Champion was much in the spotlight this last Friday as people poured out from surrounding towns and communities to attend the first all-city yard sale on the Square in Historic Downtown.   For many, it was a first opportunity to get a good look at the place which has been likened to the Light shining out of the East and described as the Very Jewel of Central Douglas County.  Champion!   This initial foray into a community market day proved to be quite the success, particularly in light of the temperature and the distance from other major shopping areas.  A movement is afoot to repeat the performance sometime in the fall, maybe mid-September when the days will surely be a little cooler and the air will be sufficient to fill the bellows of the General’s accordion.  Music is frequently part of the fun in Champion, so the many talented local artistes will have yet another opportunity to participate in a rich community life.   A number of locals, who retreat inside for the heat of the day, are beginning to gather their thoughts on just what items they might like to put in the next yard sale.  Sometimes cash is better than ‘things’ and a thing no longer useful to one might be just what the next person needs.

Kyra Collins will have her birthday on Friday the sixth of July and Tiffany Thornhill will celebrate on Sunday the 8th.  They are both marking their twelfth birthday and will be in the sixth grade at Skyline this fall.  That may seem like a long time away to them, but it will go by in a hurry.  Older people routinely speak of the swift passage of time.

Esther Wrinkles had a beautiful birthday celebration over at the Vanzant Community Center on Saturday.  It was hosted by her sons and their families.  She may well have received a card for every one of her 95 years.   A pair of shockingly pink flamingos was the gift of someone who knows Esther’s fun loving personality and there was much interest in just where she will place them in her yard.   Already the General is concerned that they will be wandering over into his yard.  He is fairly persnickety about his lawn. His many flaws seem to be offset by his fabulous peanut butter ice cream.  There were buckets of it, and of a luscious vanilla that was enhanced favorably by some succulent peach cobbler, and then, of course, there was the peach ice cream.   Skillfully decorated birthday cakes and tasty brownies all made for a splendid party.  The best thing though was seeing how much joy is to be had in sharing Love, Gratitude, and Appreciation for each other among dear friends, neighbors and family.  Monday morning Esther was still smiling.  She said that she was a little tired, but that she was so thankful for everyone who made the party happen and to everyone who came.  It was a special day for a real Champion.

The Vanzant Community Center is a great place to hold a party.  It is air conditioned and this time of the year that is important.  A note on the bulletin board there said that the 13th and 14th of July will be the Vanzant Community Picnic.   The swift passage of time is evident again.   The Up and At ‘Em Holt 4H Picnic will be rolling around again soon and, of course the Skyline VFD picnic will kick off on August 10th.  Jeff Pardeck from over at the White River Valley Electric Cooperative in Branson has granted another $100.00 worth of electric power to be awarded to some lucky supporter of the Fire Department.  White River has been doing this for Skyline for more than ten years now.  They are nice folks over there and good neighbors.  Soon the picnic quilt will be on display over at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion.    There were fifteen members in attendance at the last Skyline Auxiliary meeting there on the 27th of June and the next meeting is scheduled for the 10th of July at 6:30 in the evening.  The newly air-conditioned meeting room at Henson’s G & G can accommodate a sizeable number of people and the picnic organizational meetings are a perfect time for Skyline Fire District Members to get acquainted with each other and to contribute their good ideas and good energy.  Volunteer fire departments are essential parts of thriving rural communities.  Someone noted that the population of the area is growing, but the average age is also increasing.  Young folks are in short supply and much needed!

Harley is missing his granddaughters.  Their lives are filling up and they do not come around as much as they used to.  What is important at one age may not seem to be such a big deal at another time in life.  The swift passage of time might catch up with these ‘whippersnappers’ yet.  It is a universal issue felt by many over the years.  One old Champion wonders if she neglected the old people she loved so.  Probably she did.  Esther Howard has a good perspective on the process.  She says to just enjoy it.

Ira Glass is a radio personality and the second cousin of composer Phillip Glass.   Phillip told Ira in an interview, “People do not know what they like.  They like what they know. “   That is a very interesting statement and one that can be applied to more than music.  It is less easy, as people age, to stay receptive when it comes to new things.  Someone said that the tendency to romanticize the past makes it difficult to recognize how lovely the present might be.   These are the kinds of thoughts that keep things lively among the Saturday Philosophy Club which holds its early morning meetings out on the porch at the Historic Emporium now being referred to as the “G & G.”  They retreat to the air conditioned meeting room later in the morning.  Linda’s Almanac for July is posted there and so Cowboy Jack will have time to study it with the hopes of getting a few vegetables in yet.  The 9th and 10th will be good planting days.  It turns out that there are lots of ripe tomatoes in Champion already and it is not that gardeners do not share, they do.  They are just not interested in the acclaim and so the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest has officially been called a draw because Champions are a noble lot.

