The wagon train’s passing is one of the highlights of the Champion year.  While there were fewer wagons than we have seen in past years, this year was marked by the participation of a couple of young men—Seth Keller and Harley Wayne Keller.  It is encouraging to see this wonderful tradition being carried on.  Clifton Luna’s grandson has the old wagon master’s wagon and mules, but he also has a job.  Ken Felts remarked that this is a sport for retired people.  It is labor intensive, but rewarding.  Champions are zealously affected by this good thing.  Old people want young people to value what they value.  It is the same the world over.  On Sunday 280 horses and 100 pipes and drums completed the Riding of the Marches spectacle in sister-city Edinburgh, Scotland.  Thousands of spectators lined the streets to watch the re-enactment of the return of the Captain of the Trained Band to Edinburgh with the tragic news of defeat at the Battle of Flodden.  That happened in 1513—some tradition.  Morag Edward remarked that this was a good weekend in the city for anyone needing free fertilizer for gardens and allotments.

Donald Krider had his 90th birthday celebrated in a surprise party up in Elmwood, Illinois on Saturday.  They say he had a good time and played his fiddle.  Louise Hutchison, Zoey Rucker and Penelope Zappler all celebrate on the last day of summer—the 21st.  Sandy Chapin will be partying on the 24th.  Dustin Johnson is an 8th grade student at Skyline who has a birthday on the 25th of September.  Sixth grader Whitni Detherage celebrates on the 26th along with Graeme Laird over in Edinburgh.  Over in Tennessee, Cathy Alsup Reilly has a big day on the 27th and Austin’s own Becky Heston celebrates on the 29th as does Vanzant’s Lucile Gayman, who is enjoying her birthday in her own home.  Skyline pre-kindergarten student Melanie Hall has her birthday on the 30th.

Television is not holding much interest for some old Champions these days.  One did happen to pass by the screen the other day when the Governor was descending from a great height in a spotlight via a rope or zip line or something down into a crowded sports stadium with majestic music filling the great space.  And that smile!  We have not had a politician with teeth like that since FDR.  Well, Jimmy Carter had a nice smile, but he was hampered by his genuine nature.  It would seem that this fellow already is imagining himself as POTUS.  He is on the path.  Herman Middleman, who gives his street address as 86 45 Schtupp Ave., but does not say in what city, writes, “The governor was quick to call out the National Guard in a heavily militarized display of force supporting a controversial court decision.  Why such expansive military gear is necessary is a good question.  Even small towns see surplus military equipment augmenting local constabulary.  Any segment of the population could be designated as an adversary.”  Mr. Middleman goes on….and on.  Much is being said these days about the Vietnam War.  The Public Broadcasting Network has begun an 18 hour series on the war on TV.  It will be most interesting to hear how it is received by local Veterans of that conflict and others.  John McCain recently said something to the effect that wars should be a country affair—that the risks of war should be shared equally among all the people.  The sons and daughters of everyone—rich and poor—should be conscripted.  It might be that if the children of the powerful were in jeopardy, there might be more yearning for peace.  He also suggested that we pay for these wars as we go, rather than saddling future generations with the enormous debt.  Right and left wings can agree to keep our mighty bird flying.

This time of the year every week end has some sterling event going on in the area.  The wagon train came to Champion on its way to Wilder Days in Mansfield.  There will be Hootin’ and Hollarin’ in Gainesville next week end and Norwood will have Farmer’s Day on the 30th.  The folks have a great list of all the fall festivals in the Ozarks.  Another great website is  There you will find the full music line up for the Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks which will be held at Chapel Grove on October 7th and 8th from 10am to 5pm.  It looks like it is going to be a lot of fun.  Organizers say that entries for the Corn Bread Cook-Off should be brought to the chapel building by 11am on Saturday, October 7th.  Embroidery contest entries should be there by noon.  There will also be a period costume contest at 2pm.  Winners in the various categories will be determined by audience approval.  The legacy of the Thomas family and their many years of hosting the Pioneer Descendants’ Gathering has inspired this new festival and hopes are that it will enjoy the wonderful community participation and appreciation that Betty and Dale brought to us.  Check out that website for all the information and if you happen not to have a computer and wish to volunteer to help out with the festival or just to get information call (417) 746-4006.

Monday morning rain is a welcome sight in Champion.  The broad banks of Old Fox Creek shoulder the sweetness of pure county living.  There is a little store at the end of the pavement where country roads meet and where needs can be met for gas, feed, groceries and fellowship with neighbors.  City folks say, “I’ve laid around and played around in this old town too long, summer’s almost gone.  Winter’s coming on.  I’ve laid around and played around in this old town too long and I feel like I’ve got to travel on” to Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!