September 24, 2018

CHAMPION—September 24, 2018


The West Plains Wagon Club pulled into the Champion Square on Thursday.

The West Plains Wagon Club was represented by two wagons as it came into the Square a little before noon Thursday.  Six wagons started out at the beginning of the trip.  The Websters had come from Viola, Arkansas to join up with the group in West Plains.  After a few days in the intense heat, they decided that it was best to turn back.  Their mules were starting to get sore.  Ken Felts had to turn back because of health issues.  A couple of others found the heat to be a limiting factor.  Jim and Judy Cantrell were in the lead wagon, pulled by Long Ears and Patty.  Jerry Sanders and Tony Amison were in the second wagon, pulled by Sadie and Buttercup.  Jim said that all of the folks who organized this West Plains to Mansfield wagon train long years ago have passed away and that there are not many young people active in the wagon trains now.  They are busy making a living and this is not an inexpensive hobby.  It might have to be taken up by retired people as these busy young folks age.  J.C. Owsley made a spur of the moment decision and the hour and a half journey down to Champion from up near Cross Timbers in order to see the wagon train and relax out on the wide veranda.  He enjoyed a spirited conversation with the wagon master concerning young people and how hard it is for them these days with wages so low and health care and everything else so expensive.  Dean, David and Dailey Upshaw were also there to observe the wagon train.  They waved as the wagons rolled out of the Square and on up the hill toward Cold Springs.  They were watched until they disappeared over the hill, some thinking, “It’s sad to see this sweet tie to our past disappearing.”  A little later on a couple of nice folks from the Douglas County Herald, Kat and Galen, stopped in.  They missed the wagon train by just a few minutes.  They were out on an adventure, planning to swing by the Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove and then to visit a friend on an organic farm.  It was their first visit to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek and the Re-creation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square.  They got their eyes full and found some big tasty acorns as they were leaving that Galen said could easily be made into meal.  J.C. had planned to hit the road by one o’clock, but conversations delayed him.  He did call later to say he had made it home in time to get his chickens up.

Visiting The Wall that Heals was an emotional experience for many as memories of the Vietnam War and that era of American history resurfaced.  It was a tumultuous time in the country that had far reaching and long lasting effects.  Area schools took advantage of the opportunity to have students see and understand the enormity of 58,318 names of Americans who died in the war and to hear the stories of the many Veterans and others who lived through those days.  Living through these days is not easy for many.  For every person we see, there is a struggle of some kind.  No one gets through life untroubled.  The Wall is beautiful in its tribute to all those heros who served and to all those touched by their service.  The beautiful examples of families caring for each other through amazingly difficult times may go unnoticed in our daily lives, but they are there.  Their courage, strength, devotion, and steadfastness are gifts of true love.  Hug a care-giver—someone looking after and honoring precious, frail old ones.  They are heroes like the ones we all hope will be there for us someday.  Champions.

There are exciting things coming up these days.  Norwood will have its great Farmer’s Day Celebration on the 29th of September.  There will be a parade, music and a Blue Ribbon Pie/Cobbler contest.  Proceeds from the pie auction will go toward the first Farmers Day Scholarship which will be awarded at the 2019 graduation ceremony.  Representatives of Drury University and Cox College will be there to share information about the opportunities for students looking to further their education.  The Ozark Area Community Congress will have its 39th annual gathering at Hammond Mill Camp the 28th-30th.  OACC is the first and longest standing bioregional congress celebrating the Ozarks and all things restorative and ecological.  The 2nd annual Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks will be coming up the first week-end in October.  There will be many exhibitors sharing traditional skills that were used to settle this part of the world.  There will be a nice lineup of entertainment and lots of great food.  These gatherings give us a chance to rendezvous with old friends and to appreciate the unique area we call home.

Skyline R2 School birthdays include those of 4th grader Tristian Jeffrey on the 25th and kindergarten student Melanie Hall on the 30th.  Sandy Ray Chapin celebrates on the 24th and Cathy Alsup Reilly over in Tennessee has her special day on the 27th.  Lucile Gayman’s family and friends are hoping to show her a good time as they celebrate her 90th birthday on the 29th.  Champions wish you all very happy birthdays.  Hurrah!

