January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011

CHAMPION—January 31, 2011

        On the eve of potentially bad weather, Champions are cool.  Adequate preparation and youthful optimism make the whole prospect of exciting weather…well, exciting!  Of course it is not easy for everyone and so intrepid Champion adventurers will be out helping where help is needed.  It is Champion.

        The big, big, big news in Champion is that Jacob Brixey, son of James and Jana Brixey, celebrated his first birthday on January 18th.  He had a birthday party with Dad and Mom, Grandpa Brixey and friend Vineta, Grandparents Nyalin and Gary Barnes, Uncle Rick and Aunt Jodi Klingensmith, cousins Maddax and Tyler, and of course, his big Sister Jenna, who is already three years old and will be four in August.  Reports indicate that this was not a party, but was a BLAST!  Congratulations Jake, et. al! 

        “What is the Champion view toward commiseration?”  What, after all, is commiseration?  The dictionary says that it is the part of an oration that causes the hearer to feel pity.  Another idea is that it is like the term ‘co-author’ where two people write something together.  They share authorship.  In this instance, it is as if some people want to share their misery.  Where is the line? How much will Champions share?   Champions choose to be compassionate.  They listen to each other’s troubles and do what they can to help.  However, it turns out that some people just like to talk about what is wrong, what breaks their hearts, what they just hate, and how often and how badly they are wronged, what the dismal future holds, and how it is most likely going to turn out really bad, and how the bad weather is just a part of everything else that is miserable.  The significant others of these people are abusive, thoughtless, wasteful, dumb and mean spirited. Nothing is ever right and these folks are only comfortable and content when things are bad.  Champions applaud anyone who can find happiness even in such a dreary way and are willing to do the right thing–ignore them.  They like it.  It fits the pattern they understand.  For some Champions, however, the whole trip is a total no fly zone.  They just cannot go there.   Misery loves company, but commiserate only if it makes you happy.

        Pat Michaud joins several other artists in dedicating a piece of art to the Skyline VFD to be used in the silent auction at the chili supper in March. She is a great friend of Champion and comes over from her Marshfield home as often as she can.   Her parents sent her to a school in a neighboring county when she was a child and she and some neighboring children were dropped off at a little country store, much like the Champion Store, where they waited for the bus to take them on to school.  Many of her pleasant childhood memories are associated with the little store and so she will apply her skills in oil paint to making a small representation of the Champion Store for lucky bidders to compete over at the fundraiser for the Skyline Fire Department.  What a good neighbor!  Other artists who have pledged pieces for the event are Louise Walker, potter, and Liz Jenkins of the Ava Art Guild.  Tim Scrivner writes, “Thanks for the “heads up” on the chili supper and your kind words. I’d be pleased to put together another bird feeder for the silent auction and perhaps a bluebird house as well. Always nice having some motivation to get me into the shop!”  This is shaping up to be a sterling affair!

        The Old Biddies Bridge Club had their regular monthly game at the Mansfield Community Center on Thursday the 27th.  There were four tables–sixteen bridge players–and the game was exciting.  This group formed about ten years ago and draws its membership from Mansfield, Springfield, Hartville, Mountain Grove, Plato, Macomb, Norwood, Champion, Ava and other places.  The group chose its name out of the sense of humor that comes with a little age, and from the bidding aspect of the game.  A talented quilter in the group, Joann Biros, of Plato, produced the banner that presides over the games.  Betty Swain, of Mansfield, was the high scorer at the end of the day and she will be the first to say it is a partnership game.  Betty is one of the founding members of the group.  She was quite ready for some good cards since she had missed the previous two games.  She and a number of players had been unable to attend in December because of the sudden bad weather, and Betty had missed the November game because she had a houseful of family who had come to celebrate her 91st birthday.  Three granddaughters and their husbands and children had flown down from Washington State.   It was a real celebration.  Betty has eleven great grandchildren.  She did not learn to play bridge until she was already out of college.  She said that her Mother had been a bridge player.  Her Mother taught school up on the North Dakota border before the turn of the last century!  Betty did not have the opportunity to play bridge with her Mother, though she learned to love the game by watching the friendships evolve among the players.  Her Mother also played piano quite well.  Betty does not play, though her sisters all do, but she has the great joy of passing music on to her seven-year-old granddaughter.  Betty has found a wonderful piano teacher near Mansfield, and the little girl has had her first lesson.  She loves it!  Betty is thrilled for her.  Hopefully, the granddaughter will have a chance to learn bridge while she is young too.  It seems to be a game that can hold a person’s interest for a lifetime.  Betty said that at this game the hands mostly played out in no-trump because of the distribution and she thought the last hand looked much like a slam, but it did not happen.  What did happen was some keen mental exercise surrounded by some lovely pleasant fellowship. 

