CHAMPION—September 8, 2014

        This week looks perfect and those not busy enjoying it will be missing something delightful.  Champions do not get ahead of themselves other than to plan well and firewood is being contracted this week.  The nip in the air is suddenly portentous of the winter ahead which some are predicting will be a rough one, as if last winter was not.  Neat stacks of firewood and lots of full canning jars are Champion preparedness.

        The extended community turned out in a big way for the benefit for Ronnie Thompson at the Skyline School on Saturday.  The event was well planned and well executed and the food was delicious.  To be a part of so many friends and neighbors from all across the area coming together in a lovely loving common cause is a gift to everyone who participated.  Helping –Champion!

        “Deep in the Ozark Mountains.  Down  by a rushing steam.  Is the place I love to wander and have a sweet day’s dream.”  Ethel McCallie’s father’s poem is timeless for lucky locals.  A recent letter from her to The Champion News revealed that the Hayden Family Reunion was well attended.  She estimated close to 78 or 80.  There were sad absentees as there are in every nostalgic reunion.  Ethel is a wonderful storyteller.   Bonnie Brixey Mullens over in Wichita, writes that Ethel’s sister was her aunt, married to Virgil Proctor.  The family trees in this part of the world look like the Briar Patch.  Bonnie is hoping to make it down to Denlow for the Proctor Family Reunion in May.  Meanwhile TCN (The Champion News) will encourage a correspondence between Ethel and Bonnie.  Look for the transcript of Ms. McCallie’s latest letter in the Champion Neighbors Category over on the right hand side of the page at  It starts out, “9-3-14 Well, Howdy Doody and a pleasant good marnin to you.”

        Skyline School first grade student Lexus Ledbetter has his birthday on September 10th.  The 13th is set aside for Tanna Jo Krider Wiseman, mother of Foster and Kalyssa, Skyline alumnus.  Breann Davis is a seventh grader at Skyline who celebrates her birthday on the 14th together with nephew Konrad Zappler, father of Sophia and Penelope.  Elmer Banks will party on the 15th and everyone who sees him is welcome to ask him just how old he is anyway?  He might have some yarn to spin about it and a wise person will take the time to listen.  Most generally Elmer has some good information to share.  The General is a little less predictable.  They are both predicted to be out on the spacious veranda over on the North side of the Square on Thursday the 18th when the West Plains Wagon Club comes rolling into town.   Coy Stone will probably be representing the Gee Haw Club out of Viola Arkansas.  He is the guy who whittled that ball and chain on display in the Chat Room in the Emporium.  Champions are hoping Diane and Jerry Wilbanks will be on the train.  Their new friends here miss them.  The wagon folks are awfully nice about letting people look at their rigs and their animals.  It is a real education for many who have just heard about the old days when the only way to get around was by horse or wagon or walking.  People might have been healthier for the exercise and they probably made every trip off the place count.  “Put on your old gray bonnet, with the blue ribbons on it, while I hitch Old Dobbin to the shay.”  Perhaps there will be an example of a ‘shay’ on this train.  Bud Hutchison’s Fall Champion trail ride sometimes has a buggy or two along for the ride.  A shay sounds kind of fast and sassy, like the hot rod of the day.  Champions will be on the lookout and invite the neighborhood to come out and enjoy the spectacle around noon time Thursday the 18th in Historic Downtown Champion.

        Thursday, September 18, 2014, the people of Scotland will vote on a referendum that restores their sovereignty and removes them from the United Kingdom.  Each side has vocal supporters and detractors.  The “Yes” for Independence people ask the “Better Together”(“No”)people, “Why is it not better already?”  People from all over the world weigh in on the issue because Scots are everywhere from Nova Scotia (New Scotland) to Perth, Australia, and they hold on to their culture.  1703 does not seem that long ago in Scots history.  Caledonia is the Latin name given to the area by the Romans.  The old song goes, “I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs that make me think about where I’ve come from.  Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time.  Caledonia, you’re calling me, now I’m going home.  But if I should become a stranger, know that it would make me more than sad.  Caledonia’s been everything I’ve ever had.”  The world is watching and hoping for the best for the fine people of Scotland.  The recount of the votes on Amendment One in Missouri’s primary election is still underway.  Results are available from some counties, but so far nothing significant has developed.  Less than one quarter of one percent margin would indicate that there are strong opinions on both sides.  Democracy rules even when it rules against the best interest of the people.  Alas!

        Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 10th and 11th will be good days for harvesting crops.  Crops harvested on those days are thought to keep well.  The 12th and 13th will be favorable days for planting root crops and fine for vine crops.   They will also be good days for transplanting.  This might be a good time to plant garlic for next year.  Some already have a good size patch of tiny turnips sprouting in anticipation of a fall visit from their favorite friends Lem and Ned.  These fictional boys are big lanky fellows who come ambling up the driveway looking for a chore to do for a housewife.  They bring their own dinner bucket and will do any kind of onerous chore she cannot get the old man to do—clean the chicken house, turn the compost, haul brush, cut sprouts, etc.  They just want a few turnips for their effort since they are independent gents, not needing much but the chance to help out where they are needed.  Daydreaming down on the wild wooly banks of Old Fox Creek or a little ways up The Clever is easy to do in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!