October 29, 2019

CHAMPION—October 28, 2019


2019 Champion Winter Prognosticator

Friends and neighbors will be out in force on Saturday, November 2, for the fund raiser for the Eastern Douglas County Fire Department.  The event, their 10th Annual Chili Supper and Benefit Auction Dinner will start at 5:30 P.m. at the Vanzant Community Building.  Steve Moody will be serving up his award-winning, fabulous pulled pork.  Fire department members, as well as many local merchants, have contributed all kinds of great items for the auction.  Backyard Bluegrass will be providing entertainment, so it will surely be a splendid evening.  It is likely you will run into folks there that you have not seen since the Skyline VFD Picnic back in August.  It is nice to see these neighboring fire departments helping each other.  It speaks of a good community.  Fire fighters and first responders all over the country are looking toward California now, knowing the difficulties those folks are facing and hoping for the safety of everyone.  The Eastern Douglas County Fire Department already had this event scheduled before the October 21st tornado did its work on their various fire houses.  That night the volunteers were all out during the wild storm cutting up fallen trees blocking roads and drives and doing welfare checks—doing the hard, dangerous work of protecting the community.  They were surprised to get back to their buildings to find them badly damaged.  With the community support for this fund raiser, they may be able to meet their insurance deductible.  Perhaps there are government entities that may also lend a hand eventually.  Good luck to a vital, much-needed organization.  The forecast is for perfect chili supper weather in downtown Vanzant—see you there!

By the time The Douglas County Herald reaches homes in Champion on Friday, Thursday’s Trick or Treaters will be recovering from a surfeit of sugar, or will be looking forward to the week end for an extravaganza of candy consumption.  Belly-ache remedies vary from family to family.  While we often use the word ‘sweet’ to mean ‘good,’ we understand that sugar feeds inflammation in old folks with arthritis.  We cannot keep children from finding sweets irresistible, but we can stress moderation for them to live healthy lives.  For parents and grandparents photos of our young ones in their Halloween costumes are the sweetest.  Granddaddy Hector would say, “They’re goodern snuff.”  Some of the things grandfathers say do not necessarily translate into polite conversation, but they can be very funny.  Just ask Laine Sutherland about her Grandpa Ed.  She said he was a character, “He had a wonderful laugh and I have seen him so tickled that he cried.  He would just about get down on the floor!”  There are probably any number of people with stories to tell about Ed Sutherland.  Maybe there are some that would be fit for print.  It is a challenge.

One of the roofers working on the pretty blue house on the hill over on the West side of the Square stopped at the Historic Emporium for lunch while the Sometimes Wednesday Porch Band was playing.  The General loaned him his guitar and the young man rocked out “Columbus Stockade.”  He was invited to the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday.  He sounded pleased, but did not make it, most likely on account of the rain and having a job that required him to be up in the morning.  Maybe he will show up one of these Thursdays—pot luck at 6:00 and music 7:00-9:00.  Everyone is welcome.  Music is good medicine.

The accuracy of the weather predictions of the wooly-bear-caterpillar will be tested this year.  Folklore says if the rusty-brown band is wide, then it will be a mild winter.  The more black on the wooly-worm, the more severe the winter is expected to be.  If it is black on each end and brown in the middle, we may expect hard weather in the beginning and at the end of the season and mild days in between.  While they say that other colors of fuzzy caterpillars are not the same type of wooly-worm and are not used for weather forecasting, it is the considered opinion that the solid gold (rusty-brown) woolly-worms in a Champion garden are indeed harbingers of a pleasant winter.  (See photos at www.championnews.us) Since the only constant is change, we can expect dramatic changes from day to day—that is what we call weather–the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and its short-term variation in minutes to weeks of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility, and wind.  Climate refers to the average atmospheric conditions over relatively long periods of time, usually 30 years.  Ruby Proctor said that when she was a girl in Champion, there would be snow on the ground sometimes from Thanksgiving to Easter.  Ruby was born in 1925, and saw the climate change in her 88 years.  Think back.  When is the last time we had one of those long, hard winters?  On Friday our adopted Champion granddaughter, Greta Thunberg, was up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with 15,000 students voicing their trepidations over climate change and the long term health of the planet.  Local health food stores, Jean’s Healthway, on the square in Ava, and Meadowbrook, on the square in Mountain Grove, have buttons with Greta’s likeness.  Get one and wear it to spark conversations and perhaps raise an awareness of the real concerns of millions of young people around the world.  In 1960 there were 3.032 billion people in the world.  Today there are 7.7 billion of us.  These “interesting” times have many suffering and many humanitarians struggling to help.  Some people abhor any form of social activism if they do not perceive their own lives to be affected.  “Why should I bother?”  Bother because there is no other place for us to go.  We are all in it together—world citizens.  Champions!  Looking on the Bright Side!

