February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

CHAMPION—February 27, 2012 

           Champions find themselves in the delightful circumstance of seeing one of the world’s lovely places become even more lovely.  Not that there was anything unpleasant about the Temporary Annex to the Historic Emporium at its location over on the West side of the Square just where Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive takes steeply up the hill, and “Temporary” implies from the onset that it was designated to serve for a time only.  Time’s up!  During the past week the little building that served so well during the dissolution and recreation of the Historic Emporium was purchased and straight way moved to its new location over in Goat Flats.  The charming little structure will doubtlessly serve its new purpose well, and its absence on the Champion Square is sublime.   Ere long, with just a little weather and traffic, the Square will be restored to pre-construction condition and all will be right again.  The unimposing Loafing Shed has proven to be an attractive and agreeable solution to the issue of overflow loafers and so will remain.  Change can be good.  Champion!

          The Skyline VFD Chili Supper is a good chance to get together with old friends, family and neighbors who do not get together as often as some might like.  The musical line up looks great for the evening and the food is always good.  Lots of VFD Member pies will come in the door.   If all goes as planned, Esther will be bringing three coconut cream pies (one of her specialties), two for the kitchen and one for the Silent Auction!  It seems like the Sherriff and somebody got in a bidding war last summer over her coconut pies and big handfuls of money were donated to a good cause.  Bob Berry and Mary Goolsby have always been big supporters of the Skyline VFD and Bob has let go of several dollars over Esther’s pies in the past.  Friends look forward to some good visiting with them as they are not in the neighborhood nearly often enough.  They read the paper over there in Twin Bridges, so they know that they are loved and missed.  Someone read the Champion News, discovered that Esther had broken her favorite crock pot and set about to replace it.  That is a kind and generous expression of appreciation and if Esther only cooked for herself, a little bitty crock pot would be sufficient.  Still, she was much pleased at the thoughtfulness.

          Skyline third grader, Shaelyn Sarginson, will have her ninth birthday on Saturday, March 3rd.   Hopefully she will be at the Chili Supper to have that song sung to her.  Nine is a very nice age!  Look for Tim Scrivner at the Chili Supper too.  He may have one of those nice bird feeders for the Silent Auction and he will have surely have some good information about the Skyline R-2 School Foundation and the wonderful connection with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  Probably he could be lured into a conversation about the big Foundation Bass Fishing Tournament coming up in May.  Linda, over at the Plant Place in Norwood, will be celebrating her birthday on the 5th of March.  There will be some nice bridge games in her future and she is quite busy getting vegetable plants ready for gardeners.  Her Almanac will be available March 1st there at The Gift Corner and at Henson’s Gro. and Gas in Downtown Champion and on line at www.championnews.us.  Some have their peas in the ground already and are just waiting for a little rain and more sunshine.  Champions are glad to hear that Harley and Barbara are both feeling better and they will be home in Champion in a few weeks.  Let the fun continue!

          The other day a Champion noted that he had to keep the dictionary handy to read the Champion News.  If he has a copy of the New Urban Dictionary,  he will learn that in the ‘youth-speak’ parlance of London currently, the word ‘ridiculous’ has further nuances in the extrapolations: ‘rhinobuluous’, recaulkulous, and ‘redonkulous.’  An example of the latter:  “Cowboy Jack was rather redonkulous when he said, ‘I would not mislead (sic.) you, but I would haul you a load.’”

          Leap day is here again and many of the weddings of four years ago seem to have taken.  There is no indication that the Sadie Hawkins Tradition played any part in the engagements of people married after Leap day, 2008, and certainly success is to be celebrated no matter how it came to be.  Once in four years is often enough to have the tables turned on eligible young fellows.  Many famous athletes, artists and musicians were born on Leap Day as well as world leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs.   Champions wish them all well on their special day.  Peggy Hancock had her birthday on February 1st.  She has not been well and her Champion friends send her their very best thoughts.  Peggy’s Father was Lloyd Hancock and he grew up in Champion and went to the Champion School.  She has a nice brother named Wes Hancock who is a well-known musician and plays with that Vanzant bunch when he gets to town.  Someone remarked the other day about the comparison between Elvis and the General.  It is not a contest; however, certain of the Staff-Sargent-General’s fan base are organizing a collection to acquire some rhinestones for his outfit.  Look for him at the Chili Supper to see if his side-burns are growing out.

