January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

CHAMPION—January 26, 2015

        One of the many lovely things about living in Champion is that it is just not very crowded out here.  Almost everyone can find a spot where there is no other person to be seen.  For some the favored way to live is in solitude and for others solitude is a place of refuge from the cares and worries of the world if only for a few minutes every so once in a while.  Henry David Thoreau, who had much to say about nature and human existence, lived for a couple of years near Walden Pond to experience a Spartan kind of deliberate living.  The property belonged to his friend, R.W. Emerson, so he probably did not have to pay rent and recently some historian revealed that Henry’s mother did his laundry and brought his meals to him.  That does not detract from the value of his observations but perhaps speaks to the leisure he was given to observe.  It is nice to have a meeting place, like Henson’s Downtown G & G, where keenly observant folks can share at their leisure what they have seen and what they think about it with people who will share what they remember and with those who predict how it will all be in the future.  That is society and a pleasant thing to think about particularly on the way back to the peace and quiet of home.  Champion!

        Atmospheric conditions seem to be providing some spectacular sunsets these days.  The spectacular part might be that it is warm enough to step out and enjoy them.  While so many favorite trees just resemble vertical brush piles this time of the year, little things are swelling and beginning anew.   The ‘wild’ flowering quince is growing little dots of color and soon the witch-hazel will be decorating the creek banks with its delicate flowers and scent.  Meanwhile it is a treat to notice all the big nests high in the trees.  They will soon disappear in the foliage again.  Seed catalogues, almanacs, truckloads of manure and rafts of garden lore will soon be the topics of most conversations around the stove.

        The Skyline School parking lot was full of parents waiting for the school bus Saturday night as the Skyline Archery Team made its triumphant trip home from Skyline Urbana and the Archery Tournament there.  Congratulations to Skyline Archer Dylan Ford for shooting a career high and taking 2nd place.  Coach Lannie Hinote puts a lot of good effort into the team and the results are clear.  What an asset to have such a dedicated, hard-working, fun loving educator guiding the young people about to take over the running of the world.  A note into champion@championnews.us is from an excited 14 year old who says, “Ours is the voice of the climate change generation.  In the light of a collapsing world, what better time to be born than now?  Because this generation gets to rewrite history, gets to leave our mark on this earth.… We will be known as the generation, as the people on the planet that brought forth a healthy, just, sustainable world for every generation to come. … We are the generation of change.”  The Greatest Generation was followed by the Baby Boomers, then Generations X, Y, and Z.  Now comes along the Generation of Change.  It is to be hoped that they will have learned something from history.  Will Durant said, “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”  Good luck!

        “We’re not ‘hills.’  We are an eroded plateau:”  This says an Old Champion who, while as much an admirer of Abby Dyer as anybody in the Ozarks, is aggravated that she and other weather people say 37° when it is only 31° or they say 92° when it is 98°.  It aggravates him.  The old woman says, “You know where you live.  Add or subtract for yourself and don’t blame Abby and her bunch for being inaccurate when they live up on the plateau and clearly we live in the eroded area….6°s of erosion.”  He would like a more personalized weather report from the charming Ms. Dyer, one more spot-on accurate for the south and west sides of a couple of hills on which he pays the taxes.  Various invitations are being sent in the hopes that she will make an appearance at the Skyline Auxiliary Chili Supper in March.  One suggested she might do a weather report from the Veranda of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  The Auxiliary is excited about their fund raiser this year.  Plans are well underway and the prize to be awarded this time is a fire pit and a cast garden bench that will give some lucky person a place to enjoy some solitude or if he is even luckier the place to share some solitude.

