January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012

CHAMPION—January 30, 2012

          Champions hold fast to their confidence and exhort each other today while it is still called “Today.”

          The week end in Champion was much improved by a visit from Raymond and Esther Howard. Raymond grew up down in Ozark County on the farm his grandfather homesteaded there.  After he finished school, he took off to Iowa where he shucked some corn and eventually came to rest somewhere around Hannibal.  There, out on Broadway Street, he met a cool North breeze and they made a team.  It sounds like it was a blind date at a bowling alley and pins have been falling ever since.  Esther has a great laugh and a youthful outlook.  She said that children and grandchildren grow up.  That is what they are supposed to do and you just have to let them go and love them wherever they go.  This was in response to a Champion grandmother lonesome for her grandchildren.  Esther remembers stories her Grandmother told her about living up in North Dakota.  She said that she did not need clothespins because the laundry would just freeze to the line.  She told a story about her grandfather traveling home from the store with a beef and half a hog when he had trouble with his horse.  He was set on by wolves and wound up feeding the whole half of hog, a piece at a time, to the pack of wolves before he made it home.   Practically every Champion can remember a story that a grandparent told.  What a treasure!  Champions are exhorted to share these gifts, perhaps around the stove at Henson’s Store over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Raymond and Esther live up at Marshfield.  They stay busy in their own neighborhood, but every once in a while they make it to Champion.  It cannot be too often.

          For numerology enthusiasts a birthday on 02-01-2012 seems like fun.  Linda’s husband is kind of an enigmatic character and it is hard to tell if he has fun.  He mostly expresses himself in monosyllables. Now, Zack Alexander enjoys that birthday too and it is a sure bet he has more to say.  He has parents and grandparents who flat know how to celebrate.  February second (02-02-2012) also has some excitement about it.  It is the day old Punxsutawney Phil  comes out to sing happy birthday to Judith Sharon Parsons, Angie Heffern (Zack’s Aunt Angie), Charlene Dupree, a  fifth grade girl named Jasmine,  and Boris Yeltsin who will be 80 this year and Clark Gable who would have been 110 years old.  Phil also is known for making weather predictions, but these days the weather is so unusual that Champions will not hold him to any hard and fast prophesies.  Skyline School eighth grader, Zachariah Baker, will be 13 on the 3rd of February and since that is a Friday this year, the whole school will be jumping with excitement.  People who know him say he is a nice kid, a good student and maybe a little mischievous.  That is exactly what is expected of a young man his age.   Champion!

          A conversation between Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum resulted in a welcome home parade for Iraq War Veterans in St. Louis on Saturday.  Reports are that there were tens and tens of thousands of people there waving flags and cheering as about six hundred Veterans walked along the down town streets.   They said that war hardened Veterans were brought to tears at the outpouring of Love and Gratitude.  Champion!

          There was a lovely article in some of the local papers about Esther Wrinkles recently and Esther said that it was factually accurate for the most part.  The inaccuracies were primarily about the quilt, the photo of which accompanied the article.  Esther hand pieced it and the workmanship is up to her excellent standards.  She wanted people to know that it is machine quilted and will stand up to years of use and will still be a keepsake heirloom for the lucky winner.  It has a burgundy colored lining and is executed in burgundy, rose, blue and white.  It is on display at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Tickets are available there and from any Auxiliary member.  The drawing will be held at the Chili Supper, March 3rd at the Skyline School.    All proceeds from the quilt will go to benefit the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department for which Esther has been a Champion from its very beginning.  She is beginning to feel a little better over her bronchitis.  That is good news. She says she will have to hold off on going for the Thursday pot-luck music at the Vanzant Community Center.  She says it looks like they are getting a good crowd every time and she is anxious to go again.  Champions say, “You go, Girl!”

