March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

CHAMPION-March 26, 2012

          Spring fits Champion like a glove.  There is nothing about it ‘not to love.’  Dogwoods and lilacs are opening even in the low spots and busy gardeners are planting with the hope that there will not be a nineteen degree night sometime in April.  Find Linda’s Almanac to find out what to do and when, and if that freeze comes, just get ready to do it again.  Elva says that if that if the freeze doesn’t happen, it ought to be a bumper crop year.  Champion!

          Bob Edwards from over in Mountain Grove works with MODOT.  He called at the end of the week to say that having learned of the vandalism of the Champion city limits sign from The Champion News, he had e-mailed to Rick Allen who heads up the department over in Ava to tell him all about it.  Mr. Allen used to work in the Drury Shed, but when it was closed he moved to the Ava office which handles quite a large territory now.  It turns out that he was already familiar with the situation, having incidentally been in the neighborhood early in the week.  Champions were ready to lay the prompt response at the tiny sandaled feet of Ms. Kalyssa Wiseman, saying that if you want to get something done, give it to the busiest person around and one has only to have passing acquaintance with Ms. Wiseman to see that she is one of the busiest—she and those nice MODOT folks.  There is not a lot of pavement in Champion for the Department of Transportation to maintain, but it appears that Mr. Allen and his crew are on top of it.  Before the week end arrived, the sign was picked up; the concrete was removed from the post; the pavement and the hole in the ground were marked with paint; and the sign was taken away.  It was rather reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss story:  “We’re taking it back to our workshop, my dear.  We’ll fix it up there and we’ll bring it back here!”  It is all fixed up already and the MODOT guys are just waiting to get clearance from the “Dial Before You Dig” guys.  Champions who use and enjoy the telephones and internet service that arrives via buried fiber optic cables are pleased that all precautions are being taken.    Generally speaking, Champions are pleased with the good attentions of MODOT as well as the County Road folks who have been lickety-split repairing the washed out areas of the county roads caused by the recent heavy rain. Keeping things in good repair is a sign of a thriving community.  Champion indeed!  Mr. Edwards keeps track of Champion through the papers and while he has not yet been to town to see the new store, he plans a trip soon and will have a delightful surprise when he arrives.      

          An Old Champion suffering from a cold or something like that spent much of the beautiful Sunday in a chair in from of her television.  The Ozarks Watch Video Magazine was on with a repeat of a program from sometime last year.  Dr. Brooks Blevins was on with Dr. Jim Baker to talk about country stores.  He said that in years gone by a person could expect to find a country store about every five or six miles in areas where it would take thirty or more minutes to drive to town.  They showed a lot of quaint pictures of little stores in Arkansas, and in Ozark and Howell County—some very inviting with tables and chairs, cracker barrels and an open invitation to sit a visit for a spell.  When they got to Booger County, there were some good pictures of Spurlocks’s over in Squires.  They called it a ‘super-store’ because it was so large with such an enormous inventory as well as a post office.  There were also some very nostalgic pictures of Henson’s Grocery and Gas.  Dr. Blevins talked about the Henson family running the store all these years and said that he knew they had taken the old one down and had replaced it in the same spot with a new one, which he understands adheres to the pure standards and qualities of a ‘country store.’  When he finally gets over here, he will be sorry to have missed the Grand Opening Celebration back last October.  In any event, Champions will extend to him an open invitation to come and look the place over any day of the week except for Sunday and for Monday afternoons.  He and Dr. Baker said that in the old days a community generally had a one room school house, a church at the crossroads and a country store.  Champion had all of that.  The Champion School Reunion happens the Saturday before Labor Day so perhaps that will be a good time for a visit from the studiers of Ozark Heritage.  Meanwhile, they can get a pretty good tour of the place at

          It will be a busy week at Skyline R2 School.  There will be ball games and PTO meetings and The Science Fair which will start at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, the 29th.   Fourth through eighth graders will dazzle parents and teachers with their great ideas, while pre-k through third grades enjoy a movie and the open book fair.  Kindergartener, Jazmine Baker will be six on the 27th, and Gavin Sartor will be ten on the 29th.  He is in the fourth grade.  Lindsey Fisher, first grader, will celebrate her seventh birthday on Friday the 30th.  Their friends and families will all be singing that birthday song to them, so Champions will chime in with, ‘many happy returns of the day!’

