October 15, 2018

CHAMPION—October 15, 2018


The last little hummingbird straggler.

In mid-October one little female hummingbird makes her daily visit to a Champion feeder.  Hummingbirds have an average life span of three years, though there are reports of some living to be more than nine years old.  Maybe the old dawdler just does not feel like making the long trip to Mexico again.  This time of the year has many an Old Champion happy to stay close to home.  Winter is on the way and they have been busy getting the propane delivered, firewood in the shed, and doing safety inspections of the flue, the furnace and space heaters.  The ash barrel had to be emptied ready for those hot ashes and coals and the last of the tender garden produce brought in.  Perhaps there will be some lazy days ahead, but these are not those.

Friends and family will be celebrating Champion grandson, Carson Cline, on the 18th.  That is his birthday and Darlene Connor’s as well.  The 19th is a great day for Skyline kindergarten student Wyatt Shannon.  The late Betty Swain lived in Mansfield; she was an interesting person and an accomplished bridge player.  Her birthday was October 20th.  Carson’s uncle Marty Watts also celebrates that day.  Randy Abbot did not get a chance to know Anna Henson, though they shared October 21st as their birthday.  Randy is a hot pepper aficionado with an appreciation of big shaggy dogs.  Locals have good memories and stories to tell about Anna and all her many years at the Champion Store.  Donna Moskaly and Skyline 4th grader, Haylee Surface, celebrate on the 22nd.  Esther Grace Ogelsby was born October 23, 2017.  Her aunt Breauna Krider has the 24th as her day to party.  Breauna will have much help to party as she is surrounded by admiring family and friends.  Birthday celebrations are a chance to acknowledge each other.  It turns out we can do that any day of the week!  Esther Grace came by her name as an acknowledgement of friendship.  Her mother grew up in Champion and was a frequent visitor in the home of Esther Wrinkles.  They had a lasting friendship.  Ms. Wrinkles passed away in 2013, but her many friends will be reminded of her through this little girl who is about to turn one.  Champion!

The lifetime friendship of Esther Wrinkles and Ruby Proctor.

As the frost approached, a Champion brought in the Christmas cactus that was a gift from Esther.  It had summered on her Vanzant front porch for years before it began to spend the summer on a Champion porch.  While it was on Esther’s porch it was witness to the hilarity of the lady climbing through her own window, having locked her keys inside.  One of her old friends brought that episode to mind recently.  Combing back through the archives at www.championnews.us looking for the particulars of that event, it was a lovely surprise to see Esther with another of her dear friends, Ruby Proctor.  They knew each other since childhood.  They were baptized on the same day in Fox Creek.  Anyone with such a friendship—a lifetime friendship, should count himself blessed.

The last Friday of the month is the day we can expect the Douglas County Health Department Nurse to visit for morning blood pressure check for Champions.  It is a great service to the area.  The nurse will be at Skyline School on the first Tuesday of each month from 8:45 to 10:45 doing that test there.  This next first Tuesday will be Election Day.  It will be convenient for those folks who vote there at the Brushy Knob Church, to cross the road and get a reading of their vital signs after all the hoopla.  The political advertisements on television are going to stop, hopefully, even if for just a little while, on November 7th.  What a relief that will be to have the tension dialed back a notch.  The last week has seen some old Champions retreating into literature—favorite books they have already read.  Others have essentially crawled into a bed with side-rails, the remote in their hand.  They just watch reruns.  It may be that they do not remember each episode, but there will be hints along the way that let them know that nothing new or out of the ordinary is going to happen—nothing unexpected.  They feel totally safe and comfortable, hearkening back to the good old days when a man’s word was his bond; when it was better to give than to receive; when we could love our enemies and empirical fact was not questioned, i.e.:  fire—hot, ice—cold.  Well, the weather is changing.  We have to bring in fire wood, haul ashes and carry on with our daily lives.  And should it occur that someone suggest he has your name on one of his millions of bullets and he is not worried about a civil war because the other side (presumably your side) does not believe in guns, it is your obligation to rare back and laugh in his face.  Slap your thigh and do some guffawing, chortling, and howling.  Go ahead and crack up.  The rhetoric is so exaggerated that it is comical.  Take a humorous, happy walk to the polls.  Vote.  Then come home and peel some potatoes and get on with what comes next.

Meanwhile, people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina all the way up to Virginia are going to be a long time getting over Hurricane Michael that tore through there on short notice.  We have troubles, worries, fears and doubts about all kinds of things, but we have our homes, our families are safe and we have the prospect of a future that we have planned.  The world over, there are griefs and unimaginable hardships that people endure.  A little gratitude for our good fortune is timely.  Many people from this part of the world are traveling east to assist our countrymen.  Champions!

