November 13, 2019

CHAMPION—November 11, 2019


Old Glory

Almost everyone we know is a Veteran or is the child, grandchild or parent of a Veteran. We have 438,100 Veterans living in Missouri 9.4% of the population—here in Douglas County about 12%. This week well-deserved special attention is devoted to them as we celebrate them and their families for their commitment to protect and serve our country. We look forward to reading Skyline R2 School’s winners of “Patriot’s Pen” essays and extend our thanks to Mr. Prock, Skyline’s own Veteran. He spent time in the middle-east in recent years. “Join the Navy and see the world!” was a recruiting slogan in the past, but it turns out that joining any branch of the U.S. Military is liable to take you anywhere in the world. And when our Veterans come home, they bring with them a greater understanding of our place in the world. Their experiences ‘over there’ may make them more understanding of other cultures and certainly more appreciative of the land they pledge to support and defend. Sometimes Veterans do not want to talk about their time there, but sometimes they do. It does not hurt to ask, and it is never inappropriate to express gratitude for their service. A grateful Nation owes an everlasting debt. May we pay it in full! The fast moving cold front, complete with ice pellets, snow, rain, dropping temperatures, and strong winds, caused officials to close school down at Skyline at one o’clock on Monday and to cancel school for Tuesday. There was to have been a Veteran’s celebration, scheduled for 2:30 that would have included music, patriotic speeches and a demonstration by Mr. Prock about the correct way to fold our Flag. The celebration may have been canceled, but, hopefully, the reason for it stays in the consciousness of our young students—voters and soldiers of the future. Meanwhile, Champion cattle gathered along a barbed wire fence for shelter.

Skyline’s PTO Fall Festival was a splendid success. The chili was fantastic and the support shown by the community for our important little rural school is commendable. We live in a good part of the world. This wonderful, warm week-end was busy for many as they brought in fire wood, drained hoses, set faucets to drip, filled the bird feeders, insulated dog houses, checked the flue and anti-freeze and chinked drafty windows. The glorious week-end had one Old Champion ignoring the signs, planting garlic during the wrong moon phase as indicated by trusted farmer’s /planter’s almanacs. It is to be noted that many a successful gardener adheres to the do-it-when-you-can philosophy. There will yet be days warm enough to shovel that good stuff and to nourish the garden with insulating leaf blankets.

If we have leapt directly into winter, we did not get much in the way of autumn. Marty Robbins sang “When the Work’s All Done This Fall.” It is a ballad of the combined versions from Norman Blake and Doc Watson, a poignant story of a cowboy determined to get home—home to his Mother. He had left under her protest and had strayed long and far. Just as he recognized his error and his longing for family and for home, tragic fate intervened. It is the kind of sad song that touches the hearts of every sentimental hillbilly, cowboy, or lumberjack, salt sea sailor, baker, farmer, grocer or grandma. The world is full of poignant tragedy. If the opportunity presents itself to help ameliorate suffering, it is a Champion notion to do so. Admonitions aside, music opens doors, hearts and thought processes. Enjoy. Sing loud, on key if you can, but don’t let that stop you.

Winter seems to have come upon us quickly, but we will have days warm enough to let us get a little something done. Our adopted Champion granddaughter, Greta, is off in North Carolina having good conversations about the difference between weather and climate and other associated realities. It is funny. It is sweet that people, who love each other, yet believe opposite things about politics, religion, climate change or chili recipes (beans or no beans), still can care about each other. They still hug and laugh, make thoughtful inquiries about each other and say, perhaps just to themselves, perhaps with eyes rolled, “Bless her/his heart.” The wild vicissitudes of the weather might give some of us an opportunity for those inside wintertime projects that we consider on sunny days–gluing that broken vase, dusting or organizing those photographs, photo documenting spider webs or deer through the window, purging old files, practicing our favorite songs, tidying the pantry, catching up on correspondence, reading, trying new recipes or old ones, napping, ad infinitum. It is an excellent set of circumstances that allows a person to choose how his day goes. Farmers, firefighters, military personnel, postal carriers, EMTs, health care providers, volunteers for Meals on Wheels, law enforcement people and many others
lots of people have to do their jobs regardless of weather conditions. Some of them, during the course of busy days, can stop in at the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square for coffee, conversation and a warm-up by the wood stove that has warmed and comforted generations of Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion cattle huddle by a barbed wire fence.

