June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

CHAMPION—June 24, 2013

After a prolonged absence or a short one, the joy of coming home is a joy that almost everyone gets to experience sometime in his life time or maybe many times in a life time. Home is the most venerated of all human traditions. It is that place that you know where you are known. The poet, Robert Frost, said, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” The privilege of calling Champion home is one that none take for granted. It is where the heart is.

Fifteen Cherokee high school and college students from Oklahoma joined up with seven riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Echota, Georgia on May 30th and began the 950-mile ride to commemorate the forced move of Cherokees from Georgia to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears in 1838. They arrived in Tahlequah, Oklahoma on Friday the 21st. For some of them it was a home coming. For the rest it was the experience of going to a strange place. Many of them said it was an amazing trek, but that they never lost sight of the fact that for the survivors of that original trip the experience was much different. Thousands did not survive. The trail passes through many states and at various times of the year many motorcycle riders, some of them Cherokees, retrace the trail as a reminder of the difficulties of those long ago times. One of them said that he makes the ride to remind himself that now the country has a great many different people in it from all over the world. He thinks people should be less quick to decide that they are very different from anyone else. Everybody comes from somewhere and “The moon shines tonight on Pretty Red Wing.”

It is obvious that the past ten days have been busy ones for the haymakers. Some fields look like they have produced three times last year’s yield. It will be interesting to conduct a survey of the increase if those guys ever get down off their tractors. Barns are stuffed and the bounty is greeted with gratitude even considering the hard work it takes to collect it all. Gardens have leapt ahead in the meantime for those fortunate enough to have a garden husbandman at home willing to water from time to time. The weeds seem to have made a great success of themselves as well. A few days of remedial weeding will have it all looking just right. Linda’s almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 28th through the 30th will be a favorable time for planting late root crops and for transplanting. These are also good days for vine crops, for setting strawberry plants, for pruning to encourage growth and for applying organic fertilizer. There is always so much to do that a person can forget how important it is to get down to the creek!

City girls have come to the farm. They are excited about the garden, the full moon in the country, the fireflies, the frogs croaking at night, the whippoorwills, the neighbor’s cows and horses, and the wild flowers. Penelope says, “When I grow up I want to be a teacher!” Country girls have moved to town. One of them has had the interesting circumstance in life to have a General for a father. He has provided direction, if only sometimes the way not to go. He has most likely been responsible for an enormous amount of embarrassment from time to time and certainly much entertainment. He did, however, offer a steady hand of positive guidance that has resulted in a confident, capable young woman who can pull up her big girl tool kit, pull out her own needle nose pliers, walk into O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and get what is needed to do what has to be done to fix her own car. Admittedly, it was a simple ‘fix,’ but it marks willingness to take personal responsibility and that is a sterling trait of any girl from the country or the town. Champions!

Descriptions of sterling traits are welcome at Champion@getgoin.net or Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Look in on www.championnews.us for some visual poetry. “A hush surf sound sighs and a quiet light glides through dense bows overhanging the deep, cool, soft sand. Dragonflies dance while small spiders dangle by sticky silk threads in the still air.” From the sands of South Padre Island to the broad inviting veranda of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square just to the west of the wild wooly banks of Old Fox Creek, at the bottom of the hill where the pavement starts it is good to be home—in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013

CHAMPION—June 17, 2013

        AUSTIN—It is strongly recommended that a person get up and go elsewhere every now and then.  Just get out of Dodge.  Look around and try to grasp the reality that there are more than seven billion people in the world—a billion being a thousand million.    It may be that everyone thinks his own part of the world is best, and it is easy to be confident of that when living in Champion.   Champions have lots of good neighbors on Planet Earth, and while it is nice to be neighborly and to go visiting, it will be glorious to be back home in the beautiful hills.

        The big rain over by Springfield on Saturday was big news on the internet.   Friends and family living over there are much in the thoughts of their Champions.   Golf ball size hail does not sound good for the garden.  The forecast looks like more for the week ahead, so it is hoped that the hay is in bales already when the rain comes and that it comes in just the right amount and that all the golf balls land squarely in the fair way.

