June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010

CHAMPION—June 28, 2010

          Relief from the oppressively hot weather is felt as completely in Champion as anywhere.  Barns are full of hay and citizens go about their business with a renewed sense of optimism.  Gardens are producing and these are exactly the days that were longed for during the long deep winter.  Champion!  Because of its central location in Douglas County, Mid-America, and the Western Hemisphere, Champion sees a good deal of company this time of the year.  Friends and family travel great distances to soak up just a little of the pastoral calm so missing in the hectic pace of the dreary elsewhere with its six lane freeways and flummoxed populace.  The hospitality of Champion is legendary.  Welcome.

          Sunday afternoon found Esther Wrinkles’ house so full she could hardly turn around.  Her 93rd birthday was the occasion that brought her sister, Irene Dooms, and her two sons and their wives and children, and Esther’s two sons and their wives and families and Leon and Peggy Harris and numerous others—15 in all–to celebrate with her.  On the phone one of her good neighbors said Esther’s house was just rocking over there and she agreed that Esther is indeed a party animal.  Champion! 

          More birthday celebrations were going on with the Powell family.  Mrs. Eva Powell enjoyed the company of her granddaughter, Emily, and her husband, Victor, and their children, Serena and Connor on Saturday night.  Her daughter, Sondra, had just returned from a cruise to Alaska and came bearing gifts and stories of having to wear a jacket against the chill up there.  Eva had also had a nice visit with her niece, Jeannie Maddox, who came over with an armload of garden produce for her—squash, cucumbers, peppers—all the good stuff.   Birthday cards and calls are coming in and she has been promised a ‘stinky rose’ (garlic) from her Sunday pew friend. Phew!  Ms. Powell will be attending the Mt. Grove High School Alumni Parade on Saturday the 3rd.  This will mark her 60th high school reunion!  Congratulations.

          It was figured pretty well solid that the General would be leading that parade, but sources close to him say that he will not be out in front of the procession this year with the whistle and cymbals.  More is the pity, because even the Champion Parade Committee (CPC) had its bid in on his services for the auspicious occasion of the Hallowed 4th of July occurring on Sunday this year.  Committee members are scrambling to compensate for what may prove to be his absence.  It is staggering.  So is he, but hopes are that soon he will have regained his composure, posture and wit.  Meanwhile Champions struggle on and will observe and solemnize the Birth of the Nation, Freedom and Patriotism with as much fervor as can be mustered in the void of this fabled bulwark.  Bullwork?

          “I’ll take mustard on mine.”  The swimming holes will be full of picnickers and celebrators on the 4th.  Friends who meet on this annual occasion only will be pleased to catch up on each other’s news and to address the current state of world affairs.  Amid the ranting and profundities will be the standard expressions of Love and Gratitude toward those who serve and have served at the behest of the Nation.  Many are planning a trip over to Cabool to see the Viet Nam Memorial Wall that will be on display there.  The holiday marks an opportunity for fun certainly but also the opportunity for sober and somber observance and homage to those who made it possible. 

          Champions are glad to hear that Skyline Firefighter Bill Griswold is on the mend.  He fell ill while on vacation and after some serious hospitalization has made it home to recuperate in is own comfortable spot.  Greg and Tamara Griswold, Bill’s brother and his wife, are retiring to the area and have been visiting while working on getting their place here ready for occupation.  They will be welcome additions.

Milder weather has gardeners willing to be out there pulling weeds, cultivating and fertilizing.  The signs have changed again and so Friday and Saturday will both be good days to plant root crops.  Saturday marks the beginning of the “Dog Days” of Summer according to Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  It is also the 45th wedding anniversary of a certain pair of absentee Champion farmers.  With some luck, Barbara’s sweetheart will be home in time to celebrate with her.  He is out of the hay and back in the bower of connubial bliss! 