        When Spring arrives in a few weeks, Champion gardeners will be glad to have had all the moisture that comes with winter storms.  These have been some dry months and the ground seems thirsty.  Gardeners are hungry for the chance to get their hands in the soil again and to experience the exaltation of new life again!  They will be content until then to watch the Re-Creation of the Historic Emporium blooming over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  One day there will be flower boxes and hanging baskets on the porch there with wind chimes and the convivial commerce of customers coming and going, perhaps loitering for some laughter, and all will be right with the world.  It is all right already, with the excellent Temporary Annex providing for the communities needs.  Still, there is no harm in looking forward.  Linda’s Almanac will be out this week for gardeners to use as a guide for planting and planning.  Champions join friends and families of serving soldiers in looking forward to their safe homecoming.  Some Champions are looking forward to Valentine’s Day are already singing, “Let me call you Sweetheart.”  Sing what you will, but sing.  Get that shoulder set against the cold, hard wind and be a Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!


January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011

CHAMPION—January 23, 2011

           Champions are comfortable in their pastoral environs—the pleasant rural life—peaceful, simple and natural.  The luxury of quiet winter days is spent viewing the glorious ‘ordinary’ of Champion in wind blown puffs of snow bursting in disintegrating monochromatic explosions—sunlit fireworks–white on white, or in the sudden revelation when familiar topography, newly delineated by the snow, shows two hills where it had seemed that there had been only one and a resultant mysterious vale appears and disappears with subtle shifts of light.  So Champion is at once comfortably old and vibrantly new and mysterious.  It is such an exceptional place that chief residents may claim the full moon as their birthday, but only once a year. The diligent young Fox Creek farmer happened to be checking on his cows that snowy evening in time to witness the spectacle of the big orange moon rising full on Champion.  In the vernacular of the day, “Awesome.”

          Speculation concerning the reaction of the young farmer to the report of the now famous Fox Creek Rodeo was rife when the papers hit town.  Delicate questions and exchanged glances imputed uncertainty, which the young farmer used as good sport until he at last informed the friendly speculators that he was himself the source of the story!  They feigned much interest and made pointed inquiries as to the health and condition of the now absent uncle and agreed vehemently as to the assessment of the nature and temperament of the four remarkable young cowboy brothers.  They spoke at length about the perception of Champion by acquaintances in neighboring communities as being a boisterous and ‘happening’ kind of place and reported anecdotal conversations to substantiate these observations.  The young farmer postulates that certain of the townsfolk are rather pleased to have alternate subject matter occupying the thoughts of Champions and visitors.  “Too many words,” says one who rather hopes to be out of the limelight.  Word has come that Harley has been suffering with a cold, but is responding to the tender ministries of the fair Barbara.  The young farmer may have broken ribs from a mishap in the barn and Champions all wish him speedy healing.

          Monday morning found plenty of snow still up at Esther Wrinkles house over in Vanzant.  She said that somebody had slipped around on the sly and raked out a path for her.  She suspects that that sly guy was the General but she did not catch him in the act and so cannot definitively attribute this kindness to him.   Some folks think he is just looking for loose change when during the course of the year he might surreptitiously cut her lawn or rake her leaves.  Say what you will about the General, but he is an opportunist if nothing else, and he keeps a close watch on his neighbor’s place.   He knows the amount and caliber of company that Esther has parading in and out of her pleasant domicile.  He was not born yesterday—but rather some time way on the other side of the mid point of the last century!  He is quite old, but his wife is not. 

