September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

CHAMPION–September 24, 2012

          Champions are delighted that Esther Wrinkles has made her way out of the Autumn Oaks Short Term Rehabilitation care facility.  She spent a couple of months there getting over a broken hip and will be enjoying the hospitality of her son and daughter-in-law for a while until she can get all the way back home.   She still gets her mail at her home address and she reported that she has received more than 100 cards and that they were all thoughtful and much appreciated as were all the flowers, plants, pizzas, tomatoes and watermelon.  She had visitors every day of her stay there so things might seem a little quiet for her for a while.  It is a good thing the phones work.   She was happy to get to go to church on Sunday and to enjoy the fourth Sunday dinner there at Fieldstone.  Everyone was glad to see a favorite Champion.

David Hutchison of Mt. Grove is headed off to a family reunion in California soon and he will be glad to have a copy of the pictures that Lainie Sutherland sent in to the Champion News.  Anyone interested in them can request an email copy at Champion at  Soon they will show up at  under the title, “Old Champion Pictures.”    

Pete Proctor sent a note to inform Champions about the POW/MIA Day observations that were made by the VFW post on Friday.  There was a flag observance at 9:00 AM on the Mountain Grove Square.   The Patriot Riders formed a flag line for the ceremony.  They then went to the Town & Country Bank at 9:30 to raise the Flag there and to present them with a POW/MIA Flag.  It is such a service to the community to have an organization dedicated to the acknowledgement of those who have served the Nation in the US Military and those who are serving currently.  Champions join Pete and the VFW and the American Legion and the Veterans Administration and all those who would extend their Love and Gratitude to those who put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of the population. 

More good community service comes from The Skyline R-2 School Foundation.  Behind the scenes at the wonderful little rural school, the foundation is doing some good things to help the children in unseen and important ways.  The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is gaining some new members and new members of the foundation are bringing in some great ideas and wonderful enthusiasm and energy.   How much energy does a 5 year old have?  London King will be five years old on the 24th and is a kindergartener at Skyline.  Dustin Johnson will have his ninth birthday on the 26th of September and Newt Souder will be eleven on the 30th of the month.  Dustin is in the third grade and Newt is in the fifth.  Champions remember their own school days fondly and hope these kids are appreciating their good old golden rule days.

          The big lightning storm that came through Thursday night was pretty exciting and lit the sky up bright as day intermittently while a good solid inch of rain came own in a deluge .  Lots of big booms kept livestock excited and several were reported to have been injured, not necessarily from the lightning strikes, but from their own panic.  Cowboy Jack had one of his horses to get tangled up in some fencing and get hurt.  Another report was of a horse seen loose up on C Highway that had sustained some cuts.  Terri Ryan frequently has unwanted horses visiting her yard, so maybe the storm will have scared them back across their own fence.  The rain was welcome.

The intrepid travelers have returned and are still speaking.  Family history has it that three sisters, related to some of this same bunch, went on a tour of the British Isles together a few years ago and came home not speaking.  No information was gleaned about how long ago it was that the trip was made, or the nature of the dispute, but it is reasonable to believe that they have, by now, resumed their harmonious communication.  This daring group of six, Elizabeth, Kaye, Faye, Bernice, Richard and Wayne, cut a wide loop through North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee on a week-long odyssey that ended back in Champion late Saturday.  There were bear sightings and photos of many enormous and some small elegant elk browsing in highland meadows.  Steep and winding mountain roads took them weaving through tunnels and along the edges of precipitous cliff faces in heavy rain that lasted for two solid days and nights.  Still the rain did not dampen the fervor of the vacationers.  They were determined to have a good time and they did.  Not all the traveling weather was bad and there were few complaints.  Champions!

The Champion Fall All City Yard Sale was a splendid success.  Having been rained out the week before, it was imagined that attendance would be a little down.  The weather was so lovely, however, that people out on sightseeing expeditions through the glorious green countryside just happened through the Square and found some excellent buys.  There were some unusual items for sale and some good trades made.  It will be interesting to see how this community market day evolves over the years to come.  The Pioneer Descendants Gathering has been an event for eleven years now and shows no signs of slowing down.  It happens on the first week-end in October every year, this year it is October 6th and 7th.   It is a public event with free admission.   The many who travel out to the Edge of the World every year find themselves enjoying exhibits and demonstrations of all kinds of skills from flint knapping to shingle making.  There are wagon rides along Bryant Creek and plenty to eat and vendors with interesting period merchandise.  It is definitely a great family oriented gathering with live music by local bands.  Dale and Betty Thomas have done a splendid job of it. 