“Oh!  Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain!”  Independence Day is a chance to recognize the service of Veterans and those currently defending the lovely Constitution of the United States, to sing some patriotic songs, to get together with friends for an annual renewal of old acquaintances and to get feet wet in cold creeks.  It is an opportunity to hear what common and wide ranging thoughts friends and neighbors have about gardening, health, politics, weather, art, music and philosophy in general.  One noted recently that for every individual interested in a given subject, there is a different valid perspective.  Differences are, after all, what most people have in common.  Tolerance and mutual respect are the glues that hold dissimilar attitudes together in one great Nation—the melting pot.  Huzza!  Eat your ice cream before it melts, out on the porch.  Get a good view of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

CHAMPION—July 9, 2012


In Champion the delicious rain was well received though it put some in the dark temporarily.  There was no complaint to be had, even as some will be hauling brush or standing their corn back up.

Official Champion rain gauges measured over an inch and spots up in North Champion had water closer to the two inch mark in their upturned buckets.   The relief from the heat stress is palpable and the whole atmosphere is relaxed had happy.  Champion!

The power outage may have come at an inconvenient time for those in the dairy barn, but they are well prepared and accustomed to adapting to adverse conditions quickly when it is necessary.  It will be a most interesting account to hear what Kalyssa has to say about getting her milking chores done.  She is quite an enthusiastic farm girl.  Local Future Farmers, at a very young age, probably already know more about many important things than do many a middle aged city dweller.   They are Champions!   An influx of Krider cousins is expected mid-week, with grandchildren pouring in from Tennessee and North Missouri, and all over.  What fun!  Hopes are that some grand photos will be taken out on the steps at the Mercantile over on the North Side of the Square—memory makers.

Skyline sixth grader Ceiara Carroll will be twelve years old on the 14th of July.  Kailyn Calhoun will have her fifth birthday on the 15th and will be in kindergarten when school starts.  Ceiara most likely knows that her birthday is Bastille Day, which is the French equivalent of the 4th of July.  It marked the end of the monarchy and beginning of the modern republic.  The lasting significance of the event was in its recognition that power could be held by ordinary citizens, not in the king or in God.  The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of July 14th in Paris to celebrate French National Day.  Happy Birthday Ceiara and Kailyn!

The debris and litter left after the 4th of July Parade in Downtown Champion could have been gathered up in a small tea cup.  Such a tidy lot!  Bags of ice went out the door of the Historic Emporium as revelers headed off to the creek.   Emergency picnic supplies and necessities were on hand plentifully and the community is much gratified to have its needs met so well by Henson’s Downtown G & G!  Down at the creek and out on the porch conversations covered a wide range of subjects.  One was heard to say that those we now call ‘Patriots’ were just a bunch of rabble rousing misfits and malcontents.  This sentiment was accepted with the addendum that they also be recognized as having been brilliant and courageous.  The longest standing Constitution in the world now, it begins with the word, “We.”  Similarities were drawn between players in the current political scene and the ‘Tories’ of the Revolution.  One said, “You are what you eat and you become what you hate.”  There is definitely food for thought there.

New voter registration cards have Champions voting at Skyline now for all the elections.  According to one election official, it is a matter of saving money for the county by consolidating voting districts.

Annual gatherings give friends a yard stick by which to measure their own progress for the year as well as the chance to watch the communities’ grandchildren grow and flourish.  It is delightful to see what excellent parents the children of friends have become.  They are every bit as protective and unreasonable as their own parents were.  “In 1860 I used to go to see a pretty little gal in Georgia and dearly she loved me.  She promised she would marry me as soon as the war was over.  She said we’d live together just like chickens in the clover.”  It is sweet to see old couples still grousing in the same way thirty years later.   They are still impatient with one another, but more accepting.  Some have mellowed in charming and unexpected ways.   Champions all hope to age as gracefully as do their precious friends and neighbors and are content to live like chickens in the clover.

The break in the weather is a gift to gardeners.  Linda’s almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that root crops planted on the 13th and 14th will yield well.  Those will also be good days for transplanting.   Linda’s staggeringly beautiful garden was on display as she hosted the regular Fortnight Bridge game on Saturday night.  That plot of land feeds a great number of people and it is a joy to see.  She has good help and has had many years to perfect her art.  Her degree is in horticulture and her life experience adds an otherwise unattainable credential.  The bridge game was pleasantly augmented by a Sterling visitor.  This lovely young woman is a beginning bridge player and is studying to become a watchmaker.  The aptitude required to work with the minute elements that comprise such mechanical marvels is awe inspiring.  Linda is an excellent host and her guests generously share their exciting friends with each other.  The Champion player came in with the low money and thus broke even in the game financially.  She did come out ahead with cucumbers and squash and another pleasant memory.

Sue Upshaw is receiving get well cards at the Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, MO, 65483.  She has taken a fall and will be a while in the recovery process.  Meanwhile it was observed that her spirits were much lifted by the good wishes of her many friends and family.  Keep them coming!  One will circulate through the Skyline VFD Auxiliary Meeting on Tuesday the 10th.  Sue and her family have always been big supporters of the Skyline VFD and her presence will be sorely missed if she is unable to attend the Skyline Picnic this year.  Get well soon, friend.

Good news pertinent to Champion is welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at  Look for the fun at or circulate through the Square.  It is at the beginning of the pavement, at the bottom of some hills, where several county roads converge, on the banks of Old Fox Creek.  It is Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side.