May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

CHAMPION—May 31, 2010

        Champion is enjoying the fullness of the season.  The hay harvest is truly plenteous and while the laborers are few they have some big machines and all is well.  Harley, particularly, has some pretty hay down and up.  Visitors to the community, friends and family, are all made better by their sojourn in the tranquil environs.  The place was hopping on Wednesday morning with the ground-breaking ceremony for the replica of the Historic Emporium being constructed on the North side of the Square.  Visiting dignitaries included retired city planner, Thomas VanDyke, of Houston, Texas.  The illustrious Mayor of Champion was handed a stainless steel sharp shooter shovel and he summarily scooped up a representative clot of Champion Earth while cameras clicked and whirred from every angle.  Though the photographs are unavailable for publication, the oratory was emblazoned on the psyches of all in attendance.  The reconstruction was likened to the Phoenix Rising, representing the capacity for vision.  The mythical bird is the symbol of high virtue and grace, of power and prosperity.  Progress on the project is steady and substantial.  Champion–steeped in the classics and good planning.

        The 24th Denlow School Reunion was a wild success!  There were sixteen former students in attendance as well as a great number of friends and family and some idle passers by.  The reunion was first started by the late Lucille Shannon Ketchum, who kept it tightly organized for nineteen years.  Mary Joe Cole Denner, who recently passed away, and Evan Williams were also a part of that original organizing group.  Williams, who attended school at Denlow in 1924 or 1925, enjoyed himself at the reunion, as did Lowell Lutrelle who attended in the 1930’s.  There were four Hoppers in attendance– Marilyn, Wally, James and Ricki.  People came from far and wide and Vernon Upshaw made it out from Mountain Grove!  One of the highlights of the program was a talk given by Gene Hendrickson.  He is from Fairfax Station, Virginia.  He grew up in North Dakota where he still owns his family farm.  He was on his way back there after the reunion.  He is a Bird Colonel, a veteran of 30 years in the Marines with tours of duty in Viet Nam and Desert Storm.  He remarked that young troops do most of the fighting and have done so all the way back through the civil war and beyond.  Generation after generation young soldiers enthusiastically step up to serve their Nation and the cause of Freedom.  He and his wife, Sharon Hammons Hendrickson, had been in Denlow last fall visiting the cemetery where her great granddad, James Hammons, is buried and they were invited back for the reunion.  They had a nice visit with second cousin Bertha Wood over in Mountain Grove during their stay.  After an amazing dinner, a big bunch of the group assembled in the pavilion where Laverne Miller conducted an auction.  He was in a hurry to get it done on account of a pending obligation up in Chicago at the National Billy Goat Auction.  He has been in charge of most of the reunion auctions over the years.  He is a veteran too.  He landed in Normandy not long after D-Day and as part of the signal corps, strung wire for General Patton.  His wife, Jessie Mae Miller, contributed several crocheted pieces to the auction including a filet crochet wall hanging saying, ‘Home Sweet Home.’  She had with her a photograph of her family with her great grandparents, her mother and father, her mother’s parents and numerous brothers and sisters.  Her granddad had passed away in 1913, so the photo was pretty old.  It was made right in Denlow, but was too full of people to see much of the scenery.  Barbara Anderson was the winning bidder on a set of Champion Picture Post Cards, which had been presented, “To Denlow with affection from Sister City, Champion, May 23, 2009.”  It took a year for the General to be willing to part with them—so picturesque!  The morning’s program had also been pretty scenic as Virginia Fuller, Kaye Johnston, and Sally Prock reprised their exotic Polynesian dance to the accompaniment of Robert Upshaw’s torture of an otherwise quite nice squeezebox, which he called a ukulele.  It is his notion that once word gets out about the spicy nature of this performance, the 25th Reunion next year will be standing room only!  Esther Wrinkles and Ruby Proctor had a chance to sit and visit a while Saturday with Virginia Jacobs and others there on the benches at the entrance to the cemetery.  Esther was pleased to meet up with her cousin Louise Holt, who made it out to Denlow on Sunday.  She is from Excelsior Springs and came down to see her sister Betty Garrett who lives in Mansfield.  While she was in the neighborhood, she attended a church meeting with Esther, and Larry and Teresa Wrinkles.  The meeting was being held by 80 year old Johnny Elmore in Houston, MO.  Irene Dooms came out to Denlow in the afternoon to visit with her sister and their cousin Louise.  They saw a lot of people that they rarely see including Wayne and Frances Southerland.  He is doing better Esther says, getting around with his walker.  So it will take some of the committee a while to rest up from this shindig, but they are already thinking about the next one.

