December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

CHAMPION—December 31, 2012

              The picture of the ninth graders on the steps at the Denlow School has sparked interest across the country.  Geneva Heinemann up in Wasco, Oregon was the eighth of twelve children of Lola Upshaw Proctor who was the girl in the center on the top row of that picture.  Geneva thinks that the other girl was Enola Currnut, but she is not sure.  She also thinks that the guy previously identified as Howard Spurrier was really Lester Sutherland.   Howard Spurrier would have been 24 in 1912.  All this was told to her niece, Bonna Mullins, of Wichita, Kansas who called in to the Champion News to report the information.    Bonna plans to make it to the Denlow School Reunion this year and is very much hoping for the weather to be more pleasant and less hot than it was last year.  Champion friends join their Denlow Neighbors in hopes for a nice temperate spring and summer, however they are determined to enjoy whatever conditions are the prevailing ones at the time.   Bonna’s grandchildren have taught her how to use technology to steal pictures from the internet.  She can copy pictures from the website or from her friend’s ‘facebook’ pages and then when the Snapfish people have their one cent sale she gets them printed up and shares them around.  She is one of those people who like to actually hold on to a photograph, to turn it over if she wants to write on the back.  She said that she has a picture of the Denlow School taken about 1914, and that it has the name of all the students written on it.  When she locates it she will be pleased to share it with readers many of whom are her kinfolks.   Bonna’s extended family happens to be quite a large part of the population of Douglas County particularly those who arrived here sometime before or after the Civil War.  Champions are much encouraged by her example and are looking through their pictures to find the ones that they have that nobody else has, or the ones that have unidentified people in them so they can share them around before people forget who is who. 

               “Slow down!” the General, hunched over his old guitar, was hard pressed to keep up with the lightening fingers of his nephew, Dillon Watts, on his beautiful Gibson banjo.  The meeting room at Henson’s Downtown G & G was the scene of the lively jam session on Friday afternoon.  They started off with Cripple Creek and the Foggy Mountain Breakdown and went on through versions of Dueling Banjos, Wildwood Flower, and Worried Man Blues featuring Dillon’s fine singing voice.  The General’s bright idea was to slow Cripple Creek down enough that it could be called Clever Creek.  It was noted that most of that creek seems to be dry most of the time.  Dillon had very much enjoyed the Thursday night jam session the night before over at the Vanzant Community Center.  It was reported that there were about sixty people there that night and the young player was much impressed with the talent of the many jammers.  He has gone back to Tennessee with his folks now, but he is looking forward to the next school break when he can come back to Champion’s Fox Creek Farms.  Champions like it when he is around.

              Graham Laird is a talented young songwriter who has written a song, “Now’s the End of the Beginning.”  It is quite a catchy little tune that goes on to say, “The days are flying faster than the sun.” This year ends with Bonna’s cousin, The General himself, beginning the tenth year of the ten years that go along with the three score that defines the span of a man’s lifetime.  Nobody ever says, “three score and nine.”  So, bravo! General!  Welcome to your tenth year!  This time next year it will all be over, that is to say, the tenth year.  Thereafter, your Champion friends will be pleased to celebrate your “three score and eleven years and twelve, and thirteen, etc. up to nineteen, then they will celebrate your four score.  You’ll be getting up there then.  Congratulations!”    Other notable birthdays include Skyline student, Jacob Coon who celebrates on the third of the month, two days after his Dad’s birthday. That is New Year’s Day and the birthday of Harper’s Grandmother, the rock and roll bassist of Teeter Creek.  It is also a day that speaks to new beginnings.  When the sixteen year old orphan, David Balfour, turned the key in the lock of his father’s house for the last time and sat out on his adventure, the first person he met was an old family friend, the local minister, who gave him some good advice:   “Show yourself as nice, as circumspect, as quick at the conception, and as slow of speech as any.”  The advice seems applicable to any young person or any old one.  Young Davie went on to have some great adventures and made some fine friends.  He would have made an excellent Champion.            

