July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011


CHAMPION—July 25, 2011

          In Champion at the end of July spirits are quite high.  Of course, that is the regular situation in the charming burgh as residents make the most of whatsoever and whomsoever is at hand.  The long luxurious summer days rather palpate with the delicious heat so longed for back in February.  Champions love the weather whatever it is. 

 Spirits of gum turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees.  It was a common medicine among seamen and was one of several products carried aboard Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet in his first circumnavigation of the globe.  There is history of its use in internal medicine but this is no longer a common practice.  Topically, it was used for abrasions and wounds, as a treatment for lice, and when mixed with animal fat, as a chest rub, or inhaler for nasal and throat ailments.  Camphor is one of the fragrant chemical compounds produced from components of turpentine and many modern chest rubs, such as the Vicks variety, still contain turpentine in their formulations. The residue left after turpentine distillation is sold as rosin and fiddlers are encouraged to keep their bows well rosined against the chance to play for any good reason or just for the fun of it. Spirits of gum turpentine acts as a solvent, flowing agent and drier with linseed oil to make the perfect varnish for violins and some Champions even use it on their floors.  Both medicinal and musical—how Champion!

A note from the Kansas City journalist concerning the recent sojourn to his Champion Retreat says, “Just to clarify, I did catch a glimpse of the resident, and it was a coyote, dismayed that I was walking around on the roof of her new den, which she was apparently sharing with longtime resident armadillos and who knows what else.  Was I intimidated by eerie human-like growling and throaty huffing in the dark of the night at 2am far back in the piney woods where the sun never shines?  Did I lock the screen doors and search for an old sledge-hammer handle that I kept handy for just such emergencies in the night? Yes, yes, and yes.  Thanks for your good reporting.”  While it is neither journalism nor literature, the spirit of the Champion News aims to inform, entertain and encourage.

A bit of very encouraging news comes in the formation of the Skyline R-2 School Foundation.  In its first meeting, which was held on July 12th, the goals and purposes of the organization were laid out.  Cuts in state funding and to transportation allocations are exacting a toll on the school that works a real hardship.  The shortfall in the operations budget causes resources to be drawn from the academic side of things, which is, after all, the whole point of the place.   The Foundation’s goal is to tap into the generous spirit of the community and alumni scattered to the winds, to give a helping hand to the little school that continues to play such a pivotal roll in the successful lives of its students.  Any alumni or supporter of great education wanting to get in on the ground floor of this excellent enterprise can contact Foundation President Patricia Blasius at  Pblasius@gmail.com for more information or can address inquiries and checks and cash to Skyline R-2 School Foundation, Rt. 2, Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717.  Looking back on early school days, many find their most fond memories there.  ‘Times’ are every bit as hard now as they have ever been and that spirit of generosity is sorely needed. Look for much more news on the subject as time goes on. 

A Champion gardener active in the Farmer’s Market in Ava made a spirited jerk of the steering wheel early Saturday morning to avoid releasing the spirit of the skunk out in the middle of 76 Highway just passed the Bryant Creek bridge.  No sooner had he corrected his course and recovered his breath and heartbeat than flashing lights in his rear view mirror signaled him to pull over.  The young highway patrolman saw this diversionary tactic as ‘erratic driving’ and since he had not seen the skunk himself he was suspicious of the explanation and intent upon his duty.  Had the gardener hit the skunk, he would not have been put to the 4 a.m. trouble of producing his license and registration and the trooper would have had his doubts erased if not his sense of smell.  In his defense, the young law enforcer may have had his zeal still piqued by the adventures of the County Coroner up on C Highway the other day.  Back to gardening, Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood shows that Thursday and Friday will be most fruitful days for planting root crops and excellent for sowing seedbeds and flower gardens.  They are good days for transplanting as well as for pruning to encourage growth.  Get a look at that Almanac in the Champion Connections section of www.championnews.us.   There is a lovely link there too to The Dairymaid where can be found some very cute pictures of a certain Taegan Peanut swimming with the Farmer.  She says, “Oh! Man!” 

