February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011

CHAMPION—February 28, 2011

           Sure signs of Spring in Champion include the emergence of many forgotten bulbs and the swelling of certain buds, and unsettled weather—hot, cold, windy, and wet—all in the space of a few hours.  Robins and buzzards come home and watch the geese going farther North.  There are subtle shifts in the shades of green and a lightness of heart as winter’s worries fade away.  Every season has its delights in Champion.

          Champion Esther Wrinkles is getting excited about the music at the Skyline VFD chili supper coming up Saturday night. She stays excited about music.  She is a real appreciator of the bluegrass and gospel and is very much looking forward to the jam session that will begin at the end of the scheduled performances by Big Creek, the Backyard Bluegrass and Green Mountain Messengers.  This part of the world is blessed with many talented musicians and it is a real treat to have a chance to hear people perform who may not have the time or opportunity to be part of a regular group, so jammers bring your axes!  It is shaping up to be another wonderful event.  Esther may also have one of her famous pies in the silent auction and her bright and beautiful utilitarian strip quilt will be on display before the drawing for it is held at the end of the evening.  People in the area who have homeowner’s insurance have it because the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department is there.  This is an excellent way to express appreciation and support.     

          Gardeners will be glad to know that the little cabbage and broccoli plants that their gardens will need are thriving over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  Linda’s Almanac is there too waiting for people who are ready to get their hands in the dirt.  It is also on-line at www.championnews.us in the links section.  According to it good days to transplant will be the 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th

          “Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.”  This is the Swedish proverb that has prompted conversation in Champion lately.  It all makes good sense.  Another clever observation was made by an old Champion whose high school classmate accused him of becoming an old radical.  The Champion said,  “The eagle needs both left and right wings to soar.  If one side becomes weak, the poor old bird just flies around in circles.”  This may be one of the best lessons in tolerance spouted lately.

          Interest in the community of Tigris is prompting investigation by local history buffs.  The city clerk for Ava, Marilyn Alms, has learned that the place was named for the Tigris River in Mesopotamia and that Robert E. Childress applied for a post office there in 1921.  This is good information gleaned from Journals of the Historical and Genealogical Society of Douglas County.  Champions have some very interesting neighbors and are looking forward to learning more about them.  Edward Peterka sends out the good news that a pre-1840 Blackpowder Rendezvous will be held in April.  More will be forthcoming about this event.  It proves out that one need only ask them in order to have those questions answered.  For example, a query was made a few years ago about the source of the term “huckelberry” as in “I’m your huckleberry!” and a concise informative response came from George Sims.  The self-described ‘snake doctor’ has a lot to say.  Look at www.theozarkian.wordpress.com to enjoy his interesting writing.  Now the new quest is for the forepart of the poem that is spoken before strains of The Cowboy’s Lament is played.  What comes before this part?  “There was a doll-faced gal, by name of Salem Sal.  She was running a faro bank.  Just as square a kind as a gent could find and she loved young Fiddling Frank.  Now there came one day to the Ace Café a man to beat all gambling games.  He was mean and tough, with a manner gruff, and eyes for the dance hall dames.  He got rough and pulled some stuff that wrankled this dance hall dame.  She slapped his face, just to show him his place, and he yanked out a knife to kill.  But a six-gun roared and a spirit soared to the heavens above boot hill.  Now to Fiddlin Frank, the dance hall drank, as he holstered his gun away.  He tuned his strings as a soul took wings, and a funeral march did play.”  Then comes that song, “Beat the drums slowly and play the fife lowly.”  Maybe someone like fiddler Jerry Wagner knows the beginning of that poem and will be willing to share it.    Whoever answers the question will be a Champion Huckelberry for sure.  Respond to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at getgoin.net.

