June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

CHAMPION– June25, 2012

           A Champion off in distant places occasionally meets up with a music promoter who is given to drink.  While never totally inebriated, he seems to be half way there continually.  He has grandiose schemes for the advancement of his musician friends and is want to sprinkle his prose with the word ‘opperchancity.’  Upon first hearing it, the Champion thought, “What an interesting misspeak,” but subsequently he found that it is just a part of the publicist’s lexicon of drunk-speak.   Still, it is an interesting word that goes along nicely with the Champion Word of the Week, ‘impetus,’ which is anything that stimulates activity; driving forces or motive; incentive; impulse.  “The Champion impetus is to maximize every pleasant opperchancity.”  What a place!

          The opperchancity for some ‘porch-picking’ is here.  Friday, the General himself has been invited to bring his guitar up on the porch at Hensons’ Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion to entertain shoppers and visitors.   Some delusional person suggested that he might bring his accordion or, at the very least, some musical friends.  It will be the first ever ‘last Friday of the month Champion porch-picking’ and area musicians are encouraged to dilute the program.

          The Old Grandfather of Tar Button Road celebrated his birthday on the 25th of June and the 26th had Sweet Dancing Nancy of Westava just in the planning stages of her own festivity.   Casey Boyd, Skyline 8th grader, and Devin Scott, second grader, also celebrate that day as their own.  River Clunn, a Skyline fourth grader will be nine on the second of July.  Summer school is still in session at Skyline and the busses seem to be jolly as they roll down the scenic country roads.  The 28th is the birthday of Ester Wrinkles, but her party will be on Saturday, the 30th.   Friends will gather over at the Vanzant Community Center from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. to make merry on the occasion of her 95th birthday.   Friday the 29th is the birthday of Mrs. Eva Powell and of KZ88 Radio personality, Butch Kara.  Champions are hoping they will both make it down to the square in Downtown Champion to join in the fun of a community day.   It is presumed that there will be at least one oration of the “Near Drowning of Cowboy Jack” during the day and perhaps some new adventures will be recounted of the Crystal Creek Gang or of the Fox Trot Follies.

            Get well cards are in the mail to Sue Upshaw who has taken a fall.  Her many friends are hoping that her fractures will heal in short order and that she and her pleasing smile will soon be back out among them.   Someone said that an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.  When life is dragging you back with difficulties, just imagine that it’s going to launch you into something great.  At some point, however, one hopes for more gentle launchings.   Neighbors over at Mad Goat Flats seem to have had a nice launching of a worthwhile community enterprise.  A vacuum has been filled in a most pleasant manner and Champions applaud the initiative!

          Route 2, Champion mail carrier, Karen Ross (not Goss or Doss) has already canned 32 quarts of green beans!  She lives up on top of Whetstone Hill and some Champions think that her elevation and sunny location is the reason for her great agricultural success.  Others know it is on account of her hard work and her accumulated knowledge of garden lore.   Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that from the 26th all the way through the 3rd of July will be a good time to plant crops that bear their yield above the ground.  Get a good look at the new Almanac on the bulletin board at the Historic Emporium in Downtown Champion or at www.championnews.us.   It is available up at The Plant Place too.  Linda will soon get a good visit with her granddaughter who has just returned from a two week school trip to Spain.  Linda is excited to hear the details.  So far all she has heard is that Danielle had a good time but did not really care for the food.  Olivia, Charlene’s granddaughter, is visiting from Florida.  She will be nine in October and is quite a charming young lady.  Grandson, Harper, has been visiting over at Teeter Creek with his Rock and Roll Grandma and will have some good stories to tell when he goes back home to Arizona. 

           The Skyline Auxiliary will have its meeting on Wednesday the 27th for the purposes of planning the Skyline VFD Picnic.  It is an exciting time of the year in Champion.  Friends are excited at the possibility that Louise Hutchison will make it to the meeting.  The organization has felt a void for some while now and it will feel whole again to have her there.   Connie Lansdown spends a lot of time with Louise and Wilburn and reports that they are doing fine.  She also wanted to make a special point of saying how very much their family appreciated all the calls, cards, and letters and all the wonderful food that people brought for them during recent weeks when they were experiencing a succession of sad losses.  Family members came in from out of state and it was a difficult time made less so by the compassion and kindness of the community.  Connie says genuinely, “Thank you, everyone.” 