Greta Buttons

October 22, 2019

CHAMPION—October 21, 2019


Bud Hutchison’s Fall Champion Trail Ride

By all accounts, Bud Hutchison’s Fall Champion Trail Ride was a great success.  It was cool to start with, but it turned out to be a lovely day.  Andrew Harden reported that there were no unpleasant incidents.  Everyone stayed in the saddle and while there were no dog encounters, something was said about turkeys, but there were no details shared.  Fifteen made the trip:  Andrew from Ava on Mable, Don Hamby of Dora on Domino, Kenny Forsythe of Mountain Grove on Mo, Dana Harden of Ava on Jim Bob, Hershel Letsinger of Ava on Duke, Gary Braden of Rueter on Sadie, Jim McCaughrin of Mountain Grove on Gem, Jeff and Casey Alcorn of Theodosia on Holly and Lady, Joe and Wilma Hamby of Ava, Chelsea of Ava on Ugly, Cindy of Rogersville on Dolly, Jennifer Wolf of Pontiac on Peaches, and Nancy Emerson Perriman of Rogue River, Oregon on Ginger.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Bud were there.  His friends have good memories of him and they surely regaled those who may not have known him well with many tales of the good natured man while they meandered along the beautiful Champion Trail.  The Sometimes Wednesday Porch Band played for the bunch as they enjoyed refreshments at the end of the trail.  Maybe they played “Along the Navajo Trail.”  Go look in the archives at www.championnews.us.  About this time every October, Bud’s Trail Ride has been documented.  It is a sweet story.

Kayleigha Crownover and Araya Smith are both prekindergarten students at Skyline.  Kayleigha’s birthday is on October 28th and Araya’s is on the 29th.  Third grader, Addison Jeffrey has his special day on October 30th.  Halloween will be the next day, so the Tiger Trail will be crawling with goblins and ghouls and the trick or treating will be exciting—trunk or treat style.  Skyline students and staff are getting ready for their PTO Fall Festival on November 8th from 6:00 to 7:30.  There will be carnival games and a concession stand with crock-pots of homemade chili, hot dogs, brownies and cookies.  Even if you do not have children or grandchildren in Skyline, you are welcome to enjoy this event to get acquainted with and support our excellent little rural school.  It is the place that is molding responsible, productive, artistic, intelligent citizens who will be running things before long.  Time seems to be going by faster than ever.  Perhaps it is a function of age, but these days Champions are putting good effort in to making the most of every day.  See you at the Skyline Fall Festival!

Roger Miller was born October 25, 1936 and passed away in 1992.  He wrote many popular songs that resonate with us.  For example, “Thunder rolling, lightning flashing, right through the middle of it I’d go dashing, just to show how for I’d go for you, if you want me to!”  The rough weather in Vanzant and other neighboring areas causes us to count our many blessings.  The good news is that there were no casualties locally.  Neighbors will come together to help with the rebuilding.  That is what makes this part of the world such an agreeable place.  Meanwhile, our fall foliage is beginning to be lovely as the red buds and dogwoods and sumac change.  Already things are pretty with the grasses turning golden and waving in the wind.  The greens are muting and soon all the countryside will be like an old master’s painting rendered in ancient oils by artists loving nature the way we do here in the beautiful Ozarks.  Eli, Emerson Rose and Esther Grace Ogelsby will be celebrating their Dad’s birthday on the 26th and their Great Uncle Harley Krider’s the same day.  It seems that there was a rumor that Harley was very good at stemming gooseberries.  Hopes are that he and Barbara will be back in the neighborhood one of these days, dispelling rumors and sharing tales of yesteryear.  Shala Clark will have all her children sing to her that day as well.  She has her hands full and handles it beautifully.  Nicholas Georges has his birthday on October 28th.  He is a youngster somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 or 9 years old.  (Time goes fast and old folks loose track!).  Royce Henson walked to school at Champion a while back—quite a while back.  He called that long straight stretch of road between Clever Creek and Champion ‘Ivy Lane’ on account of having strolled it with someone.  Maybe he will tell us who that was the next time he is back in this neck of the woods.  His birthday is October 30th and he shares it with the gorgeous Connie Lansdown!  This lovely woman can lift the spirit of anyone who needs it with her smile and kindness.  Happy birthday to all you charming Champions –Looking on the Bright Side!

