October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

CHAMPION—October 26, 2015

        The Hunter’s Moon will be full on October 27th.  In the middle of the night, when the skies clear for a moment, it is there in all its wakefulness shining in the window like a flashlight on sleeping eyes.  At 3:14 in the morning with moonlight in their eyes, what do Champions do?  Daydream, remember, plan…  These days have been perfect except for the lack of rain.  One minimal shower washed off enough of the dust to make the colors pop and Champion is officially in autumnal garb with purple sumac and various maples and dogwoods.  When rain arrives it will be welcome, meanwhile some are scuffling to get a few things done while it is dry.  Unseasonable heat has caused problems.  Last week:  “The orange lady bugs have taken over.”  Mary Schiff said, “They love the white house wrap…and the wasps love them.  We are afraid to open a door right now!”  Laine Sutherland said, “They swarmed my parent’s house yesterday…  It was horrible.  I took the vacuum to them and captured/killed a whole bag full.  It did take me most of the afternoon to suck them up with the hose, but I got the majority of them.  They are Asian Lady Beetles.”  These cooler days have those critters a little less aggressive.  Change is in the air.

        Some thought growing old would take longer.  October 26th is the birthday of Harley Krider who has just made a decade leap—now in his early somethings.  He shares his birthday with Brad Ogelsby, a much younger nephew by marriage.  Prekindergarten student Nicholas Georges will have his birthday on the 28th just like kindergarten student Miley Ludwig.  Another kindergartener, Addison Burns, shares her birthday with a former student of the Champion School, Royce Henson.  Connie Lansdown has that day as her own as well.  Halloween is a fancy day to have a birthday.  Two sixth graders Kimberly Carder and Cheyenne Hall celebrate that day.  So does Ms. Curtis, Skyline School superintendent and Felipe Heston, of the Texas firm Quick Draw.  Enjoy all your days and especially your special day.

        The last Tuesday of each month, The Douglas County Health Department nurse comes to Champion to do free blood pressure screenings and, from time to time, other tests such as lung age tests, blood sugar, and body mass index.  The first Tuesday of each month this service is available at the Skyline School from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.  The Douglas County Health Department has been a real friend to the community with these health screenings and the recent gift of the paved quarter mile walking path that was completed this summer.  It is getting lots of good use already.  Dean Brixey used to talk about such a path years ago.  He thought it would help older folks in the area to be able to safely walk, maybe in the company of others.  It sounded like a good idea that was more in the realm of a daydream at the time, considering the resources in the area.  He has moved away now, but on a visit one of these days he will probably take a stroll around the path.  He stays fairly well informed with two grandchildren in Skyline, a son on the school board and a daughter-in-law on the teaching staff.  Dean actually moved away a couple of times.  First, he moved from the farm to Mountain Grove, and then from there to some farther off town, but still not too far away.  He continues to be a community minded fellow and has been delivering Meals on Wheels to old folks in his new home area.  He moved away twice and has had his truck stolen twice.  The first time it was taken from his driveway in Mountain Grove and was found some while later crashed, trashed and burned out.  This time it was taken from the parking lot of his apartment complex—a new four door Ford truck.  He has been given a little Honda car to use until such time as his truck is found and returned to him or until the insurance company figures it to be a loss and he gets another truck.  The Meals on Wheels will still be delivered by a Champion.

        Halloween has its origins in a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals, superstition and early Catholic traditions.  The pagan rituals involve the slaughter of summer by winter.  It is a most theatrical and lavishly gruesome pageant under torch light with blue painted Pics pounding primitive drums.  Witchy, ghostly, goblins and vampires compose the superstition part and the early Catholic traditions are of All Saints Day.  However or whether it gets celebrated, there are children out on the streets and roads and everyone is cautioned to be vigilant.  The seasons are flying by.  Busy as a bee–Linda’s going-out-of-business sale will be going on all week, ending on the 30th.  There are tremendous bargains to be had and the chance to say good-bye to a wonderful home-grown business that served the community well for a long time.  Change is in the air.  The bees up in the Behemoth bee tree are doing what has to be done by bees to survive the winter.  They are fascinating and free to watch any day over on the South Side of the Square.

