CHAMPION—December 31, 2007


        Champions are amazed at how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments.  Most of them are over before they start.  They cast a light on the future, though, and what takes up the time is the memory of those moments.

        Long time Champion, Esther Wrinkles took a ride down to visit old friends John and Neomi Haskins the other day.  She went with Theresa and Larry on a beautiful drive way down past Squires over near Thornfield out in Ozark County.  Mike and Sandy Haskins were there from Lawson, MO and Larry Haskins who lives nearby as well.  John is a lot of fun, Esther says, and told some good jokes.  They were still laughing about some respectable lady climbing through her own front window.  Esther had brought one of her famous peach cobblers, and Neomi said that she had heard about Esther’s pies for years, but had never had one.  There about erupted a brawl over it with servings dished out before dinner was served and the whole thing pretty much devoured before the visit was over.  John said, “Come back ever chance you get, but don’t come back without one of those cobblers!”

        This will have been one of the memorable Red Neck Parties held out in Champion-West.  Rear Admirable Robert Upshaw was there (out of uniform) in a cowboy hat dangling a corncob pipe and hoorawing a sweet niece who had just been bailed out from an unfortunate scrape with the law.  Since the (rear) Admiral has a great number of nieces, the felon, Miss Demeanor, will be lost in the crowd and while a little leaven will surely leaven the whole lump, Champions are not quick to judge.  They will rather enjoy the speculation about which one it was throughout the year and all the Upshaw nieces will now enjoy an additional air of mystery.

        Family portraits are some of those memorable moments in time.  One has floated on the internet over to Champion.  It has Aaron, Angie, Elizabeth, Sue, Shamus, Bob, Kay, Jacob and Shannon in several different memorable poses.  “Who took the picture?” is the question and “What a beautiful family!” is the exclamation.

        This year 180,000 family portraits are missing a US Service man or woman as they are in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Love and Gratitude are the best gifts they can receive from the Nation which asks that they be in those dangerous places.  As one thousand US Veterans of World War II die every day now, it is to be hoped that those currently serving can come home to live out long and happy lives.

        Harley and Barbara seem to be enjoying their sojourn to the pastoral delights of the relative south.  That is to say, it is more southern than where they live and they have a lot of relatives around Champion as well as cows in the pasture.  In the spinning of yarns Harley let go of one on some family member by blood or by marriage who as a youth joined with other boys to pour whiskey down the gullet of a bad rooster.  The already bad rooster, once drunk, became so fractious as to pick a fight with a fence post.  He lost and lost his life in the process.  It is hard to tell if that is a cautionary tale.  Meanwhile, Barbara is most excited about the New Years Day Parade of Champions.  She will forgo the coonskin hat as seen at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and will be wearing a new iridescent blue-green goose-down jacket with fur trim on the hood.  The fur is too light in color to be coon, so some other hapless beast has lost its hide to satisfy Barbara’s fashion whims, not to mention the poor geese.  A full accounting of the New Years Day Parade of Champions will be forthcoming.  The weather promises to be so cold that a rooster would have to be drunk to get out in it.  Proprietors of Henson’s Emporium on the Square were heard to remark that the detritus from the Christmas Parade was significant.  It took no small amount of cleaning to right things again in Champion.

        The Missouri Song list has been neglected of late so Robert Burns’ poem Auld Lang Syne published in 1796, will fit in nicely as Champions are want to hearken back to ‘Old Long Ago.”  The English translation of the old Scottish poem:  “Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind Should old acquaintance be forgot, And days of long ago.  For old long ago, my dear, for old long ago, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet For old long ago.  We two have run about the hillsides And pulled the daisies fine, But we have wandered many a weary foot For old long ago.  We two have paddled in the stream From noon until dinner time, But seas between us broad have roared Since old long ago.  And there is a hand, my trusty friend, And give us a had of yours, and we will take a goodwill draught, For old long ago.  And surely you will pay for your pint, And I will pay for mine And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet For old long ago.”  There has long been confusion about the song and its title.  Some know it as Auld Lang Syne, others as Old Langs Sign, and still others as Ol’ Hank’s High.  However it is known, Champions will embrace it and not subscribe to “Out with the Old and in with the New.”  Certainly, the New is welcome, but the Old Days and the Old Ways are great friends to Champion and won’t be abandoned for anything new fangled.  (“Fangled” means having fangs!)

        Some New Year’s Resolutions will already have been broken by the time the ink is dry on this week’s Herald.  2008 will see Champions in all sorts of circumstances– visiting with old friends and new ones, running into Homesteaders in town, hanging out with the Red Necks and in scrapes with the law, taking family portraits and marching in parades.  They’ll be singing new songs and old songs.  It’s a Wonderful Life in Champion.  Share any meaningful moments of it at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Parade pictures are welcome at Champion News. Visit Henson’s Store in the Historic Downtown and see Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!