August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011

Champion—August 29, 2011

           Excitement is building as Champion readies itself for the annual school reunion, the twenty-ninth one according to official sources.  There will be many there who have attended most of the reunions and some who will be attending their first one.  Sadly, some will not make it this year.  Royce Henson writes that his younger brother, Randall Lynn Henson, passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 25th.   Last year was the first time that these two brothers, and their brother Kenneth and sister Eva Lois were all at the reunion together.  Randall’s siblings all treasure the memory.  Look at the Champion School Reunions pictures on to see a picture of the four of them together.  It is easy to see they were enjoying themselves.  Royce writes that Randall was born June 16, 1942 just north of Champion up on Clever Creek.  The next day the sky opened up-creek around Cold Springs and a flood of all floods raged through the Riley farm where the family lived.  A cousin living in a neighboring home place now said that an equipment shed out in the field across the road from the house and some big farm equipment washed away suddenly.  There has never been another flood like it here in all these years–quite a memorable event in the life of a family.  Randall attended all eight years of school at Champion.  He went to high school in Mountain Grove and Norwood, and then graduated from Ava in the class of 1960.  He lived in the Columbia, MO area where he made his career in insurance.  There will be much conversation about Randy and all those absent from the reunion so it is advised that any alumni or others with an interest in the community should be in attendance—September 3rd in Downtown Champion 

          E-mail from Jeanie Maddox reports that her sister-in-law, Nancy Littrell, is recovering slowly but well in the hospital from the terrible auto accident that took her husband, David’s, life last week. Jeanie said they know so many people from all over.  They have lived in this area most of their lives and graduated from Norwood High School.  Nancy worked in the Norwood and Mountain Grove schools for about fifteen years.  “They are like second parents to some kids who are now adults.”  Jeanie says that the family wants everyone to know how much they appreciate all the calls and prayers.  So many have dear ones suffering ill health and loss.  Champion hearts go out.

          Royce wrote that the Battle of Midway had just been raging at the time his little brother was born.  It was considered to be one of the most decisive battles of World War Two.  It seems that the enemy was thinking that the American forces were demoralized and disheartened after the devastation of Pearl Harbor and that it would be easy to deliver a final blow to finish the job.  They did not count on the skill and the zeal of the code breakers in the U.S Military.  Commander Joseph J. Rochefort and his team of cryptanalysts broke the JN-25 code that provided Admiral Nimitz with a complete enemy order of battle.  There is a great deal of information available about this battle including many photographs and some actual film footage.  Books have been written on every aspect of the battle from the strategic context through the aftermath and the impact.  It is a fascinating story speaking to the courage of those serving in their Nation’s Uniform.  Randy Henson drove tanks in Panama when he was in the service.   Every Veteran has his time and his comrades to remember and every Veteran deserves to be remembered with the Love and Gratitude of his Nation.  They are all Champions!

          Oklahoma friend, Ethel McCallie, will be in the neighborhood for her Haden, Kay, Sellers Family Reunion also on September 3rd over in Ava.  She thinks her cousin, Darrell Haden, and his wife will probably not make it this year and they will be missed.  Hopefully they will make it next year and maybe over to Champion then too.  They live over in Fulton, Tennessee not too far from a place called Champion Lake!  (Look for more information about this lovely sounding place in the future.)  Ms. McCallie really likes to get over to Champion when she can and Champions hope it happens again this year.  She is a good storyteller with 94 years worth of material to share.  She just had her birthday on August 11th.  She talked about her Granddad Warden from over at Smallette who taught fifty-two terms of school in Douglas and Ozark Counties.  He was well educated and well regarded in the community.  He was quite a character, bald on top but with a long white beard and a special switch set aside for little Ethel.  Ms. McCallie and Esther Wrinkles are the same age and both of them are an encouragement to younger people who seem to be struggling with their memory.  What a wonderful resource are these bright exciting people with links to the past and bright eyes for the present.  There is much to be learned from the likes of them and the Champion Reunion will surely have many such like.  Champion!