Deer are on the move and it is to be noted that they can be seen crossing the road at any time of the day or night.  One Champion on her way home late Saturday night counted six live armadillos in the road.  It was her idea to run one over with her little car, but she thought better of it when the beast took off into the brush.  They can be so destructive to the garden; it might almost be worth a realignment job at the mechanic to get rid of one of them.  There are too many to take that approach.  Someone reported that there were fire ants coming into the area in hay imported from Texas.  Anyone discovering them should take immediate drastic steps to be sure they do not get a foothold in these parts.  The hope will be that it will be too wet in this area for them to feel welcome.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood informs that the 28th will be a favorable time to plant above the ground crops.  The 29th and 30th will be good for root crops and for transplanting.  All those days will be good for vine crops it says. It is hard to know in advance what will have time to make.  Some people expect that there will again not be much of a winter and others think a hard frost is in order soon and then a warm October.  

In addition to being POW/MIA observation day and the birthday of Louise, Zoey Louise and Betty E., and the wedding anniversary of Roger and Tanna, the 21st of September is counted as “The International Day of Peace” by countries all around the world. “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance!” is the name of a great sing-along song.  In Europe, and in other places far flung, there were parades and great gatherings to support the notion of Peace and to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict.  Conflict resolution takes place out on the porch of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion every day of the week.  It is a pretty, peaceful place where you are encouraged to “leave your troubles on the doorstep.  Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street!”  Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side.


September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

CHAMPION—September 17, 2012

          When the forecast proved to be more than right on Saturday, Champions just stepped back and said that had they only known that advertising the Champion Fall All City Yard Sale would cause it to rain steadily, gently, all day long, why, they would have been doing it all summer—certainly all through June and July!  The softly falling droplets–larger than mist– fell one after another  until it finally added up to something.  The philosophy of Zoey Louise, “You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit,” is the standard in Champion.  Nobody could possibly complain about the rain.  The rescheduled yard sale will doubtlessly be more successful than the scheduled one would have been and the general notion that things most often work out for the best will be proved out once again.  Hopefully the Stillings over west of Ava, had a roof under which to work for their annual Molasses Making on Saturday, or perhaps they too will reschedule.  Molasses makers will be the first to say, ”You’ve got to go with the flow.”  The weather did not dampen Patty Squirell’s surprise birthday party Saturday.  Friends are pleased that the images of all those smiles were shared on ‘the’ face book!

          Zoey has her birthday on Friday, September 21st.  She shares that day with Louise Hutchison and with Betty Elliot and with her second cousin, Penelope.  That day is also the tenth wedding anniversary of Tanna and Roger Wiseman as well as being Ember Day and the very eve of Autumn.  Louise and Betty are Skyline VFD Auxiliary members and good friends.  They will enjoy some time together on their birthday Friday.  On Saturday afternoon Zoey will go over to Penelope’s house for a party with a chocolate fountain.  Foster and Kalyssa’s folks might get a babysitter and go out for a romantic dinner.  They cannot rely on either of their grandmothers for babysitting or on their grandfather or Aunt Kaye, Uncle Robert or Cousin Elizabeth.   Those folks are all off on a lark together, visiting old family stomping grounds in North Carolina, Tennessee, and other places and accumulating a new bunch of adventures to relate.  Look for some of those adventures to show up in print one of these days.

          The West Plains Wagon Club made its pilgrimage through Champion on Thursday as it has at this time annually for more than twenty years.   Thirteen wagons and twenty five outriders came jangling, creaking and squeaking into the Champion Square where they were met by a large group of spectators.   The weather could not have been more lovely.  The travelers had camped out on Don Carter’s place over in Vanzant the night before.  Carter bought his place a number of years ago and learned at that time that the wagon train has long used it for the Wednesday night campsite of this ride.  He has been pleased to keep the tradition going.  He made his way to Champion in advance of the train so that he could meet his boy, Eli Epps, who had hitched a ride from home to Champion just for the adventure.  Wagon master Clifton Luna had company in his wagon when he pulled into Champion.  Richard Miller had joined him sometime Thursday morning after he got up off the ground.  A dog had spooked his horse and it threw him off in the ditch.  Miller has been making this trip with Mr. Luna for twelve years and is an experienced rider.  A couple of years ago this same horse threw him twice on the same trip.  Apart from having the wind knocked out of him, Miller was no worse for the wear and was pleased to ride in the lead wagon with his old friend.  Mr. Luna’s granddaughter, Cassie, did not fare so well over her spill.  She had some significant abrasions and was walking with quite a little hitch in her get along, but she walked her little appaloosa into the square after it had been startled into bucking by a dog.   She left the Square in a wagon with her little horse tied to the back of another one.  The accident could have been much worse, so she was grateful, if sore, and will have a story to tell her grandchildren.  Mr. Luna also had a grandson and a cousin on this train.   His grandson joined the train as an out-rider.   Cousin, Bonnie Luna, is from Gainesville and has been ‘wagoning’ for three years, but this was her first time on this particular ride.  She accompanied Jerry Arnold who has been through Champion before. 

