Robins wander in the winter.  They need more food when it is cold, so they move here and there in response to diminishing food supplies and harsh weather.  Champions were happy to host them in flocks for a couple of days.  Some may linger, but others will move on.  Every season has something spectacular to recommend it in Champion!

Luxe Krider’s birthday is December 2nd.  She had her party early when lots of her cousins were visiting from Tennessee and Marshfield.  It was a Peppa Pig party for the 4 year old, and the photos in the internet will attest to everyone having had a good time.  The 4th is the birthday of Skyline School 4th grader, Emma Webster.  Bobbette Spivey and Dawn Henson share their birthday on the 5th with Skyline second grader, Michael Hall, who lives near here.  Bobbette lives in West Plains and Dawn lives in Houston, Texas.  Zack Godshall lives down in in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He shares the 6th of December with Ed Bell who lives up north of Mountain Grove.  Ethel Leach enjoys her birthday on December 7th.  She is married to Bob who was born in Douglas County and lives here yet.  Noam Chomsky shares Ethel’s birthday, but the philosopher was born in 1928.  “Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?“ is an animated documentary written about him by a Frenchman in 2013.  Any Frenchman writing about Ethel would include her lovely smile and good humor.  Bob is a lucky man.  Chris Tharp, from down in Vera Cruse, has the 8th for his special day.  Richard Johnston will be celebrated by a big bunch of family on his birthday, the 9th.  Your Champion friends and family wish you all happy days all year around.

The Archery Tournament at Skyline School will start at 9 in the morning on Saturday, the 8th, and will go on until the early afternoon.  The whole community is welcome to observe.  It is a great chance to support our terrific little rural school and the talented children who go there.  More talent will be on display at the Skyline Christmas Program which will be held, Thursday, December 13th.  Ms. Casper is the Music and Art Director at Skyline and is always able to inspire our young people to showcase their creative gifts in imaginative holiday programs.  Even if you do not have children or grandchildren attending Skyline, the Christmas program will lighten your heart and get you in the mood for a “Holly Jolly Christmas.”  Meanwhile, the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first and second graders are working toward their springtime trip to The Wonders of Wildlife.  They have put together an interesting basket of activities to keep the family busy for a little while during the Christmas break.  Get a look at it at The Champion Store, Henson’s Downtown G & G, and/or the Recreation of the Historic Emporium, all on the North Side of the Square in Champion.  If you are only middle aged, these children will be running the world when you are old.  Education is a big deal.

As if by clockwork, Suzie Freeman’s Christmas card was the first to arrive in the Champion mailbox.  She says that she and Wesley are still ‘a kickin’’ down there in McKinney, Texas.  They have been married 53 years and it sounds like they are doing well.  Suzie is now the oldest of six sisters and sets a splendid example of cheerful good behavior.  Wesley is still making his wooden truck replicas.  They are remarkably accurate representations.  He is working on number 119.  The US Postal Service is the marvelous institution that helps keep us connected to that rare grandchild who writes a letter, and to our creditors and solicitors.  The USPS also delivers the packages we have ordered on the internet and the surprise Christmas presents.  Our intrepid mail carriers, Karen Ross and her substitutes, are much appreciated by those living on Rt. 72, particularly by The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  One is reminded of an old Bob Wills song, “Got a Letter from My Kid Today.”  Pat Smith has been an intrepid mail carrier for 30 years.  She lives just up the hill from Champion and has driven to Mountain Grove every work day for all those years.  She is officially retired now and was seen recently on the internet playing spoons and singing a parody of “This Old House.”  The verses were all about the things she will and will not miss.  Hopes are that some Wednesday she will bring her awesome spoon playing talent down to the Historic Emporium for a little mid-day jamming.  Pat is a big fan of The Champion News and, according to one source, has specific articles cut out, folded up and stored in her Bible.  Champions are her fans as well.  Congratulations, Pat!  A distant reader who writes in to is very excited about the links showing up on the website when a song is mentioned.  He recommends a Weird Al Yankovic tune, “One More Minute,” as a possibility for a future link.  While this one may not work (look it up for yourself), nevertheless, suggestions are always welcome in Champion.

A sentence from an article in the Douglas County Herald of 100 years ago was striking for its eloquent language:  “A joyous Thanksgiving this of 1918, yet deeply tinctured with a pathos and glory of the white crosses which our nation claims upon the fields in hillsides in France.”  The language is beautiful and brings to mind the valor of all our Veterans who have extended themselves for the sake of the Nation.  It is amazing that so many of them are currently homeless or have unaddressed medical conditions relating to their multiple deployments in dangerous parts of the world.  Others are victims of computer glitches that have delayed or denied the G.I. Benefits that were guaranteed them when they joined up.  The wonderful G.I. Bill has been responsible for many of our best success stories.  One old Champion, who has never served, has suggested that prior to enlisting, a candidate for any branch of the service should spend a semester working in a VA Hospital, helping and talking to our wounded, aging and infirm heroes.  Champions appreciate our many local Veterans and hope that courageous young people will still be willing to commit to service in spite of what they see currently.  It is reassuring to know that “The Times They Are A Changing” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!