               A little moderation in the heat, some Champions are finding that their ornamental green bean plants with all their blooms are actually beginning to produce green beans!  How happy they are not to have yanked them from the ground in disgust on those several occasions when they thought, had they only the energy to do so, they would.  Linda’s Almanac informs that the first through the third of September and the seventh and eighth will all be good days to plant leafy vegetables and other fall crops bearing their yield above the ground.  A copy of the Almanac can be found up at the Plant Place in Norwood or on the Refrigerator in Henson’s Store in downtown Champion either on the West Side of the Square or over on the North Side. 

                Champions join family and friends all up and down the East Coast singing “Good Night Irene.”  The hurricane turned out to be not nearly so bad in some areas as was expected, and then much worse in other areas.  Champion has been affected to the extent that Champions most uniformly express their gratitude for their good fortune to live in such a lovely place, as old Herman said, “the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley.”  Not only at the foot of several hills and the convergence of two county roads, plus Lonnie Krider Memorial Way, but also the at the beginning of the pavement and situated on the broad and shady banks of Fox Creek just down stream from the confluence of that great stream with the mighty Clever.  There on the broad sturdy porch on Henson’s Store it will be easy to imagine oneself standing on the bow of a gallant ship contemplating a tranquil sea—the Champion Ship—Looking on the Bright Side!


August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

CHAMPION—August 22, 2011

           Extensive rummaging through The Champion News Archives reveals that August 28 will be a 4th birthday celebration for Jenna Brixey and Kalyssa Wiseman.   They both have brothers, Jenna’s is younger and Kalyssa’s is older.  They are distant cousins since Jenna’s paternal grandfather and Kalyssa’s maternal grandmother are cousins.   In any given crowd of Champions there is a good chance that there will be more than one set of cousins.  It is the nature of the place that even people with no blood-kin in these parts get the joy of a great family feeling as friendships are forged over the years.   That Tennessee boy, Dakota Watts, will be eighteen years old on the 24th of August.  This is his senior year in school and it is to be hoped that he is making the kind of memories that will cause him to want to attend school reunions way off in the future.  The Champion School Reunion (the 27th one) is about to happen again (September 3rd) and Champions hear that Wilma Hamby will most likely attend this year.  Hopefully Jerry Smith will make it over from Seymour again and who can imagine the number of Hensons that might come from Springfield, Bella Vista, Houston, and Columbia?  There might be a Hutchison, probably a Cooley or two, not to mention Upshaws, Proctors, Kriders, Wrinkles, Southerlands, and numerous others.  This time last year Champions were celebrating the shiny slick galvanized roof that had recently gone on the beautiful new structure occupying the North Side of the Square.  It is to be imagined that the Reunion will find Champions swarming over the building, impressed with the sturdiness, the elegant lines, the practicality, the attention to detail, and the genial ambiance of a brand new thing built reminiscent of the good old days.  Look for pictures in a couple of weeks.  Champion!

             “For by how much the more pains ye take to please the world, by so much the more shall ye for ever go thankless!”  This is an extract from a long-winded story about an unsuccessful fishing trip that was published in 1851.  It speaks to ‘expectations’ and to the newly minted proverb that on the other side of the road sign pointing to ‘Expectation’ is the destination ‘Disappointment.’  A contemporary author writes, “The thorn from the bush one has planted, nourished and pruned pricks most deeply and draws more blood.”  No preamble to maudlin thoughts is required in Champion and if such occur at all, they are but fleeting and soon replaced by kindly feeling opening the way to most agreeable associations and imperishable friendships.  A few tears of tender sensibility are not inappropriate in Champion, just rare.