          Bidding is hot in the June Mascot Monkey silent auction.  Inquires have been made by Champions friend Rebecca Quezacotl of Tejas Endeavorville. She has things to say about the tyranny of the culinary ego of small communities and clearly sees that a Picnic Society matron might well prefer making monkeys to pies.  Her view of the June monkey on-line verified to her that this particular monkey has a very sweet expression on its face.  It is expected to bring a pretty penny for the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department.  The proceeds from these monthly auctions go to help make the payment on the fire department’s new fire truck.  A resurgence in the popularity of the red-heel sock monkey is largely due to its appearance in a car commercial on television.  “How you like me now?” is the refrain that is repeated while the monkey is seen doing all sorts of implausible monkey stunts.  The bidding closes at 5 pm on the last day of the month.  The July monkey will be identifiable by its red, white and blue ornamentation.  Hurrah!

          “There’ll be a change in the weather, a change in the sea.  From now on there’ll be a change in me.  Why, my walk will be different, and my talk and my name.  Nothing about me gonna be the same.  I’m gonna change the way I’m living and that ain’t no shock, I’m thinking of changing the way I set my clock.”   Clocks are still set the same in Champion and while change seems slow sometimes, patience wills out and the much anticipated reincarnation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion will ‘er long seem to have leapt up out of the ground in all the kinds of splendor expected and unexpected.  Why, it will be like nothing changed at all in just no time.  In a dozen years hardly anyone will recall when Henson’s Store suddenly disappeared without a trace and the new improved replica appeared as if by magic.  By then young Foster will be driving.  Drive on over to Champion for a good look at magic in the making—best viewed from the Loafing Shed.  Questions, comments, yarns, songs, stories about change and observations on Champion life are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net.  Look in on the place at www.championnews.us if you can’t get here in person.  If you can get here, do.  You’ll be in Champion…Looking on the Bright Side!


June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010

CHAMPION—June 21, 2010

          The first day of summer arrived in Champion with a sizzling fanfare.  The humidity mixed with above average temperatures to make the day ultra summer like. 

All the surrounding creeks are being dipped into liberally by Champions who are ‘way cool’ thereafter.  The winter of Champions’ discontent has been made glorious summer and no one complains.  There are no grim visages.  Champion is a place well worth a second look.  That is what readers of the Champion column got last week…a second look at the news from June 7th.  

          News from the 14th of the month includes (1) Karen Krider won the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest.  (2) Foster Wiseman birthday occurred on the 16th.  He is now five years old and going to school and loving it. (3) Champion neighbors over on C Highway have sold out and moved to Tennessee.  There was a big auction at their place, which was very well attended.  Many interesting items changed hands via the auction company and many old acquaintances were renewed out under the trees on the spacious lawn.  (4) Flag Day was celebrated on the 14th with all the customary Love and Gratitude that Veterans have coming.  It was noted that Pete Proctor will be greeting people at The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, which will be in Cabool July 1st thru July 4th.  This is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and it is over 300 feet long and six feet high.  The names are all there.  (5) Rare visitors cause an improvement to almost any Champion menu.  The complete article can be found on the website at www.championnews.us.  There can also be seen photos of Miss Emerson Rose Oglesby with her Grammy’s prize-winning tomato. 

          Taegan Rae Krider’s Aunt Linda celebrates her birthday on the first day of Summer.  Next week Ms. Paula Mudd, Ms. Eva Powell, and Ms. Esther Wrinkles will all celebrate birthdays.  Ed Henson’s birthday was the 27th of the month.  He was 95 years old when he passed away in 1998.  Still, he is well remembered and well regarded as a genuine Champion.  The stories that circulate about him and his legendary sense of humor continue to bring smiles to the many visitors to Champion who knew and loved him. 

          The haymakers are still busy at it.  They have to cut it down to put it up and hope it doesn’t get sprinkled on too many times before it gets up.  Many are reporting an excellent harvest and say that the hay is so thick it takes longer to cut and makes more bales.   It is hot, hard work and some of those farmers are getting as brown as berries.  Any given swimming hole is liable to have a haymaker or two in it at any given time. 

          Arlene Cooley says, “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 will be followed by an auction and door prizes with music provided by Darrell Cooley.”  There will definitely be some fun going on there.  Those people do an unusual amount of grinning and laughing.  Funny. 

