December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010

CHAMPION—December 27, 2010

          Champion hearths and homes are full to the brim with holiday cheer and kinfolks.  Champion refrigerators are full of leftovers and little dabs of all kinds of cranberry goop.  It is a wonderful time of the year when the stresses are over and folks can just settle back to enjoy each other as they reflect on the past and plan for the year ahead.  Champion farmers still have their chores to get done—365—but they do those chores with a happy heart full of Gratitude for their blessings and Love for their dear families and friends.

          Monday morning found Esther Wrinkles still full of the spirit.  All her family came to her house for dinner Sunday and she had a houseful.  With all the good cooks in that family, Esther’s refrigerator would be the one to raid.  Her counters are probably overflowing with pies.  Probably she will have unexpected drop in guests all week! 

          Dakota and Dillion Watts came over from Tennessee with their folks to spend time with their Grandmother down on the farm.  Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins keep the place lively and surely the chores are spread out nicely among all that youthful energy.   Everything has changed now that Taegan Krider is just about to take off walking.  Look out!  She has two very pretty shiny new teeth and more on the way.  It is no surprise that she is developing a lovely singing voice.  Her cousins Foster and Kalyssa are also great singers with good pitch and excellent volume.  Foster has had a bad cold and has been missing out on a little of the fun.  Champions all wish him a speedy recovery.  He is a real Champion. 

          A chance meeting with Rita Fancher was one of those pleasant occurrences that sometimes happens in the middle of the hustle and bustle.  She and her friend and former art student, Theresa Smith, were admiring the painting in the windows at the Junction.  Rita pointed out an interesting feature.  One of the paintings is a desert scene with a figure on a camel.  The paint was scraped away in an outline of the figure, so that from the inside, the light shining through added another dimension to the painting.  No information was available on the artist, but it is sure that all will be revealed in the fullness of time.  Theresa lives up on C Highway near the county line and was Rita’s neighbor before Rita moved over near Ava.  Esther remarked that George and Rita were very active in the beginning of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  Theresa commented that Rita meets someone she knows everywhere she goes.  That will be even more so now that she has joined the Sunshine Singers.  This is a serious coral group led by Kathleen Sikkema of Seymour.  Rita says that Ms. Sikkema is an extraordinary and patient teacher and that they have a classical repertoire of cantatas.  The music is very difficult, she says, but they have excellent encouragement and instruction from their gifted leader. She said they could use a few more male voices.   When Rita is not busy singing, she volunteers at the Heart of the Ozarks Food Harvest.  When she’s not working there she may be found prowling the creek beds for suitable stones on which to paint.  Champion! 

          Much of the conversation with Rita and Theresa had to do with Champion and what is going on with the store and what a lovely place it is and how sweetly the little church sits back against the trees and what beautiful trees they are and how marvelous the new construction seems to be over on the North Side.  They both plan forays through the square in the near future just so they will be able to say that they watched the Re-creation of the Historic Structure rise from the dust…like a phoenix. The Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Egyptians, and Native Americans all have stories of a mythical bird that never dies.  That is quite representative of the spirit of Champion.  The phoenix flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space.  It represents a capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about the environment and the events unfolding within it.  As the building progresses in such a significant and substantial way, Champions count themselves lucky to get to see the work in progress. The phoenix, with its great beauty, creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration—just like in Champion.  Deward’s Daughter over on the other side of the hill will say the Champion bird is the bald eagle and she keeps her eye out for them across the wide meadow that is her front yard.  She said that Wilburn Hutchison with Connie and Gary stopped over at her house on Christmas with a feast for the two of them.  Apparently the Skyline Gospel Church bunch did a powerful lot of wonderful cooking and spreading of goodwill throughout the community.  Champion has some very sweet neighbors. 