November 5, 2019

CHAMPION—November 4, 2019


Trick or Treat!

Halloween at Skyline R2 was fun all day—fun for everyone! That was on top of the fun the preschool, kindergarten and first graders had on their fabulous field trip to the Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch earlier in the week. Now there is more fun coming up on Friday night at the Skyline PTO Fall Festival. From 6 to 7:30 there will be chili and hotdogs, carnival games and the chance to support this great little rural school. Many of the newcomers to the Skyline School District are retired people from other parts of the country. Real estate values and tax rates would make this part of the world attractive for retirees even if it were not the incredibly beautiful place that it is, with its hills and trees and running water, with the glorious distant vistas and hidden treasures. School is always a big part of any community and Skyline appreciates the newcomers and their backing of the young people who are going to be running things around here before long. Some of those kids having birthdays soon are eighth grader Hailey Hall, who celebrates on November 4th; sixth grader, Mason Solomon, on the 7th; seventh grader, Justin Borders, and third grader, Alex Webster, on the 9th; fourth grader, Madelynn Vivod, on the 13th and third grader, Isabella Jeffrey, on the 14th. Happy birthday to all you Skyline Tigers and welcome you retirees from wherever you came to join this great community. We hope to see you at school on Friday evening. The weather is going to be perfect.

The Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department had an excellent event on Saturday. It was their tenth annual chili supper/auction. The Vanzant Community Building was packed. The food, the music (Backyard Bluegrass for the tenth year), the auction and the fellowship fun made for a great evening. The revenue generated will help sustain this vital volunteer organization that provides aid when it is needed most. All our area volunteer fire departments provide mutual-aid to each other when it is needed. We live in a great part of the world.

While we are extolling the virtues of our place on the planet, let us say, “Howdy, and thank you” to the gentlemen doing the county road works. A while back floods had taken out a low water crossing and made a mess of things up on Cold Springs Road. For a little while it was impassable, then for quite a while it was just rough and rocky, but serviceable. Now it is a fine, smooth concrete slab, arguably the best looking one of the several on that two mile stretch of rough and rocky. Seriously, we really appreciate the hard work it takes to keep our roads in good shape.

Cow farmer, Bob Leach, had a birthday on Monday. He will get his card in Champion on Wednesday. He likes Gene Autry’s songs like “Sioux City Sue.” Emerson Rose was in town recently. She is a Champion granddaughter with a birthday on November 5th. We remember a lovely woman on the 6th, who never liked having her birthday publicized. Foster and Kalyssa’s granddad, Wayne Wiseman, has the 7th as his special day. The 8th belongs to the grandfather of Seamus, Lizzy, and Zak. He introduced us to the word weltanschauung and changed our world view. Friends remember Chuck Barns on the 11th. He traveled the world doing big construction, and finished his career in Norwood at The Plant Place a few years ago. He had some great stories to tell and played a mean hand of bridge. The sterling Jill Sterling is an amazing artist. She specializes in minutia and will tell you that she ‘does things with stuff.’ Carol Callahan Barnhart has the 14th for her birthday. She lives up in Mountain Grove but has Champion connections. So does Fern Bishop. Her family will celebrate her on the 14th as well. The 15th is for a Waldo Champion now up in Springfield doing good works and improving the internet.

Parts of the following paragraph appeared in last week’s posting here but none of it made it into ink. The Herald edits The Champion News pretty heavily sometimes. Sometimes it is about length and sometimes about content.

Changes in the foliage over the past couple of weeks have been marvelous to watch—from green to flamboyant to brown and soon it will just be winter’s vertical gray brush pile. It all seems dramatic because just a few weeks ago we were experiencing 90 degree days. We often remark about the swift passage of time, but this seems abrupt. We will still have some nice fall days ahead, so we are not to despair. Each day will be appreciated for its own qualities. Since the only constant is change, we can expect dramatic changes from day to day—weather. What we see over a thirty year stretch is climate. 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? Local health food stores, Jean’s Healthway in Ava and Meadowbrook in Mountain Grove have buttons with the likeness of adopted Champion granddaughter, Greta Thunberg (pronounced ‘TUNberg’). 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 endeavoring to help alleviate that misery. Some people abhor any form of social activism as futile and unnecessary 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!