December 28, 2013

December 28, 2013

CHAMPION—December 28, 2013

        Those few days between Christmas and New Year’s Day are typically busy ones in Champion.  Bright sunshine and warmer temperatures have encouraged gardeners and other industrious people to finish up a few projects, to get done some of those things that were going to be accomplished before the year was out.  The year is just about out and all the friends and family who are still loitering about depleting the pantry can easily enough be Tom Sawyered into helping out.  “Here, get a hold of the other end of that, would you?”  The hobnobbing, guffawing, knee slapping, singing and yodeling do not have to stop just because the old vines and stakes have to come out of the tomato patch or some stalls need mucking.  Many hands make the work lighter.  The law of ‘centergy’ says that two people working together can accomplish more than two individuals working alone.  Whether it has to do with competition or companionship, the time certainly goes faster with help.  Near Downtown Champion, there are forty-four identical sheets of good tin, twelve foot long, just lying there for the taking.  A couple of sturdy, enthusiastic fellows with hammers, crowbars, hoof pincers, fencing tools and magnets could make short work of it.  The tin has only been nailed down one time and only into oak.  Inquire at the Emporium if you have a truck and a trailer and nothing better to do.

Parking on the Champion Square on Boxing Day.

        Activity around the Facebook page The Champion News (like it) is connecting Champions in unexpected ways.  Sharon Tate Williamson said, “There’s no place like home!  I claim Drury and Champion.”  She lived here during the 1940’s and 1950’s.  “My daddy, Amos Tate, taught school a few years there before he carried the mail out of Drury for many years.  I went to Champion in the 2nd and 3rd grade and lived either there by Champion or over closer to Drury until I graduated from high school.  I get to Champion usually a time or two a year.”  Sarah Cloud writes, “Enjoying the views and the news of one of my favorite childhood places.  In all the grandeur that is Southern Utah, it just doesn’t hold a candle to the Ozarks.  Love to all.” Connie Sue Coonts Riddell refers to a photo of the interior of the Mercantile  and  asks “Where’s the old timers spitting and chewing and whittling?   I don’t see any Coonts there having coffee.”  She was assured by return message that one of that ilk is routinely there, more often than once a week.  Connie Sue would most likely really appreciate that epic poem “The Near Drowning of Cowboy Jack.”

        It was lovely to read a hand written note in their Christmas card that Bonnie and Pete Mullens had a good holiday and are hoping to get to Champion one day soon to see the New Store. (She can go online to the Champion Snapshots on the sidebar at to see Henson’s Grand Opening 2011.  David Richardson from Norwood did a great video of the event.)  Bonnie wrote to say they have lost several loved ones this year yet they feel blessed by the addition of three great grandchildren:  Miles Perry Mullens, October 26th, Lexie Rae Niblack, November 5th, Korbin Blake Gunther, December 7th.  The 27th of December is the birthday of Corinne Zappler.  Big parties were being planned for her in Austin, TX with fireworks off the 360 Bridge and a bonfire at home after a sumptuous feast.  Warm wishes go out to a sweet niece—a grandniece really.  Champion grandson, Eli Oglesby, celebrates his birthday on December 30th.  These young Champion boys and girls grow at an incredible rate.  His great uncle, The General will again see the old year out as he seemingly effortlessly accomplishes three score and eleven.  The birthday calendar flips to 2014, and the first of January celebrates sweet Jan Liebert, the electric bass playing rock and roll grandmother of Teeter Creek fame.  Arne Coon enjoys that day as his special one too and his son, Jacob, a fifth grader at Skyline will have his party on the third.  Jacob was one of the shining stars vocalizing at the Skyline Christmas Program.  He shares his day with Champion nephew Leland Isley, a wailing guitar player and an excellent fellow all round.  “May your days be merry and bright and may all your birthdays be a delight!”

        Timber thieves beware!  An update from public records available at the Court House and online informs interested parties that a date has been set for the arraignment of the individual charged with the recent theft of 90 oak trees from private property adjacent to the Mark Twain Nation Forest in Eastern Douglas County.  The arraignment will be held on January 23rd at the Douglas County Court House.  At that time the accused will be able to plead guilty or not guilty and will be given the opportunity to secure the services of an attorney.  The machinations of the Justice System are an interesting study for any citizen, tree hugger or not.  Stay tuned for further updates and illusions to the pernicious effects of the lure of mammon on every part of society.

