April 22, 2021

CHAMPION—April 19, 2021



April 15th found the first hummingbird of the season buzzing around a Champion feeder. The second one arrived on the 18th. Careful record keeping in years past revealed the seasonal cost of sugar to have been about $25.00, if a couple of pies and a scant teaspoon per cup of coffee were included. Overall, that is fairly inexpensive entertainment from April until October.

The Skyline Tigers’ Prowl 2021 5K Donut Run is scheduled for Saturday the 24th. So if you are out on Highway C, keep your eyes open for some bright young athletes in neon t-shirts burning up the road! A Tiger Granddad was happy to buy himself one of the t-shirts so long as he didn’t have to run. Students are learning the importance of being physically active and the old folks are too, but in moderation. Go Tigers!

Judi hunting frosty mushrooms.

No man ever steps in the same river twice according to a Greek philosopher born in 544 B.C. Champion’s new friend, Julie Heyer, has a small cabin near the Little North Fork of the White River over around Thornfield. It may be riverfront property where her family enjoys their refuge from St. Louis, but even if it is not, they can wade into tranquil country life whenever they need a break from the city. She has been reading the Douglas County Herald and the Ozark County Times for three years now, so she has a pretty good idea about the lay of the land in these parts. Perhaps on some extended stay, maybe summer, they will have time to amble over to Champion. They can dip their toes in Auld Fox Creek or in Clever Creek if rains have been plentiful. Francis Bacon (1561—1626) said, “Without friends the world is but a wilderness.” New friends are a blessing. An old friend, Susan Dempsey of the Giggle Box, says, “I’ve been to a lot of places but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone. I’ve also never been in Cognito either. I hear nobody recognizes you there. I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport. You have to be driven there. I have made several trips.”

If the cool/cold weather slows down mushroom season and gives you a chance to collect more ticks, you can send them (the ticks not the mushrooms) to Deb Hudman, Senior Research Associate; Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology; 800 W. Jefferson St. Kirksville, MO 63501. Check out the link to get more information about the collaboration between the A.T. Still University and the Missouri Department of Conservation and the importance of the study. Deb prefers to receive the ticks live and tells you how to send them, but will take them dead.

Entertainment was special at Vanzant on Thursday. Dean’s cousin, the Daring Idaho Darcy and her charming posse of D’Andra, Donelle and Mario drew admirers from one end of Champion to the other, friends, new friends and family. Uncle General started with his now signature song, which he dedicated specifically to his many family members present: “Go and Wash Your Dirty Feet.” At his next turn he asked the musical question, “Where do Cowgirls go when they die?” Between choruses he deftly used the spoken word in rhyme to let Darcy know just what he thought of her. Other offerings especially for her were Sherry Bennett’s “Five Pounds of Possum,” and a shaky version of “The Ode to the Little Brown Shack,” inspired by a memory she shared in Champion on Wednesday. It was of her Grandma’s outhouse up on Fox Creek and the big spider. She met the young fellow who owns that old home place now and was given permission to go on a nostalgic tour. She and her bunch were headed off to Branson early Friday morning. Probably no one thought to call ahead so the town could be prepared. She will be back in the fall and her devotees will be ready. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


April 18, 2021

CHAMPION—April 11, 2021



Pink Dogwood

Flowering Quince

A morel mushroom

On a happy note, the IRS and Treasury have extended the deadline for filing taxes all the way to May 17th, so we can spend April 15th this year working in the garden, enjoying the glories of blooming spring and gathering ticks and chiggers while out looking for mushrooms. A friend up on Tar Button Road has started to find a few morels, and while she did not mention ticks, she said the pollen had made her cough and sneeze all through the next day. Springfield children visiting family down on Teeter Creek found a few small black morels over the week end. It is an exciting time of the year. A self-described intelligent woman up north of Ava said she looked out her window at the redbuds and dogwoods and was just so truly grateful to be living in this part of the world. She wonders why people live anywhere else, but she is glad they do–live other places.