Before this is in ink, Andrew Hardin will have led off Bud Hutchinson’s Fall Trail Ride.  Horsemen and women will have met up on the Champion Square to pose for Wilma’s photographs before taking off on an adventure down Fox Creek Road and around the Shannon Ranch, ambling back in for ice cream at the Historic Emporium in the early afternoon.  Probably every trail rider in this part of the country knew Bud.  They will be telling stories and remembering our great old friend every time they mount up or just get together for ice cream.  They might sing that Gene Autry song’ “Ridin’ the range once more / Totin’ my old 44 / Where you sleep out every night / And the only law is right / Back in the saddle again” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 8, 2018

CHAMPION–October 8, 2018


2018 Pioneer Heritage Festival’s Youth Talent Show
Making soap.
Just a little shower for just a few minutes.

The Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks has come and gone again for another year. Saturday was a very warm day and Sunday had a mixture of weather including those hard showers in the sunshine and then some steamy hot episodes mixed with wonderful cool breezes and then another little shower. Attendance was down a little on Sunday because of the forecast, but those who attended had a great time. In addition to all the fascinating demonstrators and vendors, the food and music were wonderful. One of the many highlights on the stage was a youth talent show where eight youngsters under the age of 14 shared their musical gifts with the crowd. It is a gift to the future to have young people engaged with the music tradition of the area. As this festival grows in size and scope over the years, hopes are that these kids will keep coming back to show us their progress. This was the second of what will hopefully be many more Pioneer Heritage Festivals. Our Ozarks communities can appreciate the hard work of all those volunteers who will continue to make this great event happen.

Meanwhile, “We’re singing the praises of Grandma’s lye soap. It doesn’t suds. It doesn’t lather and it doesn’t foam. Now Mrs. O’Malley from down in the valley suffered from ulcers so I understand. She swallowed a cake of Grandma’s lye soap and now she’s got the cleanest ulcers in the land!”

Skyline School students with October birthdays include Lydia Harden in the 5th grade. She shares her birthday on the 1st with prekindergarten teacher, Mrs. Brixey, and kindergarten student, Myson Loveless. Evan Homer is a prekindergarten student with a birthday on October 3rd. The 4th is for 6th grader Malachi Fulk. Draven Koepke is an 8th grade student celebrating his birthday on the 9th of October. Madelyn Ward does not go to Skyline, but she is a Champion granddaughter who was born October 10, 2006. Steve Conner has been out of school for a very long time. His birthday is October 11th. Lovely Janet Chapin celebrates on the 12th, and charming Cathy Baldwin does so on the 13th. Eva Clark and Leslie Krider enjoy the 14th as their special day. Joe Moskaly celebrates on the 15th along with Skyline 2nd grade student Keedien Curtis. Your Champion friends say, “Happy birthday to all of you.”

Being taught to avoid talking about politics and religion has led to a lack of understanding of politics and religion. What we should have been taught was how to have a civil conversation about a difficult topic. It is said that sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It creates an extremely uncomfortable feeling, called cognitive dissonance. Because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that does not fit their fundamental certainty and perhaps they may begin to hate those who contradict them. Current events have many people stressed. The common stress relievers–music, laughter and blessing-counting are recommended. Civil discourse is always welcome outside on the wide veranda of the Historic Emporium on the north side of the Square or over on the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek. Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!

2018 Pioneer Heritage Festival

October 1, 2018

CHAMPION—October 1, 2018


Lucile Gayman surrounded by her family.

Granddaughters rock!  One Old Champion Grannie says, “They rule!”  That being said, Lucile Gayman hit the jackpot.  Her three granddaughters, Debra, Loretta and Elva, hosted a lovely party to celebrate her 90th birthday on Saturday.  The Vanzant Community Building was full of floral decorations, friends and family—forty four strong.  It is a beautiful thing to see a big family being close and enjoying each other’s company.  Everyone is not so lucky.  Lucile has two daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, and four great grandsons.  There were spouses, cousins, sisters and brothers-in-law and a number of the many friends that Lucile has gathered in the few short years she has lived in this part of the world.  This part of the world is improved by Lucile as our friendliness quotient is way up and our appreciation of granddaughters could not be overstated.