        Champions are reminded of the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest.  This is the fourth year for the contest and the rules are the same:  The winning tomato must have been grown in Champion and must be shared with the judges to verify authentic ripeness.  Donna Moskaly won in 2007 on June 28th.  Louise Hutchison won the next year on July 12th with a Parks Whopper, and last year Larry Casey won on June 30th.  Prizes will be announced soon.  Time is flying by and Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says June the 4th, 5th, and 6th will all be good days to plant root crops.

        Memorial Day is the time to stop to think of those who breathed their last in our Nation’s cause.  It is a comforting day also, a time to gather with family and friends, a moment to enjoy the Love of those closest to our hearts.  Judy Ing, of Bastrop, Texas, was a dear Champion friend, who visited here many times over the last thirty years.  She was taken from the world in a sudden tragic accident on May 22, 2010.  Judy was a true and generous friend and the many people whose lives she touched are Grateful to have had the chance to Love her.

        Step out into the Loafing Shed on the West side of the Square in Downtown Champion for an eyeful of excitement.  Bring your family and friends down to Champion to get their spirits lifted as the Phoenix rises.  The Temporary Emporium Annex over on the West Side of the Square is full of all the pertinences to keep a Champion life sweet—from ice cream to bailing twine.  “Miss your voice, your touch on my hand, just to know that you understand, my buddy!  My buddy, Your buddy misses you!”  Send your favorite sweet sad song to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO, 65717 or to Champion at  Visit the website for a beautiful view of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

CHAMPION—May 24, 2010

        Champions are enjoying the glorious weather and though they never complain about bad weather, they are pleased to be exultant about the good.  Things are green and luscious–vibrant and growing.  Haymakers are busy at it and little houses and big ones that had been sitting out in barren yards are suddenly hiding behind the overgrowth of the roadsides and disappearing in the dense foliage.  The fresh bright days of early summer weather are the prime time moments when Champions most often take their mental picture postcards.  “Do you mean they have French Postcards over there at Henson’s Store?” inquires an erstwhile Champion.  Indeed not.  It is probable that last week this person read about the possibility of a Frenchman having been in the neighborhood spouting proverbs about plucking geese.  It is funny how just a little bit of information is a dangerous thing!  Champion Picture Postcards are still just of Champion and are still available in good supply at the Temporary Emporium Annex on the West Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion.

        Champion neighbors are in a fevered pitch with the approach of the 24th Annual Denlow School Reunion. It will be Saturday, 29 May 2010.  Registration will start at 10:00 a.m., program at ll:00 a.m. in the Denlow Church, and a potluck lunch at 12:30 p.m. Door prizes, a raffle for a quilt, and Generally a great time is expected to be had by all.  Anyone wishing to donate something for the afternoon auction will have to use some imagination to come up to par with the offerings of the Denow Steering Committee.  Give it a try.  Everyone is invited to attend the reunion. Wally’s brother, James Hopper, is planning on making it all the way from up by Kansas City.  Aunt Elsie’s daughter, Virginia Canada, will be there all the way from Florida.  Hopes are that Vernon Upshaw will make it all the way from Mountain Grove!  It promises to be a another Splendid Occasion.

        Champion’s own fastionista, Barbara Krider, will not be making it to the Denlow Reunion as she is off on an extensive jaunt with her mother and her daughter, Karen.  They are headed to San Francisco for a couple of fun filled weeks that will include site seeing and some overdue visits with family members.  Harley may make it to the reunion if he can get out of the hayfield.  The consensus of opinion is that he quite likes making hay. Miss Taegan Rae Krider has been visiting her Grammy in Champion and helping to make it a special bright spot.  Bidding is climbing up there on the May Mascot Monkey of the Month Silent Auction being sponsored by the Skyline VFD Ladies Auxiliary Picnic Society.  It can be seen smiling over at Henson’s Store in the Temporary Emporium Annex or on line at

        Pete Proctor writes to say, “I enjoy what you put in the paper about the Veterans.  As one myself.  I salute all men and women that are serving.  The Vietnam Wall will be in Cabool July 1st thru July 4th.  I have been asked to come down to help greet the people as they come in.  They say there could be 60,000 to 65,000 people come by The Wall. It will be open 24 hours around the clock.”  It is always good to hear from Pete and Champions join him in expressing Love and Gratitude for those who serve the Nation in and out of uniform.

