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Champions are just floating on a cloud of satisfaction that the roof on the porch (of the Replica of the Historic Emporium known as Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Down Town Champion) is attached to the building at an angle that precisely duplicates the angle of the roof. The end result is consistent with classic architecture. The three-way roof has its lovely first and third parts out at the very ends of the encompassing expanse and the whole effect is reminiscent of a ball gown swirled and twirled out to its limits of loveliness. Perhaps the tin will go on this week and the lines will be defined for those who need to see incremental progress in order to be comfortable with the probability that it will one day be finished, be part of daily life and then magically be old and venerated. How often does it happen in life that one gets exactly what one wants? It is Champion! All around the county people are standing back to gawk at well-built buildings. One such, over in Vera Cruz, is another example of clean lines, substantial elements and amazing craftsmanship. Champion is full of talented people….modest too.
Change in Champion is (1) constant, (2) inevitable, (3) graceful, (4) a moot point.
It is moot in that the important things are unchangeable—the quality of life borne of family, friends and community is pretty much unaffected by any superficial change. Still it can be startling. Ten days away from the place finds the seasons about to change with a hard frost pending and some sudden changes in the health and comfort of old friends. Many Champions are thinking about Esther and Eva and Tanna with the good hope that their various circumstances and situations are resolved quickly with the minimal discomfort and unpleasantness possible. Champions are constantly reminded that things can change in a heartbeat. That is why they are such a conscious and present people. Ten days, however, finds Harley and Barbara having come and gone. No strategy of avoidance could have been more successful than a simultaneous sojourn. Next time will be a happy meeting even as this time would have been had it been. “We’ll have a good time then” is a lyric from a song called “Cats in the Cradle.” It is interesting in that it deals with the ramifications of putting off the truly important things. Like a good friend says, “Change is a naturally occurring event, the most you can hope for is to steer it in the right direction.”
A good time was had by many, many folks out to the Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering. A steady stream of visitors came around the big open circle. Pleasant cool temperatures and wood smoke marked the change of season. Blacksmiths, soap and apple butter makers, sorghum cookers and camp cooks kept the place smelling like the past with all the nostalgia that comes with a selective memory. There was excellent live music and interesting crafts and demonstrations and displays of all sorts of ancient farm equipment. The Older Iron Club always has a great display. If the pictures in the paper are so very small (hiding on some obscure page in miniature) that you can’t get the feeling for how it really was, go on-line to www.championnews.us and check out the Pioneers on the Neighborhood Events Page. Champions have the most interesting neighbors. Those charming gentlemen representing the Civil War soldiers and the soldiers of the Spanish American War certainly bring to mind the hardships of those who served back then. A River Rat with a Purple Heart recently informed the Champion News that there are three new diseases associated with the Agent Orange defoliant that was used so extensively in Viet Nam. Chances are good that many years from now the continuing effects of the current conflicts will still be becoming apparent. Those Civil Warriors needed the Love and Gratitude of the Nation then and so do they all now—up through the World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Bosnia, and all the other places through Iraq and Afghanistan into the future. Veterans are Champions.
Some gardeners are experiencing a surfeit of green beans just now at the end of the season. A hard frost is looming and spotty areas in the Champion area have already experienced the lightest touch of it. Sweet potatoes want to be dug now and a cover crop of something nice could go in as soon as the summer garden is finished for the season. Over at the Plant Place in Norwood, Linda has some great suggestions and plenty of bulbs and shrubs to make next Spring pretty. Hard neck garlic? Or Soft neck?
Word has gone out to Srta. Eulalia Jasmin that she has, at last, won the bid on the Mascot Monkey of the Month for September in the monthly silent auction to help the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department make its big truck payment. Senorita Jasmin has bid on every monkey since the first one went on the block back in April. By the time the Skyline Picnic rolled around in August a representative of the Skyline Picnic Society was able to present the Fire Chief with a crisp $100 bill generated by pure monkey fun. For more real fun ahead, Skyline Ladies Auxiliary President Betty Dye will celebrate her birthday on the 7th of October. Auxiliary members, as well as all Champions, wish her a happy day and another good year ahead! Look for pictures soon of July’s Mascot Monkey of the Month winner, Becky Heston. She is an avid Champion News reader and a great supporter of the Skyline VFD. September’s winner may try to find a way to avoid having her picture in the paper…she is reclusive, but interested in Champion in a big way. The August Monkey has not found its way back from the big rock and roll tour. Perhaps someone who attended the PyroPyro concert at the Lightening Festival will know what is happening with Augusto.
Some Champions are complaining that their roads are getting too wide. The County Road people do an excellent job of keeping the roads in good shape for the school buses. It doesn’t matter how wide the road is if drivers take their half out of the middle at rates of speed appropriate for highway travel. One of the most pleasant aspects of living in a remote area is the relative tranquility. Hunting season brings more traffic, but Champions welcome those hunters for the most part because they are generally respectful of the beauty and of the people who are fortunate enough to live here. For residents it is easy to become caviler about a place so familiar and some have never had the admonition that slow can be better. It is a life lesson best learned early.
Send life lessons to Champion@getgoin.net or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. Charlie Chaplin wrote “Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by.” Get by Champion—Look on the Bright Side!