February 25, 2008

February 25, 2008

CHAMPION—February 25, 2008


        In Champion if the Bachelor Meets the Old Maid he better hope he meets her at the Ladies’ Auxiliary Chili Supper in Skyline on Saturday, because Friday is February 29th.  That’s Leap Day!  It falls on Friday only once in 28 years—once in a generation.  Regardless of the day of the week it is Sadie Hawkins Day!  Back in the fifth century when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick that the ladies grew weary of waiting for the men to propose, St. Patrick allowed that the yearning females could themselves propose on Leap Day once every four years.  As late as 1258, if the man declined the proposal he could be fined a kiss, a silk dress, a pair of gloves, or who knows what?  More recently and closer to home Al Capp reprised the practice in the Lil’ Abner cartoon.  If Daisy Mae could have imposed a fine on Abner, what would it have been?  How did that work out anyway?  Did they ever get hitched?

        There is a long and complicated history concerning Leap Year.  Ancient calendars from all over the world deal with it in a variety of ways.  Some of the famous people born on Leap Day are Gioacchino Rossini was born in 1792.  He wrote the William Tell Overture—(The Lone Ranger), and The Barber of Seville—(Bugs Bunny).  Legendary saxophonist, conductor, songwriter, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy’s Brother, was born in 1904 and Dina Shore in 1916.  There might be worse things than having a birthday only every 4 years!

        The Missouri Conservationist Magazine calls this year the Year of the Frog.  In an informative article called ‘Taking Action,’ Arleasha Mays provides a lot of information about a variety of frog species that are in jeopardy due to environmental contaminants, disease and habitat destruction.  This is a beautiful magazine, free to any Missouri resident.  Drop a post card to Circulation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

        Irene’s nice nephew, Larry, has loaned her a golf club to use as a cane until she is mended from her icy fall.  She was at her own mail box on that slick day and turned to dodge a fast kid on a sled.  Irene will be off the mail route for a few weeks while she heals up, but she is OK and Champions are all glad about that.

        Is the new worn off a beautiful new car once it has been used to haul cattle feed?  It has the On-Star and the super-radio and the leather, heated seats and who knows what all, and it has now hauled cattle feed.  What a deal!  Louise!  She is making her famous coconut desert that is so delicious for the Skyline Chili Supper Saturday.

        Someone wrote to say that on the YouTube there is a 1 minute 40 second video of the Coyote actually catching the Roadrunner!  It is called an historic moment and the title of the cartoon is “Coyote Road.”  Antiquated equipment rendered the cartoon unavailable to be reviewed but there were 447 comments posted about it.  They covered the wide range of emotions expected including “Now what?”

        Champions just don’t complain about the weather.  It is not a rule.  It is just the way Champions deal with things over which they have no control.  Nevertheless, it is certainly a subject of much conversation and wonderful stories of neighborliness.  Old Champion and good neighbor Tom Alsup many times pulled Mrs. Powell out of mud holes and cut downed trees out of the road.  Stories of deep creeks and deep mud holes, deep snow and thick ice abound.  Irene’s sister over in Vanzant has the good fortune to be neighbors with R.A. Robert Upshaw.  Regardless of the stories that have circulated about him, even if some of them are true, he is a good neighbor who keeps the walkway and steps clear of ice and snow for his good neighbor.  An old Champion friend from up in Mtn. Grove, Catherine Coffman, said that use to be snow would land in November and be on the ground until near Easter!  It may not be that way these days, but last year there was winter then spring then winter again after everything had budded out.  All the peaches, apples and blueberries that Champions have enjoyed since then have been imported.  The buzzards and robins are back in profusion and waves of geese have been spotted headed North already, so Spring can hardly be far behind.  Seed catalogues are choking mail boxes and early birds are jumping guns to get their hands dirty.  Good neighbor Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood is getting everything ready so the impatient gardeners will have what they need.  She has a good bridge lesson this week on the two club response to a bid of one no-trump.  She also has a Birthday coming up next week!

        In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote:  “These are the times that try men’s souls.  The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  It is muddy and brutally cold this time of the year in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Two hundred thirty two years later US Service Personnel are not shrinking, but are doing what is asked of them….there are a lot of Champions over there.

        There will be a lot of Champions and good neighbors getting together at Skyline on Saturday.  The weather promises to be wonderful.  The food and entertainment are always splendid at the Ladies’ Auxiliary Chili Suppers.  Chances to break out of the cold and into the fold of friends and good fun is timely!  It is always an excellent time to support the great work of the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department.

        Timely things and good neighbor reports are welcome at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail answers to the question, “Now what?” or any of those interesting if unsubstantiated rumors about Admiral Upshaw to Champion News.  Leap up on the porch at Henson’s Store in downtown Champion on Sadie Hawkins day to pop a question or to get popped by one.  Fines will be assessed by resident  Champions who are always Looking on the Bright Side!


February 18, 2008

February 18, 2008

CHAMPION—February 18, 2008


        “Just how far does Champion extend?  What is its geographical description?  Where are the Champion City limits?”  These questions were asked by a Brushyknob neighbor the other night.  Then another neighbor from over near Vera Cruz said, “Well, all the way to Iraq!”  It is a matter for speculation and currently it is thought that Champion reaches as far as do the Champions.  The name itself suggests no limitations.