        An e-note has arrived from Arlene Cooley: “If you could incorporate the following into your otherwise fabulous writings……..It’s that time again!  The Cooley reunion for family and friends will be held June 26th at First Freewill Baptist Church in Mountain Grove from 10 to 3.  A potluck dinner at noon followed by auction and door prizes with music provided by Darrell Cooley.”  Arlene is part of that rowdy bunch of Cooleys that does all the laughing and grinning. They are a happy outfit.

        Days are favorable for planting corn and hay and flowers all the way up through the 26th of the month and the 27th and 31st will both be good days for planting root crops and leafy greens and seed beds.  All this is from Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  The 29th is not a good day to plant, so anyone can feel free to go on over to the Denlow Reunion.  Someone said that Pithy Adeline and Lem and Ned would be there.  It has been difficult to convince one old Champion that Pithy is not a French girl who had her picture taken for the post card business.  She does not figure in any of the Champion Picture Post Cards, though she is said to cut quite a nice figure.  People say all kinds of things.

        John Lukey McCreery wrote, “There is no death!  The stars go down to rise upon some other shore, and bright in heaven’s jeweled crown, they shine for evermore.  There is no death!  The dust we tread shall change beneath the summer showers to golden grain or mellow fruit or rainbow-tinted flowers.”  Upon the sudden tragic death of a precious friend, the preciousness of all friends is revealed again.  Drop a note to Champion News or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 with stories about dear friends.  Spend some time with some dear friends over in the Champion Loafing Shed or wherever they may be found.  Champions are reminded to keep a happy heart and to Look on the Bright Side.


May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

CHAMPION—May 17, 2010

        Feather by feather the goose can be plucked, is a French proverb.  Champion is made up of such a diverse population that most likely a Frenchman at least passed by and most likely observed that there was never such a lovely and more likely looking spot for a nice little store.  It is centrally located at the end of a downhill stretch of pavement and at the conjunction of two major county road arteries that split off and branch off and travel out to pavement all around–14 Highway, 95 Highway, 76 Highway, Highway C and WW.  Why, the little chunk of territory encompassed by that ring of pavement represents the absolute Heart of Douglas County, the Ozarks, Missouri, The Mid-West United States, North America, Western Hemisphere, Earth, Milky Way and beyond.  A happier little Spot one is Not likely to find.  Champion!

        Champion neighbors are busy.  “The 24th Annual Denlow School Reunion will be Saturday, 29 May 2010.  Registration will start at 10:00 a.m., program at 11:00 a.m. in the Denlow Church, and a potluck lunch at 12:30 p.m.  We will have door prizes, a raffle for a quilt, and anyone wishing to donate something for the afternoon auction will be appreciated.  Everyone is invited to attend the reunion.” This is from the infamous Denlow informant.  Guess who?  Get there early and stay late!

        Champion’s illustrious Postmaster in charge of Sunny Route 2 and many other local postal environs traveled with a great happy mob of family over to Springfield on Saturday to enjoy the commencement exercise of his son, Ryan Dooms, as he graduated from SMS.  The event was held at the Jon Q. Hammond’s facility and it was packed all day with three separate ceremonies and more than 2700 graduates!  Ava neighbor, Wes Davis, also graduated and will be teaching in the Republic area as will Ryan.  Smart, hardworking young people are what the country needs as a quick look at the median age in these parts lets a person know it will be very important to have some nice young people active in the area as many old time residents just continue to age, if they are lucky.

        Harley Dewayne Brixey was a native of Denlow, born in 1935.  He had an exciting and interesting life that included a career with Boeing Aircraft and a stretch, when he was younger, as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he spent some time training cadets at WestPoint.  He had been living in Florida since 2005, and he passed away there on May 8th.  He came from a large family, many of whom were on hand as his ashes were interred at the Denlow Cemetery on Sunday.  His grandson, Tommy Perry, played Taps in his honor.  Every little community in the country has a Veteran to appreciate.  Champions join them all in acknowledging their service with Love and Gratitude.