          Champions are mindful of their friends and neighbors who are suffering ill health and they send their best thoughts and prayers for a good outcome.  They send their Love and Gratitude to all those serving at the behest of the Nation that provides for the domestic tranquility that Champions so enjoy.  Get over to Champion to see the painting by Pat Michaud that will be on display in the Temporary Emporium until Saturday.  It is a lovely representation of the Old Store, which looks remarkably like the New Store.  It is Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side.


February 21, 2011

February 21, 2011

CHAMPION—February 21, 2011

        An exciting week in Champion brings news of a Valentine gift to beat all gifts.  Shelby Elizabeth Ward was born at 6:00 a.m. on Valentine’s Day!  Everyone is well and there is a long line of Face-book friends and family saying, “Congratulations!” and good wishes abound.  What if when Richard and Kaye launched that canoe in the Bryant over at Rippee all those years ago and what if the water had not been so high and rough?  What if they had not tipped the canoe and lost their dinner box?  What if their inability to swim had been an issue?  What if Morton had been there with a different son-in-law in mind or if Lorene had had chores at home for Richard that day?  As it turns out everything happened just right and all these many years later that young couple splashing in the creek are now grandparents.  Sweet!  Word is that Shelby is lovely and that Madelyn is quite proud of her little sister.

        VFW Post Commander Lyman “Pete” Proctor e-mails to say that there have been some updates to the VFW website that will show what the organization has been up to since the first of the year.  It can be found at www.vfwwebcom.org/mo/post 3770.com.  Champions appreciate the update as well as the dedication of those in the Nation’s uniforms serving around the world.  Find the updated link to this website at www.championnews.us.  While there, check out the new post on The Dairymaid.  The Farmer’s Wife will have Champions educated about dairy cattle and pleasantly entertained while she is at it.  While he was at it Pete informed that his Mom, Ruby Proctor, has celebrated a birthday on February 19th.  She grew up in Champion and considers it home though she does not get back out this way as often as her friends would like.  Champions wish her a belated but heartfelt “Happy Birthday!”  Reminders of the swiftness of time come when friends and family remember that it was seven years ago that they gathered to wish Staci a happy 21st birthday!  There was a big party with lots of good food and music.  How ever she celebrates this year Champions wish her the best and many happy returns!  That party happened back when the General was still masquerading as the Admiral, before it was learned that he could no more swim than his sister Kaye!  Much has changed in seven years, but much of the truly good stuff is still the same.  New information about the old days continually comes to light.  Upshaw children playing on the high bluffs, swinging Tarzan-like on the grapevines, are lucky to have made it to adulthood, Vernon.  All this family history sheds light on the reasoning behind Staci’s choice of spouse.  It is becoming more clear as the years go by and Champions reconcile.

        Champions are pleased to hear that Dillon Watts is making a good recovery from a surgical procedure on his ear.  He lives over near Cripple Creek in Tennessee but makes it to Fox Creek for a few visits each year.  The place takes on an exciting air when he is around—kind of wild and interesting.  Champions are thinking about Louise’s daughter, Connie, (also wild and interesting) and are delighted to learn that she is feeling better.  Champion neighbor and radio personality, Butch Kara, is mending after one of those bypass surgeries that require the rib spreaders.  He says he has been wired back together and he is optimistic for a full recovery.  A newcomer to Champion, John Moreau, passed away suddenly last week.  Sometimes people are slow to make acquaintances, thinking they will stop in one of these days.  Sometimes it is too late and they miss getting to the chance to know an interesting person.  It is a caution.

        A group of Champions and friends were standing around visiting on Sunday afternoon, looking over at the Re-Creation of the Historic Mercantile on the North Side of the Square.  Everyone agreed that it has an excellent configuration and speculation about the possibility of a grand opening celebration was bandied about.  While the bandying was going on and weather observations were being made there came over the hill and floating right down the Fox Creek valley a wake of buzzards—dozens of them.  It is a sure sign of spring that they have returned.  Champions are relieved and delighted at the possibility of some much-needed rain.  Almanacs were traded around and Bill Long had special tomato seeds to share.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood is available on the Champion website, in the Temporary Annex of Henson’s Store on the West Side of the Square and at the Plant Place.  It will be time soon to set out those cabbages and broccoli.  Linda will have them ready for her Champion garden friends.