Pete Proctor is a Champion son if ever there was one.  He forwarded a photo taken at the National Cemetery in Minneapolis/Fort Snelling, Minnesota that came to Pete from Bill Moriarty and to Bill from Ed Hawley.  The picture is of an eagle sitting on headstone among hundreds of identical headstones on a misty morning in early spring.  The light is diffused and the feeing of the image is hushed and still–the very picture of reverence and respect.  There are National Cemeteries all around this country and around the world full to overflowing with the remains of U.S. Military Personnel who have died in the service of their Country.  Living Veterans have given much and often stand in need.  Love and Gratitude is due to them, to those serving and to their families who also sacrifice.  Look for that picture in the “snapshots” section of the website at www.championnews.us and look for a chance to be of help to a Veteran.  A Champion eagle appreciator will get a copy of that photo in the mail as a reward for having pointed out the good service of another Champion neighbor.  Champion Pat Smith has been caught by camera crews and featured on television news as someone who is looking out for others.  She has a mail route in Mountain Grove and as she goes about her daily routine, she checks in on the elderly people on her route to be sure they are safe and comfortable during the extreme heat.  What Champion spirit! 

A guy named Norman Greenbaum wrote a song called “Spirit in The Sky” which was recorded by The Eagles as well as a number of other rock and roll bands.  It says, “When I die and they lay me to rest, Gonna go to the place that’s the best.  When I lay me down to die, I’m going up to that spirit in the sky.” Send examples of good Champion spirit to Champion at getgoin.net or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Stroll around the Square in Downtown Champion to feast your eyes upon the beauty of the next best place, where Champions are indeed wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

CHAMPION—July 18, 2011

        Summertime in Champion is easy as Champions walk about under leafy boughs conducting their business from shade to shade.  The gentle quietitude reflects the liberal distribution of harmonious sentiment.  The unexpected stirring of a breeze is as a gift that plays itself out in contented smiles on the faces of relaxed Champions.  “How are you today?” inquires one of another just arriving.  “Oh, tolerably well,” she replies.  He asks, “What are you up to?”  She says, “I thought I would sit a spell over in the Loafing Shed and then do a little shopping.”  “Well,” says he, “if it is shopping you are interested in, just step on into the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium over there on the West Side of the Square.  You’ll not be disappointed!”

        Favorite Champion, Louise Hutchison, is home from her stay in the hospital and is doing well.  She says that she and Wilburn stay busy taking care of each other.  She has had many visitors, phone calls and has received many get-well cards.  Louise is such a vital, productive person that it will likely be a chore for her to slow down though she may not have much choice.  The Skyline Auxiliary had a meeting over in the Loafing Shed last Monday evening and talked a good deal about Louise and the central role she has always played in the Fire Department activities.  Plans and ideas for the Annual Picnic were the subject of much of the conversation.  Louise will be in an advisory position this year and it is sure to be another excellent picnic even with much of the workload redistributed.  A good picture of Esther with the Picnic Quilt was taken at the meeting and may be in the paper, certainly a nice color version can be seen at www.championnews.us, as well as on the refrigerator inside Henson’s Store, where tickets are available.  One Champion is giving tickets for this quilt as a wedding present to a distant nephew who will be married August 23rd.  It is a gamble, certainly, but the young couple has already determined that, apart from their affection for each other, there are few ‘sure things.’  This quilt is a real beauty, though, and they will be lucky to win it for sure.

        Government regulations require that a ramp built to accommodate the Americans With Disabilities Act not be an eyesore to neighbors.  It is not only Not an eyesore, but quite an attractive little addition to the already beautiful Recreation.  Everything is up to date in Champion, and the ubiquitous loitering onlookers have not proven themselves to be much of an hindrance to progress as they come and go, though it is unknown just how much more could get done without their presence.  They are Champions, after all, much interested and full of the zeal that provokes accomplishment.  No one is critical, because it is just so…so dad blamed pretty!

        Towns named Champion in Texas, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio are interesting and diverse places.  It turns out that Champion, Pennsylvania is in the southwestern part of that state and at the 2010 census had a population 981.  It seems that the largest employer in the area is the Seven Springs Resort.  It is a ski resort and a convention, event center where elegant weddings and reunions are held.  The schools in Champion, Pa have about 17 students per teacher.  That actually sounds pretty good, nationwide.  Champion, Missouri, deep in the heart of Booger County, also has a favorable teacher/student ratio and some elegant facilities for reunions and weddings and while the topography is certainly steep enough to ski, Champions are pleased not to have so much snow annually to accommodate the practice.  Just a few short months ago it was quite cold around this part of the world.  Champions were reminded that it also gets very cold in Afghanistan where so many American service people are stationed currently.  It gets hot there too, and while many are suffering from the heat here, the stresses and dangers that those serving are experiencing are much more intense.  Champions extend their best wishes for their safe return.  They have the Love and the Gratitude of the Nation due them.