          A letter that could be showing up any day now will say, “Dear Grannie, Thank you so much for making our Spring Break so wonderful.  We love you!”  Some grannies are not holding their breaths, as letter writing seems to be a fairly lost art.  The good memories are not, however, diminished and plans for summertime visits are well underway.  Friends and families in far distant places do try to stay in touch.  Those serving their country in the military and in other capacities out in the dangerous parts of the world have the Love and Gratitude of the Nation and Champions hope that it will play out in such a way that their homecomings will be peaceful and that they can rejoin their communities to resume happy lives.

          Dredge up all your uplifting, happy, springtime songs and poems for a performance on the broad inviting veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Mercantile on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  The creeks have all gone down enough to get there and your heart will be buoyed even as you enjoy the atmosphere of a tidy, well maintained place to call home.   “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” 
Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

CHAMPION–March 19, 2012

           The rapid arrival of Spring is a subject getting a lot of attention in Champion.  Everything has seemed to bloom at once and lavishly.  There are already reports of mushroom finds and big rains on the way give rise to hope that mushroom hunters who have had little luck in the past will at last be rewarded for their doggedness.  There is relatively little hope that the most successful hunters in the area will share their finds with many other than their relatives.   However, since they are always so very generous with their manure, Champion neighbors do not feel the least bit slighted and will hunt their own mushrooms, thank you very much. 

          Tennessee grandsons are back in the area sharing their Spring Break with their Grandmother and it is delightful to see them growing up to be such handsome and pleasant young men.  Adolescence and respectfulness do not always go hand in hand, so this is one of those excellent sets of circumstances that smacks of a good upbringing.   Champion!  Other Grandmothers are wiping the ‘sticky’ off the stair banisters and finding precious little treasures left behind by bevies of grand-girls and great-nieces.  Some houses seem unnaturally quiet.  This will be the quiet before the storm, hopefully not the meteorological type, but the great wave of visitors from near and far who flood the area from the instant that the redbuds first show their purple welcome.  It is the official opening of Tourist Season in Champion. 

          The mystery of the damaged Champion City Limit sign is still sparking conversation.  There has always been kind of an outlaw element in the area and it is the hope of more sedate residents that this display of bad behavior will satisfy the perpetrators to the extent that they will feel no need for further mischief and property damage.  Long time readers of the Champion News will recall that several years ago this same sign had been stolen altogether, leaving only the hole in the ground.  One of Mrs. Powell’s grandsons sited the scripture that says something to the effect that should one steal your coat, you should give him also your cloak.  This concept was applied to the situation and Champions extended the invitation and kept an eye out for the thief to come back for the hole.   Before that could happen, the lovely MODOT people came and installed a sign on either end of town.   The Westernmost of these two is the sign that sustained the damage.  Though some have thought that a stout group could wrestle the post back in the hole and maybe straighten the bent sign, others think that a better job of it could be done by the professionals at the highway department.  Speculation was rife back during the earlier episode of trouble with this sign that marauders from up at Spotted Hog had been to blame.  Jealousy over not having a sign themselves was perceived to have been the impetus for the insult.  Investigate the history of the rivalry between these communities at  to see that Champion is clearly Champion!

          Research into the archives revealed that the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Champion came to an abrupt end about the time the Admiral made his lateral and diminished transfer to the retired ground forces and unilaterally assumed Grand Marshallship of the procession.  In lieu of the parade, Champions have for the past few years spent part of each St. Patrick’s Day being grateful not to have to endure another one.  To his credit, General McUpshaw has since reassigned his good intentions to the Vanzant Community Center and can be found there most Thursday nights ready to fill in should a musician wish to demonstrate his superiority by comparison.  What a guy.

          Champions remember those in bonds and those suffering adversity.  While perhaps not technically ‘in bonds’ those serving in the U.S. Military in all capacities have sworn allegiance and have obligated themselves by their word to protect and defend the Nation and the wonderful Constitution.  Adversity is frequently the nature of the service and certainly when they return many Veterans find themselves in circumstances they could not have anticipated.  It will be Love and Gratitude that makes the difference for them. 

