November 18, 2012

November 19, 2012

CHAMPION—November 19, 2012

           Good news travels fast in Champion.  Some of the good news is that Champions are coming home to roost for Thanksgiving and there will once again be a great grateful crowd over at Vivian Floyd’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It is a long standing tradition that the family gathers there for this particular holiday and she is always glad to have her brothers and all her sisters in law and all the nieces, nephews, and their children for a house full of fun.  Champions agree there is much good reason to be Thankful.

           Esther Wrinkles will soon be back in Autumn Oaks in Mountain Grove after a week’s stay at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.  She had a stroke last Monday morning.  Her family says that she has made some real improvement and should be getting back closer to her old stomping grounds soon.  She has had some good visitors including young Cloey Harris, age 7 years, who sits between Esther and her Grandmother at church on Sundays.  Cloey held Esther’s hand for a long time, joining her many other friends wishing her well and a speedy recovery.  Her mail still gets to her at Rt. 1 Box 845, Vanzant, MO 65768.  She had hoped to be at her house for Thanksgiving this year, but things do not always work out just as person might hope.  Wherever she is, she has good wishes surrounding her.   What a Champion!

          Edith Mae Percifield was 100 years old last February.  She passed away this week.  In a conversation that was reported in The Champion News back on February 6th (Go to to read the whole conversation.), 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.  A pleasant hour with her revealed that she was a bright, hardworking person with a good attitude and a great love for her home and for her family.  Many people will miss her.  Others are grateful just to have crossed paths with her even briefly.  When asked if she had any regrets over things she had not done or anything she wished she had not done, she said, “What would be the point of that?” That is a Champion kind of thought.  If a person gets to live a hundred years or just a few, it is sure that the lives that person touches are forever changed.  The love for the dear one passed does not go away and everyone holds in his heart an album of loves, precious family, and dear friends who are passed out of this life but whose memory is always close.   When grief is fresh, it is hard not to think of them as lost, but someday a smile will cross the face of the one doing the remembering just as the remembered one would want.  So it is in Champion.

          Deer hunting is occupying the thoughts and conversations of many a Champion these days.  One said that the deer do not seem to be worried about the sound of gunfire.  They are accustomed to hearing it in the country side regularly and appear not to recognize it as a threat to their very lives.  Many deer are being harvested and the hope is that they will have had a chance to fatten up a little or at least to have gotten a little real nutrition in them after the rains started back in September and the plant life began to recover somewhat.    There certainly are some big acorns out in the woods.   A nice dish of deer heart and red peppers graced the table of some Champions having a pot luck dinner on Friday.  It was very tasty and quite fresh as the deer had been walking around earlier that morning. 

          The Skyline VFD Auxiliary had its meeting in the meeting room at Henson’s Store on Tuesday, November 13th.  Members signed a card to send to Esther to let her know that she is much missed and regularly thought of by her Auxiliary friends.  President Betty Dye had the Chili Supper quilt for examination and it is a real beauty.  It will be on display at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion on the 8th of January.  That is the date of the next Auxiliary meeting when the serious planning for the March 2nd Chili Supper will get going in a big way.  Preliminary planning is already well underway.    Word is spreading and it seems that the membership is already setting aside those special items for the silent auction.  It is a great little community that supports its fire department so well.  Actually the ‘little community’ is about 125 square miles big.  Skyline VFD can use a lot of support!

          The other day some of the Skyline R2 Foundation board members met up in Ava to have their picture taken receiving a big check from the Douglas County Community Foundation.   The check was physically quite large and represented a $2,000.00 grant to support the Skyline R-2 School Foundation in their affiliation with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  Additionally, it was learned that the Douglas County Foundation has teamed with the Ava Public Library to provide the DPIL program to every child in Douglas County.  From birth to age 5 years, the DPIL sends a book each month in the child’s name.  These are age appropriate books chosen to promote a love of reading early in the lives of children.   Contact the library or Skyline School for additional information.  Applications are also available at Hensons Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion. 

          Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Great Britain since King George was not all that happy to let the Colonies go.  These days the relationship between the two countries is much better.  Gratitude is one of those Champion notions that this whole Nation embraces.   In the difficult time that so many are facing because of the recent storm, Sandy, and in the wake of so much rancor and dissatisfaction with the economy and politics one is reminded, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”  Send a list of your many blessings, or your favorite Thanksgiving song to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at  Most school children know the song about Over the River and Through the Woods.  Around these parts, they’re going to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

CHAMPION—November 12, 2012

          Friday afternoon an old Champion finally decided to get her canna lily bulbs dug up for the season and set about to do that.   Many of the garden edibles had made a fairly poor showing, but the cannas were planted late and close to the sprinkler and performed beautifully.  The two overflowing wheelbarrows of bulbs drying out for winter storage are not food, but can be traded for food and so the space they occupied with such elegance was not wasted.  The work was pleasant and engrossing on such a warm and sunny day, so wonderfully quiet in the valley with no little cars whizzing by and no big city busses rumbling past.   After a while she began to hear quiet voices and stood up to see what might be the source.  Bud Hutchison and five mounted companions were riding south toward Champion.  They were going at a relaxed pace and were bunched up close enough together to allow for easy conversation.   Their exchanges and banter may have covered any number of subjects and were indistinguishable to the gardener, but to see convivial friends traveling so easily together in such a tranquil setting spoke directly to the heart of the Champion, so glad to be home.