          Gardeners are not looking at the calendar so much as they are at the weather and the condition of the garden.  Some are anxious to get started in spite of the admonition that it might be early.  Linda’s Almanac will soon be available to assist gardeners.  Lem and Ned are much in demand these days for their good company and their zealous affection for garden work.  The winter has spared many a fine turnip so these brutes will be well fed of their favorite victual as they dig and fork and shovel what needs it.  They will soon be returning from their internship at the Good Intentions Paving Stone (GIPS) research facility and factory where they have been testing the efficacy of the biodegradable paving stone made primarily from vegetable matter like turnip greens and pig weed.  This is the outfit that has been responsible for the paving of many well know and much used roads all over the world.  The Champion adventurers will have some stories to tell.  Will they sing that song, “Why did they leave the plow in the field and look for a job in the town?”  Lem and Ned will best be remembered for their succinct definition of the financial concept of ‘derivatives. ’    Read their complete take on the subject in the articles of November 16th and November 23, 2009, at www.championnews.us.   It will be most interesting to learn what they have to say about the Occupy Movement.   Come home, dear boys!  It is Royce and Jo Henson who ought to be coming home.   You have been away too long.   A beautiful spring day, even if it takes place in the winter time, would be a fine time to see that little yellow sports car come sashaying through the square.  Perhaps Royce would guest speak at the Saturday Philosopher’s Club gathering.  What a Champion notion! 

          At a local Thrift Store for twenty five cents, a Champion picked up a pristine copy of the Complete Poetry and Selected Prose by Walt Whitman.   Her Champion spouse said that he always thought of Whitman as being kind of a cheerleader and overly sentimental.  Even if that were true, and she does not at all agree that it is, she thinks, “What’s wrong with that?”  Express your opinion at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at getgoin.net. Better yet, express it in person.  Come on down to the nice flat place at the bottom of several hills, at the end of the pavement, at the conjunction of several roads, on the wide an luxurious banks of Old Fox Creek to Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012

CHAMPION—January 23, 2012

          Sunday found Champions responding to the slowness of the arrival of the weather front that was promised and described as a warming trend.  Stillness marked the damp winter day when the earlier greens turned to gold on the ground and gray as the fog took the tops of the hills away and left sycamores reaching white down from sky to ground and from ground to sky. This is a visually stimulating time of the year in Champion.  Then Monday morning dawned bright and clear, not too cold, and everything again took on that optimistic gleam.  It is Champion. 

          Someone asked about that poem that celebrates the goodbyes.  It was written by Bernice Morgan of Marshfield and dedicated to the Krider family.  Read the whole thing in the archives at www.championnews.us.  Find it in the January 25th post of 2009.  The January 25th posting for 2010, includes good news from the Brixie clan that Jacob Kyle Brixie was born Monday evening, January 18th, 2010 at 6:01 to Jana and James Brixie.   His older sister Jenna Kateland is now four and a half years old and it has indeed turned out that there has been enough love and fun to go around.  (There was speculation way back then that this would most likely be the case.)  There was a party for Jacob on Saturday the 21st and most of the same rowdy crowd showed up for that shindig that will be hanging around when the ‘old man’ celebrates his 40th on the 30th!  “May your horse never stumble.  May your cinch never break. May your belly never grumble and your heart never ache!”  This is a birthday wish for persons who do not too much like the limelight, but like cowboy birthday sentiments.  It is also a wish for young Billy Collins who will celebrate his 13th birthday on the 24th.  He is a seventh grader at Skyline School.  He enjoys all kinds of sports, especially basketball and soccer and he is learning to play the piano.  Miss Brooke Johnson will be six on the 26th.  She likes to sing and had a solo at the Skyline School Christmas program where she attends kindergarten with her cousin Rowdy.  Old Champions remember their own sweet school days and cast their thoughts to these young ones now sometimes with envy of their youth and sometimes with gratitude for not to have to go through it all again.  It is encouraging to see how many Old Champions are stepping up to support this little school that is the closest thing to their own country school experience that will ever be again.  The Skyline R2 School Foundation is beginning to see some good donations come in.  As years go by, the school stands to benefit significantly in its literacy and technology programs due to the generosity of nostalgic alumni of little rural schools.  Zack Alexander’s mother attended Skyline.  She will have her birthday on the 27th.  She is somewhere well past 40 now and not suffering any loss of joie de vivre.   Perhaps this is because she has such a handsome husband and an exceptionally good looking and smart child, or because her Champion upbringing gave her the confidence to express her own intelligence, the matriarchal inheritance of prodigal sarcasm notwithstanding.  Champions applaud all celebrants no matter the cause!   

