CHAMPION—August 15, 2016

Saturday at the Picnic was like a big Birthday party for Dean Upshaw!

        The Skyline Volunteer Picnic was another rousing success.  It started out Friday with a dramatic little downpour.  The rain did not last long and the temperature dropped dramatically.  Turnout was modest that night but the fun was plentiful.  Saturday saw the great gathering of friends and neighbors enjoying themselves and each other amid perfect weather conditions.  They opened their pocketbooks and their hearts in support of the great little Volunteer fire department that serves the community so well.  After all the games, the excellent picnic food, the wonderful music, and the exciting door prizes came the drawing for the quilt/display chest and quilt.  Pete Proctor was the big winner!  Pete does all kinds of good work for Veterans in the area as well as other civic chores and it is nice to see something good happen for him.  The whole evening was like a big birthday party for Dean Upshaw and when it was all over and everyone was home safe in their beds, the rain came again, gently.  Some of the volunteers who work so hard to get the event together worked hard the next day to get things broken down and stored away for next year.  Other volunteers, not used to so much exertion, slept the rainy morning away.  The thirtieth Skyline Picnic now is just a pleasant memory.

        Betty Thomas was at the picnic showing some sensational pictures of the bear that visited their place the other day.  She glanced out the window in time to see the critter walking through her yard.  Dale said Betty roused him up from a good nap in his recliner to let him know the bear was there.  The animal stood up with front feet on top of a refrigerator they keep on their patio and appeared to be over six feet tall.  Eventually it went on its way, but not before Betty snapped the photos she had on hand.  She also had flyers for the next Pioneer Descendants Gathering and pictures of the beautiful quilt she has made for their annual raffle.  This quilt has a horse theme and will be a prize for anyone, particularly equestrians.  There is a rumor that this will be the last of the Pioneer Gatherings so it will doubtlessly be an enormous affair and not one to be missed.  Dr. Suess said, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  Champions always try to be aware of the good moment and are looking forward to another trip over the Edge of the World.

        “I’m as mean as a peach orchard boar!” barked the yodeling fiddler after an unsuccessful attempt to run The General down with his car.  The General performed a series of theatrical stumblings and hat throwings as passengers poured out of the car ready to join the fray.  Much lively banter revealed it all to have been in good fun.  Good fun ensued with another evening of enjoyable music at the Vanzant Thursday Bluegrass Jam.  The internet informs now that doctors are prescribing music therapy for heart ailments, brain dysfunction, learning disabilities, depression, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, childhood development and other things.  Good food, fellowship and music sounds like a prescription for a Champion.  This term ‘mean as a peach orchard boar’ does bear a little study as to the origin of such a declaration.  Anyone who can come up with a good story will be a Champion huckleberry.

What is it?

        Interesting people bring interesting things to Champion looking for answers.  The most recent such occurrence was on Wednesday when Bert Lehman brought in an item that had come to him incidentally in a box of things he had bought at an auction.  It is a steel cylinder about an inch and a half in diameter and perhaps a foot long.  One end has a ring going through it.  The other end has a hook that when pulled exposes itself to be on the end of a screw that is concealed within the cylinder.  A local engineer opines that it must be a turning device—the hook matching a fitting eye attached to a similar screw, perhaps for opening a transom window or who knows?  Find a picture on The Champion News Facebook page and on the website at and share your knowledge or speculation.  The last item brought for this kind of inspection and identification turned out to be a hay needle.  Several people had seen something like it or had experience using it.  A story was told on Wednesday about a man who used to live down by Gainesville who now lives maybe over by Rolla.  He had an elk ranch and one day he looked out to see a man riding by on a black horse with a yellow, three legged dog following along.  The rancher discovered subsequently that three of the yearling elk that had been sleeping in a pile had suffocated.  He would like to have talked with the man on the black horse to find out if he knew anything about that incident, but he was already gone three legged dog and all.

Sharon Tate Williamson with Ed Henson.”

        Jewell Hall Elliot shared a video that Rose Zella Myer had made available on Facebook.  It was made at a square dance in Ava on April 24, 1997.  J. R. and Janet Johnston were in the group, along with Sue Potts, Edna Mae Davis, Joe Englehart, and perhaps Max Decker.  Jewell was not sure about that.  The caller of the dance was Edna Mae Davis and the band was made up of Bob Holt, Charlie Walden on fiddle and Alvie Dooms on guitar.  It looked like everyone was having a good time.  Sharon Tate Williamson posted a picture of herself and Ed Henson sitting on the porch at the Champion Store…She did not know what year it was but her friend Sherri Tate Unger commented on how dark her hair was in the photo to which Ms. Williamson responded, “I didn’t notice.”

        August 10, 1821, marked the day that Missouri was granted statehood.  Details of the Missouri Compromise only 195 years ago show us how far, as a Nation, we have come.  On August 14, 1935, Social Security was signed into law by President Roosevelt, pulling millions of American seniors out of poverty.  There is a movement under way to privatize Social Security with arguments that include the specious notion that it is an ‘entitlement’ that somehow adds to the deficit, when, in fact, it is self- sustaining and would be solvent perpetually if the taxable earnings cap were lifted.  Likewise, the socialist organization called the United States Postal Service is self–sustaining and would be perpetually had not Congress decided a while back that retirement and health-care funds be set aside to cover employees for the next 75 years.  This was a ploy to bankrupt the service so as to justify its privatization.  Congress has also chosen to, at the last minute, slip into a must-pass military spending bill a provision that hands over the title to Oak Flat, an ancient Apache holy place, to Resolution Copper Mining, an Australian owned company which plans to open a crater two miles wide and 1,000 feet deep across the holy site.  The Society for American Archaeology says there is abundant evidence that the Apache have been there “since well before recorded history.”  If Oak Flat were a Christian holy site, no senator who wished to remain in office would dare to sneak a backdoor deal for its destruction into a spending bill, no matter what mining company profits or jobs might result or how many campaign contributions and lobbyist dollars were involved.  But this is Indian religion.  Clearly the Arizona congressional delegation is not afraid of a couple of million conquered natives.  This protected land is under siege as is democracy.  If you do not like the way things have gone for the past few years, look to your elected Congress.  The results of the three months of political turmoil ahead will shape the immediate and long-term course of the Nation.  While it has been a welcome relief to have the Olympic Games temporarily divert attention from politics, giving us the illusion of unity again, the struggle is far from over.

        People in Louisiana and in other parts of the country are not thinking about politics or the Olympics.  Extreme flooding has obliterated communities, taking lives and washing away the life’s work and future hopes of many thousands of people.  The extreme heat in the north east is killing people.  Those of us so far unaffected extend sympathy to them and gratitude for our own relatively good circumstances.  “Count your many blessings.  Name them one by one.”  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!