrete sweats even though it has just been lying there, there is humidity.  Some say the humidity is bad enough, “Do we need to have relatives too?”  It turns out they are a good thing.  Champions residing in Seymour have had a swarm of relatives helping them to get their roof back on after some storm damage that occurred recently.  Uncle Dusty did say he thought he was getting shingles on his behind and he had a number of other complaints, but none about his relatives.  Those relatives have not just been lying around but have been helping with the grocery bill and getting ready to do the haymaking finally.  They have also been busy with a nice variety of general farm work, including some generous favors for neighbors.  So on balance, relatives are preferable to humidity.  Neighbor’s relatives are some of the best kinds.

        “Hi [Champion].  The East Fairview School reunion was a great.  We had students from Oregon and Arkansas.  We are remembering the deceased students from two years ago and also the deceased veterans from the 22 vets that went to school there and 11 vets that lady students had married.  I called their names and asked veterans that were there to come up front.  We saluted the flag while taps was played.  We had door prizes and [recognition] for the oldest student, youngest student, and farthest distance traveled.  We had auction on the homemade quilt made by Ruby Proctor.  We are planning another one next year . The Proctor reunion was well attended–a lot of talking.  I saw some for the first time also since 1958.  I got a surprise of my life.  My buddy that was in boot camp with me in 1967, met me and my wife in Bass Pro the 3rd of June for the first time since Sept 1967, 42 year ago.  We had a great visit and dinner.  So, bye for now.  Pete”  Champions join Pete in support of all the troops serving everywhere with Love and Gratitude.

        “Dear Champion, Enough of this BS!  If you don’t know ‘BS’ stands for Bright Side.  Don’t you ever get tired of everything being so rosy and pleasant out there in the sticks?  You make the place sound like a roaring metropolis.  Well, I’ve been to Champion and I know that it is not even a wide space in the road.  It is a wide space beside a road and the pavement ends there.  Who are you trying to fool?  Sure, everybody would like to live in a place that is uncommonly beautiful and bountiful with eagles and bears, turkeys and blackberries and good neighbors, but you never mention the ticks and chiggers.  Why the only thing I ever read in your column about chiggers is that somebody said they lower cholesterol!  That’s just an out and out lie.  If you don’t know the rest of the world is out here suffering with a bad economy, corrupt government, crime, despotism, vandalism, tragedy, disease and heartbreak.  Where do you get off?  Disgruntled Elsewhere” This letter comes unbidden and Champions get off C Highway and turn east on WW and go all the way to the bottom of the hill.  Then they are home.  It is a shame that everyone can’t live in such a beautiful place, but then, as this reader points out, there are the ticks and chiggers and there is also the humidity to consider.

        Foster Wiseman has his 4th birthday this week.  The whole community is proud of him and pleased for him to be having such a lively celebration.  He has a whole mess of relatives who have been eating pie and cake in his honor for days!

        Friday and Saturday are designated as good days to plant root crops according to Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  The 17th and 18th are good days to cut hay if the weather cooperates.  Linda is as excited as any about the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest 2009.  She has signed a Congratulatory Gift Certificate for $10.00 to be presented to the winner.  That brings the total cash value of the prize to upwards of twenty dollars and an old fruit jar!  The catch is that the tomato must have been grown in Champion and for contest purposes Champion is defined as where a person casts his ballot.  Voting is not a requirement, but that defines the geographical area under consideration.  The winner must also be willing to share the tomato with the judges who vote if it’s ripe or not and to be photographed with the prize….the tomato will be gone by then.  This is the third annual event.  June 28, 2007 and July 12, 2008 are the dates of the previous wins.  Anticipation is mounting!

        “In the night when the moon is clear You my dear are very near and so warm Like a hot summer day late in June. Remember when we were so young?  We thought that everything was fun, But really life had just begun.  I never want to leave you.  I never want to go.  I just want to be beside you Everywhere you go.”  This song is called “Hot Summer Day” and was written by Danny Kirwan.  The nature of the melody might determine weather it is a sweet song or sort of creepy like a stalker might be singing it.  (Perhaps that note from Mr. Elsewhere is having an effect.)  For sure Summer will be here on Sunday.  Seasons are slipping by and it may happen that suddenly on a sultry summer Sunday someone will sing that song or another one that is sentimental and soothing.

        The Summer Solstice is June 21st.  It is the longest day of the year and it is Father’s Day this year!  The old guy will be fed his favorite pie and the phone will jangle off the hook as grateful sons and daughters make their customary “Gee, thanks, Dad” call.  Mail boxes will be full of cards and a few long overdue letters describing the successes of his children and how they could never have done it without him.  Others will be thinking of their own dear Father and how he worked for his family and the good example that he set.  They will be remembering fishing trips and funny songs and family stories that go way back.

        Examples of good neighboring and stories that go way back may be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Garden lore and salutes to sylvan summer are accepted at Champion News.  Sip a soda and sing a summer song on the porch at Henson’s Store.  It is on the North Side of the Square and looks across the broad expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  Check out the news from way back at www.championnews.us.  In Champion it’s not BS when you’re Looking on the Bright Side!