Ray Hicks, up in Bluegrass, Iowa complains that The Champion News does not mention Ed Henson often enough.  What a treat it would be to sit around on the bus seat or the pop crates and hear him talk.  Ed knew pretty much everything that was going on around the area but he was not a gossip.  He loved a good joke.  He had a great laugh and kind words when they were needed.  The other day a regular visitor told a story about Ferlie Lambert.  He was using a frog for fish bait and when he did not catch anything for a while, he got up to go only to find the frog sitting behind him on the bank.  Will that do you for a while, Mr. Hicks?  Send your complaints and suggestions to TCN, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to  The recent heat wave made these cooler days seem more enjoyable by contrast.  A famous person said, “Looking at life from a different perspective makes you realize that it’s not the deer that is crossing the road, rather it’s the road that is crossing the forest.”  Enjoy the beautiful weather, keeping an eye out for deer and wagon trains.  An old song says: “Oh! A wildcat attacked Mammy from the rear, and Pap said, ‘Son, have no fear.  If he ever tries to crowd her, we’ll be having wildcat chowder and the covered wagon rolled along!’” to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Long Ears and Patty up close with Seth Keller at the reins.

Sadie and Buttercup.

Colton sits on Buttercup while Harley holds Ryden up for a closer look–Keller Brothers.

Heading out of town, Jim and Judy Cantrell
and Tony Amison and Jerry Sanders
Goodbye until next year!


September 17, 2018

CHAMPION—September 17, 2018


Champion Fall Sumac

Another lovely Champion Wednesday had Champions out on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium spinning yarns and trading news when there came ambling in from the east a couple of good looking well mounted cowpokes.  They are from up Mountain Grove way and most generally ride with the Hartville bunch, but good sense brought them over to explore Fox Creek and examine the Race Horse Monument north of Denlow.  Good fortune led them back to the Champion Square where they had left their horse trailer earlier in the day.  Perhaps they will show up to accompany the West Plains Wagon Club as it make its way through Champion on Thursday the 20th.  The train usually comes through from the east early mid-day and after a nice break on the Square takes off up Cold Springs Road to the next stop up north on their way to Mansfield.  Maybe the information will get to our cowpokes in time.  They are looking to The Champion News to learn about Bud Hutchison’s Champion Ride.  As luck would have it, Wilma was at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday night and passed along a note in her beautiful handwriting saying Bud’s Trail Ride will be October 17th.  Andrew Hardin will lead, leaving Champion at 10:00am.  She said to bring lunch or buy something at Champion to eat when you get to the Shannon Ranch.  If you see these cowpokes around let them know.  They are well spoken, not overly bowlegged, and one wears a big hat.

Idaho dignitaries were the target of poked fun at Vanzant on Thursday.  They were in the neighborhood visiting family and attending the Wilder Days in Mansfield.  The General requested the ever-popular tune, “Five Pounds of Possum,” as a dedication to his kin.  Sherry Bennett complied, to the great delight of everyone so pleased to have her back after a back-surgery enforced absence.  She is in fine voice and had with her a handsome, talented grandson.  Sue Upshaw, her daughter, Darcy, and their friend, Donnelle, were suitably mesmerized.  David Richardson (sitting in Jerry’s chair) promised that, as emcee of the Wilder Days Celebration, he would take every opportunity to embarrass Sue since she has a bonafide historic family connection to Laura’s sister Carrie.  The Idaho sojourners were headed back North on Tuesday after a family ice cream social Sunday with 25 in attendance.  It is nice to have a joyful reason for family gatherings.

There will likely be a nice family gathering for Louise Hutchison as she celebrates her birthday on Friday, September 21st.  She shares the day with Zoey Louise, Champion granddaughter in Austin and great niece Penelope Zappler of that same city.  The next day will be the Autumnal Equinox signaling the beginning of fall.  Along the roadsides already the sumac is brilliant red.  Perhaps we will enjoy some colorful foliage this year.

The White River Valley Electric Cooperative sent a letter a while back informing customers they would be spraying brush killer along the right of way under power lines this summer.  Most of us did not see the workers walking across the country, but the dying brush is evidence of their passing.  Many of those doing the hard work in the heat, breathing the poison all day were Hispanic, not speaking much English.  There were instances where alarmed landowners, who did read it or did not recall having received the letter, called the sheriff and discharged firearms as a warning to perceived trespassers.  How many people who complain about immigrants taking our jobs would be willing to spend a day doing this work for minimum wage or at all?

