- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
The sun is shining in Champion and it is cool, but not too cool to work out and so rather than complain in vain about the lack of rain, Champions are out and busy doing all the things that they would not be able to do if it were raining. Champions would not complain if it were to rain. Champions are after all, a relatively uncomplaining lot even when overrun by a lot of relatives. Family, friends and neighbors—that is what Champion is all about.
The big excitement on the Square in Downtown Champion is that the battening on the board and batten siding is going up on the replica of the Historic Emporium and it is startlingly beautiful. The north side of the building, which is completely without any other artifice—neither door, nor window— stands like a monumental piece of golden corduroy with a single piece of trim demarking the Isosceles triangle formed by the pitch of the roof. The effect is remarkable in that it is at once simple and intricate. While the loafers in the Loafing Shed may spend time verifying the straightness of the line of screws on the long west wall, they cannot help but be impressed with the fruition of the planning that has brought the edifice to such a fine state. Those loafers could as easily be battening down their own hatches against bad weather to come (rain, hopefully). “Batten down the hatches” is a nautical term, like “Hello, Sailor, come here often?”
Referring to a sea voyage in his book, Domestic Amusements, John Badcock wrote about it first in 1823, “The severity of the climate having compelled them to batten down and caulk their abiding place.” When, at last, the appreciative public can stand upon the porch, lean upon the rail and peer out across the broad and beautiful expanse of Champion, it will be like the end of a long, edifying voyage. Whatever else may be said construction is definitely not at a standstill and Champions all wish the builders smooth sailing. A Champion met a woman in the post office the other day who asked when the Champion Store would be back in business. Well, it has never been out of business. Not a single business day has passed when Henson’s Store, currently located in temporary quarters on the West Side of the Square, has not been open to serve the community. It is Champion.
Champion neighbors report a good deer harvest this year so far. Esther Wrinkles said that Chad Emory had the biggest buck in the back of his truck that she had ever seen. According to her, it was lying diagonally and about filled the back of his truck. She said it had ten points, though they were not as big as might be expected for an animal of that size. There are many hunters camping out and Champions appreciate the care they take with their campfires, their trash and their aim. Some residents keep their car keys handy so they can hit the panic button to let hunters unfamiliar with the hills and hollers know that there are folks about. Neighbors from up near Norwood meet with friends at Vera Cruz once a week every week to visit. They swim when the weather is warm, and otherwise just picnic. They do not like to give up their weekly visits for deer season, but the hiatus will make the meetings the more pleasant when they resume in another week or so. Meanwhile, Champions and their neighbors will be patient. Esther has a neighbor who changes her porch light, mows her yard, rakes her leaves and does it all on the sly when she is not around. Generally speaking, the General is a good neighbor.
Those Cajun hunters from Louisiana have been visiting at Linda’s house again. They come up every year and most generally bring seafood to cook. The oil spill has stopped that for the time being, so this year they brought roasts from deer that they killed here last year. Champion bridge players happened to be there one time when the hunters fried up some nice alligator for the group. Yum. Linda made a quick trip to celebrate her granddaughter Danielle’s 16th birthday. It is amazing how quickly time flies. Charlene made a quick trip to a craft fare in Camdenton where her wonderful hand crafted Christmas ornaments were well received. A friend minded the store for her while she was gone. She had a special on and donated 10% of her sales to Project Graduation for the Norwood High School. Christmas is coming—time is flying. It does not matter how fast time flies, Grandma Sue will still be the youngest in her crowd. All her friends will always be just lots older than she is. Next year, on the 23rd, she will be knocking at the door of a new decade. Seamus, Elizabeth, Zach, and Ethan will be there to open that door and to sing, “Happy birthday to you. You live in a zoo.” It may not be that version exactly, but it is pretty well figured that it will be some exciting and interesting version of the same old song, because they have had this very young, exciting and interesting grandmother to inspire them. “Huzza! Many happy returns!” say your old Champion friends.
The post office was closed and people all around the Nation took last Thursday to remember the Veterans and those serving currently in and out of uniform. Those serving did not take the day off. They served. Champions Love them and are Grateful for them.
Uncle Al, the Lonesome Plowboy, would have had his birthday on the 27th. He was born in 1916, and served in the Army Air Corps. His family did not recall for sure if his birthday was the 25th or the 27th, so he often started celebrating on the 25th all the way through the 27th. He liked it when his birthday fell on Thanksgiving and would remark that the Nation was celebrating with him. His grandson, Sam, is out in the big world singing some of his favorite songs like “I’m so lonesome I could cry.” (Many Champions and Denlowites will remember that that particular song threw the General into such a howling frenzy of lament, that it is only allowed to be sung on this side of the pond if himself is not in attendance.) Sam is on the other side of the pond and much missed, though Champions know that closeness is not all about geography. They think about him when they hear “The Wildwood Flower” by anyone, “Minuet in C,” “Soldiers Joy,”“ Grave Diggers Waltz,” “The Annihilation of the Wicked” by Nile or almost any song. Music is the joyful noise. Almost no set of circumstances could arise that did not bring to Uncle Al’s mind some song. He visited Champion once back in the late 1970’s and allowed as how he liked it fine. It reminded him of the song “Where the mockingbird is singing in the lilac bush.”
“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!” It doesn’t mean anything even with the swing to those old existential nihilists. They will argue that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. They’ve got no business in Champion. If you run into one of them over on the Square in Historic Downtown Champion, negate their pithy argument by saying, “This is Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!”