                   These cold days remind a person that it is time to prune fruit trees, and do the things that can be done this time of the year to get the garden ready for the growing season ahead.   Chances are pretty good that food prices will continue to go up.  Gardening is not just the good exercise that particularly older people need, but it can be the splendid source of the most nutritious food available anywhere, and it may end up being the most cost effective.  Of, course, gardening is not altogether inexpensive as the seed catalogues indicate, but the bulk of the cost seems to be in the labor.  On a snowy winter morning it is easy to daydream about how hard a person will work this spring.  As for resolutions, however, Champions are generally mild in setting up expectations for themselves.  One says, “We can resolve to be a little more kind to ourselves and each other, to acknowledge beauty and goodness with gratitude, and to express the love we have for each other while we are living.”  Those seem to be most appropriate ideas and one would add only “to keep a song in your heart” and to come often to Champion to Look on the Bright Side!


December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012

CHAMPION—December 24, 2012

          Sometimes a person’s birthday can get lost in Christmas.  Some with late December birthdays celebrate their special day at another time of the year.  The lucky ones celebrate their special day every time they wake up.  Some special December birthdays include Skyline School students, Logan Fisher–December 18th, Destiny Surface—December 20th, Logan Brown– December 21st, and Makayla Souder–December 22, Dillon Bennett—December 23rd.  Willard Hall—December 25th and Praxton Lunn—December 29th.  Mary Goolsby has her birthday on the 20th of the month and Sharon Sikes on the 23rd.  VaNa MaZi violist, Corinne Hall celebrates on the 27th and Eli Ogelsby on the 30th.  The best way one can imagine finishing off a year is with a birthday party for The General.  His birthday is on the 31st

          The serious winter weather that hit the area on Thursday carried debris around in yards; drove frozen little bits of precipitation into the faces of shoppers and farmers; and blew a big tree across Highway 95 on the south side of Mountain Grove.  The tree fell just at a spot where a dirt road comes into 95 on an angle and southbound drivers were able to make a diversion on to the little road.  Drivers headed north had to maneuver down a steep grassy bank which proved difficult for some.  Champions on their way home were diverted onto the unfamiliar lane and considered turning around and attempting the climb up onto the black top with the aid of their seldom used four wheel drive when along came The General and his lovely wife and consensus among the Champions was that she doubtlessly knew the way home and it was determined that they would follow along.  The General led the way without even knowing it.  Say what you will about him.  He is a Champion!

          The weather was too rough for the Thursday Night Light Watchers to see much this week, but a number were out looking anyway.  Some of the lights seen on other Thursdays were reported to have been red.  Another witness said only that she had seen the flashing like lightening.   Another eyewitness said that the lights he saw had no color, but were just lights and that there were several of them in a row, not like head lights, and that they moved around in an unpredictable manner.  Watchers in the area are not confining their vigilance to Thursday nights but are constantly on the lookout. 

          Five year old Mason Ross is feeling better.  He has had a cold that may have been strep throat, but nevertheless is feeling better and his grandmother Karen Ross, Champion’s much appreciated mail carrier, is pleased to be able to report as much.  Other good news lets Champions know that their friend Esther Wrinkles is making some good progress.  She gets a steady stream of visitors up at the Autumn Oaks which keeps her spirits up and she puts a lot of hard work into her therapy.  It is slow going and Esther stays steady at it like a real Champion!

          Email comes to Champion at about the picture in the paper of the ninth grade students at Denlow on 12-12-12.  “I may have the name of one person, possibly two, and the first name of another.  I have a picture (with names) of the Denlow basketball team dated 12-12-and maybe its 1912 or 1914 (I would guess 1912). I will see that you get a copy of the photo.  Comparing this picture and the picture in the paper the student in the top right is Howard Spurrier (99.99% sure), top left is Lester Lemmon (50/50) lower left is Bobby ? (very low %). When I see Inez Barker again I will ask about Lester Lemmon, as he would be her uncle.”  The picture is included in the post for December 17, 2012 in the website where anyone can look it over and identify the young folks.   Life was quite different for those young people in many ways, but in the important ways it was probably pretty much the same.  They were optimistic and looking forward to a bright future.

