Ken Felts leads on the trail back to Arkansas.

Ken Felts and Randall Burnette both drive wagons pulled by three mules—three ups. They picked up another wagon in Seymour which joined them on their return trip through Champion Wednesday. The new guy, a Texan turned Arkansawyer, Dave Somebody, drives a nice little reproduction Springfield wagon. They camped out in our favorite burgh Tuesday night and proceeded out early Wednesday on their way back to Arkansas. They all reported having had an exceptionally pleasant and untroubled trip. Harkening back to a simpler time is one of our favorite pastimes. Truth be told, though, those times were not all that simple. Their troubles were no less dire then than ours are today. Existential crises always seem to be unprecedented. Perhaps those pioneer creeds will carry us through these uncharted waters. Maybe that is the virtue of nostalgia.

The Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks will represent serious generational nostalgia. This event gives us a chance to experience some of what was real life for our forbears. The spinning and weaving, the blacksmithing, the flint knapping, the soap making and myriad other skills remind us of the strength of those that lived that austere life. That inherited strength we adapt to deal with today’s craziness. We thank our predecessors and entreat you to enjoy some great music, food and family fun Saturday and Sunday out at the New Haven Event Park, formerly Chapel Grove. Ray Bradley will be the emcee this year, so you know that there will be lively entertainment. There will be music all day starting off at 9:15 with the National Anthem led by Bradley. He has a great voice. There will be a chance to win a Mini Branson Vacation as well as a number of other things. It looks like the weather is going to be just right for it this year with a little hint of fall finally. Among the crowd you will surely meet up with many old friends you may not have seen in years. See you there.

Those good looking Mountain Grove cowboys were on the Champion Square early Friday morning. They planed an excursion up County Road 239. They will have had some great distant vistas to enjoy from one of Douglas County’s high spots. Actually, these guys are not necessarily cowboys just because they ride horses. Perhaps in the future we will call them equestrians if it turns out they do not have cattle. Jim, the tall one with the big hat was happy. The previous day he had been able to get the landscapers and the tree trimmers to do what needed to be done at his house so his television dish was no longer obstructed. We can observe that people are generally willing to tell you in dreary detail about all the things that are wrong or going badly, so when someone comes along willing to share happiness, no matter how inconsequential it is to us personally, it is still a real treat. If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. A nice broad smile is good for everyone in its beam.

Champions are happy for Shirley Emerson. She has been with the Douglas County Health Department taking our blood pressure readings on the fourth Friday of the month for some while now. Friday was her last day with us. She is finishing up her last prerequisite course and will be enrolled in the Cox College of Nursing in Springfield this fall. Her aging friends out here in the country will miss her pleasant company, but congratulate her on a fine career choice. The more heath care professionals the better, says the aging population. Our new blood pressure monitor is a charming young lady from Mountain Grove. Shelby will be looking at our systolic and diastolic for us on our fourth Fridays in the future. We look forward to getting acquainted with her and hope that more people in the area will take advantage of this great amenity. She sets up in the Meeting Room at the Historic Emporium from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. ready to help us take care of our health.

Mrs. Brixey, prekindergarten teacher at our wonderful Skyline R2 School, Lydia Harden 6th grader, and Myson Loveless, first grader, all celebrate birthdays on the first of October. Pete Mullins, Bonnie May Brixey’s sweetheart, shares that day also with a Champion wood worker, producer of trinkets, whose motto is, “If you act like you are having a good time pretty soon you will forget that you are acting and you will really be having a good time.” Well, that may not be his motto, but there are those in Champion who try to remind him of that about this time every year. William Tucker Clark was born on October 2nd, 2015. He shares his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi, the political ethicist who taught us about nonviolent resistance, born in 1869. Grandpa Clark and Evan Homer, a kindergarten student, share October 3rd. Malachi Fulk, 7th grader, celebrates on the 4th. That happens to be the birthday of Champion/Denlow twins. One is a few minutes older than the other, but after a certain period of time, a few minutes do not matter much. After all, in 17 short years they will both be 90. Ms. Betty Dye and popular Democrat, Vicki Trippe, will have their special day on the 7th. Theresa Toast and Glen Masters will have their big day on the 8th. Madelyn Ward was born on October 10th, 2006. Time flies! Birthdays are big important days to some people. Others would like to forget them. However you feel about this kind of celebration, we are all here. We all matter. We are Champions!—Looking on the Bright Side!

Good looking cowboys in Champion.