November 29, 2010

November 29,2010

CHAMPION–November 29, 2010

                   Champion is the kind of place that makes it easy to express Gratitude.  It is a relaxed and peaceful pastoral glen amid hills and fields with the little town square in the middle and the little church down near the creek under the big trees.  Louis Untermeyer was not from Champion but was contemporary with Champions born in 1885.  He died in 1977, at age 92.  He said, “What thanks can I presume to give to you who live the gracious life of giving–of giving and receiving the golden gift of love?  What I want to say today in this or any other way can never be expressed.  It is best felt and understood in the small voice of gratitude–in thoughts, not words that one may have the will, but not the skill to fashion and impart when all the loud and clouded hours are still; in the unvoiced responses of the thank-filled heart–the sudden start of the awakened pulse that quickens and exults. Always remember this, thankfulness is a boon–a pleasant and a joyful thing to bring, a lasting pleasure for us to treasure to relish and renew again and yet again.  Thanks then for everything that’s good and true: YOU.”  The poet laureate could well have dedicated his work to Champion family and friends. 

          Weather interfered with some Thanksgiving celebrations.  It certainly put the kibosh on the Champion Thanksgiving Day Parade, since the General is presumed to be “delicate.”  Still, much good feasting was accomplished with friends from over on Tar Button Road meeting up with Champions and Vera Cruzers over in Champion-South.  It was turkey and pie time all the way with diners striving to compensate for the absent weather delayed guests.  The turkey was succulent, the hosts ever gracious and the poker table unusually profitable.  Gratitude abounds.

           Harley Krider commented on having met up with several wagons of Amish people traveling uncovered in the pouring rain.  He was on his way to his sister Vivian’s house over in Rogersville where the family has had their traditional thanksgiving gathering for many years.  Champions know that even with a sunny disposition life can have its sad and difficult moments.   The folks traveling in the wagons go prepared for rain, but some storms cannot be anticipated.   Eutychus was probably a pretty grateful guy when he got up off the ground and dusted himself off, but he certainly had help.  Champions always look to help family and friends to endure their tempests.

           Pete Proctor writes that the VFW Post 3770 has mailed out their packages to all their troops.  He says that his son, Bryan leaves on December 3rd for South Korea but will be back for Christmas.  He also says that his Mother, Champion Ruby Proctor, is doing just fine.  Champions are glad to hear that.  Pete suggests that anyone might benefit from a look at the VFW Post 3770 website  There is good contact information there for any Veteran who might need assistance.  There is a good link to that site at   Champions join Pete in his expressions of Love and Gratitude for those who serve and for those who have served their Country in and out of uniform.

           Talk about uniform!  Anyone happening to stroll by the replica of the Historic Emporium being constructed on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, will be just astounded at the fine even coat of stain on each and every board forming the exterior walls, boards and battens alike.  Somehow certain aspects of building are rather reminiscent of knitting or quilting.  There is the pattern/plan/design/blueprint and then there are multitudinous repetitions of framing members, trusses, purlins, boards and battens, rows and rows of screws and on and on.  The knitted sweater or the quilt is judged for quality by the uniformity of its stitches—each a tiny building block of the whole big beautiful thing.  Quality is the very fabric of this Champion construction.  Pause during your Christmas shopping at Henson’s Store (currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square)—pause for a good long gape at the wonder of it all and just wonder where those builders get the patience to do such a good job.  Champion!  They will, no doubt, take Paul’s advice and ‘finish their course with joy.’

          What better way to express Thanks for friends and family than by celebrating their birthdays!  That is another good thought out of a birthday book—a thoughtful gift from friend Linda.  Lonnie Krider would have had his 69th birthday on December 4th.  He is a much-missed Champion who brought music and a kind, good humor wherever he went.  The Judge’s sister, Bobette Spivey, will celebrate on the 5th, and Champion, Ed Bell, will have the 6th as his special day.  Vera Cruzer, Chris Tharp, will be partying on the 8th and Champion web-mistress, Carol Cleveland, on the 10th.  The 11th, 12th, and 13th are all lawyers birthdays though the 11th also belongs to Eva Coyote and then Spike Jones Appreciation Day will be the 14th complete with bells and slide whistles.  That is also the birthday of Shannon Alexander—father of a Champion grandchild, and of Judy T. Ing who claimed to be older than dirt.  She loved Champion and always said, “It’s just so picture-skew!”  And so it is.  Ms. Ing frequently sent writing encouragement and critique.  One such was a quote from Gustave Flaubert:  “May I die like a dog rather than hurry, by a single second, a sentence that isn’t ripe.”

