December 20, 2018 – Christmas conjures up all kinds of memories. One time, Wilburn Hutchison told a story about a lady who lived on Cold Springs Road just north of Wolf Pen Hollow. There is a nice spring there, and this lady had a spring house where she stored the divinity candy she made for Christmas. Well, Wilburn and his friend, Fleming Ggere, got into that candy and got it all. There was no report of what kind of punishment Fleming drew, but Wilburn had to carry 100 buckets of water for the lady. Connie Lansdown has probably heard a more accurate version of that story from her Dad along with many other stories. Christmas will be different for that family this year since the passing of Louise in late November. Connie said she and Wilburn and all the family very much appreciated the cards and notes and flowers from people remembering Louise. She was very well regarded in the community. She had been a cook at the Skyline School and was active in the Skyline VFD and her church. She will be long and well-remembered by the many friends she made along the way.
Royce and Jo Henson are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. They were married on December 13, 1958, in Miami, Oklahoma. They have four children and eight grandchildren. They live in Springfield, but come back to Champion frequently. They make it back for the Champion Spring Fling and for the Pioneer Heritage Festival. On any Saturday before Labor Day there is liable to be a whole string of Hensons up and down Cold Springs Road and down Ivy Lane as Royce shares his memories of his childhood home with his children and grandchildren. There was a rumor that Eva Loyce (Tiny) was in Ava last week for an alumni luncheon with her classmates. It is the sweet nature of home that calls us back for nostalgia. “There’s No Place Like Home.”
Wednesday is always a lovely day in Champion. This last Wednesday before Christmas was especially pleasant as friends and neighbors gathered at the Historic Emporium for some good food and visiting. It was a chance for people around the area who rarely see one another to get caught up on each other’s news and to share their various plans for the holidays. While the leader of the band was noticeably absent, our most recently retired mail carrier joined the Wednesday jam with her spoons. She requires a lively beat. It made for a lot of fun and hopes are that she will make it a regular habit in her retirement, which many have learned is when things start getting really busy. Of course, Christmas has our own Rt. 72 mail-carrier busy. “Flags Up!” was one of the photo-essays created by the celebrated photographer Lillian Virginia Mountweazel. She was known for her unusual subject matter and her collection of photographs of rural American mailboxes was exhibited extensively throughout Europe. Sadly, the Ohio born photographer died at the young age of 31 in an explosion while on assignment for Combustibles Magazine. She would have had a lively time following our intrepid Karen Ross along her many miles of rough and rugged country lanes. If you have not done so already, put a note or some cookies in your mailbox to tell your carrier how much she/he is appreciated.
There is a tradition among some families to celebrate Christmas in July. That may be because they just want an additional Christmas, or perhaps it has something to do with December birthdays. A favorite great niece, one of several, Corinne Zappler, has her birthday on the 27th of December. She loves visiting in Champion and her family here loves having her. Skyline sixth grade student, Logan Hull has his special day on the 29th. He may like having his birthday mixed up with the holiday season and if he does not, he will find a way to remedy the situation as the years go by. The same is true for Champion grandson, young Eli Oglesby, with his birthday on the 30th. His great uncle, The General, will be celebrated roundly by the whole tri-city area (Denlow-Champion-Vanzant) as his is the last birthday of the year. That being New Year’s eve, he may have always thought the world-wide parties were for him. None of his friends will be willing to disillusion him. Happy Birthday to all you Champions!
As this is in ink, the most looked forward to day of the year has passed. Wrapping paper and tinsel are being disposed of and Christmas dinner left overs are still being enjoyed. Thoughts go out to the many who, for one reason or another, were not able to be with family during the holidays. We start a new year and there is every possibility that it will be a good one where strong family ties and long-lasting friendships are paramount. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” Nope. Not in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!