January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

CHAMPION—January 27, 2014

        The wild vicissitudes of the weather have had very little effect on Champion.  With more ups and downs in store before predictably constant warmth sets in, about all the astonishment and annoyance has been used up.  “Yep,” is the answer to “Is it cold enough for you?”  “Staying warm?”  It is figured by some that if you are able to complain it is because you are alive and are breathing wholesome fresh country air.  Champion!

        Ferly Lambert was the subject of much discussion around the ‘round’ table the other day.  The talk was about what a scrawny little guy he was and what a powerful individual.  He broke up bull fights with a pitchfork and saved a bunch of fox hunters from a rampaging bull threatening them at their campfire.  He just took a branch a beat him with it and ran the critter off.  Jerry Smith said that he could catch a wasp and pinch its head off and never get bit.  Wes Smith said he saw him do it many times.  Ferly told Jerry, who was a little kid at the time, that if a person held his breath the wasp would not sting.  That did not work for Jerry.  Ferly could snap the head off a black snake when he was young.  Later on, he had a hummingbird feeder that he enjoyed watching.  One fractious hummingbird was hogging the feed and not letting the others get at it.  Ferly addressed the offender with his 12 gauge shotgun.  Someone asked reckon he had enough firepower for the job.  Nothing was said about the condition of the hummingbird feeder.  Ferly’s older brother Clark Lambert had his picture taken for the National Geographic book on “Hidden Corners of America.”  A cold afternoon around the same stove Clark warmed by is a place for these great stories.  If you cannot make it down to the Historic Emporium, send your stories to Champion @ championnews.us or to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.

        The weather has been such that Jerry has not opened his sawdust factory up in Seymour for a while.  He will be back at it one of these days.  He turns out some lovely pieces and has made a number of boxes, benches, and picture frames from some of the lumber that was the old Champion Store.  He grew up just over the hill and is lucky to have Champion cousins to visit.  Wes had arrived at the round table saying that he had just read The Champion News to Cowboy Jack.  That must have had something to do with the Polar Plunge Non-Event.  It seems to have been considered ‘over reported’ by some.  Wes and Pat have a new grandson to report.  He is a couple of weeks old now, a lad by the name of Miles.  He is a little Arkansawyer and the apple of several Champion eyes.

        Skyline School kindergarten student Kimberly Wallace is having a birthday on the 29th.  Erika Strong is a first grade student.  Her birthday is on the 30th.  She shares the day with Jenna and Jacob Brixey’s dad who was 40 in 2012!  He must be getting older now.  Speaking of old, that guy with the dachshund was born Feb 1, 1940!  Wow.  For a real wow, get acquainted with Zack Alexander!  He has Champion grandparents.  He is going to be in the neighborhood of seven years old on the first.  His Aunt Angie has her birthday on the 2nd of February, together with Judy Sharon Parsons, and Charlene Dupre.  Great ladies all!

        A Champion asks about getting skunk smell out of a house.  There are several homemade remedies to be found on-line.  One says to put some small bowls of vinegar around to neutralize the smell.  Another says to mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda and one teaspoon liquid laundry soap or dish washing detergent.  They say the first two ingredients form an alkaline peroxide that chemically changes the skunk essence into an odorless chemical.  The soap breaks down that oily skunk essence and makes it more susceptible to the other chemicals.  They say the chemicals in this formula are harmless and can be used on people, clothing and pets.  Use immediately after mixing and they say not to store it because it will expand and can burst a closed container.  It is that time of the year when the skunks are busy being attractive for each other.  Love is in the air!  And of the air, a Champion writes about the articles in the electric co-op papers bewailing the ban on the use of coal for generating electricity.  She says she gets email requesting that she support the poisonous coal burning in order to “protect rates.”  She says there is never any mention of protecting life on Earth.  She likes the idea of heat-pumps for heating and cooling and solar and wind energy.  Hydroelectric plants probably have their shortcomings too, as do the nuclear power plants.  There have been some big changes in the world since the power lines reached Champion in the 1950’s.

        Douglas County Associate Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Bock was in charge of the arraignment of the Willow Springs man who is charged with stealing property valued at more than $500 but less than $25,000 on November 12, 2013.  (60 mature red and white oak trees)   He came to court on January 23rd with his lawyer and it was determined that he will appear again on February 20th in order for the date to be set for the preliminary hearing.  There was no indication that he had to look Bob Austin in the eye.  More than one tree hugging, property owner is following this case carefully.