          It is seems strange to have Christmas and New Years Day falling on Saturday. Next year they will fall on Sunday!  It happens every so once in a while.  Like the Phoenix, Champions are looking far ahead while being very alert to the here and now.  This week will be full of reminiscing, New Year’s Resolutions and optimism.  On Friday people will be singing, “Should old acquaintance be forgot for Aulde Lang Syne”  and will be being magnanimous with their affection and good intentions.  It is the time of year for magnanimity.  To that end Champions wish a special Happy New Year to The General who has given so much entertainment to the community this past year; and to Linda and Charlene over in Norwood, who have kept gardeners and gift-givers well supplied with good information and ideas; and to Champion Ruby Proctor and her family—especially Pete who keeps Champions informed about and conscious of our Veterans and the Troops Serving at the request of their Nation in dangerous places all over the world; and to all the distant Friends of Champion like Ethel McCallie out in Oklahoma and Becky Heston down in Texas, Darrell Haden over in Tennessee and many others—Hoovie, Walley, Pete and Bonnie Mullins, Bob Conrad, and all those Cooleys; and the builders working there on the Square so diligently keeping the spirit of Champion very much alive. The holidays are especially difficult for people who have illnesses in their families and who have lost precious ones.  Champions say, “There, there,” with hopes that their hearts will heal with Love and Gratitude.   Send lists of favorite Champions and songs and poetry about January to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at  Look in on the website at to see what a lovely job Champion’s own webmaster, Carol Cleveland, does on behalf of the community.   Drink a cup of kindness.  This is the time of the year when the whole world pretends it is in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010

CHAMPION—December 20, 2010

           The unique culture of Champion has the populace looking backward toward a lost, but not forgotten, past while looking forward simultaneously to a vibrant future.  The specter of a full lunar eclipse on the full moon of the first morning of winter is most exciting to Champions.  It may be that the spectacle will have happened on the other side of a cloud cover, but Champions know about it.  It is said that scientific explanation is the best guide to understanding the world.  While Champions are keen observers and are uniformly ready for the days to start getting longer, those celestial occurrences do have a magical quality about them that is not lost in Champion.

           Taegan Krider went out to the airport with her Mom and her aunt to meet her future uncle, Jason Golden, who was returning from his second deployment to Afghanistan with the 1107th Aviation Group of the Missouri National Guard.   When Jason marries Taegan’s aunt, he will get Landon as a brother-in-law!  Cool!  The wedding will take place in January and that will make Uncle Jason a Champion though he and all his fellows are indeed already Champions of the Nation.  Pete Proctor writes that his son Bryan got home Sunday night and that he is with his family in Virginia.  Pete says, “Merry Christmas to you and all Veterans and all troops, men and women, still serving.  Happy New Year!”  Champions join Pete in sending Love and Gratitude to all of those who serve to protect their Country out in the dangerous places of the world. 

             Chante’ was visiting again in Champion on Sunday.  She came with her Mom, Sarah, and with her Grandmother, Pat Michaud.  Chante’, Kalyssa and Foster are all great friends and had a wonderful time chasing about on the Square Downtown.  Chante’ has lost her two front teeth and is dazzling the world with her glorious smile.  She is well acquainted with Big Bad Bill and is not the least bit afraid.  Krenna says that they will be celebrating Christmas by phone with lots of their family.  Many old Champions will just be rambling about in big empty houses, pulling up the memories of noisy children, rattling dishes, music, feasts and flashing lights of Christmases past.  There will be surprises, visitors and the chance to accept kind invitations and to extend them.  Kindness is never out of fashion.   Holes in the holiday table settings where loved ones used to sit can accommodate a place for Elija or for any chance beggar or stranger or friend alone at a time when the heart wants company.    The tricky thing about hospitality is that you do not know which guests you are going to be happy you welcomed in– until you do it.  They have a sneaky way of arriving in disguise.  Like longed for gifts—sometimes they turn out to be burdens and sometimes something that arrives as a burden turns out to be a gift.  On the subject of  “flashing lights,” take the General, for example or as a caution, even though Champions all still wish him and all of his dear family sweet happy times together.  Those Tennessee boys will be back on the farm with their folks and aunts and uncles and cousins. It will be a grand old time!  Champions are anxious to see if Barbara will be fit to lead the Christmas parade this year.  Of course, her ensemble will be stunning; it is her mobility that is in question.  Perhaps a comfortable chair will be fastened to the lead float.  It is the season for surprises! 

            Icy roads kept some of the more timid Old Biddies away from their Christmas bridge game in Mansfield on Thursday.  There were three tables, however, and the cards were quite good to Linda, who was the winner of the day.  She could not have done it without great partners, she said, and that is the nature of the game.  In a game on Saturday night, Linda got the low money and Charlene was high scorer. Charlene shared some lovely hand-painted ornaments with the other players and informs that the Gift Corner will have a big sale on all Christmas stuff through Friday.  Linda will soon be planting Cole crops and so the seasons go round and round. 

