March 29, 2010

March 29, 2010

CHAMPION–March 29, 2010

        Champion is a place full of rich history, a comfortable and pleasant present, and a future of promise when today will be the distant past.  The past holds its place in Champion affections because it is familiar and full of the favorite memories rehearsed in their recounting.  The Champion present is full of opportunity and surprise as well as the reliable features of the past maintained with care and respect for their appropriate usefulness and convenience.  The future of Champion is eaten up day by day by the present and never seems to arrive.  It is always just a Bright Spot on the horizon.  Personal circumstance dictates where individuals spend most of their time–past, present, or future–it is Champion!

        Thursday will be April Fools’ Day.  It is a much celebrated day among Champion’s neighboring tribes, the Spotted Hogs, Denlowites and the Vanzantians.  The latter, particularly, gather at the Junction on that most special day for feasting and merrymaking.  This year the legions of musicians will be augmented by one Dillon Watts, banjoist.  He is making the trip from Tennessee with his brother and Mother for the very purpose of passing the holiday with his Grandmother and their extensive and expansive family.  His great Uncle Harley is already in the neighborhood, incidentally tending to his estate, and his Great Aunt Vivian spent Sunday afternoon in Champion explaining the process by which one controls a neighbor’s dog that is want to steal the newspaper from the step and chew it up before it has a chance to be read.  (The process results in a limping dog and delicate relations with the dog’s owners who, it was revealed, are very nice people who get the message.)  The festivities at Plumbers will doubtlessly include a performance of some sort by another of Dillon’s Great Uncles, The General (from the other side of the family.)  After the St. Patty’s day fiasco, he is still willing to be seen in public and Champions just smile and sigh and shake their heads.  What is one to do?

        Some can get on out in the garden and get ready to get something done.  The full moon on Monday changed the sign so that root crops can be planted through the end of the week.  Some old Champions will rush to get their potatoes in and others will be setting out onions.  Little lettuces and radishes are coming up in some places and other people are keeping their eyes pealed for the peas to pop up out of the ground.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the first through the third of the month will also be good days to prune to encourage growth and to apply organic fertilizer.  Her Cole crops are ready and looking good.  Who knows why broccoli seems to taste better when it is fresh in from the garden…straight to the steamer?  Healthy eating is a Champion pastime.

        The Missouri Fire Service Alliance and other related organizations are sponsoring a 2010 Fire Fighters Day and Fire Fighters Memorial Service on April 14th at the State Capitol Rotunda.  It is a chance to meet with and discuss pertinent issues with the legislators and to pay respects to those firefighters who lost their lives during the last year.  More information can be found about this event at  Firefighting is dangerous business and the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department firefighters all go through extensive training to protect themselves while they are protecting the community.  They are all first responders and have all the lifesaving skills required to meet with accidents, injuries and health emergencies.  Those new to the community may not know that the Skyline VFD has a ‘jaws of life’ apparatus to extract auto accident victims from their cars.  It is one of those invaluable tools that all hope get little use.

        As of Monday morning the Skyline Mascot Monkey for the month of March was up to $10.00 on the silent auction bid sheet down at Henson‘s Store on the North side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Bidding closes at the end of the month.  The on-line bidder, E. Jasmin from El Paso, TX, has taken a spring break vacation and so will miss out on this one as she has been overbid.  Perhaps she will be more attentive next time.  A picture of the March Monkey will be up on the Neighborhood Events page of the website.  Anyone new to the site can rummage around over in the Category section and find the Skyline VFD Chili Supper and look at some nice pictures taken that evening.  There might be some surprises.  The current events page also has a list of birthdays and anniversaries and other special events in the lives of Champions.  Send anything of that nature that you would like to have posted to Champion News.  Note that the year of the birthday does not need to be published…some want to forget that part of their birthday!