A Champion Fall

October 15, 2019

CHAMPION—October 14, 2019



Today expectations are that Foxtrotters, equestrians, and cowboys all will enjoy the marvelous change in the weather for Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride that heads up in Champion on Wednesday the 16th! Mountain Grove cowboys already have it on their calendar. The Square will be full of trucks and horse trailers in the morning. Many of Bud’s friends from around the area will gather to go off on a wide ramble around the countryside. By the time they get back in the early afternoon, the Sometimes Wednesday Porch Band should be tuned up and jamming. A recently retired mail carrier has pledged to join the ensemble with her spoons. We miss Bud and these trail rides help his friends smile, remembering good times they had with him over the many years. It will make Wilma happy to know that his friends remember that he had a great smile and could spin a yarn with the best of them. When the Jimmy Brown the News Boy (John) brings the Douglas County Herald to Champion on Friday, we will already know the stories of this ride and plans will be underway for the next one.


Skyline R2 School students celebrating birthdays soon are first grader, Wyatt Shannon, on the 19th; fifth grader, Haylee Surface, on the 22nd; sixth grader, Emily Mayberry, on the 23rd and prekindergarten student, Grant Strong, on the 24th. Happy birthday all you Skyliners! They are getting ready for Halloween over there and it is going to be an exciting time on the spooky Tiger Trail. Vladimir Putin’s birthday is October 7, 1952. He is big in the news these days. Steve Connor’s birthday is October 11th. Janet Chapin celebrates on the 12th, and Cathy Baldwin does that on the 13th along with lovely banjo picker, Carol Green. Among the interesting people who have birthdays on October 14th are Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eva Clark, Jill Godshall, Dea Friloux, Leslee Krider and Bonnie Rogers. They do not know each other. Joe Moskaly has his big day on the 15th. Corinne Rogers, Darlene Connor, and Carson Cline all enjoy the 18th. Marty Watts will have his party on the 20th. Anna Henson’s birthday was on the 21st somewhere around 1903. She is well remembered in Champion yet. Another Old Champion says that on October 21, 2046, just 27 short years from now, she will be 100! Donna Moskaly enjoys the 22nd as her special day, and Esther Grace Oglesby will be two years old on the 23rd. Her aunt Breauna Krider celebrates on the 24th, but she was already celebrating with her sweetheart on the 14th. Endeavor to enjoy every day as much as you do your birth anniversary because time is whizzing by.

It will be sad to see Mountain Grove’s Downtown Pawn Shop close. Marjorie Carter and Linda Keys have been serving the community in that business for a long time. They will close their doors November 1st and Mountain Grove will have lost another business on the square. Their friends will miss the ladies and wish them well.

Persimmon spoons.

An old Champion friend once lamented that he had had to ask his son-in-law to help him with the firewood and that he felt bad about it. He was asked to recall a time when, as a young guy, he had the chance to help some old man do something. Did he recall how good it made him feel to be of genuine help? So the old guy was admonished to consider that he was doing the son-in-law a favor. It is hard to ask for help, but, at some time or the other, everyone needs it. Lem and Ned might walk up your driveway and ask if they could do a few chores in exchange for a few turnips. Let them. Whether you are getting help with your firewood or find yourself in the hands of capable, competent, caring health care professionals, your hope may be that your benefactors feel satisfaction in their efforts commensurate with your gratitude. Salute to the Step-Down Unit at Cox South! To lend a healing hand or any hand at all is Champion!

A much-loved grandmother, Sarah Emaline Hector, who was born in Haleyville, Alabama and lived in West Texas much of her life, would suggest that any new Yankee to arrive in the neighborhood should be treated to a Country Pie—a nice green persimmon pie. Here in Champion the persimmons seemed to have started ripening early, along with the pawpaws. Summer turned to fall overnight. Weather forecasting lore says to look at the shape of the kernel inside the persimmon seed: if the kernel is spoon-shaped, expect plenty of snow to shovel. If it is fork-shaped, plan on a mild winter with powdery, light snow. If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect frigid winds that will “cut” like a blade. The prognostications of persimmon seeds or of Punxsutawney Phil are not scientific in any kind of reliable way. Adopted Champion granddaughter, Greta Thunberg, is encouraging all of us to listen to the science. She has been traveling around the United States and Canada recently helping to raise awareness of the climate change happening to a planet near you. She gets a lot of negativity pointed at her for this activism, but she is not deterred. What a Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!


