The first week of the New Year found Champions out enjoying the good weather.  No complaints were registered; though there is an undercurrent of concern about when and if winter will really arrive.  Most Champions are pretty sure that there will really be some serious winter at some point.  One said that it looks like February will be colder than average and that March will be very warm and then very cold. One has a collection of old farmer’s almanacs going back for years and the lesson he has to share is that the seasons go around and round and the road goes on and on and even if the destination is Champion, ‘the journey is the thing.’

It is a fortunate child who has both sets of grandparents living close by.  Inevitably one grandparent becomes the favorite.  “I want my real grandmother!” shouts one such fortunate child as the less preferred grandparent attempts an awkward closeness or fumbles in some other way.  When the outburst is reported, as it surely will be, it is up to the ‘real’ grandmother to squelch that secret smile and exhibit the generosity of spirit that will forever be an example to the child.  Life gets complicated even in its sweetest moments.

Champions are zealous for good works.  People move to Champion just to have good neighbors.  A good neighbor will share his plenty.  One has plenty of that good fertilizer that is produced by running grain and hay through a nice thoroughbred horse. Arrangements being made for this commodity right in the presence of others did not bring out the information that ‘some’ of them seemed to have had about this very substance from this very source having been toxic to several tomato patches in previous years.  It is spread out on the garden now and now the chit chat around the stove harkens back to those ruined gardens and the blame having been cast on the generous horseman.  So now time will tell if the ‘good stuff’ will have been a gift indeed or an expensive folly.  Thanks for the heads up, neighbors.  Thanks for the manure, neighbors.  There is a certain element of fun in watching people make mistakes, of course.  Faith in the value of organic fertilizer and a sense of humor will go along with hopes for some rain, snow and good winter weather to season the application of natural wonder between now and planting.  Champions are patient.  Seed catalogues are choking mail boxes thanks to Champion mail carrier, Ms. Ross, and before long Champions will be busy getting some of their seeds started.  Linda will probably have Cole crops up and going by the time The Plant Place and Gift Corner opens up again on the first of February.  Champions know she is there working.  Hopefully she is getting some good bridge time in too.  Playing a good hand of cards occasionally is very relaxing.  That is to say that for the moments of the play every other care is suspended.

A neighbor down Fourteen Highway near the Chapel Grove reports her vacant house having been stripped of its copper wiring and all the windows having been broken out.  Vigilance to neighborhood conditions is not the same thing as being nosey.  “Neighborhood Watches” are no longer just a city thing.  There was a time not so long ago when no one had a lock on the door.  Some houses were sold that had never had a lock on them or had not had a key in generations.  Times have changed.  There have always been scoundrels, but now there is danger and Champions are alert to their own safety and that of their neighbors.  People traveling C Highway need to be alert to loose horses.  There are seven of them that can be found between Evans and WW at any time.  People going to the basketball game at Skyline the other night had close calls with those horses.  They have been reported to authorities several times but as yet no action has been taken to contain them.  Be cautious, Champions.  Send solutions to local problems to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to  Wander around the website at to see what a charming community looks like.

“I was looking back to see if you were looking back to see if I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me.  You were cute as you could be standing looking back at me and it was plain to see that I’d enjoy your company.”  Elmer Banks said there were seventeen pickers at the Thursday Night music over at Vanzant.  It is turning out to be quite a lovely happening with musicians coming from all around the area.  This Thursday the Skyline VFD Auxiliary will have its meeting at 7 p.m. at Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion.  They will get right down to business so there will still be time to make the jam session over at Vanzant.  They will be planning the annual chili supper that benefits the Skyline Fire Department.  Volunteers are looking out after their communities—fire fighters, first responders and soldiers all put aside their own safety and convenience to serve their communities and their Nation.  Champions express their Love and Gratitude to those who serve in a variety of ways.  Any member of the fire district is welcome to come participate in the Skyline VFD Auxiliary.

Esther Wrinkles said that she would enjoy the beautiful Mystery Plant that someone left on her porch for her more if she knew who had left it.  She says it is in a green pan and is about two feet tall.  There are some pretty rocks on top of the soil.  Yvonne Unger brought it in the house for her when she came over with some soup and some lemon bars.  Esther is fighting off a little cold and working to bounce back after having broken her favorite little crock pot in a spill.

Wilburn Hutchison shares his birthday with Alexander Hamilton and a Teeter Creek Herbalist.  Champions all say “Happy Day!”  The next day Tex Ritter and Jack London share birthdays with Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and Smokin’ Joe Frazier!  The world is just full of exiting people.  Many of them are Champions and some are just schmoes.  Sort them out around the stove at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  It is located in the exact spot where the Historic Emporium served the community for generations–on the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek with its back to the cold North wind and a sunny southern exposure to the wide front porch.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!