        Linda will not be able to attend the Skyline VFD Chili Supper on the 5th of March.  It is her birthday and she will be off on a big get-together adventure with her granddaughter.  There is fun going on when they are together.  The Old Biddies will be getting together on Thursday for their monthly bridge game and it is a sure bet that she will be there and that great fun will be had.  Any bridge player will report the excitement around fanning each hand.  The chili supper will have its share of fun and excitement as well.  Wonderful things are being gathered for the silent auction.  Adam Michaud reports that his Mom has a good start on the painting of the Old Store in Champion.  There will be some real surprises on hand for this annual fund-raiser.  Those firefighters can use all the support they can get.  Lylle Luellen, Champion neighbor and long time Skyline Fire Department friend will be fondly remembered and missed.  He was a fixture at every Skyline event for many years with his good humor and pleasant smile.

        Sometime on Friday a new white Dodge Ram pick up truck was spotted on a county road off of Highway C dumping trash.  These were big things–a cable box for a dish-network and a television, farther down the road a microwave oven, some computer stuff and another TV.  Residents reported the incident to the sheriff’s office and quickly cleaned up the mess.  People are more likely to litter when litter is already present.  It was speculated that the stuff might have been stolen, but nothing further has been learned.  Someone said that people who do not know any better than to dispose of their refuse in this manner are probably not smart enough to understand ‘trash litters.’  “Who are you calling trash?”  If the shoe fits, please do not throw it out of your truck window!

        Champion is one of the fortunate places in the world where people are simultaneously devoted to their past, present and future.  History is a lovely thing.  A trip to Springfield via Highway 14 takes travelers through the community of Tigres.  These days there are just ruins of some old native stone buildings, but there was once a tomato canning factory there and it was a bustling place.  There are folks living around there who remember the history well.  Hopefully they will share it with someone who is interested and who will preserve it.  Share any history at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion News.  Sing, “Way back in the hills, as a boy I once wandered.”  Or sing “She promised that she’d marry me as soon as the war was over.  She said we’d live together just like chickens in the clover.”  Any old song will do—on key if you can and if you cannot, not too loud.  Music is important in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.


February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

CHAMPION—February 14, 2011

        Champions felt a great deal warmer at ten below when they heard that Louise’s brother up in Davenport, IA, had eighteen degrees below zero.  Kurt over at the post office, said he didn’t know if he would be able to tell the difference between ten below and eighteen below if he were out in it.  That is all in the past now anyway, and by the time this is in ink, it is likely to be quite warm—up in the sixties!  With all these little snowfalls stretching out over weeks there has been plenty of time for that good nitrogen to have become fixed in the garden.  Now, a few warm days and some rain may bring some deep beautiful mud and lots of it.  “Be careful about what you wish (for),” admonishes one.  Always careful Champions consider that doing so–taking that extra care–would suggest that there is some control to be had over the weather.  With bluebirds flitting over the clean melting snow, Champions say, “What will be will be.”   They are busy looking on the Bright Side, which includes a lot of Gratitude.  Neighbors all around had deeper snow, more ice, lower temperatures and more difficulties in general than did fortunate locals.

        The General has been slipping around all winter doing good works on the sly.  It was very obvious that he had been shoveling sidewalks for Esther when the Auxiliary Ladies met at her house on Friday afternoon.  The Skyline VFD Chili Supper was the subject of the meeting and plans are very much coming together.  There will be three fine bands for entertainment and local musicians are invited to ‘jam’ starting at about 8:30.  It ought to be a fine evening.  Rita Fancher has donated a painting of a millstream in autumn for the silent auction.  It is a small painting in a barn wood frame—very pleasant.  Bill Long has made a lamp hanger of fancy yellow pine, and Tim Scrivner has promised another of his famous bird feeders and perhaps a bluebird house.  The advertisements will be in the paper soon with all the exciting details.  There is liable to be stiff competition for one of Esther’s pies.  Bob Berry and Murph Murphey battled it out last year over a coconut cream delight until some big bucks were spent.  Champions! 

