CHAMPION—January 5, 2015

        The big full Wolf Moon rose late and rode high through the clear night sky setting just at dawn.  Of course, the rise and set may vary depending upon how high the surrounding hills are, but what a joy to see the big golden thing again and Monday’s brilliant sunshine brings smiles even with the deep cold.  “Sitting in front of my window drinking coffee and watching the snow’s lazy descent to the earth.  Occasionally the snow makes a last ditch effort to head back to the heavens on a wayward gust of air.  Beautiful.  Good Morning Friends.”  This was snagged from the internet, authored by Champion K.H. Alexander, living now off in the big town.

        Another posting had to do with pumping gas after dark at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion.  Sometimes, particularly when a person is cold, the sound of liquid pouring and the feel of it going through the gas pump can have a sudden, urgent physiological effect that cannot be ignored.  A much loved nurse experienced this phenomenon recently and was relieved to find an obvious solution.  She, however, was not observed and laughed, “…hehe…Yes, I did that!  It was very daring….living on the wild side….”

        January 5th marks the birthday of Georgie Anne Pendergraft Masters.  The only child of George Pendegraft and Margaret Henson Pendergraft.  Margaret died while her daughter was an infant and George married Malvernia Henson, Margaret’s sister.  She and George had a number of other children.  When Georgie Anne wanted to marry J.W. Masters, her dad refused and when she married him anyway she was forbidden to return home.  Malvernia, her step mother, made a little bundle of her other clothes and stashed them on the back side of the barn so that she was able to come by on the sly and get them.  In those days one change of clothes might be all a person had.  This was over in McDonald county just before the turn of the last century.

        The Eighth of January is a favorite old tune in these parts.  Elvis Presley was born that day in 1935.  Fair Rachel Evans was born in England on that day and has since made a cozy spot with many friends in Fair Edina.  Elizabeth Johnston celebrates the next day and her extended loving family will tell her in words and actions how pleased they are to have her in their lives.  She shares that date with a favorite Champion nephew, Dr. Phillip Holden-Schmeckle, another Brit, a gourmet raconteur, and an excellent purveyor of Humanism.  The tenth is given over to Sir Tom Van Dyke.  This do-gooder (in the extreme) stops in Champion every so once in a while and leaves it much improved.  A wake of improvement follows him.  Reports of mission trips to Kenya, Cuba, Guatemala, and Oklahoma come in welcome postcards.  The next day Teeter Creek Herb’s own herbalist, Bob Liebert, celebrates his birthday.  He is the author of “Common Medicinal Herbs of the Ozark” and “Osage Life and Legends.”  He co-authored with Louis Two Ravens Irwin “Two Ravens:  The Life and Teachings of a Spiritual Warrior.”  Many Native American readers accept this as an accurate portrayal of life for a Native American over the past several decades.  He and Wilburn Hutchison have shared a birthday all of Bob’s life.  Connie Lansdown reported a funny phone conversation with Wilburn the other day after the sad news of the passing of actress Donna Douglas.  Connie and her mother were both named after Ellie Mae Clampett.  “’Elle May,’ I say to Dad, ‘she was 81, Dad, and still cute as a button!’  He says, ‘Me too.  I’m 81 and cuter than a button too.’  Then goes on to elaborate and says, ‘Sis, where you think you get your good looks from?  That’s right, your handsome Dad.’ I so love my funny and humorous Daddy!”  His Champion friends do too.

        An old Champion woman says, “I liked Ike because he was a Texan…because the first television I saw was the 1952 Republican convention.  (I got to watch a lot of the McCarthy hearings too.) And because he was a soldier who had the nerve and the willingness to warn against the ‘industrial-military complex.’  Now Senator Sanders of Vermont suggest that military spending and national priorities ought to be the subject of national discussion.  He quotes President Eisenhower, ‘The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this:  a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.  It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.  It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.  It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.’  Of course this need for concrete highway is why a person cannot go to Norwood and get on a train to go anywhere in the country.  Public transportation sucks in America.”  There are plenty of people around who can say what all is wrong with America.  While Pollyanna blithely keeps her focus close at hand and just sees the good and pleasant, Ms. Ayn Thrope can rail endlessly about what all needs fixing.  She is currently outraged about the Wounded Warrior Project.  In her letter she says that she loves the Veterans and thinks the Wounded Warrior Project is a beautiful thing, but that it is criminal that it has to exist.  “Is there no contract that provides for the care of those who have served?”  She wonders why a young person would consider joining the military when they are so poorly treated once their sacrifice of limb, cognition, and/or spirit has been made.  “That any Veteran is homeless or neglected is a crime when private companies in the war machine are making billions, and Veteran benefits are considered ‘entitlements.’”  It is a Champion balance to stay informed and optimistic.

        A prominent psychologist asks, “When you were growing up, who loved you?”  The question is posed to cause a person to reflect.  Chances are that one person stands out in anyone’s memory, or it could be that a lucky person in a big family can say, “Everyone!”  Reflection is a good way to start a new year.  By this time many resolutions have already been abandoned and the best a person can do is to learn the good lessons from the past and apply them to the future.  Julian Barnes writes in “The Sense of an Ending” that what you end up remembering is not always the same as what you have witnessed.  Come reflect around the big wood stove and get your story straight in the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  Sing your favorite Elvis song there (“A Little Less Conversation, and a Little More Action, Please!”) or check out the latest ‘Linda’s Almanac’ on the bulletin board.  It is also available at and informs that the birthstone for January is the garnet and the flower is the white carnation, in case anyone is buying gifts for January ladies.  There was a good turn-out for Douglas County Health Department nurse Angela Souder on Tuesday.  She is not the gas-pumping nurse of paragraph two, but the one who is helping Champions take better care of their health.  Any morning of the week will find a lively discourse going on the wide, wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek, being made more wooly by those fellows from Southern Construction as they clear out the electric right of way.  Harley was here for a few days and livened up the chatter.  He is home chatting with Barbara now and their friends and neighbors here look forward to seeing them again soon.  Elvis says, “That’s alright! Any way you want to do” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!