A brilliant day in Champion!

A Champion Christmas Potluck

Christmas greetings came from Wes and Suzie Freeman, hillbillies at heart, living down in McKinney Texas. In her lovely card she says they are still kicking. Champions, Royce and Jody Henson, celebrated 61 years of marriage on December 13th. They live in Springfield, but have long Champion roots and leanings. Herbie Johnston, whose birthday is the first day of winter, has had a nice thing happen. He fiddles in the Possum Trot Band which has been nominated for Album of the Year with SPBGMA Midwest (Society for the Preservation of Blue Grass Music in America). They will be performing at the awards show and convention January 10-11, 2020, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.

It was a packed house for the Champion Christmas pot luck luncheon. Butch came in sporting a new hat, something like a business man’s Stetson, but not quite. It needs a feather. Charlie Lambert asked if he could have it, since he had come out without his own chapeau. They did not strike a deal, but it was a pleasant get together nonetheless. The Prominent Champion had to leave before the festivities were under full swing. He said he had women waiting on him. “Hand and foot?” he was asked. He indicated that it was more like women waiting on him to do things. Deward’s granddaughter and her husband are in the perpetual fence repair business (not for hire). They were regaled a few nights earlier by a bellowing, growling bear in their very yard. A noted local woodsman affirmed their suspicions and suggested that the bear was female advertising her presence. Three times she roared, enough to put a chill on a person. Beverly and Alvin Barnhart have bears in their neighborhood too. It is good to see Beverly feeling better. The Partells (too blessed to be stressed) made their long journey back to this favorite place for the day. There was Reba, wearing different colored shoes, though no one noticed. Leslee joined in the music to sing “Star of Bethlehem.” Thanks to a gracious host for providing such a lovely place for a couple dozen Champions to share good food and the pleasure of fellowship. It was a brilliant day in Champion inside and out!

We are fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where wildlife is abundant. Deward’s daughter was a big fan of the bald eagle, which we are seeing in Champion already this year. Deer are still plentiful in the area even though there was a record harvest this firearm season. Alternative deer hunting season is from December 26th to January 7th and archery season goes all the way to January 15th. Alternative methods allow the use of muzzle-loading firearms, center-fire pistols, air-powered guns, bows, cross bows and atlatls. The Elks club in West Plains has, so far, collected more than 1200 deer hides that are used to make professionally crafted gloves for Veterans in wheelchairs. If you skin your deer yourself and want to participate, a local drop off location is Hub Beverage in Mountain Grove at 503 West 3rd Street. It is a worthwhile program. We are increasingly charitable at this time of the year. There are many in need even in this ‘good’ economy, so look around and help where you can. Ho ho ho!

There was a good turnout for the Douglas County Health Department nurse on Friday morning at the Champion Store. Shelby comes once month to check our blood pressure, helping us stay healthy. It is a valuable amenity for the community. As old friends gather after an absence of almost any length, frequently the ‘organ recital’ begins right away. This is particularly true of our aging population. Our serious health concerns wind up being foremost in our thoughts, so they spill out in conversation. Sometimes we get some relief from talking about it and listening to other people’s ills may help us be grateful that our own situation is not so bad. Suffering in silence may be a prescription too hard to fill, so just try to keep your organ recital short. Sympathy and compassion can be expressed in a heartfelt, “There, there,” and the conversation can go on about the weather, politics, or grand exploits of grandchildren.

Icy roads kept our Skyline R2 School closed on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday was the date set for the annual Christmas program, so it was postponed until Friday. Look for a good report next week as it is sure to be another of Ms. Casper’s triumphs. She does a wonderful job with the student’s art and music classes and the community does a wonderful job supporting our precious little rural school. A winter break for students and teachers gives them a chance to rest up for a new start and a chance for ongoing fun until the bell rings again.

A Champion great niece and recent college graduate will enjoy her birthday on December 27th. She plans to fiddle around Champion again soon. Eli Ogelsby, Champion grandson, has the 30th for his big day. His little sisters will help him party. His great Uncle General waited until the last day of the year to have his birthday—ever the procrastinator. Arvin Schroeder will be one year old on New Year’s Eve. He is a big music lover, seems to favor the guitar. The year ahead will be full of learning and growing for people Arvin’s age and, hopefully, for the rest of us as well. Resolutions for the New Year are for people who wish to improve themselves in some way. Perhaps we can all live a little healthier, be a little more productive, a little more kind, patient and forgiving. We will give it our best effort. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends in Champion-Looking on the Bright Side!