A Champion Pie [recipe here]

“As easy as pie” is a popular colloquial idiom which is used to describe a task or experience as pleasurable and simple.  The idiom does not necessarily refer to the actual making of a pie.  One Old Champion remembers moving back home twenty years ago after a lengthy absence and, in the process of becoming reintegrated into the community, found herself required to make pies for functions where pies were also being made by the likes of Louise Hutchison and Esther Wrinkles.  The new Old Champion suffered with weeping meringue and tough crusts until she found other ways to participate in local activities.  It was a relief to leave the pie making to the experts, though doubtlessly, Louise and Esther benefited from the comparison.  Sometimes you don’t know how good something is until you experience the less good version.  The good news now is that a friend has shared her mother’s No-Roll Cherry Pie recipe and it turns out beautifully for any fruit pie and for the most inept of bakers.  The lady’s name was Gladys Joyce and it is indeed a Joy to have some success in the kitchen.  Get the recipe on line at www.championnews.us or send a request to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  You will be Glad you did.

Skip and Ina routinely enjoy the Bluegrass jam at Vanzant.  This last Thursday was his birthday.

Skies were dramatic over Vanzant on Thursday.  As the bluegrass jam came to a close that evening, a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” broke out in the peanut gallery.  It was for the benefit of Skip (last name starts with D) who, together with Ina, is a stalwart regular at the jam.  He was having another of his many 39th birthdays and was clearly having a good time.  So it was with Connie Brown and her Dad Robert.  Congratulations to Skip and to Jill Sterling, an absolutely sterling gal, who celebrates on November 13th.  The 13th is also the special day for Skyline second grader Madelyn Vivod.  “Where is Waldo?” you ask.  Well, it is up there in the middle of Kansas City where Richard Heffern is having his party on the 15th.  He makes it down to his home place here from time to time, but Champions rarely get to see him.  Raven Hull is a sixth grade student at Skyline with a birthday on November 16th.  Caleb Barker is in the second grade.  He has The General for a granddad (insert smiley face) and a birthday on the 17th.  Abigale Whitier also celebrates that day.  She is a sixth grade student.  Dean Brixie moved up to the Salem area where he might be partying on the 18th.  Champion Elva Raglan’s birthday is on the 19th.  Your friends and families are wishing you many happy returns of the day as you commemorate yet another trip around the sun.

Connie and Robert Brown are regulars at the Thursday night Vanzant bluegrass jam.

The Skyline R-2 School Foundation is looking for some added community participation.  The president of the organization stepped down recently and the Foundation is looking for someone to step up and take over heading it up.  It is partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which is a terrific program that promotes the love of reading and gets our youngsters ready for kindergarten.  The Foundation can also raise money to help with anything that the school could possibly need such as new school busses, technology upgrades, safety issues, new chairs and desks, etc.  If you or someone you know might be interested in heading up the Skyline Foundation, please contact Ms. Curtis for more information at 417-683-4874.  Our precious little rural school is one of just two left in all of Douglas County.  As state and federal funding continues to shrink, community involvement is all the more important.  Retired people, new to the area, may think they do not have a horse in this race, but these young folks are the ones who will be running things when those retirees get to the old folks home.  It will be nice to have some educated, thoughtful people in charge of things then.  Those people are in elementary school now.

Leonard Peltier, an Anishinabe-Lakota Native American, remarked on the recent passing of Dennis Banks.  “We, as Native people, owe a huge debt to Dennis and other AIM leaders, for taking a strong stand to protect and preserve our spiritual and cultural way of life.”  Banks was 80 years old and was laid to rest at Battle Point Cemetery near the Leech Lake town where he was born.  Native people continue to endure even as Peltier remains in prison (40 years now) having been convicted of murder with false testimony, false affidavits, witness coercion and the withholding of crucial ballistics reports.  That was 40 years ago.  Today non-immigrant, indigenous people have filed a class action law suit against the sheriff’s deputies and police officers who used excessive force when they deployed impact munitions, like rubber bullets, as well as explosive teargas grenades and water cannons against pipeline protesters.  The suit argues that the tactics were retaliatory, punishing those involved for exercising free speech rights.  It was below freezing last November 20th when the water protectors were soaked at Standing Rock.  The same outfit for which the constabulary was working in North Dakota, Energy Transfer Partners, now owes Ohio some $2.3million dollars in civil fines and damages.  Its Rover pipeline has discharged several million gallons of drilling fluid into local wetlands among other violations, according to the state’s environmental office.  That is 228 words to say that our First American citizens could use a break.  It is appropriate to consider our resilient Native countrymen, particularly at this time of the year, i.e., between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.

Saturday’s full moon was a fine time for the Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department to have its chili supper and auction.  The community turned out in full force to support its volunteers.  Esther made many pies for this event and events like this.  Her coconut cream pies have sold auctions like this for as much as $150.00.  Her daughter-in-law has her recipe and also produces some exceptional pies.  This event turned out to be a spectacular success and proceeds will go toward new turn out gear for the firefighters.

Spring bulbs need to be in the ground by December 1st according to a local garden expert.  Time is slipping away.  The time change gave late sleepers the opportunity to feel virtuous.  That kind of opportunity does not come around every day unless you are just naturally virtuous.  Champion’s Horseshoe Pitch is available for anyone who wishes to test his skill.  Virtue can be tested any time.  Julia Child said that you should never do anything in the kitchen when you are alone that you would not do if someone were watching, because surely you will forget and do it when someone is watching.  That is generally a good rule about almost anything.  Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek and hone your virtue or flaunt it.  Bob Dylan sang, “Saddle me up a big white goose.  Tie me on her and turn her loose.  Oh me!  Oh my!  Love that country pie” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Skies were dramatic on Thursday evening.