          Champions are applauding their returning Veterans and extending to them Love and Gratitude.

          Champions in Edinburgh, Scotland are seeing sunset at about half past four in the afternoon these days.  It is coming up a couple of minutes earlier there, as well as here, every day and so before long the days will be significantly longer and then shorter again, etc., ad inf.   This Champion is in a good position to be able to see the Northern Lights that are said to be being spectacular these nights.  Of course, Edinburgh is a huge city with lots of light pollution, so he might have to go up to the Highlands on a clear night to get a real view.  It has been reported that the solar storm that causes the visual penomenum of the arora borialis  is of such magnitude that the effect should be easily visible from Champion latitudes.  That would require a clear night here.  It could happen.  People who watch these occurences for a living say that the storm is huge but that it will pass North of the Earth and that Earth is in no danger.  They do say that there could be some minor interferrence with satellites and perhaps some power glitches as the magnetic field of the planet is disturbed.   The Chinese New Year is being celebrated this week.  The Year of the Dragon is portentous of very good luck, they say.  Champions are ready.  There are various predictions for gloom and destruction this year as per the Mayan calendar and certain miscalculating evangelical prognosticators, but Champions stay focused on the Bright Side.  

          Esther’s plant is a beautiful Sego Palm.  No one has taken credit for the gift, so it is still a mystery plant.  It adds a nice tropical feel to Esther’s house and she has very much been enjoying it, but she would still like to know who shared the lovely thing with her.  She has been fighting off some bronchitis and so has been staying close to home.  Better weather will see her out and about again and Champions will be glad.  Maybe she will be in fine enough fettle to enjoy the Thursday pot luck jam session over at the Vanzant Community Center.  One old Champion girl has so many cardinals in her lilac bush that she is trying to think of all the songs that talk about red birds.  She can think of several songs about lilac bushes. No doubt some of those many musicians can come up with some for her.  Thursday is the day for the Old Biddies to get together at the Mansfield Community Center for their monthly bridge game.  Thursdays are busy days.  Champion! 

          The Saturday Philosophy Club had its regular meeting in the Club Room at Hensons’s Grocery and Gas, which is better known to some as the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  The round table fills up first since the idea is that no one can be cornered into saying something that he might regret or, in certain cases, telling the truth.  It is a lively group and membership seems to be limited only to those present.  Describe your philosophy or send your red bird songs to Champion at getgoin.net or to Champion Items at Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717.  Come down to the broad and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek for the kind of sightseeing that allows for the development of a tranquil, benevolent, lighthearted, compassionate, and appreciative philosophy. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

CHAMPION—January 16, 2012

           There is no denying that Champion is a rural community.  It is thriving, bustling, full of energy and purpose and “ready to every good work.”  It is also quite green even with the deciduous trees bare and the flower beds fallow.  Pastures take on the appearance of an antique velvet coverlet that may have been a tapestry of gold and emerald at one time now softened, muted and speckled with brown spots here and there.  The wintertime pastoral scene has an underlayment of solid good earth that speaks of a sound past, a pleasant present, and a bright future—Champion!

