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“Wherever railroads and highways penetrate, wherever newspapers and movies and radios are introduced, the people gradually lose their distinctive local traits and assume the drab color which characterizes conventional Americans elsewhere.” So wrote Vance Randolph in the introduction to his book Ozark Magic and Folklore. Even if satellite television and the high speed internet connection are added to the list of outside influences, Champion stays the same in all the ways that matter and if Mr. Randolph were around he would be able to see that the magic of Champion is indisputable and immutable. Still, Champions are all about steady progress. Anyone curious about incremental accomplishment should take a picture Monday morning and one at the close of business on Friday. Bud Hutchison’s Fall trail ride is scheduled for Wednesday, October 20th. If it is like last year, the riders that make the Champion ride meet up at the Fox Trotters in Ava about nine in the morning and trailer on over to Champion by ten o’clock or so. From Champion they set out North up over a steep little hill, then they will cross Clever Creek and turn east. They will wind through the country on the way to Drury, passing by the Upshaw’s old family home-place. Wilma Hutchison will most likely be waiting for them at Drury and will orchestrate another great photograph of the group. She has photos of every one of these rides with the names of all the riders every year. Esther Wrinkles likes to meet up with them there too to give them the once over. There were several conflicts last year that reduced the number of riders, but it will be no holds barred this time and there is likely to be a crowd. They will take an alternate path back to Champion and be welcomed there again by Champions who are, for some reason, too busy to get on their own high horses and have this kind of wholesome fun. Nobody is saying that Champions are not wholesome. Some of them do not have horses. Some of them are busy.
Esther went over to Ben Davis with Mr. and Mrs. John Unger on Friday night to hear Wayne Fussel of Shreveport, La. speak. She had conserved her energy in order to do that, as she is a fan of Mr. Fussel. For that reason she did not attend the Big Jam Session at Plummers on Thursday. It was reported to have been a real doosie with details to be revealed once the General has been located and is considered to be cogent once more.
All the pertinent business was handled in another well-organized meeting of the Skyline VFD Ladies’ Auxiliary. President Betty Dye kept things moving along and all the bases were covered in short order. Those bases included determining a date for the Chili Supper and arranging to secure the entertainments. Louise Hutchison hosted the meeting attended by Betty Dye, Esther Wrinkles, Sharon Sikes, Wilda Moses, Karen Griswold, and Susie Griswold. The October Mascot Monkey of the Month is in its Halloween costume. Zorro! Is that one ‘r’ or two? His mug is up on a wanted poster up here and there including on the World Wide Web at www.championnews.us.
Word from Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood is that the 28th and 29th of the month will be good for doing about anything in the garden. The signs are right–the weather may be a different story. “Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more? Will you still need me? Will you still feed me when I’m 64?” Several Champions are suddenly becoming 64. The lad who wrote that song was very young, early twenties, when he wrote it. Now he is passed that age and doing well. It is like George Orwell writing “1984” back in 1949. Champion is fraught with disambiguation. Happy Birthday to everyone who thought it would be different now and to everyone who thought it would be the same.
Betty Thomas was kind of surprised to have learned that the Descendant’s Gathering was reported to have taken place in Champion. “You are certainly welcome to share it,” she says, “We’ll just spread it out to encompass Champion.” With four thousand in attendance on Saturday alone at the Gathering, Champions think the traffic might be too much for the already congested Square. Betty has already begun the planning for next year’s gathering. She has the fabric all ready to begin the quilt that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. She said that Bonnie Reed of West Plains had won the quilt at this years Gathering. It was a beautiful piece called “Moonlight Over Montana.” Bonnie’s husband is the flint knapper, Don Reed, who demonstrated his skill so deftly at the Gathering.
Betty and Dale Thomas went to the East Dogwood school reunion on Saturday, which was held at Evans and made a good report. Dale is an alumnus. She said that there were 35 or 36 people who had gone to school at the New and Old East Dogwood Schools in attendance. “There was plenty to eat and it was all good,” she said. No one could quite remember how many years they have been having the reunion. Mary Lou Elliot used to organize it and then, a number of years ago, Viola Walker Paine took it over and has been doing a good job with it. Some of those attending were Wilburn and Louise Hutchison, Jackie Coonts, Albert Elliot, Fred and Joanne Follis, Ray and Alice Brown, Bill Cooley, Darrell Cooley, Joanne Shelton Davis, Corrine Coonts Bell and Dale Bell, Tony Evans, Lavelle Brentlinger and Bud Clinkingbeard. Mark and Gretchen Boisse also attended the reunion. They have built the lovely straw bale house that sits on the property where the New East Dogwood School held its classes. It was probably the Old East Dogwood School where Esther Wrinkles remembers with such fondness the ciphering matches.
This last summer a guy named John Natchison held his twenty-third annual “Stand Down” event for homeless veterans. It was held in Southern California, but it is reckoned that there are homeless veterans in every part of every state. Natchison reported that there are 9,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans living on the streets currently. Two million have already served in those countries and already a quarter of a million Veterans of those conflicts have requested medical help for psychological issues. Veterans of these current conflicts represent 20% of the homeless veterans, double the National Average. Much of the difficulty has to do with repeated deployments and the lack of preparedness for reentering civilian life. They come home with skills (bomb defusing) that are not particularly marketable in an already stressed economy. While there does not seem to be a cure all for the problems, Champions all are encouraged to reach out with a helping hand that expresses the Love and Gratitude to Our Veterans.
Anyone looking for some beautiful smiles only had to get a load of those miners rescued in Chile. “Smile through your fear and sorrow,” the song says. “How glad I am not to have lost you!” the people seemed to be saying. Gratitude is a beautiful Champion emotion. Express it in many or few words to Champion@getgoin.net or in song down at the Loafing Shed next to the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium in Downtown Champion. Loiter to your hearts content while not in any way impeding progress. It is Champion, after all—Looking on the Bright Side!