        Irving Berlin wrote, “Never saw you look quite so pretty before.  Never saw you dressed quite so lovely what’s more.  I could hardly wait to keep our date this lovely Easter morning and my heart beat fast as I came through the door, for in your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.  I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over I’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter parade.” He goes on to say that he could write a sonnet about her bonnet.  It is a nice song.  Send your sonnet to Champion Items, Rt.  2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or step up on the porch at Henson’s Store and recite it to the gathering crowd.  J.D.  Shelton said that years ago Saturday morning would find the Square in Champion full of people who had gathered there just to visit.  “Sometimes there might be 75 people there,” he said.  Champion picture postcards continue to be a hot item and there is just enough room to write a nice sonnet on one if you write kind of small.  Whether you are composing, visiting, or just nosing around, if you are in Champion, you are Looking on the Bright Side!


March 25, 2010

2010 Skyline VFD Chili Supper

March 6th – Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Chili Supper

(click the flyer to enlarge)
Esther’s “Queen Star” quilt:
Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary President Betty Dye presents the Queen Star Quilt
to winning ticket holder Terry Chastain of Ava. Terry is a New Member
of the Skyline VFD Fire Department and a welcome one.



March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

CHAMPION–March 22, 2010

        Champion is a place not so much affected by inclement weather as other places may be.  Cold wind driven rain and deep slick mud are much the same as calm sunny days fragrant with the promise of new growth.  Knowing well the degree of control they exercise over the elements, Champions choose rather to control their attitude toward the elements.  What an entirely sensible place.

        Linda’s Almanac says the best days for planting peas and other above-ground crops that can go in this time of the year are the 24th and the 25th.  From Friday all the way through Monday the 29th will be barren days good for killing plant pests or doing chores around the farm.  One Champion has put some old aluminum window sashes over the pea patch to warm the soil.  She will use the magic black ‘inoculate’ powder as she pre-soaks her pea seed for a few hours before she plants them.  She has tested the fertility of the soil in her little pea patch and the PH.  All signs are favorable.  Tiny little pepper plants and marigolds are being transplanted and the whole “Spring” thing is really catching on.  Linda is in full swing at the Plant Place and all the cole crops will soon be ready.  She has those great Majestic mix pansies again this spring that will be blooming by the time they get in the designated flower beds just in time.

        In these hard economic times the Disabled American Veterans outfit is a perfect charity to support.  They are DAV, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301, and they are happy to get one or two dollars in the mail.  They use it for good and very little of their donations go for administration costs.  It mostly all goes to the Vets.  They also get the Love and Gratitude of their Nation for their willingness to serve in the dangerous parts of the world.

        A want-to-be Champion from far away e-mails a promise for a seven dollar bid on the Skyline VFD March Mascot Monkey that is being auctioned off at Henson’s Store.  It is a silent auction–shhhhh.  The woman has been watching car commercials on TV for a model called the “Sorento” and it has a sock monkey in it and the lady wants one.  She may want the car too, but she says, “I know your Volunteer Fire Department is very important to your community, I just want that monkey!  Sincerely, E. Jasmin.”  She has not indicated how high she will be willing to go with the bidding.  It is a lovely monkey.  The bidding will close on March 31st.  Good Luck Ms. Jasmin.

        The weather changed dramatically on Saturday morning after the guests all arrived at the baby shower in Seymour.  It was hosted by Staci Cline in her home with the help of her sister, Tanna Wiseman, for the benefit of their sister-in-law, Breaunna Krider who will be augmenting the family in May.  It was a sweet and lovely time with gifts and games and sumptuous refreshments.  The room was full of aunts, nieces, cousins, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, friends and all manner of near and distant relations and in-laws.  One such was Mrs. Lucille Gayman who turns out to be the General’s mother-in-law.  She was wearing some exquisite sapphire earrings, an elegant lady altogether unsullied by her charming daughter’s choice of spouse.  The particulars of that choice are mysteries yet to be unraveled.  The party broke up amid a cold spitting rain but everyone seemed to have had a good time and the new Krider baby will be well outfitted and certainly welcomed with a great deal of love and appreciation.

        Unravel mysteries at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion News.  Look in on for a view of a beautiful place.  When the party is on at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square in downtown Champion the place rocks.  “Grab your hat and get your coat.  Leave your worries on the doorstep.  Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street!”  That’s Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!