          Buffy St. Marie is a folk singer who has written many interesting songs.  One is “If You Ask Me.”

She says, “He’s got shoulders like a mountain and a smile like a sunny day, the patience of a gardener and the will to find a way.  We love him more than tongue can tell and more than song can sing.  He’s a pretty good man, if you ask me.”  Husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and friends in Champion can have this song sung about them on their birthday or on any day of the week.  The Veterans and those serving currently can have it applied to them as well with Love and Gratitude.   One of the rules about living a Champion life is, “When it is good, say so.”  So Champions are pleased to say they love their men folk and their soldier folk.  Send your favorite ’when it’s good say so song’ to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion@getgoin.net.   Come on down to the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square at the end of WW where the banks of Old Fox Creek flatten out to incorporate all the placid beauty that is Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

 CHAMPION—June 18, 2012

          Tom Toles is a prominent national cartoonist and commentator who said that May is the very best month, except for June which is better.  Champions are in agreement and are very much enjoying a busy time of the year and these particularly good days.

          Young Champion future farmers had a good showing at the Tri County Fair in Mountain Grove this last week.  Jenna and Jacob Brixey of the Brixey Jersey Farm, had cousins Maddax and Tyler Klingensmith visiting from Springfield and Justin and Jason Schutter from Kirksville.  Together with Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman of Fox Creek Farms they showed their Jersey calves in three different classes and it is reported that they all did quite well.  They handled the animals well and deported themselves like true Champion young lady and gentlemen farmers.   The Fox Creek Rodeo was the precursor to the fair. Conflicting theories for calf roping were still being discussed between the sisters and their spouses days later together with a fanciful description of a butt butting episode that sent Harley home to Barbara.  (There are no worries that he will be offended by this report.  He just reads the first sentence of each paragraph.)  

          Neighbors over at Vanzant had a blow out of a pie supper on Saturday to benefit the Vanzant Community Center and to get a start on preparations for the annual Vanzant Picnic.  The Summer Social Season has arrived with the first of many exciting community activities.  Everyone cannot attend everything, but some are giving it a good try.   A certain coconut cream pie brought a lot of attention when the auction got started the other night.  People were bidding via the telephone all the way from Kansas City and other places, just like they do in big auction houses in New York and London.  It is reported to have been very exciting as Bobby Dean Emery out bid the phone bids to the tune of $315.00!  Another pie by the same venerable pie-maven brought $260.00 from Ron Wood.  The loosing phone bidder had wanted to be there so badly that he pledged a sizeable donation to the community center.  It speaks favorably of a community that can draw such consideration.  Even with the constabulary out of town, there were no reports of untoward, rowdy or disruptive behavior, though it is a given that the General was there and that wonders, indeed, do not cease. 

          The Skyline Auxiliary had a pleasant meeting on the 12th and has another one scheduled for the 27th.  It will be at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room at Hensons Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  There were nine in attendance at last Tuesday’s meeting and the beginning plans for the Skyline VFD Picnic were initiated.  Anyone in the Skyline Fire District is welcome to attend the Auxiliary meetings to see how this great little organization operates and new members are most welcome.  The Skyline Picnic always takes place on the second week end in August, so this year it will be August 10th and 11th.  The Fairview School Reunion will be August 11th too, but it is earlier in the day.  The picnic generally starts at about 6 in the evening, so there will be plenty of time to attend both.  The election will be over by then, so a person will not have to elbow his way past the politicians to get to the pie!

          Rusty Darnell of Joe Bass Team Trail makes a good emcee.  He performed that service for the Skyline School Foundation at their recent fishing tournament.  Rod Crain and Stormy Williams were the first place winners with 13.24 pounds of fish.  They also won the Big Bass Prize for one that weighed 3.32 pounds.  Lane Nance and Les Loftis were second with 10.71 pounds and Dennis Watson and Jim Kirkland came in third with 10.33 pounds.   Skyline School Board member, Brian Sherrill organized this affair with the help of Foundation Board member, Tim Scrivner, and a number of other people.  They counted it as a genuinely worthwhile exercise and plans are in the works to make it an annual event.    It is great to know that so many are interested in helping this fine organization which is dedicated to the students of the Skyline School District.  The Nation’s rural schools need all the help they can get.  The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is the umbrella under which the Skyline School Foundation operates to help about a hundred country kids.  Champion! 

