Bygone Norwood

Champions get their US Postal Service mail at Rt. 72, Norwood, though it is being delivered from Mountain Grove these days by the lovely Karen Ross and her charming relief persons.  Recently someone posted a photograph of Norwood on the internet.  Judging by the vintage of the cars, the picture was taken somewhere in the 1940s.  What a bustling place it was back then with its own newspaper, the Norwood Index, drug stores, banks, cafes, and other businesses.  As late as the mid-1950s a person could get on a comfortable train there to go anywhere in the country.  Times have changed and the nearest train station is now is 135 miles away.  A few buildings from the old days still survive.  The town is said to have been established in 1881, and named after a popular novel of the day, Norwood, by Henry Ward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, written in 1868.  It was 547 pages describing an idyllic New England town.  A reviewer back then wrote, “to read through a novel so very long, so apparently interminable, and so amazingly dull as we are reluctantly constrained to consider Norwood to be, is a real triumph of endurance.”  While it is not the robust place it used to be, it has a fine school, a post office still, and some very nice people.  They will be having their 38th Annual Norwood Farmer’s Day on September 29th.  That will be after the Champion School Reunion, September 1st, Vernon Upshaw’s 80th birthday party in Vanzant (2:00 to 4:00 p.m.) on the 2nd, Bud Hutchison’s Memorial Trail Ride (from the Fox Trotters at 10:00 a.m.) on the 3rd, and then the Wall That Heals at the Fox Trotters facility September 20-23rd.  October is almost here and the Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks will take place the first week end.  We appreciate our thriving local culture.  Champion!

An Indigo Bunting

Rain gauges, peach cans and buckets across Champion measured different amounts during the week past, but everyone agrees that the rain and now more moderate temperatures are most welcome.  The difficulties of others across the country and across the world elicit our sympathy and keep us reminded that no one is exempt from the wild vicissitudes of weather on planet Earth.  Hopes are that things will improve for our farmers and ranchers—the Champions who keep us fed.  Nature is burgeoning all around.  Deer are grazing in numbers, goldenrod is bristling up, little birds flash their colors, and spicebush butterfly caterpillars devour parsley while something unknown bores into pretty green tomatoes.  It is hard on lawn equipment to mow when it is so wet, so some old folks are just watching the grass grow and thinking Wednesday might be a good day to get something done.

Skyline VFD Picnic pictures are up at where The Champion News celebrates our great community.  Click on the ‘more photos’ link and relive the fun.  The Champion News also supports the wonderful First Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees freedom of the press.  The free press has successfully served as a check on power for two hundred years.  Like so much of our democracy, the freedom of the press is only as strong as we, the public, demand it to be and are willing to support.  It is a Champion trait to be able to recognize baloney and cheese even in this Orwellian age.  Douglas County Herald subscribers in the country are accustomed to getting the paper on Friday.  When it did not arrive until Monday, some spent the week end wondering how different our rural communities would be without our local news.  It is a valuable asset to be connected with our neighbors.

Tianna Oglesby will have a happy birthday on August 22nd.  Her nephew, Drayson Cline, will have his on the 23rd.  Dakota Watts and Daniel Cohen live far apart and do not know each other, still they share a birthday on the 24th.  Barbara Krider, Skyline sixth grader Dana Harden and prekindergarten student Lauren Collins all celebrate on the 25th.  Rita Krider and Skyline first grader Haylee Odell share the 26th.  Bill (Wes) Smith and Mini Jo Henson share their birthday on the 29th with Skyline students Rowdy Woods, seventh grade, and prekindergarten students Brantley Kilgore and Jason Smith.  Laine Sutherland celebrates on the 30th which was also the birthday of the much missed Wayne Anderson.  Kalyssa Wiseman and Jenna Brixey are fifth graders with the same birthday.  Second grade student Ray Hurt joins them in celebrating on the 31st.

Drayson and Carson Cline spent part of their wonderful summer with their “Grammie” in Champion.  On the way back home to Tennessee, the travelers stopped in on Harley and Barbara Krider.  Barbara is about to have a birthday and Harley is making a good recovery from some significant cardiovascular experiences.  Reports are that he shows some wear but is also still showing his good attitude and good humor.  He is driving again and is still volunteering at the hospital on the telephone.  Their Champion friends are glad to know they are doing well.  Most likely their spirits were much lifted by the family visit.

Eleven guitars, three mandolins, two fiddles, a banjo, a bass and a couple of harmonicas made for a lovely Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday with great food, music, laughter and fellowship.  Sherry Bennett sang her “Five Pounds of Possum” song to the delight of the big crowd.  The next day she checked in to Cox South Hospital for a surgery to address a back issue.  On Monday she was expecting to be released before long and said she still had pain, but just in different places.  She is optimistic for a good outcome and so are all her friends, one of whom suggested a slathering of Possum Salve.  Her sense of humor is intact and she can still pat her foot and music is always with her.  It is unknown just when she will be back at the jam, but it is given that every heart will be happy when that happens.  Beverly and Alvin Barnhart often come to the jam and they were there Thursday.  They had been joined Wednesday afternoon by many friends and family at the Denlow Cemetery for the graveside service of their son, Alan.  Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grief is a natural part of the healing process.  At such a difficult time, Beverly reminds us to hug our children and dear ones and to tell them they are loved and to do it now while we can.  “Have I told you lately that I love you? Can I tell you once again somehow? Dear, have I told you how with all my heart I do adore you? Well, darling, I’m telling you now.”  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!