This is the seventh bridge that the Douglas County fellows have rebuilt since the May flood.

Progress on rebuilding the Fox Creek Bridge just east of the Square in Champion has been helped along by the dry weather.  Saturday’s wind might have blown some of those big chunks of concrete around, but, for the most part, conditions have been favorable for the work and the Douglas County gentlemen employed to move the work along are doing a splendid job of it.  One of the young men on the crew speculated that the project would likely be finished this week.  This is the seventh such bridge to be rebuilt since the May floods.  There are about that many more that need this kind of attention, some smaller and some more expansive.  The 815 square miles of Douglas County require a lot of tending.  It is a beautiful place to live.  The big winds stripped dried foliage away on some of the high ridges, exposing houses that had been secret the day before.  The extent of the view available from those lofty perches is the envy of folks in the deep valleys.  Country lanes have also been swept of leaves, leaving the old and new litter exposed.  It turns out that a little litter picking makes a person feel virtuous while being annoyed that other people are so thoughtless is more time consuming and aggravating.  Those bridge builders say they will take the old tinhorn with them so things will be tidy when the job is done.  Champion!

Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy

The lists of reasons to be thankful will be passed around tables with the gravy on Thursday.  We live in a beautiful place and have family and friends and good fortune.  We have the gift to see that our troubles are no worse than those of many in the world.  Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, celebrated his birthday on November 27th.  Every so once in a while his birthday would coincide with Thanksgiving.  It was always a special time.  His son, the baker, would make a giant pumpkin pie and draw a turnkey on it with purple icing.  November 23rd is the Thanksgiving birthday of a spectacular grandmother living over the river and through the woods.  Her family and friends will be all over her place in another Thanksgiving extravaganza.  The 25th will belong to Skyline eighth grade student Levi Hicks.  Fifth grader, Faith Crawford, shares her day, the 26th, with Lannie Hinote.  Lannie used to teach at Skyline.  She is now up in Mountain Village, Alaska on the Yukon River.  She frequently posts pictures of what it looks like outside her classroom.  She has a view of the wide Yukon River at a bend.  It is frozen over now.  Her last picture is a snow scene stretching to the horizon.  It is time to get out her snowmobile or four wheeler or whatever interesting conveyance she has.  She has an exciting life.  Third grader, Billy Strong, will have is big exciting day on the 29th.  Jhonn Rhodes and Lane Watkins both celebrate on the 30th.  Jhonn is in the seventh grade and Lane is a fourth grader.  Your Champion friends and neighbors are wishing you all Happy Birthdays and a Beautiful Thanksgiving.

Tim Tamburinno of the Midwest Bluegrass Directory

Folks acquainted with the Midwest Bluegrass Directory know that Tim Tamburrino has recently spent some time in the Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital after his bypass surgery.  He thinks the place could use some music.  Call them up and mention Tim’s name if you have time and are inclined to play for some people who would really appreciate it.  The healing properties of music are well documented.  The place is located at 5904 S Southwood Road, Springfield, MO 65804, and the phone number there is (417)227-9000.  Tim’s mailing address is (c/o) The Campbells, 1469 E. Wayland, Springfield, MO 65804, in case you want to thank him for all the fine work he does to promote local music and bluegrass in particular and would like to encourage him to make a speedy, solid recovery and get back out there doing what he does so well.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a Canadian singer-songwriter.  People of a certain age may remember her for her time on Sesame Street back in the late 1970’s.  She was also known for her brilliant songs that brought attention to difficult social injustices of the day.  She won an Academy Award Oscar for “Up Where We Belong,” which was featured in the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman.”  She has received two medals from Queen Elizabeth II in addition to many other awards and degrees.  She recently said, “I think a lot of things have changed for the better.  My motto is that the good news about the bad news is that more people know about it now.”  She says, “Progress is always too slow when you’re going uphill, but when you’re looking back downhill you realize how far you’ve come.  It doesn’t do us any good to just hate on the oil people—we have to find ways to settle things, like convincing them to reinvest in clean energy.  Aboriginal people are practical—that’s how we survived.”  The 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of Keystone Pipeline oil that spilled the other day in South Dakota has clean-up crews racing to protect surrounding wetlands, aquifers, and land, but the worst damage has already been done.  It was for reasons like this that thousands of people traveled to Standing Rock last year to attempt to stop the construction of another pipeline.  Some of those people are still facing serious legal charges.  Some will be pleased to know that Ammon Bundy and his bunch have been exonerated for taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  There has been no report about whether they will be held responsible for all the damage during their prolonged occupation.  Perhaps Buffy will write a song that will explain the difference in the law’s approach to these separate, yet similar, situations.

Retired journalist, Frank Martin, says, “The first half of yesterday/felt like the first day of May/a cold front moved in/Where the warmth had been/And blew my spring fever away.”  Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Aulde Fox Creek and compose a limerick that lifts your spirit.  Inspect the new bridge on the east side of town.  Challenge someone you can beat to a game of horseshoes.  Get together with friends for some good conversation about folk music, the fair application of the law, and what you plan to cook for Thanksgiving.  Send some good recipes to or to The Champion News, Rt.72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  The days are slipping by quickly and it is like Nobel Laurette, Robert Allen Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

The old tin horn will be taken away.