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Champions are comfortable in their pastoral environs—the pleasant rural life—peaceful, simple and natural. The luxury of quiet winter days is spent viewing the glorious ‘ordinary’ of Champion in wind blown puffs of snow bursting in disintegrating monochromatic explosions—sunlit fireworks–white on white, or in the sudden revelation when familiar topography, newly delineated by the snow, shows two hills where it had seemed that there had been only one and a resultant mysterious vale appears and disappears with subtle shifts of light. So Champion is at once comfortably old and vibrantly new and mysterious. It is such an exceptional place that chief residents may claim the full moon as their birthday, but only once a year. The diligent young Fox Creek farmer happened to be checking on his cows that snowy evening in time to witness the spectacle of the big orange moon rising full on Champion. In the vernacular of the day, “Awesome.”
Speculation concerning the reaction of the young farmer to the report of the now famous Fox Creek Rodeo was rife when the papers hit town. Delicate questions and exchanged glances imputed uncertainty, which the young farmer used as good sport until he at last informed the friendly speculators that he was himself the source of the story! They feigned much interest and made pointed inquiries as to the health and condition of the now absent uncle and agreed vehemently as to the assessment of the nature and temperament of the four remarkable young cowboy brothers. They spoke at length about the perception of Champion by acquaintances in neighboring communities as being a boisterous and ‘happening’ kind of place and reported anecdotal conversations to substantiate these observations. The young farmer postulates that certain of the townsfolk are rather pleased to have alternate subject matter occupying the thoughts of Champions and visitors. “Too many words,” says one who rather hopes to be out of the limelight. Word has come that Harley has been suffering with a cold, but is responding to the tender ministries of the fair Barbara. The young farmer may have broken ribs from a mishap in the barn and Champions all wish him speedy healing.
Monday morning found plenty of snow still up at Esther Wrinkles house over in Vanzant. She said that somebody had slipped around on the sly and raked out a path for her. She suspects that that sly guy was the General but she did not catch him in the act and so cannot definitively attribute this kindness to him. Some folks think he is just looking for loose change when during the course of the year he might surreptitiously cut her lawn or rake her leaves. Say what you will about the General, but he is an opportunist if nothing else, and he keeps a close watch on his neighbor’s place. He knows the amount and caliber of company that Esther has parading in and out of her pleasant domicile. He was not born yesterday—but rather some time way on the other side of the mid point of the last century! He is quite old, but his wife is not.
The Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary will parade into Esther’s house on February 1st for their pre-chili-supper meeting. There will be plenty to discuss as the date for the annual event rapidly approaches. March 5th is the date set. It is also the birthday of Linda from over at the Plant Place in Norwood, and of Krenna Long, a regular Champion visitor from north of Norwood. Some Champions are big fans of birthday eloping. The Urban Dictionary defines birthday eloping as the act of going on a trip to avoid the drama of celebrating a birthday at home. Others are big fans of the drama and it is a sure bet that this chili supper will be a dramatic affair—full of good food, music, fellowship and the chance to extend a helping hand to the dedicated volunteer fire fighters who protect the community. Buying into the drama for their special day will be Kaye Alexander who celebrates on the 27th of January and her son Zack whose birthday is on February 1st. Glen Cooley will also be whooping it up on that date and the second of the month finds Angie Heffern, Judy Sharon Parsons, Charlene Dupree and the Groundhog all kicking up their heels. Who knows how Jackie Coonts will celebrate his birthday on the 7th? If the weather is good, he might saddle up his old horse, which a certain young farmer disparages as a sorry looking nag. Horseflesh may not be the only flaw in judgment attributable to this individual, but for the nonce, Champions will just let it ride.
“Shoot ‘em up!” That is the unofficial word from the office of the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding the armadillo. Officially, according to the ‘code,’ if a species does not have a hunting season applied to it, then it is considered ‘protected.’ Since this non-indigenous species has become so pervasive the game wardens seem to turn a blind eye to their dissolution. “If something is destroying your property, you can kill it,” was the advice of an unidentified agent. A letter writing campaign to the Conservation Department might result in a year-round open season. If a bounty were offered, well the state of the economy might produce an eradication wave that would put enough money in the pockets of the hunters to pay for the lead they would be putting back in the ground. That is just what this part of the world needs. The point seems fairly moot since so few people actually write letters any more and since it is not clear from where the funds would be drawn to pay such a bounty. Express your views on the subject at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion@getgoin.net.
Donna Moskaly is home from a weeklong stay in St. John’s Hospital up in Springfield. She is feeling much better now and had nothing but praise for everyone there. She had the feeling that they all cared about her well-being. That is high praise and goes along with the Champion notion that when something is good it needs to be recognized. Champions are glad Donna is feeling better and glad for her to have Joseph looking out for her. If you drive by their house up on C Highway, you will see flags flying. The Moskalys are big supporters of the troops. They join the rest of Champion in being grateful for those willing to wear the Nation’s uniforms and to serve in the dangerous parts of the world.
Some Champions said they could just hear the nitrogen ‘a-fixin’ out in the garden. They have been out spreading wood ashes and daydreaming about potato planting time. Soon Linda’s Almanac will be out for the beginning of the gardening season and there will be enough to do. Right now, some Champions could stand to just read seed catalogues and sing that Pete Seeger song, “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.” “Singing in the Rain” is a song some would like to be singing. “What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.” Be happy again. From the comfort of home enjoy Champion at www.championnews.us. Make the drive over to Champion and get an eyeful of a beautiful place. Builders there will not think you rude if you ignore them, but will rather think you are contributing to the speedy completion of grandiose ambitious projects there by not interfering. There is always a positive way to look at things in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.