          One Champion gardener, trying to be organic, put some sticky traps out in the garden to catch some of the pests that seem so plentiful.  This is a viable approach, but gardeners are cautioned to use the right kind of sticky trap.  Industrial strength glue traps for mice catch honeybees too, and that is not good.  Champions are very protective of their wild honeybees.   Gardeners rely on them to pollinate their crops and to share their sweet honey.   Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 20th and 21st will be most fruitful days for planting above the ground crops and then again from the 26th to the 28th.  Hope Sandoval sings a sweet love song about “Butterfly Mornings and wildflower afternoons.”  The folks over at Teeter Creek Herbs say that butterfly weed is also called Pleurisy Root.  It is a favorite of butterflies and of the Native Americans and pioneers who used the root to relive pain and resolve symptoms of pleurisy and pneumonia, dry lingering coughs and fever.  It is one of the easy native plants to identify with its bright orange flowers and, of course, the butterflies.    A gardener is also cautioned to stay in his own garden to stay satisfied with it.  Venturing over to Linda’s garden or to Janet and Sandy Chapin’s garden out in Eastern Douglas County will cause one’s own inadequacies to blossom.  Janet and Sandy just hosted a pleasant gathering in honor of their daughter, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Dana Chapin, who has been reassigned from the East coast to the West coast and happily passed by the old home place on her way to her new station.  She is a dynamic young woman and her family and friends here appreciate her service.  To all those serving the Nation and all her Veterans, Champions extend their Love and Gratitude. 

          Evans is a spot around the corner and down the road from Champion.  Fred Follis has been telling people that Evans is about to celebrate 75 years of being depicted on maps.  He did not say how this distinction would be celebrated but there was some mention of the New East Dogwood School Reunion.  Inquiries will be made.   “Who are you calling a clod?” asks a sometimes Champion in response to James Russell Lowell’s poem.  “Anyhow, you messed up when you were trying to tell people how to get to Champion from Mountain Grove.  If you turn ‘east’ off 95 on to 76, you are not headed to Denlow or Skyline at C!  You’d be headed off for EE or Big Ed’s down there on the way to Willow.”  Well, a good re-read shows the ‘clod’ to be correct this time.  A person who does not already know where Champion is and who is genuinely interested in knowing might look on a county road map, might Google up ‘Champion, Missouri’ or might go with the GPS device, though the last word was that the reading is off by a couple of miles.  If you get that close to Champion and have not found it, just ask the first person who comes along.   He will tell you to go on down to the bottom of the hill, where the pavement ends, where country roads meet, on the wide beautiful banks of Old Fox Creek to Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

CHAMPION—June 11, 2012

          “And what is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days.”  So said James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).  The poem from which these lines are taken is full of keen observations about the value of natural beauty.   “Every clod feels a stir,” says he, and so it is in Champion!  “With the deluge of summer” near, Champion hearts revel in the lovely here and now.   Monday’s deluge of delicious rain was also most welcome.

          Emerson Rose and Eli Oglesby have been visiting their grandmother in Champion and having lots of fun with their sweet cousins.  Their aunt Linda Krider Watts will have a special birthday on the 21st of June this year.   The first day of summer has been a special occasion for her family for well over three decades now.   Champion granddaughter, Sierra Parsons, who resides in Portland, Oregon, will be some undisclosed teenage age, maybe in the neighborhood of seventeen, but it does not matter.    Already a very talented artist, she has a great sense of style that may render her hair any color and her lipstick any shade.   She carries with her the self-assured, buoyant optimism that people remember themselves as having had at that age, though truly few ever did.  She has her Grandparents impressed and that is always good.  Alyssa Strong will be nine years old on the 23rd of June.  She is a fourth grader at Skyline  School.  Nicholas, who lives over off Tar Button Road will celebrate his birthday on the 25th.  He is an elder.  That is to say, “He is Old,” no telling how old.  Some young people refer to him as Grandfather, a role that he embodies with reverence.   Casey Boyd will be in the eighth grade this year and will have his 14th birthday on June 26.  Devin Scott will be eight that day and will be a big second grader.  Summer school is in full swing over at Skyline and teacher, Terry Ryan, is reporting the Friday trips to the pool in Ava are being lots of fun. 