March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010

CHAMPION—March 15, 2010

          Champion is one of the green places in the world, not just because its residents are environmentally conscious, which many are, and not because spring is so rapidly approaching will all the glorious daffodils and henbit, but because of the decided Irish influence.  An Irish nobleman, the 8th Earl of (Champion?) or something could easily be the antecedent of a prominent Champion, who may think he is of Scotch extraction.  It probably does not matter to this particular Champion what with the past all having happened so long ago and all and him being nigh on to a tea totaler Scotchwise.  The other day as he exited the Emporium on the North side of the Square in downtown Champion, in the company of one Elmer Banks, there approached another Champion from Champion-North up Cold Springs way.  “Now there is somebody who knows exactly what’s going on!” piped up Elmer with an accusatory pointing gesture.  The newly arriving Champion agreed and said, “Yes, Elmer I believe I do know exactly where the coon scat (stuff/excrement) is on the pump handle!”  By this she meant to say that if she knew she would tell the whole story of anything, and she had chosen that particularly colorful saying as an homage to Elmer with his roots in Louisiana.  Now the Scotsman (really Irish) much taken aback by the crudeness of the statement and the unseemliness of a woman speaking in such a vulgar manner said, “Around here we say ‘axel grease,’” meaning the stuff on the pump handle.  Yes, Champion is indeed a decorous place and green and Champions are reminded that a rough exterior can easily mask the most delicate sensibilities. 

          The Skyline Volunteer Fire Department’s new fire truck has seen some action already.  It is a beauty!  The old one was also quite nice as the firefighters are sticklers for maintaining their equipment in the best possible condition.  The dispensation of the old one has yet to be determined though it is generally thought that after all the useable fire fighting apparatus is salvaged, the truck will be sold.  It is to be noted that the truck has a big 350 Cummings diesel engine and it is in fine shape.  The drive train is solid and has been well serviced.  This old truck has tremendous power.  In the words of one who has driven it, “It just wants to go!”  It has a good Jake-break as well.  It can be viewed at the fire station and any of the firefighters will have more information to share.  Perhaps some of them will also be willing to divulge the history of the choice of ‘monkey’ for a mascot as opposed to say “Dalmatian,’ as is so often the case with other fire departments. The monkeys brought in good money at the silent auction at the Skyline VFD Chili Supper.  It was a very worthwhile fundraiser designed to help the fire department acquire equipment; the latest acquisition was that fabulous new (used) truck.  Since this worthy organization has, so far, been overlooked for FEMA assistance or other funds, that big old truck payment falls onto the membership.  A genuine red-heel sock monkey is being offered in a silent auction at Henson’s Store.  All proceeds will go to offset that big old truck payment.  The monkey will be on display starting Friday the 19th and the Auction will close at the end of business on the 31st.  It is a chance to do some good, have some fun and to get a monkey!  Look for a picture of the monkey on the neighborhood events page of the website at

          Family and friends gathered last week to commemorate the life of Ms. Ruby Anderson who passed away on Sunday the 7th.  She lived ninety-seven years in the community and had an expansive family tree.  She will be missed.  Many who came to say goodbye to her congregated at Plumbers on Thursday evening and enjoyed some excellent reminiscing.  In addition to renewing old acquaintances, there was much good music to be enjoyed.  As if his past demonstrations of the now famous ‘moonwalk’ and the speed skating exhibition a-la-Appolo Ono, were not enough,  the General seemed quite transported in his interpretative dance to the tune of Kalija.  The results were not what one might consider to be representative of any of the Native American Peoples, but rather of another poor old woodenhead.  Say what you will, the General is irrepressible, and it is sure that his Shannon ancestry will come out in full bloom of four leaf clovers for the Champion St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Whether or not St. Patrick actually ran the snakes out of Ireland, there are plenty of them in Champion and some just waking up from their long winter’s naps.  The General best step lively, and Champions know he will.