        Champions gathered on Boxing Day for some quality post-Christmas socializing in the meeting room at the Historic Emporium.  Mr. and Mrs. Portell of Far North Clever Creek, chatting with a conspicuous regular at the table, were joined by an old guy in a bright plaid shirt with a dachshund.  The absentee farmer came in and then others.  Bob and Ethel Leach, prominent Champions of the West West Branch of North Fox Creek made a regular visit to brighten up the already bright place.  When asked if they had been affected by the great August 8th flood, Ethel said that their place is higher and that branch was not so full, but her sister who lives further down the creek came within about an inch of having water in her house.  Her dog almost drowned until she could get him untied. The conversation continued among the group with more adventures of narrow escapes and great feats.  A great feat had been accomplished on Christmas Eve by Drayson’s old Dad, home for the holidays, as he parked that long, long trailer truck on the South East side of the Square.  It is a magnificent machine, red with lots of shiny chrome.  While it was being admired, the ever effervescent Ms. McCleary arrived with her own sparkly new wheels to show off.  Santa must have been impressed.

        The beauty of the holidays has to do with family and friends drawing close and saying right out loud what they feel all year.  Sweet memories of Christmases past make the present a precious commodity as thoughts of dear ones missing from the table this year add the solemnity that gratitude requires.  The year ahead will hold what it holds. Happiness is the byproduct of doing what you like.  Make up your own songs and sing them out loud to whosoever will listen.  Love and Gratitude are the by words in Champion—Happy New Year from the Bright Side!


December 21, 2013

December 21, 2013

CHAMPION—December 21, 2013

        The shortest day of the year is overflowing with good news in Champion.  The aquifer is being replenished with the stuff that makes cold springs gush and spirits are being replenished with the Love and Gratitude that is so freely shared this time of the year.  No amount of gloom seems to dampen the Champion.

        The young Tigers of Skyline performed admirably at their Christmas program.  There were some real stand outs, bright spots, sure to be stars in the bunch.  Their parents and grandparents can tell you who they are.  The Youth Empowerment Program kids made some quite clever snowmen which they sold to help them finish the greenhouse they are building.  They have a grant to get them started with the project and they are working hard to raise the rest of what will be needed.  This greenhouse promises to be a great learning tool.  After the program some great community spirits officiated over the pie auction.  More than one observed that this particular auctioneering grandmother might take it up as a profession.  She is that good and the funds she helped raise will help the greenhouse grow.  More good news came concerning the Skyline-R2 School Foundation.  Teri Ryan has written to the board, “It’s been wonderful when reading with preschoolers to hear them talk about getting the DPIL books at home. Several parents have mentioned how much they enjoy getting the books to read with their children. They seem surprised that they are such good books. The program should give our students a good foundation in literacy.”  The excited board member passing the news along shouts, “I THINK WE’RE DOING SOME GOOD!!!!”  The DPIL is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which sends a free book every month to a child from newborn to five years of age.  Pick up applications for the program at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Champion or at the school.  Support the Foundation anytime with a donation in any amount to The Skyline R2 School Foundation, Rt. 72, Box 486 Norwood, Mo 65717.  How often do you hear anyone shout, “I THINK WE’RE DOING SOME GOOD!!!”?

        Champion tree-huggers of all kinds will be pleased to know that the timber thieves of Eastern Booger County have been brought to task!  The Forest Service received an anonymous tip that timber was being harvested.  A stalwart Forest Ranger blocked the exit of the loaded semi-tractor trailer truck and held it at bay until arrived Sargent Vernon Johnson.  Investigation ensued which has culminated in charges being brought against lumber businessman Bobby Davis of Willow Springs (not R.D. Davis of Ava).  The three men who were found working with Davis at the scene on December 13th were not charged as the Sheriff determined that they were only showing up for work.  This is not the only timber related case that Prosecutor Wall has pursued recently and the efforts of the entire team are much appreciated by land owners, preservationists and Champion tree huggers at large who will continue to follow the story.  Davis will be in court on Monday.  It would be interesting to see if he could look Bob Austin, the owner of those 90 big old oak trees, in the eye.  Santa knows.

        Management at Henson’s Downtown G & G are pleased to announce a new product line available on shelves there.  Champion Hydraulic Fluid, Champion Brake Fluid, and Champion Antifreeze are now part of the standard inventory and in addition to sharing the splendid moniker they have the added advantage of being less expensive on account of the good business practices of said management!  This is not a seasonal gimmick, dear patrons.  It is the everyday best practices in Champion!