          The Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary will parade into Esther’s house on February 1st for their pre-chili-supper meeting.  There will be plenty to discuss as the date for the annual event rapidly approaches.  March 5th is the date set.  It is also the birthday of Linda from over at the Plant Place in Norwood, and of Krenna Long, a regular Champion visitor from north of Norwood.  Some Champions are big fans of birthday eloping.  The Urban Dictionary defines birthday eloping as the act of going on a trip to avoid the drama of celebrating a birthday at home.  Others are big fans of the drama and it is a sure bet that this chili supper will be a dramatic affair—full of good food, music, fellowship and the chance to extend a helping hand to the dedicated volunteer fire fighters who protect the community.  Buying into the drama for their special day will be Kaye Alexander who celebrates on the 27th of January and her son Zack whose birthday is on February 1st.  Glen Cooley will also be whooping it up on that date and the second of the month finds Angie Heffern, Judy Sharon Parsons, Charlene Dupree and the Groundhog all kicking up their heels.  Who knows how Jackie Coonts will celebrate his birthday on the 7th?  If the weather is good, he might saddle up his old horse, which a certain young farmer disparages as a sorry looking nag.  Horseflesh may not be the only flaw in judgment attributable to this individual, but for the nonce, Champions will just let it ride.

          “Shoot ‘em up!” That is the unofficial word from the office of the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding the armadillo.  Officially, according to the ‘code,’ if a species does not have a hunting season applied to it, then it is considered ‘protected.’  Since this non-indigenous species has become so pervasive the game wardens seem to turn a blind eye to their dissolution.  “If something is destroying your property, you can kill it,” was the advice of an unidentified agent.  A letter writing campaign to the Conservation Department might result in a year-round open season.  If a bounty were offered, well the state of the economy might produce an eradication wave that would put enough money in the pockets of the hunters to pay for the lead they would be putting back in the ground.  That is just what this part of the world needs.  The point seems fairly moot since so few people actually write letters any more and since it is not clear from where the funds would be drawn to pay such a bounty.  Express your views on the subject at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net. 

          Donna Moskaly is home from a weeklong stay in St. John’s Hospital up in Springfield.  She is feeling much better now and had nothing but praise for everyone there.  She had the feeling that they all cared about her well-being.  That is high praise and goes along with the Champion notion that when something is good it needs to be recognized.  Champions are glad Donna is feeling better and glad for her to have Joseph looking out for her.  If you drive by their house up on C Highway, you will see flags flying.  The Moskalys are big supporters of the troops.  They join the rest of Champion in being grateful for those willing to wear the Nation’s uniforms and to serve in the dangerous parts of the world.

          Some Champions said they could just hear the nitrogen ‘a-fixin’ out in the garden.  The have been out spreading wood ashes and daydreaming about potato planting time.  Soon Linda’s Almanac will be out for the beginning of the gardening season and there will be enough to do.  Right now, some Champions could stand to just read seed catalogues and sing that Pete Seeger song, “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.”  “Singing in the Rain” is a song some would like to be singing.  “What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.”  Be happy again. From the comfort of home enjoy Champion at www.championnews.us.  Make the drive over to Champion and get an eyeful of a beautiful place.  Builders there will not think you rude if you ignore them, but will rather think you are contributing to the speedy completion of grandiose ambitious projects there by not interfering.  There is always a positive way to look at things in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.


January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011

CHAMPION—January 17, 2011

           Champions are pretty sure that winter is not quite over and some are hoping for some rain and snow.  The ground needs it and it is well known that Champions, for the most part, love the weather no matter what it is, most of the time.  Champions sympathize with other parts of the world experiencing weather related difficulties and count their own blessings.  There is no controlling the weather so Champions just stay optimistic because it is such a pleasant demeanor to assume and it is so satisfying to be able to say, “I knew it would be fine.” 

