November 18, 2021

CHAMPION—November 8 & 15, 2021


CHAMPION—November 8, 2021

Jerry Wagner

Willie Nelson said, “I take it not only a day at a time, but a moment at a time and keep it at that pace.  If you can be happy right now, then you will always be happy, because it’s always in the now.”  Mr. Nelson’s good attitude has served him well.  The famous author, Kurt Vonnegut, wrote, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”  It was nice to have a favorite fiddler at the Bluegrass jam with sister Sally.  We have so many good reasons to be grateful, and foremost among them are fiddle music and the chance to see friends and family enjoying themselves in good company.  Many are still staying close to home as the pandemic is not yet considered to be over.  Drop them a note or give them a call.  It is encouraging and uplifting to be remembered.

The Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department’s 12th annual chili supper and benefit auction was another genuine success according to reports and the and the many photographs shared by David A Vaughn Jr. on Facebook.  Some Champions were unable to attend this time, but still sent money to:  EDCVFD, HC 73 Box 7, Drury, MO 65638.  You can do that too.  Enjoy the reports and continue to enjoy the benefits of having volunteers who will leave their jobs, their beds, and their dinner tables to protect our lives and property when we need them.  They are over there to the east of the Bright Side, and they are Champions.

A well-known local area crooner, who was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, sings, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” but he did.  He was riding a jumping mule and wound up spinning yarns around the ancient wood stove in the Historic Emporium.  He told one about trying to teach an eight dollar pony how to eat and how the pony bit him on the ear for his trouble.  These days his jumping mule is a Kawasaki.  He wants to learn that song, “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”  Now that he has found Champion, he has some place to play music every day of the week.  He was there when the Vanzant bluegrassers sang Happy Birthday to Warner Minor on Thursday.  Warner’s big day was on the 3rd.  Our old friend, world traveler, Chuck Barns, had his birthday on the 11th, Veterans’ Day.  The 13th is the big day for Madelynn Vivod, a Skyline sixth grader.  Carol Callahan Barnhart parties on the 14th, also the big day for Isabella Jeffrey Skyline fifth grade student.  The 15th finds Richard, Bob’s older brother, partying up in Springfield.  Another sixth grader, Caleb Barker, will be celebrated on the 17th.  We celebrate our friends and families on their birthdays, and we celebrate and appreciate our U.S. Military Veterans on the 11th and on every day of the year for their Service and their sacrifices on our behalf and on behalf of our Nation.  Thank you, Champions! — Looking on the Bright Side!

CHAMPION—November 15, 2021

Bob and Mary

Doug Johnson, Department Commander at the Department of Missouri Am Vets, was the Grand Marshall of the Veterans’ Day Parade in Mountain Grove.  He and Diana Jeffries Johnson, Executive Director, led the parade, driven by Bob Berry in his 1963 Studebaker Lark.  Mary Goolsby enjoyed riding along and graciously shared the good information with The Champion News.  We are blessed to have so many Veterans in our part of the country.  The internet featured many great tributes to them this week.  Thank you for your service.

The week ahead will likely see many harvested deer.  Connie, from the Farmhouse in Champion West, inadvertently harvested one a few days before the season opened.  She says, “I did what I told my kids never to do–don’t swerve.”  Her car was trashed, but she was not hurt.  Esther Wrinkles used to say, “Never swerve to miss a squirrel.”  We miss Esther.  Vanzantian, Cathy O., sports a rack of antlers on the hood of her pretty red truck already as she anticipates Christmas in forty days.  The Gypsy says Cathy is the grandma who got run over by the reindeer.  A favorite fiddler admonishes all his Vanzant Bluegrass jam friends to watch for deer on their way home.  If you drive slowly and sing on the way, the miles go by more quickly or so it seems.