          Champions do not forget to entertain.  They love company and have hospitality to spare.   It will be party time for someone named Elva (not Elva Ragland) on the 23rd.  Perhaps she is the Generals daughter, the dear girl.  That is also the birthday of one of Mrs. Powell’s sons, and of Judie Pennington over on Tar Button Road.  Elva Ragland (who has her birthday in November) has her onions and potatoes in and is concerned that the peach trees blooming now will get frozen back.  There is certainly every reason to believe that it could happen just that way.  It is, after all, March.   On the outside chance that it does not freeze them, it could prove to be a very fruitful year.  Champions will just wait to see what happens and do the best they can.  The 21st is a good day to plant root crops and the 22nd will be good for crops that bear their yield above the ground.  The next two days are considered to be barren days when it is not advisable to plant, but good days to prune to discourage growth.  The 24th through the 27th are all good days to plant above the ground crops.  Linda’s broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and the like are up and ready to be planted out.  A copy of her monthly almanac is available on line on the Champion website or at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square in Downtown Champion or at the Plant Place there in Norwood. 

          Scouring the Champion Archives for history brought one Champion to the posting of September 6, 2010, where Norwood neighbor, David Richardson, had shared a little youtube movie of Lonnie Krider and Wayne Anderson the last time they played together at the Skyline VFD Picnic.  The song is “Once More” and it is a touching and beautiful piece to hear.  Another old Champion said, “If you’re looking for a song try, “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile.”  It is an interesting choice.  It was published in London in 1915, and became wildly popular boosting the moral of the British troops as they sustained heavy losses in World War I.  “Smile, boys, that’s the style.  What’s the use of worrying?  It never was worthwhile.  So pack up your troubles…”  Send your uplifting, morale boosting tune to Champion at or to Champion Items, Rt.2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Join the throngs of tourists and sing it on the spacious front porch of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium in its original location on the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  It is just at the spot where several country roads meet, where hearts stay lite and Champions are Looking on the Bright Side.


March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

CHAMPION–March 12, 2012

           A favorite Champion song is “May the good Lord bless and keep you, whether near or far away.  May you find that long awaited golden day today.”  When that golden day comes along Champions know it and are not want to waste a second of it.  The past’s nostalgic hold and future’s promise have little to do with what is happening now in Champion. 

          Bill Long has been working in his garden.  Every so once in a while he just goes out and plows it up to kill the weeds.  He has put in onions already and has his potatoes planted and noticed that his thornless blackberry bushes are starting to leaf out.  He is going Spoonbilling at Cape Fare with his grandson this week.   There was a great article in the recent Conservation Magazine about the process,   Anthony Ford a paddlefish angler from up at Warsaw says that all you have to have is a sixteen ounce sinker, two treble hooks and a stout pole and you can catch  a 50 to 100-pound fish. The most interesting thing he had to say about the whole thing is, “It’s always better to be lucky than good.”  As that statement relates to Bill, Crenna will have to be the judge.  She had her birthday on the fifth of the month.  Bill said she does not celebrate them anymore.  It might just be that since he forgot it, he thinks that she forgets it too.  Birthdays are funny.  Geoff, a long time Champion from over Champion East, will have his celebration on the twelfth and will be happy if the sun shines in on him on his sixty tooth birthday.  Kindergartener Patricia Maggard will have her sixth birthday on March 16th , so it will be ten years before she is sixteen on the sixteenth.   Myla Sarginson who is in the first grade will have to wait eleven years to be 18 on the 18thw.  Katelyn Souder will be 13 on the 19th.  She is a sixth grader at Skyline. In just six years she will be nineteen on the nineteenth!  Time is fleet.  Champion Sam over in Edinburgh will have his birthday on the 15th of the month.  “Beware the ides of March,” said the soothsayer to Julius Caesar.  It turns out that there are ‘Ides’ in every month…It just means the 15th of the month.   Sam shares his day with his second cousin, Jacob Masters, of Austin, Texas, who is thirty years younger than Sam and will be nine this year.  Amazing.

          Spring Break!  What a wonderful concept!  Champions are just mad about the whole idea (in a good way), particularly when it brings long missed children from distant places.  There will be long quiet days ahead, days in a row when the phone does not ring and the mailbox yawns empty, but this week is full of giggling, laughter, lots of drums and music, much exploring, gardening, storytelling, friendship bracelets, violin solos, cookie baking and bread making, popcorn, games and games of UNO and scavenger hunts together with great art works.  Champion is in a whirlwind of girls!  There are pick-up truck loads of them descending on the place. Champion indeed!