        Reports are that Champion kids and cousins had a great time at the fair.  Jacob Brixey and Teagan Krider were the youngest farmers to show their livestock.  They are both three years old and both won a bucket, a halter and a trophy for youngest exhibitor– Jacob’s in blue and Teagan’s in pink.  His folks say that Jacob has not wanted to put his trophy down.  He wanted it in bed with him but settled for having it next to the bed where he could reach it as soon as he woke up.

Young Champion dairy farmers made a fine showing at the Tri County Fair. Jacob Brixey is here examining his trophy for youngest boy exhibitor. Behind him is Foster Wiseman with the leather hater awarded as the Herdsmen award for the Krider family. Jenna Brixey and Kalyssa Wiseman also received ribbons for their performance. Taegan Krider has her pink halter as part of her prize as youngest girl exhibitor.
Jenna Brixey, 5; Tyler Klingensmith, 4; Jacob Brixey, 3; Maddox Klingensmith, 7. Each won three ribbons for their excellent performance showing their calves at the Tri-County Fair.

Jacob’s sister, Jenna, showed her calf and their cousins Maddax and Tyler Klingensmith also came to show again.  Teagan’s cousins, Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman of Marshfield, and Dillon Watts from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, were also a big part of the exhibition again this year.  This seems like a Champion farm family tradition.  Young farmers are what the world needs to keep itself fed and healthy.  Champions all!

Champion Hollyhocks

        “Alcea” is the scientific name for the flower known as the hollyhock.  There are about sixty species of the plant and they are said to have originated in central Asia, though a few are native to southeast Europe or Egypt.  They must have arrived in America during the Victorian era (1837 to 1901) when they were commonly planted around out-houses so that a young lady visiting would not have to ask the embarrassing question about where it was.  These days, they are a much enjoyed garden ornamental.  They grow on tall stalks in shades that vary from deep purple, almost black, through all the pinks and reds to white—a very lofty elegant plant.  They are quite drought resistant and do well in the full sun so a person who sows the seeds along their fence row might expect to see their lane dressed up and lovely to drive through.   While some seeds fall on stony ground and others are crowded out by tares or eaten by birds, a few will take root and one did out in East Champion a few years ago.  It has been making seeds every year but none of its offspring have caught on and the beautiful single pink sentinel has been waving in the breeze all alone until last week.  The gardener who sowed the seed lives close to the road and happened one day to notice a bright red, very new pick-up truck driving very slowly down the road.  That is good because between showers dust billows behind speeding vehicles.   The gardener watched in amazement as the truck stopped at the bottom of the hill and a woman emerged with a shovel and began to dig up the single hollyhock.  She made short work of it and soon had the tall plant lying flat in the back of her truck.  The bewildered gardener watched as she drove away.  It is to be known that the plant has a long deep tap root and the chances of a mature plant surviving a transplant in the heat of the year is slim.  So the gardener is deprived of its beauty as are admiring passersby and the robber will most likely not succeed in having the coveted plant thrive in her own patch.   Ex-Route 2 mailman, Bob Chadwell , will tell a person straight out that it is illegal to pick up rocks out of the creek and to dig roadside plants.   The part about rocks has not been verified, but there was a law passed in 1994, that levees a fine of $500.00 and up to six months in jail for digging roadside flowers for transplant.   Since the rule was established to protect native species, it may not apply to the hollyhock.   Still, the woman in the new red truck with the windows rolled up to stay cool could just cruise the roads slowly and enjoy the beauty of what is there. If she must possess it, she could go to a nursery and buy herself some hollyhocks.  Linda probably has some over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  Meanwhile, the gardener with the missing hollyhock might put up a sign on the fence where the plant was dug saying—what?