            Champions were glad to see Jerry and Diane Wilbanks making the trip.  The Wilbanks, together with Ralph and Shirley Martin and Coy Stone, also on this ride with the West Plains Wagon Club, had just returned from a week long trip in Kentucky.  Diane said that it was an amazing ride with just spectacular scenery.  She has brought home some blue and green stones that will grace the arch in her fireplace, as they do some repair work there, and serve as mementoes of a great experience.  Their young neighbors, Sarah and Jeff Lemanski, with their little daughter, Haddie, came out to see the wagons and the animals too.  They are new to the area and Miss Haddie will soon be receiving books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, because she is in the Skyline School District.  Another newcomer about Haddie’s age, Nicholas George, will also be enjoying the DPIL.  He was out appreciating the sites with his Mom, Salina, and the young ones became acquainted as did their folks with each other and a number of their near and like-minded neighbors.  Champion!   

              Jim and Judy Cantrell have been making this train for about sixteen years.  Mansfield is home for them so the end of the trail on Friday found them at their house.  Others like Ken Felts and Randall Barnet had a long way to go.  They are from over near Viola, Arkansas, probably members of the Gee and Haw Club.  Ken had traveled 28 miles in his wagon just to get to the starting place for this ride.  Randall is from Pocahontas and this is his fifth year on this train.  It was a disappointment all around that Nancy and Marvin Webster, of Bloomfield, MO, were not able to make this ride this year.   Marvin has had some serious health issues that are improving, to the delight of his many friends, so Champions will look forward to seeing them next year.  

             Esther Wrinkles has always enjoyed watching the wagon train go by, and her many friends will stop in to visit with her at the Autumn Oaks Care Center to report on it to her.  Linda Cark and her folks, Joanne and Wayne Anderson, along with her Aunt Fern Bishop were some of the first spectators to arrive in advance of the wagon train.   Joyce Coonts was there waiting for her Cowboy Jack who came cantering into the Square with his usual panache.  Lee Ray, from over Almartha way, parked his shiny black and chrome motorcycle well out of the way.  Louin and Valery Clayton came to see the spectacle from Squires and they had a friend with them whose name was not recorded, but who very much enjoyed the sights.  Steve and Darlene Connor came down the hill to look things over as did Betty Elliot and any number of other locals who just happened to be in the neighborhood.  Royce and Joe Henson came all the way from Springfield.  They love Champion and make it back home as often as they can.  That new load of gravel on the hill going up county road 243 was well placed and made the exit from Champion easier than it could have been.  Champions have the East End County Shed boys to thank for that.   All this excitement is just an example of what can happen in Champion on any Saturday of the month.  The forecast is for a nice day next Saturday.  “Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street” in Historic Downtown Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

CHAMPION—September 10, 2012

          Champions are set for another busy fall season and some are tiring of the constant comments about the swift passage of time.  “You’ll miss it by talking about it so much.”  That sentiment also speaks to people who are so busy taking pictures with their fancy cameras that they do not really see what is in front of them.  If they were to lose those cameras or lose the photos, they might lose the whole experience.  One of the main things that Champions do is enjoy the beauty of their surroundings in the wonderful here and now.  It would take a tenth degree curmudgeon to find fault with these lovely days.

Here comes the wagon train!  The West Plains Wagon Club is on its way again, having left West Plains Monday with the objective of lunching in Champion on Thursday.   Tanna Wiseman will be celebrating her birthday that day and may be in town with Foster and Kalyssa to enjoy the curious spectacle of seeing all the wagons roll into the Square with all the beautiful animals and the fascinating rigs.  There are covered wagons and buggies of various sorts and every year brings something new and interesting.   Clifton Luna has been ramrodding this outfit since the 1980’s and it is a highlight of the season for Champion to have the welcome visitors.  The train will complete its journey in Mansfield on Friday.  Champions are particularly looking forward to seeing Jerry and Diane Wilbanks.  They have been ‘wagoning’ for close to a decade now and made their first trip through Champion in 2010 with this wagon train.  They liked the area so much that they have moved here from Potterville.  They have a nice place over on Bryant Creek now and from time to time they hitch up their buggy and roll over to Champion just for the fun of the trip.    

