The Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks looks like it is off to a splendid beginning.  More than a thousand people attended the first annual two day affair and organizers are pleased with the outcome.  Plans are already underway for next year.  People came from far and wide—from Silver Dollar City and the Queen City—from Champion and all over the place.  Royce and Jody Henson were out from Springfield on Saturday.  They find a way to all the excitement in the area.  Ava’s Mayor David Norman won the rifle raffle and Ron Hardesty won Butch Stone’s beautiful handmade bow and arrows.  The music and food were great.  It was a treat to see those flint-nappers and other demonstrators sharing their crafts and skills.  There were some well-heeled cowboys there, some frontiersmen, and ladies in the elegant dress of an earlier day.  The ax throwing venue was particularly enticing to young folks.  The excellent facilities there at Chapel Grove are tailor made for this kind of happening and the new festival will take a welcome place on the area’s annual social calendar.  Congratulations to all you hard working people for an event well done.  Among the upcoming dates of interest and importance on that calendar will be the Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department’s Annual Chili Supper and Auction on November 4th.  Year around, there are opportunities to participate in our communities to help make them the kind of places where we all feel lucky to live.  Champion!

Young Chase Cauthron lives in downtown Champion with his mom and dad.  He was lucky last week to have his grandmother, Starla Yekel, visiting from Cody Wyoming.  She was lucky enough to be in Champion on Wednesday when Chase led the band in “The ABC Song,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Row Your Boat.”  He has a nice ukulele which he plays left handed.  His grandmother was suitably impressed.  Johnny and Lori Cox came all the way from the remote exurbs of Kansas City so that Johnny could sit in on this jam.  He played “Proud Mary,” “Hobo Bill,” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”  They also came to the Vanzant Jam on Thursday and made some new friends.  Johnny is one of those distant cousins of The General, so he has a predetermined foothold in the community.  The practice he did on the wide veranda on Wednesday paid off and he was in fine form for Vanzant  Lynette Cantrell also came Thursday night and made the announcement that due to the coming cold weather and darkness, the Monday night Jam on the Square in Mountain Grove will be changed to Tuesday night at Clark’s Eatery on the south side of the Square.  The time will still be from 6 to 8 pm.  The nice folks at Clark’s will make the banquet room available for acoustic jammers every Tuesday.  “Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon.  All I want is loving you and music, music, music.”

The Inuit people live in the Artic regions of Greenland, the United States and Canada.  These people are said to be incredible weather forecasters.  It was reported that they have issued a warning to NASA that the earthquakes and the changes in climate are not caused by global warming.  They claim that the Earth has “wobbled” or shifted, and that their sky has changed.  Certainly many people feel that things worldwide have changed and gone awry, particularly so here in the United States.  People wonder if we all believe in freedom, in freedom of speech, in peace and compassion, honor and service, how can we be in this untenable disarray nationally?  How did it happen that our military industrial money media security complex has more sway than the wishes of the people for peace and security?  An article written by Neal Gabler, a noted American journalist and historian, was shared by Bill Moyers at ‘Moyers and Company’ on the internet.  In it he states that rural votes are worth more than urban votes; white votes are worth more than minority votes; rich and middle-class votes are worth more than poor votes; old voters are worth more than young voters; single-issue voters are worth more than general interest voters; Republican primary voters are worth more than other voters; an oligarch’s vote is worth that of tens of millions of ordinary voters.  Gabler has reasons and statistics to back up these statements.  There is a big move on currently for open primaries, which would give voters more choice.  There are Supreme Court cases being adjudicated over gerrymandering.  Voter identification requirements are working more in the area of voter suppression than inclusion.  When fewer than half eligible voters vote, little wonder things get a little “wobbly.”  Some have suggested making Election Day a National holiday as a way to increase voter turnout.  We cannot make it mandatory to vote, after all, this is a free country, but making it more difficult does not seem like the ‘American way.’  It is funny how things can be presented to us as if they are good for us.  Are there more than half a dozen people in Douglas County who will benefit by the tax cuts currently being considered?  Will the rest of us pay for those tax cuts in reduced services and benefits?  Will public education foot the bill?  It has been suggested that if our elected representatives were to wear uniforms like the professional race car drivers 86 45, with all their sponsors emblazoned on their backs and sleeves, perhaps we could tell whose interest they really serve.

The waning gibbous moon seen through fog makes fall seem more upon us.  The rapid passage of time is evident as Pete and Bonnie Mullens celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary last week.  They will tell you that the years have flown by like the seasons.  The first frost of the autumn is generally figured to be somewhere between October 11th and 20th in this part of Missouri.  Those house plants that have been enjoying the great out of doors will need to be brought in.  Some gardens are still producing in spite of a lack of rain.  They are about ready to be cleaned up and put to bed for the winter with a nice blanket of manure and leaves.  Spinach and kale might have time to make before it gets too cold, though it has been pointed out by more than one Old Champion that just a little bit of olive oil in your kale makes it easier to scrape off your plate into the compost.  Then there is the firewood.  There is plenty to do.  Figure out what needs to be done next and get busy.  If you feel like you are overworked, go lol away some time in front of your computer at and see how things have gone on in one of the world’s truly beautiful places over the last decade.  Or come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek and see for yourself while you chill out for a spell amid pleasant company.  You can consult with your neighbors and compare your progress.  Chances are pretty good that you will be ready for what comes your way in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!