A famous actress and intellect says that her father taught her that life’s important events occur in three stages…the anticipation, the participation and the recollection. The participation part took up so much of the Thanksgiving holiday, that only now are some Champions getting around to the recollection and reporting phases of the experience. A fellow named Richard Alpert wrote about being “here now” which seems to suggest that people who are thinking about things other than what they are doing may struggle with happiness. Champions, where ever they were, were completely engaged in their various Thanksgiving customs and had no difficulty in acknowledging the virtue of living in that very moment—from the tree hugging crowd of East Evans, to Vivian’s elegant spread and Kaye’s traditional family gathering, to Esther’s bunch at her house and then up to see her at the Autumn Oaks, from Texas to Tennessee to downtown Champion, the merrymakers enjoyed the good food and the great joy of dear friends and family. Gratitude is a year round, daily practice in Champion.
Madelyn Ward has a little sister named Shelby who will be three years old next Valentine’s Day and who says that their Granddad is funny. His birthday is on the ninth of December (1955) but he is just a kid at heart. His Mother is Lorene and she has a sister named Shirley who has some very nice things to say about the Champion News. She allows as how she does not enjoy the paper nearly so much on the very rare occasion when readers are not reminded of the joys of living on the Bright Side. Skyline School fourth grader, Katelyn More, will enjoy her birthday on the seventh and shares the day with Paul Boyd. It turns out that Katelyn is just exactly old enough to be a fourth grader and Paul is, well, some would say, “old enough to know better.” He really keeps things working well over at the school and everyone appreciates his good humor and willingness to help his friends and neighbors. Chris Tharp’s birthday is the next day and he is like that too—a good neighbor. A lovely friend who uses Pandora as a pseudonym over in East Champion has a birthday on the 10th of December, but celebrates on a random day during the year so as to avoid the Christmas rush. Eva Coyote was born on December 11th over West of Champion a ways and lives way out West now. She is going by the name of Kai these days, but her Mama and Papa know who she is. Champion friend, Bobette Spivey will celebrate discretely on the fifth and Ed Bell will beat the drums for his own birthday on the sixth. Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive is named for a favorite Champion who celebrated his birthday on the sixth as well. He was born the year of the Pearl Harbor attack, so many will know how old he would be. If a person gets to live a hundred years or just a few, it is sure that the lives that he touches are forever changed. Certainly, the longer a person lives the more people he will know who have passed away from life. The love for those dear ones who have passed on does not go away and everyone holds in his heart an album of loves, precious family, and dear friends who are no longer present, but whose memory is always close. When sorrow is fresh, it is hard not to think of them as lost, but someday a smile will cross the face of the one doing the remembering just as the remembered one would want. So it is in Champion and often the precious memories are brought by a song.
Champion Esther Wrinkles is making some good progress in her recovery once again over at the Autumn Oaks. She is in room 203 again and working hard to get her strength back. Visitors stop in frequently and that really lifts her spirits. Champion News readers off in Texas and other places who have never met Esther say they feel like they know her and send their best wishes to her.
The nightly news that comes on the Public TV stations about 6:30 week-day evenings makes it a point to show pictures of the U.S. Service people who have lost their lives in current conflicts. As their deaths are made official and pictures become available they are given a moment of silent recognition. A viewer can see a group of eight or ten most any evening. For the most part they are young people, but occasionally there will be some guy 48 or so. Whether or not the conflicts that claim their lives are ones that everyone understands and supports, Champions all respect the sacrifices of the service personnel and their families. They have Love and Gratitude due them.
The graph that depicts the temperature forecast for the month at www.accuweather.com gives a picture of a mild spell followed by a cooler spell starting about the 20th of the month. That seems entirely reasonable and folks who are experimenting with high tunnel farming will be getting their money’s worth out of their investment of time and energy as they continue to harvest greens of all kinds. Swiss chard and kale are still thriving even without the advantage of the protection from the wind and cold and the benefits of very fresh home grown vegetables cannot be too much stressed. Now is the time for Lim and Ned to be pulling turnips on the sly. They (the turnips) will be crisp and bright and will keep well in the ground until a hard freeze. Even then, with some mulch, they will be good food through the winter months, “…if there is nothing else to eat,” says one who is not a big turnip fan. He has not yet experienced the pleasures of a good mess of mashed potatoes with just a couple of tender turnips thrown in for excitement. Served with some of that wonderful venison out of the freezer, cooked long and slow and smothered in onion gravy, he would only know there was something unusually good about it. He would like some of the kind of help that Lim and Ned are known for though—some manure hauling, sprout grubbing and fence mending. This is the kind of weather and the time of the year when all manner of tidying up could be done around the farm. The cold will be here soon enough and the novels and poetry waiting to be read will eventually get their due. For now, in the sunshine, Champions are busy. Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood says that the 9th through the 11th will be good days for transplanting and for planting root crops, if Lim and Ned have not bought up all the turnip seeds in the county. There may not be any turnip seeds available at Henson’s Downtown G & G this time of the year, but certainly one can find bird seed there. Cowboy Jack has probably planted all his turnips already and while there are many who say Jack is for the birds, they mean it in a nice way. Pretty much whatever a person might need (turnip seed notwithstanding) can be found at the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion, the very jewel of Central Douglas County!
Champions home from recent far travels are settling in again to their tranquil routine. Relishing a sunny day out in the yard with only nature’s music to be heard, they are reminded of why they live here. Still, the pull of distant dear ones says, “Let’s say goodbye with a smile dear. Just for a while we must part. Don’t let this parting upset you. I’ll not forget you, Sweetheart.” Share your favorite sweet-parting song via the much-loved U.S. Postal Service at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at [email protected]. Ramble around the website at www.championnews.us for a good picture of the beloved place. “Keep smiling through, just like you always do, ‘till the blue skies chase those dark clouds far away. We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day!” Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!