Once again, the Prominent Champion received the Champion post card with the missive, “Remember, if you act like you are having a good time, pretty soon you will forget you are acting and you will really be having a good time.”  It is an ever-relevant message and sent to the fine man on the completion of his annual trip around the sun on October 1st.  Former President Jimmy Carter turned 94 on the first.  That happens to be the 6th birthday of Melanie Hall and the 91st birthday of Bonnie Brixey Mullen’s sweetheart, Pete, over there in Kansas.  Jana Brixey also celebrates on the first.  William Tucker Clark was born October 2, 2015.  Mahatma Gandhi was born October 2, 1869.  Tucker’s grandpa has the 3rd as his birthday and those charming Upshaw sisters, Fae and Kaye, celebrate on the 4th as does Evan Homer who is now 5 years old.  Skyline VFD Auxiliary President, Betty Dye, shares her birthday on the 7th with a Liberal Champion up in Springfield, Vicki Trippe.

On Saturday, down in Austin, Willie Nelson sang a new song.  He said to take it home and spread it around, so, with his permission, here are the words and here is a link to the video if you want to sing along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssVO5qnyQss  “If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out / that’s what Election Day is all about / and the biggest gun we got is called the ballot box / if you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out / vote ‘em out / and when they’re gone we’ll sing and dance and shout / and we’ll bring some new ones in and start the show again / but if you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out / vote ‘em out / and if it’s a bunch of clowns you’ve voted in, Election Day is coming round again / and if you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out.”  These are tumultuous political times and this song sounds suitable for every political persuasion in the glorious participatory democracy we all cherish.  Thanks, Willie.  Meanwhile, down in Austin, Alexandra called her Champion grandparents with a brilliant report on her first fiddle gig.  She is 12 with a fine fiddling future ahead.  One day she may fiddle with Cousin Corinne and Uncle Sam!  Brava!

1940 Chevy Coupe

In 1973, everything that one Old Champion couple had, including two fine sons, fit into or on a 1940 Chevy coupe.  It is amazing what they have collected since that time.  Now days the accumulation is staggering and the need to reduce the mass has become apparent.  Give away, throw away, put way—the mantra of the overly encumbered.  Young people, it is said, have very little interest in our old stuff—even if those two pieces of amber colored stemware are genuine depression glass given to a couple who were married in 1937.  That set of nesting mixing bowls, the yellow one, green one, red one, blue one—you see them in good flea markets, but these came from a Grandmother and are more precious.  Granddaddy used the blue one for his cornbread and sweet milk.  Then there is all the art, the family photos, the nicknacks, the books, the records, 30 years of National Geographic.  Where does it all go?  That is a Champion question.  Answer that question or ask any at champion@championnews.us.

Those handsome, mysterious cowboys were back in Champion on Wednesday.  They missed the wagon train last week (see the pictures on last week’s post at www.championnews.us) but they will surely be back on Wednesday the 17th when Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride will head-up on the Square about 10:00 a.m.  If Wilma comes to take pictures, she will find out their names and the names of their horses and likely any number of other things about them while she gets them lined up and lined out.  It will be worth their while if they make the trip out to Chapel Grove this Saturday and Sunday for the second annual Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks—10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.  There is a great music line up for both days.  There will be lots of good food, many exhibitors demonstrating pioneer skills and interesting, educational activities for the whole family.  Sherry Bennett is the person to contact if you are a young person (16 or younger) who would like to participate in the acoustic instrument talent show.  She will get you on the roster.  Her number is 417-683-4414.  This is going to be another fine event.  Butch Stone has provided an incredible handcrafted bow for the raffle and the Douglas County Flint Nappers will be showing you how it is done.  The courageous folks who settled this part of the country back before the turn of the last century had to know what they were doing.  They were Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!


September 24, 2018

CHAMPION—September 24, 2018


The West Plains Wagon Club pulled into the Champion Square on Thursday.