          Lainie Sutherland has sent six photographs of Champions and some ‘Denlowites’ and random Sutherland portraits to the Champion News.  They will soon be available on-line for everyone to enjoy.  Anyone who would like to share photos of old times in Champion is welcome to e-mail them to Champion at  or to mail them, via the illustrious US Postal Service, to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  The first picture has twenty young people and an adult woman standing beside a rock bluff.  While in town for the 30th Champion School Reunion last week, various Hensons went out exploring, searching for ‘the bluff’ under which those people had their picture taken.  It is not known if they actually found the location, though it was clear they were having a good time looking.  Eva Henson Phillips wrote from Bella Vista, Arkansas to say how much she and her family had enjoyed the reunion and that it was so nice to be able to use the store’s facilities to bring the festivities in out of the rain.  “Royce, Jo, Tom, Valli, Alex, Evan, Victor, Victoria, Vaughn and Whit all enjoyed their walk from Cold Springs to Champion.  That was quite a crew walking the old ‘trail’ once more.”   Royce called it “The Walk of Ages.”

          Miss Emerson Rose and brother, Eli Ogelsby, were happy to be visiting with their Grandmother in Champion during the past week while their Dad was busy with the recent horseshow.  On Saturday night he won the Grand Championship prize for training five year old horses.  Articles and pictures will be showing up in the papers all around the area with more complete and accurate information about the event.  It made for a late bed time Saturday night, but everyone was excited and had a wonderful time.  Little niece, Taegan Krider, loves to see the horses canter.  She loves all her cousins too, and is happy when they come to visit.  “Peanut” is quite a farm girl and there are some great pictures of her being such at a link to which can be found at   Little children growing up in the country, knowing all about farm life is a real National Treasure.  The little rural schools, like Skyline R-2, are just what the Country needs.  The Skyline R-2 School Foundation had a meeting on September 5th to set priorities for the school year ahead.  It is good news to know that there are currently 31 children in the school district benefiting from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program that the Foundation sponsors.  These youngsters, from birth to age five years, receive a new, age appropriate, book in the mail every month.  The love of reading and the love of learning are life skills that support success no matter what course people choose in life.  It makes them Champions!

          The fall garden wants to be planted.  The next good days for planting above the ground crops will be the 16th through the 20th, according to Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood.   Linda is still busy dealing with all the produce from her summer garden and, while friends do not like to see her tired and overworked, they do not feel altogether sorry for her having to deal with such abundance.   Fortunately, she can work a few bridge games into her busy schedule, and that gives her some time off her feet.  At the regular Fortnight Bridge Club game on Saturday, she took second place behind the Vera Cruz player, who was celebrating her birthday.  The host, Champion, came in third and the low money went to Brushy Knob.   Wilma Pointer, who attended the Champion School Reunion this year, remarked that she would like to learn to play bridge.  She lives in Mountain Grove where there are a number of great bridge players who often meet at the Senior Center there.  Wilma will find it to be an intriguing game that she will never tire of playing. 

          Music on the Square this Saturday may include the All-General, All-Star Accordion Ensemble with its great repertory of patriotic songs.  The General will have all know that it is important to support the Troops and the Vets!  The music may just be one old guy with a French harp up on the porch of the Historic Emporium playing  “Listen to the Mockingbird” or some hillbilly jug band singing, “Who Poured the Whiskey in the Well?  There’s just one thing for shore, that water’s ninety proof or more!”  Come on down to the Square in Historic Downtown Champion to enjoy the Fall Market Day Celebration spread out on the wide grassy banks of Old Fox Creek.   It is a picturesque, lush green utopia.  It’s just where the pavement ends and where the fun begins.  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

CHAMPION—September 3, 2012

          Some of the rain that has been so needed in Champion came in the best possible fashion with no big electrical disturbances and in such a gentle way that not a drop ran off anywhere, but soaked right in.  Over the course of a couple of days, the little drops added up to more than two inches in some rain gauges.  The rest of the rain that is needed will show up when it does and in the interim Champions will enjoy some bright, steamy days with no complaints.  Champions smile at strangers.

