The red, blue, white, gold and green lights reflected on the wet tarmac were a dazzling sight as Champions recovered from the turbulence that brought them through the clouds Sunday evening. Those wheels touched the earth again and the g-forces pressed against the seat belted bodies as the brakes slammed on and the engine noise suddenly roared to mark the end of a great adventure. The industry that makes this kind of mass transportation possible is peopled by hard workers. There are good and bad stories to be told, but the bottom line is the pilot was not dazzled by those lights and brought us safely to ground again. During the First World War the British were losing so many ships to the German U-boats that some Scotts and Brits got together with artists to devise a clever camouflage. Since it was impossible to make the ships invisible to the periscopes of the submarines, the idea was to disguise the intention of the vessel. They did that with broad swathes of contrasting colors-black and white, green and mauve, orange and blue-in geometric shapes and curves to make it difficult to determine the ship’s actual shape, size and direction. These were called the Dazzle Ships. It is remarkable how inventive people can be when working together against a great foe “dazzling” Champion!

The General kindly reported on the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam of last week and said that, due to the weather, only about thirty people showed up. Fortunately, he said, “…eleven of them were singers and musicians.” With so few in attendance he might have been persuaded to play himself, but he is so shy. It takes some real coaxing to get him out of his shell. The Edinburgh jam happened on Wednesday in a tiny little kitchen and included violin, guitar, alto recorder and accordion. Traditional pieces, original works and old standards were on the set list including “Ashoaken Farewell,” “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” and “The Sunny Side of the Street.” Most every day of the last month found sunny days there with temperatures ranging from high 30’s to low 50’s, frequently with vigorous cold wind. In addition to music, that little kitchen turns out one lovely meal after another, hearty satisfying dishes and puddings, great wonderful puddings.

Jacob Kyle Brixey is in the first grade at Skyline. He shares his birthday on the 18th with a couple of very nice grown-ups– J.C Owsley, a stalwart gentleman often on a big white mule, and Mary Beth Shannon, whose Facebook profile picture is a thistle flower. She has a sweet smile that says, “Thistle do nicely.” Champions gathered around the wood stove in the Meeting Room of the Historic Emporium will celebrate on the 19th just for the fun of it. The 19th is also the Pack the House ball game at Skyline. The Buzz is that charming little grandmother Sharon Woods will enjoy her birthday on the 20th. Kyle Barker is a 4th grade student at Skyline with a day to celebrate on the 21st. That is also the day of Skyline’s archery meet at Taneyville. Elizabeth Hinote is a 2nd grade student whose special day is on the 22nd. Oliver Holden Moses is an accomplished percussionist off in school in Interlochen, Michigan. He will be celebrating his birthday on the 23rd. From the 23rd to the 27th the Skyline Boys’ Basketball team will participate in a tournament in Taneyville. Cody Coonts is a prekindergarten student at Skyline with a birthday on the 25th, shared by Mrs. Coonts who teaches middle school at that fine institution. Brooke Johnson is a 5th grader there and celebrates on the 26th. That is also the special day of Cowboy Jack’s favorite special Joyce. A lovely alumnus of Skyline is Kaye Alexander who will party significantly the 27th. Prize winning archer Erika Strong is in the 4th grade. Her birthday is on the 30th. James Brixey was 40 on the 30th in 2012. Do the math and congratulate these fine folks for having whirled all the way around the sun again!

Home is that notion that is most venerated among beliefs, philosophies and observations of what might be considered to be the truth. It is said to be that place that when you return to it, they have to let you in. Travelers returning from distant places at this time in history arrive with mixed emotions, having seen the place from afar through the eyes of others. Those others do not see the beautiful rolling hills, the woods and streams or the little house nestled on the side of the hill. They see the nation the way we see France or Argentina, Belgium or Japan. Many of them seem a little worried for us. Champions, loose out in the big world, appreciate and understand their concern and will adopt the motto of the city of Leith, “So with our darkest days behind us our ship of hope will steer and when in doubt just keep in mind our motto Persevere.” The ability to persevere is a hallmark of the settlers who meandered into this part of the country back around the turn of the last century. Share the stories of your grandparents (at or at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717) as they participated in the hard work of preparing this lovely place for you to sing about, “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home” in Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!