        It is good news to hear that Crenna is feeling better and worrisome news that Connie is not feeling well at all.  Health care professionals do their work but Champions chime in with prayers and good wishes for a speedy recovery for their dears, their friends, and neighbors.  Get well soon.

        One of the highlights of the Skyline Auxiliary meeting was a colorful collage of photos of miss Miley Dae Schober.  She was born January 17th.  Anybody curious about what true love might look like only needs to register the face of a young father holding his baby girl.  It is precious to see and the pictures generated ‘oos’ and ‘ahs’ from all those attending.  Grandmother Sharon Sikes was glowing and she tore out of the meeting ready to go see that girl (since she was in the neighborhood anyway).  Champion Taegan, “Peanut,” Krider is taking two steps at a time now.  It will not be long before she will be on the run.  Her folks, the Young Farmer and the Dairy Maid are enjoying the many aspects of parenting.  Check them out at www.thedairymaid.wordpress.com.  There is a link to this charming blog in the links section of www.championnews.us.  Find Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place there too. It indicates some good planting days to begin on the 20th of the month and pruning to encourage growth can be done on the 23rd and 24th.  There is also a link to the VFW Post 3770 to keep Champions reminded of the serious work being done by those serving in their Nation’s uniform.  Technology has changed the way many things are done, but not everything.

        A Champion son residing abroad has come upon a Swedish proverb that he has chosen to share:  “Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more and good things will be yours.”   This most comprehensive admonition allows Champions to see that there are good people all around the world and they share many fine traits—perhaps with more in common than not.  Tumultuous events in Egypt and other places give pause to citizens here to recognize that it is a beautiful aspect of this Nation that people who love each other, family and neighbors, whose votes all count the same, can have fundamental disagreements among themselves with no diminution of their mutual respect. A public figure viewed as a hero with a glorious legacy by some can be seen as a traitorous self-serving scoundrel by others.  Ah! Freedom!  Someone said that Champion is located in Douglas County, the way Douglas County is located in Missouri, and the way Missouri is located in the United States—a little to the south and a little to the right. That is looking at the map–standing on the map it might be a little to the left–this is the whole nature of perspective.

        An invitation for a first hand view of the application of the Golden Ratio was eagerly accepted the other day and it is to be reported that progress is sterling!   Constant effort is required to dial back the enthusiasm for describing every aspect of the Re-Creation of the Historic Mercantile.  In the fullness of time all will be revealed.  Send your revelation to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News. Sing “!Que` sera`, sera`!” to yourself—but not too loud.  It is kind of an annoying song. If you happen to come to Champion for an eye-full of the good stuff you can sing those praises all day long.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.


February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

CHAMPION—February 7, 2011

        The tranquility of Champion sits unperturbed under another coat of snow. This one was substantial, beautiful and quickly melted. The next one will be what it will be and forward-looking Champions will make the most of it.

        Cabin Fever has claimed few victims this season and the slowness of pace gives ample time for reflection. It is a tribute to Champion that not much reflecting time is given over to regret. Only one example has emerged and this old Champion reigned in her impulse to spit on her own floor at the falderal of the centurial. “Remember instead,” she said, “the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire or the lightening strike that destroyed the State House in Jeff City 100 years ago. Regret that solar collectors came down off the White House and that dependence on foreign oil was not ameliorated by in-country investment; regret the shameful scandals that resolved the fate of the 52 after 444 days; regret the final nail driven into the coffin of organized labor that insured the decline of working class wages that we still endure; but most of all, regret the revisionism that obscures this history!” She rants, “Regret sucks.”

