Work progresses on the East Champion Fox Creek Bridge.

With the specter of Christmas looming large, Champions are still reveling in the memories of a lovely Thanksgiving.  After the feasting an Old Champion Uncle shared the accomplishments of his niece, Kelly Cox.  She is the creator of The Original Fare, a PBS Food program where she “hunts, forages, and farms her way across the globe to search for the best ingredients our planet has to offer.”  She has Missouri roots and a perspective on food that is eye-opening.  Look for it at and be prepared for some real adventures and surprises.  Another of Kelly Cox’s Champion Uncles reports that hearings are underway and a decision will be made soon about whether to keep or sell the Bryant Creek State Park, one of Missouri’s newest.  It is a beautiful and diverse property in eastern Douglas County.  He says, “It’s a jewel of the Ozarks, and one of the most rugged landscapes in the state.”  Another Old Champion Uncle enjoyed the return engagement of Boy Howdy and the Howdy Boys featuring Rattlesnake Slim and Frankie Midnight.  They played the Friday night soirée including some familiar pieces like “The Old Home Place” which has the refrain, “Why did I leave the plow in the field and look for a job in the town?”  They also shared some eclectic Bulgarian and Albanian tunes, enthralling family, friends and neighbors.  Among myriad reasons to be Thankful are Old Champion Uncles.  Kaitlyn McConnell is off in Ireland and posted a picture on the internet of musicians in a pub playing with the same enthusiasm (and some of the same tunes) as those folks at the McClurg jam.  It is a small and beautifully melodic world.

People with birthdays in December sometimes feel disadvantaged, having been given money for their birthday with the expectation that they spend it on Christmas gifts for others.  That wonderful feeling of giving might compensate for not having a real birthday.  (Perhaps they should choose a random day earlier in the year and just lie about it being their birthday.  It is a standard joke that people lie about their age anyway.)  Film maker Zack Godshall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana shares his birthday on the 6th of December with a talented local Mr. Bell.  Noam Chomsky was born December 7, 1928.  On the 8th another talented man–jeweler, woodworker, designer and cook celebrates on a creek bank with a lovebird named Trixie and a splendid spouse.  The 9th belongs to Skyline R2 School bookkeeper, Mrs. Karen.  That is also the day to celebrate Kaye Johnston’s sweetheart.  The 11th is for Bailey’s mom up in Portland, Oregon.  Danielle Gorham is an 8th grade student at Skyline.  Her birthday is on the 12th.  The 13th is for Kennedy Hinote, a Skyline kindergarten student, and for Richard Green down in the Magic Rio Grande Valley.  The 14th belongs to Zac Alexander’s dear old dad, for the much-missed comrade, Judy Ing, and for Spike Jones, who could gargle an aria with the best of them.  Amanda Mastin up at the Honky Tonk Clothier in Springfield celebrates on the 16th, as does big time movie producer Jesse Ing out in Hollywood.  Happy birthday all you people and get ready for a Merry Christmas.  No lie–it is going to be a Champion Christmas!

The fascinating full super moon shining out there helps to light up the many deer who decide to cross the highways and country lanes in front of oncoming vehicles.  Daytime drivers along C Highway, and doubtlessly other routes, see the deer on the side of the road that were unsuccessful in their crossings.  Dented fenders, hoods and worse show up in local body shops.  The fact that it gets dark earlier these days does not keep people from having to go out at night to do things.  Champions just start early and drive carefully.

Work continues on the East Champion Fox Creek Bridge.  As of Thursday the tinhorn was in place and a great deal of chat was arranged in such a way to allow for a good concrete pour.  It will be exciting to get back that way to see what the fine fellows of Douglas County have wrought.  If the draught continues there will hardly be a need for bridges anywhere.  Dean Brixey was in the neighborhood Wednesday.  He may know when it might have been this dry in the past—maybe in the 1950’s.  It is a gift that ‘old timers’ (sorry, Dean) are willing to share their history and experiences in the place we enjoy so much today.  He may well have come down to the Historic Emporium to get some of those beautiful Champion Christmas Cards or just on the hopes of running into old friends there.  If you cannot make it over to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek, look at for some vicarious enjoyment of one of the world’s truly beautiful places.

Paul Harvey said, “In times like these it helps to recall there have always been times like these.”  Will Rogers said, “The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.  Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up.  Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow.  But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”  Another Old Champion recalls a similar quote from an earlier century:  “If you feed your horse enough oats, some will pass through to feed the sparrow.”  A song cheering the NRA (National Recovery Act—not the National Rifle Association) appears in an anthology of music called “Boom, Bust, and the New Deal.”  “There’s a new day in view.  There is gold in the blue.  There is hope in the hearts of men.  (86 45)  From the plain to the hill, from the farm to the mill, for the road is open again” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

More progress…