          A note from a regular Champion reader points out the muddy nature of the sentence structure in the description of the tumult of the Fox Creek Rodeo. (Amid the hooping, hollering, and hoorawing, arms flapping—the farmer, four young friends and the uncle on the four-wheeler was cutting doughnuts in the dirt, with the air full of dust and hoofs, wire, hair and fence posts.) Extensive repair to that sentence renders it thus:  “Amid the hooping, hollering, hoorawing and the flapping of arms of the farmer and four young friends, the uncle on the four-wheeler was cutting doughnuts in the dirt, adding clouds of dust to the air already full of wire, hair, hoofs and fence posts.”  Hearsay had the young farmer pleased with the report of the avuncular doughnuts but not so much with the vocabulary.  Barbara, however, was ebullient at the return of her hero.  She announced that she will be introducing a new line of armadillo handbags later in the spring or early summer.  It will be a limited edition as Harley and Dakota only killed nine on their last hunting trip.  When the eagles, crows, and other scavengers have finished with them, the shells will be collected and painstakingly transformed into those unique couture items so prized.  Barbara indicates that time is too short to have one ready for the silent auction at the Skyline chili supper in March.  Her cachet—her artistry, however, will not let her bypass the opportunity to bestow an example of her creativity on the Volunteer Fire Department that she so admires.  Her submission will be a surprise unveiled at the event on March 5th.  It is to be expected that the bidding competition will be stiff as the General is a long-time admirer of his sister-in-law once removed:  i.e. the wife of the brother of the husband of his sister.  It’s like that in Champion. 

          Pete Proctor of the Mountain Grove VFW Post 3770 reports that he and four other Veterans from their post participated in the funeral of Sgt. 1st Class Robert Wayne Pharris in Seymour on Sunday.  He said that there was an enormous crowd and the Freedom Riders lined both sides of the street with more than 300 flags.  Pete and his friends assisted the Freedom Riders in filling out their ranks as they stand to protect the mourners from the protesters who are attending military funerals these days.  The Freedom Riders, on their motorcycles, escorted the body to Saint Louis on Monday for the flight to Arlington, VA where Sgt. Pharris will be buried at the National Cemetery.  Pete thinks that he will join up with the Freedom Riders, not on a motorcycle, but they need drivers to transport materials from place to place as they go about their work of honoring the fallen Warriors.  These disrespectful protesters seem to be saying that Military deaths are the result of God’s wrath at the toleration of the United States Government of homosexuality.  These deaths are the result of the willingness of citizen soldiers to serve their One Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  Champions all support their Veterans and those who are serving in the dangerous parts of the world with the Love and Gratitude they have coming to them. 

          Sgt. Parris was a farmer whose job it was to teach good farming practices to local farmers in the areas where he served—this time in Afghanistan   He was enthusiastic and optimistic about helping people learn efficient ways to make their soil productive and how to maximize their water.   World War I saw the beginnings of Victory Gardens planted to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort.  The gardens also boosted morale as everyone could contribute. “Dig for Victory!”  That was a British slogan of the times.  With the world in such turmoil currently, a little effort toward self-sufficiency goes a long way toward allaying fears of an unknown and uncertain future.  The future is always unknown, but it is pretty likely that a person can expect a crop of something if he has prepared the soil, planted the seed and tended to its needs.  In Champion the last frost is typically around early May, so patience is another quality along with enthusiasm and optimism that makes for a good farmer.  This is a good time of the year for planning and dog-earing seed catalogues and resting up.  Victory Gardens will soon enough be flourishing in Champion.

          Champions are just tickled at the sight of the beautiful light fixtures up on the west side of the Re-Creation of the Mercantile over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  There are two matching fixtures on the front porch as well and they are charming.  The apparent sturdidity (spelled ‘stur-did-ity’) of the structure is not softened by these delicate appearing, but well wrought fixtures, but is rather defined by them as elegant indeed—elegant sturdidity.  It has been pleasant to accustom the eye to the sight of the building without the scaffolding up on the East side.  The building looks more at home every day particularly since the building site has been kept so tidy during construction.  Hats would be off to the builders were it not so chilly out and Champions certainly do not go inside uninvited lest they in some way impede the progress.  No Champion wants to be responsible for putting construction at a stand still. 

          A note from the eagle afficianda on the other side of the hill (not over the hill) indicates that bird watching is brisk.  She says that she has received two letters from Eva (Lois Henson) this week.  They had been to Florida and Tennessee to visit Bill and Berry, their sons, for Christmas.  It is awfully nice to get an old fashioned letter in the mail from family or friends.  Champions love getting good mail so much that as they get older they find themselves writing more and more, oblivious to the laws of diminishing returns. 

See what it gets you to write to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Chamion at getgoin.net.   Sing, “You’ve got me chasing rabbits, picking out rings, and howling at the moon!” January’s full moon is the Wolf Moon and requires being howled at just a little.  Especially in the moonlight in Champion—you’re looking on the Bright Side!


