Champions were wakened with bright moonlight in their faces and the promise of a sunny day ahead.  The clear sky made for a cold morning, but Champions know that it is winter and do not complain.  Seed catalogues make good reading.

A sharp knock on Esther Wrinkles’ door the other day brought her face to face with Jim Dewitt.  He has been delivering her propane since 1989.  In all that time they had not yet met.  In no time they became acquainted and before the propane company could even think that Jim might be dawdling, he and Esther had made an agreement that gave him two of her queen sized quilts (a pair of her beautiful strip quilts with matching linings) and Esther had a handful of money.  Cool.  If that were not enough, about an hour later the door banged again and it was Jim again and he wanted two more quilts.  Esther agreed and the deal was struck.  Meanwhile, way over on the other side of town Donna Dewitt received a phone call.  “When I come home you better hide under the table.”  Donna is not unfamiliar with this kind of communication from her husband, but when he called the second time with the same message, she took it to heart.  At the end of his work day Jim came home bounding through the door, arms overflowing with quilts, “Hello!  Hello!” he shouted.  No answer.  “Hello!” again to a quiet house.  He had time to arrange the quilts on the sofa before Donna came out from under the table.  “What were you doing under there?”  Well, he knew.  They tease each other affectionately all the time.  Jim was looking for a way to make Donna feel better.  “I want to make my wife happy,” is what he told Esther to get her to sell the quilts to him to begin with.  It worked.  Donna said that she knew that Esther called them ‘strip’ quilts, but one of them particularly was worked in such colors that she thought it looked like “Stair Steps to Heaven.”  It made Donna think about her daughter, Donna Lee Pierce, who recently passed away at the young age of 48.  She was a bubbly and bright person.  She battled health problems with an optimistic point of view.  She always cared about helping other people and she touched many lives in a positive way.  So Esther’s bright quilt brought a smile to several people and new friendships were forged just because Jim decided finally to pound on Esther’s door.  She made some money—not nearly enough for her efforts, but she will say it all counts, and Jim made big time points with his sweetheart.  Donna says that she and Jim like to explore the countryside and she expects that one sunny day soon they will take a Saturday trip down to Champion to tour the square.  They can enjoy refreshments at the Hospitality Center of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side.  She is looking forward to seeing Esther’s Skyline VFD quilt on display there and plans to buy some tickets.  She may wind up with five of Esther’s’ quilts!  Champion!

Everyone loves his own birthday, well, almost everyone, Mrs. Dupree.  It is a pretty sure bet that Alex and Aaron Underwood love their birthday.  They are eighth graders at Skyline and will be fourteen on the 7th.  They share their birthday with Cowboy Jack who is so old that he went to the New Dogwood School.   Keith Braden is a sixth grader at Skyline and he will be twelve years old on the 9th.  Kayla Volner will be fourteen that day.  She is in the eight grade.  Cheyenne Baker is in the second grade there and she will be eight years old on the 11th.  These kids may all live to be one hundred, but these days that is a fairly rare occurrence.  Mrs. Edith Turner Percifield has made it.  She celebrated with friends and family on Saturday, the 28th of January, but her actual birthday was February 2nd.  She admitted needing some help to blow all the candles out. There were about thirty of her family, friends, and neighbors there to help.  Edith said that she never gave any thought to living to be a hundred years old.  She just kept on living.  She said that she has probably had such good fortune in her life because she started out early going to Sunday school.  Her six older brothers went to the swimming hole on Sundays, but she went to Sunday school.  She is a native of the Squires community and lived right in that area her whole life until about three years ago when she moved in with her daughter, Eula Lakey, over in Vera Cruz.  She says that these days she mostly stays inside, but when the weather warms up she will be back out.  She had always had a big garden.  Her last year at home she canned a hundred quarts of peaches.  She picked out sixty pounds of walnut kernels that year.   Growing up in the country and raising her four children there, Edith knew how to keep busy.  She said that she remembered the first time she went to town. She was four or five years old and she rode horseback with her mother into Ava.  It was not much of a town, just a few houses and store buildings.  She went to school at Pleasant Hill and she remembers her Uncle Bank Wheeler making a Flying Ginny.   Kids knew how to have a good time back then.   Everyone who has lived so long has seen hard times and tragedy and it takes strength of character to keep a good perspective.  Edith says that at this age a person’s mind seems to come and go.  She seems to be holding on to her good thinking processes better than many much, much younger than herself.  She enjoys reading and keeping up with the news and visiting with family and friends.  A Champion visiting with her the other day asked if there was anything that she regretted doing or not doing in her hundred years.  Her reply was, “What would be the use of that?”  That is a sign of someone living in the present, though when asked about her favorite times she smiles and says how much she enjoyed riding her horse to church when she was a girl.  She went to Murray most of her life, but sometimes over to Wasola or other churches around.  Her oldest brother gave her that horse and saddle and it was a good time in her life.

A big ticker tape parade in New York City will celebrate the super bowl football winners and the good time in their lives.  A couple of guys in St. Louis recently organized a parade for Veterans of the current and recent conflicts in the Middle East.  It did some good.  Champions hope that more of those serving the Nation in the dangerous parts of the world will get some of that good feeling of recognition that privileged athletes enjoy.  The athletes work hard and are paid well for it.  Military personnel work hard and risk their lives for not much money and frequently not much in the way of support once they make it home.  They do not do what they do for the recognition, but it would still be a nice idea.  One old Champion thinks that National priorities seem eschewed when victorious gladiators are hailed and heroic warriors are ignored.

Share some of the good times in your life at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367 Norwood, MO 65717 or at Randy Newman sings, “We may only go ‘round once as far as I can tell.  It’s the time of your life, so live it well.”    Enjoy Champion good times at or in person from the vantage point of the big front porch at Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Historic Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!