          Not many songs come to mind when it comes to Leap Year.  Perhaps if it came around more often, it would be more popular.   There was a movie called “Leap Year” and one of the songs in it was “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” by the Mamas and the Papas.   Send any leap year songs that you can think of to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at getgoin.net.  Now that the Champion Tourist Bureau and Information Center has its new location in the Community Action Meeting Room, feel free to drop in to share your knowledge or just to muse.  On your way to Champion, while you are still in your truck, think of a sweet, sad song to send to a soldier far away.  Sing it out loud—a song to let him know he has Love and Gratitude coming when he gets home.  Then compose yourself.  You will be in Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!


February 20, 2012

Februayr 20, 2012

CHAMPION—February 20, 2012

           Champions routinely acknowledge wishes that come true.  When the exterior world reels with disannullery for any cause, the gratitude that Champions feel to see something good happen that they had hoped for is genuine and cause for celebration!

          Reasons for good cheer abound.  Harley and Barbara are feeling better.  If they were home in Champion these days, they would have had the chance to visit with their lovely niece, Linda Watts, who was in town with sons Dillon and Dakota for a few days.  They were visiting their Grandmother, uncles, aunts, and cousins down on the Fox Creek Farms.  These Tennessee Champions bring fun with them and much good energy to boot.  www.the-dairy-maid.com is a good place to check in on what is happening down on the farm.  Peanut’s mother has been posting her blog for a year now and it is lovely see how beautifully the high tech world blends with deep agrarian roots.  Check it out in Champion Connections at www.championnews.us

          Another reason to celebrate is that Skyline seventh grader Darin Olson will have his thirteenth birthday on the 23rd of February.  Sources say he is a good student, a good athlete and a nice guy.  This is his first year at Skyline and he played football for Ava this year.  His sister, Amelia, is in the third grade at Skyline.  Her teacher, Mrs. Cline, is celebrating her birthday that day too.  Mrs. Cline is still in her twenties!  Her friends, co-workers, students, family and neighbors all join in to sing that song that rejoices in her youth, her beauty, and her gentility.  Her in-laws prefer her to their own son, who makes random remarks about his parents’ standards and other oddities.  She has only good things to say about him.  She is, after all, genteel.

           It is nice to see Mrs. McCallie celebrating her 94th birthday still, or getting an early start on her 95th.  Esther Wrinkles is from June 28th until August 11th older than Ethel.  At that age it is hardly a difference.  Esther said that she really enjoyed Ethel’s letter and has been meaning to give her a call.  Between them they have almost two hundred years of life experience that even youthful sexagenarians and septuagenarians can call on for examples of graceful ageing.  Day by day, every dawning day is one to celebrate. 

          A pleasant chat with the General’s wife (bless her heart!) reveals that there were 85 in attendance at the Thursday Night Jam over at the Vanzant Community Center.  She says that there were twelve musicians who got up to play and a number of others who just enjoyed the show.  The Thursday Night Jam is a wonderful reaction by the community to the loss of the two local places that people had to enjoy music (not to mention get some gas or milk or bread or have a nice bite to eat).   People here can go to other sources for most of their necessities, but they need the music and will find a way to have it.  Champion!  The General is a big cog (some say ‘clog’) in that wheel of music that goes round and round.  He drags that guitar case around for show, but rarely plays the thing.  “Humble” may not be the worst thing anybody has ever called him, but it is a compliment to the level of musicianship when one recognizes that there are other players around who are better.  Even Elvis asked for Jerry Reed to play the introduction to “Guitar Man” when he covered Reed’s song.  Jerry had a unique fingerpicking style and tuned his guitar, according to him, “up all weird kind of ways.”  Now it would seem that the General is being compared to Elvis!  It is astonishing.

          The military says that a soldier from Russellville, Arkansas has been killed in Afghanistan.  The Department of Defense announced Saturday that 30-year-old Sargent Jerry D. Reed II died February 16th in Paktika Province there.  It is not known if the Sargent was related to the musician, but it is sure that his family is suffering the terrible loss.  The U.S. Military will be present in the dangerous parts of the world for the foreseeable future.   Champions appreciate their Veterans and extend Love and Gratitude to them and to those currently out there on behalf of the whole Nation. 

