The Grinch left the Skyline R2 School and somehow made it over to Roy’s Store in Dora by Tuesday, having lost weight and height.  After cavorting with The General to the tune of Bertie’s “Lady Mule Skinner,” the green fiend slipped away dancing with a tall brown bottle that had been sitting close to the preacher.  The theft was captured in video surveillance.  An official spokeswoman for the Jam Organizers was quoted, “Crimes of this nature will NOT be tolerated at this jam, and when caught, the guilty party will be laughed at until everyone passes out.”  Reports of the theft later circulated in Vanzant around the music circle with Ruby saying, “Why does everyone think it was me in that Grinch costume?”  Plausible deniability would be more plausible were she not such a great dancer.  The always festive Vanzant Thursday pot-luck bluegrass jam had an extra layer of flavor provided by the Joneses singing in the music circle and by one of their roasted Yorkshire pigs in the pot-luck fair.  Go to to find out more about them and their pastured pork.  They are a welcome addition to the Drury/Champion neighborhood.

Jody Henson writes, “Hope all is well down Champion way!  I love coming to see the store, Royce’s school, and church and all the ‘Championites.’  We are fine.  Vic lives with me now, as I guess you many know.  He loves to cook, and I don’t, so all is well!  Have a good one!”  Hillbillies in Texas, Wesley and Karen Freeman say “Howdy from North Texas.  It’s 52 degrees today.  Made my cards again this year.  Give most of them to strangers and people who wait on us in the store.  Making a pretty star quilt top.  Each block has 32 pieces.  The other one has 72 pieces per block.  Got a new God great grandson September 19, 2023.  Named him Noah.  He is so cuddly.  We have no children, so we’ve adopted ours.  God bless you and hope for you the best of holidays.”

We know Karen as ‘Susie’ and know that she and Wesley would have loved to have attended Champion’s Christmas party.  With big tables of great food and thirty people, the store was packed.  Stories about the good old days and lots of catching up with seldom seen friends made for the kind of gathering that makes this a sweet spot in the hills.  The fun spilled out on to the wide veranda on an unseasonably warm and pleasant afternoon.  Kaitlyn McConnell calls Champion “the community that begins beyond the blacktop.”  She is a frequent, welcome visitor, happy to meet new folks and to learn the stories about how they came to the Ozarks.  She has struggled for years to get an interview with The Prominent Champion who declines each time.  She did learn something about wood butter from him.  It has to do with bees’ wax and coconut oil.  It seems that there is something interesting to be learned from everyone, even those who prefer to keep their light under a bushel, or hide it in a bread box.

In these tumultuous times, Teddy Roosevelt’s quote might be a good motto for the year ahead:  “Do what you can with what you have where you are.”  We are in Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!