        Say, “Happy Birthday!” to Daniel Parkes who will be in the second grade at Skyliine School in the fall.  His birthday is on the 19th of June.  That is also the birthday of a Champion nephew who spent a great deal of his formative youth on the farm on Cold Springs Road.  Joshua Cohen had many good jokes with Ed Henson.  Now he is an older fellow, still much loved.  Alyssa Strong will be a fifth grader and her birthday is on the 23rd.   Dillon Watts’ mother, Linda, has her birthday on the first day of summer.  It is hard to believe she has completed her second score!   Sierra Parsons, the granddaughter of great Champion friends from over west of Ava, also has her birthday on the Summer Solstice.  It is the longest day of the year, a good time to celebrate.  She and her sister, Bailey have been visiting with their grandparents.  They live in Portland, Oregon and like to come to the Ozarks whenever they can.  Of course, their grandparents like it too.  They have a wonderful garden and the girls will have a chance to pick some peas and strawberries and swim in the creek.   Summertime is wonderful in Champion.

        “Summer time and the living is easy” unless you live on the farm and then there is work to do.  It is healthy, wholesome work though, and nobody really complains about it very much.  Since it has to be done anyway, there is hardly any point in complaining, but a person can brag about how hard he works though.  He can go down the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square and share some of his produce which is the price of bragging.  Sing your summertime song or do a little bragging while you stand on the broad inviting veranda and look out over one of the truly beautiful places on Planet Earth, Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013

CHAMPION—June 10, 2013

        Glorious early summer days in Champion have haymakers busy and all the exciting summertime events are beginning to happen.  It seems that every time of the year has some excitement built into it in Champion.  It is just that kind of place, poised on the balance of past and future with the pleasant present as the central pillar.  Nostalgia and optimism teeter back and forth on the lovely here and now.  Champion!

        It may come as a surprise that Father’s Day was forty years late in becoming the counterpart to Mother’s Day.  It was not until President Lyndon B.  Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.  Six years later the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.  Senator Margaret Chase Smith accused Congress of ignoring fathers for forty years while honoring mothers.  Most countries around the world have a Sunday in June dedicated to fathers.  Champions honor the old guy year around with much Love and Gratitude for the hard work, the good guidance, stewardship, and the steadfastness which he exemplifies.  Good fathers are teaching their sons how to be good fathers by example–being fair and kind as they apply the Golden Rule.  Champion, Dad!

        Ms. McCleary’s garden is looking good.  She plans to run some fence and hang some aluminum pie plates to deter some critters.  She might visit a barber shop and get some hair to spread around the perimeter and she has several other ideas about protecting her pretty parcel.  She has quite an appreciation for wild flowers and posted a picture on line of what may have been a buttercup.  She is on a quest to identify it.   Linda’s Almanac says that from the 16th through the 20th will be good days for planting and transplanting above the ground crops.  There will not be another good time to plant root crops until the 3rd of July.  Linda’s main garden helper was planting sweet potatoes Saturday.  He is famous for growing huge sweet potatoes.  His method is hard work, but it really pays off.  He digs a deep trench, 18 to 20 inches, and fills it in with layers of compost and sand and keeps building it until he has a raised bed a foot or so high.   He covers the bed with a good quality weed cloth that has been cut to accommodate the plants.  He may have drip irrigation installed in it too.  It seems quite elaborate, but once the initial work is done he can just sit back and watch them grow.

        It was a surprise to see radio personalities, Myron Jackson and K. Z. Perkins on television the other day.   They were talking about storm damage that the station had sustained recently.   KZ88 is the community all volunteer listener supported radio station in Cabool.  On Sunday they had their Barebones Bottom-Of-The-Barrel Birthday Bash with lots of good food, a silent auction and a rummage sale.  In spite of a fast moving thunder storm that roared through during the event, they were able to raise $1,161.00.  That will go a long way toward affecting the repairs to the tower.  Thursday is the new big day for garage sales they say, so the volunteers will have another sale at the station then to add to the repair fund.  KZ88 has been a good neighbor supporting the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department in all its various happenings and it is a joy to be able to reciprocate.  Some radio station volunteers shopped at the sale in Esther Wrinkles’ yard on Friday and Saturday.  Her sons and daughters-in-law worked for some weeks getting ready and were exhausted by the end of it.  Many friends and neighbors who loved Esther had a chance to secure a little memento for remembrance.  Esther was a real Champion.