           A Champion writes, “Dear Aunt Nellie,  Our flimsey little family grapevine has finally let me know that you are yet living and that you are vigorous and productive.  I pray this is true and that you are enjoying beautiful days.  As my generation of the family ages we often think of the many we have lost.  It is a wonderful thing when we realize at last that we have not really lost our dear ones because what they have given to us is still with us.  One time I told Uncle Doc that one of my best childhood memories was lying on a pallet in the front room of Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house listening to him and my folks out on the porch talking into the night.  There were no lights on in the house and their voices and low laughter were soft but clear over the creak of the rockers.  I held my breath to hear every word and drifted off to deep sleep.  He said that when he was with the kids on the pallet, it was your voice and Aunt Eavvie’s that he listened for and I suddenly had an understanding of the continuity of family.  You are the last one of your generation on both sides of my family.  I just wanted to let you know that the gifts you have shared are still being appreciated.”  Champion!  The cold of January brings to mind the passing of  a dear Champion friend and the many good memories and lesson he left.  As the Proctor and Newberry families say good-bye to their precious one, the poem written for Lonnie Krider by Bernice Morgan comes to mind.   A line from  “My Good-bye”  goes, “So share my joy, I’m going home.  I’ve been away too long.  If you want to please me now, then sing a joyful song.”  Sometimes joy is a while in the coming as loss is such a weight.  Champions know they must wait.  Champions would comfort their dear friends.

          Reports are that Wilburn had a good birthday on the 10th.  He did not know that he shared it with young Justin Willhite who became twelve years old on that date.  They are neighbors and one can easily enough see the similarities between the two.  They are both good with animals, both a little stubborn and both know how to have fun.  Justin might like to know that when Wilburn was about his age, he and a friend got caught eating the divinity candy that was being stored in a lady’s spring house.  He had to carry one hundred buckets of water for the lady as a punishment.  Wilburn did not say from where to where he carried those buckets of water or if his friend had to do the same, but it still sounds like quite a chore and doubtlessly a good lesson for modern day boys who probably can figure out modern day ways to get in trouble.   Champions both!

          Kyle Barker will be five years old on the 21st of January!  He is a lucky lad with a beautiful home place and a rich framiy heritage.  He has very good looking, smart parents and a little brother named Caleb.  Most likely he is spoiled to homemade ice cream.  He has a grandfather with a huge collection of ice cream freezers and the idea that his peanutbutter icecream is prizeworthy.   Kyle and Caleb probably know all about that, but the rest of the community seems to have only the General’s braggadocio for proof.   They say it (the proof) is in the pudding (or the icecream) but it takes a timely invitation to win the prize. 

          Other birthdays—milestones to be sure—have been celebrated discreetly.  A person does not like too much the limelight.  Champions with gardening on their mind can think about starting broccoli plants on the 25th through the 27th.  Linda from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says they need about eight weeks to be ready  from seed to the garden.  The seed packets say to harden the plants off when they are six to eight inches tall and plant out in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.  That is early May in Champion!  Everyone will have to make his own decision about when to plant and what.  Certainly when the time is right Linda will have plenty of broccoli and cabbage and all thoses other wonderful plants for Champion gardens.  Meanwhile,  some will be glad for rain and snow on all that manure spread in the garden already.

          Linda got herself in quite a situation at the Fortnight bridge game the other night.  In concert with the Champion player,  she outscored, by 190 points, oponents from Vera Cruz and Brushy Knob who were the winners of the rubber.   It took sixteen hands to play the two games (two games is a rubber) and the hour ran late.   Keen defensive play can be every bit  as exhilirating as playing the hand.  She won the quarters which, in this instance, was the low money and the host won the nickles with the high score overall.  Perhaps some real winter weather will find more friends together playing cards.  Several will be willing to drop minor responisbilites, that is responsiblitlies of minor import, at the drop of a hat for a good bridge game or “pitch” as played by Champion rules over in the game room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in downtown Champion.   A few members of the Skyline VFD Auxiliary gathered in the conference room there on Saturday afternoon to make some prelimnary plans for the annual chili supper which will be held at the Skyline School on March 3rd this year.  If the weather turns too bad to travel, the affair will be postponed until the following Saturday, which will be March 10.  Tickets were distributed among the members  for chances on this year’s quilt.  It is a queensize beauty, hand pieced by Esther Wrinkles and machine quilted.   This will be one of those future family heirlooms.  All the proceeds from the quilt go to benefit the fire department to help with the expenses of keeping the community safe.   Some good photos were taken of the quilt and it will be on view at Henson’s Store for inspection until the evening of the drawing, March 3rd