          Champions on a rare venture into Ava the other day happened to see that the beautiful little house that had belonged to Elmer Peterson has burned to the ground.  There is only the little brick archway left under the wonderful old pine trees.  It is hard to see some of the changes that have happened by nature and by accident and by design.  Spring will find some looking again for the Alma Peterson Azalea Memorial.  It was a lovely tribute to someone who must have been well loved.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood indicates that these days ahead will be good for cleaning up the garden, applying fertilizers and mulch.  The 3rd and 4th will be good days to prune to encourage growth and the 16th and 17th — prune to discourage growth.  How pleasant to work with nature—to be part of the good changes.  It is Champion. 

          Once again Champions are reminded of the song, “There’ll be a change in the weather, a change in the sea.  From now on there’ll be a change in me.”  Send changes for the better to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at  Change your mind and bring them on down to the Loafing Shed adjacent to the Temporary Annex.  Some of those loafers were in the store the other day (taking up space in out of the cold wind) claiming that they did not necessarily consider what they had been doing out there in the shed ‘loafing.’  No?  Go figure.  They did not say exactly what they considered that activity to have been.  Nevertheless, they are in Champion and Looking on the Bright Side!


November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

CHAMPION—November 22, 2010

           The Blue Moon came to Champion very early Sunday morning bathing the tranquil hills and valleys in a quiet soft silver light.  Some define the blue moon as the second full moon in a single month and others adhere to an earlier definition as the third moon of a season with four full moons.   The seasons sail by quickly and the full moons bring Champions to the regular realization (every 29.5 days) that they live in one of the truly beautiful places on the planet.  Any Champion will affirm that any day of the week.

          The Champion mailboxes have been getting some good use this week.  Lovely “Okie” Friend, Ethel McCallie sent twelve beautifully hand written pages of observation and reminisces.  Her Dad wrote a poem for her when she was a young girl: “Deep in the Ozark Mountains/ Down by a rushing stream/ Is the place I love to wander/ And have a sweet day dream.”  She allows as how she would be living in Champion now if circumstances were just a little different.  She would be a welcome neighbor and is already quite the Champion with her love of family, friends, history, good music, and a sunny disposition. 

          Ms. McCallie is a staunch supporter of the Nation’s Veterans. “I’m from a family that believes in highly protecting this Great Country of Ours…Two of my great grandfathers, William T. Kay, and James L. Martin were both in the Civil War.  My uncle, Mark L. Warden, was in WW I.  My brother, Adrian G. Haden, Was in WWII, so was four of my nephews, Lowell L. Sanders, Jimmy R. Brixey, Gary E. Sanders, and Gary L. Haden.  My oldest son, Gerald A. Davidson, was a tail-gunner on a B-39 plane, in the Korean Conflict.  I also had four more sons in the Viet Nam War.  Phillip P. Davidson was on a nuclear submarine so was Larry Davidson, Phillip was the electrician, Larry was the Sonar man and Jonathan W. Davidson was on a destroyer ship, and William L. Davidson was in the Naval intelligences.  I’ve had four grandsons in the military also.  William L. Davidson (2nd), Navy; Robert D. Davidson, Army; Brian D. Drexel, Marines; Scott D. Drexel, Army; and Randy L. Turk, Marines (and then 4 years in the Navy.)  Now I don’t even know how many great nephews I have had in Iraq and those other areas.”  Ms. McCallie goes on to say that she sympathizes with the families of those serving and only has Love and Gratitude for them and their soldiers and her Prayers.  Champions agree.

