It would seem that many of the people in the Ozarks are related to people in Scotland.  They immigrated to America in the 1700’s and settled in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains which eventually became the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina where they carried on their time honored craft of whiskey making.  When the newly formed government needed money to pay for its very expensive War of Independence against old King George, it was decided to tax the whiskey made by these skilled craftsmen.  The tax was too high to be tolerable and so they upped and moved west again settling in the lovely Ozark Hills.  Of course, not every Scotsman’s descendant makes whiskey or even drinks it, though a few weeks ago somewhere up around Rogersville, a lady of sixty some odd years, had her lovely still confiscated by the revenuers together with 26 of her sparkling clear gallon jugs of pure distilled spirits. (Some call it honey-dew vine water.)  It is considered quite legal to produce four gallons per year for home consumption.  Perhaps the lady has a big family.   Tea totalers or not, many Scotts would be right at home in Champion with their native love of music and of a tranquil countryside, and blessed with the wonderful gift of gab.

Reports are that the Skyline School Carnival was a big success.  Wes and Pat Smith’s grandchildren Zoey and Zack said that there was a good haunted house–very scary.  The General Himself was holding court there trying to get the facts straight around his laughter as the husband of one of his many nieces was telling him a bow hunting story about his favorite sister-in-law’s husband.  His favorite sister-in-law’s husband was deer hunting and was able to get a deer without using and losing too many arrows.  When he started to skin the deer it had a rancid odor, so the carcass was discarded.  It was thought the deer may have been pulverized in recent weeks by a vehicle of some sort.  The General is speculating (and guffawing) that the deer may have been dead prior to being shot with the arrow(s).   Since the General has dozens of nieces, this is a story that could have been told about any number of young men lucky enough to have married into the family.  An interesting survey of this stalwart troop of young men might include the question, “Did you meet the General before or after you asked her to marry?”

Good news from the Skyline School Foundation is that the Douglas County Community Foundation is providing a grant of $2000.00 to the Skyline School Foundation to continue the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.  This is an excellent program for children from birth to five years of age who live in the Skyline School District.  Each month the mail will bring a brand new, age appropriate book addressed to the child and designed to cultivate a love of reading-the great key to success in school and much of the rest of life.  Champion!

A pleasant fellow named Graham, a man of about sixty years of age, was walking down Marchmont Road one day and, passing a bank building from within which he heard a great deal of hammering and sawing, and being a wood worker himself, stuck his head in the door.  What he saw was a pair of workmen removing the counter over which the bank’s business had long been conducted.  There was a renovation going on and a great huge slab of polished ancient American black walnut was being wrenched loose destined for the construction dumpster.  He convinced the fellows to hold up for ten minutes to take a coffee break (tea) while he rushed home for his tools.  In the end, for his willingness to help remove it, he was rewarded with the piece.  From this piece, which he reckons to be 75 to 100 years old, he has manufactured a fiddle, a mandolin, and a guitar.  It is a pity he can only play one instrument at a time.  His new friends hope one day to hear them all together in the Old Bank Bench Band.  Graham is an excellent musician as well as instrument maker.  Nothing would please him more than to sit out on the porch at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium in scenic Downtown Champion and play a tune on his black walnut fiddle in the very presence of some of the trees’ relatives.

Ones allegiance to a particular baseball team develops over time and according to no particular set of logical rules.  The Detroit Tigers has always been one Champions favorite team because of Norm Cash.   Known as “Punk” by his family, he was a farm boy from West Texas.  He grew up in Justiceburg, Texas, a Champion sized community, out between Snyder and Post.  His folks were Bandy and Mildred Cash and they were cotton farmers and family friends.  He played for the Tigers from 1960 to 1974, during which time he excelled in his sport and was a great source of pride for a high school girl who liked to tell her friends about playing the piano at Punk’s house and how they kept the windows painted shut to keep the dust out of the house even after the dust bowl years and how it did not seem to work.  Esther Wrinkles is also a Tiger’s fan and it will be interesting to hear the story of why it is her team.  She was up late Sunday night watching the game and was disappointed that her Tiger’s did not win.  She is reported to be making slow but steady progress in her recovery, however, and her Champion friends send her greetings and best wishes from far away.

Satellite images from space show the enormous storm headed to the East Coast of the United States.  Hopefully, the National Guard will be able to be out assisting those who need it.  All the emergency services people, police and firemen, will be out on the job looking after people.   Champions do not take them for granted.

Friends gathered in Edinburgh on Sunday evening to celebrate an American Thanksgiving early.  Among them were two Old Champions, their fiddler son;  Graham the instrument maker and fiddler; and Morag (Moe) a lovely read haired fiddling lass from Portobello, Scotland;  Jhan a very tall and pleasant Dutch accordion player;  Jesus, an amazing guitarist from southern Spain; Miss Lake Montgomery, a singer/song-writer from Paris, Texas who has been living in Europe for about ten years; Thomas, a harmonica virtuoso from Poland, who hardly speaks any English, but can play unbelievably well;  and another Graham, a Scotsman, who plays guitar and harmonica and sings; and Graham’s wife Ingrid, from England.  Ingrid is a talented painter and is very busy being mother to nine-year-old Fae and two-year-old Erin.  Many traditional American Thanksgiving dishes and variations of traditional dishes completed the menu and satisfied guests settled in, at last, to an unforgettable evening of music.  Champions have many reasons to be appreciative!  Make your own list of Things for Which to Be Grateful and feel free to recite them out loud as you stand on the broad and elegant steps on the North Side on the Square and survey the many charms of one of the world’s loveliest places – Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

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