        Attendance at the Wednesday Social Club at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium has been brisk in recent weeks.  Not everyone attends every time, but it is always an interesting mix.  Lighthearted banter and political jesting go along with nostalgic reminiscences which brain scientists say are probably only the memories of the last time a person remembered the event.  They say that consciousness is a performance that the brain puts on for you every day and that memory is not always reliable.  When those yarns are being spun, most likely (but not necessarily in all cases) the spinner believes what he is saying wholeheartedly and a good performance never goes unappreciated.  Champions are good at enjoying the moment.  They know that no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.  Anxious worry might be the single most unhealthy activity available to people.  Those brain scientists seem to think that we are an evolving story, that we can reshape the neural networks that ‘’are’’ us.  Some old people with experience say that we should remember enough of the unpleasant past that we do not let it happen again while we let the rest of it go in favor of positive thought and action.  Deitrich Bonheffer (1906-1945) said, “Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”  He was talking about silence in the face of evil.  Come engage in some deep philosophical thought (if you believe in it) or just share a pleasant song or memory.  “Grab your coat and get your hat (it’s getting chilly). Leave your worries on the doorstep.  Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 20, 2015

2015 Skyline School Fall Festival

The silent auction set up in the hallway featured some extraordinary student art as well as
Silver Dollar City tickets and a number of items donated by local merchants.

James Brixey, Joshua Strong and Joseph Georges struggle under the
awesome responsibility of judging the pie contest.

Donna and Paul Boyd are always in the middle of the good times at Skyline.

Pumpkin contest entries.

Eli Johnson is a kindergarten student. His teacher is Mrs. Sartor. He won a cup with the message “Love Ya!” “Actually,” Eli said, “it’s a mug.”

Bridget Hicks won Best Pie in the contest. She has three sons in Skyline.

October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

CHAMPION—October 19, 2015

2015 Skyline School Fall Festival
More photos…

        Home is where the heart is and to return there after a fortnight’s absence is to walk into the perfect place.  Home–where everything is comfortable and familiar.  “Home,” where some guy said, “if you go there, they’ve got to let you in.”  Home is the most venerated of all human notions.  Champion!

        The Skyline School Fall Festival was a resounding success.  The school parking lot was packed and the school was filled with children, teachers, parents, grandparents and friends—a great evening.  There was royalty—a king and queen, as well as Princess Jaycee Hall and Prince Caleb Barker.  Alyssa Strong was the Queen and it was her grandmother, Lana Hampton, who won the fifty-fifty drawing.  Grandmother Karen Hall won the chili contest.  Her grandchildren are Hailey Hall and Jaycee Hall.  The pie contest was judged by James Brixey, Joshua Strong and Joseph Georges.  There were eight pies entered and each was judged by its appearance and its taste.  It was a difficult choice.  Bridget Hicks won for an apple pie that judges think would be good the year round—an “anytime” pie.  Her prize included a ceramic pie plate and a golden spatula.  She has three sons in school, so the community will probably get to enjoy more of her pies in the years to come.  Jude is a preschool student, Wyatt is in the 5th grade and Levi is a 6th grade student.  The Pumpkin contest was won by Matty Hutsell for an entry called “Matty Spider.”  Go to www.championnews.us to see all the creative entries.  The silent auction had some excellent student art as well as Silver Dollar City tickets and items generously donated by local merchants.  The PTO is already planning ahead for next year.  They will have to go a distance to beat this one.  That is what the Parent Teachers Organization is all about—going the distance to help our children, our greatest resource, get the education they need to have the quality, productive, happy lives we want for them.

        Marty Watts lives way over in Tennessee.  He has a birthday on October 20th, and he is lucky to have birthdays.  Lonnie Krider once said he should have shot Marty the first time he saw him walking up his driveway.  That was just because Marty was there courting Linda.  Now Marty and Linda have grown children.  Cyanna Davis is a sixth grade student at Skyline.  She shares her birthday with Marty.  The 21st was the birthday of Anna Henson (1905-1983), who, with her husband, Edgar Henson (1903-1998), ran the Champion Store for many years.  The Champion News’ correspondent claims the same day as her own and considers herself to be in excellent company.  Mountain Grove’s Randy Abbot, the world’s wonderful Tejana, Cidneye Godkin, and Alfred Nobel are also acknowledged that day.  Alfred Nobel (1801-1872) invented dynamite and made enough money off of it to finance the Nobel Prize every year.  Amazing.  Donna Moskaly is an award winning artist who has been living in Champion for about a decade now shares her birthday with Skyline students, 1st grader Haylee Surface and Talia Mancia, 8th grader.  Ms. Beth is a cook at Skyline and will be celebrating on the 22nd.  Thomas Wyatt is in the 8th grade and will celebrate on Friday the 23rd.  Happy birthday to Breauna Krider (Mother of Taegan and Lux) and Sandy Chapin (grandfather of Atticus) on the 24th and to Roger Miller on the 25th (1936-1992).  He wrote and sang, “You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.  All you got to do is set your mind to it.  Set your mind to it and do it!  Do it!  Do it!”  That is sage advice.

