Champions hold fast to their confidence and exhort each other today while it is still called “Today.”

The weekend in Champion was much improved by a visit from Raymond and Esther Howard.

Raymond grew up down in Ozark County on the farm his grandfather homesteaded there.  After he finished school, he took off to Iowa where he shucked some corn and eventually came to rest somewhere around Hannibal.  There, out on Broadway Street, he met a cool North breeze and they made a team.  It sounds like it was a blind date at a bowling alley and pins have been falling ever since.  Esther has a great laugh and a youthful outlook.  She said that children and grandchildren grow up.  That is what they are supposed to do and you just have to let them go and love them wherever they go.  This was in response to a Champion grandmother lonesome for her grandchildren.  Esther remembers stories her Grandmother told her about living up in North Dakota.  She said that she did not need clothespins because the laundry would just freeze to the line.  She told a story about her grandfather traveling home from the store with a beef and half a hog when he had trouble with his horse.  He was set on by wolves and wound up feeding the whole half of hog, a piece at a time, to the pack of wolves before he made it home.   Practically every Champion can remember a story that a grandparent told.  What a treasure!  Champions are exhorted to share these gifts, perhaps around the stove at Henson’s Store over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Raymond and Esther live up at Marshfield.  They stay busy in their own neighborhood, but every once in a while they make it to Champion.  It cannot be too often.

For numerology enthusiasts a birthday on 02-01-2012 seems like fun.  Linda’s husband is kind of an enigmatic character and it is hard to tell if he has fun.  He mostly expresses himself in monosyllables. Now, Zack Alexander enjoys that birthday too and it is a sure bet he has more to say.  He has parents and grandparents who flat know how to celebrate.  February second (02-02-2012) also has some excitement about it.  It is the day old Punxsutawney Phil  comes out to sing happy birthday to Judith Sharon Parsons, Angie Heffern (Zack’s Aunt Angie), Charlene Dupree, a  fifth grade girl named Jasmine,  and Boris Yeltsin who will be 80 this year and Clark Gable who would have been 110 years old.  Phil also is known for making weather predictions, but these days the weather is so unusual that Champions will not hold him to any hard and fast prophesies.  Skyline School eighth grader, Zachariah Baker, will be 13 on the 3rd of February and since that is a Friday this year, the whole school will be jumping with excitement.  People who know him say he is a nice kid, a good student and maybe a little mischievous.  That is exactly what is expected of a young man his age.   Champion!

A conversation between Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum resulted in a welcome home parade for Iraq War Veterans in St. Louis on Saturday.  Reports are that there were tens and tens of thousands of people there waving flags and cheering as about six hundred Veterans walked along the down town streets.   They said that war hardened Veterans were brought to tears at the outpouring of Love and Gratitude.  Champion!

There was a lovely article in some of the local papers about Esther Wrinkles recently and Esther said that it was factually accurate for the most part.  The inaccuracies were primarily about the quilt, the photo of which accompanied the article.  Esther hand pieced it and the workmanship is up to her excellent standards.  She wanted people to know that it is machine quilted and will stand up to years of use and will still be a keepsake heirloom for the lucky winner.  It has a burgundy colored lining and is executed in burgundy, rose, blue and white.  It is on display at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.

She is beginning to feel a little better over her bronchitis.  That is good news. She says she will have to hold off on going for the Thursday pot-luck music at the Vanzant Community Center.  She says it looks like they are getting a good crowd every time and she is anxious to go again.  Champions say, “You go, Girl!”

Gardeners are not looking at the calendar so much as they are at the weather and the condition of the garden.  Some are anxious to get started in spite of the admonition that it might be early.  Linda’s Almanac will soon be available to assist gardeners.  Lem and Ned are much in demand these days for their good company and their zealous affection for garden work.  The winter has spared many a fine turnip so these brutes will be well fed of their favorite victual as they dig and fork and shovel what needs it.  They will soon be returning from their internship at the Good Intentions Paving Stone (GIPS) research facility and factory where they have been testing the efficacy of the biodegradable paving stone made primarily from vegetable matter like turnip greens and pig weed.  This is the outfit that has been responsible for the paving of many well known and much used roads all over the world.  The Champion adventurers will have some stories to tell.  Will they sing that song, “Why did they leave the plow in the field and look for a job in the town?”  Lem and Ned will best be remembered for their succinct definition of the financial concept of ‘derivatives.’ Read their complete take on the subject in the articles of November 16th and November 23, 2009, at   It will be most interesting to learn what they have to say about the Occupy Movement.   Come home, dear boys!  It is Royce and Jo Henson who ought to be coming home.   You have been away too long.   A beautiful spring day, even if it takes place in the winter time, would be a fine time to see that little yellow sports car come sashaying through the square.  Perhaps Royce would guest speak at the Saturday Philosopher’s Club gathering.  What a Champion notion!

At a local Thrift Store for twenty five cents, a Champion picked up a pristine copy of the Complete Poetry and Selected Prose by Walt Whitman.   Her Champion spouse said that he always thought of Whitman as being kind of a cheerleader and overly sentimental.  Even if that were true, and she does not at all agree that it is, she thinks, “What’s wrong with that?”  Express your opinion at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at  Better yet, express it in person.  Come on down to the nice flat place at the bottom of several hills, at the end of the pavement, at the conjunction of several roads, on the wide an luxurious banks of Old Fox Creek to Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!