Shades of The Ancient Bee Tree, 2008 (inset) and 2015.

The cancellation of the Champion School Reunion, scheduled for many years on the Saturday of Labor Day week-end, seems especially sad due to a cool and pleasant weather forecast.  The Ancient Bee Tree, that was first base when they were in school, used to provide ample shade for the crowd to spread their lavish pot-luck luncheon and to enjoy a long afternoon of visiting and reminiscing.  Since the tree was ‘pruned’ in 2015, it seems each year has been hotter than the last, so a cool day would have been welcome—maybe next year.

Snowbird, Doug Larrabee of Sheridan, Wyoming, enjoyed a recent sojourn in Champion.  Marge sent him off with a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  He had not seen the photos of the near-Champion bears on the website until he returned home to Marge.  She says he wants to know where the picture of the mamma bear and her cubs was taken.  Permission to post the pictures came with the caveat that the precise location not be divulged.  So the answer to Doug is that they were not at his Champion retreat, but were somewhere within a two or three mile radius of Downtown Champion.  The Cowboy says his game cameras are full of them dancing.  They have been spotted in Vanzant and over in Smith’s blackberry patch in Champion-West, as well as near Wolf Pen Hollow and Tar Button Road up Brushy Knob way.  The Missouri Department of Conservation has a feature on its website that shows where bears have been sighted.  Find a good article in the archives of the Douglas County Herald, February 20, 2020, about being ‘bear aware.’  Do you have any bears in Wyoming, Doug?  Marge requested tickets for the No-2020-Skyline Picnic Quilt, which were dispatched to her immediately via the wonderful United States Postal Service.  A favorite local retiree from that illustrious organization is pretty sure she will be the winner of the beautiful quilt, but everyone is a potential winner, especially the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  The drawing is not until October 1st, so there is plenty of time for Marge and others to get their tickets in the mail to Skyline VFD, Rt. 72 Box 254, Norwood, MO 65717.

Every once in a while something unexpected and pleasant happens.  Such was the case for Alvin Barnhart on Wednesday.  He learned that he had twelve chances to win the amazing No-2020-Skyline Picnic quilt, purchased for him by his friend, Hovey down in Houston, Texas.  They were Mountain Grove High School buddies a while back.  Hovey was sorry the Champion School Reunion had been cancelled, so he did not make the trip back home this year.  He also bought quilt tickets for his Champion cousin living on a Centennial Henson Farm, who said, “That is nice of Hovey and Dawn.  They have always been wonderful family and visited my Mom for years when they came back home for reunions.”  Meanwhile, it made a nice spot in Alvin’s day and he said to tell Hovey, “Thank you,” and said that he would do something nice for Hovey someday.

The fall turnips are about ready to thin so the remaining ones can plump up for Lem and Ned if they make their circuit of good works this fall.  They are a couple of rusty-ankled old boys who like to do the chores about the place that the old man is not interested in doing.  They do not really ‘hire out’ so much as they ‘help out,’ and they really like turnips.  These lovely rainy days will be good for the turnips and everything else that has been distressed during recent dry, hot days.  The humming bird feeders are seeing less action lately as the southern migration has begun.  There may be a few stragglers hanging around until early October, so Champions will leave out a feeder or two.  It has been a nice summertime chore to keep them clean and filled.  We have but 21 days left of summer and everything’s okay.

A cool Wednesday out on the broad Veranda at the Historic Emporium had Chase’s grandmother singing, “You are my sunshine” with the sometimes porch band.  She complains that she cannot play an instrument, but she can pat her foot and she has a lovely voice and a wonderful feel for harmony.  A visitor with a smile suggested a great song that he thought was by Bobby Bear, but it turns out to be another of Merle Haggard’s gems—“Rainbow Stew.”  It uses those three wonderful chords in G and will get some porch play one day.  Thanks!

Mary will be glad to know that the Mystery of the Milk Can has been solved.  Those initials, CMD, are the signature of artist Charlene M. Dupre.  She does not recall having painted the milk can as the date is ‘09’ and she has painted many things since then.  She is a snowbird too now, spending summers in Norwood and winters in Florida.  She taught at the Norwood School for a number of years.  She and her sister, Linda, have booths in the new flea market in Mountain Grove called ‘Out of Time’ in the building that previously held Crowley’s Home Works on West 11th Street.  Most likely you can find more of her work there.

Leonard Peltier has been in prison for 44 years.  His birthday is September 12th.  If you want to send him a birthday wish, you must do it on white paper in a white envelope.  Do not send cards, photographs or any colored paper.  You must put your full name and (return) address on the upper left corner or on the back of the envelope.  His address is:

Leonard Peltier
USP Coleman 1
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

Leonard Peltier

Hopes are that the recovery process will go smoothly for our Mountain Grove neighbors who suffered significant property damage in the big week end wind storm.  Much needed rain graced lands south and west without the destruction.  “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is, in the eyes of others, only a green thing which stands in the way…As a man is, so he sees.”  That is according to William Blake.  Someone else said, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”  A bully says, “Real power is—I don’t even want to use the word—fear.”  We are unafraid in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!