        Champions note that a few garden things have been quite chilled but there has not yet been a frost.  A little fire in the morning is feeling good as some of those heavier clothes come out of the back of the closet.  The foliage seems to be changing from moment to moment and flurries of activity to get ready for the coming cold manifest themselves in a variety of ways.  The garden is giving its last fruit; the woodshed is filling up; various repairs and improvements are suddenly racing with the season for completion.  It is an exciting time of the year.  Linda’s going out of business sale is going well.  There are lots of great bargains to be had and a chance to wish Linda all the best in her ‘retirement.’  Her sale will go on through the end of the month.  Hardworking people rarely stop working at retirement.  It is a given that she will stay busy.  Her Champion friends hope that she will be able to work in a few more bridge games.  Meanwhile, they will enjoy with her the anticipation of a new epoch.

        “Worry pretends to be necessary, but serves no useful purpose.”  That observation was made by Eckhart Tolle.  Another person said that worry is a kind of negative prayer.  It is hard not to worry when there seems to be so much stress and negativity in the world.  Fortunately there are a few places in the this realm where people can gather to discuss their concerns, compare and draw on histories for help with current issues, exchange meaningful views with one another and offer encouragement.  Such a place is found in the meeting room of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Any day is fine, but Wednesdays seem to be prime for a meeting of like minds (as well as polite dissidents).  Enjoy these beautiful autumn days with another of Roger Miller’s refrains:  “Walking in the sunshine, sing a little sunshine song.  Put a smile upon your face as if there’s nothing wrong.  Think about a good time you had a long time ago.  Think about, forget about your worries and your woes.  Walking in the sunshine, sing a little sunshine song” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015

THE NEW WORLD OF 1492—October 12, 2015

The New World

        “The Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no.  To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone.  They would make fines servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”  Those are words written to Queen Isabella by Christopher Columbus way back when.  The holidays dedicated to Columbus all over the ‘new’ world are celebrated in a variety of ways—some with joyful fervor and some with a new appreciation for the actual history of events.  That kind of history is hard to come by, that is to say, it takes some effort to plow through the centuries of sanitizing and glossing over of the unpleasantness (atrocities and genocide) that allows us to feel good about our past.  In Champion people do not deny that bad things have happened before and they have no fear of working to make things better in the future.  It is the Champion way.

        Folks who happened to be around for Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride were treated to some unusual sights.  The photographs shared on the internet show about a dozen well mounted, good looking equestrians in front of the store together with a couple of two wheeled carts.  One of the carts was hitched to a nice looking horse.  It had big yellow wheels that looked like they could have been made by Dale Thomas over there on the Edge of the World.  It also looked like Cowboy Jack was on the Square checking out the rig.  (His profile is unique.)  The other cart seemed to have bicycle wheels with red fenders and was harnessed up to a little white pony—very cute.  Another photograph showed that little cart bringing up the rear as the bunch moved up the hill to commence the ride.  The pictures were posted by the Douglas County Foxtrotting Horse Breeders Association.  It is a fortunate spot in the world where sights like this can be seen—where technologies from the distant past merge so beautifully into the present day.  Champions are blessed.

Pictured from left to right are: Jack Coonts, standing, holding horse, and Steve Assenmacher, from McClurg, in large cart; Don Hamby, Dora; Ronnie Leroy, Dora; Mary Leroy, Dora; Sean Huffman, Seymour; Bob Wheeler, Ava; Andrew Harden, Ava; Carmen Watchinshe, Rogersville; Gene Dunn, Protem; Howard Price, Ava; Bud Hutchison, Ava; Raymond Johnson, Ava; Cindy Huffman, Seymour and Frank Williams, Smallett, with pony cart.
Bud Hutchison’s 2015 Fall Trail Ride