Nancy, the nurse from the Douglas County Health Department, will be in Champion Friday morning, the 21st, to do blood pressure screenings.  It is a real service to the community.  Helen Batten writes that Midwest Computer Recycling will be at the Skyline School on Tuesday, September 25 at approximately 10:00 a.m.  She says they will try to have everything around back by the kitchen door for easy loading.  You may bring anything that plugs in and they will take it away, free of charge, except for televisions.  They charge $20.00 to $25.00 for those, depending on the size.  Helen says this is a chance to do some fall cleaning and get rid of those items you no longer want.  She hopes we will all take advantage of the opportunity and make it worth their while to come to our school with this service.  It can be a part of the Champion put away-give away-throw away project.  Share your news at or snail mail to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Go to to see what you may have missed in printed versions.

A casual student of scriptures is fascinated by Isaiah 10:1-3.  Warren Buffet advises:  “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you.  True power is sitting back and observing things with logic.  True power is restraint.  If words control you, everyone else can control you.  Breathe and allow things to pass.”  That is good advice these days.  “Be sure it’s true when you say, ‘I love you.’ It’s a sin to tell a lie” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

A Champion Vista

September 10, 2018

CHAMPION—September 10, 2018



Good news in Champion comes from Jim Cantrell of the West Plains Wagon Club.  He called Henson’s Downtown G & G to let the community know that the wagon train will be rolling through Champion on September 20th this year!  In the Champion Neighbors category on the website find “West Plains Wagon Club” and that will lead you to the posting of September 22, 2017.  From there you can scroll through pictures of the wagon trains visiting Champion all the way back to 2008.  It is an exciting adventure.  Come out and enjoy it live on the 20th.  The train generally rolls into town about mid-day.  They take their rest and enjoy their lunch on the Square before ambling on up the hill north to Cold Springs Road and beyond.  The travelers are always pleased to have folks come out to see the wagons and draft animals and to share their experiences along the trail.  It is also a good chance to run into some of your friends and neighbors for some good visiting and catching up.

Skyline Superintendent, Jeanie Curtis, informs us that the school is having a yard sale this Saturday, the 15th.  They are emptying out the old bus barn and there will be lots of interesting bargains—desks, chairs, white boards, text books and some surprises.  Every chance we have to help our great little rural school is a good one.  The Best Choice and Always Save brands that are so popular in this area are distributed by the Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. people up in Kansas City.  They have a ‘save a label’ program that redeems the ‘universal bar code’ (UPC) labels for cash for schools.  Most General Mills products have the Box Tops for Education coupons that are worth a dime each for the school.  Helen Batten will have her work cut out for her as she works on the pile of labels and box tops that school supporters have saved all summer.  It is her effort that converts the little pieces of plastic and paper into cash that the school can use for whatever it needs.  Thanks, Helen.

American Sign Language is a natural language that serves as the predominant sign language of deaf communities in the United States and many other places worldwide.  Here, at the Skyline R2 School Grandparents Day Celebration, the whole student body employed sign language together with their beautiful voices to sing, “Thank you Grandma, Thank you Grandpa for being part of my life!”  Some old folks teared up remembering their own grandparents and the joy of being the old people for these extraordinary young people.  It is a precious thing to have grandchildren and to have grandparents.  Ms. Casper directed the heart-warming program.  The students have been preparing for this for some while.  The building was decorated with great colorful posters saying “Grandparents are Awesome”  “Grandparents Rock!” etc.  There were decidedly more Grandmas there than Grandpas, but the old guys were every bit as touched and proud.

Bridget Hicks oversees the Archery program at Skyline.  She and her team are looking forward to the chance to participate in the Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks, which is coming up on the first week-end in October, the 6th and 7th.  It will especially be exciting to see the young archers getting acquainted with Butch Stone.  He may inspire some to knap flint.  The festival will provide many opportunities for young folks to learn about what it was like to be a kid 100 years ago and to take part in some of the activities popular back then like sack races, three legged races, and the egg toss.  There will be a youth stringed instrument talent show from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Saturday and lots to do and see.  There is a great music line up that starts at 11:00 both days featuring a number of local groups.

The Wall That Heals, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica and Mobile Education Center, will be at the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association Facility 1 mile North of Ava on Highway 5 on September 20-23.  There are 58,318 names on the wall.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founded The Wall and states as their mission “to honor and preserve the legacy of service in America.  We honor the service of all, preserve the memory of those who died during the war and since returning home, and educate all generations about the lasting impact of the war.”  The war and that era have been the subjects of conversations in the Historic Emporium recently.  Though it happened a long time ago, feelings are still fresh and old grievances linger with some, giving pause to ponder.