Dogwoods and lilacs

More happy notes will come this week with the arrival of kinfolks from Idaho. They will most likely be put up at the Biscuits and Gravy Chateau and treated like royalty. The General is furiously practicing his guitar licks and rehearsing that Johnny Horton song, “Go and Wash Your Dirty Feet” (before you go to bed). He as much as cautioned the few attendees at the Vanzant Jam to be on their best behavior for Darcy and her party. Musical entertainment is part of his version of hospitality. Music is still going on at the barber shop in its new location. Lena Bell extends an invitation, saying the music starts at 9:00 a.m. and goes on for a couple of hours. She does not go, however, since Wednesday is the day for her weekly scrabble game. Because she is currently ahead by three games, she reckons her brother, the score keeper, is being honest about it. She says they are both sore losers. In all the years they have been playing she said they have only had a tied score a couple of times.
Pete Proctor said, “If you get lost in the woods, find a possum and follow it. You’ll be in the middle of the road in no time.” He has been fishing. He shared a picture of himself holding a couple of nice ones. He said he found them in the water at Warsaw, 23 in all, but he got wet. The next day there was a picture of him and his brother, Fred, each holding two fish. Fred’s were a little bigger, but they were both sort of smiling—the brothers not the fish. Going fishing with a brother is a good memory that a number of Champions enjoy. The internet has been glowing with photos of brothers and sisters this week celebrating National Siblings Day on April 10th. It gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the people who know exactly how we grew up. They are our friends, our enemies, and our competition. They are the people who love us, encourage us, aggravate us, embarrass us and keep us tied to family. The holiday has only been going on since 1995, but family ties go back to Noah. Enjoy your relatives if you are currently speaking to each other and know that nothing pleases parents more than seeing their children getting along and supporting each other. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

White and pink dogwoods

April 11, 2021

CHAMPION—April 5, 2021


Blaine and Dad

Champions making an infrequent trip to town like to go in one way and come out the other. Going into Ava on 14 Highway one might note that Don and Reba either did not burn any fire wood at all through last winter or that they have next winter’s wood stacked already. Firewood stacking is good exercise. The bright yellow and blue paint around the reconfigured square is a nice surprise as are the marked crosswalks. The town is updating. It looks like Gib & Todd’s Barber Shop has moved north. Hopes are there is still room in the new spot for the Wednesday morning jam. From Eliz Arts on the southwest corner all the way around to Jean’s Healthway, merchants and businesses around the square are glad the work is winding up and glad for the improvement. Champions around the stove in the Historic Emporium are not so very impressed. They think it will be hard to round the square with any kind of trailer. To leave town on Jefferson Avenue going out past the cemetery to connect with Highway 76 is an adventure in dodging pot holes. An update to that stretch of the road might save some suspension and tire repairs. Heading back home on 76 finds a new facility, just east of J & R Gravel, across from the Hamilton’s place, bagging rocks. Hundreds of pallets of rocks neatly done up in plastic bags are laid out in long rows waiting to be transported to city stores like Menards, Lowes and Home Depot. City folks can decorate and improve their landscapes with Bryant Creek gravel.

Richard Stumpp

Eight month old Champion Blaine Denlow Woods made a visit with her Dad to the Historic Emporium on Saturday. She brightened up the Bright Side though she might have been ready for her nap. Babies always give us encouragement about the future. After pleasant visit around the ancient wood stove, Emily’s folks headed back to their Centennial Farm just as the Wilbanks arrived at the store. Jerry needed diesel and Dianne needed to see some people. Like many, they have been staying close to home for many months. Spring and the prospect of a professional hair cut have her flashing her beautiful smile.

A Champion smile.

The Herald reports that in March of 1921, Willard Luttrell was hurt when a baseball came in contact with his nose. That was back before General Fast Pitch was pitching. The General claims that a no hitter means you did not hit the batter. Richard Stumpp pitched some real no hitters for the Angles minor league team, throws right, batts left. Richard was a regular visitor to the area for a while and made friends while he was here. He won $20.00 off a Champion on the Super Bowl game. Perhaps they will root for the same team this season. Examples of good sportsmanship could inspire good behavior across all strata of society.

