CHAMPION—January 6, 2008


        Excellent good news in Champion is that the bad weather left the community with some much needed moisture and little if any damage.  Tremendous good news is that the bad weather that passed up North West left Johnstons, Kriders, Wisemans, Floyds, Howards , Clines, Alexanders, Hefferns and others closely connected with Champion without injury.  Everyone was not so fortunate.  Champions are big counters of blessings.

        What a jolly place is Champion! It is especially so when Raymond and Esther Howard pay a call from over in Marshfield.  Esther had celebrated her birthday on the third of the month, kicking up heels with the Wisemans and other friends.  Esther has what they call “joie de vivre.”  She can’t help it.  She has always had a spirit of fun about her and a sweet compassionate nature.  When Champion Eva Powell began to feel poorly on Sunday afternoon, Esther was right there with a comforting touch and reassuring words.  She and Raymond are active in their community in the Meals on Wheels program as well as their local Older Americans Center.  Marshfield is a fortunate place to have such residents.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Powell took a ride I one of those fancy busses with the medical staff inside.  She is home now and doing well by all accounts.  Champions hold her in high regard and are optimistic for a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

        As another year of war in Iraq and Afghanistan gets well underway, Champions send their Love and Gratitude to the 200,000 US Service people who are there and to those in other dangerous places in the world on behalf of their Nation.

         Some Champions enjoyed a good visit with Neighbors from over on Tar Button Road during the week to exchange belated holiday greetings.  There was some interesting time spent pouring over the Golden publication the Expanded and Revised edition of the Guide to Field Identification of North American Birds.  The question was to differentiate between the Sharp Shinned Hawk and the Broad Winged Hawk.  The determination was made and examples related.  It was all very interesting.  Then came the excellent discussions concerning building additions and heating.  Is it better to keep the source of the heat near the center where the plumbing might be protected in the event of a prolonged absence, or out on the perimeter of the space?  Different situations and configurations require different solutions, and a great number of possible scenarios were played out over some good coffee with drawings turned this way and that to add to the laughter and confusion.  Everybody is an expert!

        The Bachelor has met the Old Maid in an original quilt pieced by Betty Dye of Skyline and quilted by her sister Susan Cook.  Skyline VFD Ladies Auxiliary members will get their first chance to view it at their meeting on Tuesday the 8th of the month.  This quilt will be one of the focal points of the fund raiser that the Auxiliary will sponsor for the Fire Department on the first of March.  Green Valley Grass will be playing for the chili supper and the evening is shaping up to be a grand one because the planning has already begun.  That Auxiliary bunch is on the ball!

        Orville’s barn is in rough shape.  It is loosing its battle with gravity.  This is one of those perfect examples of ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’  What a beautiful barn it was!

        It was built by neighbor, Mr. Southerland, and served its purpose well for many years.  Orville was a nice man.  He grew up in Champion and as so many Champions of his generation was full of pleasant charm and wit.  He was a good neighbor.  It is sad to see our reminders of the past slipping away.  The current Rural Missouri paper put out by Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives has a wonderful article on ‘The long-eared loggers.”

        It tells the story of a family up in Brinktown that still does logging with mules.  Ruth and Orville’s place is being logged, but not in that gentle way and soon Champions will have to work harder to recall the way things were.  Somebody said, “Well, things will just be a new way.”  “Change is not always the harbinger of progress,” says another.

        Politics is a subject that can stir a lot of enthusiasm and rancor even in a peace loving village like Champion. A Champion friend has sent in a piece from a book written by Lee Iacocca who asks, “Where are the curious, creative communicators?  Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, competence, and common sense?”  There are lots of folks like that in Champion, but they mostly are too honest to go into politics.  Even a bootlegger’s family would shy away from that sort of business, not that there are any bootleggers in Champion… anymore. 

       Rear Admiral Upshaw wrote to say, “I was unable to attend the Champion New Year’s Eve celebration for reasons I can only faintly remember.  However, I do know it was cold and our pro temperance chief of police had declared martial law in the downtown Vanzant four city block area.  Festivities here were severely stifled.  But I did sneak outside just as the spotted hog, ball, or rock was being dropped at Champion and I could hear all the cheering.  What a Champion celebration must have been had!”  It is to be noted that the Admiral was in no condition to attend the 2008 New Year’s Day Parade of Champions either.  It was such a cold day that marchers moved quickly.  A cabbage flower fell off the Cold Springs float, but otherwise the Champion Maintenance workers had little to do to clean up afterwards.  “I hope my niece don’t get into any trouble during her probation,” Admiral Upshaw goes on.  So does all of Champion.

        Champion friend Darrell Haden writes with accusations of whimsy!  He indicates that one of his favorite parts of the Champion news from the previous year was the great mystery concerning the disappearance of the Missouri DOT Champion sign and particularly the question which he calls “Zen-like” regarding the remaining (or not) hole.  It reminded him of something written by a guy named Bertholt Brecht: “What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?”  Mr. Brecht must have been eating Swiss cheese.  Mostly Champions are Cheddar eaters.

        Miss Wigglewood from over East is teaching herself the piano and dropped a note to say that Theodore Ralph who put together a book of American songs said, “Betsy and Ike were from Pike County, Missouri” and the song “Sweet Betsy From Pike” became popular in 1851 when wagons full of dreamers crossed the wide prairie during the California Gold rush.  She thinks the song belongs on the Missouri Song List.  It will be number 12.  For a copy of the list inquire at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or e-mail to Champion News.  Cozy up to the stove in Henson’s Store in downtown Champion to find out what leading Champion is about to have a birthday.  She will be twenty years younger than Esther Howard!  Happy Birthdays happen in Champion where people are “Looking on the Bright Side!”