          A surprise package came from Houston, Texas with the return address of Dawn E. Henson, but it turned out to be from Hovey.  He sent a photograph of the eight grade graduating class of Champion School, 1954.  Pictured were Darrel Joe Hutchison, Bob Lambert, Leon Smith, Hovey Henson, Modeen Dooms, Mary Pearl Sutherland and their teacher, Norva Strong.  They are quite a nice looking bunch and efforts will be made to get the picture in the paper soon so that those folks can remember how they looked in 1954!  Sylvia Henson was the local correspondent for Champion/Clever Creek for a number of years.  Her articles were published in the Norwood Index.  Her thought for the year 1946 was:  “Let us teach and practice honesty and fair dealing in our own homes.  Maybe it will spread, crowding out wickedness in high places.”  The articles are full of familiar names and interesting items like the charivari* (sic) at the Manford Smith home for Willard Smith and his bride.  “Attendants report great fun over the wedding present they took the bride and groom but the newlyweds didn’t know how to keep a horse and it made its way to Edgar Henson’s cow shed.” “Mrs. Oscar Krider and little son, Harley Murl, left Thursday with Mr. and Mrs. Claude Slate, bound for California.”  “Troy Powell who has been with the Army of Occupation in Heidelberg, Germany, arrived home Monday.  Troy has his discharge and we join in the hearty welcome extended him by his relatives and friends.” “Orville Hicks, Floyd Coble, Tom Dobbs, Herbert Hutchinson, Ivy Hutchinson, Oscar Krider and Kenneth Hammons helped Amos Tate put a new roof on his barn Monday.”  Champions wonder what that crowd would make of the Replica of the Historic Emporium going up so beautifully on the North Side of the Square on the very spot where Edgar Henson had his wonderful store for so many years.  They would most likely do plenty good-natured teasing of the current builders, but it would all come with the same solid nod of approval that current observers make.  Champion! 

          “Saint Louis woman, with her diamond ring!”  That is Sylvia Neff.  She is a self described ‘very sweet person’ and real card-shark bridge player.  Her birthday is on the 25th of November and the year is anyone’s guess—somewhere between coquette and worldly wise.  She is a handsome woman with a good sense of humor and just barely old enough to play with the “Old Biddies” bridge club in Mansfield.  They meet once a month at the Mansfield Community Center and play for the fun of it and for money.  The Champion player had her first big win there and strolled out of the place with a full $6.00!  (It cost $3.00 to play.)  Still she was high as a kite over the win and over having met some new bridge players from over Ava way.  Elizabeth Brown and Louise Walker are new to the group and hopefully will play often.  Louise has a pottery studio called “The Pottery Works.”  She and her friends are having a holiday open house there on Saturday the 27th and everyone is invited to attend.  For information call 683-6925.  The Old Biddies come from Springfield, Hartville, Norwood, Ava, Mountain Grove and Champion as well as other places.  Conversation between hands is always lively covering a wide range of subjects.  “Not the school, the Principal of the thing!”  was the line that came to mind when Judy Rodery reported that Ron Lehr is a reader of the Champion News.  He was the principal of Mountain Grove Elementary for a number of years a number of years ago.  He lives off in Kansas somewhere but keeps up with local events through the papers.  He is well remembered and well regarded by students and teachers.  Champions hope he will tour the Bright Side when he is back for his next visit.

          With a hard freeze expected area wide this week; the workload might lessen a little for Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  She has been transplanting and making cuttings and doing all those things necessary to keep Champion landscapes and gardens looking good.  Charlene has been busy getting her Christmas ornaments and other decorations ready for the season.  The Gift Corner is a cozy spot to spend a blustery afternoon.  There are always surprises to be found there.

          “When my blue moon turns to gold again, and the rainbows chase the clouds away, when my blue moon turns to gold again, you’ll be back within my arms to stay.”  Sing that one or any other blue moon song out in the Loafing Shed on the West side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Drop a note to Champion at or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, Mo. 65717 or look in at for a view of the beautiful place.  E-mail has come from a distant place chiding Champions to tolerance regarding those old existential nihilist.  “They pay their taxes too, and you folks sure don’t want the reputation for being exclusionary.  Anyway, what can they do to you?  You are Champions!”  Indeed and Looking on the Bright Side!