          Last weeks news informed that the 20th through the 24th would be good days for planting above the ground crops and seedbeds.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 27th through the 29th will be good for planting root crops again.  Sometimes a gardener does not have the leisure to plant by the signs.   Rather, when the iron is hot, or when conditions allow, or when it can be worked into the otherwise busy schedules of the planters.  Enemies do not sneak into Champion gardens by night to plant tares among the wheat, but the blasted armadillo feels free to grub about where he will and his blundering is destructive. The effect on the garden is what a prominent archaeologist calls ‘bioturbation.’  It is a real word that means the stirring or mixing of sediment or soil by organisms, especially by burrowing or boring.  One old Champion slept out in her garden the other night.  She loaded her gun, set up her cot, hung up her mosquito net and settled in with a keen ear out for the snuffeling grunt of the wretched beastie.  She fell fast asleep and rested deeply to awaken at dawn with a little dew on her bedding and plenty of signs that the armadillo had been visiting.  Her old dog would have been an asset on that occasion because she is a light sleeper and has a wonderful nose for varmints, but gunfire and thunder send her running and it seems a shame to upset the aging family pet.   “Life gets tegious, don’t it?” is an applicable saying passed down for generations from Mother to daughter.  The word is ‘tedious’ but the saying requires the errors in spelling and grammar for effect.

          Father’s Day was another roaring success in Champion.  All the old boys were celebrated and appreciated.  The phone lines were buzzing with all the Love and Gratitude that children hoard up from one year to the next.  Foster Wiseman had his birthday party on Father’s day.  His parents, Tanna and Roger, and his sister, Kalyssa, helped him celebrate.  The party was hosted by his Grandmother Krider and attending were his paternal grandparents, Wayne and Bernice Wiseman, Great aunts and uncles, Vivian Floyd, Harley Krider, Kaye and Richard Johnston, second cousin Madelyn Ward and her parents Phoebe and Josh Ward, aunts and uncles Staci and Dustin Cline, Briaunna and Leslee Krider and their little one, Taegan, as well as others.  That birthday song was sung and everyone had a good time. 

          For a good time, head on down to Champion.  Spend a lazy afternoon over in the Loafing Shed adjacent to the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square.  There summertime yarns are being spun daily and summertime songs are just waiting to be sung.  Spin your Champion yarn at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net.  Get a good look at the construction site where the replica of the Historic Emporium will soon be rising like Sondro Bottichelli’s 1486 painting of Venus emerging from the sea.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


June 15, 2010

First Ripe Champion Tomato – 2010

The fourth annual ‘First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest’ came to its conclusion on June 12th, 2010, when Emerson Rose Oglesby brought her Grandmother Karen Krider’s beautiful little Delicious tomato to Henson’s Store.  Contest rules require the winning tomato to have been grown in Champion and to be eaten by the judges.  The tomato was indeed judged to be ripe and it was  shared out among the various judges in attendance.  It was small but quite tasty.  This is the earliest winning date in the history of the contest and the list of prizes had not yet been announced.  For her efforts Ms. Krider will receive an antique fruit jar, two dozen canning jar flats, and six tickets (valued at $5.00) for the Skyline VFD Picnic Quilt.  She’s a Champion!

Two year old Emerson happened to be visiting with her Grammy just as the tomato reached its peak of perfection.  She and her brother, Eli, came with their folks down from Perry, MO to enjoy some time on the farm.  They both like the cows and like being out in the garden.  Champion has always been an excellent place for young people as well as Champion Tomatoes!

2010 First Tomato Winner


June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010

            The second week of June in Champion is historically warm and humid. These are the days about which Champions dreamed in early February. Crazy, spotty little showers that dampen downed hay three days in a row accompany the heat and the relativity of the humidity is extraordinary. The cool breeze wafting through the Loafing Shed in downtown Champion lures the farmers in to talk about their hay, their equipment, and the good fortune they experience as residents of this part of the world. A fly on the wall of the Loafing Shed could probably recount any number of interesting conversations—if there were walls and talking flies. Foster’s birthday is on the 16th of June, but he will wait for his party until Sunday. He is now five years old. That is pretty amazing. He is quite a nice fellow. He’ll be having a hotdog party at his Grammy’s house on Sunday afternoon. There will be lots of cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends to help him celebrate. Over in Tennessee his Aunt Linda is having a birthday on the first day of summer—a sweet way to welcome in the season.