Birthdays are happy days for some.  For others birthdays are continual reminders of the swift passage of time.  Others decline to observe for various reasons.  For those who do, the acknowledgement of friends and family is meaningful.  The ever-pleasant, interesting, kind, bird watcher, Carol Tharp, celebrated on the 8th, along with ever-relevant Senator Bernard Sanders.  Native Champion, Tanna J. Krider Wiseman, has her day on the 13th.  Calendar notations reveal that Frances Sutherland was 82 years old on September 14th in 2014.  Texan, Konrad Zappler, enjoys the 14th as his birthday too, but is not telling his age.  Tigger will tell you she loves green beans and her beautiful daughters, Shelby and Zoey.  Her birthday is the 15th.  Happiness is one of the up sides of these annual observances.  Elmer Banks will be celebrated all week—Wednesday at Champion, Thursday at the Vanzant Jam, a day off to recover on Friday, and then all the family hoop-la on Saturday, his official birthday, the 15th.  He will tell you he is a lucky man.  Of course, he can tell you all kinds of things—mostly true as far as we can tell.  He is from Louisiana over there by the river.  Mel McDaniel wrote a great country song describing life in the south, and enjoying the simpler things in life.  “Hey you get down the fiddle and get down the bow.  Kick off your shoes and throw ‘em on the floor.  Dance in the kitchen ‘til the morning light Louisiana Saturday Night”… or in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


September 3, 2018

CHAMPION—September 3, 2018


Those attending the 34th Champion School Reunion on September 1, 2018: Richard Johnston, Kaye Johnston, Kalyssa Wiseman, Karen F. Krider, Tanna Krider Wiseman, Betty Henson, Elsie Curtis, Debbie Massey, Robert Brown, Connie Brown, Paul Brown , Harold and Eva Phillips, J.R. and Janet Johnston, Charles Lambert, Lonnie Mears, Vivian Floyd, Beverly Keller Dooms, David Dooms, Irene Dooms, Robert Graham, Larry and Teresa Wrinkles, Foster Wiseman, Darrell Hutchison, Royce and Jody Henson, Alex Mills and Alexis, Tom and Valli Mills, Wilda Moses, Wilma Hutchison, Vaughn and Cara Henson, Taryn Henson, Wayne and Frances Sutherland, Laine Sutherland, Robert Upshaw, Dean Brixey.
more photos

It was a warm, sunny day for the 34th Champion School Reunion.  As the afternoon wore on chairs were shifted to catch the shade and the stories and reminiscences flowed forth in a steady stream.  There was a great deal of laughter mixed in with the usual ‘organ recital’ that occurs when old folks get together.  Arthur Porter’s name came up in connection with the straightening out of Punk Hicks and old riddles were revived, to wit:  Two people, walking down the road meeting another person.  One says to the other, “Brothers and sisters I have none.  That man’s father is my father’s son.  “The question is “Who is he?”  Send your best answers to or call Larry Wrinkles to see if you are right.  The potluck was a feast but the best part was seeing old friends reconnect with the deep affection born of shared experience of long ago.  Champions then, now and always!  Look for pictures soon at

The Vanzant Community Building was full to overflowing on Sunday afternoon as friends and family gathered to celebrate Vernon Upshaw’s 80th birthday.  His children and grandchildren put the party together.  They included many great photographs, articles from The Norwood Index, and a poster showing some things as they were back in 1938—gasoline at .10 a gallon, FDR as President and the like.  One of Vernon’s brothers had put together an album for him with pictures of his youth and his family, his military service, and ancestors going back to his great, great grandparents.  The family tree of this part of Douglas County is filled with Upshaws.  They make it a nice place for the rest of us.  Happy Birthday, Vernon!  The venue is so pleasant for these kinds of festivities that one is planned for Lucile Gayman on September 29th as she will be having her 90th birthday.  Par-ty!  Par-ty!  That sentiment goes out to Betty Thomas, Larry Wrinkles, and Wilma Hutchison who all had birthdays on September 1st.  Phoebe Ward’s day is the 3rd of September and Vernon’s actual birthday is on the 4th.  He shares it with his nephew Dailey Upshaw.  Happy days all!