          A good rain is just what this part of the world needed to squelch the fire danger.  The end of last week found Champion North ablaze.  It is possible that the very high winds broke limbs that broke electric lines that sparked dry brush and started the whole thing.  Whatever the cause, the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department (yea!) and the Missouri Conservation Department (yea!) were able to control it.  Most all of the property formerly known as the Orville Hicks place on the East side of Cold Springs Road was scorched and blackened.  That may be about fifty acres.  Fortunately, there were no homes damaged, though some were in the path, and homeowners are grateful that trained, knowledgeable, and brave volunteers and professionals will put themselves in danger to protect the lives and property of people in the community.  They are doubtlessly pleased for the rain to soak things thoroughly enough to give them some respite from firefighting without so much rain that water rescues are the order of the day.  The weather has been unusual all over the world recently, and while some may still be of the mind that this is not ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ it is certain that hardly anything is like it used to be.  Champions keep a weather eye out and stay Grateful.

          When the sun hit the garden Monday morning, the peas began to emerge from the ground.  Look for Linda’s Almanac online at or at The Plant Place in Norwood, or at Henson’s Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion.  The Almanac gives a good day by day guide for when it is best to plant root crops, above the ground crops, flowers, and seed beds; when it is best to transplant or fertilize or harvest or wean.  It is like having an old person around who knows everything without having to put up with the annoying habits that some old people can develop.  Champions are careful to not to become annoying old know-it-alls.  Even the Saturday Philosophy Club, which meets most days in the Club Room in the back of the Recreated Mercantile, has certain standards of behavior.  Compliance is optional, obviously.

          Soldiers do not have many options.  They go where they are told to go and do what they are told to do.  That they are willing to serve to protect and defend the population and the wonderful Constitution is a gift that Champions appreciate.  To those who have served and are home again, Champions say, “Welcome and thanks.”

          When Spring Break is over things will settle down again and life will resume its pleasant pace.  Harley and Barbara will come home for a little while.  The Young Farmer will have the roof on his new house.  Things will change and things will be very much the delightful same.  Wander down to the Square on the wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek to describe your golden days.  If you find that you cannot make the trip for reasons of practicality or facility, send those descriptions and pleasant recollections to Champion at or to Champion Items, RT 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  It will still be standing when the hoard of Spring Breakers depart.  The young people will return to their interesting lives in the outside world, with all their hi-tech toys and the big city noise, but they will remember their time in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


March 5, 2012

March 5, 2102

CHAMPION—March 5, 2012

             Champions are Grateful for having been spared the worst of the bad weather and extend their sympathies and best wishes for a speedy recovery to those hard hit to the south and west, to the north and to the east.    A quote recently heard was, “Be kind to every one for you never know what great burden one might carry.”  Champions know this to be true.  Just looking at people even carefully does not always reveal what is going on with them.  One old Champion was nailing some used tin on a shed one day and busted her finger open with the hammer.  She began to laugh hilariously and said, “Finally, something really hurts that you can see!”  Apparently she had been in some emotional pain that she could not express.  Hardships and difficulties seen and unseen touch compassionate Champions.

          Someone asked Butch Linder why he was not up on the stage helping out with the music at the chili supper the other night.  He showed the index finger on his fretting hand to be fairly unbendable any more due to an accident with a wood splitter.   He just grinned at the suggestion that he turn the guitar around and play it the other way.  He could probably be ambidextrous if he wanted to, but he is too busy riding around with the Fox Trotters to practice.  There was plenty of good music at the chili supper anyway.  Big Creek started the evening off as the crowd settled in after a good meal.  They travel some considerable distance to support the Skyline VFD and are always a popular attraction.  The Back Yard Bluegrass took the middle slot of the evening entertainment.  Dennis tried to get the General to demonstrate the waltz, but he would not cooperate.  It would have been a good time to sing Happy Birthday to Mr. Shumate, though he worked to keep D.J. from revealing his age.  It was all over when father and son got into a speed picking contest.  If you were there you know who won.  Both Big Creek and Back Yard Bluegrass can be found on the internet on the Facebook sight.  It is easy to “like” them.  New to the chili supper scene but well received, were the Bluegrass Gospel Volunteers.  They sang some old favorites and as the evening wound down people left smiling from the experience. 

