CHAMPION—December 28, 2008


        In Champion New Years Resolutions are much the same as those across the Nation.  Research shows that the following ten resolutions are the most common in the United States:  Spend more time with friends and family; Be more fit; Loose weight; Quit smoking; Enjoy life more; Quit drinking; Get out of debt; Learn something new; Help others; Get organized.  In Champion the list is more like:  Spend more time with friends and family; Help others; Enjoy life more; Learn something new; Keep a little song handy; Get out of debt; Be more fit; Eat better; Get organized; Look on the Bright Side!  As to the smoking and drinking and loosing weight…people either will opt to live better and longer or not.  No use taking up good resolutions with that stuff!  One old Champion remembers a dear friend, Buff Manion.  He was an extraordinary musician with one of the sweetest smiles ever smeared across a mug.  His perennial resolution was, “I’m just gonna treat people a little better.”  How can that be beat?

        Some of the wonderful news in the paper last week was the news that Yolanda F. Hinote of Norwood, graduated in December from William Woods University with a master of education degree!  That’s Lannie Hinote!  Lannie is a stalwart, irrepressible, inspiration to Champions everywhere, an 8th grade teacher at Skyline School!  Champion congratulations to her!  Some of the sad news lately has to do with the destruction of the Senior Center in Mountain Grove by fire last week.  It was good fortune that no one was injured in the fire, but it will take a while to get things back to order.  Neighbors are reaching out to help neighbors and it will all work out in the long run.  In the mean time there is ample opportunity to be of service to each other.  It’s a Champion notion.

        The end of the year finds Champion full of welcome visitors.  Those Tennessee boys, Dakota and Dillon, have been here with their folks visiting with their grandparents.  Kalyssa and Foster were there too with their parents and both sets of grandparents.  Eva Powell’s twin great grandsons, Troy and Theo were in the neighborhood visiting.  They are just a little younger than Kalyssa and are a couple of rough and tumble enthusiastic young fellows.  Marty Watts spotted a squirrel that had lost most of its tail.  It can be seen in the big trees around Champion proper.  It must have had some good luck escaping whatever got its tail and perhaps the good luck extends to a well-made nest occupied by compassionate fuzzy family members.

        Imagine a birthday on New Year’s Day!  The whole world celebrates!  Grandma Jan Liebert of Teeter Creek is rocking out on her special day and her Champion friends and neighbors salute her!  Robert Burns words are used to celebrate long friendships in the traditional New Year’s song Auld Lang Syne.  “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?”  That’s not the way of it in Champion!  Even when the song is mistakenly called “Ol Hank’s High” or “Old Langs Sign” or even “Old Hag Sighs” which is a song that incorporates the slurred words of a weary wife who says “You’ve taken me for granted because I please you!”  She’ll get over it and cook up that mess of black-eyed peas with a slab of side meat and a big skillet of corn bread.  Vittles fit for a king!  The reason for this humble fare on the first of the year is to suggest that with luck they will eat at least this well all year.  Toward that end the seed catalogues are being dog-eared and discussed.  It’s too wet to plow…too early too…still the garden, like an old friend, calls.

        Last week the Looking Backwards section had the author of 100 years ago asking if readers felt that they had done anything in the previous year toward the uplifting of humanity.  Lofty sentiments were expressed concerning fair and honorable dealings with fellowmen.  “Have our hearts been constantly filled with love for our surroundings?  Are we living or just merely existing?”  Champions are uniformly able to answer in the affirmative.  Over the past year more than 500 US Soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq.  Champions live the year around with Love and Gratitude for their service.

        Some are looking at the New Year with trepidation.  The world seems to be in such turmoil and it’s difficult to make sense of it.  Everyone has a different idea about how to fix things.  One old Champion girl says that ‘quid pro quo’ is the answer.  That is Latin for ‘something for something,’ indicating a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services.  “If’n you’ll scratch my back, I’ll scratch your’n” is a concept well understood in Champion.  Most generally any Champion can find a door jamb to wriggle his itch against or a stick of kindling to reach just that spot and so that is self reliance at its best.  As for the spirit of cooperation and the willingness to combine efforts for the overall good of the community, Champion is Champion!  The year ahead will be just like the ones past, full of triumphs and failures.  Champions will move ahead as they always have with generosity of spirit and good humor.

        Happy New Year to Champions everywhere—you know who you are!  Send examples of good humor to Champion Items, Rt.2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  E-mail versions of “Old Lanks Eye” to Champion News Savor the archives at  Lean up against a porch post at Henson’s Store on the North side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion to soak in the beauty of the place—the tranquility.  Visitors there need not feel compelled to beller out their favorite, toe tapping, uplifting, sunny-side song, but they are welcome to do so.  It’s quid pro quo in Champion where they’re always Looking on the Bright Side!