            Soon after the Champion School Reunion, Clifton Luna and his bunch from the West Plains Wagon Club will be making their trip through town.  Mr. Luna says they will be leaving West Plains on the 12th and will arrive in Champion about lunchtime on Thursday the 15th.  He says he has no idea how many will make the trip, so Champions will have to come out to see for themselves.  Go out to to see pictures from the last three years.  They are listed in the Snapshot section under WPWC Wagon Train 2008, 2009, and 2010.  This will get you in the mood to show up to see the outfit in person.  It is quite a treat.  In 2008, Mr. Luna was reported to be 83 years old.  In a conversation with him last week he reported that two weeks previously he cracked a rib when the cinch broke and the saddle slid off the mule he was riding.  He said he was sore but getting over it.  If a person wants to reach Mr. Luna by phone he must wait until nine or so in the evening.  It seems that after he gets home from the sawmill, he has cattle to tend to and mules to look after.  Hard work and lots of it, together with wholesome fun among like-minded folks would seem to be the receipt for living a good life.  Champion!

            The Fortnight Bridge Club met at Linda’s house on Saturday night.  The cards were good and the play was exciting.  The span between the high and the low score was quite small, which means that every one played well.  Early on, before dark, the players took a break to tour Linda’s garden.  It is a big garden that needs to be photographed from a low flying hot air balloon so the observer can see it all at once and, at once, see it in all its detail.  It is magnificent to rival anything “House and Garden” could spotlight.  Note that gardening is not a summertime hobby for Linda, but a way of life, that comes complete with a full time gardener.  They say if you find a pretty garden you find someone in it.  This gardener is both a Lem and a Ned in his sheer love of drudgery, turnips, and okra towering over his head.  Between hands at the Old Biddies Bridge game in Mansfield on Thursday, there will be the chance to look over Linda’s garden photos if she has had time to get them developed.  (Film?)  The regular players are looking for good cards and the chance to visit with and about friends, it promises to be another great game.  

             Sara Firman wrote a poem about her dear friend Mau Blossom who died on Christmas Day, 2007.  She was born in the Ozarks and lived all over the country before coming back to her roots.   Her memorial service began “I will not live an unlived life.”  Even people who had never met Mau find themselves touched by her.  Sara said of her, “Not afraid of dark or light, for her, spoken words were curtains drawn to reveal or conceal the truth treasures of hearts she intended to make fearless as her own. /The last sacrifice was hers through strength and pain and she fought for us all to keep the fires burning, to keep the waters flowing, to keep love in our hearts.”  Elitta January and Mau were friends for thirty years, and like Mau, she has touched many lives with calm compassion and empathy as an advocate in difficult times.  A note to such a friend during her own difficult times to acknowledge and encourage is always ink well spent.   Elitta January, RR1, Box 95D, Mtn. Grove MO 65711. 

            The band, Hot Mulch, played down at Dot Mill on Friday night the 12th.  Those who heard about it in time to attend said that it was a wonderful gig.  In 1981, the band consisted of Ron Hughes, John Tickner, Jeff  Dunshee, Jerry Heath, Stan Smith and Ruell Chappell.  Those are the names listed on the album cover for the 45-rpm record “Ozark Mountain Mother Earth News Freak” published and distributed by the American Grin Ola Company of Brixey, MO.  The song goes into great detail about modern homesteading and highlights the humorous aspects of such an enterprise.  The flip side was another Ron Hughes original tune, “Too Long Without You” and featured Patty Van Weelden on vocals.  Copies are being made available to listener supported KZ88.1 FM radio over in Cabool.  This is a great outfit that really likes to support local musicians.  It is well worth checking out.   

             Check out what is going on down on the Square.  It is at the bottom of several hills, at the end of the pavement (or the beginning), at the junction of two county roads on the broad and shady banks of Old Fox Creek.  Why!  It’s Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

CHAMPION—August 15, 2011

            “When it is good, say so.”  This is one of the Seven Champion Rules by which to live.   And so on this Monday morning the weather is perfect.  The sky is blue; the birds are singing; the gardens are burgeoning with healthful food; Champions are relaxed and happy, optimistic for the future, and satisfied with their pleasant existence.  There are no complaints to be had in all of Champion. 

