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- General Interest
The first Champion School Reunion was held in 1984. They have been going strong ever since. Attending this year: Robert and Connie Brown, Ivel Brown, Pete Proctor, Eva Henson Phillips, Tommy and Barbara Sutherland, Jerry and Shauna Smith, Fae Krider, Charles Lambert, Hanna Faith Jensen, Ruby Proctor, Barbara Proctor Cooper, Darrell Cooper, Elsie Curtis, Debbie Massey, Lonnie Curtis, Tom and Arlene Cooley, Robert Graham, Mary Graham, Gary Hutchison and Phyllis Long, Vivian Floyd, Irene Dooms, Verla and Lonnie Mears, Betty Henson, Carolyn and Darrell Hutchison, Jordan Hutchison, Esther Wrinkles, Elva Ragland, Larry and Teresa Wrinkles, Amy Collins, Sheila Collins, Pete Robertson, Maxine Grote, Darrell Cooley, Eric Arnall, Sue Arnall, Leola Bell, Modeen Dooms McGown, Royce Henson, Carol Coats Barnhart, Peggy Hancock Carreras, Randy Henson, Wayne and Fances Sutherland, Laine Sutherland, Greta Cope, Russell, Sue and Dean Upshaw, Leslee Krider, Staci and Dustin Cline, Kenneth and Dawn Henson, Dale and Betty Thomas, Kenneth and Barbara Anderson and Barbara’s daughter Jonna. There were others who asked not to be named and some who came made only a cameo appearance.
This was a nice crowd. It was said that there were more first time attendees here this year than in any other. There were sixteen teachers at the first reunion. This year Ms. Leola Bell was the only one. She grew up over on Highway 14 near Fox Creek and began teaching in Champion when she graduated from high school. She had a long distinguished career as an elementary and high school teacher, an elementary school principal, and as a special education teacher. She lives over by Lebanon now and still substitute teaches. She had good Champion beginnings.
Among the things over heard at the reunion: “I spent twenty years trying to get out of Champion and the last forty years trying to get back.” “Little, Elvie, did you ever find your shoes? I threw them in the creek and got a good beating for it. They might be in the Atlantic Ocean by now.” “It’s so good to see you!” “Do you remember that dog show they had down here one time? The dogs were jumping through hoops and turning flips. They had a horse that could count. I was in about the first grade. Now, I thought that was really something.” The amount of yarn spun on Saturday could knit knickers for half of Douglas County. S.C. Turnbo could certainly have found things to write about. A certain Mr. Phillips receiving some well-warranted sympathy over the luck of the draw of his particular bunch of brothers-in-law quickly turned the subject to Turnbo’s “White River Chronicles.” A good sense of humor is a Champion thing no matter where a person comes from or how they became entwined in the Champion Experience.
The reunion was just the beginning of a great day for Esther Wrinkles and her family. She had both her sons and their wives and her sister, Irene Dooms, and her children and a houseful of grandchildren and great grandchildren all for a birthday celebration on Saturday evening. It seems to be the nature of Champions to celebrate. The mysterious goat was still plaguing Esther’s porch and garage—eating flowers and keeping the General at bay. His absence was noted at the reunion together with comments about unreliability. Fortunately, Hovey was there to run the auction.
Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman did not attend the reunion this year. They arrived after the festivities had ended. At three years of age, Kalyssa did not seem to be bothered by having had her age reported as four in last week’s paper. She and Jenna Brixie were born on the same day and Jenna celebrated her third birthday. Some Champions are getting old and forgetful, but those things only become important later on. Kalyssa was busy getting ready for a big camping trip out in her Grammy’s field on Sunday night. The family was going to camp out by the pond in a tent. Nobody was worried about alligators coming out of the pond or bears out of the woods—well, not very worried. Mom and Dad were going to be there.
A short e-mail came from David Richardson to the Champion@getgoin.net mailbox. He sent a link to a movie he made at the Skyline VFD Picnic back in August. It was well done and nice to see from the comfort of an air-conditioned computer room. Everyone will remember how amazingly hot it was at the picnic this year.
In response to the thank you note, he said that he had a movie of Lonnie Krider and Wayne Anderson the last time they played together at the picnic. The song is “Once More” and it is just lovely. Those who read the Champion column at www.championnews.us can see them by just ‘clicking’ on the link.
Pete Proctor had a good time at the reunion. He said that on the 17th of September, he and Joe Kelly will present a program of the POW MIA Missing Man Table. It will be on the square in Mountain Grove at nine in the morning with the Flag raising ceremony. He said that there are still over 1700 missing soldiers from foreign conflicts. Since May there have been six names added to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall as remains of those soldiers have been recovered. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3770 in Mountain Grove stays active in supporting Veterans and their families. The Love and Gratitude they extend comes from all Champions as well.
The consensus of opinion concerning the Replica of Henson’s Store being built on the original spot on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion is that it is just beautiful. Many of those returning Champions had a little somber feeling to see such a change, but none could dispute the necessity. The vibrant living nature of the place has not changed in all these years. Someone remarked that it would be nice if the obvious changes in some of these old Champions could be like the ones appearing on the square and they could once again be sturdy and graceful. Champions are optimists but not delusional. Much praise was lavished on the absent builders. “They sure enough are doing a bang up job!” And the like. Send the like or any length yarn to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Sing “Once More” or any sweet, sad old song way out yonder in the Loafing Shed. If you have a lively, uplifting, happy kind of song, just sing it anywhere in Champion—Looking on the Side.