        The big oil spill in the Yellowstone River is a tragic thing.  The beautiful clear natural water is what makes this part of the world such a treasure.  Not having oil seems to be a gift here.  There will be no fracking unless that is a way to access our considerable lead deposits.  They are still not altogether cleaned up from the Exxon Valdese spill in Alaska years ago, and the Gulf Coast is still a mess out in the areas where the tourists do not go.  Had it not been for a teenage girl with a cell phone, the disaster in Mayflower, Arkansas two years ago in March might not have been known.  It did not get much publicity.  Many people who were able to have left the area and the rest will be dealing with the health effects and economic disruption for generations.  The Canadian tar sands oil that spilled out of the pipeline there in Arkansas is another gift from Exxon.  Enough.  Thank you.

Exer Lynnie Hector Masters

        The United States Census U.S. and World Population Clock indicates that in the world there is a birth every 8 seconds and a death every 12 seconds.  That means that every 16 seconds the world gets a net gain of one new person.  Today the world population is 7,220,411,000+.  There are plenty of people, but the new ones do not replace the old ones.  Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759.  He was a hard working farmer, a great poet and passionate lover.  He died at the age of 37, leaving a large body of well-loved poetry, quite a number of children and several untidy personal relationships.  People come and go.  One left on January 25, 1975—a lifetime ago.  Forty years and one still misses her dear Mother.  Exer Lynnie Hector Masters was her name.

        The tune “Once More” was recorded at the Skyline VFD Picnic in August 2007.  It featured Lonnie Krider on mandolin, Wayne Anderson on banjo, Linda Clark-vocals, Brenda Dartt-bass, and Luke Dartt-guitar.  The Champion News is pleased to report that the YouTube video can be seen on line at www.championnews.us.  It appears on the post for January 25, 2015 and is accessible from a number of links over on the right hand side of the page—under “Music”  “Lonnie and Wayne” and under “Champion Videos.”  It is a gift that the musicians and their families will share these happy memories and, for all the aggravations associated with it, technology is also a gift.  “Once more I’d give a fortune if I could see you once more”…in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 25, 2015

Skyline Volunteer Fire Department

SVF Fundraiser Picnic 8-14-2010

SVF Fundraiser Picnic August 2007

“Once More”
Lonnie Krider, mandolin   Wayne Anderson, banjo
Linda Clark, vocals   Brenda Dartt, bass   Luke Dartt, guitar


January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015

CHAMPION—January 19, 2015

        This whole global warming thing has become a hit with some locals.  They like a 63°F Sunday on the 18th of January.  Thinking back over last summer, it seems that there were really only a couple of weeks when extra cooling was necessary here.  It was a relatively mild summer for the Ozarks, but other parts of the country registered their highest temperatures ever.  Worldwide it was the warmest year ever and every year has been like that for some while now.  The natural cycles and events that are known to influence climate do not account for the amount and pattern of warming that has been measured in the last twenty and more years according to the hundreds of scientist reporting to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change formed by the United Nations.  They say the only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouses gasses emitted by humans.  Deforestation is another culprit.  Champions will do their part to help the situation by being informed and by finding an alternative to throwing a tire on a brush fire to keep it going.  Moreover, they will enjoy every beautiful day no matter what the cause.  Champion!

Not global warming…just a colorful sunset in Champion.

        Jacob Kyle Brixey, Skyline prekindergarten student, and Mary Beth Shannon share their birthday on the 18th.  Each can charm you with a beautiful smile.  J.C. Owsley shares his birthday on the 19th with a most prominent Champion.  J.C. has a new horse which he says will be 20 when he is 80.  He has years to go to get there and mostly likely will get there in the saddle.  Champions will hope he ambles on over this way one of these days.  Another prekindergarten guy is Jacob Johnson.  He has his birthday on January 23rd.  So does handsome great nephew, Oliver Holden-Moses, an aspiring and accomplished percussionist over in Oklahoma.  Prekindergarten teacher, Mrs. Doni Coonts celebrates her birthday on the 25th and third grader, Brook Johnson has her party on the 26th.  Skyline alumnus K Heffern Alexander will have begun her partying last week and will still be celebrating the week after her birthday on the 27th.  First grader Kimberly Wallace has her birthday on the 29th and Ericka Strong, second grade, has her big day on the 30th.  Talking about big days, James Brixey was 40 on the 30th in 2012.

