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Extensive rummaging through The Champion News Archives reveals that August 28 will be a 4th birthday celebration for Jenna Brixey and Kalyssa Wiseman. They both have brothers, Jenna’s is younger and Kalyssa’s is older. They are distant cousins since Jenna’s paternal grandfather and Kalyssa’s maternal grandmother are cousins. In any given crowd of Champions there is a good chance that there will be more than one set of cousins. It is the nature of the place that even people with no blood-kin in these parts get the joy of a great family feeling as friendships are forged over the years. That Tennessee boy, Dakota Watts, will be eighteen years old on the 24th of August. This is his senior year in school and it is to be hoped that he is making the kind of memories that will cause him to want to attend school reunions way off in the future. The Champion School Reunion (the 27th one) is about to happen again (September 3rd) and Champions hear that Wilma Hamby will most likely attend this year. Hopefully Jerry Smith will make it over from Seymour again and who can imagine the number of Hensons that might come from Springfield, Bella Vista, Houston, and Columbia? There might be a Hutchison, probably a Cooley or two, not to mention Upshaws, Proctors, Kriders, Wrinkles, Southerlands, and numerous others. This time last year Champions were celebrating the shiny slick galvanized roof that had recently gone on the beautiful new structure occupying the North Side of the Square. It is to be imagined that the Reunion will find Champions swarming over the building, impressed with the sturdiness, the elegant lines, the practicality, the attention to detail, and the genial ambiance of a brand new thing built reminiscent of the good old days. Look for pictures in a couple of weeks. Champion!
“For by how much the more pains ye take to please the world, by so much the more shall ye for ever go thankless!” This is an extract from a long-winded story about an unsuccessful fishing trip that was published in 1851. It speaks to ‘expectations’ and to the newly minted proverb that on the other side of the road sign pointing to ‘Expectation’ is the destination ‘Disappointment.’ A contemporary author writes, “The thorn from the bush one has planted, nourished and pruned pricks most deeply and draws more blood.” No preamble to maudlin thoughts is required in Champion and if such occur at all, they are but fleeting and soon replaced by kindly feeling opening the way to most agreeable associations and imperishable friendships. A few tears of tender sensibility are not inappropriate in Champion, just rare.
Soon after the Champion School Reunion, Clifton Luna and his bunch from the West Plains Wagon Club will be making their trip through town. Mr. Luna says they will be leaving West Plains on the 12th and will arrive in Champion about lunchtime on Thursday the 15th. He says he has no idea how many will make the trip, so Champions will have to come out to see for themselves. Go out to www.championnews.us to see pictures from the last three years. They are listed in the Snapshot section under WPWC Wagon Train 2008, 2009, and 2010. This will get you in the mood to show up to see the outfit in person. It is quite a treat. In 2008, Mr. Luna was reported to be 83 years old. In a conversation with him last week he reported that two weeks previously he cracked a rib when the cinch broke and the saddle slid off the mule he was riding. He said he was sore but getting over it. If a person wants to reach Mr. Luna by phone he must wait until nine or so in the evening. It seems that after he gets home from the sawmill, he has cattle to tend to and mules to look after. Hard work and lots of it, together with wholesome fun among like-minded folks would seem to be the receipt for living a good life. Champion!
The Fortnight Bridge Club met at Linda’s house on Saturday night. The cards were good and the play was exciting. The span between the high and the low score was quite small, which means that every one played well. Early on, before dark, the players took a break to tour Linda’s garden. It is a big garden that needs to be photographed from a low flying hot air balloon so the observer can see it all at once and, at once, see it in all its detail. It is magnificent to rival anything “House and Garden” could spotlight. Note that gardening is not a summertime hobby for Linda, but a way of life, that comes complete with a full time gardener. They say if you find a pretty garden you find someone in it. This gardener is both a Lem and a Ned in his sheer love of drudgery, turnips, and okra towering over his head. Between hands at the Old Biddies Bridge game in Mansfield on Thursday, there will be the chance to look over Linda’s garden photos if she has had time to get them developed. (Film?) The regular players are looking for good cards and the chance to visit with and about friends, it promises to be another great game.
Sara Firman wrote a poem about her dear friend Mau Blossom who died on Christmas Day, 2007. She was born in the Ozarks and lived all over the country before coming back to her roots. Her memorial service began “I will not live an unlived life.” Even people who had never met Mau find themselves touched by her. Sara said of her, “Not afraid of dark or light, for her, spoken words were curtains drawn to reveal or conceal the truth treasures of hearts she intended to make fearless as her own. /The last sacrifice was hers through strength and pain and she fought for us all to keep the fires burning, to keep the waters flowing, to keep love in our hearts.” Elitta January and Mau were friends for thirty years, and like Mau, she has touched many lives with calm compassion and empathy as an advocate in difficult times. A note to such a friend during her own difficult times to acknowledge and encourage is always ink well spent. Elitta January, RR1, Box 95D, Mtn. Grove MO 65711.
The band, Hot Mulch, played down at Dawt Mill on Friday night the 12th. Those who heard about it in time to attend said that it was a wonderful gig. In 1981, the band consisted of Ron Hughes, John Tickner, Jeff Dunshee, Jerry Heath, Stan Smith and Ruell Chappell. Those are the names listed on the album cover for the 45-rpm record “Ozark Mountain Mother Earth News Freak” published and distributed by the American Grin Ola Company of Brixey, MO. The song goes into great detail about modern homesteading and highlights the humorous aspects of such an enterprise. The flip side was another Ron Hughes original tune, “Too Long Without You” and featured Patty Van Weelden on vocals. Copies are being made available to listener supported KZ88.1 FM radio over in Cabool. This is a great outfit that really likes to support local musicians. It is well worth checking out.
Check out what is going on down on the Square. It is at the bottom of several hills, at the end of the pavement (or the beginning), at the junction of two county roads on the broad and shady banks of Old Fox Creek. Why! It’s Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!