    Good news comes from the Skyline PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) that The Fall Festival will be held October 16th at the school from 6:00 to 9:00 in the evening.  This a great chance for the community to get to visit the wonderful little school that is serving the children of the area so well.  There will be lots of game booths.  The Brushy Knob Church will have a putt put golf booth and a wheel spin; CTA will have a pumpkin decorating contest and a ball bounce; YEP will have a bounce house and cotton candy; Archery/8th grade will have a cake walk and 50/50 drawing; Kindergarten will have a pumpkin pond and a guessing game of how many candy corns in a container; the first grade will have a lollipop tree and the 4-H will have a ‘make a candle jar’ for people to enjoy.  Additionally, local businesses are providing items for a silent auction and the PTO will have two one-day admission tickets to Silver Dollar City to put on the auction block.  This is one of the great events of the school year.  There will be a chili contest and a pie contest and more excitement than usual for a quiet country neighborhood.  New arrivals to the area and old folks who have grandchildren in distant places will enjoy the chance to be surrounded by all the youthful enthusiasm.  Organizers say that anyone with something good to share can donate it to the silent auction.

        The bees will be glad to know that the Federal appeals court ruled in favor of beekeepers striking down the EPA’s approval of neonicotinoid insecticide, sulfoxaflor, produced by Dow.  The court cited the “precariousness of bee populations: and “flawed and limited data” submitted by Dow on the pesticides’ effects on beleaguered pollinating insects.  The agrichemical industry, as a whole, seems flawed and hopes are that the EPA will start protecting people and the environment instead of the profits of Dow, Monsanto, Syrgenta, Dupont, Bayer and BASF.  A beekeepers visiting in Champion recently was much impressed by the Behemoth Bee Tree on the south side of the Square.  It is a rare occasion to see wild bees in their home environment.  He has asked to be kept informed about the colony and was as delighted by their resilience.  He speculated that the ‘trimming’ of the tree must have been a dicey affair and, like others, would have loved to have witnessed it.

        Bonnie Brixey Mullens and Pete are celebrating 60 years of marriage.  They are two very nice people.  The date was October 7th and Pete had his birthday on the first of October so chances are they have been in party mode for a while.  Friends and family have been steadily wishing them happiness and good luck in the future as do their friends at The Champion News.  Keedien Smith is a preschool student at Skyline with a birthday on the 15th of October—the same day as Joe Moskaly, who is quite a bit older.  Olivia Prock is a seventh grader there celebrating on the 16th.  Darlene Connor and Carson Cline share the 18th as their birthday, though this one is a first for Carson.  Facebook will have us to believe that Atticus’ grandmother celebrates her birthday on October 12th.  Was the year really 1949?  This is the spot where the swift passage of time might be remarked upon again, though it seems like that comes up more and more often.  John Prine had his birthday on the 10th.  He wrote many great songs including “Paradise”, “Dear Abby” and “Grandpa Was a Carpenter.”  “Grandpa was a carpenter.  He built houses, stores and banks.  (He) chain smoked Camel cigarettes and hammered nails in planks.  He was level on the level and shaved even every door and voted for Eisenhower ‘cause Lincoln won the war.”

        In 1938 President Roosevelt said, “Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.  The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”  A French philosopher who was born in 1694 said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”  It is easy to register to vote and easy to vote in Douglas County.

        J.C. Owsley has been on a big ramble around the country up through New England and Pennsylvania.  Maybe he visited Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  When last seen, he was at the World War II Memorial in Washington.  It will be interesting to read his observations.  Another old Champion has been strolling the beach on the Gulf of Mexico at sunset getting sand in her shoes and a sense of renewal with the tide.  Waves lap relentlessly on the shores of the world even when no one is there to see them come and go.  Homecoming will be the high point of the week, seeing loved ones and the beauty of autumn in the Ozarks.  They say the foliage will be magnificent this year because of the wet spring and summer.  Seasons change.  They come and go—one more beautiful than the last in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015

RIO BRAVO—October 5, 2015

2015 Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering

        Reports are that beautiful weather, if dry, is the mode in Champion these days.  Mornings want a little fire just to take the chill off though frost is not yet on the pumpkin.  Already colors are changing and soon every traveler through the area will be dazzled.  Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride through town on Wednesday is sure to be/to have been a pleasant trip.  The regular Wednesday confab at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium will have been augmented by saddle tramp stories and the wanderers improved by the regulars—shop keepers, farriers, carpenters, farmers, friends and neighbors.