        Champion and Champion friend, Darrell Haden, from over in Tennessee forwarded a letter that he had received from Mrs. Wilma Hutchison recently.  She said she keeps up with him through the Champion Items and that “My husband and I love history and I think your song [“All the Late News from the Courthouse”] has a lot of history attached to it.  We would love to have a copy of the words to that song….This would be a treasure for us to keep.”  Part of Mr. Haden’s reply to Ms. Hutchison was: “You’re very kind to connect the record’s success with local history, [State Fair Records from Nashville, circa 1972], but I heard from people in several states who were amazed that I ‘knew about our courthouse.’  I hope the topic had—or has some universality.”  Mr. Haden indicated that recordings of the song were no longer available but that he would send a copy of the lyrics to her.  Since the song was written more than 35 years ago, perhaps any of the sensitive material that caused the song to be banned on some local radio stations will now be moot.  Champions would be most interested in digging up a past controversy.  They seem ever so much more civilized and humorous than do current ones.

        Foster E. Wiseman and his sister Kalyssa Ariel have been passing time in Champion with their maternal grandparents.  Foster is not a big fan of the old red rooster, but he really likes to help his Granddad feed the cows.  Cousins Eli and Emerson Rose are expected in the neighborhood soon.  Grandparents are the truly lucky people in the world!

        Barbara sent a beautiful Valentine to her Valentine and so Harley will be headed back up north soon.  He said, “Now, don’t run over my roadrunner!”  It was suggested that if the Coyote can’t get the Roadrunner chances are he is most likely safe.  Indeed, Wile E. Coyote is a real Champion!  What makes him so and what evokes such sympathy for him is his unflagging optimism.  He is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures and knowing that he could give up his quest at any time but for his fanaticism makes him the more endearing.  Someone said that a fanatic is one who “redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.”  Whether or not the Coyote has forgotten that he wanted to eat the Roadrunner, the enthusiasm and dedication with which he approaches the hunt each time is a lovely example of optimism.  Moreover, he is loyal to the Acme Corporation.  While gravity is most often his greatest enemy, he has certainly been many times betrayed by poor quality and design flaws of Acme Products.  Nevertheless, he approaches anew as if to say, “It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools!”  That there is no glory in defeating a weak opponent is not lost on Wile E.  Whether the opponent is his own ineptitude or the Roadrunner is another matter for speculation.  “Beep! Beep!”

        Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are bridge players!  They would be welcome to join a game with Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  She is busy getting things transplanted and ready to go for the gardening community this spring, but she has also been teaching some bridge classes.  This week the lesson has been on the Stamen Convention in no-trump.  It’s very interesting.  It is a tool that can be used to great advantage if its intricacies are understood.  Soon she will have her monthly almanac ready for those who like to garden by the signs.

        A call from Mrs. Esther Wrinkles on Monday evening included the information that her sister, Irene Dooms had taken a spill on the ice which resulted in a serious bruise.  She and Larry were taking Irene to Springfield to the doctor on Tuesday and so she did not know if she would be able to make the Skyline VFD Ladies Auxiliary meeting at Henson’s Store in Champion that evening.  Champion good wishes go out to Ms. Dooms with hopes for a speedy recovery.  Meanwhile the Auxiliary meeting was well attended and covered all the bases that will make the March 1st Chili Supper a success.  All the preparations for the good home cooking and for the excellent entertainment were made.  Green Valley Grass, Green Mountain Messengers, Bill Conley & Ozark String Band, Back Yard Blue Grass and another group will perform.  It promises to be a lively evening and it will be a significant benefit to the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department.  Fire fighters are hoping to acquire a specific kind of compressor that will work with the cascade system to refill their oxygen bottles.  This is a substantial purchase and the Auxiliary is working toward taking on a sizeable portion of it.

        As of Presidents Day 2008, three thousand nine hundred sixty-three US service people have lost their lives in Iraq.  At least 29,133 have been wounded there.  Champion’s own soldier Staff Sergeant Raul Moreno, Jr. has been out of touch for some while.  He is in Afghanistan over on the border with Pakistan.  Every day a number of internet web sites post the names of the fallen soldiers.  While it seems morbid to go looking there for a certain name sometimes the not knowing is worse.  Then, as the pictures of the young people, and some not so young, scroll by with their names and ages, their home towns and when and where they died, it seems disrespectful not to look at every one.  They each represent a family with a heartache.  Love and Gratitude is what they have coming from the Nation that has asked so much of all of them.  A great Champion friend from Rosenberg, TX, and Champion herself, known by admirers as “Queen of the World” keeps a sign on her desk that says “Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all the others.”-Cicero

        Well, thanks to Ruby Proctor, the “Sweethearts on Parade” Parade will probably be an annual event over at Spotted Hog in the future.  Her recent revelation that Groundhog Day was in the old days celebrated on February 14th has made it apparent that it is entirely appropriate that the parade be held there.  Champions are certainly reasonable and generous when presented with sufficient logic.  Sweethearts over in Brushyknob say their sign is still missing and one suggested that it will be a good thing to have a parade over there in Spotted Hog every so once in a while just so folks can look around for things that have gone missing.

        Report missing things or historic controversies to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Describe examples of optimism and lightness of heart via e-mail at Champion News.  Stop in at Henson’s Store on the Village Green for some speculating where the reasonable and generous people of Champion are always looking on the bright side!