The West Plains Wagon Club was represented by two wagons as it came into the Square a little before noon Thursday.  Six wagons started out at the beginning of the trip.  The Websters had come from Viola, Arkansas to join up with the group in West Plains.  After a few days in the intense heat, they decided that it was best to turn back.  Their mules were starting to get sore.  Ken Felts had to turn back because of health issues.  A couple of others found the heat to be a limiting factor.  Jim and Judy Cantrell were in the lead wagon, pulled by Long Ears and Patty.  Jerry Sanders and Tony Amison were in the second wagon, pulled by Sadie and Buttercup.  Jim said that all of the folks who organized this West Plains to Mansfield wagon train long years ago have passed away and that there are not many young people active in the wagon trains now.  They are busy making a living and this is not an inexpensive hobby.  It might have to be taken up by retired people as these busy young folks age.  J.C. Owsley made a spur of the moment decision and the hour and a half journey down to Champion from up near Cross Timbers in order to see the wagon train and relax out on the wide veranda.  He enjoyed a spirited conversation with the wagon master concerning young people and how hard it is for them these days with wages so low and health care and everything else so expensive.  Dean, David and Dailey Upshaw were also there to observe the wagon train.  They waved as the wagons rolled out of the Square and on up the hill toward Cold Springs.  They were watched until they disappeared over the hill, some thinking, “It’s sad to see this sweet tie to our past disappearing.”  A little later on a couple of nice folks from the Douglas County Herald, Kat and Galen, stopped in.  They missed the wagon train by just a few minutes.  They were out on an adventure, planning to swing by the Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove and then to visit a friend on an organic farm.  It was their first visit to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek and the Re-creation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square.  They got their eyes full and found some big tasty acorns as they were leaving that Galen said could easily be made into meal.  J.C. had planned to hit the road by one o’clock, but conversations delayed him.  He did call later to say he had made it home in time to get his chickens up.

Visiting The Wall that Heals was an emotional experience for many as memories of the Vietnam War and that era of American history resurfaced.  It was a tumultuous time in the country that had far reaching and long lasting effects.  Area schools took advantage of the opportunity to have students see and understand the enormity of 58,318 names of Americans who died in the war and to hear the stories of the many Veterans and others who lived through those days.  Living through these days is not easy for many.  For every person we see, there is a struggle of some kind.  No one gets through life untroubled.  The Wall is beautiful in its tribute to all those heros who served and to all those touched by their service.  The beautiful examples of families caring for each other through amazingly difficult times may go unnoticed in our daily lives, but they are there.  Their courage, strength, devotion, and steadfastness are gifts of true love.  Hug a care-giver—someone looking after and honoring precious, frail old ones.  They are heroes like the ones we all hope will be there for us someday.  Champions.

There are exciting things coming up these days.  Norwood will have its great Farmer’s Day Celebration on the 29th of September.  There will be a parade, music and a Blue Ribbon Pie/Cobbler contest.  Proceeds from the pie auction will go toward the first Farmers Day Scholarship which will be awarded at the 2019 graduation ceremony.  Representatives of Drury University and Cox College will be there to share information about the opportunities for students looking to further their education.  The Ozark Area Community Congress will have its 39th annual gathering at Hammond Mill Camp the 28th-30th.  OACC is the first and longest standing bioregional congress celebrating the Ozarks and all things restorative and ecological.  The 2nd annual Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks will be coming up the first week-end in October.  There will be many exhibitors sharing traditional skills that were used to settle this part of the world.  There will be a nice lineup of entertainment and lots of great food.  These gatherings give us a chance to rendezvous with old friends and to appreciate the unique area we call home.

Skyline R2 School birthdays include those of 4th grader Tristian Jeffrey on the 25th and kindergarten student Melanie Hall on the 30th.  Sandy Ray Chapin celebrates on the 24th and Cathy Alsup Reilly over in Tennessee has her special day on the 27th.  Lucile Gayman’s family and friends are hoping to show her a good time as they celebrate her 90th birthday on the 29th.  Champions wish you all very happy birthdays.  Hurrah!

Ray Hicks, up in Bluegrass, Iowa complains that The Champion News does not mention Ed Henson often enough.  What a treat it would be to sit around on the bus seat or the pop crates and hear him talk.  Ed knew pretty much everything that was going on around the area but he was not a gossip.  He loved a good joke.  He had a great laugh and kind words when they were needed.  The other day a regular visitor told a story about Ferlie Lambert.  He was using a frog for fish bait and when he did not catch anything for a while, he got up to go only to find the frog sitting behind him on the bank.  Will that do you for a while, Mr. Hicks?  Send your complaints and suggestions to TCN, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to champion@championnews.us.  The recent heat wave made these cooler days seem more enjoyable by contrast.  A famous person said, “Looking at life from a different perspective makes you realize that it’s not the deer that is crossing the road, rather it’s the road that is crossing the forest.”  Enjoy the beautiful weather, keeping an eye out for deer and wagon trains.  An old song says: “Oh! A wildcat attacked Mammy from the rear, and Pap said, ‘Son, have no fear.  If he ever tries to crowd her, we’ll be having wildcat chowder and the covered wagon rolled along!’” to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Long Ears and Patty up close with Seth Keller at the reins.