          Bob Berry, formerly of Gentryville and currently of the Twin Bridges area, purchased the winning ticket for the 2012 Skyline Chili Supper Quilt.  This was the first chili supper that he missed attending, but it is to be sure that he will have his beautiful quilt in short order.  He was also bidding in absentia on that coconut cream pie.  Sharon Woods beat him out on it this time and it went for a whopping $125.00!

A thank you note will go out to Professor Darrell Haden for allowing a copy of his famous controversial song, “All the Late News from the Courthouse,” to go into the auction.   He will be pleased to know that the winning bid on this item was made by a high ranking elected official of Douglas County —funny.    Well, there was a great deal of fun as well as plenty of good food and generosity shown by the community for its wonderful little Volunteer Fire Department.  Steve Moody makes a great master of ceremonies and keeps his sense of humor in order while he keeps everything organized.  It takes a lot of work to make this event happen and the community as a whole benefits from the chance to participate with their friends and neighbors to sustain the fire department.  It was said recently that everyone in the Skyline Fire District who has home-owner’s insurance can thank the fire department for making it possible.  All the volunteer fire fighters are trained first responders, so every car accident and home medical emergency situation has trained people nearby to help. 

          Someone called the 948-2339 number the other day to report a fire and they did not get an answer.  It has been noted that even though no one seems to be there the messages are heard in real time.  The 683-1020 number to the Sherriff’s Office is an ideal one to use to report a fire or an emergency.  The local fire departments are all hooked in to the system there.  It is a good idea for land owners to inform the fire department when they plan a controlled burn so that fire fighters are not called away from their jobs or their beds unnecessarily.   A few days of rain might allow for some burning but Champions are always careful.

          “Thunder in February means frost in May,” they say.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood shows the Full Moon will occur in the middle of the night Wednesday at 3:40 a.m. Thursday morning.  It is called the Worm Moon and Champions noting the number of robins in the neighborhood these days are sure that they are feeding well.  The moon change is the signal that root crops can go in from the 9th through the 13th of the month and then on the 17, 18th and 21st.  Flowers will do well to be planted between the 9th to the 11th, and transplanting will be good on the 12th, 13th, and 21st.  The Almanac is available there in Norwood, at Henson’s Gas and Grocery in Downtown Champion and on line at  Linda is entering her busy time of the year and celebrating her birthday on the 5th!  She was the high scorer at the regular Fortnight Bridge game on Saturday night.  Her sister, Charlene Dupree, hosted as substitute for the Champion player and Linda and the player from Veracruz bid two slams to win the eighth and final rubber.   They were both in hearts and Linda played them, making a grand slam on the second one.  Champion!

          Trucker Joe, hanging out around the stove in the Cultural Development Center (the CDC)  said that the biggest word that he knows is ‘flatulent’ or ‘flatuation.’  That word or any word that ends in the suffix ‘tion’ can be substituted for the word ‘fascination’ in the song by the same name.  It was a very popular song a few decades ago.  “It was fascination, I know, and it might have ended right then, at the start.  Just a passing glance, just a brief romance, and I might have gone on my way empty hearted.”  Try it with ‘ambition,’ ’ammunition,’ ’decomposition,’’ contrition,’ ’nutrition,’ ‘maceration’ or any such word.  Fun is free in Champion. 

          “Precarity” is another interesting word.  It is a condition of existence without predictability or security.   Champions are familiar with being in precarious situations and are reminded of the dangers of the hunting seasons, the deep low-water crossing, the Fox Creek Rodeo and the unlikeliness of falling out of the same boat twice on a float trip while trying to impress young nephews.    It is also applied appropriately to those serving in the US Military in the dangerous parts of the world, and, unfortunately, to many Veterans home already.  They are part of the “Precariat” and could use some Love and Gratitude. 

          Mention your favorite big word or new word  in a note to Champion at or over in the Champion CDC located in the Visitor Center in the Recreation of Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  A prominent local complains of “too many words” but seems to like being located at the bottom of several hills, on the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek in Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!