CHAMPION–November 29, 2010

                   Champion is the kind of place that makes it easy to express Gratitude.  It is a relaxed and peaceful pastoral glen amid hills and fields with the little town square in the middle and the little church down near the creek under the big trees.  Louis Untermeyer was not from Champion but was contemporary with Champions born in 1885.  He died in 1977, at age 92.  He said, “What thanks can I presume to give to you who live the gracious life of giving–of giving and receiving the golden gift of love?  What I want to say today in this or any other way can never be expressed.  It is best felt and understood in the small voice of gratitude–in thoughts, not words that one may have the will, but not the skill to fashion and impart when all the loud and clouded hours are still; in the unvoiced responses of the thank-filled heart–the sudden start of the awakened pulse that quickens and exults. Always remember this, thankfulness is a boon–a pleasant and a joyful thing to bring, a lasting pleasure for us to treasure to relish and renew again and yet again.  Thanks then for everything that’s good and true: YOU.”  The poet laureate could well have dedicated his work to Champion family and friends. 

          Weather interfered with some Thanksgiving celebrations.  It certainly put the kibosh on the Champion Thanksgiving Day Parade, since the General is presumed to be “delicate.”  Still, much good feasting was accomplished with friends from over on Tar Button Road meeting up with Champions and Vera Cruzers over in Champion-South.  It was turkey and pie time all the way with diners striving to compensate for the absent weather delayed guests.  The turkey was succulent, the hosts ever gracious and the poker table unusually profitable.  Gratitude abounds.

           Harley Krider commented on having met up with several wagons of Amish people traveling uncovered in the pouring rain.  He was on his way to his sister Vivian’s house over in Rogersville where the family has had their traditional thanksgiving gathering for many years.  Champions know that even with a sunny disposition life can have its sad and difficult moments.   The folks traveling in the wagons go prepared for rain, but some storms cannot be anticipated.   Eutychus was probably a pretty grateful guy when he got up off the ground and dusted himself off, but he certainly had help.  Champions always look to help family and friends to endure their tempests.

           Pete Proctor writes that the VFW Post 3770 has mailed out their packages to all their troops.  He says that his son, Bryan leaves on December 3rd for South Korea but will be back for Christmas.  He also says that his Mother, Champion Ruby Proctor, is doing just fine.  Champions are glad to hear that.  Pete suggests that anyone might benefit from a look at the VFW Post 3770 website  There is good contact information there for any Veteran who might need assistance.  There is a good link to that site at   Champions join Pete in his expressions of Love and Gratitude for those who serve and for those who have served their Country in and out of uniform.

           Talk about uniform!  Anyone happening to stroll by the replica of the Historic Emporium being constructed on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, will be just astounded at the fine even coat of stain on each and every board forming the exterior walls, boards and battens alike.  Somehow certain aspects of building are rather reminiscent of knitting or quilting.  There is the pattern/plan/design/blueprint and then there are multitudinous repetitions of framing members, trusses, purlins, boards and battens, rows and rows of screws and on and on.  The knitted sweater or the quilt is judged for quality by the uniformity of its stitches—each a tiny building block of the whole big beautiful thing.  Quality is the very fabric of this Champion construction.  Pause during your Christmas shopping at Henson’s Store (currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square)—pause for a good long gape at the wonder of it all and just wonder where those builders get the patience to do such a good job.  Champion!  They will, no doubt, take Paul’s advice and ‘finish their course with joy.’

          What better way to express Thanks for friends and family than by celebrating their birthdays!  That is another good thought out of a birthday book—a thoughtful gift from friend Linda.  Lonnie Krider would have had his 69th birthday on December 4th.  He is a much-missed Champion who brought music and a kind, good humor wherever he went.  The Judge’s sister, Bobette Spivey, will celebrate on the 5th, and Champion, Ed Bell, will have the 6th as his special day.  Vera Cruzer, Chris Tharp, will be partying on the 8th and Champion web-mistress, Carol Cleveland, on the 10th.  The 11th, 12th, and 13th are all lawyers birthdays though the 11th also belongs to Eva Coyote and then Spike Jones Appreciation Day will be the 14th complete with bells and slide whistles.  That is also the birthday of Shannon Alexander—father of a Champion grandchild, and of Judy T. Ing who claimed to be older than dirt.  She loved Champion and always said, “It’s just so picture-skew!”  And so it is.  Ms. Ing frequently sent writing encouragement and critique.  One such was a quote from Gustave Flaubert:  “May I die like a dog rather than hurry, by a single second, a sentence that isn’t ripe.”

          Champions on a rare venture into Ava the other day happened to see that the beautiful little house that had belonged to Elmer Peterson has burned to the ground.  There is only the little brick archway left under the wonderful old pine trees.  It is hard to see some of the changes that have happened by nature and by accident and by design.  Spring will find some looking again for the Alma Peterson Azalea Memorial.  It was a lovely tribute to someone who must have been well loved.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood indicates that these days ahead will be good for cleaning up the garden, applying fertilizers and mulch.  The 3rd and 4th will be good days to prune to encourage growth and the 16th and 17th — prune to discourage growth.  How pleasant to work with nature—to be part of the good changes.  It is Champion. 

          Once again Champions are reminded of the song, “There’ll be a change in the weather, a change in the sea.  From now on there’ll be a change in me.”  Send changes for the better to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at  Change your mind and bring them on down to the Loafing Shed adjacent to the Temporary Annex.  Some of those loafers were in the store the other day (taking up space in out of the cold wind) claiming that they did not necessarily consider what they had been doing out there in the shed ‘loafing.’  No?  Go figure.  They did not say exactly what they considered that activity to have been.  Nevertheless, they are in Champion and Looking on the Bright Side!