November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

CHAMPION—November 15, 2010

           The sun is shining in Champion and it is cool, but not too cool to work out and so rather than complain in vain about the lack of rain, Champions are out and busy doing all the things that they would not be able to do if it were raining.  Champions would not complain if it were to rain.  Champions are after all, a relatively uncomplaining lot even when overrun by a lot of relatives.  Family, friends and neighbors—that is what Champion is all about. 

          The big excitement on the Square in Downtown Champion is that the battening on the board and batten siding is going up on the replica of the Historic Emporium and it is startlingly beautiful.  The north side of the building, which is completely without any other artifice—neither door, nor window— stands like a monumental piece of golden corduroy with a single piece of trim demarking the Isosceles triangle formed by the pitch of the roof.  The effect is remarkable in that it is at once simple and intricate.  While the loafers in the Loafing Shed may spend time verifying the straightness of the line of screws on the long west wall, they cannot help but be impressed with the fruition of the planning that has brought the edifice to such a fine state.  Those loafers could as easily be battening down their own hatches against bad weather to come (rain, hopefully).  “Batten down the hatches” is a nautical term, like “Hello, Sailor, come here often?”  Referring to a sea voyage in his book, Domestic Amusements, John Badcock wrote about it first in 1823, “The severity of the climate having compelled them to batten down and caulk their abiding place.”  When, at last, the appreciative public can stand upon the porch, lean upon the rail and peer out across the broad and beautiful expanse of Champion, it will be like the end of a long, edifying voyage.  Whatever else may be said construction is definitely not at a standstill and Champions all wish the builders smooth sailing.  A Champion met a woman in the post office the other day who asked when the Champion Store would be back in business.  Well, it has never been out of business.  Not a single business day has passed when Henson’s Store, currently located in temporary quarters on the West Side of the Square, has not been open to serve the community.  It is Champion.

          Champion neighbors report a good deer harvest this year so far.  Esther Wrinkles said that Chad Emory had the biggest buck in the back of his truck that she had ever seen.  According to her, it was lying diagonally and about filled the back of his truck.  She said it had ten points, though they were not as big as might be expected for an animal of that size.  There are many hunters camping out and Champions appreciate the care they take with their campfires, their trash and their aim.  Some residents keep their car keys handy so they can hit the panic button to let hunters unfamiliar with the hills and hollers know that there are folks about.  Neighbors from up near Norwood meet with friends at Vera Cruz once a week every week to visit.  They swim when the weather is warm, and otherwise just picnic.  They do not like to give up their weekly visits for deer season, but the hiatus will make the meetings the more pleasant when they resume in another week or so.  Meanwhile, Champions and their neighbors will be patient.  Esther has a neighbor who changes her porch light, mows her yard, rakes her leaves and does it all on the sly when she is not around.  Generally speaking, the General is a good neighbor. 

          Those Cajun hunters from Louisiana have been visiting at Linda’s house again.  They come up every year and most generally bring seafood to cook.  The oil spill has stopped that for the time being, so this year they brought roasts from deer that they killed here last year.  Champion bridge players happened to be there one time when the hunters fried up some nice alligator for the group.  Yum.  Linda made a quick trip to celebrate her granddaughter Danielle’s 16th birthday.  It is amazing how quickly time flies.  Charlene made a quick trip to a craft fare in Camdenton where her wonderful hand crafted Christmas ornaments were well received.  A friend minded the store for her while she was gone.  She had a special on and donated 10% of her sales to Project Graduation for the Norwood High School.  Christmas is coming—time is flying.  It does not matter how fast time flies, Grandma Sue will still be the youngest in her crowd.  All her friends will always be just lots older than she is.  Next year, on the 23rd, she will be knocking at the door of a new decade.  Seamus, Elizabeth, Zack, and Ethan will be there to open that door and to sing, “Happy birthday to you. You live in a zoo.”  It may not be that version exactly, but it is pretty well figured that it will be some exciting and interesting version of the same old song, because they have had this very young, exciting and interesting grandmother to inspire them. “Huzza!  Many happy returns!” say your old Champion friends. 

