April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011

CHAMPION—April 26, 2011

        Champions are keeping their heads above water and glad of it.  They are glad for the rain and have no complaints.  The bridge over Fox Creek just to the East of Downtown Champion is well underwater and likely to stay that way for a while.  The low water crossings North of town on County Roads 239 and 237 are impassable but Champions do not feel marooned.  Monday morning found the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium full of people to overflowing and if there were flies on the walls (which there are not) things might have been learned that would shed light on many mysteries old and new.   By the end of the day the flood had reached the lower drive, but during the night receded.  A quick flash of sunshine Tuesday morning lifted spirits uniformly around Champion.  Even a small amount of sunshine is most welcome. 

        A mystery was solved with a phone call on Sunday when Bob Berry called Esther Wrinkles to confess having left the big bag of mushrooms hanging on her front door while she was away.  It took her three sittings to eat them all and she said they were really good.  Some people have very nice neighbors.  Esther is getting excited about the pie supper to be held at the Vanzant Community Center on May 7th.  She says that there will be much more information coming out about it, but that people should start planning on attending now.  

        Champion’s Easter Parade was a wash this year.  Bright spots, however, were visitors Vivian Floyd and entourage meeting up with the Illinois Kriders, Harley and Barbara.  Together with the Champion regulars they made for a lovely if damp Easter.  Good Easter email wishes came from Bob Conrad, Al Nance, and Pete and Kate Proctor who sent a very interesting article about the entertainer Martha Ray.  It turns out that she was a full “Bird” Colonel in the US Army Reserve and a nurse with surgical specialty.  She is the only woman buried in the Special Forces Cemetery at Ft. Bragg.

        The woods are filling in so fast that the dogwoods are beginning to disappear while still in full bloom.  Garden peas are growing inches by the day and potatoes are almost leaping up out of the ground. More than one experienced gardener voices concern that things might rot in the ground, but others remain optimistic that even if that were to happen there is still time to get a good garden in.  Gardening is not altogether inexpensive, though the greatest cost is in labor, but food prices are such that some who have never tried it are giving it a go this year.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood shows that the planting will be good all the way through the 29th of the month for those root crops.  Look for her almanac on line at www.championnews.us and while you are there look at the photo of the elegant new steps leading up to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion sprawled lavishly along the wide and wild banks of Fox Creek.  “Oh! The night was dark and stormy.  The air was full of sleet.  The old man stepped out in the yard and his shoes were full of feet.”  Finish that song if you can or send your favorite weather song to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News.  Take the only open road into town and get an eyeful of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011

CHAMPION—April 17, 2011

        The good news in Champion has to do with the whippoorwills and the hummingbirds.  These are the sure harbingers of Spring and are as welcome as would be gift of a dozen mushrooms the size of pop cans.  The hummers will be here in force before long as the ‘scouts’ have been here for a couple of weeks now.  Many Champions keep feeders out for them and find them fascinating to watch.  They use the sugar water and flower nectars to fuel their astonishing metabolism and for protein and other nutrients they eat soft-bodied insects and spiders!  Some suggest setting out some overripe fruit or banana peels to attract flies for the hummers, but most folks in the country have enough flies to share already.  It would be nice to let them in the house to go on spider patrol, a Champion idea if unrealistic.  Articles found at hummingbirds.net indicate that red dye is not necessary to attract the birds and that it may be harmful to them.  They can live a long time.  Some say the average is three to four years, but some species have been documented to live for twelve years.  Champion!

        When Champion seamstresses of a certain age were learning to sew, it was customary that the nap of a fabric such as velvet or even some corduroys should go from the top down.  That is to say a person wearing a velvet shirt should be able to stroke the sleeve from the shoulder down to the elbow had have it be smooth.  Conversely, stroking against the grain or nap from elbow to shoulder would produce a rough sensation.  Sometime during the past forty years things have changed. Now almost any velvet garment a person can buy has the nap running up.  It is suggested that as long as all the individual pieces in the garment run in the same direction it does not matter.  To be rubbed the wrong way is however unpleasant.  It seems that it is easy enough to rub someone the wrong way without trying.  Champions expend good effort to maintain their friendships.  Some other old Champions think that nap is their afternoon snooze and are definitely badly rubbed if disturbed.