Denlow Wildcat Basketball Team, 1912
A regular reader posted this picture to the Champion News as a way to help identify people in the 12-12-12 picture. He said, “Here is the world championship Denlow Wildcat Basketball Team of 1912. L to R: George McMurtry, Harrison Mathis, Howard Spurrier, Lester Lemon, Louis Givans, Nova Nash, and Bobby(?)” The picture received positive reviews on social media from Rhonda Tate McNamer, Cherri Lynch, Andrea Upshaw Adams, Benny Thomas, Frances Whanger, LaSchell Upshaw Bearden, Sherry Bennett, Elva Upshaw and Linda Clark.

          “If the sun should be turned into darkness and the stars from their orbits be hurled, how would it fare with you, dear brother, if today were the end of the world?”  The question was being asked frequently last week and the perceived uncertainty gave some pause for thought.   A philosophy group on the way to a bridge game on Saturday evening agreed that Gratitude is the appropriate response to waking up and finding that the world is still spinning around.  Aunt Eavvie said, “Tomorrow is just a promise.”  Friends and families are gathering in clumps to celebrate holidays, and the joy of being with their loved ones.  Champion!  Express some joy and genuine Gratitude at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO  65717 or in person out on the porch of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.   Sing your favorite end of the world song there or any song that evokes sweet nostalgia, or appreciation for home.  That uncertainty about tomorrow tweaks appreciation of today in the nicest way.   “Happy New Year” every day in Champion– Looking on the Bright Side!


December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012

CHAMPION—December 17, 2012

                As in other places, it turns out that some Champions are better house-keepers than others and that extends all the way to their computer hard drive.  A cyber folder somewhere holds the ‘original’ picture sent by Laine Sutherland of the students at Denlow, but it became lost among the cyber dust of zeros and ones.  Laine was kind enough to send the photo again and Champions are excited that someone may recognize an ancestor and share the stories of those lovely young people standing on the steps of the Denlow School on 12-12-1912.

                The Winter Concert at Skyline School was another delightful success.  The children all performed admirably and once again Charlie Brown was reassured about the nature of Christmas.  The children always give a good performance and are a pleasure to watch, but the audience is the real treasure.  Parents, grandparents, teachers and friends all lean forward with encouragement for their young one to do well, and their hearts are all swollen and full of love and tenderness for their fledgling.  The applause floods the hall and the whole place is awash with joy and expectation.  That is the way it was Thursday night and then Friday came the sad news from another school.  A prominent psychologist said, “We find a place for what we lose” and that after such terrible loss the acute stage of mourning will subside, but the survivor will remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute.  No matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else.  Champions hope for those suffering great loss now that one day the pain will be replaced with sweet recollections of their dear one in that place they find for what they have lost. 

                Dr. Blevins speaks about the ‘impermanency of our creations’ as he laments the passing of the old store at Champion.  To his credit, however, he has swiftly embraced the Recreation of the Historic Emporium as it sits in the very footstep of its predecessor.  He has naught but good things to say about the construction of the building: its appearance—as it resembles the old building in all the nostalgic good ways with the added feature of sturdiness; location—“nestled in a grove of trees on a creek bank beneath a hill at the end of a black top road”; inventory—extensive and aimed squarely at the needs of the community; customers—loyal and reliant on the store for many of their daily needs as well as the need for a community home-base; and the proprietor—about whom Dr. Blevins has much good to say, but who has modesty as her hallmark.  All in all, the quarterly review, Southern Cultures, is admirably enhanced by its inclusion of The Bright Side.  Perhaps the folks at KZ88.1 could get with Dr. Blevins to include some of his writing about the Ozarks in their programming.  They did an excellent job with Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” the other night.  The food was good, the crowd was friendly and sociable and the performance was splendid.  The recording will be played at various times during the Christmas Marathon on the radio from Sunday through Tuesday.  A look at the website will reveal the times.  The performance was a fund raiser for the radio station that encourages local performers.  That is real community.