        The Skyline VFD Auxiliary had a meeting on Wednesday, the 14th.  Preparations for the annual Chili Supper have begun.  It is always a fine get-together because of the good planning.  Proceeds from the Chili Supper go toward providing equipment and training for the Volunteer Firefighters.  Diane and Jerry Wilbanks had a grass/brush fire at their house last year sometime and were most complimentary of the efficiency and speed with which the Skyline Volunteer Firefighters saved their house.  After an extended absence caring for ailing family, their Champion friends are glad to have Diane and Jerry home again.  They have been enjoying these gorgeous days riding in their wagon behind their beautiful white mules down by the creek.  Diane just had her birthday on the 13th and had planned to come to Champion for ice cream as a celebration.  Something got in her way but she will get her ice cream next time she comes this way.  Last year her wonderful apple pies were the hit of the Chili Supper and her Auxiliary friends will be looking for her at the next meeting February 11, 6:30 at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion.  Everyone is welcome to attend, particularly if you are in the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire District.  Get Cowboy Jack to tell you how a flue fire did not take his home recently.  Support your VFD!

        The Boys of Summer are daydreaming now about baseball.  It will be nice to be warming up in the bullpen or up on the mound, nice to run the bases or to catch a high fly out in right field, or to slide into home.  This is brought to mind by recently posted pictures of General Fast Pitch and the fellows, wearing the uniform of the Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming Fastpitch Softball Team of 1973.  The no-hitters attributed to the pitcher were mostly the times when he managed not to hit the batter.  He blamed the wild Wyoming wind.  There was a nice picture of Upshaw boys skating on the family’s frozen pond over south of Denlow.  General Erudite said, “Had we fallen, we surely would have broken through.”  Sunday, February 1st, he is planning to attend a formal soiree where the Patriots and Seahawks will battle it out on the flat screen.  He will enjoy cultured speculative conversation concerning the game, and sports oriented modern poetry to the tune of Miles and Monk on the HiFi, Chablis, truffles and brie—XLIX.  He will probably wear his turtleneck and a tweed sports coat.  Such a cool guy.  This is not the side of him you see at the Thursday evening Vanzant Blue Grass Jam—a multifaceted individual indeed.

        Ms. Ayn Throp writes in to champion@championnews.us to say that the reason rhetoric gets so out of hand and people seem to be crazier and more radical all over the world is that when people are only around other people who believe exactly the same thing they believe, a person wanting to get attention has to speak louder or say more outrageous and crazy things.  Her point seems to be that it is a good thing to learn what other people think and to respect the rights of people to believe as they do.  Another Champion writes, “…America has actually been self-correcting on a pretty steady pace,(we haven’t even been around that long in the scheme of things).  Of course there’s still a ways to go, but a lot more divisiveness is being promoted than I think there really is.  I have even seen quite a few changes in the backwoods Ozarks in my time here in the acceptance department.”  Mr. Cipriano had a good point the other day when he said that flip-flopping is often the result of education.  You believe one thing, learn the truth and change your mind.  It is what happened to Paul on the way to Damascus.

        Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 21st through the 26th will be a good time to prune to discourage growth.  Children in need of chores can always cut sprouts.  Old folks missing having young people to order around just have to hobble out and cut their own sprouts or let them grow.  Young Luxe Krider has made her debut at The Recreation of the Historic Emporium.  She is a real beauty and her older sister Teagan is quite fond of her.  They are destined to become great singers.  One day they will be entertaining out on the wide veranda.  Reports are that the Wednesday Morning Club is growing in numbers and enjoyment.  A pleasant time can be had almost any day, but Wednesdays are special.  “Through all kinds of weather, what if the sky should fall?  As long as we’re together, it really doesn’t matter at all” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015

