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As in other places, it turns out that some Champions are better house-keepers than others and that extends all the way to their computer hard drive.  A cyber folder somewhere holds the ‘original’ picture sent by Laine Sutherland of the students at Denlow, but it became lost among the cyber dust of zeros and ones.  Laine was kind enough to send the photo again and Champions are excited that someone may recognize an ancestor and share the stories of those lovely young people standing on the steps of the Denlow School on 12-12-1912.

The Winter Concert at Skyline School was another delightful success.  The children all performed admirably and once again Charlie Brown was reassured about the nature of Christmas.  The children always give a good performance and are a pleasure to watch, but the audience is the real treasure.  Parents, grandparents, teachers and friends all lean forward with encouragement for their young one to do well, and their hearts are all swollen and full of love and tenderness for their fledgling.  The applause floods the hall and the whole place is awash with joy and expectation.  That is the way it was Thursday night and then Friday came the sad news from another school.  A prominent psychologist said, “We find a place for what we lose” and that after such terrible loss the acute stage of mourning will subside, but the survivor will remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute.  No matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else.  Champions hope for those suffering great loss now that one day the pain will be replaced with sweet recollections of their dear one in that place they find for what they have lost.

Dr. Blevins speaks about the ‘impermanency of our creations’ as he laments the passing of the old store at Champion.  To his credit, however, he has swiftly embraced the Recreation of the Historic Emporium as it sits in the very footstep of its predecessor.  He has naught but good things to say about the construction of the building: its appearance—as it resembles the old building in all the nostalgic good ways with the added feature of sturdiness; location—“nestled in a grove of trees on a creek bank beneath a hill at the end of a black top road”; inventory—extensive and aimed squarely at the needs of the community; customers—loyal and reliant on the store for many of their daily needs as well as the need for a community home-base; and the proprietor—about whom Dr. Blevins has much good to say, but who has modesty as her hallmark.  All in all, the quarterly review, Southern Cultures, is admirably enhanced by its inclusion of The Bright Side.  Perhaps the folks at KZ88.1 could get with Dr. Blevins to include some of his writing about the Ozarks in their programming.  They did an excellent job with Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” the other night.  The food was good, the crowd was friendly and sociable and the performance was splendid.  The recording will be played at various times during the Christmas Marathon on the radio from Sunday through Tuesday.  A look at the website will reveal the times.  The performance was a fund raiser for the radio station that encourages local performers.  That is real community.

Certain handsome sons-in-law would, and do, roll their eyes at the report of things they do not see.  It is such a habit of some to disparage the ideas, observations, and opinions of their wives and Mothers that it takes corroboration of a hearty brother-in-law farmer, a firefighter, and a Maytag man to give credence to the description of an occurrence they all witnessed.  For some it takes seeing to believe.  What was it?  It is being called “Thursday Night Lights” and is not altogether new in Champion.  Going way back to the 1970’s, Champions have been observing unidentified lights in the skies at night.  This is not like the dirigible that Wilburn Hutchinson and Fleming Gheer saw up at Skyline that time when they were boys because they could plain as day see that it was, in fact, a dirigible.  These lights behave in strange and unpredictable ways.  Thursday, the 6th of December, about seven in the evening a West-Champion saw something and called his neighbor who saw it too.  He ultimately dismissed it as his own electric fence charging itself.  His neighbor conceded that could be an explanation, but was not convinced and the next morning her son confirmed her doubts when he said that he also had seen the phenomena at about that same time the previous evening.  Thursday the 13th proved to be an eventful night as well.  At about 10:30, observers from north-east Champion watched lights which seemed to skim quickly over the tree line, just barely above the trees, over the trees from the north, veering out east toward the south.  Then, suddenly the lights would appear in a different quadrant altogether with a greater brightness or intensity and seem to park still for a while then be gone.  No more reliable source for this information could be had and handsome sons-in-law must confess credibility.  It is causing such a stir in some quarters of Champion that the Thursday Night Light Watch has been instituted.  Travelers are warned in advance to take extreme precaution when driving Central Douglas County country roads on Thursday nights as “Watchers” will be out walking in the roads with their mouths open and their necks arched backwards looking up to see whatever can be seen.  Many are deciding to walk in the road since their yards are so steep and rocky and so soft from the mole hills and holes that night walking is perilous.  Life is exciting in Champion.

Esther Wrinkles is getting some good Christmas cheer up at the Autumn Oaks as friends and family stop in to visit and wish her well.  Cowboy Jack has been out in the world expanding his broad, wholesome, charitable view of mankind, but he is back home now and his Champion friends are glad.  “Don’t let the stars get in your eyes!  Don’t let the moon break your heart.  Love blooms at night.  At daylight it dies.  Just keep your heart for me for someday I’ll return and you’ll know you’re the only one I’ll ever love!”  Sing your favorite sky gazing song out on the porch at Henson’s Down Town G & G.   Record it and mail it to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 and be careful if you’re singing it out in the road Thursday night.  If you recognize any of those Denlow students sing out to  “Too many stars—too many moons can change your mind.  If I’m gone too long, don’t forget where you belong. When the stars come out remember”…..Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

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