          The 23rd will also be the first of several good days to be planting crops that bare their yield above the ground.  Peas!  Snowpeas, shelling peas, English peas–whatever kind a person likes, it is a good time to get them in the ground.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood will have all the information that gardeners need when she opens up for business on March 1st.  Her Cole crops are doing well, she says.  Meanwhile, mailboxes are fairly choked with seed catalogues and warm days beckon Champions out to get their hands dirty.  Stop in at Henson’s Store over on the North Side of the Square in downtown Champion to pick up some of those nice little jersey gloves to keep your gardening hands clean.  The other day an old Champion stopped in to get some gas so he could make it to town to buy a flush valve.  There hanging on the pegboard behind the counter were two different types of flush valves, and the old guy made his choice, went on home and had time to do a little therapeutic wood stacking after his plumbing chores were over.  Champions continue to be amazed at the inventory of the Historic Emporium and some housewives are pleased that there is such a convivial place for their spouses to dawdle without making the long trip to the big towns.  Champion is town enough for country people. 

          Skyline School Board member, Tim Scrivner, was pictured the other day donating blood at one of the FFA’s six annual blood drives.  That Tim is a real Veracruzer and his hand is in several nice pies.  He has been instrumental with the Skyline R-2 School Foundation in getting the Foundation hooked up with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  This is an excellent reading program available to all preschool children in the school district.  It is a 60 volume set of books beginning with the children’s classic The Little Engine That Could™.  Each month a new, carefully selected book is mailed to the child’s home.  It is free and the best gift for beginning a happy lifetime of reading.  (Find a Registration form at Henson’s Store in Champion or at the School.)  He has also connected with a Skyline parent to arrange a Bass Fishing Tournament on May 26th at the Spring Creek Boat Ramp, Isabella, MO.  There will be much said about this in the future.  Right now the Auxiliary of the Skyline VFD is hoping that Fire District Member Scrivner will come up with another of his wonderful bird feeders for the Silent Auction at the chili supper on March 3rd

          One Social Season blends happily into the next and as Mr. Reed sang, “When you’re hot, you’re hot!” Get the hot scoop around the stove in the Champion Social Network Salon and Planning Center in the anteroom (if you use the Executive Entry) of The Historic Mercantile located on the broad pleasant banks of Fox Creek, at the bottom of several hills, the juncture of a number of roads, one of which is paved.  Add your events to the calendar at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net.  It is always best to come in person, to Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

CHAMPION—February 13, 2012

          Champions notice that they like people who look like themselves.  They really like people who speak the way that do–or “talk like them,” to illustrate.  They often marry people who look like they look.  Just study the newspaper to see how often the betrothed or just married pair seems to share the same smile.   That is the way it is with Harley and Barbara.  They both have radiant smiles with twinkly eyes and a quick and sharp sense of humor.  It may be that it is true that people who live together for a long time begin to look alike.  That is not the case with them, however, as stature and fashion sense affirms the differences as indeed being from Venus and Mars.  While they do not look very much alike (stature and fashion), one does not look at either of them without being reminded in some pleasant way of the other.  When cupid loosed his bow on them all those many years ago, it took.  Currently both are somewhat under the weather.  Their Champion friends, family, and neighbors all yearn to know that they are feeling better and actively extend good wishes to effect that happy end.   Sweethearts are Champions!    

          Weeks now after it was over, the Superbowl football game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots still figures frequently in conversations around the stove.  They say that for the next fifty years they will be talking about that Manning to Manningham play.  Meanwhile, in Auckland, they are talking about a fan who ran out on the field in his underwear during a rugby game between New Zealand and Samoa and gave a flying tackle to the Samoan player with the ball.  After the fracas was over, New Zealand won that game, but on February 12th, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Samoa won the final game for the World Rugby Championship.  There will probably be parades in Samoa this week.   American football and rugby share their origins and have some basic similarities.  The games are played on similar fields, with the similar goal of advancing the similarly shaped ball to the designated end zone to score points.   There are generally eleven players on the field for each team in American football, and thirteen per team in rugby.  One of the major differences in the two sports is that in rugby, only the player who has the ball can be interfered with by the opposing team , tackled or blocked or held, and any member of the team can advance the ball.  While this would seem to make the game less brutal, with no offensive blocking, etc., it turns out that the game is still quite fierce.  There are no real time-outs in rugby and the players do not wear padding or any kind of protective gear to speak of.  They just play in t-shirts and gym shorts and shoes.  One Champion notes that the rugby players wear fewer clothes but are much more modest than the American football players in all that specialized spandex that makes her kind of blush in spite of the fact that the game is sanctioned as wholesome activity everywhere in the nation.  Rugby players do not wear helmets so their faces are more visible and it somehow makes the game more personal.  The games are a little different, but in Champion and Samoa sports fans live vicariously through their favorite players or teams and cheer them on.  Samoa is located in the South Pacific Ocean.  Pretty much, if a person were in downtown Champion and wanted to point to Samoa, they would just point at Oklahoma City and curve that pointing finger just a little to accommodate the roundness of the Earth and keep pointing for about seven thousand miles in a straight line.   So congratulations Samoa!  Enjoy your parade.  You are Champions!