          Penny Beason is happy.  She bought the winning ticket for the $100.00 of free power that the White River Valley Electric Co-Op’s donates to the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department every year.  This was the first time they had attended the picnic in several years and Penny said they really had a good time seeing old friends and lots of new faces as well as the improvements in the picnic grounds.   Jeff  Pardeck, over at White River, says that they are pleased to offer this kind of support to the community, and certainly the extreme weather this summer made the prospect of a little help very attractive.   Penny and Carl Beason are life long residents of Brushy Knob and live in their family home that is called the “old Don Fleming place.”  Their children grew up attending Skyline School and Penny and Carl were active on the School Board as well at the Parent Teacher Organization.  They were there when the first computers were brought into the school.  Penny is interested in learning about the Skyline R2 School Foundation that is getting its start this year.  One of the Foundation goals is to upgrade the computer lab so the Beasons, as well as the rest of the community will have a chance to help out again. They will be watching for their chance.  Champion!   

          Well the Skyline Picnic is gone again for another year.  Ray Bradley says, “Don’t say ‘gone’ to an undertaker!”  He is a funny guy and always does an excellent job as master of ceremonies for the picnic.  He has moved off to another part of the country, but he is close enough that he can still make the trip down to help out one of his favorite communities.  He must be a country boy at heart.  He seems to know a lot about corn, anyway.  Moreover, he is full of ideas and he plans to have conversation with the ‘powers that be’ for some changes or additions next year.   Whatever they may be, the main thing here is that he plans to be back again and his many friends in these parts are glad of it.  A number of Champions and their neighbors are moving a little slowly as the new week starts.  There is a lot of work connected with this beautiful picnic and those who have been doing it all know who they are.  Betty Elliot and Lisa Shepard are a couple of new faces to the Auxiliary and they certainly put out some sterling effort this year, as did all the auxiliary and many others.  Some just showed up at the last minute to act like they had helped, and they know who they are!  The important thing is that the work did get done and the wonderful little Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department Association reaped the benefits of community wide support.  Esther Wrinkles was moving a little slowly on Monday.  She made umpteen pies and cakes and spent both evenings on her feet selling quilt tickets and signing people up for the free drawings.  She said that the quilt brought in $841.00 this year.  That is a pretty sizeable number for a depressed economy.  One of the things Ray Bradley had to comment on was the amazing amount of merchandize, good stuff, that is given away as door prizes at this picnic—more than any other around.  It is a testament to the generosity of local merchants from Champion, Ava, Norwood, and Mountain Grove, and it speaks to the gratitude of the Fire Department for the help—the very right hand of fellowship.   

          Friday evening, Champion Christine Phillips stopped in at the silent auction to donate a few things.  They went out on the auction table on Saturday and one was Item # 3, Four Old Bowls.  They were small little bowls about four inches in diameter, kind of pale yellow with an autumn leaf pattern and a little gold rim.  Marsha Hutchison was the first to bid and then Tanna Wiseman made a bid and pointed out that these were antiques known in her family as “Jewel Tea.”  (The glassware was often given as premiums on orders from the Jewel Home Shopping Service as salesmen traveled through the country on regular routes supplying housewives with everything from baking powder and other grocery items to cleaning supplies, linens, cookware and china.)  Fae Krider upped the bid on the little bowls to ten dollars from two, and Marsha bid again.  Then came Jan Liebert, and Tim Scrivner and Fae bid again.  The bidding moved back and forth among the three of them for a while and then Kim Foster came in to raise it from $23.00 to $30.00.  Kim and Tim battled it out until the bidding closed at 9 pm and Kim won with the bid at $50.00.  So, thanks to Ms. Phillips for the valuable donation, and to all those bidders who know their antiques and know how to make an exciting auction even though it is ‘silent.’ 

Ray Bradley does a bang up job with the Star Spangled Banner.  Not many people have the confidence to hit those high notes and to hold them for the duration required by the song.  It is said that only one percent of the population serves in the military—not many people.  Tommy Ratcliff was a Navy Seal from this part of the world who will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.  He had the confidence to complete the training and to serve for the duration of his lifetime.  He and all the Veterans and those serving currently have the Love and Gratitude due them from the “Land of the Free…….. and the Home of the Brave.”  They are all Champions.