CHAMPION—January 12, 2015

        This time last year the Polar Vortex was battering the community and it wore out its welcome quickly.  Frozen pipes and polar plunges meant aggravation, hard work, and a little fun.  Joking about adversity is a proven coping mechanism.  On Sunday some cold people over east of Champion began dragging out old similes and making up new ones to the effect that the roads were as slick as various substances smeared across various surfaces, one being a glass door knob.  It would have been enough to say, “The roads are slick.”  Those nice gents from MODOT had been down to Champion early, sprinkling their special stuff on the road.  Conditions can change so fast this time of the year, Champions are alert to the possibility of black ice and proceed with caution.

        Norris Woods’ birthday is on the 13th of January and the family had a musical evening over the week end.  Buzz said, “Pickin’ and grinnin’ with my brother, sister, and dad.  Can’t get any better than this!” The video that was posted on line had a nice version of “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey?” and Grannie Sharron dancing with her little grandchildren.  Happy Birthday, Norris!  The same goes to Skyline prekindergarten student, Jacob Brixey.  His birthday is on the 18th.  Nathan Nava works at the school and celebrates his birthday on the 19th together with Robert E. Lee (1807), Edgar Allen Poe(1809), Janis Joplin (1943), Dolly Parton (1946) and another charming lady, a younger Champion.  Kyle Barker is a second grader now at Skyline and his birthday is on the 21st.  He has a General for a grandpa and an interesting life ahead of him.

        Jody and Royce Henson sent a Happy New Year card out to Champion from their home in Springfield.  They had been on a shopping spree for antiques.  Actually, the card said “Just two antiques out shopping!”  They looked like they were having a good time in the pictures, but that is their standard look.  They were standing by a green and white 1955, Chevy two door hard top, maybe a Bellaire.  Maybe some pleasant set of circumstances yet unknown will bring them back to Champion before the school reunion in September.  They are always welcome.  Another always welcome visitor is Bernice Wiseman.  She and Wayne are grandparents to Champion grandchildren Foster and Kalyssa.  Bernice is having some delicate health issues and her Champion friends send her their best wishes.

        Mary Brown-Davis reported that she was very proud of Cheyenne Baker who had taken second place in the Parkview High School Archery Tournament on Saturday.  Cheyenne has shot in three tournaments and has taken third place in two of them and now a second place.  Lannie Hinote is coaching the Skyline Archery Team and doing a wonderful job with them.  Champions!

        Laine Southerland wrote the other day that Tom Cooley and Leo Stouffer had been over to the Southerland place and split up a huge stack of logs.  Laine said, “These guys are my heroes today.”  She said that Tom hurt his hand and she hoped that he was ok.  Champions hope so too and will be looking for an update from Laine.  She keeps the neighborhood in good music, good information and good thoughts.  Thanks, Laine.

