The Champion News – Wilda Moses

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June 10, 2019 – Forty-seven showed up Monday morning for the Civil War Bus Tour sponsored by the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce.  Marilyn Alms explains that it is part of a statewide effort to introduce the interesting tourism available in the State of Missouri. She said that she thought Ava was the first community that she knows of who have done a presentation like this. There is a full week of activities available, all of it free. Judy and Eldon Russell took the tour Monday and said they had really enjoyed the Mill Tour last year. 

Monday’s Civil War Tour stopped at a number of Civil War grave sites in town and made a foray out past Cow Skin Creek to the Ritter cemetery where a number of Home Guard combatants are buried. Ms. Alms and author-reenactor, Tim Ritter of Fair Grove, gave commentary at each stop based primarily on the keen observations of Columbia J. Makin (1871-1958), which appear in a recently published book, “Dear Descendants.” She dictated the stories to her daughter to preserve family history for future generations and in the process produced a valuable record of the town that now claims 2,993 residents. Mrs. Mankin’s original book has been augmented by an introduction by Douglas County native and historian, Cinita (Davis) Brown and many pages of family photos.  It was a morning well spent.  

It was pleasant to see some of the ‘regulars’ around the tables at the Historic Emporium—Bob and Ethel, Don and Reba, Wes, Mutt, Dean and Dailey, the Cowboy and the Prominent Citizen. Not everyone can make it down to the Bright Side every Wednesday, but they are glad when they do. Charlie Lambert and Delmer Dooms came down from Mountain Grove to meet up with Alvie Dooms.  The fair Janice Ray had a rendezvous with some motorcycle goof. When the Rt. 72 mail carrier, Karen Ross stopped in on her route, she was regaled with stories about Homer Akers when he ran the route.  (Wait a minute Mr. Postman!)

Alvie said the many stories about Homer were not exaggerated enough to meet the true history of it.  He also answered the question about who might have been the musicians who played for dances upstairs at the Denlow Store, i.e. himself, his older brother, Edgar, and J.P. Ferrell.  Now there are stories about Alvie on The Voice of America.  Out on the wide veranda Charlie was coaxed into playing a tune on the mandolin.  He played the “Spanish Two-Step”   and what a lovely tune that is!   He has not been playing much recently, but his many friends and fans will try to remedy that.

Because the Fourth of July will occur on a Thursday this year, it was decided by a show of hands last week that the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam will not happen that night.  The following Thursday, the 11th,  preparations will be underway for the Vanzant Picnic on  July 12 and 13, so there will be no jam that night either. Two weeks without a jam will be hard on some folks, but there should be no further disruption until Thanksgiving. 

The year is flying by and Champions are thankful every beautiful day that dawns. Music is one of those gifts in life. As Carl Perkins said, “Singing seems to help the troubled soul.”  A person can also use music to lower blood pressure and lift spirits.  It is good medicine.  If you are connected to the internet, you can find almost any music you like.  Even The Champion News at if rife with links to songs that pop into our thoughts.  Father’s day is coming up and one remembers a father who could recall a song that fit any situation.  It made for a pleasant childhood and an overall optimistic outlook.  

Haymakers are hard at it.  The countryside hums with machinery.  Even with the lush foliage to absorb it, the droning of equipment is the soft distant background for the buzzing insects and singing birds.  A few cool dry days will benefit farmers who are laying up stores for future need.  Meanwhile, those buzzing insects might really be a condition called tinnitus, something that many old folks might understand.  For those gardeners who plant more than they can tend, and for people who are only now realizing they are old:  there, there.  Buck up.  Remember being young like Skyline School eighth graders, Wyatt Hicks and Zachary Coon.  Wyatt has his birthday on the 13th and Zachary has his on the 17th.  First grader, Axyl Miller celebrates on the 17th and Daniel Parks, in the 7th grade, has the 19th for his special day.  Ava’s lovely Janice Lorrain has the 15th for her party and Champion grandson Foster Wiseman has the 16th for his.   He may be 16!  What?  Time goes by.  

Folks visiting from the city are heard to say that being in this part of the world with all its rural magic and small town charm is like going backwards in time. Of course, looking at the rapidly eroding world situation, everyone must feel that way on some level.  Still, these are being glorious days in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!