               Rules by which to live vary from person to person.  One Champion lists those rules this way:  #1.  Assume responsibility for your condition.  #2.  Don’t get strung out on something you can’t have.  #3.  Be where you are.  #4.  Love the weather.  #5. Time will tell, so be patient.  #6.  Give us all a break.  #7.  When it is good, say so.  This is the end of the rules.   This person has also chosen the mantra:  “Behold!  As a wild ass in the desert, go I, forth unto my work!”  That is a quote from some science fiction novel read as an adolescent.   A good modus operandi seems to be: to wake up, live, go to bed and hope to wake up again.  To be awake is a concept that was clearly elucidated by Thelma as she traveled with her friend across the desert in a long blue convertible with the top down.  Champions hope to reach the awareness without the tragic outcome by following their own rules and adding big doses of Love and Gratitude to all their endeavors.

                E-mail arrived with a query about the Skyline Mascot Monkey of the Month.  The December Monkey is wearing Santa Clause over-alls and will go to his new home on Christmas Eve.  The monthly silent auction is held at Henson’s Store currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  SAVFD Picnic Society members sponsor the auction in an effort to assist the Skyline VFD in making the big fire truck payment.  The fire department stays busy protecting the community and can use all the support it can get.  The Ladies’ Auxiliary will be meeting again soon to get the Chili Supper planning going again.  It is scheduled for March 5th.  Everybody will be ready for a bowl of chili by then! 

                 Cinnamon and cloves are some favorite Christmas aromas.  Some Champions like rubbed sage in their turkey dressing and some want to be sure there is plenty of celery in it.  Champions know that it is hard to make just a little bit of dressing and it does not freeze very well.  When it comes to gravy, some Champions decline the giblets saying, “I don’t eat guts.”  Send favorite dressing receipts to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at  Go to to see some good photos of chili suppers past and myriad other very interesting subjects. “Hooray for the fun! Is the pudding done?  Hooray for the Christmas Pie!”  Sing your Christmas songs on the path in and out of the Temporary Annex and loud enough that the builders in the Re-creation of the Mercantile can hear you.  They are busy and can best be encouraged toward their ultimate goal by not having their attention overly diverted.  Champions are uniformly grateful to have such a substantial and graceful edifice as the centerpiece of the Square.  It is a dandy! It is on the North side in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

CHAMPION—December 13, 2010

        This time of the year Champions are much given over to reminiscing.  Remembered events are often more clear after a passage of time and things that happened this morning or yesterday have to have been significant to compete with a favorite childhood memory or some global event.  Some of those things are happening in Champion.  The Bright Side is so full of festive good humor and the decorations are so charming that the brutality of the cold wind is inconsequential—days to remember!

        Now the Humbug is an impostor.  His whole point is to fraudulently deceive by pretentious sham.  Expectation is the sure path to Disappointment (indeed the only way to disappointment since without expectation it does not exist).  Champions lavish their inherent compassion on the unfortunate harbingers of Humbug.  “There, there,” they say, “the secret is to adjust those expectations.”  Easier said than done.

        “Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now.  Married life done changed him somehow.  He’s the man the town used to fear.  Now they all call him Sweet Papa Willy Dear.”  It seems that he got himself a wife and now he lives a different life according to Van Halen and Leon Redbone and others in various interpretations of the old song.   Bill and Krenna Long have been visiting in Champion lately from up in Norwood.  They shared a big box of sweet crisp turnips a while back, which have been much enjoyed by many Champions.  Visitors to Champion are always welcome and are not routinely required to pay a vicarage of turnips for the privilege of touring the town but no one objects to a spontaneous outpouring of turnips.  Come back any time–no turnips required (but none refused particularly if Lem and Ned are about).

        It is easy to become overextended during the holidays.  It is easy to spend too much, to eat too much and to try to do too much.  Cards need to be in the mail to family and friends and all the other things that clog the ‘to do’ lists of holiday celebrators need to be done right away. Urgency seems to be the culprit. Champions say, “Chill out!”