        Remembering birthdays is no kind of chore.  The pleasure people take in being remembered on their special day is beyond price.  Adeline Homer and Isabelle Creed will both be in the third grade at Skyline when school starts up in the fall.  They celebrate their birthday on the same day, June 12th.  That is also the birthday of a certain-mother-in-law who may have coined the phrase “SPS” (self-praise stinks).  That may be a lesson in humility.  Dylan Ford and Wyatt Hicks share their birthdays on 13th.  Dylan will be a seventh grader and Wyatt will be in the third grade.  Zachary Coon will be a second grader and his birthday is on the 15th.  Foster Wiseman’s birthday is the 16th.  He is growing so fast that it is hard to remember if he will be seven or eight.

        Cousins Foster and Eli had a good visit during the week.  They caught turtles and named them, and did all kinds of serious boy stuff while Emerson Rose, Kalyssa and Taegan did all kinds of interesting girl things.  They all went up to Clever Creek together to play for a while and no doubt many good memories were made.  In forty years they will all be middle aged people looking back on a wonderful childhood.  It will be exciting to hear of their adventures at the fair and their Champion friends all wish them well in their showings.

        “Now the moon shines tonight on Pretty Red Wing.  The breeze is sighing, the night bird’s crying.”  The song was written in 1907, and the music was adapted from a composition by Robert Schumann, “The Happy Farmer, Returning From Work,” in 1848.  One version of the song says that she is weeping her heart away because far away her brave is sleeping.  Another version says he is dying.  The Remember the Removal Bike Ride is going on currently.  A group of young people are riding nearly a thousand miles commemorating the forced removal of the Cherokees from their original homeland to what is now Oklahoma.  It was in 1838 that the federal government under the presidency of Andrew Jackson forced the Cherokee and other tribes to give up their land.   Looking out over the beauty of the country and feeling deep roots here, it is easy to imagine how painful the experience must have been.  The wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek have probably not changed too much in the last 175 years.  The wide and inviting veranda on the Recreation of the Historic Emporium is a good place to look back over time.  Share your thoughts on the subject at www.championnews.us, at Champion@getgoin.net or at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  While you enjoy the beauty of the place, sing a little bit of Pretty Red Wing and be glad to be in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013

CHAMPION—June 3, 2013

        Champions crossed Clever Creek Sunday morning in a fit of trepidation as the south west side of the slab was quite washed out and exposed and the north side an extended bog of mud.   Four wheel drive proved to be a valuable feature of local jalopies.    Later in the day the washed out area had been repaired and the aprons on both sides were much improved.  The water was still very deep and swift with a good deal of clean gravel over the slab, but it was quite passable for an intrepid traveler.  There were some enormous tire tracks in the mud and so it is figured that those fine gentlemen of the Drury Shed had been working on Sunday pulling oxen out of ditches, making things safe in the neighborhood.  Champion! 

        The haymakers are dodging wet weather to get their crops in and some are having great success.  Non-resident Champions in from Illinois are again alternating their time between the tractor seat and the spacious veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium.   Farmers are not only the backbone of the Nation, they are interesting people.   When they get together there is a good deal of speculation, reminiscing and laughter.    The week ahead should be a glorious one for the haymaking enterprise if Monday sets the example.   Linda’s Almanac says that the 6th and 7th will be good days for planting root crops and for transplanting.  Sometimes the good day is the one when a person is able to get the work done, or when the rain is expected, or when help is available.  Flexibility is one of those Champion traits.

        Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”  He was talking about defeated expectations.  Thomas Waller had a musical conversation about it. “Boy, what’s the matter with you? “  “Ah, man, everything’s wrong.  My old lady ran off with the ice man.  My daughter ran off with the undertaker, and I’m about to die and I ‘aint got nobody to bury me!”  “Son, don’t let it bother you if now and then, castles tumble, never grumble.  Count from one to ten.”   He goes on to say that a smile is a frown upside down.   A much loved Champion advised in his youth that the road sign that has “expectation” written on one side has “disappointment” on the other.  The key to a moderate life might be to have no expectations.  Where is the fun in that?