January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011

CHAMPION—January 10, 2011

           In Champion in January of 2011, numerologists are having a field day—01-02-2011—come on.  Then there was 01-10-2011, and of course 01-11-11 and soon 01-20-2011—all very interesting stuff and frequently adding up to 3, 5, or 7.  Numerology notwithstanding, in Champion the high level of civility manifescent in the populace is legendary.  Most any commerce waxes convivial perforce.

          Champions hear that Esther and Raymond Howard are slowing down the raucous social life and will be chilling out for the duration of the inclement weather.  Champions extend their best wishes for their continued enjoyment and for their good health.

          The Skyline Ladies Auxiliary had a productive meeting at Esther Wrinkles house on Tuesday evening, the 4th of January.  They are all excited about their upcoming chili supper and were meticulous and methodical in their planning session.  The menu will be the standard excellent quality home cooked fare plus the communities donated pies.   The entertainment will include Backyard Bluegrass, the Green Mountain Messengers and Big Creek, plus a wealth of local jammers.  What part of the country has so many talented musicians among its regular population?  A call-out is being made to local artists and craftspeople to donate some of their special things to the silent auction for this special fire department. An emissary is being sent to Jerry Smith over in Seymour who has been making some lovely things from some of the lumber out of the old Champion Store building.  Some Auxiliary members will be using a few of the upcoming cold days to write notes to some of their talented friends and acquaintances for this purpose.  The meeting was well attended though Louise did not make it.  She had a grueling trip to Poplar Bluff on Monday and was still recovering.  If she had been there to make the treasury report, she would have reported the same bank balance as the last meeting, minus $2,500.00 to help the Fire Department to make it’s big fire truck payment.  That was not the first such big old check the ladies have written to the Fire Department and will not be the last.  That is the whole and only mandate of the Auxiliary—to support the firefighters.  In the past they have provided new ‘bunkers’ for each firefighter as he has earned his certification, a cascade system so they can refill their own oxygen tanks, radios, sirens and other equipment, plus the wire for the new lights at the picnic grounds and other similar improvements there.  Auxiliary President, Betty Dye, runs a good meeting and has another one set for February 1st.  Meanwhile Esther provided some truly excellent blackberry cobbler for this meeting and members are glad the next meeting will also be at her house!

          “I wish you all the joy that you could wish!”  That is how William Shakespeare said “happy birthday” and that is exactly what Champions wish for Elizabeth Johnston, who celebrated her 30th on the 9th of the month.  She is one of a spate of Champion cousins and in-laws who reach that milestone birthday this year. Some people do not like to celebrate their birthday, but it seems that most people do.  Every single day of the year there are 10,000 people in the United States who become 65 years old!  Harley is way ahead of that bunch and while the ever-charming Ms. Henson has a birthday soon, she is not nearly that old.  Linda’s little birthday book is an excellent source for birthday inspiration.  While the Plant Place and Gift Corner are closed for the month of January, there is still much going on behind the scenes.  Little things are germinating and growing and will wind up in Champion gardens in just a few short weeks. “Ten weeks, “says Champion gardener, Carol Cleveland, and she knows whereof she speaks.