        Certain knowledgeable Champions posit that the construction on the North Side of the Square in downtown Champion is not a replica of the Historic Emporium but is rather a re-creation.  The difference would be that the replica would be an exact copy of the original made with old boards complete with a certain amount of decay where they met the ground and there would be the requirement for eighty plus years worth of dirt dauber nests in the attic and so on.  The re-creation, however, implies that it is being created anew.  This one is built on a foundation with new technology, new materials, new wiring and insulation and a shiny bright new Galvelume roof. Champions could not help but notice the big gaping hole in the new roof the other day.  The next passing revealed a nice flue sticking up through that hole and smoke coming out of it.  So December 10th will be remembered as the day fires were rekindled in the Re-Creation of Henson’s Store.  Now the difference between re-create and recreate is just the fun of the hyphen (high fun).  Many fine comments were made about the photograph of the edifice in the paper last week.  It is mighty pretty.  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words.  Some Champions think more pictures and fewer words would be a good thing.  “Too many words!” was the comment.  Others suggest that trips to the archives are not necessary.  Go if you want to:

        Braxton Liebert was four years old on the 12th of December.  He has charming grandparents.  Their whole family was together down on Teeter Creek for Thanksgiving.  It is sure that many fine memories were made.  Braxton can say, “My Grandmother plays bass in a rock and roll band.”  Cool.

        A most appropriate e-mail comes from Pete Proctor.  It was forwarded to him by some friend and is a series of poignant photos of soldiers serving in the Middle East.  The text:  “Your cell phone is in your pocket.  He clutches the cross on the chain with his dog tags knowing that he may not see some of his buddies again.”  The text goes on to remind the reader of the difficult circumstances and conditions under which They serve.  The e-mail is a chain letter to keep the troops in the forefront of good thoughts.  They are doing what the Nation requires of them.  Love and Gratitude is their due.

        The Old Biddies will get together Thursday to play bridge at the wonderful Mansfield Community Center.  It is a great facility and includes a beautiful gym full of state of the art exercise equipment.  The Old Biddies will just exercise and stretch their brains with this extraordinary game. Hopefully Linda and Charlene will be there.  Linda learned to play bridge one summer when she was on vacation from college when her parents were living in Peru.  She played bridge in the morning and golf in the afternoon…or the other way around.  Anyway, she learned from some great bridge masters and she is still learning and teaching the game.  Now that the seed catalogs are starting to fill Champion mailboxes again, gardeners will be visiting Linda at The Plant Place in Norwood looking for her expertise to help their growing things to flourish.

        Tagen Krider has had the sniffles.  So have her cousins Foster and Kalyssa.  Hopefully they will all be feeling better soon and up to their rowdy business of being Champion grandchildren.  Tagen reminds a Champion of a song her Dad used to sing, “Mama rock a little.  Papa rock a little too.  Gonna try to do a little sleeping maybe.  If it’s just for a moment or an hour or two, it’s entirely depending on the baby.”  That is not exactly the way it was written.  The song is “Tippy Toeing” by Bobby Harden.

        Check out the dazzling decorations at the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion.  Do some reminiscing at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion News.  That is what Hovie did when he sent the picture of his 8th grade graduating class.  What a nice looking bunch of Champions!  Make some brand new favorite memories in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

CHAMPION—December 6, 2010

           Champions are mighty glad to know that there are still two full weeks of Autumn left before Old Man Winter lumbers into town.  The Winter Solstice occurs on the 21st of the month and coincides this year auspiciously with the full moon.  This one is called ‘The Cold Moon’ by some and ‘The Long Night Moon’ by others.  With a little warming trend going on between now and then Champions will be well prepared and welcoming to whatever Winter has in store.

          The Store is the big news in Champion.  Every day the replica of the Historic Emporium inches closer to completion.  Some of the doors and windows are in and soon the electricity will be wired in and then insulation and then and then and on and on until One Fine Day (OFD) the resounding chorus of “Ta Da!” will echo through the countryside.  What a day that will be!  Until then, Champions are glad to know that there is plenty of time to do it right.  Most folks who have ever built a fence know the story about the guy who measured each post on the one before it and his posts got shorter and shorter until, before he knew it, his fence was about knee high.  If multiples of something are needed, it is best to make a template so that each of the duplicates can be measured from the same source.  An old Swedish carpenter answered the question, “How long?” with “Twice the length of my two foot ruler, a brick, a hammer handle and a piece of string about this long” whereupon he stuck out his two knobby index fingers an undetermined but short distance apart.  It is all relative.  Everybody has some relatives like that and Champions are uniformly patient with them.  The term “verisimilitude” measures the extent to which a hypothesis approaches the truth.  Readers understand this concept is also relative in Champion.