        Reflection is ever so much more pleasant and much of that shows up in the water—in canoes. Kaye’s sister recalled when she and Richard were first dating. With no canoeing experience, they took a box lunch and put in at Rippee when The Bryant was well up. Neither could swim to speak of and they both got wet and the dinner box was lost, but now they are grandparents and happy as clams. There are apparently several canoe stories associated with Harley and Barbara, but nobody really wanted to talk about it. The word is that Harley and Barbara are both feeling better over having had bad colds and bronchitis. Dusty Mike and his charming sweetheart went canoeing on one of their first dates and they have been an old married couple for some time now. There are some good stories about Foster and Kalyssa’s folks when they first started dating. One such has the young man up on a flat bed truck holding two little calves and Patch the dog. They were moving some young heifers from one place to another, and the idea was that the cows would follow the truck with the calves on it. Things started out well then went bad. The dairy heard was headed to the barn about that time and Patch managed to get all the animals excited and agitated. The cows were charging the truck and Patch was biting cow noses and barking. The young lady and her sister ran for safety and climbed up on a trailor that was sitting near by and their Mother slipped through the gate and closed it behind her. That left the young man in difficult straits trying to impress his future father-in-law. Some of his brothers-in-law say the whole thing was a set up by the Father to run the suitor off. It did not work.

        Someone who does work is Route 2’s mail carrier, Karen. The snow and ice has had no effect on the mail service and it comes with a smile. She stays well prepared with snow boots, coats, blankets, cleats, flashlights and all the safety equipment necessary to keep her appointed rounds. She is a grandmother of seven—some live nearby and some live up in North Dakota where their Dad is in the military service. She knows the value of mail to and from the grandchildren and so Champions are well served.

        Champion friend, Bill Long, has joined the growing list of artists and craftsmen who are donating pieces of their work for the silent auction at the Skyline VFD chili supper on the 5th of March. His contribution is a lamp hanger, for displaying and burning the old kerosene lamps that so many Champions keep as family heirlooms and as back up against loosing power. This piece is yellow pine with the beautiful grain typical of that lumber and a hard shiny finish. It is a generous gift that will find its way to the home of a lucky bidder. The chili supper will be held on Krenna’s birthday this year. Bill says that she has been under the weather for a couple of days, and Champions all wish her a speedy recovery.

        It is expected that after another little round of winter chill the weather will warm up next week into the fifties again. The last time it did that the armadillos came out in force. There was a report of a fellow over near Blanche having killed 46 in one day. The Fox Creek Farm family has rubbed out that many and more over the course of a couple of weeks. Good riddance. The gardeners are getting their seed orders in and keeping their shotguns, etc. handy against the menace. Copies of Linda’s Almanac will be available this week at Henson’s Store currently located in the cozy Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion. This fine document reveals that Valentine’s Day and the day after will both be good days to start seed beds. Champions are getting excited.

        The American Forces Network broadcast the Super bowl game to 175 nations where Americans are serving. Those wearing the uniform of the military service probably all know the words to the National Anthem. Champions know that until July 4th, the Nation will celebrate its 235th year of Independence because of their dedication. Some would say that soldiers enter into a contract with the government—their service for money. Perhaps that is true, but there is no doubt that those services are an imperative and Champions salute their soldiers and Veterans with Love and Gratitude.

        The Golden Ratio is 1 to 1.618 and it is most likely applicable to the Re-Creation of the Historic Mercantile over on the North side of the Square in Champion. Anyone familiar with classic architecture can be soothed by the graceful appearance of the edifice as it approaches fruition. “Now if you were a horsefly and I an old gray mare, I’d stand and let you bite me, and never move a hair. I’d stand and let you bite me and never move a hair, cause that’s how much I love you, Baby. That’s how much I love you!” This may not be the Valentine song you have in mind, so sing your own. Send favorite Valentine songs to Champion News. Look in on Champion in person for a sweet site or on the web at www.championnews.us. Keep a happy heart, because somebody loves you. Champion—Looking on the bright side!