        Pithy is new to Champion.  Pithy Adeline is her name and she has come on the arm of Ned, of the famed duo of ‘Lem and Ned’ and may well be the cousin of one of them.  She is just the kind of girl that parents might hope for their boys.  She has a big smile, a happy disposition, a quick mind, and is a strong and willing worker.  She can weed the garden all day long and laugh about how the weeds just jump into your hand after such a nice rain.  She has a rich alto voice that drifts melodically out over the garden in a mysterious quiet way.  Was it the wind?  She is like Poor Little Sadie and can sing with the birds and the frogs.  She’ll be planting corn soon.  Lem and Ned have been pushing wheelbarrows of horse manure for her and she has been sharing her turnips with them.  The next good days for planting above ground crops will start on the 24th of the Month.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood is available there at the Gift Corner and on line at in the Links section.  There is a nice picture there also of the Skyline VFD May Monkey.  It has big blue eyes and was sitting in Louise Hutchison’s rose arbor for its picture.  The month is already half over and the bidding on this month’s silent auction is already getting up there.  This is one of the many ploys of the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department (Association) Ladies Auxiliary Picnic Society.  They are continually looking for ways to aid and support their wonderful Fire Department in making its big fire truck payment and keeping the firefighters encouraged by the participation of the community.  Everyone cannot fight fires and do the critical medical assists that these trained firefighters do, so in the little ways they can serve, the ladies are happy to do so.  They will be having a meeting on June 1st at Henson’s Store in its Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  The meeting will be at 7 o’clock and any fire department member who would like to participate is welcome to attend.

        School is about out everywhere and soon Champions will be hosting friends and family from all over the country.  The weather will be wonderful, the groceries delicious and the company delightful.  “Now the kinfolks are coming, yes they’re coming by the dozens and they’re eating everything from soup to hay!  Right after dinner, they’re not looking any thinner and you can hear them say, “Y’all come!”

Send your Champion news to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News.  Sing your summertime song out in the Champion Loafing Shed next to the Temporary Annex of the Champion Emporium on the West Side of the Square in the Heart of Douglas County.  Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!


May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

CHAMPION—May 10, 2010

        Champions find themselves in a difficult situation.  Reconciling change can be hard on anyone.  Understanding the necessity for change is one thing, letting go is quite another thing.  Champions stalwartly carry on and make the absolute best of a trying time.  If it were easy, just anybody could do it.  Champions know that the end result of these much-needed changes will be excellent, but the process is startling and overwhelming.  The analogy of a can of worms fits.  The feeling of being a reed in the wind prevails, but Champions look on the bright side and meet the challenge with courage.

          Pictures were circulating around town on Sunday of Taegan Rae Krider, now ten days old and a real beauty.  Mother’s Day found Champion phones ringing and pleasant surprise visits from children and grandchildren.  Ms. Powell’s grandson, Bryan Barnes, spent the day with her.  Foster and Kalyssa had both their Grandmother’s with them for the day.  What could be better?

        Linda’s Almanac says that the 13th will be the next good day for planting above the ground crops.  It will also be a fine day for transplanting so gardeners can take advantage of these cooler days and get some hard work done.  It will pay off on the dinner table.  Saturday, the 15th, is Armed Forces Day.  Champions join the rest of the Nation in expressing Love and Gratitude to those who serve in and out of uniform.

         Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.  Nostalgia buffs will find comfort in the Champion Picture Postcards available at the Temporary Emporium Annex on the West Side of the Square adjacent to the Champion Loafing Shed, which is becoming quite a popular destination with loafers of every sort.  Wherever you roam in Champion you’re looking on the Bright Side!


May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010

CHAMPION—May 3, 2010

        April ended with a flourish!  Champions celebrate the arrival of Taegan Rae Krider who made her appearance about 8:30 on Friday evening the 30th.  Her parents are Breauna and Leslee Krider and they are well and happy with this beautiful addition to the family.  Taegan weighed about seven and a half pounds and has a lot of beautiful dark hair.  She has had many admirers come from long distances to make her acquaintance and to congratulate her proud parents. Foster, Kalyssa, Eli, Emerson, Dillion and Dakota now have another little girl cousin.  What could be better?  Her Aunt Linda Watts made the trip over from Tennessee to welcome her.  Friday was also quite eventful due to an outbreak of severe weather.  Champions were spared and are Grateful.  As the weather moved east it caused great flooding in the Nashville area, which may have delayed Linda’s return.  No one here will complain if she has to stay an extra little while.

