Flash! This is the news from January 7, 2014: The survivors of the first annual Champion Polar Plunge came scrambling up through the vortex of brush on the creek bank fully clothed and no wetter for the effort, the water being shallow and frozen hard. It was all the idea of a prominent citizen who thought that the spectacle of scantily clad hillbilly boys would entice the beautiful KY3 Meteorologist Abby Dyer down to the broad banks of Old Fox Creek for a feature segment for the noon news. Hoping for the best, co-conspirator Cowboy Jack stood at the ready with a warm horse blanket to enfold any shivering meteorologist or local plunger. It had great potential but turned out to be a genuine non-event as the hillbilly boys most generally wait until early June for their bath and the Cowboy had his already over in the swift cold waters of the Rippee Access. Alas! Ms. Dyer was a no show. That polar air is due to hit the country again later in the week so perhaps interested citizens might remount their efforts toward the plunge. They may recall John Prine’s song “Dear Abby.” He is writing to the advice columnist, not the meteorologist. She responds that you have no complaint. She says that you are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t. She admonishes him to “listen up, buster, and listen up good.” And finally she says to stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood. While it is good advice it hardly meets the expectations of the daydreamers around the stove in the chat lounge at the Historic Emporium where the weather is always a hot topic. Meteorologists know all about the heavens. They can probably tell you that the reason your wishes do not come true when you wish upon a star is because you are wishing upon a planet! Those are the first bright things up there at night. Live and learn.
J. C. Owsley lives over near Cross Timbers, Missouri. He is a great supporter of The Champion News and has just had a birthday. He likes getting over to Champion with Bud Hutchison’s trail rides and comes as often as he can. When he is not trail riding he is teaching granddaughters how to ride and snapping great piles of green beans and building bottle trees. His friends in this part of the country are wishing him well hoping to see him again soon. Marybeth Shannon too! Her birthday was the 18th. She has a dazzling smile and is a proponent of an ecologically sustainable culture. She sets a good example of country living with a wide circle of interesting friends and a great appreciation of the beauty of the place. She is a Champion even though she lives over there in Vanzant. Sometimes a birthday on a Sunday gets passed right over or so it would seem. Celebrating can happen anytime. Mrs. Coonts teaches the first grade over at Skyline. Her birthday will be on Saturday the 25th so she might get that song sung to her on Friday. Brook Johnson is in the second grade there. She might get the song sung to her on Monday since her birthday is on Sunday. Monday Kay Heffern Alexander will have to go back to work. That is her birthday so she most likely will have celebrated on Sunday, probably Saturday too and, if true to form, really is most likely to have begun on Friday at the end of her work day. She has a whole week to plan her fandango. These ‘future perfect’ verb forms are a little confusing. Kay’s family and friends will be sure it is present perfect for her. She is a Champion, a Skyline alumnus and the essence of cool.
Toes were tapping over at the Vanzant Community Building on Thursday evening. Bluegrassers were out in numbers singing old familiar tunes and some almost forgotten ones. It is joyful to hear an old melody resurface again after years. Guitars, mandolins, banjos and fiddles make that joyful noise. It all starts with a pot-luck at 6:00 p.m. every Thursday and blossoms into music immediately and delightfully.
The Skyline VFD Auxiliary had its meeting in the meeting room at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion on the 15th of January. The meeting had been scheduled for the 8th of January and was postponed because of the Polar Vortex. It was well attended and well organized. Details of the upcoming chili super were discussed. Steve Moody has agreed to emcee again this year and the school is available on the designated date which is March 8th. President Betty Dye has produced a bright quilt in a jigsaw puzzle pattern that is sure to be a treasure for anyone. The Jernigan folks over in Ava did a handsome job of the quilting. The queen size beauty will be on display at the store starting in February. The next meeting will be there on February 12th. Everyone is welcome to attend. The Skyline VFD is the little outfit that allows home owners to buy insurance in this remote area. It is also made up of well-trained first responders and good neighbors. Champions all!
Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that this is the month to rest up for busier times ahead and to make plans for the year’s operations. It says to draw out a plan for your garden, order catalogs and select varieties. Get your equipment in shape. As days permit, clean up your garden area. Spread manure and phosphate aids such as bone meal, wood ashes and fish wastes on garden areas, even on top of snow. Correct highly acidic soils by adding lime. Add oak leaf mold or pine needles for acid loving plants such as broad-leafed evergreens and dogwoods. Start onion seeds indoors late this month. Enjoy Linda’s Almanac at www.championnews.us. It is up at the very top of the page on the right hand side. That is also a good place to read the latest Champion News if you think there is a chance that pertinent information, music or things that are topical, controversial, or rhyming might have been edited out for the printed version. An unedited printed version of the almanac is posted for perusal at Henson’s Downtown G & G. Find quilt tickets there as well as applications to participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which is sponsored by the Skyline School RII Foundation, affiliated with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Young Drayson Cline is already having some stories read to him. He’s a charming four month old with a great singing voice.
The arraignment of the timber thief of eastern Booger County is set for Thursday, the 23rd in the Douglas County Courthouse. Tree huggers and other property owners will be interested in the outcome. Send any good news past, present or future to Champion Items, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bring your appreciation of ecology, history and folklore, wood craft, gardening, swimming, meteorology, equine husbandry, the beautiful English language, or music of any kind down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square and share what you love. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!