            January’s is called the Wolf Moon and the month itself is called ‘the door to the year.’  Champions filng it open wide with welcome for whatever may come.  Love and Gratitude for the beauty of the place, for family and friends and for those dear ones passed are the prevalent expressions.  The Eighth of January is a particualrly cheerful January song and that is the way it is all through the month in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012

CHAMPION-January 9, 2012

           The first week of the New Year found Champions out enjoying the good weather.  No complaints were registered; though there is an undercurrent of concern about when and if winter will really arrive.  Most Champions are pretty sure that there will really be some serious winter at some point.  One said that it looks like February will be colder than average and that March will be very warm and then very cold. One has a collection of old farmer’s almanacs going back for years and the lesson he has to share is that the seasons go around and round and the road goes on and on and even if the destination is Champion, ‘the journey is the thing.’  

           It is a fortunate child who has both sets of grandparents living close by.  Inevitably one grandparent becomes the favorite.  “I want my real grandmother!” shouts one such fortunate child as the less preferred grandparent attempts an awkward closeness or fumbles in some other way.  When the outburst is reported, as it surely will be, it is up to the ‘real’ grandmother to squelch that secret smile and exhibit the generosity of spirit that will forever be an example to the child.  Life gets complicated even in its sweetest moments. 

           Champions are zealous for good works.  People move to Champion just to have good neighbors.  A good neighbor will share his plenty.  One has plenty of that good fertilizer that is produced by running grain and hay through a nice thoroughbred horse.  Arrangements being made for this commodity right in the presence of others did not bring out the information that ‘some’ of them seemed to have had about this very substance from this very source having been toxic to several tomato patches in previous years.  It is spread out on the garden now and now the chit chat around the stove harkens back to those ruined gardens and the blame having been cast on the generous horseman.  So now time will tell if the ‘good stuff’ will have been a gift indeed or an expensive folly.  Thanks for the heads up, neighbors.  Thanks for the manure, neighbors.  There is a certain element of fun in watching people make mistakes, of course.  Faith in the value of organic fertilizer and a sense of humor will go along with hopes for some rain, snow and good winter weather to season the application of natural wonder between now and planting.  Champions are patient.  Seed catalogues are choking mail boxes thanks to Champion mail carrier, Ms. Ross, and before long Champions will be busy getting some of their seeds started.  Linda will probably have Cole crops up and going by the time The Plant Place and Gift Corner opens up again on the first of February.  Champions know she is there working.  Hopefully she is getting some good bridge time in too.  Playing a good hand of cards occasionally is very relaxing.  That is to say that for the moments of the play every other care is suspended. 

           A forty year resident of Champion South must be exhaling slowly as a way to reduce his aggravation at seeing the photo of a local standing beside a family heirloom tree of gigantic proportions.  The tree is indeed a marvel.  The fellow under it is the same guy who hand-shook a promise at a land deal that turned out badly.  Oh, it did not turn out badly for him.  Count on that. The lesson learned by the Champion is to be careful with whom he shakes hands over something important.  Predatory logging is an industry in itself in these parts.  A neighbor down Fourteen Highway near the Chapel Grove reports her vacant house having been stripped of its copper wiring and all the windows having been broken out.  Vigilance to neighborhood conditions is not the same thing as being nosey.  “Neighborhood Watches” are no longer just a city thing.  There was a time not so long ago when no one had a lock on the door.  Some houses were sold that had never had a lock on them or had not had a key in generations.  Times have changed.  There have always been scoundrels, but now there is danger and Champions are alert to their own safety and that of their neighbors.  People traveling C Highway need to be alert to loose horses.  There are seven of them that can be found between Evans and WW at any time.  People going to the basketball game at Skyline the other night had close calls with those horses.  They have been reported to authorities several times but as yet no action has been taken to contain them.  Be cautious, Champions.  Send solutions to local problems to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at getgoin.net.  Wander around the website at www.championnews.us to see what a charming community looks like. 

