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An exciting week in Champion brings news of a Valentine gift to beat all gifts. Shelby Elizabeth Ward was born at 6:00 a.m. on Valentine’s Day! Everyone is well and there is a long line of Face-book friends and family saying, “Congratulations!” and good wishes abound. What if when Richard and Kaye launched that canoe in the Bryant over at Rippee all those years ago and what if the water had not been so high and rough? What if they had not tipped the canoe and lost their dinner box? What if their inability to swim had been an issue? What if Morton had been there with a different son-in-law in mind or if Lorene had had chores at home for Richard that day? As it turns out everything happened just right and all these many years later that young couple splashing in the creek are now grandparents. Sweet! Word is that Shelby is lovely and that Madelyn is quite proud of her little sister.
VFW Post Commander Lyman “Pete” Proctor e-mails to say that there have been some updates to the VFW website that will show what the organization has been up to since the first of the year. It can be found at www.vfwwebcom.org/mo/post 3770.com. Champions appreciate the update as well as the dedication of those in the Nation’s uniforms serving around the world. Find the updated link to this website at www.championnews.us. While there, check out the new post on The Dairymaid. The Farmer’s Wife will have Champions educated about dairy cattle and pleasantly entertained while she is at it. While he was at it Pete informed that his Mom, Ruby Proctor, has celebrated a birthday on February 19th. She grew up in Champion and considers it home though she does not get back out this way as often as her friends would like. Champions wish her a belated but heartfelt “Happy Birthday!” Reminders of the swiftness of time come when friends and family remember that it was seven years ago that they gathered to wish Staci a happy 21st birthday! There was a big party with lots of good food and music. How ever she celebrates this year Champions wish her the best and many happy returns! That party happened back when the General was still masquerading as the Admiral, before it was learned that he could no more swim than his sister Kaye! Much has changed in seven years, but much of the truly good stuff is still the same. New information about the old days continually comes to light. Upshaw children playing on the high bluffs, swinging Tarzan-like on the grapevines, are lucky to have made it to adulthood, Vernon. All this family history sheds light on the reasoning behind Staci’s choice of spouse. It is becoming more clear as the years go by and Champions reconcile.
Champions are pleased to hear that Dillon Watts is making a good recovery from a surgical procedure on his ear. He lives over near Cripple Creek in Tennessee but makes it to Fox Creek for a few visits each year. The place takes on an exciting air when he is around—kind of wild and interesting. Champions are thinking about Louise’s daughter, Connie, (also wild and interesting) and are delighted to learn that she is feeling better. Champion neighbor and radio personality, Butch Kara, is mending after one of those bypass surgeries that require the rib spreaders. He says he has been wired back together and he is optimistic for a full recovery. A newcomer to Champion, John Moreau, passed away suddenly last week. Sometimes people are slow to make acquaintances, thinking they will stop in one of these days. Sometimes it is too late and they miss getting to the chance to know an interesting person. It is a caution.
A group of Champions and friends were standing around visiting on Sunday afternoon, looking over at the Re-Creation of the Historic Mercantile on the North Side of the Square. Everyone agreed that it has an excellent configuration and speculation about the possibility of a grand opening celebration was bandied about. While the bandying was going on and weather observations were being made there came over the hill and floating right down the Fox Creek valley a wake of buzzards—dozens of them. It is a sure sign of spring that they have returned. Champions are relieved and delighted at the possibility of some much-needed rain. Almanacs were traded around and Bill Long had special tomato seeds to share. Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood is available on the Champion website, in the Temporary Annex of Henson’s Store on the West Side of the Square and at the Plant Place. It will be time soon to set out those cabbages and broccoli. Linda will have them ready for her Champion garden friends.
Linda will not be able to attend the Skyline VFD Chili Supper on the 5th of March. It is her birthday and she will be off on a big get-together adventure with her granddaughter. There is fun going on when they are together. The Old Biddies will be getting together on Thursday for their monthly bridge game and it is a sure bet that she will be there and that great fun will be had. Any bridge player will report the excitement around fanning each hand. The chili supper will have its share of fun and excitement as well. Wonderful things are being gathered for the silent auction. Adam Michaud reports that his Mom has a good start on the painting of the Old Store in Champion. There will be some real surprises on hand for this annual fund-raiser. Those firefighters can use all the support they can get. Lylle Luellen, Champion neighbor and long time Skyline Fire Department friend will be fondly remembered and missed. He was a fixture at every Skyline event for many years with his good humor and pleasant smile.
Sometime on Friday a new white Dodge Ram pick up truck was spotted on a county road off of Highway C dumping trash. These were big things–a cable box for a dish-network and a television, farther down the road a microwave oven, some computer stuff and another TV. Residents reported the incident to the sheriff’s office and quickly cleaned up the mess. People are more likely to litter when litter is already present. It was speculated that the stuff might have been stolen, but nothing further has been learned. Someone said that people who do not know any better than to dispose of their refuse in this manner are probably not smart enough to understand ‘trash litters.’ “Who are you calling trash?” If the shoe fits, please do not throw it out of your truck window!
Champion is one of the fortunate places in the world where people are simultaneously devoted to their past, present and future. History is a lovely thing. A trip to Springfield via Highway 14 takes travelers through the community of Tigres. These days there are just ruins of some old native stone buildings, but there was once a tomato canning factory there and it was a bustling place. There are folks living around there who remember the history well. Hopefully they will share it with someone who is interested and who will preserve it. Share any history at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion@getgoin.net. Sing, “Way back in the hills, as a boy I once wandered.” Or sing “She promised that she’d marry me as soon as the war was over. She said we’d live together just like chickens in the clover.” Any old song will do—on key if you can and if you cannot, not too loud. Music is important in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side.