        Champions are ever amazed at the rapid passage of time.  A chance trip to the Farmer’s Market in Ava on Saturday morning found several old friends reacquainting themselves.  Everyone has had the experience of seeing a face and recognizing it but not being able to place a name to it.  In a few minutes of talking, clouds disperse and old memories flood in.  Time melts away–the twenty years–thirty years–more…and the old friends are young again reliving a pleasant afternoon at the swimming hole.  The intervening years have been full for each of them but the catching up reveals that the good people have stayed good.  Wizened by life experience and a broadened worldview, the conversation strays to the changes in the world.  One remarks that world leaders and people in charge of important things should take a lesson from mothers with infants.  When they leave the house, they have everything with them that they will need for any eventuality.  Whatever is required is in the diaper bag and it is there because a thoughtful, intelligent person considered all the possible contingencies and made proper preparations.

Well met!

        The Farmers Markets in the little towns bring to mind life in these parts fifty years ago.  Saturday mornings would find Champion’s Square full of people who had some business to attend and some socializing to do.  Oscar Krider would be on the square in Ava with a songbook in his hip pocket ready to meet up with Arthur Peterson or some other singer to share a new song right there on the street.  While “There’s No Place Like Home,” a trip to any of our towns on a Saturday morning is worth the time it might take from the chores.  Last Saturday was a particularly good day to be out among the throng.  It was May Day with all the regular hoopla associated with Anglo-Saxon pagan and neo pagan festivals, the International Workers Day celebrations with its American roots in The Haymarket Affair, and then there were the gatherings and ceremonies to acknowledge the Veterans of the U.S. Military.  The Vietnam era Vets have their big annual gathering in Branson.  Korean Vets recently marked the 60th anniversary of the beginning of that conflict in a remembrance of Sgt. Leo Wilson of Vera Cruz.  Like the words Love and Gratitude, the word Veteran always deserves a capital letter.  The Disabled American Veterans, (P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301) will be putting a lot of effort into the well-being of those who are serving now.  The same goes for local V.F.W. and American Legion organizations and one called Vets Helping Vets that advertises on KZ88.1, the new listener supported radio station in Cabool.

          Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that Mother’s Day the 9th of May and Monday, the 10th, will be good days to plant root crops, to prune to encourage growth, to apply organic fertilizer, to wean, to transplant and it says those are some of the best fishing days.  It is a busy life.  Look for the almanac in the Champion Connections section of the site.  Stop in the Gift Corner there at the Plant Place and pick up a printed copy.  In general, it is nice to have some help out in the garden—some expertise and encouragement.  Linda and Charlene have that to spare and some very nice thoughts on Mother’s Day.  Now, don’t go asking the General for help or for any reports of the May Day Affair of Denlow.  If you must ask him, get him off by himself before he starts telling you about it.  The first thing he’ll say is, “I just don’t have any idea what you are talking about!”  Yea, right.

        A conversation with Champion’s Esther Wrinkles informs that Bob Berry and Mary Goolsby were in the neighborhood of the Hillbilly Junction on Friday when the storm came through.  They are all right, but Esther said that the car was really damaged.  Champions are Grateful for their safety and are hoping that the 1946 Studebaker was not the car in question!  Esther said that her friend, Sue Needam, had been by to visit the other day.  She said that Sue’s was the first birthday card she received (June 29th) and that they used to have fun playing basketball during lulls at the polls when they worked the elections together.  Esther had picked a handful of gooseberries off her 90th birthday (a couple of years ago!) gooseberry bushes and she figures she’ll get enough for a pie this year.  She says the bushes are doing real well.  She also made a couple of lemon pies for the EE Fire Department Supper on Saturday.  She’ll make a cake for their cakewalk for their picnic this summer and the EE folks will make cakes and pies for the Skyline VFD picnic later on.  The Skyline VFD April’s Mascot Monkey Silent Auction closed on Friday with another happy child in possession of a new friend for life.  The May Monkey can be seen at Henson’s Store.  This one has unusually large ears and is quite charming.  The May Auction will end on Memorial Day.

        Champion friends and neighbors showed up to help transfer the merchandize from Henson’s Store over to the temporary emporium on the West Side of the Square late last week.  Sunday found tourists and others photographing the old building before the changes come about.  Some have their hearts broken already over the changes and they do not even know what those are going to be.  Champions are being reassured that every effort will be made to maintain the ambience, the character, the flavor, and that the heart of the old place will not change, though the sag may disappear from the roof line.  Champions are all for losing some sag if that were possible, and would be willing to pay big bucks, if they had them, for removal of certain sag, which they definitely have.

        Step into the Champion Loafing Shed to sing, “Wherever you wander, there’s no place like home.”  That is the way it is in Champion—Always Looking on the Bright Side!