                Certain handsome sons-in-law would, and do, roll their eyes at the report of things they do not see.  It is such a habit of some to disparage the ideas, observations, and opinions of their wives and Mothers that it takes corroboration of a hearty brother-in-law farmer, a firefighter, and a Maytag man to give credence to the description of an occurrence they all witnessed.  For some it takes seeing to believe.  What was it?  It is being called “Thursday Night Lights” and is not altogether new in Champion.  Going way back to the 1970’s, Champions have been observing unidentified lights in the skies at night.  This is not like the dirigible that Wilburn Hutchinson and Fleming Geer saw up at Skyline that time when they were boys because they could plain as day see that it was, in fact, a dirigible.  These lights behave in strange and unpredictable ways.  Thursday, the 6th of December, about seven in the evening a West-Champion saw something and called his neighbor who saw it too.  He ultimately dismissed it as his own electric fence charging itself.  His neighbor conceded that could be an explanation, but was not convinced and the next morning her son confirmed her doubts when he said that he also had seen the phenomena at about that same time the previous evening.  Thursday the 13th proved to be an eventful night as well.  At about 10:30, observers from north-east Champion watched lights which seemed to skim quickly over the tree line, just barely above the trees, over the trees from the north, veering out east toward the south.  Then, suddenly the lights would appear in a different quadrant altogether with a greater brightness or intensity and seem to park still for a while then be gone.  No more reliable source for this information could be had and handsome sons-in-law must confess credibility.  It is causing such a stir in some quarters of Champion that the Thursday Night Light Watch has been instituted.  Travelers are warned in advance to take extreme precaution when driving Central Douglas County country roads on Thursday nights as “Watchers” will be out walking in the roads with their mouths open and their necks arched backwards looking up to see whatever can be seen.  Many are deciding to walk in the road since their yards are so steep and rocky and so soft from the mole hills and holes that night walking is perilous.  Life is exciting in Champion.

                Esther Wrinkles is getting some good Christmas cheer up at the Autumn Oaks as friends and family stop in to visit and wish her well.  Cowboy Jack has been out in the world expanding his broad, wholesome, charitable view of mankind, but he is back home now and his Champion friends are glad.  “Don’t let the stars get in your eyes!  Don’t let the moon break your heart.  Love blooms at night.  At daylight it dies.  Just keep your heart for me for someday I’ll return and you’ll know you’re the only one I’ll ever love!”  Sing your favorite sky gazing song out on the porch at Henson’s Down Town G & G.   Record it and mail it to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 and be careful if you’re singing it out in the road Thursday night.  If you recognize any of those Denlow students sing out to Champion at  “Too many stars—too many moons can change your mind.  If I’m gone too long, don’t forget where you belong. When the stars come out remember”…..Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

CHAMPION—December 10, 2012

          Thursday evening was an interesting one in Champion.  Unexplained lights hovering over West Champion blinked intermittently, disappeared and then reappeared.  It was impossible to determine the exact elevation of the lights and they were accompanied by some lightning and an eerie stillness. The phenomenon was first seen by Charlie’s Dad who called Tanna’s Mom who stepped out on the porch to look at it.  It was about seven o’clock.  Later she talked to Peanut’s Pop who said he had seen it too.  So it is official and corroborated by three reliable sources.  UFOs frequent Champion!  By Sunday the excitement had ebbed a little and the old line about tactical maneuvers of stealth bombers was being bandied about with an overtone of skepticism that would dissuade some from their belief in their own eyesight.  These are people who have seen bears!  They know the Bright Side when they are looking at it!