          The many Veterans’ Day celebrations and parades around the Nation were well motivated and well produced, bringing the annual awareness of the general population to the year round service of their countrymen.    Both the Veterans’ Hospital and the main Veteran’s Administration Office in Manhattan were swamped by the hurricane that blew thru New York City.   One hundred patients had already been moved to other Veterans’ hospitals when the storm hit.  The damage will take a long time to repair and the three million dollar MRI machine will have to be replaced.   Veterans in the area and around the country have stepped up to help their comrades in this difficult situation.  It is the way they have bravely stood up on behalf of all the Nation’s citizens every time they have been asked  since the country was founded.   They have some Love and Gratitude due them and some help.  They are Champions.

          Esther Wrinkles says that her Christmas cactuses are just beginning to bloom.  She has a nice collection, including some old ones that she has had for years and some smaller ones that she has acquired fairly recently.  As her older plants are all pink, she was hoping that one of the new ones would turn out to be red, but it is looking like it will be a dark pink.  Some of her friends will get over to the Plant Place in Norwood soon to see if Linda has a nice blooming red one for her.   Flowers and music seem to boost a person’s spirit and it is very clear that so much of healing has to do with attitude.  It has been four months since her injury and her recovery seems slow to her who is so accustomed to being very active.  Esther keeps a good attitude though and Thanksgiving will soon be here and all the excitement of friends and family will have her lifted up and fortified more so.   Friends and family—the best reasons to be Thankful!

          This time of the year the population swells in these hills.  The visitors are all dressed in orange and drive very slowly.  They bring lots of revenue to the area and take lots of deer away with them.  The local processing plants are already overwhelmed.   Some hunters are so good at it that they can harvest much more game than they can possibly eat.  The really nice ones are pleased to share with their friends and their friends will have more winter food security which makes them naturally more pleasant people.  Sharing the Harvest is a great program that allows hunters to donate their kill to the local Food Bank, which does good work in feeding people who find themselves in need.  In most cases the processor will donate the labor as well.  The hunting stories make good listening:  “It was just at daylight and it came walking right to me.”  “It was heavier than it looked and it took a lot of dragging to get it out.”  “It made kind of a growling sound.  I never really got a look at it, but I was glad I had my pocket knife with me in case it turned out to be a bear.  Probably it was just the neighbor’s truck.  It kind of growls when he starts it every morning and there are two ridges and a draw between us and the way sound travels, it could have been a truck.”  It could have been a bear.   Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. 

          Young people seem to like their own birthday very much.  Old people do too, but for different reasons.   Champion, Rich Heffern, of Kansas City celebrates a birthday on the 15th and Elva Ragland on the 19th.  She just lives down the road and around the corner and down a hill and up one or two from Champion.   Elva shares her birthday with Gaven Keith, an eighth grader at Skyline.  Clifford Crain, a second grader will be eight on the 23rd and shares that day with the dotty grandmother of Seamus, Elizabeth, Zack and Ethan.  Eighth grader, Breanna Carroll, will be fourteen on the 24th and Waylin Moon will be twelve that day.  He is a sixth grader.   Faith Crawford will have her 6th birthday on the 26th and Jhonn Rhodes will be eight on the 30th.  He is a second grader this year.   Before long, these youngsters will be driving and voting and running the country.  It is good they are getting such a nice start in life in a quality rural school.  As the old folks look back on their dear school days with nostalgia and pride, they see that today’s youngsters at Skyline are in the middle of those formative years.  The Skyline R-2 School Foundation has been set up to boost the school along in important ways.  Everyone is welcome to participate:  Skyline School Foundation, Rt. 2 Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717. 

            The meeting room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North side of the Square in Downtown Champion (Henson’s Downtown G&G) is the site of the meetings of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, the most recent being November 13th.   Auxiliary President Betty Dye reports that the Chili Supper Quilt, an original queen size beauty of pieced rectangles and squares is on display with tickets available for the drawing at the Chili Supper in early March.  There is plenty of time to support the wonderful little fire department that is such an essential part of the community.

