CHAMPION—July 6, 2009


        Champions will recall that the First Ever Secret 4th of July Parade was held in 2007.  The third annual event was executed with yet more stealth—so much so that no scintilla of evidence was left by rowdy revelers or respectful Patriots.  The spent shell casings and scrap bunting and balloon fragments of that first year were not to be found.  Last year’s inspiring Flag Raising ceremony, which was attended by so many local and visiting dignitaries, was moved up in the program this year as a signal to commence the Champion Independence Day Parade.  The processional terminated in free watermelon and consequently was transformed into rather more a race.  The watermelon went fast, but left no mess, and CPC (Champion Parade Committee) is taking the whole thing under advisement.  Champions are taking it in stride and striding in time to that favorite piccolo part in “The Stars and Stripes for Ever.”  Any Champion can summon those sweet strains to mind with a wistful smile and a little imagination.

        Kenneth and Dawn Henson were back in Beautiful Historic Champion over the holiday.  They prowled around old stomping grounds and made impromptu visits to Pleasant Cousins.  They were on a lark spending the night in Mountain Grove to enjoy the Mountain Grove School reunion, the air show and alumni banquet.  He said that he had some stories to share one day about Morton Upshaw.  Some of the Upshaw descendants said they had some stories to share about Hoovie too!

        The General’s Independence Day Bash went on from early to late.  Speculation was that the General would be suffering muscle soreness from his repeated bouts of moon walking during the daylong celebration.  In addition to the Good Natured (long suffering) and affable Sharon, Loretta and Elva Upshaw enjoyed the spectacle.  Deborah, Tom and Kyle Barker, who calls the General “GrandPa,” were witnesses to it again, as were Lucille Gayman and Richard and Kay Johnston.  Lucille Ketchum saw it and Wesley and Susie Hancock came all the way from Idaho to be spectators along with Peggy Ceraras.  More Upshaws—Russell, Sue, Dailey and Dean observed the demonstration.  Fae Krider has seen it all before, but was still willing to see it again with Leslee and Breauna Krider.  Kenneth and Barbara Anderson and Esther Wrinkles were able to ignore the whole moon walking exhibition in order to concentrate on the good music.  Wayne and JoAnn Anderson, attended together with Linda Clark, Luke Dartt.  It was a sweet gathering with good music, good family, good friends, and good memories.  Nobody mentioned Robert’s ice cream this year.  Maybe he didn’t serve any.  Maybe it wasn’t any good.  Maybe folks are just staying quiet about it because the guy just needs so little encouragement.  Still—What a Champion!

        Creek gatherings were sparsely attended this year due to unseasonable cool weather and the oddity of the holiday falling on Saturday.  There were many options for fun and those who congregated near cold flowing steams to renew old acquaintances and share the year’s happenings were well met.  A year can bring a lot of change.  Infants become toddlers who become little kids, then big kids then teenagers, then adults.  It happens fast in old eyes.  Conversations covered the general wide range of subjects including the Declaration of Independence.  A recent e-mail from Kathy Riley in Tennessee was sited.  It informed that five signers of the Declaration of Independence were captured by the British as traitors, and were tortured before they died.  Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.  Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.  Champions acknowledge the sacrifices made by forefathers as well as those serving their Nation in and out of uniform today.  Love and Gratitude is extended to the one percent of the population who shoulder the burden for all.  Lizzy and Semus were the chief appreciators of the good cold water and their Grandmother brought her ripe tomato to share and some tasty little cucumbers from her garden.  Life has its ups and downs, its twists and turns, tragedy, turmoil and trouble, but Grandparents with their little ones close can overlook a lot of the world’s craziness to be in the precious moment.  Champion! Dave and Sally Miller have accumulated 100 years of living between them!  They will be celebrating their duo-centenial for about six months.  Then they’ll be 102!  Go figure.

        The First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest has been won.  The tomato was enjoyed with a sprinkle of salt and judged to be delicious.  Larry Casey from Champion—South was the Champion gardener this time.  His picture can be seen in the “Champions With Dirty Hands” category in the website under “First Champion Tomato.”  The whole story is there about how he came home from a trip to Texas and found these two big tomatoes hiding in the weeds that had overtaken his garden.  Larry is a prodigious gardener and is more than willing to share his tips and experiences as well as those great purple-hulled peas!  He was proud of his Certificate of Champion Achievement, but was most appreciative of the $10.00 Gift Certificate from the Plant Place over in Norwood.  Linda has her July Almanac out.  It can be found on the website under the Links category:  Linda’s Almanac.  It says the 8th and 9th will be good days for planting root crops.  The 12th and 13th will also be good for root crops, as well as any vine crop like melons and cucumbers and for setting strawberry plants.  The strawberry crops were wonderful this year for some Champions, but the raccoons and possums are making messes of the strawberry beds now.  It seems like this is being a bad year for ‘critters.’  Skunks, possums, rabbits, armadillos, raccoons, deer, moles and groundhogs are all being troublesome.

        Favorite absentee Champions, Barbara and Harley Krider celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary on the 3rd of July.  It is not clear that either of them knew what they were getting into, but they have done a nice job of it and their Champion family and friends congratulate them heartily!

        The Skyline VFD Auxiliary has a meeting scheduled for the 7th of July and another on the 14th at Henson’s Store.  The particulars of the Auxiliary’s part in the Annual Skyline Picnic are being worked out to the last detail.  This is always such a sterling event.  This year it will be the 14th and 15th of August.  Skyliners and Champions will be out supporting the 4H Up and At ‘Em picnic over in Vanzant this week end.  It is a time for neighbors to throw their support around.

        Another big Granddaughter Day at the Creek get together is in the works and it will be an exciting affair even for Grandmothers with distant granddaughters.  There will be fun by proxy and only a little longing when the reminder that closeness is not about geography is trotted out again.

        Trot out a scintilla of sentimental drivel to cover up any kind of longing and send it to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail any kind of dirt on the General to Champion News.  Get over to Henson’s Store and see how fast you can sing, “In the summertime, when all the leaves and trees are green, and the red bird sings, I’ll be blue, ‘cause you don’t want my love.  You don’t seem to care a thing about me, would rather live without me, than to have my arms around you when the nights are cold and you’re so all alone.”  A person not in the mood to sing could just browse through the ever growing selection of Champion Picture Postcards.  The last two versions feature a three up of mules hitched to a covered wagon with Henson’s Store in the background.  The newest card is a portait of Ed Henson leaning up against the porch post.  Someone said the post was leaning up against him.  A pretty dog sits beside Ed and the two of them are obviously Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!