Birthdays to be celebrated are those of Dean Brixey on the 18th, Elva Ragland on the 19th.  They are both alumni of the Champion School.  A certain Bozo parties on the 23rd, and Lannie Hinote, now up in Alaska, does so on the 26th.  Lannie shares her day with John Webber’s grandson, Thomas, out in Oregon.  Carolyn Nunn Harvey has the 27th for her big day and shares it with second grade Skyline student Aubrey Lewis.  That was also the birthday of Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, who was born in 1914 in Frog Level, Oklahoma.  The 28th is for harmonica player, Geoff Bartch, and the 30th for Skyline eight grader Lane Watkins.  Congratulations all of you!  Many happy returns.

Lunar Eclipse

Champions might stay up all night on Thursday to see the longest partial lunar eclipse in almost 600 years.  It will start shortly after midnight and be at its maximum at 3:02 a.m. and will all be over at 6:02 on Friday morning.  Up to 97% of the moon will be obscured, at which time it will have a reddish hue which will match the color of those Champion eyes if they are able to stay awake.  At ten days before Thanksgiving, housecleaning and menu making are taking much of their time.  Anticipation of seeing far flung family finally has them in a happy frenzy.  Baby proofing a house is an adventure for old folks who haven’t had a baby crawling in the house for many years.  The gratitude is building up already for the great joy of having the young ones around the hearth again.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


November 5, 2021

CHAMPION—November 1, 2021


A Champion Fall

By the time this is in ink and in our mailboxes, or digitalized on line, we may have had our first hard freeze in Champion. The first time the sun hits the big old mulberry trees after the freeze, all the leaves fall at once. It is an annual delight to see the big yellow leaves float down en masse. Suddenly the season changes and it is only 24 days until Thanksgiving. The menu planning, cobweb removal, and general sprucing up will keep us busy until then. “What’s not wrong?” a favorite Scots Champion asks. “Everything!” is the response.

We repeat, “Sometimes it is wonderful to be wrong.” For example: We generally figure our first frost/freeze in Champion is October 10th, and here we are looking at November 3rd or 4th for the first frigid day. Once it was on September 27th. More probable wrongness is about Wilbur. He is not solitary. He may note even be a he, though seeing him beside the newcomer, he is definitely a little bigger. The new one may be a friend, a sibling, a child, a rival, or a sweetheart. Any guess is liable to be wrong. We are wrong about a lot of things all the time and the good thing is that is often when and how we learn important things. Correct me if I’m wrong, but be gentle about it. It can be a delicate transition from adamant to graciousness after having been proven wrong.

The Spooky Soiree

On Thursday, at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam, we learned that Halloween is a state of mind. The General and The Gypsy were an elegant, smiling pair at the spooky soiree. There were clowns and cowgirls and mysterious entities floating around in silken robes and brush curlers. Warner and Valerie were enigmatic while also smiling. Bob and Mary came as themselves—well played. No one could have done it better, Mary. Seldom seen musicians made it a magical evening. “Way down yonder in Candy Creek, he whittled out a fiddle from a wagon seat.” Music makes things better, but it is always even better with a fiddle, Jerry—just saying.

Old people often ‘joke’ saying, “I’m just glad to wake up!” when asked how they are. Sunday morning had everyone on that page enjoying a perfect fall day, glad to be alive. Champions, Royce Henson and Connie Lansdown, had birthdays on October 30th. Elijah and Arjuna Flenner, wherever they are, have been celebrating their birthday on the first of November for about forty-eight years now. Ethel’s Bob celebrates on the 4th of the month. He likes to drink his java from an old tin can while the moon goes riding high. Emerson Rose shares her day on the fifth with Skyline kindergarten student Elaina Homer. Another dear rose, Althea, had her birthday on November 6th, but never liked to talk about it. Chuck Barns’ daughter, Kathy, also celebrates on the sixth. Foster & Kalyssa’s old Grandpa Wiseman Has the seventh for his special day and the man who reserves his restaurant table under the name of Studebaker parties on the eighth. Axel Webster is a Skyline fifth grader with a birthday on the ninth of November. We acknowledge and appreciate our friends and families with birthday wishes. Thanksgiving is on the way, but gratitude for our good fortune is ongoing continually in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Wilbur and Friend