CHAMPION—December 26, 2011

           The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a special time in Champion.  The stresses and pressures of having to have been good are all over; sweet connections with family and dear friends have been reconnected; a few days of wonderful left-overs ease the cooking burden and a little time can be alloted to reflection over the past year and visions for the one ahead.  The Champion Parade Committee (CPC) has been busy at work and Champions are unanimous in their Gratitude for such grand displays.  They are grateful that Monday’s freezing drizzel did not come on the Christmas Eve Parade and grateful that it is likely to be long gone before the next parade.  Frequently enough the New Year’s Day Parade has a little wobbly start on account of the General having celebrated his birthday the night before.  A little freezing drizzel goes a long way so Champions feel very blessed and will just hope that the General stays dry and is able to deport himself better this year.  Champions are grateful for even small blessings.

          “Why do we need to be shooting Brother Crow?”  inquired one Champion when she heard about a hunter in the Mark Twain National Forrest having been shot in the leg by an area resident.  “Crows are very smart, you know, and they live in large extended families.  Aunts and Uncles take care of nieces and nephews.  Grandparents and great grandparents are vigilant for the young.  They may occupy the same home territory for many generations.”  Concern for the condition of the wounded hunter and the disposition of the resident who did the shooting notwithstanding, she asks, “Must we shoot crows?” Answer this question or pose one at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or Champion at

          “Why is water blue?”  The answer has to do with nuclear motions in the molecules as red photons excite vibration. “To our knowledge the intrinsic blueness of water is the only example from nature in which color originates from vibrational transitions,” says an expert from Dartmouth College.  Anyway it is thought that water exposed to sunlight through blue glass takes on certain qualities and that those qualities can be utilized by people who drink the water.  Water that has spent three days in the sunlight in a blue bottle is said to have some excellent benefit to the health of the body and the mind and the spirit.  It could not hurt.  Some of the “Old Biddies” bridge club are excited about the idea and are determined to try it out.  Some will write “Love and Gratitude” on their bottles to see what happens.  Expect a full report sometime after the fourth thursday in January.  The holdiday game at the Mansfield Community Center on the fourth thursday of December was a delight. The cards ran hot and cold among the three tables to a river of laughter and good cheer.  Sensable bridge players enjoyed a salad luncheon topped off with chocolate salad and cheesecake salad. 

          Young Jacob Coon shares his birthday with Mrs. Esther Howard on January 3rd. Esther Howard will be home in Marshfield partying down with her family and friends.  “I wish you all the joy that you could wish!”  That is how Shakespeare said “Happy birthday!”  Champions echo the thought.   They may be separated in age by seventy or eighty years, but Esther and Jacob each have a sparkle in their eyes and a certain attittude that smacks of fun and surprise, a mischevious quality that is endearing.  Jacob will celebrate his special day by going back to school.  The “Make and Take” event drew a big crowd on Tuesday the 20th.  The cafeteria at the school was burgeoning with clever crafters, Moms and Dads and grandparents. They left with handsfull (handfulls) of pretty homemeade ornaments and excited optmism for Christmas. The Skyline R-2 School Foundation also had a presence there.  President Patricia Blasius and school board member, Tim Scrivner, were distributing information about how the foundation works and talking with excited parents about a fishing tournament to benefit the foundation in the spring.  It all goes to benefit this wonderful little school and its one hundred young people—Jacob and 99 of his friends.  Champion!

          It is a most pleasant, if rare, event when that Tennessee contingent of Champions are in town at the same time as Uncle and Great Uncle Harley.  Closeness has not all that much to do with geography, but it is a delight when paths cross.  Barbara stayed home to hold down the fort in Elmwood while Harley and friends sit around the stove in the conference room of the Historic Recreation of the Original Emporium located on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  They enjoy a cup of Joe and settle the problems of the outside world.  One could say, “Oh! To be a fly on that wall!” but the weather is too cold for flies and the building is too well constructed, appointed and maintained to accommodate such.  A person would just have to go there and hope that his very presence does not too much change the nature of the conversation.  When one particular Champion enters, the place falls in to a stone cold silence.  “Not for publication!” they say or, “News flash!”  For example, “a little bird” informs Champions that their mail carrier is Karen Ross, not Karen Goss, not Karen Doss.  It is Champion’s good fortune that dear Ms. Ross is willing to crisscross the chaos of Route Two delivering treasures, necessities and dross with never a delay and never a loss.  She may well have noticed moss in place of holiday appreciation in some mailboxes but in Champion hearts she shines with a high gloss.  Thank you, Ms. Ross.  Karen is beginning to stuff mailboxes with seed catalogues again.  Early birds will be starting seeds soon.  Linda and Charlene have the Plant Place and Gift Corner closed for January, but they are there working and always are willing to answer questions and to be of whatever help they can be to local gardeners.  Almanacs will be hitting the streets soon and the anticipation and excitement of gardening will begin again.  Champion!

          Goldie’s house is gone again.  Just up the hill from the confluence of Fox Creek with Clever Creek is a little home site that is once again just a site.  Long years ago it was the home of Goldie Dooms.  She had been a Lambert and was born and raised in Champion.  She passed away a long time ago and a family bought the place and added on to her little house.  That house burned and the people moved away.  Another house was built and then as a part of difficult circumstances became vacant.  In these parts it has not been unusual for a vacant house to burn.  This one was burned purposely on the orders from the bank that now owns it.  The little house had been open to animals and vandals for some time and had become a blight on the property.  Now just the little well house sits on the property.  It has been cleaned of all debris and is indeed a very attractive site again now in an amazingly beautiful part of the world.  Champion!

          Sherry Bennett, upright bass player from Ava, posted some great pictures of the weekly Thursday Night Vanzant Community Center Jam on the internet.  Esther Wrinkles says that it is quite a nice thing.  It is a pot luck dinner and people arrive planning to eat about six and then the music starts.  She said that there were about fifty-six people there last time and it looks like it is going to be a regular thing.  Esther is a vital part of the community (though rumor has it that she could use a new crock pot). She has made arrangements for the musical entertainment for the Skyline VFD Chili Supper to be held March 3, 2012.  The quilt that she hand pieced will soon be on display at Henson’s Gas and Grocery.  Her quilts have brought in a lot of money for the fire department over the years.  This one is a beauty.  Get a good look at it on your next trip to downtown Champion.  “We’ll sing of the old and we’ll sing of the new” in downtown Champion where hearts are light from Looking on the Bright Side!