          Children are back in school now.  The weather will be moderating. The calendar rolls around and around.  Soon it will be time for the Champion School Reunion, the West Plains Wagon Club trail ride, Louise’s Hutchison’s birthday, The Pioneer Descendants Gathering, Bud Hutchison’s Trail Ride, Harley Krider’s birthday and on and on. Everything that goes on in Champion is a cause for a celebration.  Send ideas for Champion Celebrations to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65757 or to Champion at   Just look back through the archives of the Champion News to confirm that this vibrant, stimulating community has hardly changed at all, at least during the past five years that this particular permutation of The Champion News has been published.  If you do not have a big stack of yellowing newsprint to peruse, look at to see, for free, every article since the first in this series on August 28, 2006.  In that one the quote from Matthew Henry was, “If truth is once deserted, unity and peace will not last long.”  This was a favorite quote of Lonnie Krider, a well remembered and much missed Champion.  Every parade that happens in Champion goes right down the middle of Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive, under the leafy bows, around the square and up the hill and down by Old Fox Creek.  Get ready for the next one, soon to be announced.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side.


August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011

CHAMPION–August 8, 2011

        Champions awoke on Sunday morning full of gratitude.  Every drop is a gift and no Champion takes rain for granted.  Some who had not emptied their rain gauges from the recent little rain found themselves looking at something substantially over an inch in the precious little vile.  One, perhaps out late playing cards Saturday night, had the luxury to roll over to savor the win, since the tomatoes did not need watering on this particular Sunday morning.  By their very nature Champions are winners, but when there is a scorecard and quarters to prove it, Champions struggle to maintain graceful composure.  The calm visage belies the happy little celebration going on inside.  “Ta Da´!” is a common expression in Champion, though it is always used with humility in the most appropriate and thoughtful ways.  With more rain in the forecast and cooling temperatures the mood in Champion is celebratory to say the least!

        Sunday found Champion flat overrun with Proctors and Proctors by other names.  Ruby Proctor’s sister-in-law Alice Proctor McClure together with her five children and their spouses came from all over Iowa to visit Ruby.  It was a surprise visit and Ruby said she had a houseful.  Alice is the younger sister of Ruby’s husband, Vasel Proctor.  The Proctors and Ruby Hicks all grew up around Champion.  Sunday morning, after a big family breakfast at the Junction where they were joined by Pete, Frankie and Freda Proctor, Russell Upshaw and others (and attended by The General who kept the coffee-cups full), they went over to Champion and then over by the old home place.  Ruby says there is nothing left there, but all the visitors picked up rocks as mementoes.  She said they were taking a load of rocks back to Iowa.  The thunderstorm that took out the electricity in Mountain Grove that night did not dampen one spirit and everyone had a great time.  There were lots of smiles and laughter in that outfit.  Ruby had been expecting her brother, Ray Hicks, to come down from Bluegrass, IA for the coming week end, but she has heard from him that his grandson is just coming home from the service and wants to make his grandparents his first stop.  They were planning to be at the Skyline Picnic together, but Ray will put off his visit for a while.  Ruby will be there though; count on it.

        Ice Cream!  Skyline VFD Auxiliary members will have met early in the week to dip gallons of ice cream into cups with lids and to put the finishing touches on the cook shack in preparation for the Picnic on Friday and Saturday.  These more moderate temperatures will be a boon to the enterprise.  Even strong, healthy, vigorous people when subjected to the unrelenting heat of these past weeks can find themselves feeling fragile and vulnerable.  As the weather moderates itself a little, enthusiasm is building for another great picnic.  Local merchants are helping out with door prizes and other kinds of assistance—all going to benefit the fire department.  All the Skyline firefighters are trained First Responders and they are all volunteers.  They get out of their comfortable beds, and out of the air conditioning to put themselves in peril as they protect the community from the dangers of house fires, brush and grass fires, forest fires and all kinds of catastrophic situations that need capable attention.  No matter where they serve, pretty much figure that every volunteer fire-fighter is a Champion.  Pete Proctor will come to the Picnic representing the VFW Post 3770.  They always have a nice check to hand the Fire Chief as a way to show their support for people who serve the community at home.  Pete is also a great Champion of the Veterans and all those US Military personnel serving in the dangerous parts of the world.  He works to keep them in the thoughts of the rest of us, reminding us that they have Love and Gratitude due them.

