The Polar Vortex is headed to Champion!   Business was ‘brisk’ at Henson’s Grocery and Gas on Saturday as prudent shoppers stocked up on what they might need if things are to get as bad as it is suggested they might.  The shopkeeper was kept busy all day with request for propane and diesel.  Shelves were stocked with a fresh supply of all the staples that Champions need to feel like they are ready for whatever comes.  J. T. Shelton came in for provisions.   Joseph Georges was there looking for duct tape and was glad to get it.  He is doing some tightening up to keep the cold out.  Some folks routinely use plastic grocery sacks as chinking in drafty places during extremely cold weather.  Big humidifiers or pots of water on the wood stove go a long way toward keeping the humidity up and that helps keeps things warm.  Bob Dylan said, “’It was the coldest winter in twenty seven years!’  I felt warmer then.”  There will be some interesting stories about how everybody got through it

The New Year started off on January’s new moon.  That is a relatively rare occurrence; the last time was 19 years ago.  Folks interested in astrology say that New Moons are all about new beginnings and fresh starts.  A note on The Champion News facebook page says, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new beginning.”  The statement came from Carolyn Gieseke Penner who shared it with Carolyn Nunn Harvey.  This reflects the bright side attitude that defines Champions no matter where they live.  A reader in the United Kingdom suggested that in the report concerning the timber thief, that the word ‘allusion’ should replace the word ‘illusion’ in the sentence, “Stay tuned for further updates (concerning the fate of the thief) and illusions to the pernicious effects of the lure of mammon on every part of society.”   He is clearly right.  Allusion is a part of speech that indicates a reference to some familiar concept, i.e.  Greed is pervasive these days.   Illusion is something that can be seen which is not real, such as a card trick.  Greed is definitely real.  In an effort to start the year of with a clean slate, give me a break!  Or would that be brake?  It is definitely ‘break.’  That new “Champion” product line available at Henson’s Downtown G & G includes ‘brake’ fluid, not ‘break’ fluid.  Hydraulic fluid is also a good seller in the Champion line as well as the all-important antifreeze.   At the beginning of a New Year here now is an illusion of a clean slate!

Birthdays have that new beginning feeling about them.  Sami McCleary had that feeling on Saturday.  Best wishes were left for her at the Celebrated Mercantile.  She will get them eventually if she is not too busy doing good deeds.   Good Champion friend, Rachel Evans, of Leicester, England will celebrate on the 8th of January.  That is also Elvis’ birthday and a great fiddle tune that people recognize when they hear ‘The Battle of New Orleans.’  The Skyline VFD Auxiliary has a meeting scheduled in the Community Room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium that evening and if the weather and road conditions allow it will be a good get together.  Elizabeth Johnston will be receiving many good wishes on the 9th.  She has a host of friends and a great family who all love her tremendously.  Nephew Phillip Holden Moses over in Norman, Oklahoma has his birthday on the 9th as well.  Hopes are that he and Oliver will make it over to Champion this year to get acquainted.  Tom Van Dyke has been to Champion.  He lives in Houston, TX but makes it up to the Bright Side as often as he can.  He is going to Cuba this month on a church mission.  Teeter Creek’s rock and roll, herbalist granddad will share his birthday with Wilburn Hutchison on the 11th.  Wilburn will be 80!  It is a nice round number.  He and Louise are warm and cozy up there on the side of the hill.  Their niece, Margaret, is staying with them and they are perking along just fine.  Once Wilburn and Fleming Gheer were over by Skyline when they were kids and they saw a dirigible go over.  Kids today probably have no idea what a dirigible might be. Happy Birthday everyone!

Insulated houses and energy efficient heating systems go a long way toward making this brutal winter bearable.  It is hard to imagine how difficult a hard winter might have been for folks around here when Wilburn and Fleming were boys.  Ruby Proctor said one time that when she was a girl there would be snow on the ground from Thanksgiving to Easter.  That may not be exactly what she said, but it was something similar to that.  Her friends miss her and are determined to get up to Cabool to see her when the weather breaks. Ruby is a true Champion whose sweet smile brightens the pathway to good memories

Send epic tales of survival in the howling wind of the Polar Vortex to Triumphant songs of jubilation and heroic perseverance are welcome at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.   Sad songs that might cause a person to feel better for having sung them, are as welcome there as are slate cleaning allusions/illusions. Look in at www.championnews for images of the place in warmer times.  Bring any uplifting, happy, enthusiastic optimistic songs with you in your heart down to the wide and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek there at the junction of country roads and the beginning/end of the pavement.  Break for a brake or brake for a break anytime in Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!