Bud Hutchison had a wonderful day for his fall trail ride out of Champion on Wednesday the 16th.  Those accompanying him on the trail were Ronnie, Heather and Travis Thompson, Dale Lawson, Gene Dunn, Frances Fowler, Roy and Donna Brown, Randy Emory, Charlie Curtis, Don Hamby, Larry Cain, J.C. Owsley, and James Thompson.  Jack Coonts joined the group at Drury and rode to Champion with them.  Wilma Hutchison was there to meet the bunch at Drury and it is reported that she orchestrated some good photographs.  She is good at this kind of organization and her many Fox Trotter friends are looking forward to her pictures in the local newspapers.   A number of the regulars on this ride were off on a big national ride this time but they will be traveling with Bud on other roads.  The country is full of people on horses enjoying the glorious autumn in an up close and personal way.  Locals are ever vigilant to the possibility of horseback riders around any bend in the road.  The broad veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium was the site of much good post ride visiting.  Anecdotes of panthers, mountain lions, turtles, foxes, hares, eagles and bears abounded together with the regular horse tales.  It is wonderful to live in a part of the country where wildlife is abundant and people are observant.  Those readers enjoying the Champion News on-line ( can see some good photos of J.C. Owsley and his big black and white horse and the beautiful Appaloosa Domino owned by Don Hamby.  Of course there is also a great picture of Cowboy Jack and of the bunch of them up on the porch.

Ethel McCallie is a Champion friend living over in Nowata, Oklahoma.  A good conversation with her the other day revealed that she is hobbling around a bit after having suffered a broken hip back in September.  She says she is walking just not as well as before.  Ethel had her 96th birthday in August.  She and Esther Wrinkles were born the same year and were becoming acquainted in recent years.  The two had more than a birth year in common.  Their friendly personalities and years of life experience made them both good story tellers and continual gatherers of friends.   Esther grew up here in Champion and the place is full of memories of her.  Ethel was a Haden and grew up over around Smallett.  She married young and moved away, but her home is this part of the world and she comes back as often as she can.  Ethel says that no two of her children live in the same state though that does not seem to impact their closeness.  She is busy these days writing her biography and she has some real stories to tell.  Hopes are that she will share some with her distant friends together with a poem that her father wrote when she was a girl.   She said that it was read at one of the recent Haden family reunions and was well received.   She spoke of her cousin Darrell Haden over in Tennessee and of how fond the whole family is of him.  He retired a few years ago from the English Department at the University of Tennessee and was the first individual to write to this particular rendering of the Champion Items back in 2006.  He had positive constructive things to say and his encouragement is still encouraging.  It is great to hear a positive word now and again.  Ethel is very good at acknowledging the good in the present and that makes her a Champion!

Royce Henson grew up in Champion.  He is a frequent visitor here though he lives in Springfield.  He is about to have his 80th birthday and as part of his celebration the family plans to make a ramble through the neighborhood on their way down to Rockbridge to have lunch on Saturday, November 2nd.  His Birthday is on October 30th.   It is lovely to see a family rally around for a birthday celebration.     There is a story that Lonnie Krider said that he should have shot Marty Watts the first time he came up the driveway.  It is too late now.  Marty is a big part of the family with in-laws and lots of nieces and nephews in the area.  His birthday is October 20th.  He shares the day with Skyline third grader Cyanna Davis.  The 21st is remembered as Anna Henson’s birthday.  She has been gone for a long time now, but old friends and family remember her for being friendly and having a very good memory for figures.  She had a great sense of humor to go along with her business acumen.  It is an honor to share her birthday.  Skyline bus driver Beth Caudill has her birthday on October 22nd.  She shares the day with sixth grader Talia Mancia and prekindergarten student Haylee Surface.   Donna Moskaly also shares that day with her son.  Donna is a wonderful artist.  See some of her prizewinning work at Henson’s Grocery and Gas.  Joe Moskaly just had his birthday back on the 15th.  He is a handy guy.  The other day he was over at Wilburn and Louise Hutchison’s house helping Connie put up some plastic on the windows as part of a winterizing scheme.  Louise might like to have a more transparent protection on her big picture window, but for the moment she will be happy for the warmth provided by the opaque covering.  Wilburn and Louise have settled back into their wonderful place again and it is good to have them home.  Connie has made it all possible and her family and friends will celebrate her and her birthday on the 30th.  What a beautiful daughter!  Breauna Krider, another real beauty, will have her birthday on the 24th.  Taegan will be singing that song to her Mommy.  Cousins and friends will be gifting her with coffee-cups that can be carried off to the barn and never returned!   On the 26th Harley Krider will be sharing his birthday with his nephew-in-law Brian Oglesby.  Eli and Emerson Rose will be singing to their Dad. Harley will soon be the oldest one in his crowd again and there might be some satisfaction in that.  Hopes are that he and charming Barbara will make it back home for Thanksgiving.  It will be a good chance to spend some time with his sister Vivian Floyd.  She has had some health issues lately and her Champion friends and family are all wishing her the best!

Billy Currington is a singer songwriter who sings, “A bad day of fishin’ beats a good day of anything else.”  Phyllis Winn shares a quote:  “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable and a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” Fishing is a quiet and personal activity.  Neuroscientists are saying that young people are so ‘plugged in’ to their smart phones and video games these days that they are not being taught how to be alone.  It is said that if a child does not learn how to be alone he will always be lonely.  Of course, a person can enjoy solitude while cutting firewood or working in the garden.  Drop a note to Champion Items, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to with your best ideas about being quiet or occasions for hope.  Come down to the warmth of the community hearth in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square where you can engage in an old fashioned conversation.  Sing your favorite fishing song (out on the veranda, please) while observing one of the world’s truly beautiful places.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!