           “I was looking back to see if you were looking back to see if I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me.  You were cute as you could be standing looking back at me and it was plain to see that I’d enjoy your company.”  Elmer Banks said there were seventeen pickers at the Thursday Night music over at Vanzant.  It is turning out to be quite a lovely happening with musicians coming from all around the area.  This Thursday the Skyline VFD Auxiliary will have its meeting at 7 p.m. at Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion.  They will get right down to business so there will still be time to make the jam session over at Vanzant.  They will be planning the annual chili supper that benefits the Skyline Fire Department.  Volunteers are looking out after their communities—fire fighters, first responders and soldiers all put aside their own safety and convenience to serve their communities and their Nation.  Champions express their Love and Gratitude to those who serve in a variety of ways.  Any member of the fire district is welcome to come participate in the Skyline VFD Auxiliary.

           Esther Wrinkles said that she would enjoy the beautiful Mystery Plant that someone left on her porch for her more if she knew who it had left it.  She says it is in a green pan and is about two feet tall.  There are some pretty rocks on top of the soil.  Yvonne Unger brought it in the house for her when she came over with some soup and some lemon bars.  Esther is fighting off a little cold and working to bounce back after having broken her favorite little crock pot in a spill. 

           Wilburn Hutchison shares his birthday with Alexander Hamilton and a Teeter Creek Herbalist.  Champions all say “Happy Day!”  The next day Tex Ritter and Jack London share birthdays with Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and Smokin’ Joe Frazier!  The world is just full of exiting people.  Many of them are Champions and some are just schmoes.  Sort them out around the stove at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  It is located in the exact spot where the Historic Emporium served the community for generations–on the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek with its back to the cold North wind and a sunny southern exposure to the wide front porch.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012

CHAMPION—January 2, 2012

            “Champions stand at the portal of their new year shoulder to shoulder with optimism, purpose, tolerance, curiosity, compassion, love and gratitude.”  That was the situation with Champion at the beginning of last year.  The same rowdy crowd is at the door again this year.  Champion!  Hopefully far flung Champions in distant places will all enjoy the same excellent start to 2012.  Good luck!  New Year’s Eve found the Conference Center at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium full to overflowing with conferees.  Assessments of the general state of affairs of the world and various solutions to what are perceived as the problems flow like honey dew vine water.  It is entirely intoxicating to be a full blooded genuine resident Champion and even casual stoppers in find themselves a little tipsy for the experience. 

          Karen Freeman (Suzie) writes a post script to a charming Christmas note that says that she has never had a driver’s license, credit card, cable TV, computer or cell phone and although she lives in Texas, “they will never take the hillbilly out of me!”  Suzie must know that she is significantly more hillbilly than most Champions.  Even little shacks far back in the hills have satellite dishes on them and hunters use cell phones to keep up with each other in the woods.  Some stand around the stove at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on the North side of the Square in Downtown Champion to talk about streaming movies on their X-boxes and their Wii(s).  Even aging Generals have “Facebook” identities and some Champions hire lawyers to do all the complicated farm work that requires reading and following instructions.  While they venerate home and all the wholesome values their antecedents embodied, Champions lean forward to the future to embrace technology and the world.  The name “Champion” requires an inclusive attitude but Champions are generally (for the most part) quite selective about what all they include. 