        A little get-away from time to time (even from the paradise of Champion) can be beneficial.  Those things that we take for granted look more wonderful at home coming.  Lannie Hinote has just taken a nice little weekend trip to Anchorage from her Mountain Village and posted some extraordinary pictures of the Brooks Mountain Range from the air.  She mentioned earlier that she had very much enjoyed the full moon pictures that her friends a posted on the internet.  She said that it was still daylight there when the eclipse occurred and then it was too cloudy to see anything after dark.  It had snowed for three straight days.  “You would think it is winter.”  She said the snowflakes are huge.  Her friends here miss her but are excited for her to be having this great adventure.  It is a gift that she will share it with the folks back home.  Meanwhile, another Champion is off to the beach in South Texas and then on a jaunt to see granddaughters who have been growing at a rapid rate since the old girl saw them last.  They will spend Columbus Day together and Grannie will be satisfied for a while.

Children of all ages having fun

        The Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering is reported to have been another sterling success.  It was cool enough to make some wish they had worn heavier sleeves, and the cooking fires and molasses, lye soap and apple butter making were popular for more than their intrinsic interest.  The Sunday crowd was a little late in coming but they showed up in force.  The music was great as was all the food that came out of the big white tent in the middle of the field.  There were more people camping than in previous years and more wagons and horse drawn farm equipment on display.  Foster and Kalyssa’s mother kindly posted a number of interesting photographs that show lots of children gallivanting around in the midst of having a wonderful time and making memories that will last a life time.  The General said that he saw people there that he had not seen for four or five days.  He said that he had unsuccessfully struggled to avoid a certain self-proclaimed versifier from an unincorporated community southeast of Wasola.  The Pioneer Gathering is an event open to all so they probably could not keep him out.  Friends missed Bob Berry and Mary and hope to see them back this way one day soon.  When Betty and Dale are rested up they will be plied for details about who won the wonderful Elk Gathering quilt, attendance and the like.  Oh, Pioneers!

        William Tucker Clark could have been born on his old grandfather’s birthday if he had waited one day.  William arrived on the 2nd of October.  His old grandpa celebrates on the 3rd.  As of the 4th, twin Upshaw girls are significantly older than some of their friends.  Betty Dye and Vicki Trippie have the 7th as their special day and Skyline 5th grader, Draven Koepke, will party on the 9th—that is a special day known by some as the ‘ninth of ‘Tober.’  Madelyn Ward was born October 10, 2006.  Steve Connor has the 11th as his birthday and who knows how old he might be.  (That is not a question so much as an exclamation.)  Cathy Baldwin, Jill Hall and Leslie Krider all celebrate on the 14th together with William Tucker Clark’s sweet young grandma, Eva.

Oh! Pioneers!

        The Bluegrass Jam happens every Thursday at the Vanzant Community Building.  There is a potluck dinner at six and then the music starts.  Everyone is welcome to attend—to bring your instruments, your talent, and your love of music.  Participate in making it or just sit back and enjoy it.  The General said that there were enough musicians last week that he did not have to play.  There cannot be too many musicians.  The String Project in Ava is a program working toward keeping the area rich in music and musicians.  Bob Holt is still much admired for having propagated the love of the fiddle.  Anyone who has an old fiddle sitting quiet and idle is welcome to donate it to the project.  Contact Barbara Deegan at Ava High School.  They say that every time a fiddle becomes available there is a child ready to learn to play it.  Bob Holt would be proud.  An instrument that is not being played might as well be stove wood–no use having it hang on the wall collecting dust and cobwebs.

        Champions are busy getting the last of the garden in—a few more beans and black eyed peas stored up against the winter.  Up in Norwood Linda is having a half-price sale for the whole month of October on everything at The Plant Place and The Gift Corner.  There are some tremendous bargains to be had and Linda will have more time to play bridge.  Old Champions are getting the firewood in and will be hauling ashes soon.  The seasons are slipping by quickly.  Maybe the cold weather will give people more time to idle at home, to linger in quiet reflection, practice “Coleen Malone,” or to travel down to the city center to socialize and become enlightened.  When asked what surprised him most about humanity the Dalai Lama answered, “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

        Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Old Fox Creek to report what surprises you most about humanity.  Say goodbye to summer out on the wide veranda and figure that the bees in the Behemoth Bee Tree on the South Side of the Square will be just fine in the seasons ahead.  Go to www.championnews.us to see a good example of how a good community really lives.  Get ready to sing, “The autumn leaves drift by my window….” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!