        A big time Kansas City journalist and writer of books has a country home over in Champion South and had occasion to spend a week-end there recently.  The retreat is a short walk down a wooded path from his brother’s home and it provides solitude and comfort for a busy mind.  The first night of his stay, he settled in ready for some rest, when he discovered that a coyote (maybe) had settled in to den up under his house.  While he never caught a glimpse of his guest, it was clear that the animal felt intruded upon and behaved in an aggressive complaining manner all through the night.  The spare room at his brother’s house sheltered him the next night and the story leaked out all the way to the Douglas County Herald.

        An advertisement for the Du Pont Company in the National Geographic Magazine says that the world’s population will grow by 150,000 people daily for the next forty years.  Then it goes on to emphasize how the company is working to find ways to provide everyone with enough safe, nutritious food in collaboration with growers, governments and other companies around the world.  Champion gardeners are particularly partial to some old heirloom varieties of their favorite vegetables—squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.  A number are experimenting with saving their own seeds from year to year and it is the heirloom plants that can be relied on from year to year to reproduce themselves faithfully.  While hybrid varieties often produce specialized traits and have claims for disease and pest resistance, they cannot be trusted for true replication of themselves the next year, and indeed, may not even produce viable seed.  There is good information available these days on saving seed and conservative Champions are investigating.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that root crops can be planted on the 24th and the 25th and again on the 28th and 29th.  Some Champion housewives are getting the fall turnips in the ground with the hopes that Lem and Ned will be by for a few days this fall.

        A nice chat with Esther, a Champion in residence at Vanzant, revealed several interesting things.  First, her friend Brenda, gave her a picture of the bear up in the sweet gum tree that had traffic stopped on 95 Highway back on the 8th of July.  She is going to share it around.  Randy and Linda Mallernee stopped in for a visit with her on Saturday.  They were taking some little Oklahoma friends out on a sight seeing tour and dropped in on Esther.  She reported that her son, Larry Wrinkles, and his wife Teresa have just had their twenty-fourth wedding anniversary.  “We’ll sing of the old and we’ll sing of the new.  We’ll sing of the changes in years.  I can’t tell a lie.  Last night we had pie, for the first time in twenty-four years!”  That is an old song that does not apply to Esther’s family and friends.  Years ago the Kelley’s gave Esther the sign that she has up on the wall in her dining room:  “Pie Fixes Everything.”  Champion!  Send the songs that apply to you and your family and friends to Champion News or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Sing of the old and of the new right out loud while touring the sites in glorious Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011

CHAMPION—July 11, 2011

        Champions have no requirement for others to boast on their behalf.  Neither do they boast themselves, as it is unseemly.  It is enough to acknowledge with a simple nod of the head or a raised eyebrow the pervasive tranquility and completeness of the place.  Laconic locals exchange glances and knowing smiles as they lounge in languid ease in the now famous Loafing Shed while commerce advances around them.  An hour or two in that prime location serves to enlighten and inform.  Champion!

        It was there that Darlene Conner’s little red tomato was summarily devoured by the judges and declared the undisputed winner of the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest.  It was ready to eat on the 4th of July!  Steve and Darlene live up on WW Highway just not all that far from the Champion City Limits.  They bought the place that had been owned by Ruth and Orville Hicks.  Sometime back before Ruth and Orville owned it, Everet Tate lived there and Leona Bull owned it.  That is just information for reference to distant Champion readers.  Steve and Darlene have made the place very much their own and it is lovely.  They moved to Champion a few years ago from Springfield and have become excellent neighbors.  They had hardly been in the area any time at all when they chipped right in to help with the Skyline VFD picnic a few years ago and certain Champions will be pleased to report the enormous help they have been in various phases of construction in Downtown Champion.  The judges sang their praises loudly for any number of reasons as they dabbed at the tomato juice on their various chinney chin chins.  Champion!

        The Skyline Ladies have a meeting planned there for six o’clock on Monday to get that picnic ball rolling.  It should roll as well as Wilburn’s tractor did when he got off of it the other day.  He had been trying to get it started by rolling it and it was being stubborn.  He left it in neutral when he got down off of it and then watched as it took off on its own down the hill where it met up with a tree.  He and Louise just laughed about it.  Now Louise is up in St. John’s Hospital for a few more days doing some physical therapy.  Her Champion and Skyline friends will all be glad when she is home again and they all send their best wishes for a speedy recovery.  Wilburn will be glad to have things back to normal again.  Louise has always been a key player in the Skyline picnic.  Perhaps she will take on the roll of ‘advisor’ or ‘consultant’ this year and leave some of the hard work to others.  Once again Geoff Pardeck from the White River Valley Electric Co-Operative has given his official ‘okey-dokey’ to the donation of a hundred dollars worth of free power to be awarded to some lucky Skyline VFD supporter.  This donation has become an annual occurrence that signifies the community involvement of the co-op.  Champion!