          A neighbor from over at Brushy Knob says that people eat crows.  He offers that song about “four and twenty black-birds baked in a pie” as evidence.  Of course, Champions understand dietary preferences.  Quail and dove are tasty, not to mention duck, turkey, chicken and an occasional goose.  Still, ‘eating crow’ has the connotation of being forced to admit having made a mistake and having to acknowledge it humbly (Mrs. Ross).  Champions know that it is really just a cultural prejudice that limits culinary possibilities. Crows and their close relatives are scavengers and so some have a revulsion to eating them.  Others decline to consider eating animals that are smarter than some people they know.  Last year there was concern about the five thousand Red Wing Blackbirds that had fallen from the sky in Arkansas.  This year only about one hundred dead birds were found on New Year’s morning.  Perhaps the ‘ban’ on fireworks in that area was effective (to the extent that it enjoyed compliance) or perhaps there were just fewer birds to start with. “Oh! The moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing.”  It is a beautiful song, if sad.   On the way to town the other day a Champion heard “On the banks of the Ohio” on the KZ88 Radio program “Roots and Branches.” The program comes on from ten a.m. until noon on Thursdays and on Sunday afternoons from two until four.  One old song leads to another and then another, so that a person does not want to get out of the car even when he has reached his destination.  Look for a connection to KZ88 Listen Live at www.championnews.us

          A clean slate is a Champion thing.  Starting over every day with the chance to do it all better is about as Champion as it gets.   As Champions age the nature of their New Year’s Resolutions change.  This year one resolves to enjoy her rest more.  She plans not so much to nap more as she plans to approach her night’s sleep with appreciation for the restorative qualities and for the opportunity for gentle reflection as she drifts off into the arms of Morpheus.   She will not take her fears or wounds or strife with her as she approaches her pallet—just the sylvan sifting of peace and gratitude for the day’s joy. 

          Johnny is marching home!  Hurrah!  Hurrah!  Many soldiers are returning from tours of duty in the dangerous parts of the world.  Many were wounded and many of those wounds are not visible.   Honoring and caring for the American sons and daughters who were asked by their Nation to sacrifice their youth and in so many cases their bodies and lives is an obligation not to be taken lightly.  Fortunately Veteran’s organizations like the VFW are in place to help.  Pete Proctor over at the VFW Post 3770 in Mountain Grove and Larry Morrison over in Ava at the VFW Post 5993 have real zeal for stepping up and lending a hand.  Any Veteran or family of a Veteran can look to these organizations of friends and neighbors for encouragement, information and understanding.  Champion!  

          Old fashioned pen and ink on paper thank you notes are being sent through the mail to friends and family for thoughtful gifts and thoughtful thoughts over the holidays.   Thank you notes are going out too from the Skyline R-2 School Foundation to those generous individuals who have already donated to help get it going.  Literacy programs and technology updates at the school will be the immediate beneficiaries of Foundation funds.  For more information about the Foundation contact the school or stop in at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion where literature is available.   Stand around the stove for a little while to soak up some warmth and some ambiance. 

          The farmer’s almanac indicates that Champions will enjoy average temperatures this winter and that it will be very wet.  Weather patterns will be determined by activities of La Nina over in the Pacific Ocean.  States just to the South of Champion are predicted to have a mild and also a very wet winter.  Some Texans will be glad to hear it.  Garden planning has begun in earnest now.  Decisions being made now will affect the pantry in September.  Champions rely on Linda up in Norwood and on each other for inspiration, information and sometimes other things.   Good neighbors are a gift.

          Word is that Louise and Wilburn are doing well.  Sue and Manuel Hutchison were good company in from Iowa over the holidays and there is a steady stream of visitors in and out.  Ruby Proctor is doing well according to rumors.  Esther Wrinkles said that she had heard as much from mutual friends recently.  Report good rumors to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion at getgoin.net.  The big excitement these days is the musical pot luck gatherings at the Vanzant Community Center every Thursday.  People bring a dish or a donation and show up ready to eat about six o’clock and then settle in for lots of good music.  Toe tapping music is a sure antidote for Cabin Fever.  Champions venture over toward Vanzant on Thursday evenings to hear “Put another log on the fire.  Cook me up some bacon and some beans,” but the rest of the time they keep the winter doldrums away just by strolling the broad pleasant avenues of their Historic Hamlet soaking up the healthful benefits of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!