“Thank God for dirty dishes.  They have a tale to tell.  While others may go hungry, we’re eating very well.  With home, health, and happiness, I shouldn’t want to fuss.  By the stack of evidence, God’s been very good to us.”  The wooden plaque hanging on one Old Champion’s kitchen wall, came off her Mother’s kitchen wall, and had been a gift to her from her own Mother.  Gratitude flows down the generations just as spring water flows down the hill into the Champion’s dishpan.  As “We Gather Together” full of gratitude, we cannot help but be mindful of those less fortunate the whole world round.  There is nothing like a little empathy and compassion to slather us all with humility, like turkey giblet gravy on cornbread dressing.

Champion has been overrun by Tennessee boys again–Drayson, Carson, Dakota, and Dillion joined locals, Foster, Kalyssa, Chase, Teagan and Lux to make the holiday week end with riotous good fun.  They, together with their parents, grandparents, a great-grandmother, many aunts and uncles and cousins, close and distant, congregated in great numbers for the purpose of keeping tight those family ties that bind–the great Upshaw-Krider consortium—an inspiring thing to witness.  Similar scenarios played out all over the country.  The Old Tree Huggers’ Thanksgiving Jamboree took place down on Teeter Creek this year, complete with multi-generational descendants, destined to be Old Tree Huggers themselves as time goes by.  Zack, Seamus, and Elizabeth (Lizzy) were with their grandmother on Thanksgiving.  The next day was her birthday.  She planned to do nothing to celebrate.  In a few years she will have a milestone birthday and maybe will be up for a big party.  Hanukkah 2018 will begin in the evening of Sunday, December 2nd, and end in the evening of Monday, December 10th.  It is a nice long holiday to celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem from the occupation of Antiochus IV, king of the Seleucid Empire in 165 BCE.  Traditions have evolved over these 2183 years.  Research this story to your heart’s delight.  Light some candles and be grateful.  We might also commemorate the Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864, another interesting and relevant research project.

Skyline School will be hosting an Archery Tournament on Saturday, December 8th.  The arrows start flying about 9 in the morning and the tournament will go on until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  Ms. Curtis says that the Skyline students will shoot about 1 o’clock.  Spectators are welcome to spend the whole day or just an hour or so.  There will be a concession stand and the great opportunity to see some skillful young people doing their best.  We are truly fortunate to have this great little rural school in our area.  This will be a fine opportunity to bring those Box Tops for Education and the Best Choice and Always Save labels.  They are redeemable for cash that the school can use for its unmet needs.  Faith Crawford, a 6th grade student at Skyline, shares her birthday with Lannie Hinote, a former teacher at Skyline who now teaches up in Yukon Village, Alaska, and with young Thomas Jarnagin, who will be 3 years old.  He lives up in the Pacific Northwest with his parents, but makes it down to Drury every summer to visit his grandad, John Webber.  Their birthday is on the 26th.  Carolyn Nunn Harvey, sister of three charming Upshaw brothers, enjoys her birthday on the 27th.  It happens that Thanksgiving falls on her birthday some years.  That was the case with Uncle Al Masters.  He always loved having pumpkin pie on his birthday, sometimes decorated with a turkey.  Billy Strong is a 4th grade student.  His birthday is on the 29th.  Jhonn Rhodes, in the 8th grade, and Lane Watkins, a 5th grade student, both celebrate their birthday on November 30th.  Children usually love to have their birthdays remembered.  Sometimes adults struggle to find the fun again when life has been disappointing.  Birthdays give us an opportunity to express the affection and appreciation we feel for friends and family any time of the year.

Champions are remembering Louise Hutchison who passed away on Sunday.  Louise had suffered a stroke a few years ago, but had been able to stay at home until recently.  Before that time she had always been very active in the community.  She was a terrific cook and enjoyed entertaining.  She and Wilburn kept a big garden and shared and put up a lot of food.  She put in a number of productive years working with the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department and made pies to rival those of her friend Esther Wrinkles.  She liked to tell the story about Ed Henson calling her up at 6:30 every Christmas morning to ask if her refrigerator was running.  She would say, “Yes,” and he would laugh his easy joyful laugh and say, “”Well, you better go catch it!”  It was their joke.  Louise was a big part of the community for a long time.  She won the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest in 2008, with her beautiful Parks Whoppers.  She was a fun loving person with a great laugh.  She will be much missed and long remembered.  She once said that her favorite song was “What a Day That Will Be.”

On a lovely sunny Saturday Champions took advantage of marvelous weather to utilize their outdoor clothes drying apparatus strung from tree to tree.  On Sunday afternoon they watched the neglected clothes pin bag dance sideways and flip around the line so as to spray clothespins far out into the backyard.  “They call the wind Mariah.”  The corrugated PVC roofing over the garden shed and that ‘other shed’ out back of the house, came loose in chunks to sail abruptly to the southwest.  The last of the autumn leaves have taken to the air and ere long the hillsides will bristle with bare brush of varying heights.  The grasses are changing color and may all have wearied with the waving.  Every day, the changing scene in this glorious part of the world is captivating.  KY3 said there were gusts up to 51 miles an hour.  Mariah has had her way.  Travelers homeward are cautioned to be defensive in their driving.  High winds and all kinds of precipitation make the roadways perilous.  Champions are attentive to their phones for news of safe arrivals.

What a delight to have the angry, besmirching political commercials on our televisions and internet replaced by crass Christmas consumerism!  The music is decidedly more jolly and the idea that we can actually purchase happiness for ourselves and our loved ones is compelling and all with hard cash or with just the click of a mouse or maybe easy credit.  Seriously, this season can be stressful even in the best of times, let alone these times when we are awash in obvious flimflammery, moral decay, indifference and blatant cruelty.  Yet for us today, we “Keep on the Sunny Side” in Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion’s changing scene.