        Champions are grateful for having missed out on the recent bad weather that has caused such death and destruction on either side of them.  Spring is an especially volatile time weather wise, though this part of the world has experienced tornadoes in every month of the year.  Sympathy for those suffering goes along with humility concerning good fortune.  April has been designated as the Month of the Military Child by the VFW.  Governor Nixon signed the proclamation acknowledging the military child as a source of pride to Missouri and recognizing the children of Missouri National Guardsmen for their sacrifices and the challenges they endure as their parents protect the state and nation as well as provide humanitarian relief around the world.  In celebration the Missouri National Guard’s Family Warrior Support group has scheduled events and activities throughout the month.  Look for details at http://vfwwebcom.org/missouri.  A link can be found to this VFW site at www.championnews.us.  Look for Linda’s almanac there too.  It says that the whole of the Easter weekend can be given over to planting root crops.  Champions in frost pockets know that there is still plenty of time to get a good garden in.  It may be too early to plant out those delicate things, but the soil can be readied.  There is never a shortage of things to do in a pretty garden.  They say if you see a pretty garden, there is generally someone in it.  Around here it will be a Champion.

        Esther Wrinkles reported a great meeting last Friday over at the newly renamed and reorganized Vanzant Community Center.  Sybil Gheer will be pleased to know that the first Pie Supper has been scheduled for May 7.  Everyone is welcome come and to bring a pie or any other good thing for the auction.  Esther said that J.W. Collins and the young Shannon auctioneer will be doing the honors that evening so it should be a lot of fun.  She has a sign up in her dining room that says “Pie Fixes Everything.”  The community center needs a little fixing up and that is the purpose for the proceeds of the evening.  It will be a great kick-off for the Spring and Summer Social calendar, so mark it down and show up to see old friends and to make new ones.  Champion!  (Vanzant really.)

        That other Tennessee boy has been in the neighborhood visiting with his Grandmother.  He has brought his banjo and his good humor to help Champion stay on the bright side.  His younger cousins will be swarming around him because he is so much fun and his great uncle Harley has made a trip from Illinois in time to coincide with Dillon’s visit.  He has what is called a magnetic personality.  He will have to leave before the Easter Parade in Champion but he will not consider himself to have missed much.  Perhaps next year he and his other great uncle, The General, will have a marching banjo-accordion duet worked up for the parade.  “Here comes Peter Cotton Tail hopping down the bunny trail.”  Hippity hoppity on in to Champion singing your favorite song, maybe that one about your Easter Bonnet with all the flowers on it.  Send any news of Champion interest or examples of “therein lies the rub” to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717, or to Champion News.  Enjoy a pleasant stroll around the Square in Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 12, 2011

April 11, 2011

CHAMPION—April 11, 2011

        Champions are pleased for the rain, pleased for the good company of friends and family visiting, pleased for the progress in their gardens and various other enterprises.  Overall the Champion neck of the woods is quite a pleasing place full of the glories of spring and happy people.

        A good neighbor reports that Wes Smith cut his hand while working on a hay wagon and the next day cut his other hand working on same project. Pat came along with some duct tape and fixed him up.  The good neighbor plans a trip out to buy the Smiths a nice first aid kit.  That is always an appropriate gift and just having one on hand often reduces the need for it.

        The joys of spoonbilling were revealed to Adam Michaud when Big Bill Long took him fishing down at Lake Taneycomo recently.   Bill was busy Sunday sharing photographs of Adam and the monster thirty-five pound fish he caught.  It will take a lot of people or a lot of time to get it all eaten, though a project like that can sometimes gather a surprising amount of support.  Bon appetite!

        A swaggering local Champion allows as how he has been finding mushrooms the size of pop-cans.  Until he has shared some of those finds around sufficiently it will be assumed that the cans he is talking about are all those blue ones along the roadways a large number of which he has most likely single handedly emptied himself. 

        Champions are all glad to see that Ms. Eva Powell is feeling better over a recent illness.  Her spirits were much lifted by a visit from Granddaughter Emily with her husband Victor Ash and Eva’s great grandchildren Salina and Conner.  Conner has just had his third birthday and it is amazing to see how quickly the little ones seem to grow.  Pictures on The Dairymaid website show Taegan (Peanut) Krider to be in the middle of growing up herself.  It may be that parents are not really aware of the speed of change in their babies because of their constant exposure, but let a couple weeks go by and they seem to have jumped up in size and ability.  Very interesting this human condition!  Find The Dairymaid in the links section at www.championnews.us

        One of those Tennessee brothers is visiting with his Grandmother on the farm for a few days.  Cousins Foster and Kalyssa think that Dakota is the cat’s meow.  This part of the country is full of first and second, near and distant cousins and so the isolated folks with no blood kin nearby just look at the intertwining local family trees as a charming briar patch.  Family closeness is lovely to view even if it is not ones own.