        The General and his lovely Missus were front row center for the Skyline Christmas Program.  Attending too was Danny Hull, somehow acquainted with the General.  He grew up over north of Mountain Grove and had high school chums in the audience and grandchildren performing.  He was sporting a letter dated 1938.  It was a receipt written to Mr. Chester Wright indicating that his 540 pound calf had sold at auction in St. Louis for 3.5 cents a pound, netting him $16.45 after the deduction of the $.80 commission paid to Fred C. Carter.  Mr. Carter wrote, “Cow steady.  Thanks a lot.”  The price of beef has gone up.  Quite a number of folks at the school program would ordinarily have been enjoying the Vanzant bluegrass jam.  Mandolinist/chanteuse, Sue Murphy, said that the jam still had a good crowd and that everyone had an enjoyable time.  They will be there again on the day after Christmas.  Pot luck at 6:00 p.m. and then the music begins.  The Vanzant Community building is on W Highway off of 95 right there by Esther’s house way over in the far suburbs of East Champion.

        “The Way I Heard It” is the name of a CD put out by the State of The Ozarks String Band some while back.  It has 25 tunes, everything from Midnight on the Water to Redwing.  It was a gift that will keep on giving.  When Linda was a young girl living in Australia she and other 12 year olds would sneak out at night and meet up on the school ground where they would sing, “Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon, all I want is loving you and music, music, music!”  This time of the year is full reminiscence.  Christmas Day, in addition to the deep religious significance for many, is held in esteem as the best day of the year.  It is the day that people choose to remember in detail.  The music, the food, the hugs and kisses, the stories shared and all the Christmas ties that bind go a long way toward making the rest of the year palatable sometimes.  Sunday is the birthday of Pat Metroplos.  Her friends and family will acknowledge that starting on her birthday every year the days get a little longer and the nights a little shorter.  What a gift!

        Enumerate your gifts by mail at Champion Items, Rt. 72, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or by email at champion @  Look in at and like The Champion News on Facebook.  Come down to the Re-creation of the Historic Emporium.  Climb the grand staircase where many a family photo has been snapped, up to the broad veranda overlooking the scenic square and the wide wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  Recite your many blessings there or hum some nostalgic ditty softly to yourself.  You could just take a moment away from the holiday jingle jangle to be quiet and still in one of the world’s peaceful places—Champion!  Merry Christmas from the Bright Side!


December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

CHAMPION—December 16, 2013

        As dazzling sunshine and warmer temperatures turn pristine snow to nitrogen rich ground water, homebound Champions are looking forward to getting out in the brief respite between snow and the deep mud that the week end’s promised rain will bring.  There are adventure stories being told of narrow escapes and odd slips and slides that are topped off with great gobs of gratitude that bones are yet intact and rigs still roll.  Champion!

        Skyline Tigers are ready to roar.  Not everyone is back in school yet because some of the dirt roads are still too tricky to navigate and “safe” is well known to be far better than “sorry.”  The warm up is just in time to give the students a few days to rehearse the Christmas program that has been rescheduled for Thursday, December 19th.  The program starts at 7:00 p.m. Batteries in cameras are being checked because the program only happens once a year and for some parents and grandparents of prekindergarten and kindergarten students it is a milestone.  Hearts will be swelling and little unexplained catches will occur in the back of throats as precious offspring transition into big school kids.  Last year the General was almost inconsolable.  This year, before the program, the Y.E.P. kids will be selling some cute snowmen that they have made.  After the performance there will be an auction of homemade pies and baked goods to benefit the Youth Empowerment Program.  It is shaping up to be a splendid affair.   Go Tigers!  Christmas break is scheduled to be from December 23rd until January 3rd.  They will be ready to get back on the books by that time.

        Young people named Leo and Olivia will be eating cake and singing to their mother on the 16th.  The 18th is set aside to celebrate Jesse David Ing.  He is a world citizen, a bright exciting appreciator and advocate of all that is good and tasty.  He learned how to be that way from his own dear mother, a comadre for all time.  Destiny Surface, Skyline first grader, shares her birthday with the lovely Mary Goolsby who may make an appearance at the Skyline VFD Auxiliary chili supper in March.  Her many friends hope it happens and that she will bring Bob with her.  Auxiliary members, Chris Dailey and Sharon Sikes are celebrating birthdays on the 21st and the 23rd.  Chris shares her day with sixth grader Logan Brown as the world celebrates the ‘beginning’ of winter with them.  Sixth grader, Willard Hall, gets to have his birthday on Christmas.  Lucky guy!  Probably his folks do something for him in July just so he knows how special he really is.  Special is the word for Corinne Zappler.  She spent a happy month in Champion during the summer and her old auntie and uncle miss her still.  Her birthday is on the 27th.  She keeps rosin on her bow and music in her heart.  She is a natural Champion that way.  Logan Hull has his birthday on December 29th.  He will be in the first grade group at the Skyline Christmas program.  Eli Oglesby will be nine years old on the 30th of the month.  Some grandmothers and friends are wondering just how that happened.  It is the swift passage of time that gets swifter as time goes by.  The General is in a blur for sure, as he marks the accumulation his three score and eleven years on the last day of December.  Happy Birthday to all and to the General, good night!