          Not since the great conflagration of the fabled Buzzard Stampede of October 2006, has there been such an epic cow tale as this.  It concerns ten claves and seven Brangus mothers, a stalwart farmer, a kindly uncle, and four young cowboy brothers.  It seems that the avuncular cattle baron purchased thirteen cow/calf units of the Brangus persuasion from some distant farm and they were summarily brought down to Champion to the Fox Creek Farms, where they remained for several days becoming accustomed to the terrain and the new people.  Now the lot was purchased on the shares and it was time to separate the groups—six to go to the uncle’s nearby spread and seven units to remain.  All was well that first evening.  Six of the cows and three of the calves were cut from the group and driven down the road to their new home.  It is to be noted here that the most docile and manageable of the lot were naturally the ones selected for this trip and that the selection was strictly random and first come first gone.  Hence, the rangy, wild and piqued bunch left behind agitated all night by the incessant bawling of the orphaned calves.  As the young farmer and his uncle set about that next day, Wednesday, to cut out the three orphans, began then the events henceforth to be known as the Fox Creek Rodeo.  Cow people will tell you that Brangus are just naturally jumpers and these left behind were plenty skittery already and not want to be prodded about.  The uncle on a four-wheeler and the young farmer afoot approached gently but purposefully to separate the orphans.  The cows responded with their own purpose which was to protect those little ones and to flee in every direction with much kicking and bucking, wreaking as much damage as possible on the farmer and his uncle, and all the gates and fences around.  Straightway it was discerned that no small amount of help would be required to effect the extraction of the three little calves and to that end four pleasant young brothers were enlisted for aid.  Now these young fellows are well regarded in the area.  They are willing, nimble, alert, knowledgeable young men between about sixteen and twenty years of age, well thought of in the community, well considered for their modesty and efficient workmanlike behavior.  So here they came and the cows took to the brush.  Amid the hooping, hollering, and hoorawing, arms flapping of the farmer and four young friends, the uncle on the four-wheeler was cutting doughnuts in the dirt, with the air full of dust and hoofs, wire, hair and fence posts.  For three hours the men drove and chased and caught and lost cows over seventy-five acres as fences were freely breached—every one and some several times.  And those boys–every one as brave as any running at Pamplona.  Indeed, it could have been in a bull arena is Spain as an infuriated thousand pounds of cow squared off with the uncle on the four-wheeler.  They called it a draw and called it a day with the brothers declining a wage since the task had not been successful.  The uncle headed to his distant home to be comforted by sweet Barbara, and the young farmer was left to clean up the mess and repair the fences.  By late Sunday afternoon he had all the calves and all but one of the cows rounded up and secured.  While searching the deep woods, hills and ravines for that last cow, he will be pondering lessons learned and will be thinking about how the story will be told to his little Taegan some day—the story of the Fox Creek Rodeo.

          “Woopie ti yi yo, git along little doggies!  It’s your misfortune and none of my own.”  Sing that one or any favorite cowboy song out loud on your way in to Henson’s Store in downtown Champion.  Just take a sidelong glance at the Re-Creation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  Outside lights are being wired up and one of these nights Champion will be lit up like Time Square.  Dazzling!  It is Champion—looking on the Bright Side!


January 3, 2011

January 3, 2011

CHAMPION—January 3, 2011

          Champions stand at the portal of their new year shoulder to shoulder with optimism, purpose, tolerance, curiosity, compassion, love and gratitude.  Quite a snazzy bunch.  It has been five years since the big ice storm that devastated Springfield and made news the world around.  It seems that exciting things go on at this time of the year. Champions will be most interested to hear the results of the investigations into the enormous kill of red wing blackbirds down in Arkansas.  One report also included a large fish kill in a nearby waterway.  There is a lot of speculation, so it will be good to get the facts.  “Oh the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing.” 

          Esther Howard’s birthday is January 3.  Her Champion friends wish her well and celebrate their good fortune to know her.  Her maiden name is North, and it is told (by people who maybe should not be telling things they heard second hand) that when she and Raymond first married—some little while ago—when she would begin to speak, Raymond would say, “It’s that old North wind blowing again.”  The point was made that this was more than a little aggravating to Esther.  Champions do not wish to rekindle a fifty-odd-year-old tiff, but rather wish to remind Esther of the affection and esteem held for her by her Champion friends.  Should this get back to her she can blame Little Taegan’s Uncle Dusty for blabbing. 