Sadie and Buttercup.

Colton sits on Buttercup while Harley holds Ryden up for a closer look–Keller Brothers.

Heading out of town, Jim and Judy Cantrell
and Tony Amison and Jerry Sanders
Goodbye until next year!


September 17, 2018

CHAMPION—September 17, 2018


Champion Fall Sumac

Another lovely Champion Wednesday had Champions out on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium spinning yarns and trading news when there came ambling in from the east a couple of good looking well mounted cowpokes.  They are from up Mountain Grove way and most generally ride with the Hartville bunch, but good sense brought them over to explore Fox Creek and examine the Race Horse Monument north of Denlow.  Good fortune led them back to the Champion Square where they had left their horse trailer earlier in the day.  Perhaps they will show up to accompany the West Plains Wagon Club as it make its way through Champion on Thursday the 20th.  The train usually comes through from the east early mid-day and after a nice break on the Square takes off up Cold Springs Road to the next stop up north on their way to Mansfield.  Maybe the information will get to our cowpokes in time.  They are looking to The Champion News to learn about Bud Hutchison’s Champion Ride.  As luck would have it, Wilma was at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday night and passed along a note in her beautiful handwriting saying Bud’s Trail Ride will be October 17th.  Andrew Hardin will lead, leaving Champion at 10:00am.  She said to bring lunch or buy something at Champion to eat when you get to the Shannon Ranch.  If you see these cowpokes around let them know.  They are well spoken, not overly bowlegged, and one wears a big hat.

Idaho dignitaries were the target of poked fun at Vanzant on Thursday.  They were in the neighborhood visiting family and attending the Wilder Days in Mansfield.  The General requested the ever-popular tune, “Five Pounds of Possum,” as a dedication to his kin.  Sherry Bennett complied, to the great delight of everyone so pleased to have her back after a back-surgery enforced absence.  She is in fine voice and had with her a handsome, talented grandson.  Sue Upshaw, her daughter, Darcy, and their friend, Donnelle, were suitably mesmerized.  David Richardson (sitting in Jerry’s chair) promised that, as emcee of the Wilder Days Celebration, he would take every opportunity to embarrass Sue since she has a bonafide historic family connection to Laura’s sister Carrie.  The Idaho sojourners were headed back North on Tuesday after a family ice cream social Sunday with 25 in attendance.  It is nice to have a joyful reason for family gatherings.

There will likely be a nice family gathering for Louise Hutchison as she celebrates her birthday on Friday, September 21st.  She shares the day with Zoey Louise, Champion granddaughter in Austin and great niece Penelope Zappler of that same city.  The next day will be the Autumnal Equinox signaling the beginning of fall.  Along the roadsides already the sumac is brilliant red.  Perhaps we will enjoy some colorful foliage this year.

The White River Valley Electric Cooperative sent a letter a while back informing customers they would be spraying brush killer along the right of way under power lines this summer.  Most of us did not see the workers walking across the country, but the dying brush is evidence of their passing.  Many of those doing the hard work in the heat, breathing the poison all day were Hispanic, not speaking much English.  There were instances where alarmed landowners, who did read it or did not recall having received the letter, called the sheriff and discharged firearms as a warning to perceived trespassers.  How many people who complain about immigrants taking our jobs would be willing to spend a day doing this work for minimum wage or at all?

Nancy, the nurse from the Douglas County Health Department, will be in Champion Friday morning, the 21st, to do blood pressure screenings.  It is a real service to the community.  Helen Batten writes that Midwest Computer Recycling will be at the Skyline School on Tuesday, September 25 at approximately 10:00 a.m.  She says they will try to have everything around back by the kitchen door for easy loading.  You may bring anything that plugs in and they will take it away, free of charge, except for televisions.  They charge $20.00 to $25.00 for those, depending on the size.  Helen says this is a chance to do some fall cleaning and get rid of those items you no longer want.  She hopes we will all take advantage of the opportunity and make it worth their while to come to our school with this service.  It can be a part of the Champion put away-give away-throw away project.  Share your news at champion@championnews.us or snail mail to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Go to www.championnews.us to see what you may have missed in printed versions.

A casual student of scriptures is fascinated by Isaiah 10:1-3.  Warren Buffet advises:  “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you.  True power is sitting back and observing things with logic.  True power is restraint.  If words control you, everyone else can control you.  Breathe and allow things to pass.”  That is good advice these days.  “Be sure it’s true when you say, ‘I love you.’ It’s a sin to tell a lie” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

A Champion Vista