          An e-mail to the Champion at getgoin.net mailbox the other day commented on the old Champion’s remarks that things are somehow ‘off’ when victorious gladiators (New York Giants football team) are lavished with a parade and hailed as heroes when the heroic warriors (Veterans of the Nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) are ignored and marginalized otherwise with inattention.  “Warriors are not what you think of as warriors.  The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life.  The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others.  His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.” Sitting Bull said that.  Love and Gratitude is due those who sacrifice for all.  Veterans are Champions.

          Champion gardeners are as happy as school children to see the snow in its nitrogen fixing blanket out over the garden beds.  An ample larder of squash, sweet potatoes, and all kinds of home canned garden produce, plus the venison in the freezer and the peas, peaches and peppers makes lucky pensioners happy to be able to stay at home.  “Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!“  Valentine’s Day is always a romantic time in Champion.  It will also be a good time to do a little indoor transplanting or sewing of seedbeds.  Linda’s Almanac will be available soon to help gardeners figure out what to do and when.   Sweethearts already know.

          The Champion Community Action Meeting Room at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion got some good use on Wednesday.  The Skyline VFD Auxiliary met to continue with the good planning that makes the annual Chili Supper a great fund raiser every time.   There will be good food, good music, fellowship, pie, a silent auction, a quilt drawing and the chance to get out of that old wintertime rut and into some big time fun.  All the proceeds go to help the wonderful Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department with its expenses.  Any homeowner in the fire district who has home owner’s insurance knows that that protection is available only because this wonderful little fire department is on the job.  March the third will be a marvelous time to get out and hob nob with the neighbors.  Champion!

          “Eating tomatoes and sauerkraut is a good way to lose weight.”  “Vinegar is good for ticks.”  “Skunk grease is good for the croop.”  These are things that can be heard in Champion.  Must the tomatoes and sauerkraut be eaten together?  Does the vinegar make the ticks healthy, or make them less interested in people?  How does one acquire skunk grease?  Answer any of these questions or ask any others at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net.  See what other items of interest might spark a Champion intellect.   Look at www.championnews.us for inspiration.  For true inspiration, stride swiftly up the broad elegant stairway of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium and at the summit, turn quickly to take in the view—it is breathtaking in its pastoral tranquility.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012

CHAMPION—February 6, 2012

          Champions were wakened with bright moonlight in their faces and the promise of a sunny day ahead.  The clear sky made for a cold morning, but Champions know that it is winter and do not complain.  Seed catalogues make good reading.

                A sharp knock on Esther Wrinkles’ door the other day brought her face to face with Jim Dewitt.  He has been delivering her propane since 1989.  In all that time they had not yet met.  In no time they became acquainted and before the propane company could even think that Jim might be dawdling, he and Esther had made an agreement that gave him two of her queen sized quilts (a pair of her beautiful strip quilts with matching linings) and Esther had a handful of money.  Cool.  If that were not enough, about an hour later the door banged again and it was Jim again and he wanted two more quilts.  Esther agreed and the deal was struck.  Meanwhile, way over on the other side of town Donna Dewitt received a phone call.  “When I come home you better hide under the table.”  Donna is not unfamiliar with this kind of communication from her husband, but when he called the second time with the same message, she took it to heart.  At the end of his work day Jim came home bounding through the door, arms overflowing with quilts, “Hello!  Hello!” he shouted.  No answer.  “Hello!” again to a quiet house.  He had time to arrange the quilts on the sofa before Donna came out from under the table.  “What were you doing under there?”  Well, he knew.  They tease each other affectionately all the time.  Jim was looking for a way to make Donna feel better.  “I want to make my wife happy,” is what he told Esther to get her to sell the quilts to him to begin with.  It worked.  Donna said that she knew that Esther called them ‘strip’ quilts, but one of them particularly was worked in such colors that she thought it looked like “Stair Steps to Heaven.”  It made Donna think about her daughter, Donna Lee Pierce, who recently passed away at the young age of 48.  She was a bubbly and bright person.  She battled health problems with an optimistic point of view.  She always cared about helping other people and she touched many lives in a positive way.  So Esther’s bright quilt brought a smile to several people and new friendships were forged just because Jim decided finally to pound on Esther’s Door.  She made some money—not nearly enough for her efforts, but she will say it all counts, and Jim made big time points with his sweetheart.  Donna says that she and Jim like to explore the countryside and she expects that one sunny day soon they will take a Saturday trip down to Champion to tour the square.  They can enjoy refreshments at the Hospitality Center of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side.  She is looking forward to seeing Esther’s Skyline VFD quilt on display there and plans to buy some tickets.  She may wind up with five of Esther’s’ quilts!  Champion!