In Champion, as in other places out in the world, one thing leads to another.  It is just as far to Barbara Krider’s house from Champion as it is to Champion from her house. The road has two ends and Champions could as well go to see her, except for the inconvenience it would create for her.  “Closeness is not all about geography,” says one Champion.  Harley was in town for a few days, but knee issues have kept Barbara at home lately.  As was the case with Esther Howard, Champions have been talking about Barbara, with much affection.  The story has filtered down to the “Items” that after leaving the funeral home, Barbara stopped by her house to change her shoes before going on to the cemetery for the graveside service of a friend.  After the service, her friends and family observed that she was wearing different shoes on each foot.  “Well, everybody does that,” you say.  Yes, but those different shoes are from the same pair.  Barbara was wearing one shoe each of two different pairs, as in a sandal and a pump.  Much fun was made of it and the trendsetter fasionista may well have set a tone of freedom and whimsy for fashion in Champion this year.  Barbara’s story leads to Mandinka warrior, Laurence Tureaud.  He is famous for many things including a great song, “Treat Your Mother Right (Treat Her Right)” and for teaching vulnerable children how to control their anger and to deal with peer pressure.  He most often wears mismatched sox as a way to have children with limited resources see that it is not what you wear but who you are that counts.  He stars in a video “Be Somebody… Or Be Somebody’s Fool!”  His birthday is May 21, 1952, so he is still a relatively young guy.  Lots of people will be celebrating his birthday this year, from California to Carolina.  Harold Camping, a retired civil engineer says that his studies have proven that the end of the world will begin on that date and that the end of days will occur in October. “If you still want to say we’re crazy, go ahead,” said Mary Exley of Raleigh, North Carolina, “But it doesn’t hurt to look into it.”  Most likely Mr. T would look into it with interest while continuing to live his Champion kind of life, which requires living each day as if it were the last.  William Miller predicted those events to have occurred on October 22, 1844.  Some called the uneventful passage of that date The Great Disappointment.  Champions recall a recent revelation that says without expectation, there can be no disappointment.  One thing leads to another.

Thurland Chattaway wrote the lyrics to Pretty Red Wing in 1907, and his friend Kerry Mills adapted the tune from an 1848, composition for piano written by Robert Schumann.  “The Happy Farmer, Returning From Work” was the name of Shuman’s piece.  Pretty Red Wing is the story of a young Indian maid’s loss of her sweetheart who has died in battle.   “Now the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing.  The breeze is sighing, the night bird’s crying, for afar ‘neath his star her brave is sleeping, while Red Wing’s weeping her heart away.”  Many sweethearts are weeping the loss of their loved ones in battle far away.  Champions will be glad when all those serving their Nation in the dangerous places come home.  Meanwhile Love and Gratitude are the words of the day.

Black-eyed peas make a good dinner for New Year’s Day as a way to say “If we eat this good all year, we’ll be lucky.”  Bill Long likes Crowder peas.  He says they are just about like black-eyed peas, but a little bigger.  Like many Champions and Champion friends, his mailbox is being choked full of seed catalogues already.  He already has his okra and corn seed for the year.  He plants a hybrid kind of okra that produces earlier than the standard Clemson variety and has a very high yield.  He says they have a lot of it in their freezer yet.  Krenna takes it from the freezer and rinses it before she breads it to fry.  He says it is wonderful.  He is from Alabama and is most partial to things being fried; he is pretty partial to Krenna too.  Now, some folks like their okra stewed with tomatoes, and some folks like it in gumbo.  Charlene Dupree makes a fine Louisiana style gumbo and some of her Champion friends hope for a dinner invitation soon.  She and Linda will be busy getting things ready for Spring.  Gardening is a year round activity and The Plant Place is a Champion kind of place for advice and supplies.  Before long Linda’s 2011 monthly almanac will be available again and then, “Let the plowing begin!”  At least the planning can begin.  The weather man said that the area can expect to be vulnerable to six more weeks of bitter cold, but that the days will be getting a little longer, and that by Valentine’s Day the worst of it should be over.  It will still be cold and wet (hopefully) in March so the chili will taste good at the Skyline VFD Chili supper on March 5th.  That happens to be Linda’s birthday!  One thing leads to another all year.  Arne and Jacob Coon both have birthdays early in January.  Then Jan and Bob Liebert both celebrate on the 10th and 11th.  Elvis Presley and Miss. Rachel Evans of Edinburgh, Scotland also have birth anniversaries soon and Champions say, “Huzza!”

   Sing “Pretty Red Wing” on your way into Henson’s Store currently located in the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  The Annex has become a sweet little fixture on the Square and will be remembered fondly for the interim service it will have provided once it is no longer required.  Meanwhile it is to be appreciated and, in the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of good, enjoyed for its duration.  Express enjoyment of any kind at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net.  Go on over to the website at www.championnews.us for an eyeful of the remarkable and most ambitious Re-Creation of the City Center’s Heart.  Go on over to the North Side of the Square and look at it first hand, but do it from a distance so as not to impede progress. You’ll be in Champion and looking on the Bright Side.