          Neighbors over at Vanzant will be enjoying the pies and the fun of the Saturday Night Pie Supper that is being held to benefit the Vanzant Community Center, which is turning out to be the very Jewel of Eastern Douglas County.  Of course, Champion is the Jewel of Central Douglas County and Ava can be the Jewel of Western Douglas County.  The other day someone asked, “Just where is Champion? “  Well, if a person were traveling to Champion from Norwood, he would go south on Highway C for about 14 miles and would make a left turn on WW Highway.  He would have passed the Skyline School at the corner of C and 76 Highway and would have gone on to WW, the first paved road on the left.  Two miles or so east on WW is Champion, clearly marked with shiny new MODOT signs.   If a person were coming from Ava, he would have to come out east on 14 Highway because of the timely work on the Bryant Creek Bridge on 76.  It is about seventeen miles to Evans, where he would then make a left on Highway C, traveling north.  Three or four miles north on C meets the intersection with WW and a person would make a right turn there and travel on down to the lovely burg.  From Mountain Grove, one might go south on 95 and then east on 76 to C, then on down to WW, and thence Champion.  From Gentryville, it is west on 14 to C and then north as before.  However, if you were coming from Drury, you might just go to V Highway and turn west.  Travel on the pavement for a mile or so and then just as the road makes a nice ninety degree turn to the left, a pretty dirt road takes off straight ahead.  That’s the road for you and if you bear neither to the left or the right, but stay the central course, in good time you’ll be in Champion and glad of it.  Once there, take the time to explore the Square.  Enjoy refreshments on the broad veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium.  If you need some calf starter, some bailing twine for your bailer, a frozen pizza, certain plumbing parts, or just a cookie and a nice cup of coffee, Champion is the place to be. 

          A well-known, life-long resident of Champion and a self-admitted logophile was anxious to learn the New Word of the Week early, and he was told that it would probably be ’lugubrious’ because of the comical sound of the word.  But it turns out that the word means sad, mournful, gloomy, melancholy, and sombre,  none of which is at all in keeping with the feeling of Champion and so it has been replaced with ‘stellify’ which means to change or to be changed into a star.  “Champion has been stellified in the memories of former residents who sadly must now live elsewhere.”

          Champions did not forget that D-day was last week and that Father’s Day is this coming Sunday.  There is always plenty to celebrate and Champions are particularly pleased with their Veterans and their Fathers.   Champion gardens are luscious.  The bugs like everything.  Deer and rabbits are having their fill of people-vegetables and gardeners are making the adjustments required and taking the preventative steps available to save as much of the harvest as possible.  Linda’s Almanac is available for inspection at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion or at www.championnews.us.   It says that the 16thand 17th will both be good days for planting root crops and will be good days for transplanting.   The moon sign will change then and the 20th and the 21st will be favorable for above the ground crops again.  A Champion Veteran sings, “By the light of the silvery moon, I want to spoon. To my honey, I’ll croon love’s tune.  Honeymoon, keep a-shining in June.  Your silvery beams will bring loves dreams, we’ll be cuddling soon by the Silvery Moon.”  In Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012

          A chance trip around the county was an opportunity to marvel at the beauty of a place like this.  The roadsides are strewn with Echinacea, butterfly weed, Queen Anne’s lace and an occasional purple musk thistle.  In places where the hay has been cut and rolled, the manicured fields show the care farmers have for their land, and in places where the hay has yet to be cut some meadows are waving high in mixed hues that reflect May’s dry weather and sudden new growth green.  Roiling clouds in blue shades moved by unseen swift winds filter and shift the light, or the sun breaks through to immortalize a moment somewhere along the lovely way home to Champion.  

          Monday morning found the school bus rolling down the road to Skyline as summer school begins.  Some of the great kids celebrating summertime birthdays are Ashlee Dean who will be nine on the 9th and Rose Penn who will be nine on the 10th.   Adeline Homer will be eight on the 12th of June.  She will be in the second grade.  Glenn Dylan Ford will be eleven on the 13th and on that day Wyatt Hicks will have his seventh birthday.  Zachary Coon will be six on the 15th and so the first grade will be his destination.  Champion grandson, Foster Wiseman, will have his birthday on the 16th.  He is growing up quickly, as are all these delightful young folks.  Summer school students will be brushing up their academic skills while having lots of fun including a trip to the Ava pool on Fridays.  Students do not have to live in the Skyline district to attend.  It will be exciting to hear more about the first annual Skyline R2 Foundation Bass Fishing Tournament.  The foundation is a new organization and it is off and running for the benefit of the area students.  The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program is a fine example.   There is information available about it at the school as well as at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion. 