          Talking about brightness brings Ms. Clare Shannon to mind.  She is the daughter of Mary Beth and Clark Shannon and grew up over east of Vanzant.    On Friday she will graduate Summa Cum Laude from MSU in Springfield.  Clare is one of the many home schooled kids in the area and her graduating college with “highest honor” for her grade point average is a statement to the dedication of parents who put forth the effort to give her a good start.  Her Dad says it was all her own doing.  Clare says to the many friends and family who have responded to the good news, “Thank you for all the congratulations and well wishes!  You have all been part of my journey and helped me along the way.  Thanks for being there!”  Brooks Blevins of MSU has a nice piece called “The Country Store—In Search of Mercantiles  and Memories in the Ozarks.”  It is included in the magazine, Southern Cultures, Winter 2012, published by the University of North Carolina Press for the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Therein is a splendid view of Henson’s Downtown G & G.  The proprietor of the famous Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Historic Champion says that the piece is quite flattering and fairly accurate.  It promises to be a good read.

          Suzie Freeman addresses her envelope to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  She is from McKinney, Texas writes a beautiful letter that says she and Wesley are still kicking and are still hillbillies in Texas.  Suzie has had a rough year with her health but says that she is still standing on two feet because she had the Good Lord walking beside her.  She has excellent penmanship and is one of the few correspondents to the Champion mailbox who uses a genuine fountain pen.  Her cute hand-drawn cartoon shows a turkey complaining that he is fat, flightless and delicious.  Your Champion friends say, “Merry Christmas!” back at you, Suzie.

          During the past year a number of photos have come to the Champion at mailbox.  One of them was of about a half a dozen young folks on the steps of the Denlow School.  They looked to be teenagers—17, 18,19—years old, well dressed and kind of serious.  They may have been serious because in 1912, it was a serious matter to have a photograph taken.  The photo had the inscription, “Denlow 12-12-12” written across the bottom of it.  Somewhere in a cyber-folder is this great picture that was slated to be published this week just for the fun of it.  The plan was to see who might recognize a grandparent or other ancestor among the group and to tell as much of their stories as could be discerned.  One day the picture will emerge from its hiding place and all of that will occur.  For now some Champions and others are just celebrating the date 12-12-12 with open house parties and the acknowledgement that the date will most likely be the last of its kind in this lifetime.  Naturally, that is true of every date, but something about the repetitive numbers makes this one seem special.    Some special people have birthdays on the 14th.  Shannon Alexander, photographer extraordinaire, handsome father of Ethan and Zack, shares his day with Judy T. Ing.  She was also a great photographer and graphic artist.  She ran the art department at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Lab for many years.  She and Shannon have Spike Jones as a birthday buddy.  People much older than Shannon know old Spike as the musician who introduced the slide whistle, the gargle, and the bicycle horn to classical music.  Amanda Mastin celebrates her day on the 16th, good friend of Shannon’s wife and  the mother of Olivia and Leo, charming young people who are growing up quickly.  Grown up, Jesse Ing, Judy’s son, is a big time Hollywood producer out in California these days.  His birthday is on the 18th of December.  Mary Goolsby has a birthday on the 20th.  She is a lovely woman, who has been a dear friend to the Skyline VFD and to all the dear friends of her sweetheart, Bob Berry, formerly of Gentryville.    They are a lovely pair of Champions wherever they live!

          Bob has been a frequent visitor of Esther Wrinkles during her sojourn at the Autumn Oakes in Mountain Grove.  She was surprised happily the other day by a visit from Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman who were in town with their Mother that day.  Esther is making good progress with her therapy, but for an active person like herself, it seems much too slow.  Her many friends wish her well and encourage her to be as patient with herself as she has been with them over the years.  Friends like Esther are a real gift.