          A review of Champion News archives ( revealed that in December of 2006, Dustin Cline was reported to have said, in front of eight witnesses, that he was wrong (about something).  The report was made at Staci’s request and subsequently he was heard to have said that she was right about something.  That was also about the time that Champion Esther Wrinkles got her truck stuck in the mud in her own garage and was locked out of her house and wound up climbing in through her front window.  She fixed the window so it can no longer be used that way and has plenty of keys in case she should be locked out again.  Esther keeps a pretty front porch  and when it was time to bring the plants in (the ones the goat did not eat), she shared one of her Christmas cactuses with a friend who is today enjoying voluminous pink blossoms.  Monday morning Ester was still feeling mighty bad about not having reached out a hand to comfort the General on Friday Night.  It was up at the Junction and Bob Moody and some steel guitar players were entertaining at the fish fry when they played such a sad song that the General became so flustered and emotionally overwrought that he could not get his hand in his own hip pocket for his hankie.  Finally he found a handful of table napkins with which he vainly tried to stem the flow of tears from his rheumy eyes.  He is a soulful sort and not at all responsible for the goat on Esther’s porch and she would say, “There, there” to him if it were to come up again just that way.   

          Champions are enjoying the Clever Creek and Champion Items written by Sylvia Henson in the late 1940’s.  A copy of the collection that Hovey sent recently is available for examination down at Henson’s Store which is currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square.  One item was written in September 1947.  Mr. and Mrs. I. P. Henson had attended the National Convention of Spanish War Veterans in Kansas City.   Mr. Henson met several of his old comrades of C. B 28 U.S. Infantry whom he had not seen since his discharge from the service forty-six years earlier.  There were about 2000 Veterans attending that convention.  While many may not recall just why that war was fought and the reasoning behind current conflicts may escape understanding, Champions do understand that the call to military service is an honorable one and that the Nation owes a debt of Love and Gratitude to all those who serve. 

          Sisters Linda and Charlene from The Plant Place and The Gift Corner over in Norwood have been busy with Santa’s Workshop activities.  Throughout the course of the year Charlene keeps her eyes out for bargains and so when the school children come to Christmas shop, they can find affordable gifts for their friends, siblings, and parents.  It is a lovely program that the local schools have accommodated for a number of years.  The atmosphere is lively and festive and it reinforces the notion that a thoughtful gift is priceless.  Linda has been busy making cuttings and working on her beautiful begonia crop for next year.  Gardeners and plant lovers always have something to do.

         Sometimes sad news travels slowly and Champions were saddened to learn that teacher, friend, and bridge player, Jan Townsend, of Mountain Grove has lost her long battle with cancer.  She had sparkle about her that remains in the hearts of people who knew her even casually—a special gentle kindness and a wonderful laugh. 

          Champions are almost uniformly a nostalgic lot of people.  Even though there may not be a lot of people in Champion at any given time, the ones who routinely occupy the place can easily start a sentence with, “I never will forget the time…” and then go on to recall some unforgettable moment.  Naturally, everybody finds his own life extremely interesting.  For the sake of future generations Champions are very busy making excellent memories today.  It is a quality of life thing that goes along with “do not let perfect be the enemy of good.” 

          “I really can’t stay (Baby, its cold outside) I must go away (but Baby it’s cold outside)” Sing that one on the way into the store in Downtown Champion or use these cold days to practice your knitting.  It is to be noted that the builders have not taken up knitting and the appellations of Nit & Purl are totally inappropriate.  Be advised.  Voice opinion or advice or recall excellent moments at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717 or at Champion at  Submit plans for approval of your float to the Champion Christmas Parade Committee before the Solstice or be left out of the fun.  The porch on the replica of the Historic Emporium will be an excellent reviewing stand for Champion’s myriad fascinating and unique parades, as well as a stage for all manner of performances and a platform for oration of any kind that is exulting and uplifting.  It is Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!