September 10, 2019 – Grandparents Day at Skyline was another of those excellent events that will lodge in the memories of students and grandparents and bind them closer yet. Among the artifacts shared by grandparents were quilts, rub-boards, portable record players with 45 rpm records and a rotary dial telephone. You know, you have to put your finger in the hole corresponding to the number and turn it clockwise to the stop. That phone seems funny and old-fashioned now, but it is how things were when some of these grandparents were school kids. Now they are old folks, sitting in the bleachers with their eyes watering a little for the joy of grandchildren singing.
“Welcome home, Elva!” What a party! The Vanzant Community Building was packed Saturday with family and friends well-wishing for Elva Upshaw as she is making a strong recovery from some very fancy heart surgery. She beamed her lovely smile all evening. The pot-luck tables were overflowing with favorite dishes and desserts, and hearts overflowed with gratitude. Music and laughter filled the hall. We are again reminded of the value of community and the preciousness of family. Elva sent out a big thank you. “…to my family, friends and people I do not even know from the Vanzant/Drury and Champion communities for your generosity. …Time and time again I have seen community come together to offer support and it was no different for me. There is no other place I would rather call home. I am blessed beyond measure!”
Those good-looking Mountain Grove cowboys, Kenny and Jim, will be glad to know that the Century-Tel cable hanging low over the low-water crossing on Cold Springs Road has been repaired. The guy-wire supporting the phone pole on the west side of the creek had given way so the pole leaned and the wire drooped. Their observation may have saved some real difficulties for locals. They will also be glad to know that the West Plains Wagon Club wagon train will be pulling into Champion on September 19th. Jim Cantrell called in to Henson’s Store to share the good news. John Webber says they will spend Wednesday night at his place in Drury and he expects there will be four or five wagons, maybe more. They will come into the Champion Square around noon for a rest and for the community to have a chance to admire their handsome animals and their interesting rigs. From Champion they will continue on their 100 mile journey. It takes them a week to go from West Plains to Mansfield. Maybe the cowboys will join them as outriders for a spell.
Organizers of The Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks are busy. It will happen on the first week end in October, the 5th and 6th this year. In addition to all the great music from local bands, there will be opportunities for young people to show off their musical talents. There will be lots of good food, games and contests. Among the many exhibitions of traditional skills will be soap making, apple butter making, pickling and canning, flint knapping, blacksmithing, turkey calls, wood carving, lace making, spinning, weaving, felting, quilting, basket making, how to cane a chair and many other such things. This will be the third year for this family-friendly festival and it looks like it will be another great success. Last year Jody and Royce Henson from Springfield were held up at a train crossing in Norwood for more than an hour, so they backtracked and came to the festival through Ava. They will probably come that way again this year just to avoid a potential delay. People will be coming from all over the place. It will be a good opportunity to meet up with friends you may not have seen in years.
“Not just plain terrible. This was fancy terrible; this was terrible with raisins in it.” That is a quote from Dorothy Parker. We do not know what she may have been referencing, but we can think of several things that could deserve the description these days. Another quote comes from the esteemed President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican. He said, “Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” In the United States, about 11,000 people turn from 17 to 18 years old every day. Imagine if they all register to vote! Some people do not like any kind of social activism. Our adopted Champion granddaughter, Greta Thunberg, gets negativity from people who are afraid of change. She does not care. She takes it as kind of a super-power to be able to cause people to think. We are immensely proud of her and of all our young people who are stepping up to public service and taking responsibility to rehabilitate the world they are inheriting. Champions all!
Hovy Henson wrote an email to email@example.com on September 2nd with the subject line, “I’m excited!” He reported that he and Dawn had seen their first hummingbird at their feeder. This is the second year they have put up a feeder and this was the first bird that has visited it. The population of hummingbirds in these parts is beginning to thin out. It may be that Hovy’s visitor is on its migration south to the Yucatan. Seasons are changing. Tanna Wiseman will have a birthday on September 13th. Friday the 13th is also the full Harvest moon. It last happened in October of 2000, and will not happen again until August 2049. The 14th is a day to celebrate Frances Sutherland who was 82 in 2014. She enjoyed the Champion School Reunion last month. The 15th is a day to appreciate Patty-Tigger and to remember old Champion friend, Elmer Banks. Elmer did not grow up around here, but he fit in like a real Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!