        Elizabeth Johnston will soon have one foot in a cast if all goes well.  Her friends and family are thinking about her with their best thoughts.  Meanwhile, that other foot can still pat and it is the suggestion of some that she spend part of this down time with rosin on her bow and scales on the fingerboard of that fiddle.  Music is said to have healing properties.  At the very least it has a distracting element that allows a sufferer some respite.  Dr. Terry Harville of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical School says that for as long as there has been music, and medicine, people have noticed that when patients listen to music—or better yet, play it—they are calmer, complain less about pain and are more receptive to doing the things they need to do to get better.  Researchers regard music therapy as a tool of great power in many neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s because of its unique capacity to organize or reorganize cerebral function when it has been damaged.  Some music lovers are trying to get a head start and say, “Let the reorganization begin!”

        Champions do not take the wonderful rural mail delivery for granted.  It was just such weather as this recent bout that set dear Cletus Upshaw on his downward slide.  He never fully recovered from falls on the ice out on old Route 2.  He was a fountain of historic information and good humor.  Good humor is the hallmark of Karen Ross as she deftly navigates new Route 72.  In the most ideal conditions any job that requires driving the twists and turns of these State and county roads is a dangerous one.  Postal patrons keep their flags up as they send out Christmas greetings to family and friends.  Champions extend greetings to the messenger as well to express appreciation and good wishes for safe travels.  Young Drayson Cline has hit the road again.  He has gone a’truckin with his Pappy and his beautiful Mom.  His Aunt Tanna was rocking him the other day and singing, “I been everywhere, man” since he has already been to Wichita and Nashville.  Some folks never get to Nashville!  He will spend some time over on Cripple Creek with cousins who will start him on his banjo lessons right away.  He definitely has rhythm and his Grammy says he laughs right out loud now.  He will be home for Christmas.

        A new batch of Champion post cards has just been delivered to Henson’s Downtown G & G.  There are four in this series and they are available at a very nominal price.  The improved quality of these cards is the result of doing business locally.  The folks at Precision Graphics really know their business.  It is always a pleasure to find just what is needed close to home.  Bring your Christmas cheer, your exciting tales of near misses and other wintry escapades down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  It is not too late to get on the ‘nice’ list for Santa.  “Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go?….“ down to the magnificent wild and woolly banks of Old Fox Creek to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

CHAMPION—December 9, 2013

        A prominent Champion reported a temperature of three degrees Fahrenheit.  The report was made Saturday though by the time this is in ink he may have lowered his bragging rights.  That sounds contrary to the Champion credo of looking on the bright side.  He is, by some reports, at least as contrary as he is prominent and unpredictable.  One time Ruby Proctor said that the winters used to be colder here.  She said that there would be snow on the ground from just after Thanksgiving almost until Easter.  The amount and duration of this snow cover is not unprecedented it just has not happened this way in a long time.  A charming neighbor who lives on ancestral property over the hill says in her lovely Christmas card that no two days are alike.  She has no livestock to tend now.  It is the first time in 250 years that her family land has not had a cattle operation.  “Before that,” she said, “The Indians and buffalo roamed.  Before that probably the dinosaurs and trilobites.”  For others of us unacquainted with the trilobite, it is a fossil group of extinct marine arthropods, distant relatives of the lobster and the tick.  Distant relatives and friends, now hillbillies in North Texas, Wesley and Suzie Freeman, write to say “Hello and Merry Christmas to all the Champions!”