          Old Uncle Grover Norquest may be surprised to see how many rat heads are in his Coke bottles these days.  That is to say, how many who signed his pledge are now rethinking it.  It is an amazing thing that words can lift people, encourage them, build them up and make them better, stronger and more successful.  Words can also denigrate, undermine and tear down.  While some may think that Pollyanna herself was a communist, and that relentless optimism is naive and childish, there are others here to say that at moments when things are most perilous, a positive word can make the difference.  So to the troops who fought and who fight, Champions extend their Gratitude.  To elected officials, officers of the government, supporters of the Constitution and the wonderful Bill of Rights, Champions will be pleased to see that their mutual Love for the Country will win out over partisan rancor.  God Bless America!

          “God bless us every one,” says Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  The staff of the Public Radio Station KZ88.1 FM will present a dramatic reading of the play on Saturday, December 15th at the Cabool Church of the Brethren.  Refreshments will be served at 6 pm and the performance will be at seven.  The auditorium in the basement of the church will hold quite a large crowd and it will prove to be most interesting to see how live radio works.  For any who will not be able to attend, the program will be recorded and broadcast again before Christmas.  Champions who do not enjoy driving at night much these days are planning to go en masse for safety sake as well as for the fun of it.  “Where there is a will there is a way,” they say.  For more information about this special holiday performance look to for a link to My KZ88 Radio Home.    This is a wonderfully busy time of the year. The Skyline School’s Winter Concert will be Thursday evening at 7 p.m.  YEP is providing a dinner earlier in the evening designed to help support the school and it is slated to be another excellent event. 

          Cowboy Jack said that Ava got a lot more of the rain than came down over in Coonts Holler.  It was a lot colder over there in Ava on Monday morning too, as their deep mud puddles were full and frozen over.  They also say, “Whenever skies are gray, don’t worry or fret a smile will bring the sunshine and you’ll never get wet.   So, let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy, day.”   That is just the way it is in beautiful downtown Champion—Looking on the      Bright Side!


December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

CHAMPION—December 3, 2012

          A famous actress and intellect says that her father taught her that life’s important events occur in three stages…the anticipation, the participation and the recollection.  The participation part took up so much of the Thanksgiving holiday, that only now are some Champions getting around to the recollection and reporting phases of the experience.    A fellow named Richard Alpert wrote about being “here now” which seems to suggest that people who are thinking about things other than what they are doing may struggle with happiness.  Champions, where ever they were, were completely engaged in their various Thanksgiving customs and had no difficulty in acknowledging the virtue of living in that very moment—from the tree hugging crowd of East Evans, to Vivian’s elegant spread and Kaye’s traditional family gathering, to Esther’s bunch at her house and then up to see her at the Autumn Oaks, from Texas to Tennessee to downtown Champion, the merrymakers enjoyed the good food and the great joy of dear friends and family.  Gratitude is a year round, daily practice in Champion. 

           Madelyn Ward has a little sister named Shelby who will be three years old next Valentine’s Day and who says that their Granddad is funny.  His birthday is on the ninth of December (1955) but he is just a kid at heart.  His Mother is Lorene and she has a sister named Shirley who has some very nice things to say about the Champion News.  She allows as how she does not enjoy the paper nearly so much on the very rare occasion when readers are not reminded of the joys of living on the Bright Side.  Skyline School fourth grader, Katelyn More, will enjoy her birthday on the seventh and shares the day with Paul Boyd.  It turns out that Katelyn is just exactly old enough to be a fourth grader and Paul is, well, some would say, “old enough to know better.”  He really keeps things working well over at the school and everyone appreciates his good humor and willingness to help his friends and neighbors.   Chris Tharp’s birthday is the next day and he is like that too—a good neighbor.  A lovely friend who uses Pandora as a pseudonym over in East Champion has a birthday on the 10th of December, but celebrates on a random day during the year so as to avoid the Christmas rush.  Eva Coyote was born on December 11th over West of Champion a ways and lives way out West now.  She is going by the name of Kai these days, but her Mama and Papa know who she is.  Champion friend, Bobette Spivey will celebrate discretely on the fifth and Ed Bell will beat the drums for his own birthday on the sixth.  Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive is named for a favorite Champion who celebrated his birthday on the sixth as well.  He was born the year of the Pearl Harbor attack, so many will know how old he would be.  If a person gets to live a hundred years or just a few, it is sure that the lives that he touches are forever changed.   Certainly, the longer a person lives the more people he will know who have passed away from life.  The love for those dear ones who have pass on does not go away and everyone holds in his heart an album of loves, precious family, and dear friends who are no longer present, but whose memory is always close.  When sorrow 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 and often the precious memories are brought by a song.   