        A pleasant visit with Louise on Saturday afternoon finds her in fine fettle.  She needed 100 quilt tickets, and that speaks well to her recovery process.  She said that her brother lives in Davenport, IA not Dubuque as reported last week.  She said that it had rained those fifteen inches up in Dubuque and the Mississippi had risen as a result.  Her brother lives near the river in the Davenport area where he has that big tomato-bean garden.  Maybe everyone’s green beans will start producing now that temperatures are moderating slightly.  Linda’s Almanac shows that the 15th through the 18th will be good days to get those fall root crops in the ground.  Turnips for Lem and Ned will be going in the gardens of several housewives who hope they will come by for some fall chores—those special little things that many husbands are not want to do.  Maybe they will spend some time with Louise and Wilburn when they come to town.  Get a look at that Almanac in the links section of and go there to get a load of Ruby’s family in the snapshot section.

        Kalyssa and Foster led a group singing “Happy birthday to you” to their dear old Dad on Sunday, though his birthday was not until Monday.  He is observing that his birthdays are coming around much more quickly these days.  Surprise!  Champion family and friends are all glad to hear that Champion native, Harley Krider, is feeling better.  He has been struggling with some unknown malady for a couple of weeks, but Barbara’s Facebook message says he is talking about playing golf and that is a real improvement.  Regular players at the Champion Pro Golf Course and Horse Park will be glad to see him in their midst again. 

        “Is that you, Myrtle?  Is that you Myrtle?  I guess you better send that scallywag home.”  This refrain comes after the disclosure in the song that scallywag Wayne and Myrtle B. had taken off their shoes about a mile from home.  As soon as they turned in off of the street, however, her Papa heard the patter of her feet.  She says, “Yes, Papa” and “Well, just a minute!” but the old man does not let up in his ordering the scallywag home.  Send favorite romantic ballads to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion News.  Romance in Champion has its ups and downs like every place, but it is not every place where sweethearts could comfortably walk barefoot around the shady square.  Everything about the picturesque setting is enchanting and congenial.  Check it out for yourself.  Come to Champion and Look on the Bright Side!


August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011

CHAMPION–August 1, 2011

        Champions “never weary in well doing.”  Wilburn Hutchison has used this quote for years and still finds it applicable.  Louise said that it had even been the theme for a sermon on a recent Sunday.  Champions are all glad to know the two of them are perking along nicely in spite of heath issues and the intense heat.  Louise said that her brother over in Dubuque, IA had fifteen inches of rain recently.  The river came up but has yet to get into his garden.  He has seventy tomato plants and a fifty-foot row of beans.  Lots of blooms, he said, but no beans yet.  That has been the story in these parts as well for some, but some have been having record bean harvests.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that from the third all the way to through the 7th will be good days for planting above the ground crops, lettuce and greens.  Look at the Almanac on the refrigerator inside Henson’s Store currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Bill Long uses that Almanac and was in Champion Sunday sharing a beautiful Wallace tomato with Ms. Eva Powell.  He and Crena do not live in Champion, but they are Champion gardeners.  More good Sunday reports had Tim and Beth Watts in town from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  They are uncle and aunt to those Champion grandsons Dillon and Dakota who are frequent visitors down on the Fox Creek Farm.  Summer is slipping away.  They will soon be back in school, but for the moment they are spreading their fun and excitement around Champion, and Champions are glad of it.

        C Highway is a particularly dangerous road.  It is beautiful, hilly, winding and narrow.  It was the scene of a sad accident on Sunday as 17-year-old Levi Keller of Drury lost his life when his truck left the roadway and crashed into the trees on the east side of the road.  Champions extend their sympathies to this young man’s heartbroken family.