June 8, 2009

June 8, 2009

CHAMPION—June 8, 2009


        Champions think Ella May Daugherty, of Gentryville, hit the nail on the head with her James Russell Lowell quote: “What is so rare as a day in June.”  He says, “There is no price set on the lavish summer, and June may be had by the poorest comer.”  Champions agree with that sentiment.

        Virginia Jacobs from Bryant Heights and former Champion, Esther Wrinkles, of Vanzant gave good first hand accounts of the Proctor Family Reunion and the Fieldstone Reunion last week.  People are still talking about the fun they had.

        Wally Hopper, now of Republic, MO, writes:  “This is the first time I have written, but I enjoy the Champion articles very much…..”  “The Denlow Reunion was outstanding this year.  Robert Upshaw should have been a stand up comedian.  He did a great job of keeping us laughing and we even had hula dancers.  Many thanks to him, Faye and Kaye and all the others who work so hard to make it a success.  Lots of work goes into this and I want you to know how much we appreciate you!  Also a big thanks to the ones who mow and tend to the graveyard.  It looked beautiful and the rain held off for just enough time to decorate.  For those who didn’t get to come, you missed out on a good time.  It was good to see Bob and Betty Upshaw who came from Iowa.  I spent lots of time with Bob in my young days and we got into a trouble now and then but it is nice to see folks make an effort to attend these things.  I’m afraid our young people do not put the importance on it that we do.  I went to school at Denlow in 1946-1948 and still have a love for this area.  Keep up the good work.  Wally Hopper.”  A Champion who occasionally drives by Denlow notes that the same Robert Upshaw is frequently out there riding or pushing a lawnmower or weed eater.  He seems to be everywhere.  He’ll be playing this Thursday evening with the Wild Bunch over at Gravy Corner.

        “Every clod feels a stir of might, an instinct within it that reaches and towers, and, grasping blindly above it for light, climbs to a soul in grass and flowers,” says Mr. Lowell and so it is in Champion.  A Champion clod ran into Louise Hutchison in Walmart the other day.  She had her sister, Gail Carson, visiting with her from Buffalo, Iowa.  Gail and her husband Dick Carson had arrived Friday in time to see the third sister, Doris Gillis and her husband George who were visiting from Oklahoma City.  They are all reported to much favor Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion over any Walmart.  When asked if she was going to be in contention for the “First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest” again this year Louise replied that she already had a tomato ‘about this big,’ whereupon she indicated a circle with her thumb and forefinger that was about the size of a hen egg.  Later, on the phone, she described it as being about the size of a silver dollar.  Champions will remember the Contest Rules.  1,The Tomato must be Ripe.  2, The Tomato must have been grown in Champion.  3, Grower must be willing to Share the Tomato with judges present at Henson’s Store.  4, Winner must be willing to be photographed with the Prize.  The Prize this year includes A Gift Certificate from the Plant Place in Norwood, another Old Fruit Jar, 1 dozen each regular and wide mouth canning flats, and $5.00 worth of tickets (6 tickets) for chances on the Queen Size Quilt to be awarded at the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department Picnic on August 14th and 15th.

        The Best Things in Life are Free is a song written by B.G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson for the musical “Good News.” “The moon belongs to everyone.  The best things in life are free.  The stars belong to everyone, they gleam there for you and me.  The flowers in Spring, The robins that sing, The sunbeams that shine They’re yours, They’re mine!  And love can come to everyone, The best things in life are free.”  That song came out in 1927.  It is still true.

        The D Day memorial celebrations around the country and around the world remind Champions of the sacrifices made and being made by the people in Our Uniforms and the people who support them.  Of all the good reasons for war there are as many for peace.  “The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions.”  That is another quote from James Russell Lowell.  The nature of conflict is to be in opposition or at a variance and Champions, like all Americans, are Grateful to live in a Nation that allows for differing views.  For those who put themselves in danger to protect the right to differing views, a Grateful Nation acknowledges their sacrifices with Love and Understanding.  Compassion is a Champion thing.

        “When you plant a seed, you learn patience.  You don’t dig it up to see how it’s growing.  You let marinate, You’ve got to let it mull and marinate.”  Mimi Baczewska wrote those lyrics many years ago and the melody accompanies many gardeners in their hearts still as they go about their productive tasks.  Mimi has a deep connection to the Ozarks which makes the Ozarks a more lovely place.  The re-release of her album, Turning Tide, invites old friends and new to join Mimi and her music.  Make the journey from grief to hope, from longing to exhilaration.  It is available from cdbaby.com and is described as heartfelt, reflective, loving, fun and expansive—a rich noveau-folk-jazz genre mix.  Back out in the garden, the 10th through the 12th will be good days to plant root crops according to Linda’s Almanac.  It says that June is the Strawberry Moon.  Lots of strawberries are going into freezers and the blueberry farms are in full swing now for people who like to pick their own.  Blueberries are always up at the top of the lists of healthy foods especially good for the Brain!