           Champions will be getting new neighbors as Doyle and Kathy Strickland are making a move to Tennessee. The Taylor Auction people held a big sale over on their place on Sunday afternoon. There was an enormous crowd and lots of interesting things to bid on. The real estate had sold already, so it will be good to meet the new neighbors and to welcome them when they move in. Hopefully the Stricklands will be as well situated in their new spot. Meanwhile it was pleasant to see lots of familiar faces at the sale. Bill and Beverly Emory were there and Beverly was wanting to be sure that her favorite customer was suitably teased about how her big white thing and someone else’s big black thing had run into each other a while back, leaving the big black thing on it’s back with its legs in the air. That is surely enough teasing for the time being. There is an art to successful bidding at an auction of this sort. Sometimes you get a bargain, sometimes you get soaked and if you are lucky when the bidding gets up there too high someone will snatch it from you and that will be good too. The main thing is not to bid against yourself.

             The signs have changed, according to Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood, and once again those above the ground crops can be planted. From the 20th to the 24th that second planting of corn can go in together with all the other things that have been running late. There is still time for green beans and squash and cucumbers. The pressure is off of Champion now though as Karen Krider has won the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest. It was a perfectly spherical tomato just under three inches in diameter and gloriously bright red. “Very tasty!” said the judges and so the rest of the community can just relax and get out there and hoe the corn. Where are Lem and Ned when you need them? While Pithy Adeline has certainly been a boon to the neighborhood, being such a delight for the eye and so high spirited, she may have distracted the boys to the extent that they are fairly useless. Champions are back where they started. As far as the hard work goes, it is as if those nice barefooted boys never existed!

            Flag Day finds Champions thoughtful about Freedom and the service of all those in uniforms who have sacrificed to preserve it for the rest of us. Pete Proctor will be greeting people at The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, which will be in Cabool July 1st thru July 4th. This is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and it is over 300 feet long and six feet high. The names are all there. Many thousands will come to view it. What will memorialize the current conflicts? The Vietnam era Veterans waited a long time for recognition. Hopefully, those returning now from the dangerous places in the world will be met immediately with the Love and Gratitude they have coming.

          Seldom seen dear friends and precious family move through Champion bringing excitement and nostalgia with them. In their wake the tranquility of Champion seems just a little too tranquil—too quiet for a little while. Soon the preparations for the next wave of welcome visitors will begin with the anticipation of laying eyes on those dear faces again after the passing of too much time. Champions know that the very best thing available in life is the Love of family and friends. Heart strings get plucked and out rolls a song like Dylan’s “Country Pie.” “Saddle me up a big white goose, tie me on her and turn her loose. Oh me oh my! Love that country pie!” When kinfolks come the groceries sure do get good!

          Amble on in to the Loafing Shed next to the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium know as Henson’s Store located on the West side of the Square. From there a view of the construction of the replica of the original on the original spot can be clearly viewed. Ten years from now visitors to Champion will say, “It seems like the store is just a little bigger than I remember it having been.” Ten years will go by in a flash. Send examples of the rapid passage of time to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717. Email favorite pie receipts to Champion at getgoin.net. Look in on the website at www.championnews.us to see a picture of Miss Emerson Rose with the First Ripe Tomato in Champion. She has a beautiful smile. She is a Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!


June 7, 2010

June 7, 2010

CHAMPION—June 7, 2010

        Charles H. Towne must have been in Champion when he wrote his poem “How softly runs the afternoon beneath the billowy clouds of June.”  James Russell Lowell said, “And what is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days.  Weather we look or whether we listen, we hear life murmur, or see it glisten.”  So it is in Champion, the bees are buzzing and the haymakers are having a hay day!

        A note comes from the General who said, “If I get a chance to practice before the next reunion, maybe I won’t torture the ukulele so much.  If you would, please add that Buzz Woods won the quilt that Shirley Brixey made and donated.”  People are still talking about what a good time they had at the Denlow School Reunion and one clever photographer took some nice pictures of the food laid out the length of the hall with every imaginable hearty dish—meatballs, lasagna, fried chicken, and ham, to name a few.  There were beautiful salads and vegetables, bread, and then deserts!  There were pies and cakes and cobblers and on and on.  The General allowed as how he has never come away from that table hungry.  It was a feast of everyone’s favorite dish!  Champion.