        An Old Champion was visiting with Esther Wrinkles on the phone Saturday. He reported that she wants to be sure that the news gets out so that everybody will know about the meeting at the Vanzant Community Building on the 15th.   It is to be held at seven in the evening and everybody is welcome to attend.  Maybe Sybil Geer will go.  A chance for conversation with her on Election Day is one of the reasons some Champions vote at all.  She is excited to learn about when the first pie supper will be at the Vanzant Community Building.  She said that she had enjoyed her time teaching there when it was called Clifty Hall.  Ms. Geer seems to enjoy everything.  She always has a smile and a pleasant word and is always dressed to the nines.  She is about ready to put away her cowboy boots for the year.  She has many pairs and finds them perfect with her skirts for wintertime warmth.  On that day she was wearing white and silver snakeskin boots—very stylish.  Her fellow election official, Velma Schroeder, was sporting a shiny chrome walker as a prize for a fall that she had taken recently.  Hopefully she will be able to ditch it soon, but it is good to see her up and around anyway and happy to do her civic duty.  The single (and only) male on the election board kept his cap pulled pretty low over his eyes to disguise his nodding off.  He must have some enterprise going somewhere that keeps him worn out.  Sue’s tie-die is not really a uniform, but like her, it is always bright and cheerful and while the community would still recognize her in other clothes, it would be a bit of a puzzlement to them.  “Hmmm, “ they would say, perhaps a little confused wondering what was different. 

        Email from Pete Proctor includes some nice photos of Pete, his son Bryan, and their friend, Patriot Rider Jerry England.  In honor of Bryan and the many deployments he has served, England put seventeen US Flags up on Pete’s street and driveway when this Champion came home recently to visit his parents.  Pete says that Bryan will be going to Qtar in May for a year’s deployment there.  Champions wish him all the best and are grateful for his service, and for Pete’s.  Vietnam era Veterans are the group about Pete’s age now, about ready for Social Security and some are still dealing with things they experienced those long years ago over there.  It is common to say, “Hate the war not the warrior.” Whatever the policies or reasons for the various conflicts going on around the world currently, those serving and those who have served are the reason the Viet Cong or others are not headed up Champion driveways.  So, thanks.

        A Saturday trip down to Vera Cruz for the Fortnight Bridge Club meeting had the group dazzled by the dogwoods and delighted by May apples and bloodroot.  What a glorious place and glorious time of the year!  The Vera Cruz host was the winner with Champion second and Brushy Knob third.  Linda, representing Norwood, brought home the nickels this time, which probably brought her losses down to about thirty-five cents.  That is not expensive entertainment by any standard.  The play, the refreshments, and the good company all meet the highest standards for a really good time.  Champion!  Between hands garden plans and progress were discussed.  The Vera Cruz and Champion players are both in frost pockets, while Brushy Knob and Norwood are at a higher elevation and can generally get their tender things in earlier.  Linda says business is picking up at The Plant Place and people are getting excited about growing food.  Her Cole crops are looking good and she has just transplanted lots of tiny tomatoes.  In Champion it is generally figured that the last frost is May 10th.  That seems a long way away, but it will go by quickly.   The weather man seems to indicate that Champion might get a frost on the coming week end, so patience will be the requirement for those ready to jump the gun.  Get a copy of Linda’s Almanac over at the Plant Place or at Henson’s Store currently located in the temporary annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Old timers will verify that following the signs is a good way to get there.

        A big pile of new treated lumber was noticed over the weekend kind of stuck up under the porch of the recreation of the historic emporium.  Nobody was around to explain its purpose so Champions are left to speculate.  One is singing, “I’ll build a stairway to Paradise with a new step every day!  I’m going to get there at any price, stand aside, I’m on my way.” That particular Champion has no rhyme (and hopefully no rime) or reason for what she sings.  So, pay no attention to her or to that man behind the curtain.  Be a Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011

CHAMPION —April 4, 2011

        A review of the first week of April over the last five years reveals the following:  Good news in Champion (April 9, 2007) is that Spring is back Again!  During the course of the week assessments will have been made about the degree of freeze damage to trees and shrubs, though the full extent may not be evident for some time.  Some are hoping for a second mushroom season to follow the second winter.  All are optimistic about something.  It is just the Champion mind-set to look ahead with expectations of a favorable outcome.  On April 6, 2008, there is a rumor in Champion that dogwoods are blooming!  By the time this goes to ink it may be so in a widespread way.  May Apples are up two or three inches high and mushroom hunters have begun to gather ticks already.  There is a great rivalry to claim the first and most of anything among Champions.  They can’t help it.  April 6, 2009, said that April slipped in to Champion as quietly as the March lamb left and all was springly sweet and pleasant those first few days.  T.S. Elliot was right though when he said, “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.”  Mr. Elliot wrote his poem, “The Waste Land,” in 1922, and it lives up to its name with some very dreary imagery.  Clearly, he was not from around here because even the brutal cold winds of those next few days with threats of snow and frozen flowers did not frost the spirits of Champions though they may have been picking ticks from their long handles.  On April 5, 2010, Champions, alert to the inevitability of change, welcome it with the same ease and grace with which the seasons come and go.  Even so.  Let it be.  The genuine heart of Champion does not change, however, the part that acknowledges the importance of good neighbors and good deeds and that part that recognizes and celebrates the beauty of the place.  So on April 4, 2011, everything is the same–beautiful and full burgeoning growing things and full happy hearts.  Not boring—Champion!

