CHAMPION—September 2, 2016


Champion School Reunion 2015
Seated left to right: Wayne Sutherland, Vivian Krider Floyd, Irene Keller Dooms, Royce Henson, Ethel Luellen Anderson, Elsie Hick Curtis.  Standing left to right: Jerry Smith, Benton Hutchison, Frances Cooley Sutherland, Kenneth Henson, J.R. Johnston, Doug Hutchison, Eva Lois Henson Phillips, Wes Lambert, Modeen Dooms McGowan, Alvie Dooms, Elvie Hancock Ragland and Darrell Hutchison.

        All you great appreciators of Champion and all things Champion, you will have to wait a week for reports of the Champion School Reunion.  Always on the Saturday before Labor Day, it is shaping up to be another sterling event, Hoovey Henson made a surprise appearance at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday and allows that he will be making the ‘Walk of Ages’ starting at Cold Springs at nine on Saturday morning.  There will be support vehicles with water and he said that Royce would be in a rocking chair on the back of a pick-up.  Hoovey may be making that up.  Pete Proctor, according to The General, wants to join the parade (or amble), but Pete reports having trouble with a knee.  It is figured that the Henson Party will carry on and just meet up with Pete at the dinner table.  Hopes are that someone has filled them in on the precarious situation at the second low water crossing.  Ah!  They are tough, resourceful folks.  They will make it.  Stay tuned.  These community gatherings are part of what makes this a great place to live and worth a long walk to get there.

        There may be several birthdays celebrated at the reunion on Saturday.  Betty Thomas, Larry Wrinkles, and Wilma Hutchison all mark September first as their birth anniversary.  Phoebe Johnston Ward celebrates on the third and her Uncle Vernon and her cousin Dailey Upshaw celebrate on the fourth.  Perhaps someone will organize a happy birthday song for them on Saturday.  Music on the wide veranda a couple of Wednesdays ago was responsible for causing a couple of Champion farmers to shirk their chores for a few minutes as guitars were passed around.  “Oh, I haven’t played in ten years,” says one who then proceeds to play the daylights out of a borrowed guitar, and a mandolin and a banjo.  It is amazing how many people in this part of the world ‘used to play’ and how much they still remember.  Someone quoted a recent article in the AARP magazine that touts music as a great healer, a comforter, an analgesic, and a mental stimulator that helps stave off dementia.  Not everyone is old enough to get that magazine, of course, but they take the word of their elders that the article seems to be well researched and factual.

        As Hoovey and party take their stroll down Cold Springs Road to the south on Saturday they will likely be traveling down the middle of the road so as to avoid the poison ivy and other lush growth along the edges.  The Jewel Weed will be blooming big time at the spring crossings and along the creek where it stays wet.  The Teeter Creek Herb folks had a good facebook article about Skullcap last week.  It is a member of the mint family and was used to treat nervous disorders.  The article says that large stemmed varieties of Skullcap are sometimes gathered for the market and reports that for a long time Germander, a plant with liver toxins, was gathered and sold as Skullcap.  There is “…a good case for knowing and trusting your source of herbs, and the admitted importance of some of the guidelines now in place to regulate the identification and quality of herbs in the industry.”  Bob Liebert, founder of Teeter Creek Herbs, will give a talk on Medicinal and Edible Herbs, with a focus on Ozark regional herbs and herb lore, at the Springfield, Mo. Nature Center (4601 Nature Center Way) on Tuesday September 13th, with one class at 5 PM and another at 6:30 the same evening.  They will be getting out around the Nature Center grounds for some plant viewing.  They do require you to call in and register.  Liebert says, “Call earlier rather than later—417-883-4237.”


        The West Plains Wagon Club and the Gee and Haw folks from Arkansas will be making their trek through Champion on September 22nd this year.  They start out of a Monday in West Plains and by Friday are a hundred miles down the road in Mansfield.  From there they go different ways.  Some go home and some just keep going.  They generally arrive in Champion on Thursday just shy of noon and rest up for an hour or so before heading north up Cold Springs Road.  They are pleased to be met by the community and are willing to have their interesting rigs and beautiful animals inspected.  The wagon train is an annual reminder to folks along the trail that our past is full of competent, thoughtful, hardworking, inventive people full of curiosity and determination.  “There’s some cotton, thread and needles/for the folks a way out yonder/a shovel for a miner/who left his home to wander/some rheumatism pills/for the settlers in the hills/ Git along mule, git along.”  J.C. Owsley, a Champion friend from over at Jordan aspires to see the wagon train and might join up with it east of Champion and escort it a way.  He is always a welcome site.  Maybe he will be on a black gelding, a good “old man’s” horse or on a flashy pait that is a road eating traveler.  He recently said, “An old friend of mine once raffled off a dead horse and I asked him if it made anyone mad.  He said, ‘only the guy who won so I just gave him back his money.’”  J.C. was here a while back on a big white mule, Dot.  They cut quite a figure.

        Figure Dale and Betty Thomas will be at the Champion School Reunion.  It will not be long before their Pioneer Descendants’ Gathering over on Bryant Creek at the Edge of the World.  Yates is the place.  That will be Saturday and Sunday the 1st and 2nd of October.  There is rumor that this may be the last one of these beautiful events.  It is chance to become immersed for a while in that recent but historic past of just a few generations ago.  Times may have been simpler then, but the work was definitely harder.  There may have been less time for mischief.  Of course, mischief makers always find the time.  Not mischief makers, but doers of good works are Debbie Stone (679-3845) and Debbie Shannon (948-2116)  who are putting together a benefit for Sharon (Coffman) Driskell at the Vanzant Community Building on Saturday the 10th of September, starting at 6:00 p.m. with dinner, music and an auction at 7:00.  It will be a great time for a great cause.  The purpose of the benefit is to help with travel expenses for cancer treatment in Texas.  If you cannot make it to the benefit but would like to help out with a donation use this address:  Brenda Coffman Massey, HC 73 box 185b Drury, Mo 65638.  Good works.

        More good works come In a letter of support to the brave indigenous environmental defenders at Standing Rock from neighbors to the south in Ecuador:  “Dear Brothers and Sisters in the North, We send you a fraternal greeting of solidarity for all that you are living and experiencing as a result of the exploitation of the extractive industries on your territories, especially to our Sioux allies who are defending the Missouri River.  We identify with your struggle to keep it in the ground in defense of Mother Earth and all creation.  From the Amazon, we stand with you as Indigenous Peoples, as guardians of our living forests and planet. Patricia Gualinga. Leader of the Kichwa Indigenous People of Sarayaku”  In a tumultuous world it is good to know that good works are universal and areespecially good in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!