        The meeting room was full to overflowing on Wednesday and everyone seemed in good spirits.  Ethel Leach was wearing her Elvis Week hat and looking glamorous as ever.  She has a winning smile.  Ethel reported that Anne Smith, the pleasant, friendly blonde who has been working at the window in Mountain Grove’s MFA for years, had taken a bad fall and suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.  She is in Cox hospital and will be for a little while.  Her Champion friends wish her a speedy good recovery.  This news sparked several stories of bad falls and near misses.  A subject has not been adequately addressed and cannot be retired or changed until the aging poetaster of Almartha has given it a thorough working over.  Between collecting signatures on his birthday card, one that showed a broken down, bowlegged cowboy on the outside with his hat crumpled and his elbows sticking out in every direction and something about becoming a “geezer” on the inside, he told of having recently taken a walk in the woods.  He was all by himself, not a dog at his heels, not a cell phone in his pocket, his wife, bless her heart, in town working for a living, just him out for a ramble in the woods.  He did not say how far away from home he was or just what he was really doing out there, but he made it out to sound like it was a far piece, when he stepped in a hole/slipped on some wet leaves or down a slick bank/got his toe under a root/ had to dodge some brambles, or something like that and just not being as surefooted and quick as he used to be on account of getting old, he wound up taking a hard fall.  Just before the end of the story, he revealed that when he fell, he fell on his knees.  It was at this point in the story that at least one and probably a couple of the women in the room thought that would have been the perfect time for the chronic disparager of the fair sex to have repented of his incessant misogyny and anti-suffrage haranguing.  It was, alas, not an opportunity that he recognized or was willing to seize.  He finally finished his story, the gist of which seemed to be that things can happen in the blink of an eye.  He continued with his theatrical, bombastic, and maligning pronouncements until she wearied of it and left.  On her way home the woman thought about what she should have said, as is so often the case when the moment is long past.  She thought she should have said just what the Erstwhile Barber said to her one time right out loud in a public place—the Skyline Chili Supper about 2010—he walked up to her with a grin and said, “I’m surprised ain’t nobody’s shot you yet.”  No use starting a brawl when everyone was having such a nice time.

        “Hot corn, cold corn, bring a long a demijohn!  Yes, Sir!”  Bring that demijohn on down to the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek, walk across the muddy Square, climb that graceful set of steps up to the veranda of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium.  Wipe your feet before you go in and enjoy the warmth of a big wood stove that has been taking the chill off for generations.  Seed catalogues are starting to show up everywhere, so there will be gardening to discuss.  Share your good news there or at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at champion@championnews.us.  Spin your yarn and enjoy the company of farmers and firemen and Champions of all sorts—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015

CHAMPION—January 5, 2015

        The big full Wolf Moon rose late and rode high through the clear night sky setting just at dawn.  Of course, the rise and set may vary depending upon how high the surrounding hills are, but what a joy to see the big golden thing again and Monday’s brilliant sunshine brings smiles even with the deep cold.  “Sitting in front of my window drinking coffee and watching the snow’s lazy descent to the earth.  Occasionally the snow makes a last ditch effort to head back to the heavens on a wayward gust of air.  Beautiful.  Good Morning Friends.”  This was snagged from the internet, authored by Champion K.H. Alexander, living now off in the big town.

        Another posting had to do with pumping gas after dark at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion.  Sometimes, particularly when a person is cold, the sound of liquid pouring and the feel of it going through the gas pump can have a sudden, urgent physiological effect that cannot be ignored.  A much loved nurse experienced this phenomenon recently and was relieved to find an obvious solution.  She, however, was not observed and laughed, “…hehe…Yes, I did that!  It was very daring….living on the wild side….”

        January 5th marks the birthday of Georgie Anne Pendergraft Masters.  The only child of George Pendegraft and Margaret Henson Pendergraft.  Margaret died while her daughter was an infant and George married Malvernia Henson, Margaret’s sister.  She and George had a number of other children.  When Georgie Anne wanted to marry J.W. Masters, her dad refused and when she married him anyway she was forbidden to return home.  Malvernia, her step mother, made a little bundle of her other clothes and stashed them on the back side of the barn so that she was able to come by on the sly and get them.  In those days one change of clothes might be all a person had.  This was over in McDonald county just before the turn of the last century.

