Halloween in Champion was spooky! It started under what might be called a ‘buttermilk sky.’ The whole expanse of the bright blue western view was curdled with golden bottomed wispy white cotton ball clouds erupting in a fountain of color from behind the hill over toward the Henson Centennial Farm. It was brilliant, explosive, but quiet–still and quiet. The parade of Waterhole Ike and Elvis impersonators, gypsies, hula girls, mummies, zombies and pirates happily did not appear. There were no trick and no treats, just a long procession of precious memories of dear spirits now rambling with the blessed. Obituaries occupy a substantial part of most newspapers and old people almost always look there first. What we learn about people after they are gone from us sometimes surprise us. Must we lose someone close to us, someone important to us in order to take seriously our vulnerability? Someone laughed and said, “If you want to clear a room fast, just cough.” We might ride that cavalier air all the way to our coffin. If you are sick, stay home.

Music has healing properties best applied live, but any way you can get it is good. Choose your favorite kind and blast it when you need your heart lifted. Banjo picking and hot fiddling may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but one Old Champion takes it as a tonic to get up and get with it. As old folks break up housekeeping or just spend their quarantine time in house cleaning they are faced with the mountains of their accumulated stuff. Recent good rains have not significantly reduced the fire hazard, so take care in your blazing decluttering, while you relieve your heirs of the onerous burden of disposing of your heaps and piles and boxes of papers and junk.

Anxiety over the election, over the pandemic and our losses, over social issues and over the prospect of a hard winter ahead adds up a lot of anxiety and it is all bipartisan anxiety. Everyone feels it. We are all in it together. Our individual life experiences have shaped us all differently and as widely divergent as our points of view may be, it is understood that everyone wants what is best for the Nation…for everyone…all 331 million of us. The intensity of rancor and vitriol of recent days has been overwhelming. What a great relief it will be when we can lay those things aside finally. Then we can begin to work together to address all those other important issues. We may not all be drinking that free bubble up and eating that rainbow stew. It may be cornbread, buttermilk and good old turnip greens, but we will all be grateful to come to the table—still friends and neighbors and kin folks.

We pause in the midst of the election hoopla to acknowledge Veterans’ Day–November 11th. The freedom and security that we are able to enjoy here in the United States of America comes to us through the sacrifice and service of our men and women in uniform. Thank you. There are currently about 1.3 million active duty personnel and 800,000 reserve forces. We have about 17 million Veterans in the Country and more than 1000 of them live here in Douglas County. Many of them are Vietnam era Veterans. They came home to a Nation in turmoil and the recognition they deserved was long delayed. The Nation seems to be in turmoil again and hopes are that our courageous Veterans will help us all to heal and unite like Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!