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Champion hearths and homes are full to the brim with holiday cheer and kinfolks. Champion refrigerators are full of leftovers and little dabs of all kinds of cranberry goop. It is a wonderful time of the year when the stresses are over and folks can just settle back to enjoy each other as they reflect on the past and plan for the year ahead. Champion farmers still have their chores to get done—365—but they do those chores with a happy heart full of Gratitude for their blessings and Love for their dear families and friends.
Monday morning found Esther Wrinkles still full of the spirit. All her family came to her house for dinner Sunday and she had a houseful. With all the good cooks in that family, Esther’s refrigerator would be the one to raid. Her counters are probably overflowing with pies. Probably she will have unexpected drop in guests all week!
Dakota and Dillion Watts came over from Tennessee with their folks to spend time with their Grandmother down on the farm. Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins keep the place lively and surely the chores are spread out nicely among all that youthful energy. Everything has changed now that Taegan Krider is just about to take off walking. Look out! She has two very pretty shiny new teeth and more on the way. It is no surprise that she is developing a lovely singing voice. Her cousins Foster and Kalyssa are also great singers with good pitch and excellent volume. Foster has had a bad cold and has been missing out on a little of the fun. Champions all wish him a speedy recovery. He is a real Champion.
A chance meeting with Rita Fancher was one of those pleasant occurrences that sometimes happens in the middle of the hustle and bustle. She and her friend and former art student, Theresa Smith, were admiring the painting in the windows at the Junction. Rita pointed out an interesting feature. One of the paintings is a desert scene with a figure on a camel. The paint was scraped away in an outline of the figure, so that from the inside, the light shining through added another dimension to the painting. No information was available on the artist, but it is sure that all will be revealed in the fullness of time. Theresa lives up on C Highway near the county line and was Rita’s neighbor before Rita moved over near Ava. Esther remarked that George and Rita were very active in the beginning of the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department. Theresa commented that Rita meets someone she knows everywhere she goes. That will be even more so now that she has joined the Sunshine Singers. This is a serious coral group led by Kathleen Sikkema of Seymour. Rita says that Ms. Sikkema is an extraordinary and patient teacher and that they have a classical repertoire of cantatas. The music is very difficult, she says, but they have excellent encouragement and instruction from their gifted leader. She said they could use a few more male voices. When Rita is not busy singing, she volunteers at the Heart of the Ozarks Food Harvest. When she’s not working there she may be found prowling the creek beds for suitable stones on which to paint. Champion!
Much of the conversation with Rita and Theresa had to do with Champion and what is going on with the store and what a lovely place it is and how sweetly the little church sits back against the trees and what beautiful trees they are and how marvelous the new construction seems to be over on the North Side. They both plan forays through the square in the near future just so they will be able to say that they watched the Re-creation of the Historic Structure rise from the dust…like a phoenix. The Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Egyptians, and Native Americans all have stories of a mythical bird that never dies. That is quite representative of the spirit of Champion. The phoenix flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents a capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about the environment and the events unfolding within it. As the building progresses in such a significant and substantial way, Champions count themselves lucky to get to see the work in progress. The phoenix, with its great beauty, creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration—just like in Champion. Deward’s Daughter over on the other side of the hill will say the Champion bird is the bald eagle and she keeps her eye out for them across the wide meadow that is her front yard. She said that Wilburn Hutchison with Connie and Gary stopped over at her house on Christmas with a feast for the two of them. Apparently the Skyline Gospel Church bunch did a powerful lot of wonderful cooking and spreading of goodwill throughout the community. Champion has some very sweet neighbors.
It is seems strange to have Christmas and New Years Day falling on Saturday. Next year they will fall on Sunday! It happens every so once in a while. Like the Phoenix, Champions are looking far ahead while being very alert to the here and now. This week will be full of reminiscing, New Year’s Resolutions and optimism. On Friday people will be singing, “Should old acquaintance be forgot for Aulde Lang Syne” and will be being magnanimous with their affection and good intentions. It is the time of year for magnanimity. To that end Champions wish a special Happy New Year to The General who has given so much entertainment to the community this past year; and to Linda and Charlene over in Norwood, who have kept gardeners and gift-givers well supplied with good information and ideas; and to Champion Ruby Proctor and her family—especially Pete who keeps Champions informed about and conscious of our Veterans and the Troops Serving at the request of their Nation in dangerous places all over the world; and to all the distant Friends of Champion like Ethel McCallie out in Oklahoma and Becky Heston down in Texas, Darrell Haden over in Tennessee and many others—Hoovie, Walley, Pete and Bonnie Mullins, Bob Conrad, and all those Cooleys; and the builders working there on the Square so diligently keeping the spirit of Champion very much alive. The holidays are especially difficult for people who have illnesses in their families and who have lost precious ones. Champions say, “There, there,” with hopes that their hearts will heal with Love and Gratitude.
Send lists of favorite Champions and songs and poetry about January to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to Champion@getgoin.net. Look in on the website at www.championnews.us to see what a lovely job Champion’s own webmaster, Carol Cleveland, does on behalf of the community.
Drink a cup of kindness. This is the time of the year when the whole world pretends it is in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!