        “Where were you on the night of June the 3rd?   Did you meet a stranger?  Did you take a walk?  Was your heart in danger?”  Those questions by the esteemed Mr. Waller have romantic connotations.  June the 3rd is the birthday of Ms. McLellan, a great lover of music, as well as the birthday of a certain Margie whose husband is the son of the sister of a certain Champion.   This woman is a talented glass artist and painter, an amazing cook, a contra dancing whiz, a singer of fine voice and knitter extraordinaire, and many other things including beautiful, sweet and friendly.  It is a poor use of time to compare oneself to the likes of her!  She is a peach!

        Young people in the area are getting ready to show their calves at the fair.  Jenna and Jacob Brixey and their cousins are training hard and are expecting to get their pictures in the paper again this year.  The Fox Creek Rodeo has been going strong for a while.  When Taegan Peanunt’s calf got away from her the other day, she just went to the house.  She was fed up and disgusted by the whole thing.  She is a regular farm girl, so she will be back out with it soon.  The three year old sure does like her cow milk.   Foster went airborne, they say, as his calf is a little bigger and new to training.   He is a tough customer though and made a quick recovery.  He had an interesting story to tell about the bear that came into his grandparent’s yard up in Marshfield the other day.  Wayne and Bernice Wiseman saw the critter going between their house and their neighbor’s place.  It spent some time under the neighbor’s trampoline.   There were some pictures on the television news and a short video taken on someone’s telephone.  If Wayne was able to get pictures he will surely bring them to Champion on his next visit.   Foster’s Champion grandmother is not at all unsure that there may be bears in this area.  She has seen them before and is on the lookout, particularly as the berries will soon be coming on.  Her neighborhood is wild and wooly with plenty of room for several nice bears to live.

        The Fox Trotters are having their wonderful to-do this week.  Emerson Rose and her brother, Eli, will be down from Perry, Missouri for the event and will spend some good quality time with their Champion “Grammie” and their cousins.   Their Dad will be competing in various events again.  It is always an exciting time for the family.  It may be that those settlers to the Ozarks in the early 19th century knew that one day the ambling gait of the horse breed they were developing would be famous the world over.  Old Fox was a Champion horse from right around these parts.  There are pictures of him up in the pavilion at the Fox Trotters pavilion in Ava which is located now on what is called “Missouri Fox Trotting Highway.”    Esther Wrinkles had some good stories to tell about those days when Old Fox was in the Champion neighborhood.  There was a famous event when he was loaded up on a trailer down on what is now known as the ‘square’ in Downtown Champion.   Esther had some great stories to tell and her many friends miss her.  She had 95 years of making friends and experiencing a good life.  She had her trials and disappointments, but through it all, she was a real Champion.   If the rain holds off,  her family will have a sale of many of her things on Friday and Saturday.   It will be a chance for her many admirers not to say good bye.

        Ms. Cleary’s garden is a beauty.  Wilburn is giving her good advice and she is taking it.  She has long straight rows and they are fairly bristling with produce.   Now if the bugs do not get it, or it does not get washed out, and marauding cows or hogs or crows or raccoons do not come to feast there, and if her hoe handle does not break, or her help does not show up, and if it does not get too hot, or if she does not get called away on important business, or a great number of other things about like that, she will most likely have a bountiful harvest.  Her Champion friends wish her much good success.  It is almost a sure bet.

        Good advice, sure bets, cures for disappointment, and recipes for fun are all welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717 or at Champion@getgoin.net.  Look in on www.championnews.us for a lovely cyber-view of the area.  You will be much improved by the effort.  Better yet, make the drive down the long smooth hill from C Highway on WW until the pavement runs out;  then make a right turn.  You will be right in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!