CHAMPION—December 19, 2011

          Having food and raiment, Champions are therewith content.  They do good, are rich in good works, ready to distribute and willing to communicate.  The pre-Christmas condition in Champion is but little changed from the rest of the year.  Festive lights and lighter than average hearts make Champion the ideal holiday destination.  Ho Ho Ho or for a look on the Bright Side!

          Ethel McCallie writes, “You can’t imagine how much I wish I were one of you [Champions].  Your area is one of the most beautiful places in good old Douglas County, Missouri, ‘The Land That I Love,’ home of the good, humble, nice and free.”  Champions enjoy Ethel’s letters and will be most pleased any time their sweet Okie friend will be able to come and sit a spell.  Alice (Proctor) McClure writes from Cincinnati, Iowa and says. “Keep up good work!  Thank you for doing my family vacation last August.  We all enjoyed our trip to Missouri—Champion that is.”  Word is her sweet sister-in-law, Ruby Proctor, is well and enjoying the holiday season. One of Ruby’s boys was in town over the week end.  He lives in West Plains and said that it is the only town he has ever been in where a person could get a tick on the court house square.  He meant ‘big town’—Champion notwithstanding.   Suzie (Karen) Freeman (of Wesley and Suzie Freeman, McKinney, TX) says “Howdy from North Texas.  I read your Items and keep up with what is going on there.  Here is a song out of an 1800‘s songbook (Wait for it!) I got from my grandmother, Mamie Bryant.  My Mother-in-law is Helen Freeman who lives in Norwood.  I went to school with a lot of the people you mention in your Items.  Amy Collins was our next door neighbor in Mtn. Grove, when we lived across from the Shoe Factory.  Barbara Proctor Cooper and I graduated the same year.  My Father, Ben Long, was born in Norwood, August, 1896.  His brother, Jim, lived there all his life until he passed away.”  She goes on to wish all Champions the best of the holidays.  [It would interest some to know if Mr. Long was kin to Bill Long of Bill and Crenna Long of North Norwood.  Bill is from Haleyville, Alabama (named for the comet) and was a construction roughneck passing through Mansfield Town when he met Crenna.  Now he and Crenna have just had their 45th wedding anniversary on December first.   They enjoyed a trip to Lebanon for dinner and shopping].   These letters from Ethel, Alice and Suzie all go to lift the spirit of the place.  Beautiful handwriting on paper with ink, wonderful sentiments, and the generosity of the time it takes to actually sit down and write make them rare and precious gifts.  Champions are Grateful! 

          Skyline School students presented a lovely program for parents and the community on Tuesday evening.  The program was dedicated in loving memory of Dane Solomon.  Billy Collins and Gavin Sartor each played piano solos, “The Chimes” and “Jingle Bells” respectively.   K. Collins then did a clog dance to the music of “Feliz Navidad.”  Preschoolers and kindergarteners joined up to sing “Up on the Housetop,” “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  First, second and third grade sang “Little Drummer Boy,” “Rock n Roll Snowman” and “The Holly and the Ivy.”  Everyone else, fourth through the eighth grade sang “Carol of the Bells,” “Sing We Now of Christmas,” “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “On a Starlit Night.”  It is easy to see from the choice of music just how the evening went.  Ask anyone who attended to get a smile and a good report.  More school programs are scheduled during the next few days.  There are being some good reports concerning community response to the Skyline R2 School Foundation.  It looks like people are starting to make some financial contributions that show support for this quality little country school.  Certain families and businesses operate on an annual budget, so the Foundation will do well to visit with good their neighbors at SeMaNo, White River Electric Cooperative and any number of other good neighbors after the first of the year.  The season for giving is perpetual in Champion!

          Those Tennessee boys will be in town for a few days.  Their Mother is an esteemed alumnus of the Skyline R2 School.  Maybe the boys will have a chance to be in the school before it closes for the holidays just to be awed by the basketball trophies and other accolades behind glass from their Mom’s school days.  They’ll be on the farm having fun, impressing the daylights out of their younger cousins and probably dodging the attention of their Great Uncle, The General, who, it may be noted has been laying conspicuously low of late.  Champions wonder, “What gives?”

          Friends talking behind Louise’s back say that she is making good progress in her recovery and is up to washing dishes with that good right hand.  Her Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary friends miss her.  At their recent meeting Louise’s responsibilities were delegate out among three people until she is ready to take them back.  It is no surprise that it would take three regular people to do what Louise has done in her spare time.  When Wilburn is down at the Store most days, as he is leaving he says, “Well, I think I’ll go see what’s going on at Louise’s house.”  Champions all hope that what is going on is good cheer. Champions all say, “Merry Christmas to Louise and Wilburn–from the Bright Side!”  Part of what went on at the Skyline Auxiliary meeting was the designation of March 3rd for the Skyline VFD Auxiliary Chili Supper!  What Champion fun!  Esther will provide a quilt that will be on view immanently at Henson’s Gas and Grocery in Downtown Champion on the North Side of the Square.  The Christmas lights in Champion are absolutely “Dazzling!” and the Champion Christmas Eve Parade will be on schedule.  Farmers are early risers and so the Christmas Parade in Champion will find its terminus at the foot of the reviewing stand just at opening of business on the Saturday of Christmas Eve.  Anyone wishing to be a Champion needs but to appear any Saturday (or any day).  Come early.  Watch the activities of a place where people know how to live and how to be.  It will put you on the Bright Side!

          Champions prepare.  A flue fire is not a laughing matter and so any Champion who heats with wood should know how to best prevent flue fires and then in the unlikelihood of one occurring how to respond in the most safe and judicious manner.  Different heating configurations require different approaches.  Champions are encouraged to learn the particulars of their individual system.  It has recently been observed that water-soaked newspaper will go a long way toward quelling most chimney fires since it will suppress the flame and send steam up the chimney to inhibit combustion there.  This is layman information that should be taken with a grain of salt.  Contact a local firefighter and ask exactly how you should be prepared with your specific heating system.  Use some common sense, and pay attention to the advice of knowledgeable neighbors.  In a comedy (or painful potential tragedy) you could squirt cold water on a tin roof already frozen and then slide off of it yourself, tangle your foot in a ladder and hit the ground hard.   There are any number of ways that a flue fire could play out.  “Safe not Sorry!” is a Champion admonition. 

          Veterans and those currently serving in the US Military Service are all in the best thoughts of Champions at this time of the year.  Love and Gratitude go their way from Champions every day.  Excited Champion bridge players jumped the gun on the Old Biddies game day.  It will be Thursday the 22nd.  The ladies will share salads for lunch and be ahead of the game to start a healthy new year.  Bridge players are cool. 

          The first verse to “The Model Church,” the song sent by Suzie Freeman, says “Well, Wife, I’ve found the model church and worshiped there today.  It made me think of good old times before my hair was gray.  The meeting house was finer built than they were years ago.  But then I found when I went in, it was not built for show.”  The song is written in 4/4 time and has seven great verses.  Request a copy at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion at   “The Sunny Side of the Street” is waiting for you in beautiful downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!