Good news comes from Illinois.  Harley Krider has been cleared by his heart doctor and surgeon.  Barbara says that he can now vacuum and empty garbage.  Also he can drive the bus again.  He recently had visitors from Missouri who made a swing by his place on their way to Tennessee.  He was reported to have been overjoyed to see so many of his loved ones.  Champions are far-flung but close knit yet.  One writes from Scotland saying, “Lovely bumpy sunset tonight.  Headed straight into the waves over an hour and the rowers didn’t even break a sweat; real Newhaven muscle.  And what a view!  The evening sun was down low behind the yachts as they raced home, making their spinnakers glow like giant sea lanterns.”  Charming Morag paints a wonderful picture with her words and with her paints.  She has recently begun painting boat portraits.

Sarah Emaline Putnam Hector was born in a 1885, in Haleyville, Alabama.  She was the daughter of millwright, John Forney Putnam.  As a young woman, she traveled with him into Texas and Arkansas working on mills.  Family history says that she and her father felled trees and, with hammers and chisels, carved them into screw augers to move the grain.  They were on the real cutting edge of that day’s technology.  She lived to be age 84, passing along stories of her upbringing and farm life after the turn of the century.  Ms. Hector was always interested in history and politics.  She was adept at all the needle arts and other arts as well.  She could play “Redwing” on anything that made music.  All of her sons served in World War II.  On an occasion when she met a fellow from somewhere up north, she suggested to her granddaughter that they might make a nice green persimmon pie for the pleasant young Yankee.  During a brief interlude of internet connectivity recently, there were photographs of several young girls accepting the ‘Green Persimmon Challenge.’  Buzz pictured his granddaughters, each holding a green persimmon, ready to take a bite.  No photos showed the aftermath.  What a missed opportunity for gruesome visions of hilarious suffering!  It is a cinch Buzz had fun.

The Dude says, “Don’t worry about getting older.  You’ll still be able to do dumb ‘stuff,’ only slower.”  The speed with which dumb stuff is happening these days is phenomenal.  The Labor Day week end comes to us through the efforts of organized labor.  Child labor laws, the 40 hour work week and minimum wage provisions are some of the advancements that have been made over the years.  Reports of a booming stock market seem to overshadow the reality of the economy.  Recent changes to the tax code encourage companies to outsource jobs.  There is no infrastructure program in place that would employ great numbers of workers and health and safety protections are being overturned routinely.  An informed population may be able to rectify things at the ballot box, though it may take decades to undo the continued damage.  The Missouri Press Association was established in 1867.  Last week it sponsored a nice piece in The Douglas County Herald remembering John McCain.  The quote from the senator was apropos:  “We need a free press.  We must have it.  It is vital….  If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press.  And without it, I am afraid that we will lose so much of our individual liberties over time.”

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885) said, “The goldenrod is yellow; The corn is turn brown: The trees in apple orchards With fruit are bending down.”  “By all these lovely tokens September days are here.  With summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.”  Those last hot, windy days have given our lovely country greens a golden hue and the browns of the summer cut fields are greening with new growth from recent rains.  Hummingbirds are feeding heavily in preparation for their long trip south.  The larder is filling up with the garden’s bounty to be parsed out during the cold months to come.  It’s like the Old Boy sang, “The farmer’s trees are full of fruit And the barns are full of hay Oh, I’m bound to go Where there ain’t no snow Where the rain don’t fall The winds don’t blow In the Big Rock Candy Mountains” or better yet in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


September 2, 2018

2018 Champion School Reunion


Those attending the 34th Champion School Reunion on September 1, 2018: Richard Johnston, Kaye Johnston, Kalyssa Wiseman, Karen F. Krider, Tanna Krider Wiseman, Betty Henson, Elsie Curtis, Debbie Massey, Robert Brown, Connie Brown, Paul Brown , Harold and Eva Phillips, J.R. and Janet Johnston, Charles Lambert, Lonnie Mears, Vivian Floyd, Beverly Keller Dooms, David Dooms, Irene Dooms, Robert Graham, Larry and Teresa Wrinkles, Foster Wiseman, Darrell Hutchison, Royce and Jody Henson, Alex Mills and Alexis, Tom and Valli Mills, Wilda Moses, Wilma Hutchison, Vaughn and Cara Henson, Taryn Henson, Wayne and Frances Sutherland, Laine Sutherland, Robert Upshaw, Dean Brixey.