        The Barren Fork Traditional Muzzleloading Association bunch will host the spring Rendezvous April 16th and 17th over north of Gainesville.  Participating campers will reflect the 1640-1840 time period in their costume and camp gear.  Visitors are welcome to come and look around.  Ed Peterka has all the particulars and can be reached at auntiem@getgoin.net.  What an excellent opportunity for young folks and the rest of us to get a look at how things were back in the old days.  It took some sturdy individuals to thrive during those times and to raise families that raised families that are Champion families today.  Time is a fluid concept.  Dillon Watts will have his birthday on the 12th.  He will have to have a belated Champion party as his spring break is slow in arriving this year.  Bob Berry will celebrate on the 14th and all his Champion friends will be ready to shake his hand to say, “Wow!  You sure don’t look that old!”  He and Mary will most likely be at the Vanzant Community meeting on Friday night, so that will be a good chance to glad hand a nice man.  That meeting will inform the public about the situation, condition, etc. of the community building and plans for the future.  Everyone is welcome—7 p.m.  Income Tax Day finds George G. Jones another year older if unchanged from his flamboyant youth.  Taegan’s Uncle Dusty and her great Aunt Vivian will share the spotlight at different parties together on that day too.  That is on Friday and so is liable to be a blowout.  Packing heat and partying hearty, that whole outfit might as well be called the Wild Bunch.  There is a good chance that Harley and Barbara will be down to enter the fray and they will be considered to be a sight for sore eyes.  Maybe Barbara will have a preview of her Spring collection!

        It is reported that there are 3,060,000 people in the U.S. military and reserves, accounting for less than two percent of the population of 305,816,827 people.  Other sources say less than one percent of the population is currently serving.  Whether it is less than two percent or less than one percent, three million people are still quite a few.  It is wonderful that the Constitution can be supported and defended so well by so few.  There are 25.2 million veterans who have done that defending for the rest of the population and the Veteran’s Administration says that on any given night there are 107,000 homeless veterans.  Just knowing the numbers is not really much help.  Anyone wanting to show Love and Gratitude to a Veteran as a friend or a stranger can contact the local Veterans organizations.  The VFW posts and the American Legion have numbers in the phone books and avenues of direct support to Veterans in need.  Champion!

        Research into early April in Champion’s recent years unearthed this from 2007: “All over this part of the country the forsythia is in full bloom.  There are many beautiful examples of it but perhaps none so lovely as the one in Louise and Wilburn’s front yard.  It is not as large as some, but for overall beauty it is without compare.  It is so wonderfully symmetrical and each blossom seems especially large and well formed.  The branches all spring from a center core and arch themselves upward and outward like a mellifluous gilded fountain.  The open spaces uniformly highlight the perfection of each flowered bow.  Like Louise and Wilburn, it is a Champion!”  Louise says that it is just that pretty again this year but she allows as how Judy Hutchison, her sister-in-law, over west of C Highway has one that is truly magnificent.  This shrub is fairly easy to get started and pretty much takes care of itself.  Linda has some excellent specimens of it over at the Plant Place in Norwood and a wealth of information about it and most anything that grows.  Her Almanac says the 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th are all good days to plant crops that bear their yield above ground and they are all good for transplanting and planting flowers.  Find the almanac on the counter there or in the links section at www.championnews.us or posted on the refrigerator in Henson’s Store currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion just to the south of the Loafing Shed and immediately across the thoroughfare from the edifice that some say is surely most representative of the Golden Ratio.

        The 35th Annual All Fool’s Formal was a grand success over at the Ace Café last Friday.  That is a spot over on the Far Side of Booger County and the place was simply jumping!  Judy T. Ing started the event back in the 1970’s and it carries on as a tribute to her and to all Champions everywhere with big hearts, love and tolerance for their fellowmen, and the willingness to get silly while still being good!  Send any kind of good Champion report to Champion News or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO. 65717. “Forget your troubles, come on get happy.  Sing your blues away.  Shout Hallelujah, come on get happy!  Get ready for the Judgment Day!”  Snap your fingers as you stroll around the Square.  It is Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!