        The post office was closed and people all around the Nation took last Thursday to remember the Veterans and those serving currently in and out of uniform.  Those serving did not take the day off.  They served.  Champions Love them and are Grateful for them.

          Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, would have had his birthday on the 27th.  He was born in 1916, and served in the Army Air Corps.  His family did not recall for sure if his birthday was the 25th or the 27th, so he often started celebrating on the 25th all the way through the 27th.  He liked it when his birthday fell on Thanksgiving and would remark that the Nation was celebrating with him.  His grandson, Sam, is out in the big world singing some of his favorite songs like “I’m so lonesome I could cry.”  (Many Champions and Denlowites will remember that that particular song threw the General into such a howling frenzy of lament, that it is only allowed to be sung on this side of the pond if himself is not in attendance.)  Sam is on the other side of the pond and much missed, though Champions know that closeness is not all about geography.  They think about him when they hear “The Wildwood Flower” by anyone, “Minuet in C,” “Soldiers Joy,” “Grave Diggers Waltz,” “The Annihilation of the Wicked” by Nile or almost any song.  Music is the joyful noise.  Almost no set of circumstances could arise that did not bring to Uncle Al’s mind some song.  He visited Champion once back in the late 1970’s and allowed as how he liked it fine.  It reminded him of the song “Where the mockingbird is singing in the lilac bush.”

          “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”  It doesn’t mean anything even with the swing to those old existential nihilists.  They will argue that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.  They’ve got no business in Champion. If you run into one of them over on the Square in Historic Downtown Champion, negate their pithy argument by saying, “This is Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!”


November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010


CHAMPION—November 8, 2010

           Champions do not rob themselves of the joy of this season by wishing they were in a future or a past one.  Pretty much Champions are a here and now kind of people.  They consider the lilies how they grow…and the collard greens too.  With the possibility of a mild winter, some are thinking they can yet get some greens going.  All it takes is some planning and hard work. Not just every place is good for growing collards.  They are really just a non-heading form of cabbage and their requirements for growth are the same…rich moist loamy soil, water and attention.  It turns out that green leafy vegetables are about the very best thing a person could eat, though some Champions might negate those health benefits with the bacon drippings. 

          E-mail from Pete Proctor says, “I want to say thanks to all Veterans that serve their Country. This Veterans Day I will be busy.  On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. we will have a Color Ceremony on the Mountain Grove Square, at 10:00 at Mountain Grove High School, and then at 1:00 p.m. at the Norwood School.  Everyone is welcome to come.  Here is some History:  so far this year from Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia the remains of 26 combatants have been found and identified; in Korea 33 combatants were recovered and identified; World War II 70 combatants were recovered and identified.  Still Missing as of September 15, 2010, are 74,191 from World War II, from the Cold War–127 still missing, Korean War–8,019 still missing, Vietnam–1,693 are still missing.   Remember each Ex-POW, those that are being held as Prisoner of War and those Missing in Action, for surely they have not forgotten you. Remember them all, until the day they come home. Keep supporting the Troops.  Bye for now, Pete” Champions thank Pete for his vigilance and join him is extending Love and Gratitude to all those who serve now and all those who have.  Check out the Missing Man Table and the POW/MIA Color Ceremony by the Mountain Grove VFW Post 3770 through the Champion Connections link at

            Bob’s older brother Richard will have his birthday on the 15th.  For a short time they are the same age.  November 1lth was the birthday of Charles “Chuck” Barnes.  He was born in 1916, and led an interesting life for 86 years. He had some great stories to tell about gardening in Tasmania and snowstorms in Kansas.  His daughter, Cathy Crain, just celebrated her birthday on Friday (“Will you still need me?  Will you still feed me?”).  Cathy planned her day with her two sisters, Linda and Charlene and with three dear friends of long standing.  They went garage-sale hopping en masse and then out to lunch.  Talk about out to lunch!  Sharon Upshaw knew a little something was up on her birthday on Friday when dinner was planned at Uncle Rooster’s place.  Before it was all said and done with, her four children, Michael, Elva, Loretta and Debra and their families were all there together with a whole host of surprise well-wishers.  Sharon’s Mother, Mrs. Guymon, attended as did Sue and Russell Upshaw and Dean Upshaw, Kaye and Richard Johnston, and their daughters Phoebe and Elizabeth, and Josh and Madelyn Ward, Carol Barnhart, Peggy Hancock, Faye Krider, and the General, himself, Sharon’s proud spouse, Robert.  It was what any good birthday should be—full of family and friends.  One of Sharon’s grandchildren, Caleb James Barker will have his birthday on the 17th so the party will just go on anon.  Champion!  