        The Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary had a meeting at Henson’s Store in the spacious accommodations of the Loafing Shed.  It was the first of June and a lovely evening and the ladies got right down to business.  Minutes were read, the treasury report was tendered, and the big new business is the upcoming picnic.  Already the behind the scenes work that is required to make the Skyline VFD Picnic the highlight of the summer is well underway.  Put it on your calendar—August 13 & 14.  Esther Wrinkles turned over an incredible quilt for the fundraiser.  It is a queen sized quilt that she hand-pieced.  The pattern is called ‘Stripes and Scraps.’ It has a small nine-patch center in each block with radiating stripes that produce quite and interesting optical illusion.  The whole thing is done in pinks and blues and it is vibrant.  The lining is a solid blue—not baby blue, not dark or light or bright blue, but just exactly the right blue—maybe Perfect Champion Sky blue.  Anyway, it is good to have the quilt designated so the fundraiser can begin.  One lady said that she would have her tickets ready when the politicians come by to ask for her vote.  Since the picnic is before the election, it would be good of those who want to represent and serve the area to actually show some support of it!  There will be a great colored picture of the quilt on the www.championnews.us web site.  Perhaps there will also soon be a picture of the owner of the May Mascot Monkey of the Month.  This month a real cow-girl from Texas is the high bidder on the red-heel sock monkey that has been on display down at Henson’s Store in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square.  The SAVFDA Picnic Society runs a monthly silent auction there, the proceeds of which go to help the Skyline VFD make its big old fire truck payment.  The June Monkey will soon be on the block.  This one has piercing iridescent black eyes and a countenance that promotes affection.  Its picture can soon be seen on the Champion web site.

        It turns out that not everyone has an Internet connection.  Champions across the country still use the U.S. Postal Service for all kinds of old fashioned communication.  It just cost $5.50 to send a monkey in a priority envelope to Texas.  It is a great joy to receive a note from a friend, or a birthday card.  Champion Items at Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 is a good place to spin a Champion yarn.  There are archives of all the Champion Items going back to August of 2006, so if there is one you missed or one that you remember fondly, send a note to request a reprint.  It will come on plain paper rather than newsprint.  For those with the Internet, the web site has a wonderful search engine that will let you look up anything that has been mentioned.  Of course, if you look up Foster and Kalyssa or the General, there may be too much to read.  If you just want to reread that old buzzard story, you can type in ‘buzzard’ and up it will come.  It is a strange new world.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place is easy to find on the web site or on the counter in The Gift Corner in Norwood.  It says that the 10th and the 11th will both be good days to plant root crops or to transplant.  Pithy has been planting sweet potatoes and pulling up some young tender turnips for Lem and Ned.  Such a nice girl!

        Ruby Proctor was out rambling around on Saturday with her son Gary and Kristie.  They had been to the cemetery looking around and reminiscing and on their way over to Champion to get a look at all the changes they stopped in on a friend.  It was a sweet surprise visit that just made that friend’s day.  As to the changes in Champion, Ruby has a happy heart.  She understands why it had to change and at the same time she holds on to her good memories from the past.  She moved to Champion when she was six years old and has always thought of it as her dearest home.  She knows that the changes will be good ones and that the thing that keeps Champion such a precious place will not change at all.  There is a lady with some stories to tell and a wonderful laugh.

        Memorial Day found Champions paying respects to their Military Service people, past and present.  Flag Day is coming up on June 14th.  All eyes look to the Stars and Stripes as a representation of freedom.  Champions look to it and to those serving with Love and Gratitude.

        June’s is called The Strawberry Planting Moon.  The red rose is the flower and the birthstone for the month is the pearl.  “The liquid drops of tears that you have shed shall come again, transferred to Orient pearl,” said Richard III.  He was rudely stamped and badly motivated, but definitely an optimist.   It would be pleasant to go through life with no heartaches, no thistles in the fields, but that is not always the way it works.  Real life has ups and downs.  Down in Champion things are mostly up..Looking on the Bright Side!