          For the nonce, the controversial mailbox shootings are set aside to address another issue.  Rumor and innuendo are rife.  What was euphemistically described in an e-mail to Champion at as a ‘gated’ community, wherein resides one of the infamous Hoppers, turns out to be gated all right, but from the outside! That is not to say that he is in any way confined in the sense of incarcerated, but there is no indication that he is free to leave at will.  This e-mail reported a litany of injuries not dissimilar to those often sustained in those famed prison rodeos:  i.e. a broken nose, cracked and broke ribs, perhaps even blackened eyes and undisclosed internal injuries.  This wild horse must have been a nightmare!  Ride ‘em cowboy!  Wally Hopper wrote himself to say, “I wanted to let you know that I received a letter from Pres. Obama in response to my letter about my Marine grandson, Jake Hopper, who assisted the Republic Police while he was on leave.  It was about catching a serial car thief who was in our area and holding him until the police arrived.  I appreciate getting the letter and will frame it and put it with the other awards Jake has earned.  Jake is at Camp Pendleton, CA now as platoon leader training for Special Security Services and will be sent to Washington DC upon completing this training.  As you can tell, I am a very proud grandpa!”  Champions join Wally in supporting with Love and Gratitude all those who serve at the request of the Nation.

          Champions are glad to hear Elizabeth Johnston is doing well.  She is making a good recovery from her broken ankle and is back to work already.  Champion!

          Spring begins officially on Saturday about 12:30 Champion time.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says it is a good time to plant above ground crops and to transplant.  “Sowing in the morning, sowing in the evening, sowing in the noon time and the dewy eve…” There is always plenty to do when you live in the country and it is always easier with a song in your heart.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

CHAMPION—March 8, 2010

          Champions greet the second week of March with routine optimism and great waves of gratitude. The big news is the wonderful success of the Skyline VFD Chili Supper.  It was a delight to see old friends greeting each other again after the long winter and enjoying the time just to hang out together.  In addition to the need to raise funds for the fire department, the communities seem to need the wonderful tradition of this great mix and mingle. People come from all around— Ava, Dora, Drury, Brushy Knob,  Buckheart. Gainsville, Macomb, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Rockbridge, Springfield,  Squires, Sweden, Vanzant, and maybe even Spotted Hog and other quaint places!  Champions were well represented and days later are still all smiles from the experience.

          Ruby Proctor’s friends were happy to see her smiling face again.  She was there with her daughter, Barbara.  Esther Littrel came with her daughter Jeanie Maddox.  Irene Dooms enjoyed the evening with her sister, Esther Wrinkles and Esther’s son, Larry and his wife Teresa were there.  Eva Powell had the company of her daughter, Sondra and grandson, Bryan, as well as her firefighter son, Donald.  Ellie Web came with her Grandmother, Vickie Dooms.  Lannie Hinote escorted Violet.  Elva Ragland and her friend, Retha Forrest, from over at Rockbridge enjoyed the evening as did Sally Prock of Ava.  Van Kelly, the James Brixie family and myriad Upshaws were in attendance.  It will take until next week to recall all the names!  Check in on the www.championnews website soon to see pictures of some of the bands and lots of the people including Dale and Betty Thomas.

          Terry Chastain of Ava won the Queen Star Quilt in the drawing at the end of the evening.  It was a timely win for him as he had lost his home in a fire last fall.  He is a new member of the Skyline Fire Department and a welcome one. 

         The General and his cronies had a good time. Sorting out their various yarns will take every bit of a week.  There were at least two versions of the Three Lads Hunting Incident, which has also been called The Great Mailbox Shooting. There was some talk about how one of the boys had ‘broke down’ under interrogation.   Another version of the incident came on line from an anonymous source who claims to have been the triggerman.  He said that the owner of the mailbox complained about only getting bills in the mail and was thinking about just tearing the blamed thing down so he and his friends came along one night and decided to help him out with the tearing down by shoving a twelve gauge shotgun in the front of the mailbox and pulling the trigger.  He claimed not to know anything about the hollow log.  Someone said that Cletus Upshaw’s mailbox was shot up much worse but that he never complained.  Kenneth Anderson said that his dad, Homer Anderson, enjoyed cornbread and sweetmilk and as he was emptying the jar of milk into his cornbread one evening he discovered a big old crawdaddy in the bottom of the jug.  Cletus was blamed for that on account of his having fetched it up from the spring and someone said that it was only a few years ago that Cletus owned up to having done that.  It seems like there is right smart of owning up going on these days.  The General promised the straight skinny on a well-known story about a certain Champion stepping over a log.  Anticipation of that revelation is flat palpable. 