            Esther and Raymond Howard spent the day in Champion on Sunday.  They always brighten up even the Bright Side.  Raymond led that song that Elvis made so popular, “Peace in the Valley.”  It is a good one and Raymond does it justice.  He and Taegan’s Uncle Dusty were talking about the great number of gray squirrels in the neighborhood, though no serious hunting expedition was discussed as far as could be told.   Taegan has a calf of her own now.  His name is Virgo. Her Great Aunt Barbara sent Email to the effect: “We’ll see you Thanksgiving if you don’t leave town to avoid us.”  Champions are always glad to see their absentee neighbors.  They will have some real and wonderful surprises in store for them at the marvelous progress being made on the major construction on the Square in Downtown Champion.  The beautiful weather has allowed for the stain to dry on a whole forest of boards standing up on end just ready to be attached to the stunning Replica of the Historic Emporium.  Everyone will be attached to this excellent establishment.  Champions are savoring the anticipation.

          Esther Wrinkles is happy to report that her effort to secure the band Big Creek for the Skyline VFD Chili Supper was successful.  Back Yard Bluegrass had already committed and the Green Mountain Messengers will be there.  This year the Skyline Auxiliary is inviting ‘jammers’ to get together about the time the silent auction is over which will be at 8:00  or 8:30 p.m. or so and so a fine evening is expected.  It is expected on March 5th!  That is some while off, but the plans are already well in the works!  (It is also Linda’s birthday!  Some alternate celebrating will be arranged.)  The Skyline Mascot Monkey of the Month for October (Zorro-Monkey) has garnered a bid of  $47.00 in the silent auction held at Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion.  It will be winging its way via airmail to its owner this week and the November monkey will suddenly appear.  It will be interesting to see if this one is a pilgrim-monkey, an Indian-monkey, or a turkey-monkey.  The Skyline Area VFD Association Picnic Society sponsors this monthly auction as a way to assist the Firefighters in making their big fire truck payment.  It is a Champion kind of thing to do.

          Some people from Texas bought a 60-acre chunk of beautiful forest at the corner of C highway and WW with the declared purpose of using it for hunting.  It turns out to be another of those wretched clear-cut logging operations and while Champions are big into property rights, some are saddened at the exploitation.  Change is inevitable but the things that are important should not change—like: ‘your word is your bond.’   “A log drops and the fire creaks.   All eyes turn but no one speaks.  The air grows heavy.  All thought the same—the rain, the rain, here comes the rain!”   This is a poem/song by Good Homes.

          Send your rain songs, your good waiting songs, and your happy birthday songs to Champion at or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.    Go to to see the pictures of that Crystal Lake Gang loafing at the Loafing Shed in Downtown Champion.  They are a rowdy looking bunch and when you see their picture it will be clear that they are all Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!


November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

CHAMPION—November 1, 2010

          In Champion the Bright Side has been so interesting and Champions have been so busy keeping their eye on it that five/sixths of the year have slipped by and already it is November.  Bird feeders are going up in hopes that the cardinals and gold finches will find them and the blue jays, woodpeckers, and squirrels will not.  Champions choose their favorite birds and feed accordingly.  Cardinals are the particular favorites of some who happened to notice them tenderly plucking the green tomato hornworms out of the tomato patch during the summer.  The seasons have slipped by and another group of birthdays are ready to be celebrated.  Miss Emerson Rose Ogelesby will be celebrating on the fifth and Richard’s little brother will be asking that “Will you still need me?” question on the 8th.  The answer will be, “Yep!” to a charming fellow born in the Chinese year of the dog.  Champion.

