CHAMPION—September 9, 2013

        It is a lovely sight in Champion to see the pastures still green even as the wet weather creeks have dried up again.  Few complaints are to be heard as the moderation of the temperatures and hope of a little rain will smooth out minor wrinkles that vex perfection.  Champion–glorious in all seasons!

        Bud Hutchison hosted an impromptu trail ride to accommodate folks from Michigan and Louisiana on Friday.  He will have his regular fall event coming up in October, but the serendipitous spontaneity of Friday’s ride honored a promise to show these out- of- towners the sites.  Festus Hagen would say that Champion is plumb ‘sitesome’ or maybe he would say ‘looksome.’  The sightseers ambled around for several hours covering a solid 20 miles of beautiful Champion territory and are all much plussed for the experience.  They are reported to have had a pleasant, uneventful ride and that none had to be fished from the drink.  Their names are written in the guest book at the Restoration of the Historic Emporium together with notations of their home places.  That guest book is doubtlessly an interesting read.

        Cowboy Jack did not make this ride, but made it down to Champion to visit with his friends.  He will most likely make an appearance as an out-rider with the West Plains Wagon Club wagon train when it sashays into Champion on Thursday.  They generally leave West Plains on Monday and make it to Champion about midday on Thursday.  They loiter about the Square to give themselves a rest and observers the opportunity to examine these wonderful rigs and beautiful draft animals up close.  The General has made a tentative commitment to show up about eleven with his guitar.  The preeminent resident of Champion would specify that The General often commits and then is called away on business so urgent that he cannot be held in contempt for a failure to appear.  He is an important man.  Spectators will park out on the road or on the edge of town so that the wagons and animals can enjoy the little church yard under the big trees for their rest.  Spectators will include a sizable contingent of the General’s blood kin and so if he does show he will be on good behavior.  Cooler weather is predicted for the Champion segment of the wagon train’s journey so the travelers will all be in a good mood when they arrive.  The wagons have rubber tires and spring seats but the hard work, knowledge and skill that it takes to roll across country behind a team is authentic to the experience of those who ‘paved’ the way long ago.  Welcome!

        A prominent citizen in Champion concludes that fall is on the way.  He says that the walnut leaves are fluttering down in golden swirls, just a ’trickling down to the parched, dry ground.   He speculates that should the Cowboy take a tumble from his mighty high horse, he would come up coughing and sputtering, perhaps gasping and snorting to clear his windpipe of the dreadful desiccating dust.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that any above the ground crops planted on Friday and Saturday will do well.  Some are planting spinach, lettuce and radishes thinking that these things can stand a little frost.  That frost could be around the corner in two or three weeks is another of those startling yet not unexpected proofs of the rapid passage of time.  Where did the summer go?

        Tanna Jo will have her birthday of Friday the 13th!  That will be just fine.  She is not superstitious and is a lucky person blessed with a beautiful family and a great joie-de-vivre.  Foster and Kalyssa can use their new tuning forks to pitch a great happy birthday song to their dear, sweet Mother.  On the 14th a regular visitor to the Ozarks, nephew Konrad, will have a birthday that will be celebrated in song by daughters, Sophia and Penelope who are great Champion aficionadas.  Over at Skyline School, two seventh graders, Derek Camp and Donavon Sarginson, celebrated on September 5th.  Lexus Ledbetter is in kindergarten and has a birthday on the 10th of September.  Breann Davis, sixth grader, has hers on the 14th.  Grandparents Day at Skyline School was a particularly wonderful day for Taegan Krider.  She is in pre-kindergarten and loves it.  She had both of her Grandmothers visit her in school Friday.  They did a little hand print craft project together making some good memories.  Elmer Banks has been out of school for a long time but still has birthdays and his is on the 15th.  He knows how to enjoy himself and people in his company are usually having fun.  He has recently gained some admirers for a particular exercise in restraint.  He is a transplanted Transylvania Champion well met!

        The Thursday night jam session at the Vanzant Community Building draws musicians from all around the county and beyond.  Here are some but not nearly all of the songs heard there recently:  Five Pounds of Possum in My Headlights, When It’s Springtime in Alaska, I Thought He Walked on Water, Somebody Touched Me, Mule Skinner Blues, Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine, Long Gone Lonesome Blues, Where Could I Go But to the Lord, Wabash Cannonball, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Fox on the Run, Bear Tracks, Blackberry Blossom, God Gave Me You, Wildwood Flower, Memories That Haunt Me, Oh! They Tell Me of an Uncloudy Day, Cry Cry Darling, Why Did I leave The Plow in the Field, Wayfaring Stranger, Crazy Arms, Shady Grove, There She Goes, and I’ll go Stepping Too.  Musicians are often some of the friendliest and most generous people around.  They are interested and supportive of each other in ways that the broader community could stand to emulate.

        Send news, birthdays to celebrate, traits to emulate or favorite songs to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717.  The email address is changing to Champion @  The website is full of pictures of the Brushy Knob bear, the Champion flood of 2013, wagon trains, school reunions and a video of The Grand Opening of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in 2011.  Archives of all the Champion News since August, 2006, are there as well.  A stroll through cyberspace is an agreeable method to idle away an hour, but live and in person is the best way to enjoy one of the world’s truly beautiful places.  Come south on C Highway from Norwood, or north on C from Highway 14 and turn east on WW.  Follow it for two miles or so over hill and dale until the pavement runs out and there you will be in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!