October 1, 2019

CHAMPION—September 30, 2019


Ken Felts leads on the trail back to Arkansas.

Ken Felts and Randall Burnette both drive wagons pulled by three mules—three ups. They picked up another wagon in Seymour which joined them on their return trip through Champion Wednesday. The new guy, a Texan turned Arkansawyer, Dave Somebody, drives a nice little reproduction Springfield wagon. They camped out in our favorite burgh Tuesday night and proceeded out early Wednesday on their way back to Arkansas. They all reported having had an exceptionally pleasant and untroubled trip. Harkening back to a simpler time is one of our favorite pastimes. Truth be told, though, those times were not all that simple. Their troubles were no less dire then than ours are today. Existential crises always seem to be unprecedented. Perhaps those pioneer creeds will carry us through these uncharted waters. Maybe that is the virtue of nostalgia.

The Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks will represent serious generational nostalgia. This event gives us a chance to experience some of what was real life for our forbears. The spinning and weaving, the blacksmithing, the flint knapping, the soap making and myriad other skills remind us of the strength of those that lived that austere life. That inherited strength we adapt to deal with today’s craziness. We thank our predecessors and entreat you to enjoy some great music, food and family fun Saturday and Sunday out at the New Haven Event Park, formerly Chapel Grove. Ray Bradley will be the emcee this year, so you know that there will be lively entertainment. There will be music all day starting off at 9:15 with the National Anthem led by Bradley. He has a great voice. There will be a chance to win a Mini Branson Vacation as well as a number of other things. It looks like the weather is going to be just right for it this year with a little hint of fall finally. Among the crowd you will surely meet up with many old friends you may not have seen in years. See you there.

Those good looking Mountain Grove cowboys were on the Champion Square early Friday morning. They planed an excursion up County Road 239. They will have had some great distant vistas to enjoy from one of Douglas County’s high spots. Actually, these guys are not necessarily cowboys just because they ride horses. Perhaps in the future we will call them equestrians if it turns out they do not have cattle. Jim, the tall one with the big hat was happy. The previous day he had been able to get the landscapers and the tree trimmers to do what needed to be done at his house so his television dish was no longer obstructed. We can observe that people are generally willing to tell you in dreary detail about all the things that are wrong or going badly, so when someone comes along willing to share happiness, no matter how inconsequential it is to us personally, it is still a real treat. If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. A nice broad smile is good for everyone in its beam.

Champions are happy for Shirley Emerson. She has been with the Douglas County Health Department taking our blood pressure readings on the fourth Friday of the month for some while now. Friday was her last day with us. She is finishing up her last prerequisite course and will be enrolled in the Cox College of Nursing in Springfield this fall. Her aging friends out here in the country will miss her pleasant company, but congratulate her on a fine career choice. The more heath care professionals the better, says the aging population. Our new blood pressure monitor is a charming young lady from Mountain Grove. Shelby will be looking at our systolic and diastolic for us on our fourth Fridays in the future. We look forward to getting acquainted with her and hope that more people in the area will take advantage of this great amenity. She sets up in the Meeting Room at the Historic Emporium from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. ready to help us take care of our health.

Mrs. Brixey, prekindergarten teacher at our wonderful Skyline R2 School, Lydia Harden 6th grader, and Myson Loveless, first grader, all celebrate birthdays on the first of October. Pete Mullins, Bonnie May Brixey’s sweetheart, shares that day also with a Champion wood worker, producer of trinkets, whose motto is, “If you act like you are having a good time pretty soon you will forget that you are acting and you will really be having a good time.” Well, that may not be his motto, but there are those in Champion who try to remind him of that about this time every year. William Tucker Clark was born on October 2nd, 2015. He shares his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi, the political ethicist who taught us about nonviolent resistance, born in 1869. Grandpa Clark and Evan Homer, a kindergarten student, share October 3rd. Malachi Fulk, 7th grader, celebrates on the 4th. That happens to be the birthday of Champion/Denlow twins. One is a few minutes older than the other, but after a certain period of time, a few minutes do not matter much. After all, in 17 short years they will both be 90. Ms. Betty Dye and popular Democrat, Vicki Trippe, will have their special day on the 7th. Theresa Toast and Glen Masters will have their big day on the 8th. Madelyn Ward was born on October 10th, 2006. Time flies! Birthdays are big important days to some people. Others would like to forget them. However you feel about this kind of celebration, we are all here. We all matter. We are Champions!—Looking on the Bright Side!

Good looking cowboys in Champion.