CHAMPION – September 17, 2007


        Kalyssa Wiseman has made her first trip to Champion to visit with her Grandparents and Aunt Staci.  She came with Foster and her folks.  Her great aunt Vivian Floyd was there as well as great aunt Barbara Krider and great uncle Harley.  Faye said Kalyssa has long pretty fingers that come from the Upshaw side of the family.  On Sunday everybody had a good visit with Esther and Raymond Howard down again from Marshfield.  There were some stories overheard about Raymond’s bee keeping days and bees flying out of his shirt when a hive went wild on him over at Richard Johnson’s house.  More will have to be learned about that.  Esther’s red hat and sweet smile had everyone in a cheery mood.

        The squeak of saddle leather and rattling of wagon harness broke Champion’s stillness on Thursday last.  When the wagon train rolled into the square it was greeted by a number of people curious about the wagons and the stories of the trail.  A couple of Champions exchanged glances and made a tacit agreement to politeness when Wagon Master Clifton Luna asked one if “the West Plains Wagon Club train isn’ about the biggest thing that happens in Champion?”  Being from over in Dora, he is not acquainted with the furious hubbub of activities around Champion.  The person he addressed told him, “Yes,” that the wagon train following right on top of the Champion School Reunion did represent some of the busiest times of the year.  That person didn’t mention the regular parades, ceremonies and celebrations that hardly let the dust get settled from one to the next.  One of the wagons had a sign that said, “This wagon runs on oats, don’t step in the exhaust.”

        A conversation with Esther Wrinkles revealed the passing of her friend, Charmain Young from Mountain Grove.  Ms. Young had been ill the last few months.  For many years she had cared for her mother and for her invalid husband.  Her mother passed away about a year ago and then her husband about six months ago.  Esther used to make pies for her and they had been friends for many years.  They had met back in the 40’s.  The young people used to go to all the pie suppers and picnics around.  At one of those pie suppers at Champion, Blaine Dobbs got drunk and kicked the back door in at the school.  This was the old school building before it burned.  They had him arrested and it was a good thing for people to know that they didn’t put up with too much foolishness in Champion.  Still there was mischief anywhere there was a bunch of young people.  Esther said that around Halloween there were some that would always tip Ed’s (Henson) toilet over.  One time he waited in there with a shotgun.  She didn’t say how that turned out.  She did say that some of them put Clifford’s plow up in a big tree. At a picnic in the area now where V highway meets the county dirt road, Blaine Dobbs hit Fait Upshaw in the head with a rock about as big as a fist.  Esther said a lot of the old picnics that used to be held at Brown’s Cave and other places had to be stopped because of the drinking.  She had been visiting with some friends who told her a story about some old time backwoods people who didn’t get to town too often.  One of these fellows took a notion to go to town and while he was walking down the sidewalk he saw a mirror in a store window.  He looked at it and thought, “Why, that’s a picture of my old Dad!” so he bought it.  On his way home he got to thinking that his wife didn’t ever care for his old Dad that much so he decided to hang the picture in the barn.  Every day he would go down there and look at the picture.  His wife got suspicious and when he was off in the field one day, she went down to the barn.  “Huh,” she said, looking at the mirror, “so that’s the old critter he’s been hanging around with!”

        Alexander the Great Bull has arrived on Barbara and Harley’s farm.  ( A Prominent Champion says, “Things happen when Harley’s home!”)  The bull is an 18 month old black angus bull raised by Jack Williams from over at Mountain Grove.  He wasted no time in exiting the trailer and making himself at home in the pasture.  It is yet to be seen if he is indeed a Great bull.  That is an auspicious name.  Barbara said that there had been a lot of shooting of the bull prior to the purchasing of the bull.  Meanwhile down at Henson’s store, Elmer Banks was talking about an old neighbor of his who had published in the paper a notice that a certain cow was molesting his homestead.  He didn’t like the cow, nor did his wife, nor his dog.  He said it was a pretty heifer with a tag in her ear and he gave the tag number.  He said that within a certain time the cow needed to be claimed or it would be enjoyed by the entire community in a barbeque.  Well, he knew the whole time whose cow it was and as a matter of fact it belonged to Elmer Banks and Elmer had been running cattle on the man’s place.  All he had to do was call Elmer on the phone!  Instead he published the thing in the paper for people all around the county to read.  Elmer put up with no small amount of hoorawing about it.  There was another Champion in the store who had a sad bull tale.  A neighbor of his had a no-account bull and when his bull crossed the fence to help the no account bull tend to his business the good bull took a bullet.  It was a sorry affair all around, a sad one too.  Someone remarked to Foster’s old Dad when he came into the store dressed in his camouflage, that they had seen turkey gobblers big as emus over yonder.  It is to be hoped that that very someone hadn’t spooked his chances of shooting one of them!  Maybe of an evening he’ll get another chance if folks will just stay home.

        Faye and Kaye, raised as good girls to respect their elders, are being respectful of their sister-in-law who had her birthday on August 25th.  Tanna’s birthday got overshadowed by the birth of her daughter Kalyssa, but she isn’t complaining.  September 21st   Louise Hutchison will have a big celebration of some sort to celebrate her seventy second birthday (Who would believe it?) and she shares her birthday with Little Zoey Louise down in Austin who will be four years old.  That’s the wedding anniversary of Tanna and Roger.  Sharon and Farel will be celebrating one of those soon.  Everybody’s getting excited about the Pioneer Descendents Day down at Yates in a couple of weeks.  So as far as the eye can see Celebration is the Watch Word in Champion.

        On the 21st, the VFW Post 3770 out of Mountain Grove will have a flag presentation including a POW-MIA flag at the Skyline School.  Pete Proctor will officiate and the ceremony will be at 11 o’clock.  Champions will be thinking about their soldier, Raul, and the families of the now three thousand, seven hundred eighty two of his fallen comrades.  Love and Gratitude are the other Champion Watch Words.

        Watch words, gobbler and bull stories, examples of friendly hoorawing are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717.  Squeaks, rattles and stories of the trail are welcome at Champion News.  To observe the frenetic festive activities at Champion, just take a seat on the porch at Henson’s Store in beautiful downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!