Those few days between Christmas and New Year’s Day are typically busy ones in Champion.  Bright sunshine and warmer temperatures have encouraged gardeners and other industrious people to finish up a few projects, to get done some of those things that were going to be accomplished before the year was out.  The year is just about out and all the friends and family who are still loitering about depleting the pantry can easily enough be Tom Sawyered into helping out.  “Here, get a hold of the other end of that, would you?”  The hob knobbing, guffawing, knee slapping, singing and yodeling do not have to stop just because the old vines and stakes have to come out of the tomato patch or some stalls need mucking.  Many hands make the work lighter.  The law of ‘centergy’ says that two people working together can accomplish more than two individuals working alone.  Whether it has to do with competition or companionship, the time certainly goes faster with help.  Near Downtown Champion, there are forty-four identical sheets of good tin, twelve foot long, just lying there for the taking.   A couple of sturdy, enthusiastic fellows with hammers, crowbars, hoof pincers, fencing tools and magnets could make short work of it.  The tin has only been nailed down one time and only into oak.  Inquire at the Emporium if you have a truck and a trailer and nothing better to do.

Activity around the Facebook page The Champion News (like it) is connecting Champions in unexpected ways.  Sharon Tate Williamson said, “There’s no place like home!  I claim Drury and Champion.”  She lived here during the 1940’s and 1950’s.  “My daddy, Amos Tate, taught school a few years there before he carried the mail out of Drury for many years.  I went to Champion in the 2nd and 3rd grade and lived either there by Champion or over closer to Drury until I graduated from high school.  I get to Champion usually a time or two a year.”  Sarah Cloud writes, “Enjoying the views and the news of one of my favorite childhood places.  In all the grandeur that is Southern Utah, it just doesn’t hold a candle to the Ozarks.  Love to all.” Connie Sue Coonts Riddell refers to a photo of the interior of the Mercantile  and  asks “Where’s the old timers spitting and chewing and whittling?  I don’t see any Coonts there having coffee.”  She was assured by return message that one of that ilk is routinely there, more often than once a week.  Connie Sue would most likely really appreciate that epic poem “The Near Drowning of Cowboy Jack.”

It was lovely to read a hand written note in their Christmas card that Bonnie and Pete Mullens had a good holiday and are hoping to get to Champion one day soon to see the New Store. (She can go online to the Champion Snapshots on the sidebar at to see Henson’s Grand Opening 2011. David Richardson from Norwood did a great video of the event.)  Bonnie wrote to say they have lost several loved ones this year, yet they feel blessed by the addition of three great grandchildren:  Miles Perry Mullens, October 26th, Lexie Rae Niblack, November 5th, Korbin Blake Gunther, December 7th.  The 27th of December is the birthday of Corinne Zappler.   Big parties were being planned for her in Austin, TX with fireworks off the 360 Bridge and a bonfire at home after a sumptuous feast.  Warm wishes go out to a sweet niece—a grandniece really.   Champion grandson, Eli Oglesby, celebrates his birthday on December 30th.  These young Champion boys and girls grow at an incredible rate.  His great uncle, The General will again see the old year out as he seemingly effortlessly accomplishes three score and eleven.  The birthday calendar flips to 2014, and the first of January celebrates sweet Jan Liebert, the electric bass playing rock and roll grandmother of Teeter Creek fame.  Arne Coon enjoys that day as his special one too and his son, Jacob, a fifth grader at Skyline will have his party on the third.  Jacob was one of the shining stars vocalizing at the Skyline Christmas Program.  He shares his day with Champion nephew Leland Isley, a wailing guitar player and an excellent fellow all round.  “May your days be merry and bright and may all your birthdays be a delight!”

Timber thieves beware!  An update from public records available at the Court House and online informs interested parties that a date has been set for the arraignment of the individual charged with the recent theft of 90 oak trees from private property adjacent to the Mark Twain National Forest in Eastern Douglas County.  The arraignment will be held on January 23rd at the Douglas County Court House.  At that time the accused will be able to plead guilty or not guilty and will be given the opportunity to secure the services of an attorney. The machinations of the Justice System are an interesting study for any citizen, tree hugger or not.  Stay tuned for further updates and illusions to the pernicious effects of the lure of mammon on every part of society.

Champions gathered on Boxing Day for some quality post-Christmas socializing in the meeting room at the Historic Emporium.  Mr. and Mrs. Portell of Far North Clever Creek, chatting with a conspicuous regular at the table, were joined by an old guy in a bright plaid shirt with a dachshund.  The absentee farmer came in and then others.  Bob and Ethel Leach, prominent Champions of the West West Branch of North Fox Creek made a regular visit to brighten up the already bright place.  When asked if they had been affected by the great August 8th flood, Ethel said that their place is higher and that branch was not so full, but her sister who lives further down the creek came within about an inch of having water in her house.  Her dog almost drowned until she could get him untied. The conversation continued among the group with more adventures of narrow escapes and great feats.  A great feat had been accomplished on Christmas Eve by Drayson’s old Dad, home for the holidays, as he parked that long, long trailer truck on the South East side of the Square.  It is a magnificent machine, red with lots of shiny chrome.  While it was being admired, the ever effervescent Ms. McCleary arrived with her own sparkly new wheels to show off.  Santa must have been impressed.

The beauty of the holidays has to do with family and friends drawing close and saying right out loud what they feel all year.   Sweet memories of Christmases past make the present a precious commodity as thoughts of dear ones missing from the table this year add the solemnity that gratitude requires.  The year ahead will hold what it holds. Happiness is the byproduct of doing what you like. Make up your own songs and sing them out loud to whosoever will listen.  Love and Gratitude are the by words in Champion—Happy New Year from the Bright Side!