            There was great competition for Esther’s coconut pie.  Murphy, Peggy Hancock, and Bob Berry dueled it out and Bob walked away with it for a mere forty bucks!  A value! That Sue Murphy collects Tonka Trucks was just one of the excellent pieces of information gleaned during the evening.

           There was a man by the name of Harold Goodnight at the Chili Supper.  He had a diamond in his ear and Steve Moody said he was in the witness protection program and was masquerading as a base player.  He proved out, however, as he played with the Green Mountain Messengers.  They always do such a good job.  It was nice to see D.J. of the Backyard Bluegrass, still being a nice young man after having achieved fame in the movies.  Spring Creek played some great tunes and that duo of David Richardson and Erin Akers played some love songs that might have caused a couple to leave early.  Big Creek finished off the evening with a very professional performance of some very good music in those nice blue plaid shirts.  Champions and Skyline Firefighters are grateful that all these talented people are so willing to share their gifts with the community in support of the fire department.  MC Steve Moody grew up just over in Macomb.  He said that the nice thing about this part of the country is how people rally around each other.  He said that folks around here can put a benefit together at the drop of a hat.  He said that the Vanzant Community building can fill up at a moments notice when there is a need.  “It’s just wonderful,” he says.  Champions concur.

            For the sake of brevity (“What a joke!” says one Old Champion.) the discussion of the controversy over the names of Bill Emory’s new Halflinger team, the reason that the Skyline VFD has chosen the monkey as its official mascot (some fire departments use Dalmatians) and the merits of the New Fire Truck and dispensation of the old one will all have to wait for next week.  Linda’s Almanac says that the 10th through the 12th will be good times to plant root crops.  The Disabled American Veterans association reports that after last month’s tragic earthquake in Haiti, American troops were among the first to hit the ground—providing security, flying in food, medicine, and saving lives.  At any time, our troops can be called to deal with the gravest hazards. Champions do not forget to express Love and Gratitude for those who serve.

           Send any Champion news or stories to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at  Step up on the porch at Henson’s Store for a view that will do your heart good.  (A complete set of Champion Picture Post Cards—all ten—brought ten dollars in the silent auction—another value!)   Sing that old song, “When you are bending low and many evils your life betide and you almost lose your courage, Look! The shadows are lifting.  Look! The dark clouds are rifting.  Look on the brighter side—the brighter side!”  That will be Champion!


March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010


        Champions will all say that there is no glory in defeating a weak opponent.  So it was in Vancouver this week when them Canadians had to fight like blazes for their big old hockey gold medal!  Truthfully, it was enough that we beat them in the preliminaries, and soundly too, but it was sweet to see how happy it made them to win.  They are good neighbors and it improves Champions to be chummy with such nice people.  Good for them, we say, “Huzza.”  Sometimes punctuation says it all.

        The clearly unpunctuated Generalissimo was in fine fettle at Plumber’s on Thursday evening.  Between lifting tips and giving them, he claimed to know the entire straight skinny on the Three Lads Hunting Incident, only one of whom shot the mail box while all three had to go in with their parents to pay the fifteen dollar fine each to the Douglas County Court in Ava while their little brothers and sisters waited out in the car and family tensions ran high.  That was big money in them days.  “Boys,” says the General, elbowing his way to a clear spot in the back of the room, “Watch this!” and he commenced to speed skate right there on the linoleum in front of the kitchen door by the buffet table.  It was amazing.  Ah!  The grace!  Ask Norris Woods.  He was heard to say, “I can’t wait to read about this in the paper!”  Encouraged by scant but thunderous applause, the General finished his skateless tribute to Apolo Ohno while graciously declining to reprise his inimitable “moon walk.”  Humility overtook him, though clearly he was flattered by the several requests.  The General agreed with the speed skating Olympian that an event that lasts 40 seconds is just about the right how long.