        Some Champions have been so busy stacking firewood and hauling ashes that they let their Burn’s Night celebration slip by.  This Robert Burns was a hardworking farmer.  He plowed behind a horse and worked himself to death at a young age.  Like so many farms today, his was undercapitalized, so he and his brother worked to exhaustion.  He also is reported to have lived a dissolute lifestyle which together with the arduous toil took its toll and he passed away at the young age of 37.  Certain Champions are combining their Burns Night with Groundhog Day and will be celebrating on Super Bowl Sunday with Burns poetry, some lilting Scottish tunes and a little easy jazz when the crowd thins.  If the football stadium is belly deep in snow on that day and the game is postponed it is sure that the Champion Burns-Groundhog soirée will be well attended.  (RSVP) It might relieve the anxiety of the General who has been torn about his social calendar.  Apart of Auld Lang Syne, perhaps one of the most popular of Burn’s songs is one of the Generals favorite, The Silver Tassie.  “Go fetch to me a pint o wine, and fill it in a silver tassie; that I may drink, before I go a service to my bonnie lassie.”  He is headed off to war and hates to leave his sweetheart.  It is a timeless piece.  Find more Burn’s poetry and music at www.championnews.us.  Come down to the bottom of the hill at the end of the pavement on the wide wooly banks of Old Fox Creek to enjoy the timelessness.  Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!


January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

CHAMPION—January 20, 2014

        Flash! This is the news from January 7, 2014:  The survivors of the first annual Champion Polar Plunge came scrambling up through the vortex of brush on the creek bank fully clothed and no wetter for the effort, the water being shallow and frozen hard.  It was all the idea of a prominent citizen who thought that the spectacle of scantily clad hillbilly boys would entice the beautiful KY3 Meteorologist Abby Dyer down to the broad banks of Old Fox Creek for a feature segment for the noon news.  Hoping for the best, co-conspirator Cowboy Jack stood at the ready with a warm horse blanket to enfold any shivering meteorologist or local plunger.  It had great potential but turned out to be a genuine non-event as the hillbilly boys most generally wait until early June for their bath and the Cowboy had his already over in the swift cold waters of the Rippee Access.  Alas!  Ms. Dyer was a no show.  That polar air is due to hit the country again later in the week so perhaps interested citizens might remount their efforts toward the plunge.  They may recall John Prine’s song “Dear Abby.”  He is writing to the advice columnist, not the meteorologist.  She responds that you have no complaint.  She says that you are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.  She admonishes him to “listen up, buster, and listen up good.”  And finally she says to stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.  While it is good advice it hardly meets the expectations of the daydreamers around the stove in the chat lounge at the Historic Emporium where the weather is always a hot topic.  Meteorologists know all about the heavens.  They can probably tell you that the reason your wishes do not come true when you wish upon a star is because you are wishing upon a planet!  Those are the first bright things up there at night.  Live and learn.

        J. C.  Owsley lives over near Cross Timbers, Missouri.  He is a great supporter of The Champion News and has just had a birthday.  He likes getting over to Champion with Bud Hutchison’s trail rides and comes as often as he can.  When he is not trail riding he is teaching granddaughters how to ride and snapping great piles of green beans and building bottle trees.  His friends in this part of the country are wishing him well hoping to see him again soon.  Marybeth Shannon too!  Her birthday was the 18th.  She has a dazzling smile and is a proponent of an ecologically sustainable culture.  She sets a good example of country living with a wide circle of interesting friends and a great appreciation of the beauty of the place.  She is a Champion even though she lives over there in Vanzant.  Sometimes a birthday on a Sunday gets passed right over or so it would seem.  Celebrating can happen anytime.  Mrs. Coonts teaches the first grade over at Skyline.  Her birthday will be on Saturday the 25th so she might get that song sung to her on Friday.  Brook Johnson is in the second grade there.  She might get the song sung to her on Monday since her birthday is on Sunday.  Monday Kay Heffern Alexander will have to go back to work.  That is her birthday so she most likely will have celebrated on Sunday, probably Saturday too and, if true to form, really is most likely to have begun on Friday at the end of her work day.  She has a whole week to plan her fandango.  These ‘future perfect’ verb forms are a little confusing.  Kay’s family and friends will be sure it is present perfect for her.  She is a Champion, a Skyline alumnus and the essence of cool.