        The Wednesday morning barbershop jam had banjo and guitar music interspersed with hunting stories.  Wayne Anderson told a story about turkey hunting and being crouched down low behind an old log, sitting very still while he called.  Directly he sensed rather than heard something behind him and turning slowly discovered a Shetland pony about two feet from him.  The good looking young guitar player (Wayne is also very good looking.) had a number of very exciting bobcat, fox, coon, and turkey hunting stories, some of which included llamas and goats.  The music was terrific with The Cherokee Shuffle, among others.  Both these fellows have beautiful instruments.  It is likely that their skill could produce wonderful music on about any kind of instrument.  It is sure that the most incredible and valuable of instruments is held sad hostage by an inept player.  Practice! Practice!  That may not be so much fun for a music lover snowed in with a neophyte string player.  Sherry Bennett said that her good neighbor, Dennis Shumate, plowed her driveway.  Musicians are often some of the nicest people around.  Champions!

        It was great to get a note of support for The Champion News Online from Bonna Mullins over in Wichita, Kansas.  She and Pete get over to this part of the country as often as they can.  They come to the Denlow School reunions, all the Brixey family reunions and sometimes just for the fun of it.  They had their 58th wedding anniversary back in October.  They went sight-seeing in some of their old stomping grounds and spent the day in Eureka Springs.  They get around.  They have grandchildren who write to them, “Thank you for setting such a good example!”  Bonna is some kind of briar patch kin to Richard Johnston, who has a birthday on the 9th of December.  He and Kaye are hosting Elizabeth while she recuperates from a surgery on her leg.  They are probably all having a good time enjoying the weather together.  Congratulations and good luck!

        Emily Dickinson was a major American poet known for her reclusive lifestyle and her brilliant, posthumously published poems.  She was born in Massachusetts on December 10, 1830.  She wrote close to eighteen hundred poems during her relatively short lifetime of only fifty-five years.  Many of these, including “Because I could not stop for Death,” dealt with the theme of mortality.  She lived in seclusion and never married.   Ms. Dickinson would probably not have liked having her birthday celebrated.  Some people are like that.  Then, some people are lawyers.  Steven Wright says that 99% of them give the rest a bad name.  Ava has three prominent barristers celebrating birthdays on the 11th of December.  The contentiousness of their profession probably keeps them from carousing , though as one assumes the mantel of ‘Grandfather’ perhaps mellowness will ensue.  It is sure that Eva Coyote (Kai) Parsons Fouke will be partying down out there in sunny and warm California.  Her Mama and Papa over west of Ava will sit in their warm kitchen looking out at the snow and remember their little girl so precious then, precious still.  Royce and Jo Henson have their wedding anniversary on the 15th of December.  They’ve been together years and years and still are smiling!  The fourteenth winds out a week of celebration.  The day belongs to the living Shannon Alexander.  He is a great photographer, father, spouse, son-in-law and fun lover.  That day also posthumously goes to Spike Jones, born in 1911.  As Spike Jones and his City Slickers, he toured the country with “The Musical Depreciation Review” and punctuated his versions of popular ballads and classical works with gunshots, whistles, cowbells and gargles.  A great Texas woman, Judy Gale Terry-Ing, the dearest friend one could have, was born the fourteenth and left the world much too soon.

        Recent world events, the coldness of the weather and the nature of the season might have all hearts a little more open and compassionate.  A news bulletin was reported from Washington recently to the effect that a 45 minute video posted on Tibetan websites had a Buddhist extremist group threatening to “soon inflict a wave of peace and tranquillity on the West.”  Champions stand ready!  Bring it on!

        Look for some good pictures of Champion in the Snow on line at  Send your ideas about a compassionate look at world events to Champion @ or to Champion News, Rt.72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  When the roads clear up, come down to the bottom of the lovely hills where country roads meet on the wide banks of Old Fox Creek.  Sing “I traced her little footprints in the snow.”  She was headed to Champion to Look on the Bright Side!


December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

CHAMPION—December 2, 2013

        Those wonderful hugs among friends and kin are the core of the holidays.  Heart to heart they say, “I love you.”  Old Champion tree hugger friends gathered once again down under the hill and feasted mightily.  One stately gent wearing a dynamite antique geometric tie with a diamond stickpin as big as your thumb, graciously opened doors, retrieved dropped items and contributed panache to the affair as well as a glorious salad.  His brother brought roast leg of lamb and roast beef with homemade horseradish sauce.  There were two enormous turkeys cooked to succulent perfection together with all the trimmings that one might imagine all the way to pumpkin and pecan pies.  Twenty or so revelers caught up with friends they had not seen since the Fourth of July or longer and new friendships were discovered.  Some tall young men were just kids a couple of years ago –students now embarking on exciting lives. Young Zack Alexander, who is seven, was everywhere, not underfoot, just everywhere seizing the day.  Olivia, who is about ten, and the hostess (gracious and sweet) yanked on a big wishbone but were not able to get it to break.  Perhaps they will let it dry out and try again.  The youngest attending this year was Olivia’s brother, a two year old named Leo. Their Grandfather, Toby Masten, was not present due to ill health.  He has since passed away.  Many of those gathered were well acquainted with him and there was much conversation about him that day.  One day maybe the grandchildren will hear a recording of the Abandoned Cadillac band.  It was comprised of a couple of guitars, a bass, a drummer and Toby on saxophone.  He had music in his heart and a great zest for living.  For the gratitude part of Thanksgiving, his friends are grateful to have known him.