          The rain did not dampen the enthusiasm for the thirtieth annual Champion School Reunion which took place on schedule Saturday.  The pot-luck luncheon is usually held out under the big walnut trees on the old school grounds, but because of the off and on drizzle and outright rain, it was decided to move the festivities into the meeting room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium.  It was an excellent move and the long table of delectable dishes was a sight to see.  Royce Henson asked the Blessing on the table and on the gathering.  Happy to be there were:  Russell Upshaw, Kaye (Upshaw) Johnson, Elva Ragland, Ruby Proctor, who was the oldest one in attendance this year, Phyllis Driskell, Elsie Curtis, Debbie Curtis, Eva (Henson) and Harold Phillips, Frankie and Freda Proctor, Connie Brown, Robert Brown, Lee Brown, Wilma Pointer, Pete Proctor, Norma Shannon, Vaughn Henson, Whitaker Henson, Victor Henson, Victoria Henson, Valli (Henson) Mills, Tom Mills, Alex Mills, Evan Mills, Royce Clayton Henson, Minnie Jo (Lorett) Henson, Karen Krider, Vivian Floyd, Arlene Cooley, Tom Cooley, Betty Henson, Tommy and Barbara Sutherland, Lainie Sutherland, Wes Lambert, Wayne and Frances Sutherland,  Modeen (Dooms) McGowan, Darrell Hutchison, Bill and Charlie Smith, Leslee Krider, Wilda Moses and Staci Cline.  Others wandered in and out through the course of the day and the mood was effervescent. 

          Hoovie will be sorry to have missed this reunion.  His brother and sister-in-law, three nephews, a niece, and a raft of good looking great nephews and nieces took “the long way home through the park.”  That is to say, they walked from Cold Springs to Champion, a good four miles, in what is now being called, “The Walk of Ages.”  This is not the first of these reminiscent expeditions to have been made in recent years.  There was a support vehicle prowling the road back and forth in case of emergencies.  Somewhere along the way the leader of the pack decided to pilfer a boulder off the side of the road or out of a creek bed.  He must command great respect from his youthful sons and grandsons to have them so willingly wrestle the monster into the back of the truck.  It will decorate his landscape in the city and all those who had a part in purloining the great stone will share a family remembrance when they pass by.  With every step from here to there evocative of some memory, made mostly sweet by the great passage of time, the party arrived in time to catch their breaths before the sumptuous luncheon.  Everything about it was good except that none of Esther’s pies and none of her noodles graced the table this time.  Cards were signed by attendees to let her know how much she was missed.  The Sutherland Clan headed out en masse to visit Esther after the reunion and Frances took the cards to hand deliver. 

          Lainie Sutherland, who lives over in Nashville, says she has some wonderful pictures of Champion taken many long years ago.  She said that she would email them to Champion at  Everyone is encouraged to follow her lead.  A number of folks expressed some interest in old pictures, and it is being talked up that next year everyone will bring their pictures of the old days to the reunion.  Between now and then someone will figure out a way to scan them all so that everyone can have copies of all of them.  Technology really works well for Champions.  Lainie has some interesting information about the history of her family which comes from Sutherland Scotland.  Sutherland is a county of 2,028 square miles and contains some of the northernmost land in the island of Great Britain.  Douglas County has 814.6 square miles, just as a point of reference.  The land over there in Sutherland County is rugged and sparsely populated.  Its beaches are on the North Sea. Douglas County is rugged and more densely populated and it has miles of beaches up and down the creeks and rivers and along the banks of beautiful freshwater lakes.  It is a small world and then again “There’s no place like home.”  

          Missing also this year was General No-Show Upshaw.  He has suspiciously made himself pretty scarce around Champion lately, causing comments such as, “Hmmm.”   On this occasion, there was speculation that he figured he was just so sweet, he might melt if he got out in the rain.  Somebody else said that he was much a-feared the creek was up and “he canna swim!”  His chance to redeem himself will come September 15th when the All General Accordion Ensemble is booked as “Music on the Square” –part of the Champion Fall Market Day Celebration.  One vendor has accumulated a Denlow-specific package that should be of great interest to the General.  The price of these items has been inflated significantly as a way to extract as much of his dough from him as possible without leaving Sweet Sharon in the lurch.  It might be called extortion under other circumstances. 

          The Labor Day holiday is the yearly National tribute to the contributions workers of all kinds have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the Country.  It is also a chance to bid a wistful good bye to summer.  That does not rule out the possibility of more very hot weather and the increased humidity guarantees that it will be sweltering, but not for long.  “Time passes quickly up here in the mountains.”    The rain seems to have revitalized the remnants of the summer garden and the fall garden is going in.  Cole crops and greens have plenty of time to make, particularly if the winter is mild.  Look to Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood to help decide what might be planted now–maybe some nice turnips.  Find the Almanac on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G over on the north side of the Square in Historic Champion or on line at

          Remember the good part of the old days and remember those precious dear ones now gone.  Remember those who are serving Nation in the U.S. Military Service and in other capacities, giving the population the leisure to wax nostalgic.  “We’ll sing of the old, and we’ll sing of the new.  We’ll sing of the changes in years.”  “Everything old is new again” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!