        Toes were tapping over at the Vanzant Community Building on Thursday evening.  Bluegrassers were out in numbers singing old familiar tunes and some almost forgotten ones.  It is joyful to hear an old melody resurface again after years.  Guitars, mandolins, banjos and fiddles make that joyful noise.  It all starts with a pot-luck at 6:00 p.m. every Thursday and blossoms into music immediately and delightfully.

        The Skyline VFD Auxiliary had its meeting in the meeting room at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion on the 15th of January.  The meeting had been scheduled for the 8th of January and was postponed because of the Polar Vortex.  It was well attended and well organized.  Details of the upcoming chili super were discussed.  Steve Moody has agreed to emcee again this year and the school is available on the designated date which is March 8th.  President Betty Dye has produced a bright quilt in a jigsaw puzzle pattern that is sure to be a treasure for anyone.  The Jernigan folks over in Ava did a handsome job of the quilting.

Chris Dailey and President Betty Dye display the queen size Jigsaw Puzzle quilt that will be the centerpiece of the Skyline Chili Supper in March.  Betty pieced the brightly colored quilt and it was quilted by the folks at Jernigan’s in Ava.

The queen size beauty will be on display at the store starting in February.  The next meeting will be there on February 12th.    Everyone is welcome to attend.  The Skyline VFD is the little outfit that allows home owners to buy insurance in this remote area.  It is also made up of well-trained first responders and good neighbors.  Champions all!

        Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that this is the month to rest up for busier times ahead and to make plans for the year’s operations.  It says to draw out a plan for your garden, order catalogs and select varieties.  Get your equipment in shape.  As days permit, clean up your garden area.  Spread manure and phosphate aids such as bone meal, wood ashes and fish wastes on garden areas, even on top of snow.  Correct highly acidic soils by adding lime.  Add oak leaf mold or pine needles for acid loving plants such as broad-leafed evergreens and dogwoods.  Start onion seeds indoors late this month.  Enjoy Linda’s Almanac at www.championnews.us.  It is up at the very top of the page on the right hand side.  That is also a good place to read the latest Champion News if you think there is a chance that pertinent information, music or things that are topical, controversial, or rhyming might have been edited out for the printed version.  An unedited printed version of the almanac is posted for perusal at Henson’s Downtown G & G.  Find quilt tickets there as well as applications to participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which is sponsored by the Skyline School RII Foundation, affiliated with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.  Young Drayson Cline is already having some stories read to him.  He’s a charming four month old with a great singing voice.

        The arraignment of the timber thief of eastern Booger County is set for Thursday, the 23rd in the Douglas County Courthouse.  Tree huggers and other property owners will be interested in the outcome.  Send any good news past, present or future to Champion Items, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to champion @ championnews.us.  Bring your appreciation of ecology, history and folklore, wood craft, gardening, swimming, meteorology, equine husbandry, the beautiful English language, or music of any kind down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square and share what you love.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

CHAMPION—January 13, 2014

        There is joy and sadness in Champion.  It is always like that.  Joy abounds in the excitement of young ones like Drayson, Taegan, Foster, Kalyssa, Jenna, Jacob, Faith Anne and more as they start their romp through their busy and blessed lives.  Sadness comes as dear ones slip away.  J.T. Shelton lost his brother Dennis “Red” Shelton back in December.  Dennis was born in Drury and grew up between there and Champion.  When he got out of the army in 1968, he went to work at a cement plant in Davenport and was there for thirty years.  He was only 66 when he passed away.  That seems young.