        Pete Proctor writes to report that 15 to 20 Korean Vets were on hand for the planting of a tree on the Mountain Grove Square to commemorate Korean Armistice day July 27th.  VFW Post 3770 performed a color ceremony for the event which was attended by the American Legion, Patriot Riders, other Veterans as well as the Mountain Grove city council, the police department, VFW Ladies Auxiliary, junior girls and boy scouts.  Those serving and those who have served are due Love and Gratitude.

        The Fourth Thursday Bridge Club (The Old Biddies) met in Mansfield on the 28th.  They are an eclectic bunch of ladies with wildly divergent views on many things, but they all like to play bridge.  It is such a wonderful game that challenges each player for strategic planning and memory.  One of its excellent aspects is that, while it is fiercely competitive, it, more than any other game, promotes good sportsmanship.  It is rare to witness goading, gloating or any kind of mean-spirited behavior.  Some of the old instruction books actually say that it is inappropriate to ever do anything at the bridge table that would in any way cause any other player not to enjoy the game.  Knowing that there are three others waiting, bridge players are generally most punctual as a matter of consideration.  How completely civilized!  It is a serious game, but this permutation called ‘party bridge’ lends itself more to socializing than other forms of the game.  Laughter trickles through the room and between hands as friends catch up with each other and with the news of mutual friends missing from the tables.  Some are ill, some are entertaining out of town guests, and some are helping elderly neighbors, but they will be back!  Wherever there are sixteen bridge players, four tables and eight decks of cards, there is Game!

        A number of those bridge players responded to the photograph of Esther Wrinkles with the Skyline Picnic Quilt and purchased tickets for the drawing.  It will be given away on Saturday night the 13th of August at the Skyline VFD Picnic.  Dorlene House, Betty Swain, Colleen Stofer, Theda Rush, Bona Achord, Sylvia Neff, and Linda Hetherington all have their names in that hat and some several times.  It is a lovely quilt and an excellent opportunity to support the rural fire department that plays such an important role in the Champion-Skyline community and surrounding areas.  Firefighters and auxiliary members are getting ready for the picnic.  The grooming of the grounds began August first.  A meeting to get things organized is always an interesting gathering and there is always much to do.  There will be some vigorous, enthusiastic, energetic young people ready to do what needs to be done and there will be an experienced ramrod there to tell them.  “You know, if you act like you are having a good time, before you know it you will forget you are acting and you will really be having a good time.”  This is the same line he has used before, and it has proven out.  It seems that it works.  It is the very Champion attitude that makes the Skyline Picnic such a fine event year after year—that and the efforts of many.

        That picture of the bear over by Esther’s house was really an eye opener!  It reminds one of that song about the preacher up in the tree.  He had gone out walking early one Sunday morning and happened to have his gun with him, but when he met up with the grizzly bear he wound up in a tree praying for all he was worth.  “Lord,” he said, “You delivered Daniel from the lion’s den, and Jonah from the belly of the whale, the Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, so the Good Book does declare, so, Lord!  If you can’t help me, please don’t help that bear!” 

        “The conceited and complacent simpering leer on the porcine visage of the perceived victor is one that no amount of slapping will erase.  No conflagration of words at any volume can penetrate the bone of one so convicted in his own rectitude, so contemptuous of his fellows and betters or so jaded by self-aggrandizement.  Pity the duped who thought they were doing the right thing on election day, and pity poor unfortunates among his constituency, for their woes will only be compounded.  Five terms from the sour mash state, sees himself and his family enriched while the Nation languishes in obstructionism.”  This diatribe shows up in the Champion News mailbox from an anonymous source in response to recent political events.  One wonders what this writer might think of the oil mega billionaire Koch brothers funding of the Tea Party—the grassroots citizens’ movement, or of Grover Norquist self appointed King of Greed?  Send bear songs, picnic songs, and observations of any kind to that address or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Look in on for a splendid view of all the dappled glory that is Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!