EDINBURGH-December 30, 2016.

Edinburg, Scotland County, Missouri is up on the northern border of the state, the second county west of the Mississippi River. There was a post office there from 1841 until 1845. Named after the ancestral home of a government surveyor, it is now listed as an unincorporated community. Back in 1838, a man named William Preston Thompson settled in the area that is now Grundy County, just a few counties west of Scotland County, and named his little hamlet Buck Snort. When the post office came in 1857, the name of the place was changed to Edinburg, (again, minus the “h”). That community is thriving still with a population of 92. There may be no one left who knows why or when the hamlet of Goose Nibble changed its name to Champion. It would surely be a riveting tale. Here, Edinburgh has been called Auld Reekie (It smells much better now.), the Athens of the North, Robert Burns called it “fair Edina,” and Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Edinburgh is what Paris ought to be.” Sojourners find it to be a Champion kind of place.

The Venerable General (venerable because he will have gained yet another year of age before 2016 is out!) dutifully and deftly reports, “There was another good turn-out of musicians and singers (seventeen) at the Vanzant Thursday night jam. Dave and Sue Thompson came again and Sue’s rendition of “Lost River” was superb. Josiah Strode and Travis Hathaway continued playing an additional 45 minutes after the normal curfew. They are very talented and their music was greatly appreciated by the few people that stayed.” He goes on to inquire about the jam east of the pond. The Sketchy Beats folks were off on holiday with family so the place was closed, but earlier, a visit to the Jazz Bar found John Hunt singing and playing the blues. He moved seamlessly between old standards and contemporary pieces with original works interspersed. He plays an electric guitar of his own making that includes a gooseneck microphone that is situated just right to blend his voice with the instrument to be heard well without great volume. Then it was over to The Royal Oak for another joyful episode of music…all in all a great evening.

Amid the holiday celebrations this year are birthdays–musician Corinne Leigh Zappler, December 27th, Skyline fifth grader Logan Hull on the 29th, Champion grandson Eli Oglesby, the 30th and then the year ends with The General, himself, and Dr. Kay Talley (River’s Mum) both combining new year’s eve with their birthday bashes. Dr. Talley’s party will be in Arizona and The General’s in Vanzant at the annual Redneck Armadillo Drop. New Year’s Day finds Jacob Coon’s dad getting older, and Teeter Creek’s, Jan Liebert, accumulating another year, but only getting more lovely. Skyline prekindergarten student, Kabela Clark, was born January 2, 2012. Guitar master, Leland Isley, celebrates that day also (no year included). The next day, the third, is Jacob’s own birthday. It was also the birthday of the lovely Esther Howard, who passed away earlier this year. The fourth belongs to the Prominent Champion Girlfriend, Sami McCleary. Others celebrate that day, but she is the Champion favorite.

The new Bryant Creek State Park is in Douglas County off Highway N about three miles north of Rockbridge. It is 2,917 acres of thick oak and pine forests and nearly 2 miles of river, hills and bluffs along Bryant Creek. A friend of The Champion News shared an article that says there will be a ranger guided hike to explore the park on the 8th of January. Those planning to participate should arrive at the farm house at about 11:45. To get there, go north of Rockbridge on N Highway to Douglas County Road 337D, turn right and go less than half a mile to the farmhouse driveway. Hopes are for good weather and good use of a beautiful new state park.

“Hey! Is that the Real News or is that just the internet?” The real news is apparently whatever echo chamber suits you best–in alphabetical order: ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSMBC, NBC, PBS, or any others that strike your fancy. Are any “unbiased?” Does anyone know? To be informed is a challenge, particularly if one is only willing to hear those things that fit comfortably within preconceptions. A sage suggests taking a sampling of all and then triangulating to form your personal amalgam of what “truth” might be. To be sure, there is a perception management campaign that is designed to stifle dissent. The American Founding Fathers were all dissenters, so keep that in mind when struggling with “post truth” journalism and think of Harry Truman who famously said, “My choice early in life was to either be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there is hardly any difference.”

Compliments go to the Wright County Crisis Center in Mountain Grove where a traveler found the perfect coat for Scotland this time of the year. It is a new Pacific Trail (a division of London Fog) purchased for the grand sum of $8.00, and has proven itself to be light weight, warm, and water proof. It has a hood that pulls up snug and, with the addition of a silk and woolen scarf from a charity shop in Leith, has kept the traveler cozy in all kinds of Scottish weather. The perfect purse with the trademark “Travelon” came from the Douglas County Crisis Center in Ava for $1.00. It has a long adjustable strap that allows it to be worn across the body under the wonderful coat. The next time you donate or shop for bargains in one of these places ask the staff about the charitable services the Crisis Centers provide. You will be proud to participate.

Across the country and across the world assessments are being made about the Old Year and expectations are being formed for the New one. This might be a good time to revisit the Four Agreements. They are:  “Be impeccable in your word. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t take things personally. Always do your best.” Look to for examples of good behavior year around. Send your thoughts about the year passed or the year ahead or the concept of a strategic sacrifice in the game of checkers to Keep a song in your heart. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, should auld acquaintance be forgot” in Champion? Nae! We’re looking on the Bright Side!