The north side bridgework progressing.

Over 100 people attended the hearing last Tuesday evening at the Ava Community Center on the future of the Bryant Creek State Park.  Most favored keeping the park as a “wild” area, without much development.  It was reported that this meeting drew a larger crowd than the initial meeting in Branson earlier in the year.  There were a number of people from the Park Service there, as well as Forest Rangers in full uniform, a representative of the Department of Natural Resources, and State officials–Lyle Rowland (our representative) and Mike Cunningham (our senator).  If you wanted to go to the meeting and could not attend, or if you just want to learn more about the 2,917 acre park with its old-growth oak and pine forests and nearly two miles of bluffs along Bryant Creek, go to the Missouri State Park website at  There is a place there to add your ideas and your comments.  To participate, click on “Your Input on New State Parks.”

The chief meteorologist at the Vanzant Weather Burro (not Bureau) is predicting an extremely cold winter.  On Friday he reported seeing a caterpillar wearing a hooded sweatshirt and ear muffs.  A distant relative has wooly worms so fuzzy their feet don’t touch the ground and they just roll around in the breeze.  We have breeze but no rain.  Rain might be waiting for the East Champion Fox Creek Bridge to be finished.  The cold may hamper the progress, but the current, clear progress with no rain in the forecast for the next couple of weeks, may well “git ‘er done, Sis,” and then we can all wash our trucks.  A note from the Missouri Department of Conservation concerning the dry weather and fire danger recommends that landowners make a defensible space of 30 feet around homes and structures where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced in order to slow the spread of a wildfire.  The defensible area also provides firefighters room to maneuver as they make a stand against fire.  Champions are grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world and grateful for friends and neighbors who volunteer as fire fighters to protect our homes and lives.

Destiny Surface, a 5th grade student at Skyline R2 School, shares her birthday on the 20th with Rachel Prock, a kindergarten student there, also with sweet Mary Goolsby who attends the Vanzant jam regularly.  The 21st is a special day for Chris Dailey, Archie’s girl.  It also marks the day when a favorite fiddler will enter his 9th decade.  He and Lena have been married sixty years.  They will be the same age until May.  The 22nd is for very young Oliver Cohen’s Dad.  Chase Cauthron, a prekindergarten student at Skyline, has the same birthday as his dear old Dad, and as Butch Stone and as Sharon Sikes.  These birthdays, Chanukah and Christmas altogether make for a festive season.  There are parties and gatherings and music jams going on all over the place.  Christmas lists include the latest gadgets for some, bling for others, necessities for modest folks and, among all, the hope of health and happiness for all ourselves and all our precious dear ones.  Peace on Earth and good will toward men is a Champion wish.

Again the first Christmas card of the season came from the Freemans, Wesley and Karen.  Karen hand-makes cards and writes they are still kicking in Texas and celebrated their 52nd anniversary November 23rd.  Karen’s sister, Daisey Delgado, lost almost everything she had in Hurricane Harvey—personal things, house, furniture, motorcycles and trucks, but still she is grateful.  This was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting nearly $200 billion in damage, primarily from widespread flooding in the Houston metropolitan area.  That was just back in August.  Time flies and they will be a long time recovering.  Another card comes from J.C. Owsley up Cross Timbers way.  He grew up (way up) over near Crystal Lake.  He encourages:  “Thank you for adding sunshine via The Champion News on-line.”  Friends like to see his photographs taken from behind the ears of a big white borrowed mule or one of his handsome saddle horses.  Maybe he will make it back for one of Bud Hutchison’s trail rides next year.  Bonnie and Pete Mullins, living in Douglas, Kansas now, also get news at and say in their card they are looking forward to having Christmas with their son and his wife.  We are hoping to see them next Denlow School Reunion.  They did not make it this last time and were much missed.  They have until May to get ready.  Merry Christmas back at all you lovely folks.

Watching the news and sitting around the table visiting with friends and family about the current state of affairs, the question comes up, “How it is that good people, with each of the opposing political points of view, wonder how so many are under such strong delusion to believe a lie?” 86 45.  We are reminded that it takes both wings for the Eagle to fly.

Show and Tell at the Wednesday Champion Soiree is more interesting as time goes by.  Among all the things that have been brought to share, the best of all (according to one) was a mandolin banjo.  The guy that owns it does not play it.  He bought it (cheap) years ago and only recently paid $20.00 to a local luthier to have it restrung.  It is a lovely little thing and it languishes on a shelf, not played, while the guy collects other items that he values more.  Hopes are that he will bring it back to the Historic Emporium again soon for a communal musical.  Carnegie Hall held a hootenanny organized by Pete Seeger back in 1962.  Robert Zimmerman performed a song that lasted ten minutes.  It starts out, “Oh, where have you been My blue-eyed son?  And where have you been my darling young one?”  And goes on to say, “I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountain/ I’ve walked and I crawled on six crooked highways, I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests” and winds up “It’s a Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

The wormhole.