          Champion Esther Wrinkles is making some good progress in her recovery once again over at the Autumn Oaks.  She is in room 203 again and working hard to get her strength back.  Visitors stop in frequently and that really lifts her spirits.  Champion News readers off in Texas and other places who have never met Esther say they feel like they know her and send their best wishes to her. 

          The nightly news that comes on the Public TV stations about 6:30 week-day evenings makes it a point to show pictures of the U.S. Service people who have lost their lives in current conflicts.  As their deaths are made official and pictures become available they are given a moment of silent recognition.  A viewer can see a group of eight or ten most any evening.  For the most part they are young people, but occasionally there will be some guy 48 or so.  Whether or not the conflicts that claim their lives are ones that everyone understands and supports, Champions all respect the sacrifices of the service personnel and their families.  They have Love and Gratitude due them. 

          The graph that depicts the temperature forecast for the month at  gives a picture of a mild spell followed by a cooler spell starting about the 20th of the month.  That seems entirely reasonable and folks who are experimenting with high tunnel farming will be getting their money’s worth out of their investment of time and energy as they continue to harvest  greens of all kinds.  Swiss chard and kale are still thriving even without the advantage of the protection from the wind and cold and the benefits of very fresh home grown vegetables cannot be too much stressed.  Now is the time for Lim and Ned to be pulling turnips on the sly.  They (the turnips) will be crisp and bright and will keep well in the ground until a hard freeze.  Even then, with some mulch, they will be good food through the winter months, “…if there is nothing else to eat,” says one who is not a big turnip fan.  He has not yet experienced the pleasures of a good mess of mashed potatoes with just a couple of tender turnips thrown in for excitement.   Served with some of that wonderful venison out of the freezer, cooked long and slow and smothered in onion gravy, he would only know there was something unusually good about it.   He would like some of the kind of help that Lim and Ned are known for though—some manure hauling, sprout grubbing and fence mending.  This is the kind of weather and the time of the year when all manner of tidying up could be done around the farm.  The cold will be here soon enough and the novels and poetry waiting to be read will eventually get their due.  For now, in the sunshine, Champions are busy.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 9th through the 11th will be good days for transplanting and for planting root crops, if Lim and Ned have not bought up all the turnip seeds in the county.  There may not be any turnip seeds available at Henson’s Downtown G & G this time of the year, but certainly one can find bird seed there.  Cowboy Jack has probably planted all his turnips already and while there are many who say Jack is for the birds, they mean it in a nice way.  Pretty much whatever a person might need (turnip seed notwithstanding) can be found at the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, the very jewel of Central Douglas County!

          Champions home from recent far travels are settling in again to their tranquil routine.  Relishing a sunny day out in the yard with only nature’s music to be heard, they are reminded of why they live here.  Still, the pull of distant dear ones says, “Let’s say goodbye with a smile dear.  Just for a while we must part.  Don’t let this parting upset you.  I’ll not forget you, Sweetheart.”   Share your favorite sweet-parting song via the much-loved U.S. Postal Service at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at  Ramble around the website at for a good picture of the beloved place.  “Keep smiling through, just like you always do, ‘till the blue skies chase those dark clouds far away.  We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day!”  Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!