        The Eighth of January is a favorite old tune in these parts.  Elvis Presley was born that day in 1935.  Fair Rachel Evans was born in England on that day and has since made a cozy spot with many friends in Fair Edina.  Elizabeth Johnston celebrates the next day and her extended loving family will tell her in words and actions how pleased they are to have her in their lives.  She shares that date with a favorite Champion nephew, Dr. Phillip Holden-Schmeckle, another Brit, a gourmet raconteur, and an excellent purveyor of Humanism.  The tenth is given over to Sir Tom Van Dyke.  This do-gooder (in the extreme) stops in Champion every so once in a while and leaves it much improved.  A wake of improvement follows him.  Reports of mission trips to Kenya, Cuba, Guatemala, and Oklahoma come in welcome postcards.  The next day Teeter Creek Herb’s own herbalist, Bob Liebert, celebrates his birthday.  He is the author of “Common Medicinal Herbs of the Ozark” and “Osage Life and Legends.”  He co-authored with Louis Two Ravens Irwin “Two Ravens:  The Life and Teachings of a Spiritual Warrior.”  Many Native American readers accept this as an accurate portrayal of life for a Native American over the past several decades.  He and Wilburn Hutchison have shared a birthday all of Bob’s life.  Connie Lansdown reported a funny phone conversation with Wilburn the other day after the sad news of the passing of actress Donna Douglas.  Connie and her mother were both named after Ellie Mae Clampett.  “’Elle May,’ I say to Dad, ‘she was 81, Dad, and still cute as a button!’  He says, ‘Me too.  I’m 81 and cuter than a button too.’  Then goes on to elaborate and says, ‘Sis, where you think you get your good looks from?  That’s right, your handsome Dad.’ I so love my funny and humorous Daddy!”  His Champion friends do too.

        An old Champion woman says, “I liked Ike because he was a Texan…because the first television I saw was the 1952 Republican convention.  (I got to watch a lot of the McCarthy hearings too.) And because he was a soldier who had the nerve and the willingness to warn against the ‘industrial-military complex.’  Now Senator Sanders of Vermont suggest that military spending and national priorities ought to be the subject of national discussion.  He quotes President Eisenhower, ‘The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this:  a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.  It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.  It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.  It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.’  Of course this need for concrete highway is why a person cannot go to Norwood and get on a train to go anywhere in the country.  Public transportation sucks in America.”  There are plenty of people around who can say what all is wrong with America.  While Pollyanna blithely keeps her focus close at hand and just sees the good and pleasant, Ms. Ayn Thrope can rail endlessly about what all needs fixing.  She is currently outraged about the Wounded Warrior Project.  In her letter she says that she loves the Veterans and thinks the Wounded Warrior Project is a beautiful thing, but that it is criminal that it has to exist.  “Is there no contract that provides for the care of those who have served?”  She wonders why a young person would consider joining the military when they are so poorly treated once their sacrifice of limb, cognition, and/or spirit has been made.  “That any Veteran is homeless or neglected is a crime when private companies in the war machine are making billions, and Veteran benefits are considered ‘entitlements.’”  It is a Champion balance to stay informed and optimistic.

        A prominent psychologist asks, “When you were growing up, who loved you?”  The question is posed to cause a person to reflect.  Chances are that one person stands out in anyone’s memory, or it could be that a lucky person in a big family can say, “Everyone!”  Reflection is a good way to start a new year.  By this time many resolutions have already been abandoned and the best a person can do is to learn the good lessons from the past and apply them to the future.  Julian Barnes writes in “The Sense of an Ending” that what you end up remembering is not always the same as what you have witnessed.  Come reflect around the big wood stove and get your story straight in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  Sing your favorite Elvis song there (“A Little Less Conversation, and a Little More Action, Please!”) or check out the latest ‘Linda’s Almanac’ on the bulletin board.  It is also available at www.championnews.us and informs that the birthstone for January is the garnet and the flower is the white carnation, in case anyone is buying gifts for January ladies.  There was a good turn-out for Douglas County Health Department nurse Angela Souder on Tuesday.  She is not the gas-pumping nurse of paragraph two, but the one who is helping Champions take better care of their health.  Any morning of the week will find a lively discourse going on the wide, wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek, being made more wooly by those fellows from Southern Construction as they clear out the electric right of way.  Harley was here for a few days and livened up the chatter.  He is home chatting with Barbara now and their friends and neighbors here look forward to seeing them again soon.  Elvis says, “That’s alright! Any way you want to do” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!