          Harley and other Champion logophiles (people who love learning new words) have a couple of interesting specimens this week.  “Retrouvaille,” is a noun that means the joy of meeting or finding someone again after a long separation; rediscovery.  In a sentence, “The broad expanse of the shady veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium is frequently the scene of nostalgic retrouvaille as visitors come and go.”  The other new word is “paucity.”   It means a lack of, or a rarity and was used last week in an article entitled “What About This…?”  An example of its use not found in the article but rather about the article is, “The paucity of tolerance for an Irishman by an Italian was ironically demonstrated thru copious declarations with many raised glasses of a very nice Chianti.”  On an unrelated note, it has been pointed out that ‘they’ is now being accepted as the third person personal pronoun, effectively doing away with ‘he’ and ‘she.’   For one particular Champion, the evolution of language seems sadder than they expected. (It just seems wrong.)

          Pete Proctor is not sad.  He just returned home last Wednesday from a two week trip to Virginia with his son Bryan and his family.  He was sorry to have missed the Denlow School Reunion, but he had a good time touring all the memorials in Washington D.C.   They took a lot of good photographs, one of which is of Pete touching the name of his friend, Terry, on the Viet Nam Wall.  Terry was from Tennessee and they were roommates for five months before Terry was killed.   At the World War II Monument, they ran into a bunch of Veterans from Baltimore.   Most of them were in wheelchairs, Pete said.   The Korean War Memorial was very eye-catching.   There are 19 statues representing all the Armed Services and an ethnic cross section of America.  The figures are wearing ponchos and seem to be walking up a hill with the cold winter wind at their backs, talking to one another.  Overall, it was an experience that Pete hopes every Veteran can have.  It would be a learning experience for any citizen, worth the time and trouble it takes to get there.  Bryan is stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.  Pete is happy to know that he will be retiring in November and will move back to Mountain Grove.  His wife, Jamie, whom he met when they were both in the Service, and their two children nine year old, Tristan, and seven year old, Laney, have been living with Pete since February.  The kids love the Mountain Grove Schools.  Everybody will be glad when Bryan gets home.  This was a great trip for the family, particularly for Pete who has been the Post Commander for VFW Post 3770 for some while now and will continue to be active in this great organization though Archie Dailey will take over as the new commander shortly.   Those men do a good job of keeping those who serve in the thoughts of those who do not have to.  Champions! 

          Esther Wrinkles reports that there will be a Pie Supper to Benefit the Vanzant Community Center on June 16th.  On the occasion of this benefit, someone suggested that candidates for office should pay double their bid on the pies just for the chance to glad-hand.  This lovely little building is certainly seeing some good use these days.  In addition to various musical pot-luck dinners open to the public, some area residents are hiring the building for private parties.   There was a report of a Good Neighbor of the Month award ceremony that was so surprising that the recipient grew hair!  He must have been bribing the sponsors over at the North Town Mall of Mad Goat Flats with peanut butter ice cream.  They say it is really good, but only ‘select’ Champions ever get a taste of it.  It would seem that we are neighbors, but just not all that close.  Perhaps the occasion of the Fairview School Reunion coming up August 11th will be a convenient time to remedy some presumed slights.  The Skyline VFD Picnic will be that day too, so there will be plenty opportunity to prove its reputation—a peanut butter ice cream dream. 

          Frank Sinatra would have said that dreams are being fashioned in June when summertime is new.  He was right.  It is a delicious time when the garden is starting to produce and has not yet succumbed to drought, pestilence and disease.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place says that the 6th, 7th, and 8th will be a good time to plant late beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and other root crops.  The 9th will be a particularly good time to transplant.  Check it all out at www.championnews.us, at the Plant Place, or on the new bulletin board at the Historic Mercantile located at the bottom of some green hills, at the edge of a famous creek where the dirt roads and pavement collide.    Sing your favorite June song out on the spacious veranda.   Following an extended saxophone solo, Frank sang, “You’re the ghost of a romance in June going astray, fading too soon, that’s why I say, ‘Farewell to you, Indian Summer.’” Goodbye, Indian Summer.   Hello Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!