        People around Champion are busy trading produce.  Green beans, cucumbers, squash, peppers and garlic are circulating and Champions are being healthy eaters.  It is easy to do with so much good food around.  Champions are ever mindful of their own good fortune relative to most of the rest of the world.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood shows that the 14th will be good for planting above-ground crops.  Then the 15th and 16th will be good for planting beets, carrots, salsify, Irish potatoes and other root crops.  Bill Long says to dig potatoes in the dark of the moon so they will keep better.  Get a look at that almanac on the refrigerator in Henson’s Store currently located in the Temporary Annex next to the Loafing Shed and across the boulevard from the Recreation of the Historic Mercantile on the North Side of the Square in downtown Champion.  The almanac is also available at www.championnews.us and up at Linda’s Place in Norwood. 

        Neighbors over in Vanzant had themselves a delightful picnic.  Bill Emory was busy telling about the traffic jam out on 95 Highway Friday evening caused by a little bear up in a sweet gum tree.  The story was verified by a number of people some of whom were able to take pictures.  While people were looking at the pictures in their cameras and milling around, the little bear got down and got away.  What direction he went is anybody’s guess.  Bill did caution Esther Wrinkles to be careful when she got home.  The picnic was well organized and that fish dinner was a bargain—not to mention the pies!  The music was good.  The children had great games to enjoy and a super bouncing house.  Neighbors got together to do some serious visiting.  Saturday night the crowd was extraordinary and Esther said that the fireworks were spectacular.  This was the 45th annual Vanzant Picnic.  Well done! Again!  The Veterans organizations were well represented at the picnic and there were many expressions of Love and Gratitude for all those who serve and who have served to the benefit of the nation.

        Those Tennessee boys were in town for the picnic and to spend a few days with their Grandmother.  There has been much fun afoot.  They are growing up.  Dakota has his driver’s license now and Dillon is taller than his Aunt Tanna.  Foster and Kalyssa are just wild about their older cousins and love it that they will play with them.  Foster has a doctor’s appointment Wednesday to find out why he has been having a bad stomach ache from time to time.  Nobody likes a sick child.  Of course, everyone who knows Foster loves him; they just do not like it when he is under the weather.  When he is feeling good, the whole world is a happy place, so Champions all keep him in their best thoughts for a quick remedy.

        In recent weeks the communities of Champion, TX, Champion, NY, Champion, NC, and Champion, WI have all been explored.  Each of these spots on the globe has its own particular charm, but none comes close to the pacific, irenic nature of Champion, MO sheltered with all discretion on the wide and unbridled banks of Old Fox Creek, where lives a groundhog of such gigantic proportions that folks over in Spotted Hog are jealous.  (Not to dredge up old scores, but they have long been jealous of Champion for myriad good reasons.)  Champion, Ohio is east of Cleveland some fifty or so miles and about that far south of Lake Eerie.  It is in Trumbull County, which was established in 1800.  The Township was named after the man who owned it, Henry Champion.  When he died in 1825, the western half of the township went to his son, Aristarchus Champion, and the eastern half to his son-in-law, Henry C. Trumbull.  In the census of 2000, the population density of Champion Township, OH was 378 per square mile.  Champion, MO is in Beautiful Booger County, MO, which boasts approximately 17 persons per square mile.  Champion!

        The Non-Blondes, Randy Travis and a group called Devo all have songs called “No Place Like Home.”  Blu Cantrell’s song of the same name includes these thoughts:  “I’ve met a lot of different people and I have seen my share of things.  So much I have come across while traveling.  But nothing can compare to what I have come to know and love…There is no place, quite like home.”  Come take a stroll around the Square and see the sights! What a delight!  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

CHAMPION—July 4, 2011

        “Champions are pleased to be Americans and to sit in safety under their own vines and fig trees where none make them afraid.  Here paths are scattered with light and in all their several vocations Champions are useful and accustomed to happiness.  It would be inconsistent with the frankness of their character if these Champions were not to avow that they are pleased with life in this lovely place and grateful.”  It seems that the General drew heavily on the style of that other General George Washington in this oration, though it was to a sleepy crowd at the Champion’s Annual Sunrise on Independence Celebration.  The poor attendance was counterbalanced with the tidiness of the throng so that when it was all over, it appeared never to have happened.  Look at www.championnews.us to find a stirring rendition of America The Beautiful particularly that verse that says, “O beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life!”  Find all the words and music there too for When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again—“Hurrah! Hurrah!”