          Champions are kind of wondering what the advertisers will be advertising now that the voting franchise has been exercised.  It was quite a build up.  Now the radio and television advertisers will just have to try to sell products on their own merits, not the shortcomings of other brands.  It should be a nice change with a little less ranting.  Imagine, “Gillette foamy sticks like glue…Burma shave’s the shave for you!”

          The Loafing Shed in Downtown Champion has been getting a lot of action.  On Saturday the Crystal Lake Gang took a rest there at the halfway point of their 43-mile trail ride.  Bud Hutchison, Howard Price, Bob Herd and Mutt Stone, Gene Dunn, and Raymond Johnson just did not get enough saddle time on the Champion to Drury trail ride a couple of weeks ago.   Champions are curious about the conversations way out on the trail.  What they talk about will just be among them, because Champions without horses or riding skills are not likely to be privy to those discourses.  Some Champions do not seem to be interested in learning anything anyway.  When invited into the Shed on the chance of learning something one septuagenarian said to another, “Not likely!” and went on his way.  He probably knows everything he needs to know anyhow.  A recent scholarly study revealed that ultra rich people are only just a little more happy than Amish people and it seems that happy people become happier through kindness.  Another study said that getting older leads to happiness and that happiness has more to do with life experience than with material possessions.  These may not be the subjects under consideration when you visit the Loafing Shed, but there is generally someone there to talk about whatever is on your mind. 

Now the General has been much on the mind of certain Champions lately.  It is November and the Thanksgiving Day Parade is in the planning stage and certain members of the planning committee are want to have the parade secretly again this year so as to avoid even the possibility of the General showing up with that Spotted Hog rabble again.  “The rags and the meat and the hide and the hair” were all a little too much.

Champions met a guy named Bob at a Halloween Party.  He had smoked a ham with apricot wood that was just amazingly good.  His cell phone was full of pictures of his green tomatoes and sweet potatoes.  He is an interesting guy—the youngest of six brothers with two older sisters and two younger ones.  He’s 52 and has a son in the military service that is serving his fifth tour of duty.  He drives one of those forward operating tanks—some of the first things that go into close up combat.  Bob is proud of his son and conceals the concern that he has for his well-being with the assertion that he is very conscious, capable, competent and courageous.  The Love and Gratitude that Champions extend to all those serving in the dangerous parts of the world can be well spent on Bob and all the parents, children, spouses, sweethearts and friends of those are out in harms way at the behest of the Nation. 

Champion neighbors over in Vanzant are experiencing some change.  The Junction Store known as Plumbers Junction has been sold to a guy named Jack from Florida.  This last Friday was reported to be the last of Ms. Pauline’s fish fries…though there might be one more yet.  It was said that they were packed in the place about standing room only.  Thursday’s Jam Session had also been a big deal.  They say that the Jam Session will continue to be a weekly event.  Last week, in addition to the regulars, Back Yard Blue Grass and some special others played.  Esther Wrinkles said that there were sixteen musicians and that it was a lively gathering.  The Orange Blossom Special featured Wayne Anderson’s famous train whistle and then D.J. Shumate made the fiddle whistle till the whole place was rocking.  A preacher’s wife danced with her girlfriend a quick dosie doe and the joint was jumping.  East Enders know how to do it.

Many Champions are working on their garden clean up. They are planting bulbs and applying mulch.  The weather has been good for the outside work and the evenings find the canning, drying and preserving going on for the last of the harvest.  Those folks who planted their spinach and lettuce a while back will just cover it up a little when the weather gets cold and continue to enjoy it and the collard greens.  This is a good time of the year to plant flowering shrubs and perennials of all sorts.  Linda’s mums are really pretty this year and she has good information about what grows best in this part of the country.  Charlene had a beautiful and productive garden there at the Plant Place this year.  They say if you see a pretty garden there is usually someone in it.  Charlene’s hard work paid off for her in a big way.  Thomas Hardy wrote about November’s Flower, the chrysanthemum (mum) “Why should this flower delay so long to show the tremulous plumes?”

Answer that question or ask one at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at  Get on over to the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium to describe how happy you are.  The Annex is on the West Side of the Square next to the Loafing Shed.  From there the re-creation of the Emporium can be clearly viewed.  It is golden.  It is Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.