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In Champion in January of 2011, numerologists are having a field day—01-02-2011—come on. Then there was 01-10-2011, and of course 01-11-11 and soon 01-20-2011—all very interesting stuff and frequently adding up to 3, 5, or 7. Numerology notwithstanding, in Champion the high level of civility manifescent in the populace is legendary. Most any commerce waxes convivial perforce.
Champions hear that Esther and Raymond Howard are slowing down the raucous social life and will be chilling out for the duration of the inclement weather. Champions extend their best wishes for their continued enjoyment and for their good health.
The Skyline Ladies Auxiliary had a productive meeting at Esther Wrinkles house on Tuesday evening, the 4th of January. They are all excited about their upcoming chili supper and were meticulous and methodical in their planning session. The menu will be the standard excellent quality home cooked fare plus the communities donated pies. The entertainment will include Backyard Bluegrass, the Green Mountain Messengers and Big Creek, plus a wealth of local jammers. What part of the country has so many talented musicians among its regular population? A call-out is being made to local artists and craftspeople to donate some of their special things to the silent auction for this special fire department. An emissary is being sent to Jerry Smith over in Seymour who has been making some lovely things from some of the lumber out of the old Champion Store building. Some Auxiliary members will be using a few of the upcoming cold days to write notes to some of their talented friends and acquaintances for this purpose. The meeting was well attended though Louise did not make it. She had a grueling trip to Poplar Bluff on Monday and was still recovering. If she had been there to make the treasury report, she would have reported the same bank balance as the last meeting, minus $2,500.00 to help the Fire Department to make it’s big fire truck payment. That was not the first such big old check the ladies have written to the Fire Department and will not be the last. That is the whole and only mandate of the Auxiliary—to support the firefighters. In the past they have provided new ‘bunkers’ for each firefighter as he has earned his certification, a cascade system so they can refill their own oxygen tanks, radios, sirens and other equipment, plus the wire for the new lights at the picnic grounds and other similar improvements there. Auxiliary President, Betty Dye, runs a good meeting and has another one set for February 1st. Meanwhile Esther provided some truly excellent blackberry cobbler for this meeting and members are glad the next meeting will also be at her house!
“I wish you all the joy that you could wish!” That is how William Shakespeare said “happy birthday” and that is exactly what Champions wish for Elizabeth Johnston, who celebrated her 30th on the 9th of the month. She is one of a spate of Champion cousins and in-laws who reach that milestone birthday this year. Some people do not like to celebrate their birthday, but it seems that most people do. Every single day of the year there are 10,000 people in the United States who become 65 years old! Harley is way ahead of that bunch and while the ever-charming Ms. Henson has a birthday soon, she is not nearly that old. Linda’s little birthday book is an excellent source for birthday inspiration. While the Plant Place and Gift Corner are closed for the month of January, there is still much going on behind the scenes. Little things are germinating and growing and will wind up in Champion gardens in just a few short weeks. “Ten weeks, “says Champion gardener, Carol Cleveland, and she knows whereof she speaks.
Not since the great conflagration of the fabled Buzzard Stampede of October 2006, has there been such an epic cow tale as this. It concerns ten calves and seven Brangus mothers, a stalwart farmer, a kindly uncle, and four young cowboy brothers. It seems that the avuncular cattle baron purchased thirteen cow/calf units of the Brangus persuasion from some distant farm and they were summarily brought down to Champion to the Fox Creek Farms, where they remained for several days becoming accustomed to the terrain and the new people. Now the lot was purchased on the shares and it was time to separate the groups—six to go to the uncle’s nearby spread and seven units to remain.
All was well that first evening. Six of the cows and three of the calves were cut from the group and driven down the road to their new home. It is to be noted here that the most docile and manageable of the lot were naturally the ones selected for this trip and that the selection was strictly random and first come first gone. Hence, the rangy, wild and piqued bunch left behind agitated all night by the incessant bawling of the orphaned calves. As the young farmer and his uncle set about that next day, Wednesday, to cut out the three orphans, began then the events henceforth to be known as the Fox Creek Rodeo.
Cow people will tell you that Brangus are just naturally jumpers and these left behind were plenty skittery already and not want to be prodded about. The uncle on a four-wheeler and the young farmer afoot approached gently but purposefully to separate the orphans. The cows responded with their own purpose which was to protect those little ones and to flee in every direction with much kicking and bucking, wreaking as much damage as possible on the farmer and his uncle, and all the gates and fences around. Straightway it was discerned that no small amount of help would be required to effect the extraction of the three little calves and to that end four pleasant young brothers were enlisted for aid. Now these young fellows are well regarded in the area. They are willing, nimble, alert, knowledgeable young men between about sixteen and twenty years of age, well thought of in the community, well considered for their modesty and efficient workmanlike behavior. So here they came and the cows took to the brush. Amid the hooping, hollering, and hoorawing, arms flapping—the farmer, four young friends and the uncle on the four-wheeler was cutting doughnuts in the dirt, with the air full of dust and hoofs, wire, hair and fence posts. For three hours the men drove and chased and caught and lost cows over seventy-five acres as fences were freely breached—every one and some several times. And those boys–every one as brave as any running at Pamplona. Indeed, it could have been in a bull arena is Spain as an infuriated thousand pounds of cow squared off with the uncle on the four-wheeler. They called it a draw and called it a day with the brothers declining a wage since the task had not been successful. The uncle headed to his distant home to be comforted by sweet Barbara, and the young farmer was left to clean up the mess and repair the fences. By late Sunday afternoon he had all the calves and all but one of the cows rounded up and secured. While searching the deep woods, hills and ravines for that last cow, he will be pondering lessons learned and will be thinking about how the story will be told to his little Taegan some day—the story of the Fox Creek Rodeo.
“Woopie ti yi yo, git along little doggies! It’s your misfortune and none of my own.” Sing that one or any favorite cowboy song out loud on your way in to Henson’s Store in downtown Champion. Just take a sidelong glance at the Re-Creation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square. Outside lights are being wired up and one of these nights Champion will be lit up like Time Square. Dazzling! It is Champion—looking on the Bright Side!