          Everyone loves his own birthday, well, almost everyone, Mrs. Dupree.  It is a pretty sure bet that Alex and Aaron Underwood love their birthday.  They are eighth graders at Skyline and will be fourteen on the 7th.  They share their birthday with Cowboy Jack who is so old that he went to the New Dogwood School.   Keith Braden is a sixth grader at Skyline and he will be twelve years old on the 9th.  Kayla Volner will be fourteen that day.  She is in the eight grade.  Cheyenne Baker is in the second grade there and she will be eight years old on the 11th.  These kids may all live to be one hundred, but these days that is a fairly rare occurrence.  Mrs. Edith Turner Graham has made it.  She celebrated with friends and family on Saturday, the 28th of January, but her actual birthday was February 2nd.  She admitted needing some help to blow all the candles out. There were about thirty of her family, friends, and neighbors there to help.  Edith said that she never gave any thought to living to be a hundred years old.  She just kept on living.  She said that she has probably had such good fortune in her life because she started out early going to Sunday school.  Her six older brothers went to the swimming hole on Sundays, but she went to Sunday school.  She is a native of the Squires community and lived right in that area her whole life until about three years ago when she moved in with her daughter, Eula Lakey, over in Veracruz.  She says that these days she mostly stays inside, but when the weather warms up she will be back out.  She had always had a big garden.  Her last year at home she canned a hundred quarts of peaches.  She picked out sixty pounds of walnut kernels that year.   Growing up in the country and raising her four children there, Edith knew how to keep busy.  She said that she remembered the first time she went to town. She was four or five years old and she rode horseback with her mother into Ava.  It was not much of a town, just a few houses and store buildings.  She went to school at Pleasant Hill and she remembers her Uncle Bank Wheeler making a Flying Ginny.   Kids knew how to have a good time back then.   Everyone who has lived so long has seen hard times and tragedy and it takes strength of character to keep a good perspective.  Edith says that at this age a person’s mind seems to come and go.  She seems to be holding on to her good thinking processes better than many much, much younger than herself.  She enjoys reading and keeping up with the news and visiting with family and friends.  A Champion visiting with her the other day asked if there was anything that she regretted doing or not doing in her hundred years.  Her reply was, “What would be the use of that?”  That is a sign of someone living in the present, though when asked about her favorite times she smiles and says how much she enjoyed riding her horse to church when she was a girl.  She went to Murray most of her life, but sometimes over to Wasola or other churches around.  Her oldest brother gave her that horse and saddle and it was a good time in her life. 

          A big ticker tape parade in New York City will celebrate the super bowl football winners and the good time in their lives.  A couple of guys in St. Louis recently organized a parade for Veterans of the current and recent conflicts in the Middle East.  It did some good.  Champions hope that more of those serving the Nation in the dangerous parts of the world will get some of that good feeling of recognition that privileged athletes enjoy.  The athletes work hard and are paid well for it.  Military personnel work hard and risk their lives for not much money and frequently not much in the way of support once they make it home.  They do not do what they do for the recognition, but it would still be a nice idea.  One old Champion thinks that National priorities seem eschewed when victorious gladiators are hailed and heroic warriors are ignored.

          Share some of the good times in your life at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net. Randy Newman sings, “We may only go ‘round once as far as I can tell.  It’s the time of your life, so live it well.”    Enjoy Champion good times at www.championnews.us or in person from the vantage point of the big front porch at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!