        On Sunday, Fae Krider pointed out the window of the little church up to the top of the hill to the northeast to the place where the foundation still remains of the house where Ruby Hicks was born.  Ruby grew up there and went to school in Champion.  She married Vasil Proctor and continued to live close by.  She and Esther Wrinkles were baptized the same day in June of 1943 right there in Fox Creek.  She was heartbroken over the loss of her dear friend just a year ago and now she leaves many feeling that same lonesomeness for herself.  Family and friends across the country and the internet are remembering her kindness and her wonderful smile.  Tracee Davis said, “My mother, Inez Laverne Proctor Davis, grew up as close as sisters with Ruby and treasures many fond memories that the two of them shared. My mother visits Ruby daily in her thoughts and prayers. She sends her love.”  Jewell Hall Elliott wrote, “A very sweet lady. She and my mother worked together in Mtn. Grove rode together many miles beside each other.  Their children attended East Fairview together.  She was a dear neighbor and friend.”  Angela Kelsay Barnes:  “A lot of my morning childhood memories have this beautiful lady in them! Heaven gained an angel!”  Laine Sutherland said that she had known this dear lady all her life and Mickey Reilly said that she had made a lasting impression on him.  Donna Smith:  “I only had the pleasure of meeting Aunt Ruby a handful of times but could tell she was an exceptional person and she will be dearly missed by those who knew or loved her.”  Judi Lynnie Waits-Funk:  “We visited my Dad’s Mom and Dad every year in Arkansas and we always stopped either on our way there or home and spent a night or two with Uncle Vasil and Aunt Ruby… Loved them both!”  It is amazing to know how many lives were touched in such a positive way by this one Champion. Her children and sisters and brother have the heartfelt sympathies of friends and family in the place she loved so well.  “A jewel on Earth, a jewel for Heaven.  She’ll brighten the kingdom around God’s great throne.”

        The sunshine and warmer weather lifts spirits all around.  Finally some are getting to hang a few things on the clothes line and hoping this is not the day neighbors decide to burn trash.  Everybody has a different idea about what is suitable to burn in the burning barrel.  For some it is just food wrappings, tissues, junk and personal mail.  Others think burning plastic and Styrofoam is ok.  As to that, one says, “If you can smell it, it’s getting in you.”  One Champion ignoramus thinks that recycling is a joke and that probably the recycling centers just take all that stuff to a dump somewhere and bury it after they burn it.  Solid waste disposal has always been a challenge in this part of the country and different people have different ways to deal with it.  Many just do what their parents did and think they are doing the right thing.  Others struggle to recycle and compost and they think they are doing the right thing.  One gripes continually about the litter on the side of the beautiful country lane and then gets all puffed up with her own goodness when she picks a little of it up.  River Brady spent some exciting years in the Ozarks.  She writes seriously about the environment and the world, “How do we stop the evil we see?  How can we be sure that the innocent are protected?  Does anyone really believe that putting your head in the sand will help?  That’s what those who want you think they’re in charge are banking on. Stand up where ever you are and be pro-active about what you believe.  Are you here to help create a better world or is your will already gone?”  On the way to the clothesline Champions are overjoyed at the beauty they see around them.  They have a lot to think about.  They get a whiff of wood smoke in the air and know that when they wear these clothes to town they will be identified as country folks—some of the best kind.

        Brooklyn Edwards is a kindergarten student at Skyline.  Her birthday is on the 17th.  Then young Jacob Kyle Brixey will celebrate his very special day on the 18.  The 19th is a Sunday.  Nathan Nava will have the day off from school to enjoy his birthday.  Several prominent people have that day as their birth anniversary including Robert E. Lee who was born in 1807, Edgar Allen Poe, Janis Joplin, and Dolly Parton.  Dolly is the only one living in that group and she shares it with another live wire in Champion.  Kyle Barker is a big first grade student now at Skyline.  His birthday is the 21st.  He has a large family which includes a General for a grandfather and will probably have some homemade ice cream at his party.  They will be singing that song.

        Finally the weather may be just right for some to get over to the Bluegrass jam at the community building at Vanzant on Thursday.  Music is a healing component in life.  It soothes, comforts, inspires, exalts, encourages, tantalizes and emboldens.  The year ahead will have its trials and triumphs.  There will be a song appropriate for almost any situation.  Share examples of this with The Champion News on facebook, or with champion @ championnews.us.  Bring them with you down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium, fittingly situated on Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive just on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 6, 2014

January 5, 2014

CHAMPION—January 5, 2014

        The Polar Vortex is headed to Champion!  Business was ‘brisk’ at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on Saturday as prudent shoppers stocked up on what they might need if things are to get as bad as it is suggested they might.  The shopkeeper was kept busy all day with request for propane and diesel.  Shelves were stocked with a fresh supply of all the staples that Champions need to feel like they are ready for whatever comes.  J. T. Shelton came in for provisions.  Joseph Georges was there looking for duct tape and was glad to get it.  He is doing some tightening up to keep the cold out.  Some folks routinely use plastic grocery sacks as chinking in drafty places during extremely cold weather.  Big humidifiers or pots of water on the wood stove go a long way toward keeping the humidity up and that helps keeps things warm.  Bob Dylan said, “’It was the coldest winter in twenty seven years!’  I felt warmer then.”  There will be some interesting stories about how everybody got through it all.