        Skyline Ladies Auxiliary members are gearing up for a meeting to get their part of the Annual Skyline VFD Picnic organized.  The picnic will be held August 14th and 15th this year and it promises to be another splendid affair.  As Mr. Hopper pointed out, there is always a lot of hard work that goes on to make these kinds of events so successful.  It’s part of living in such a Champion community!

        Champions celebrating wedding anniversaries in June are full of contented smiles and sighs.  “O, My Love is like a red red rose, that is newly sprung in June.  My love is like a melody. That is sweetly played in tune.”  Robert Burns wrote that poem that suits the occasion well.

        Ramble around on the website at www.championnews.us to find pictures of Champion Tomatoes and a tidy little Champion garden.  Express differing views at Champion News.  Send any kind of encouragements to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Check out the complete selection of Champion picture postcards at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Lowell said, “Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;  Everything is happy now.”  In Champion they know it is because they’re Looking on the Bright Side!


June 1, 2009

June 1, 2009

CHAMPION—June 1, 2009


        As is true in most parts of the world, it turns out that in Champion the flip side of adversity is opportunity.

        By all reports the Proctor Family Reunion was a big success, as was the Fair Grove School Reunion.  How pleasant to live in a part of the world where people still care enough about each other after all these years to want to renew their old acquaintances.  Memories must be sweet to pull them back from so far afield.

        Haymaking is going at a breakneck pace, but no broken necks have been reported.  Champions will keep it that way.  Harley is home for a spell catching up on the farm work and the tranquil surroundings of a country estate.  Barbara was left home in Illinois where she is planning a California adventure, perhaps a buying trip for her burgeoning handbag collection.

        Linda’s June Almanac is ready over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  It indicates that from the third all the way through the seventh will be advantageous for planting.  Late Champions will be getting things in finally so they can start concentrating on the weeding and watering.  It will be a busy season.  Some versions of the almanac went out indicating that June’s flower is the Lily of the Valley.  That is May’s flower.  June’s is the rose!  As temperatures rise and greens collide it is amazing that it is so fast upon us when the winter seemed so very long.  It still is a surprise to see how far the season has progressed.  Some are enjoying big beautiful heads of broccoli already and lots of sugar snap peas.

        Champions over west of Clever Creek were surprised to find a 6’1” snakeskin out in their yard.  The snake had cleverly slipped out of its skin leaving a perfect transparent image of itself, except perhaps a little smaller.  It was not known exactly what kind of snake he was, perhaps a black snake or a bull snake.  These Champions are also enjoying the entertainment of a dozen swooping martins picking mosquitoes out of the air.  Things are not very exciting over their way and that’s just the way they like it.

        Fortnight Bridge was quite an interesting game Saturday.  Hosted by Brushy Knob with Charlene Dupre sitting in for the distracted Champion player, the game belonged to the player from Vera Cruz.  She won six of the seven rubbers played.  All but one were 700 rubbers, meaning that the opposing partnership did not win a game.  There was one unbid slam made by Charlene and the Norwood player who wound up with the low score.  The game was over by 11:30 and with such unbalanced hands and distribution everyone was glad, with the possible exception of the Vera Cruz winner!

        Little Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman have taken their Mom on a trip over to Tennessee to spend time with cousins Dillon and Dakota.  They will have spent a week or more there before their return.  They will be taking in a singing school there in Murphysborough.  All these youngsters share musical talent passed down from their grandfathers.  With some good training perhaps they will pass the joy of music down to their own future grandchildren.  They will be able to stand on the porch at Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion and explain to their grandchildren that the broad expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive was named after their great grandfather.  Maybe one of them will be a mandolin player and another will remember “Sadie’s Got Her New Dress On.

        Ed Henson would have been 104 on his birthday, May 27th, this year.  He was a driving force in the community, setting the tone for good humor and good behavior.  He liked a practical joke better than most and pulled some good ones in his time.  Mostly what people remember about him was his good natured smile and his willingness to be a good neighbor.  He set a fine example.

        Dalton Trumbo wrote a novel and a screenplay called “Johnny Got His Gun.”  It is a disturbing story that chronicles the tragic fate of a World War I soldier.  He survived a land mine explosion only to have lost his arms, legs, ears, eyes, nose and mouth.  Initially, he doesn’t know if he’s dead, alive or dreaming.  Whatever a person’s stand on the current conflicts or military conflict in general this is a story that provokes thought.  Champions keep the U.S. Service people in their thoughts with Love and Gratitude for their service.

        Examples of opportunity or optimism can be sent to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  (I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I overlooked before!)  E-mail them or any distracting kind of sunny side song to Champion News.  Hang around down at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion and wait for some old timer to come along with a story to tell about Ed Henson.  Stand out on the porch and soak in the spring to summer seasonal changes to the constant beauty of the place.  Look in every direction.  It’s Champion! And you are Looking on the Bright Side.