CHAMPION—December 5, 2011

          Geese are headed south these days.  An interested Champion learned that waterfowl frequently prefer to fly at night since the air remains relatively stable with lighter winds and less dramatic pressure and temperature gradients.  In the daytime hawks and eagles use thermals, air currents caused by the warming earth, to ride aloft.  Ducks and geese prefer undisturbed air.  They might also like to avoid the hawks and eagles.  By flying in the v-formation the whole flock has a much greater flying range since as each goose flaps its wings it creates an ‘uplift’ for the birds that follow.  By working together and sharing a common direction a community can function better.  When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. In a community it pays to take turns doing the hard tasks.  Geese honk to keep each other encouraged.  In Champion a little honking goes a long way.   It turns out that a Canadian goose can live twenty-four years.

          “We’ll sing of the old, and we’ll sing of the new.  We’ll sing of the changes in years.  I can’t tell a lie, last night we had pie for the first time in twenty four years.  There’s a man over there without any hair, you can be sure he is fond of his beer.  He is called old-time rocks, and last night changed his socks for the first time in twenty four years.”  Well, there are lots of verses to that song, some having to do with banking, with politics, with the railroad and travel to the Indies.  It is just one of those conglomerated songs with no author to claim credit and a history too long to remember.  Esther Wrinkles said that she remembered it but that she has not heard it in a long time.  Music is a big part of Esther’s enjoyment of life.  When the fire department fund raisers first appear on the horizon, Esther is the one who registers the first and most enthusiasm about who will play.  She has a good ear and great appreciation for local artists.  A meeting of the Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary will be coming up soon and the planning session will get going for the next community affair to benefit the best little fire department around.   The year seems to be going by pretty quickly.  Esther is doing well.  Louise is making steady progress on her recovery and the fun is starting all over again.  Champion!   

          That raft of tiger orange letters mailed from the Skyline R-2 School Foundation is producing some good results.  Thank you cards are being sent to early donors and more letters are going out to various philanthropic entities.  Anyone with a good idea can include a note with your check or cash donation to the Skyline R-2 School Foundation, Rt. 2, Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717.  A little country school is something worth supporting—a Champion something!

          A full lunar eclipse of December’s Cold Moon is going to occur, visible from Champion, about 8:30 next Saturday morning, December 10th.  Starting about 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., the moon will have the shadow of the Earth pass over it from east to west…Actually the moon is doing the moving, passing through Earth’s shadow.  A delicate layer of dusty air surrounding the planet reddens and redirects the light of the sun so that the moon seems to turn red when it enters the shadow of the Earth.  So not only will the Moon be beautifully red, it will also be inflated by the Moon Illusion.  For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through the trees, buildings and other foreground objects.   In fact, a low Moon is no wider than any other Moon, but the human brain insists otherwise and so to observers in the western USA, and maybe Champion, the eclipse will appear super-sized.  It is very exciting.  This moon is kind of low in the western sky, so someone behind a hill may not see it.  They say that the darkest part of the eclipse will be about 8:30 a.m.  That is opening time at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion.  Friends who missed the Thanksgiving Day parade are planning to show up early for coffee and to exchange their elliptical experiences from over the years. Saturdays at Champion are beginning to take on that old time quality when they gathered on the square for fellowship and to be in on all the latest happenings.  One Old Champion says, “There is something to be said for holding on to those old ties familial and friendly, particularly when those ties are with people you like.”  When the weather is consistently warm again, Champion City Mothers are going to break out the lucky horseshoe set and Champions will be extending challenges to each other and to any hapless visitor from Vanzant or Spotted Hog.  Some are practicing already.    Perhaps those ecliptically shadowed stories will shed light on some of the persistent Champion mysteries like the Champion Illusion when those phantom parades drift up the steep climbing western stretches of Lonnie L. Krider Memorial Drive toward the lofty summit of Mount Champion—how the bagpipes become faint in the mist and suddenly dissipate as if the procession had never occurred.  Anyone who attended (and everyone did) The Grand Champion Celebration of October 22nd, knows for sure that grand and glorious things happen in Champion. (Verify this at  Send reports of same to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at 

          The weather is changing and real winter will be here in a few days.  Champions will be traveling and hosting guests and making all kinds of merry.  They are safe on the road, careful in their holiday spending while still most generous with all the things that count.  They are extending their Love and Gratitude to their Veterans and those serving at the behest of the Nation and they are thinking about dear family far away.  They are remembering that joyfulness is a year round Champion kind of thing.  Get a big heaping helping of it at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, December 10th in Downtown Champion–Looking on the Bright Side.