        “Since it is Independence Day, I think I’ll do just as I please,” said a particularly popular and productive Champion.

        A nice note from Eva Henson Phillips of Bella Vista, AR says that she recently attended her All School, Ava reunion where she had a great time.  Her friend, Cathy, brought her the Herald where she read about Esther Wrinkles having a 94th birthday.  She knew Esther back in Champion when her family lived near Rufus Keller’s farm.  He was Esther’s dad and his farm is still in the family.  Eva said she would send a card.  Hopefully Eva will make it to the Champion Reunion again this year.  Esther will be there.  On the Fourth, Esther was expecting her son Larry and his wife Teresa and her son Lonnie, his wife, Verla, their daughter Deanna and her husband Greg, and their son Gavin, and maybe others.  Ah Family!  How Champion!

        The Skyline Ladies Auxiliary celebrated Esther’s birthday with a cake and a song at their meeting under the pleasant canopy of the Loafing Shed on Tuesday.  Then they got right down to business with the picnic planning.  It is just around the corner a few weeks away, but the very next corner is the Vanzant Picnic coming up on the 8th and 9th.  This is likely to be an excellent picnic this year on account of a recent influx of interest in the old Clifty Hall School and all the enthusiasm of all the fine folks that live in that neighborhood.  Champions will be there in bunches to celebrate with the Vanzantians.

        A favorite Champion curmudgeon celebrated his birthday on the 1st and Karen, the mail carrier, said, “He’s almost a Firecracker!”  Almost?!  Karen, herself, is a Firecracker with two big gardens, 100 tomato plants and green beans to give away already!  They say if you want something done to give it to the busiest person around.  The Nation celebrated 235 years on the 4th and on the 6th Darrell Haden turns 80.  He was raised over in Smallett and made some youthful memories, cutting a fine swath around Ava.  They have their Haden Family Reunion on the same day as the Champion School Reunion every year on the Saturday before Labor Day.  Perhaps when the Hadens come for their reunion, they will have a chance to take a gander at the recreation of the Historic Emporium in Downtown Champion, so long as they are in the neighborhood.  Darrell shares his birthday with the Dalai Lama who will be 76 this year.  He has stepped down from his political role in Tibet, but is still the spiritual leader.  He says that whether one believes in a religion or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.  Everyone finds himself in a situation where he would like to ease the suffering of some dear friend or family member.  Sometimes there are chores, errands, and meals that can be taken over for a while and sometimes there is nothing to be done apart from affirming that desire to help.

        The tree huggers were out in force at the Mill Pond again on the Fourth.  Old friends so seldom seen have much to share with one another—a year’s worth of happenings, births, deaths, marriages, gardens and yarns.  There was one story told about how a prominent lawyer and public servant on his way to the funeral of a dear old friend came upon the hearse broken down on a lonely dirt road.  The ‘old friend’ was not in a coffin but just on a gurney covered with a blanket on his way to a little country chapel where his many friends waited in the 102º August heat to bid him farewell.  There was no way to repair the hearse quickly and time was ticking by so it was decided that the two of them would transfer the old gentleman’s body into the Jeep of the friend for transport.  And so it was done with just exactly enough room to accommodate him in his supine position.  Meanwhile, back at the chapel, mourners were waiting and wondering.  When the Jeep backed up to the door questioning glances were exchanged and when the pop cans and beer bottles left over from a recent outing, rolled out of the back as the door was opened a ripple of laughter passed through the crowd.  Their old friend would have loved it!  Things do not always happen for the best, but they happen and it is up to friends to make the best of them.  That is a Champion precept. 

        Wonderful rain and wonderful natural fireworks kept the night sky busy as the Fourth of July gave way to the fifth.  Gardens are flourishing and the air is heavy with optimism.  There is a report that the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contests has been won and so life goes on in Champion.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that from the seventh to the eleventh all those days are good for planting, thus gardeners who have been slow to get things in still have some time for some nice fall crops.  Find that almanac at www.championnews.us or at the Plant Place or posted on the fridge at Henson’s Store temporarily located just across the broad expanse of Lonnie Krider Memorial Avenue from the Recreation of the Historic Mercantile which is approaching perfection.  Autumn will be here in the blink of an eye.  Keep your eyes wide open and your happy hearts light.  Music has real medicinal qualities.  “Look on the brighter side, shadows will pass away.”  That is from a song frequently sung in Champion where the citizenry is always Looking on the Bright Side!