CHAMPION—September 22, 2014

        Last week’s rain was heavy at times and much appreciated over the entire area.  Champions were concerned that the West Plains Wagon Club might have difficulties keeping to their schedule, but they rolled into town Thursday no worse for the wear.  Only two outriders accompanied the seven wagons and they reported having been drenched on at least one occasion.  They were all in good spirits and happy to be dining again under the enormous walnut trees in the little church yard.  The usual crowd of gawkers and musicians were not as intrepid as the travelers, but those who did come out were well rewarded.  Bob and Linda Cottengim and Joann Carter, all of Norwood, came out to rendezvous with Jim and Judy Cantrell of Mansfield.  Linda is Judy’s aunt and Joann is Linda’s sister-in-law and they are all well acquainted.  Bob Cottengim is 85 years old now.  He recalls having come down to this part of the country once when he was a kid.  Someone his family knew had a car.  He and Linda used to run into Ed Henson at the feed store in Mt. Grove fairly often.  They kept saying that they would make it down to Champion ‘one of these days,’ and when they read about the event in the paper they figured the day had finally come.  Bob says they will not be strangers in the future.  Linda used to write the Mt. Zion column for the paper and she is a regular reader of The Champion News.  Others out to see the train were Mark and Gretchen from East Dogwood and a number of Kriders, Clines and Johnston.  Outrider, Candice Summer, was very sweet to the young ones and sat them up on her pretty paint horse for pictures and for the fun of it.  The fun continues as several of the wagons plan to pass back this way on their return to Viola, Arkansas.  They will camp here overnight and be genuine Champions!

        Last Monday Champions out on a tear ran into Pat and Wes Smith in a Mexican Restaurant in town.  It was Pat’s birthday (September 15th) and they were celebrating, though she said something to the effect that getting older is nothing to brag about.  She was, however, willing to brag about her grandson, Weston.  She and Wes had been down to Mt. Home to see him and help him celebrate his birthday.  On their way home they stopped in Seymour to enjoy the Apple Festival.  It sounds like she came home with a couple of birthday presents one of which is a gourd that is painted and cut in such a way that when a person does something with it, it sounds like thunder.  She was quite pleased with it and a better description of it will be forthcoming once it is on public display.  Wednesday will be Grandfather Chapin’s birthday.  He says that between now and Grandma Chapin’s birthday on October 12th, this part of the country will experience the most beautiful weather of the year.  Other birthdays falling into this glorious period are those of Nicole Johnson, Skyline’s preschool teacher’s aide, on the 27th.   Seventh grader, Newt Souder, has a birthday on September 30th.  First grade student Lydia Harden shares her birthday on the first with a prominent Champion, who once again is reminded, “When you act like you are having a good time, pretty soon you will forget you are acting and will really be having a good time.”  Malachi Johnson is a second grader and he will be having a good time on October 4th.  The Upshaw twins have been celebrating that day for quite a few years.  One is older than the other and does not let her sister forget.  They are both older than one of their friends by a couple of weeks.  During those weeks the younger person makes it a point to say, “Yes, Mam” to her friends and opens the door for them—“Age before beauty,” etc.

        Posted on the internet recently: “UPDATE:  From the Vanzant Weather Lab and Alien Observatory, the dry weather spell for Vanzant and the surrounding area has been extended through 11:15 a.m. 17 Sept 2014.  Everyone watch out for a downpour of spizzel.”  The local meteorologist and alien observer might have enjoyed the “People’s Climate March” on Sunday the 21st.  While many folks in this part of the world do not believe it is happening, there is significant evidence that there is a lot of melting going on way up North and way down South.  Almost four hundred thousand people marched in New York City to bring attention to the issue.  Every large city all across the world had enormous demonstrations to shed light on the subject.  There were even some in Springfield and the OACC folks (Ozark Area Community Congress) had their gathering at the Hammond Mill Camp over the week end.  Climate change does not seem to get much publicity in the mainstream media, but there have not been this many people out in the streets trying to raise consciousness of an issue since the 2003 demonstrations against the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad.  The bombing made it to the news but the worldwide resistance to it did not.  Back to climate change, if indeed the planet has passed the tipping point and no amount of human effort can mitigate the damage, it would seem the thing to do, as was suggested by William Burroughs, is to align oneself with the inevitable.  Several years ago some folks from the east coast of Virginia bought property in Brushy Knob because they figure that before long the Ozarks will be the new east coast.  Champions will stay alert and make room for new neighbors.

        One of those nice Tennessee boys came over from Cripple Creek to visit with his Grandmother over the week end.  He had to get back to Murfreesborough for school Monday morning, so the visit was short but sweet.  He helped out in the milk barn and showed off his continually growing banjo skill.  He had his bow with him, but the white tails were elusive.  The season is open back home now, so he will have more opportunities to put meat on the table.  Some Champion gardens are still pouring forth good food for the table and the larder.  If the frost will hold off for a while, there will be a few more tomatoes.

        There are green tomatoes on the vine in little kitchen gardens in fair Edinburgh and a Champion lad there thinks he will introduce fried green tomatoes to his Scots friends.  Some of them (45%) could use some cheering up as the Referendum for Independence did not work in their favor.  It was said that the majority of the ‘no’ vote was cast by elderly people, and there are reports of significant shenanigans as Russian observers were present at a number of polling places and reported irregularities.  They must be pretty irregular to impress Russians.  The Scots have had a nice reconciliation gathering that suggests there will be some positive changes.  Positive change is the best kind.  They say, “Don’t change the old for the new.”  Several, including Ray Charles, Sophie Tucker and Benny Goodman, found out that this will never do.  They figure, “when you grow old, you don’t last long.  You’re here today and then tomorrow you’re gone.”  Gone where?  To Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!