Champion Tree Hugger Friends

        Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made for exciting background noise to people who were busy cleaning house and cooking.  On Black Friday the local community radio station did a live broadcast of the 5th Annual Black Friday Parade in downtown Cabool.  Colorful descriptions of the floats mixed in with many local high school and middle school band and choir performances made the radio some nice background for a day’s activities.  The “Roots and Branches” radio host told a funny story about his holiday with an old friend down in Arkansas.  Reports were that the Krider festivities up in Rogersville with Vivian Floyd were well attended.  Donald and Rita Krider came down from Illinois to join Harley.  Fae Krider was nursing a sprained ankle and did not attend, but was happy with leftovers and good reports of family fun.  Foster and Kalyssa went to see their grandparents Wayne and Bernice Wiseman.  Steve and Darlene Connor had a yard full of people visiting as travelers passed by.  Mark and Gretchen up at the Cobb house at the New East Dogwood School site had cars in the yard from Kentucky. Others postponed the celebration to the week end and made a nice two day affair of it.  Champions are thankful year around.

        December the tooth (second) is the birthday of Bostonian Charley Burlile.  His ornery sister, Jeanne, is spreading the news because this it is a significant milestone. (60!)  It is a long way to Boston and he does not get down this way often.  When he was here early last spring he remarked on the beauty of the area at a time when the fields green from hill to hill.  He liked the pleasant far views before the foliage fills in.  He would like it now too as the leaves are mostly gone and the underlying topography is revealed with its undulations and surprising number of habitations. He will forgive his sister for snitching about his birthday because her particular brand of orneriness is part of what makes her an asset to the community at large.  The fourth of December belonged to another great asset.  Lonnie Krider was born on that day in 1941.  He has been gone for some while now, but he is well remembered and missed.  He sang, “Precious Memories, how they linger!”  Businesswoman A.B. Spivey is the kind of grandmother who will let a granddaughter bake chocolate barbeque pie while she is wearing her new princess dress.  Her birthday is on the fifth and her many friends say, “Have a great one!”  Philosopher and musician, Big Ed Bell will have Friday to enjoy his birthday.  He was born in 1958 and has in-laws living in Downtown Champion.  Skyline School’s invaluable Paul Boyd will get to celebrate on Saturday when school is out.  Sunday the 8th will be a big one for Veracruzer Chris Tharp, but he is one of those guys who celebrates year round.  Happy days one and all!

        Champions of a certain age are well acquainted with Frank Cappra’s movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  It will probably be seen many times through the holidays as it is a favorite.  In it Uncle Billy, mistakenly hands over the weekly bank deposit of the Bailey Building and Loan to old man Potter.  Potter realizes soon enough that he has $8,000.00 that does not belong to him, but he holds on to it and the story plays out.  It ends with the townspeople coming up with the money to save George Bailey from disgrace and ruin.  Everybody feels good about George being hailed as ‘the richest man in town.’  Potter did not give back the money.  The story is reminiscent of current banking shenanigans as well as the behavior of certain large corporations whose employees are eligible for food stamps because they earn so little even working on Thanksgiving Day.  Then there is the matter of the great timber thievery in eastern Douglas County.  A National Forrest Ranger blocked the big logging truck from leaving through the Mark Twain Forest the other day with a load of 40 and 50 foot red and white oak logs.  They were cut without the permission of the owner of the land.  Who knows how many loads went out before they were discovered?  What about the money for those logs?  Where did it go?  Who hired the loggers?  There are canceled checks somewhere or do sawmills pay out in big wads of cash?  Bamboozlers seem to be running amok in rural areas as well as in the big towns.

        Come down to the end of the pavement with your tales of deeps woods bamboozlement and find sympathizers.  Share grievances, gratitude, joie de vivre, and appropriate music at Champion @  Sit around in the meeting room at the recreation of the Historic Emporium just off Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive and discuss the pros and cons of being an ‘enlightened’ populace.  “Let the light from the lighthouse shine on me” over here in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!