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One of the highlights of the 29th Champion School Reunion was the guided tour of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square. It was fairly empty at the time with no fixtures or merchandise. Vaughn Henson was heard to say that all it really needed was more beautifully finished wood! He was just being funny and those were not his exact words, but he was right to remark on the light gleaming off the beautiful floors and ceiling. The old stove is there on a specialized stove board with super-triple stainless steel stove pipe going straight up through the ceiling. The stove is the same one that has always been there, though it has had a little work done as is required by every wonderful old thing that stays in regular use. The footprint of the building is larger than the old one and probably someone knows exactly by how much if the precise figure were to be required. What the tourists came away with from their excursion was a good sense of continuity. If the old building was not replicated exactly, certainly the feeling of the place is very reminiscent of the Old Champion, enough to give a newcomer like Vaughn an appreciation of the past that his ancestors enjoyed. There were any number of Upshaws traipsing through the place and an unknown number of Hensons of that Ezra Henson tribe, as well as many others. It had been said that in the old days everything worth happening happened out on the porch at the Store, or was told about out there. One time J.T. Shelton said that of a Saturday there would be seventy-five people down in Champion just visiting. “Hanging out” is what they would call it now and there is no doubt that the comfortable and pleasant facilities in Champion will inspire much more of that in the future. No loitering. To correct information about the School Reunion from last week, Greta Cope could not possibly have been a teacher at the Champion School because she was just a little kid, about the age of certain Hutchisons who are still considered to be much in the prime of their lives. It is the kind of mistake that only a newcomer of the rankest sort could make. Greta’s parents are Wayne and Francis Sutherland and they were students at the Champion School. Greta lives over by Hartville and hopefully will be back for next year’s reunion, which will be a big one – thirty years! Pictures are still being circulated and the glow of this reunion is fresh in many Old Champion hearts. On Tuesday the Skyline VFD Auxiliary will have its regular September meeting. The last few meetings have been held in the Loafing Shed over on the West Side of the Square, but this one will be in the designated meeting room of the New Old Champion Emporium. The summer picnic will be assessed and thoughts for activities in the year ahead will be discussed. This is a solid little organization that does a lot of good work. Any Skyline VFD Member is welcome to participate. Information will always be available in Champion at the Store. Tuesday happens to be Tanna Wiseman’s birthday. She put in a lot of hard work at the picnic. She does every year. With luck, she will get to attend the meeting so her friends can sing that special song. The West Plains Wagon Club will be rolling into Champion on Thursday afternoon. Mr. Luna and his outfit pulled out of West Plains on Monday headed this way. They came around through Dora and perhaps this year someone will take a map down to Champion to see if any of them can trace their exact route for the edification of nonparticipants. Mrs. Luna said (by phone Monday morning) that she thought there were going to be quite a few on this train, but of course, some join up late and some leave along the way, so there is no way of telling just how many will be in Champion until they get here. They will really have a treat in store for them when they arrive. They generally get to Champion in the early afternoon and they can always expect a good turn out from the community and surrounding area as people come to enjoy seeing the animals and the unique wagons and rigs that the various wagon clubs have put together. Royce Henson, from up in Springfield, said that he would try to make it back down for the event. Champions will be glad to see him again so soon. Sue and Russell Upshaw plan to be there. They just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on Saturday. It must be working for them as they seem to be smiling all the time. There will be plenty of time for some good visiting and everyone is welcome to enjoy the spectacle. A listing for an album of wagon train music claims that it sounds the way it sounded in the 1800′s. Some of the songs included are Camptown Races, Listen to the Mocking Bird, Rubber Dolly, Beautiful Dreamer, Cindy, and Silver Threads Among the Gold. Music has always been a big part of Champion life and several have remarked about the wonderful stage that the new porch will be.
Pete Proctor is still smiling from having had such a nice visit with his son, Bryan, and his family. They are back home in Virginia now as Bryan gets ready for another deployment. He is about to complete his 19th year in the Service. Pete said that the VFW did a Flag Ceremony for the 9/11 Remembrance. The public is invited to the Mountain Grove Square for a Flag Ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on Friday the 16th and then Pete and Joe Kelley from the VFW Post 3770 will be at Skyline School at 10:00 to do the POW/MIA missing man Table. Champions are grateful to have Pete to keep them informed about the Nation’s Veterans and those serving currently. It is a small percentage of the population that does such an important job for everyone. Champions all!
The very nature of exclusivity requires that some are excluded. So if you find yourself on the fringes of what is happening and only included as part of the general masses, just consider yourself lucky. Consider that you are doing a favor for your exclusive friends by giving them someone to leave out. We all have our places and our roles to play. The main thing is not to take it personally. That is one of the Four Agreements that are generally found in some form in every religious doctrine. This one happens to be from the Toltec people who predated the Aztecs and the Mayans. The other agreements besides – Don’t take anything personally, Be impeccable with your word; and Don’t make assumptions; and Always do your best. Agree or disagree at Champion@getgoin.net or by real post at Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Champions understand the value of the rural mail carrier and they just know that when she pulls into Champion, she is looking on the Bright Side!