Week to week changes in the countryside seem especially dramatic this time of the year. Flowering trees are making themselves visible. Clusters of blooming bulbs mark a long ago home place. Somewhere north of Prior, out in a field on the east side of 95 Highway stands an unusual grouping of animals: a deer, a hog, a wolf, a bear, a mountain lion—all standing stock still together in a pose that has not changed from week to week. Maybe they are friends of Waterhole Ike. Perhaps they are fiberglass products of a budding business venture or the eclectic collection of an animal lover. Every twist and turn as the road winds through Mountain Grove reveals some new spring delight including a chance meeting with a seldom seen country friend. Donna Moskaly said that as Joe was leaving the hospital after having his hip replacement surgery, he had a heart attack. She said that he is fine now and making a good recovery. That is the kind of good news we appreciate hearing.

Animal Effigies

The geographic confines of Champion seem to run from one end to the other, about a 50 mile stretch from Ava to Mountain Grove. Larry Wrinkles told a story one time (well, maybe many times). He said someone “fell out of a barbed wire fence a straddle of a cherry tree and tore himself from now ‘till tomorrow morning. The doc said he didn’t know if he’d live from one end to the other.” Larry was born and raised in Champion —Looking on the Bright Side!


April 1, 2021

CHAMPION—March 29, 2020


Nelson Park

Good things that happened this week started with a pleasant “Hello!” from an occasional reader of the Douglas County Herald in the St. Louis area.  Julie Heyer enjoyed the birthday tribute to Robert Burns in The Champion News and had pleasing things to say.  An unexpected kind word goes a long way toward keeping the Bright Side bright.

Grandma’s Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
[enlarge to read]

Unexpected Azalea delight.

Detail Azalea delight.

The next good thing had to do with Grandma’s Chocolate Zucchini Brownies.  Champion Wyoming Snowbird, Marge Carter, shared the recipe and had just shared fresh baked soft ginger cookies with neighbor, Lonnie Curtis, who stopped by.  Marge said, “Be sure to tell readers to fold in chips and nuts into batter, makes it better.”  She reports that Tammy over in Washington is fine, though travel restrictions had kept her from coming for hunting season last year.  Marge and Doug are hoping she will be able to make the trip this coming fall.  Meanwhile she is studying to be an RN.  That is good news.  As some of us gain age, which sounds nicer than get old, we are more appreciative than ever of people willing to be health care providers.  The past year has shown us exactly who the essential people are keeping things working for the rest of us.  We look forward to hearing Ruth Collins sing Alan Jackson’s “The Older I Get.”

Dandelions are showing themselves among the violets.  They say that every part of the dandelion is edible, and that in earlier times people would dig up grass to plant them.  Edie Richardson, an herbalist and a transplant from Texas, says, “I drink dandelion tea! make dandelion pesto, and sauté the greens with garlic yum yum.”  Missy Street says, “I make dandelion wine.  It is a beautiful flavor—the taste of sunshine in a glass.”  Edie and Lee Richardson were just sworn in for their elected seat on Missouri University Wright County Council and will start teaching adult gardening classes next month at the extension office.  The Richardsons were almost Champion neighbors, but settled in Wright County where it turns out Karen Ross is their mail carrier.  Karen is also an avid gardener and a baker of scrumptious cookies.  It is sweet to see their friendship blossom.  Look for “L and E Organic Farm LLC” on the internet and watch them hoop it up.

Peter Cottontail has hopped down the Champion Bunny Trail so Easter with all its religious and cultural significance will soon be upon us.  Years back the competition between Spotted Hog and Champion for the most elegant Easter Parade was the subject of much discussion particularly by the then Admiral who deemed Barbara Krider’s hat and matching armadillo handbag stunning.  April Fools Day on Thursday will see fun at Vanzant where pranks, shenanigans and tomfoolery do not seem to need a special day.  A certain singular Sister has become the self-appointed Instigator in Chief there, so figure that all the stops have been pulled all the way out.  You pump organ fans understand the significance.

Other good news comes from “The Book of Delights,” shared by the elder of many favorite nephews.  The author’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, shining light on the countless small miracles that surround us.  Find joy wherever possible and they say the possibilities are endless.  Books make great companions.  The General and William Chaffey have been reading Dan Brown novels and have discovered that St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City is round.  Send your discoveries and your delights to champion@championnews.us or to TCN Rt. 72 Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717-9446.  We are delighting in these beautiful days in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Wilbur delights In the dandelions and violets.