        Mary Graham called to say that she has a tiny little Peekapoo that showed up at her house about the end of August.  He is somewhere around four to five pounds and black with a little white.  She says he needs grooming but he is in good health and seems to like milk quite a lot.  Mary is softhearted that way and consequently winds up with stray dogs.  Over the years she has placed a lot of dogs, Old Rufus was one and then there was the Schnauzer that went to the people in Houston and on and on.  Mary says this little dog is very sweet and deserves a good home.  Call her at 948-2755.

        Elizabeth Johnston is making some good progress recovering from her broken ankle.  There have been some complications, but she is being a responsible patient and doing what she knows she needs to do to get well.  She has experience in these things so every one who wishes her well knows she appreciates it.

        Kenneth Henson writes to say, “Jackie Coonts was underpaid for building a fire at the Dogwood School.  Ed Henson was paid three dollars for building a fire at the Champion School.  Ed would start the fire early and have the schoolroom warm and very comfortable by the time classes started.  The decision was made for the redistribution of wealth, so a student was hired to do the job.  As it turned out the student was irresponsible; showed up too late to get the fire started and the schoolroom warm by the time school started.  You walked two miles on a very cold room; that was not conducive for doing your lessons.  As the old cliché goes you don’t miss it until it is gone.  This lasted for one month and Ed was rehired.  The students were happy to have Ed back.  Here’s wishing Ruby a happy birthday.”  Champions will inform Hovie farther in advance next year so that his birthday greeting to Ruby will be more timely.

        Jamie Dry and Cathie Reilly have both sent money to buy quilt tickets for the drawing Saturday night at the Skyline VFD Chili Supper.  This is building up to be a splendid evening.  The fire department membership is encouraged to approach any firefighter at the Chili Supper to ask them about the New Fire Truck!  It is a 1980 Ford pumper truck with a thousand gallon capacity.  The firefighters will all have much more information about it including the fact that the fire department is buying this much-needed equipment itself.  The truck has already seen some significant action and it is a tribute to the community that the firefighters and membership are willing to bear the expense without FEMA funds or grants or big corporate or government money.  The fire department will have a ‘truck payment’ for a while but the community has the protection now.  Now that is Champion!

        “The Hurt Locker” is a movie up for an Academy Award next week.  It is supposed to be a very accurate depiction of war in these times.  Previews give the impression that it is stark, brutal and tense.  That must be what these wars are like and Champions extend their Love and Gratitude to all those who willingly serve their Nation.  There will time and opportunity later on to extend understanding and assistance.

        Birthday wishes are in order for Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  Friday will be her big day but she will be getting good wishes from friends and family for weeks!  She has been busy getting the Cole crops transplanted and is working on the herbs now.  Her almanac is available there in the shop at the Gift Corner or in the links section at  Linda and Charlene are good and generous neighbors.

        Johnny Cash had a birthday on February 26th.  He was born in 1932.  He died a few years ago from complications of diabetes and in his final years and days he was reflective of his youth, working all day with his Dad on a cross cut saw singing gospel songs.  He had a great range to his voice and as he got older and less well, his voice revealed his understanding of life.  The last song on the last album that he recorded was his choice.  “Aloha Oe.”  The Queen of Hawaii composed it in 1877.  “Farewell to Thee” is how it is translated and the recorded version has a steel guitar on it that is the perfect representation of what a fine steel guitar should sound like.  “Sweet memories come back to me Bringing fresh remembrances from the past.”  It is a poignant piece full of longing and passion and, in the case of the Man in Black, full of a peaceful resignation.

         Sing your favorite Johnny Cash song out on the porch at Henson’s Store in Beautiful Downtown Champion.  It is on the North side of the Square, squarely in the middle of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  Drop a note to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717 or to Champion News with any of those old stories that still have some bite after all this time.  Champion…Looking on the Bright Side!