Coon dogs just go about their everyday business
during the Polar Vortex in Champion.

        The New Year started off on January’s new moon.  That is a relatively rare occurrence; the last time was 19 years ago.  Folks interested in astrology say that New Moons are all about new beginnings and fresh starts.  A note on The Champion News facebook page says, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new beginning.”  The statement came from Carolyn Gieseke Penner who shared it with Carolyn Nunn Harvey.  This reflects the bright side attitude that defines Champions no matter where they live.  A reader in the United Kingdom suggested that in the report concerning the timber thief, that the word ‘allusion’ should replace the word ‘illusion’ in the sentence, “Stay tuned for further updates (concerning the fate of the thief) and illusions to the pernicious effects of the lure of mammon on every part of society.”  He is clearly right.  Allusion is a part of speech that indicates a reference to some familiar concept, i.e. Greed is pervasive these days.  Illusion is something that can be seen which is not real, such as a card trick.  Greed is definitely real.  In an effort to start the year off with a clean slate, give me a break!  Or would that be brake?  It is definitely ‘break.’  That new “Champion” product line available at Henson’s Downtown G & G includes ‘brake’ fluid, not ‘break’ fluid.  Hydraulic fluid is also a good seller in the Champion line as well as the all-important antifreeze.  At the beginning of a New Year here now is an illusion of a clean slate!

        Birthdays have that new beginning feeling about them.  Sami McCleary had that feeling on Saturday.  Best wishes were left for her at the Celebrated Mercantile.  She will get them eventually if she is not too busy doing good deeds.  Good Champion friend, Rachel Evans, of Leicester, England will celebrate on the 8th of January.  That is also Elvis’ birthday and a great fiddle tune that people recognize when they hear ‘The Battle of New Orleans.’  The Skyline VFD Auxiliary has a meeting scheduled in the Community Room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium that evening and if the weather and road conditions allow it will be a good get together.  Elizabeth Johnston will be receiving many good wishes on the 9th.  She has a host of friends and a great family who all love her tremendously.  Nephew Phillip Holden Moses over in Norman, Oklahoma has his birthday on the 9th as well.  Hopes are that he and Oliver will make it over to Champion this year to get acquainted.  Tom Van Dyke has been to Champion.  He lives in Houston, TX but makes it up to the Bright Side as often as he can.  He is going to Cuba this month on a church mission.  Teeter Creek’s rock and roll, herbalist granddad will share his birthday with Wilburn Hutchison on the 11th.  Wilburn will be 80!  It is a nice round number.  He and Louise are warm and cozy up there on the side of the hill.  Their niece, Margaret, is staying with them and they are perking along just fine.  Once Wilburn and Fleming Geer were over by Skyline when they were kids and they saw a dirigible go over.  Kids today probably have no idea what a dirigible might be.  Happy Birthday everyone!

        Insulated houses and energy efficient heating systems go a long way toward making this brutal winter bearable.  It is hard to imagine how difficult a hard winter might have been for folks around here when Wilburn and Fleming were boys.  Ruby Proctor said one time that when she was a girl there would be snow on the ground from Thanksgiving to Easter.  That may not be exactly what she said, but it was something similar to that.  Her friends miss her and are determined to get up to Cabool to see her when the weather breaks. Ruby is a true Champion whose sweet smile brightens the pathway to good memories.  “Around the corner, beneath the berry tree, along the footpath, behind the bush, looking for Emily.  I told my Emily to go away, but now I’m sad she didn’t stay.  And tomorrow night if she comes a looking round for me, I’ll be sittin’ ‘neath the bitter berry tree.  Around the corner, beneath the berry tree, along the footpath behind the bush, looking for Emily!”  That is a song that smacks of optimism.

        Send epic tales of survival in the howling wind of the Polar Vortex to Champion @ championnews.us.  Triumphant songs of jubilation and heroic perseverance are welcome at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Sad songs that might cause a person to feel better for having sung them, are as welcome there as are slate cleaning allusions/illusions.  Look in at www.championnews for images of the place in warmer times.  Bring any uplifting, happy, enthusiastic optimistic songs with you in your heart down to the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek there at the junction of country roads and the beginning/end of the pavement.  Break for a brake or brake for a break anytime in Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!