          Recent travels make Champions aware of the beauty of their place in the world.  As the trees drop their leaves, little cabins and home places come out of hiding to reveal a more densely populated area than might have been supposed in the more lush seasons.  New friends just across the Firth from the Kingdom of Fife say that Champion looks just like home to them too.  To the new friends Champions sing, “We’ll meet again.  Don’t know where.  Don’t know when.  But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day!”  Perhaps in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

             EDINBURGH:  Good neighbors in Britain are most interested in the American political system and are as confused about the Electoral college as are many voters back home.  Every four years, sometime around the time of the inauguration, the controversy over the process gets laid aside once again to consider other critical issues. Hopefully, Sandy and the political storms will have abated to the extent that the Nation can get back to the business of being good neighbors.   The devastation of the big storm evokes concern and compassion from new friends.  This last summer as much damage was done to crops in Scotland’s rich farm land by too much rain as was done in the Midwest of the United States by the drought.  Weather everywhere is being unusual.  Champions out in the big world hear that things are just glorious back home and are pleased and excited to be headed that way! 

               The General reports to Cathie Alsup Riley over in Tennessee.  “Hello Cathie. Sharon and I went to Vera Cruz yesterday (Sat). On Friday and Saturday Civil War reenactors were there (with Cannons and small arms) and had mock battles celebrating the skirmish that took place 150 years ago (7 Nov 1862). Carole Coats Barnhart and her brother Wayne, with wife, kids, and grandkids were also there. Carole and I know you would have enjoyed being there, and now that it’s over, I am thinking you probably didn’t know about it. I will send pictures as soon as one of my kids come by (I’m going to have to learn how to do that).”  Bennie Thomas said that he would like to have gone to the event but that he did not know about either.   A note on the internet says, “Once the bustling county seat of Douglas County, MO, the town of Vera Cruz is now simply a beautiful valley in the Ozark hills.  The landowners did not know until years later that their property once housed hundreds and included a courthouse, blacksmith shop, sawmills, gristmill and more, there being no evidence of these structures today.  Nor did they know that a Civil War battle was held at the site on November 7th 1862.”  Skyline School kids knew about it and attended the sesquicentennial event and probably had some fun saying, “sesquicentennial.”  It will be exciting to hear just what they have to say about the experience. 

                Skyline School kids have a nice motto:  Soft paws–not claws!  Their credo is to be respectful, responsible, safe and caring.  First graders, William Litchfield and Hailey Hall have just had their 7th birthdays–William on the third and Hailey on the fourth.  A new student to the school, Lea Anderson, celebrated her birthday on the fifth.  She is a fifth grader and a nice addition to the student body.  She shares her day with Karisa Volner who will be thirteen, a seventh grader, and with Miss Emerson Rose Ogleby, a Champion grandchild.  The General’s lovely spouse, Sharon, will have celebrated on the 6th, and her many friends admire her resilience and her sweet smile.  Mason Solomon will be five years old on the 7th, and Justin Borders will be six.  Richard Heffern’s younger brother has his big day on the 8th and will for a few days be as old as his brother.  Lukas Brown, eighth grader, will be 14 on the tenth.  Amelia Olson will always have a special birthday since she was born on November 11th, celebrated as Veteran’s Day.  Maria Penn and Sherman Hall will both be eleven on the 12th of the month.  They are fifth graders at Skyline.  

                      In 1605, Guy Fawkes was among a group of conspirators who felt that the government was going the wrong way particularly as it related to religion.  Their solution was to blow up Parliament, in spite of the knowledge that some innocent people would be killed.   The plot was spoiled by one who sent a note to a friend suggesting that he not attend that day.  Suspicions were aroused and a search of the cellar under the building found Fawkes with 36 barrels of old gunpowder.  There is speculation that the stuff was so old that it would not have exploded anyway, and it was just happenstance that Fawkes was alone with the evidence when it was discovered.   Bonfires were lit that night, November 5th, 1605, to signify the safety of the King.  That was King James the 1st.  Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night.  The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.  Some of the English have been known to wonder, in a tongue in cheek kind of way, whether they are celebrating Fawkes’ execution or honoring his attempt to do away with the government.  Today, the Queen only attends Parliament once a year and, in advance of her arrival, there is conducted a systematic search of the cellars under the Parliament building. 

                     A beautiful sunny Sunday in Edinburgh was finished off with a few minutes of freezing fog that had photographers out on the Meadows snapping pictures of the eerie site.  The sight-seeing is as interesting here as it is in beautiful downtown Champion.  The Highlands are quite high.  The mountains were largely deforested to support the industrial revolution and people were forced off the land in many cases to make room for sheep.   The Kingdom of Fife has some spots in it that could easily be somewhere along Highway C in the beautiful Ozark Mountains where many of Scotts and English descent are enjoying life now.   It is a small world in that people are very much the same.  The songs are as sweet sung with a little brogue and eyes twinkle similarly with new found affections as friendships are forged.  The American actor and dramatist, John Howard Payne, wrote the words and Englishman, Sir Henry Bishop wrote the melody in 1823, “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!