June 30, 2014

June 30, 2013

CHAMPION—June 30, 2013

        Thirty days has September, April, June and November…all the rest have thirty one, except February, etc.  The old poem does not allow for an occasional extra day in June.  That is what Champion got by the way of Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  Do not blame Linda.  One of her longtime friends has been putting the almanac together for her for a dozen or so years now as part of Linda’s birthday present (March 5th).  This year the friend was distracted (planning a great adventure) and rushed to get the entire gardening year’s almanac together before her departure.  It is a process that requires some concentration.  Alas! June was not well represented in spite of being a glorious month for gardening.  Now it works out that by having 31 days in June, July gets to start on Paul Kennedy’s birthday.  He is a bus driver at Skyline school and a lucky man with a birthday on July the ‘tooth.’  One particular Old Champion accustomed to having his birthday on the first, missed it altogether.  Too bad.  It was a real milestone.  He will just have to wait until the fourth to party with his Old Tree Hugger friends at the National Birthday Celebration on the creek.  He will make an early start to get a good seat for the much anticipated Grand Old Flag Parade around the Champion Square and up and down Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  The General (who continues to make friends by not participating) is presumed to be in the throes of planning the Vanzant Community Picnic which might be held the following week end.  For various reasons Spotted Hog is not expected to have a float this year, but still Champions will be waiving their flags in different places together … everywhere singing, “Oh! Say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave…”

        There is no one alive today in the U.S.A. who has firsthand experience with the noxious British rule that led to the Declaration of Independence.  As the wonderful document is celebrated on July 4th, the memory of the abuses heaped upon the colonies by George III and the annoying Red Coats would have disappeared altogether had it not been for history lessons that many slept through in high school and a few good songs.  King George was deeply in debt because of the way he had handled the French and Indian war starting back in 1754.  By the 1760’s taxes and tariffs were working a real hardship on the colonists as Britain sought to recoup its financial losses.  Then the Quartering Act was imposed on the colonists requiring them to house and feed the occupying soldiers and to put up with warrantless searches and confiscations.  The whole ‘taxation without representation’ issue played a significant part in the discontent of the colonists.  By July 1776, they had had enough, and their actions then allow modern Americans this magnificent freedom.   Practically every American can find some flaw with the government currently, but none would like to go back to being ruled by the British.  Today many Scots are similarly vexed by British rule.  Their current arrangement with Britain goes back to 1703, but on September 18th this year.  Scotland will have a referendum and will vote YES or NO for independence.  Of course, it is not a simple issue and the ‘better together’ folks in Westminster would like to maintain control of the significant natural resources of their northern neighbors.  Many Scots are feeling that old pinch of taxation without representation as they sense they are being levied disproportionate to the benefits allotted them by the distant London government which views them with disdain.  Grievances are deep and long standing.  This year marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots scored a celebrated victory over the invading English which secured Scotland’s status as an independent country until the early 18th century.  It will be most interesting to see how it all plays out.  The history of those islands is ongoing, as is our own.

        Video of Darrell and Max Cooley and Wayne Anderson playing music at the Cooley Family Reunion Saturday was a gift on the internet.  Laine Sutherland has been a gift to the area as she is a prodigious supporter of local music, local folks and has a great perspective and generous world view.  Welcome home!  What a Champion!

        The 4th through the 8th will all be good days for gardening, especially for planting above the ground crops and leafy vegetables.  This comes from the recently edited and corrected version of Linda’s Almanac for July.  Find it on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square.  It can also be found on the counter up at The Plant Place and on line at www.championnews.us.  Summertime visitors will be helpful out in the garden.  There are weeds to pull and a few things like cucumbers and squash to pick along with wild raspberries and assorted ticks and chiggers.  The calamine lotion will flow freely.  No word has come as to the first ripe tomato in Champion yet, but there is likely to be a braggadocio around the round table in the Historic Emporium.  The Cowboy and others will have to know that seeing is believing.  If they plan to do much bragging they had better bring the proof with them.  The amiable shop keeper has a salt shaker.  No prize is being offered this year as it is figured that home grown ripe tomatoes should be enough for anyone.

        Summer is whizzing by.  Soon the Skyline Picnic days will be here.  The 8th and 9th of August are the dates set.  This year a prominent local craftsman is furnishing a handmade cedar chest as the grand prize for the fund raiser.  It was reported a while back that this marvelous work of art would be on display at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium, but it is yet to appear.  The eccentric artist will not be rushed, though it has been suggested that ticket sales might be more brisk if the prize could be seen.  “All in good time.”  That is a common phrase and one that suits the situation.  There is no need to be in any kind of a hurry.  Uncle Al used to say, “Take it eeeeeasy.”  Bring your summertime stories, music, poetry, and patriotism down to share out on the wide veranda overlooking the wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  Someone asked about the ‘wooly’ part of this description.  Some of it has to do with the debris of last August’s flood still stuck high in the trees.  The dense lush growth along the creek bank accounts for the rest of the ‘wooliness.’  Come form your own opinion and feel free to share.  You will be in one of the world’s truly beautiful places (a fact)… Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

CHAMPION—June 23, 2014

        Addressing that age old musical question, “How in the world do the old folks know that it ain’t a gonna rain no more?”  It turns out that they do not know.  Had they known, they would have cut their hay last Monday and would have had it bailed and strung out in neat rows along the edge of the field before the showers started again on Friday.  As it happened, they waited for the predicted rain that did not come until they were peeved — A week wasted—Alas!  But it was not so for all as some gleefully abandoned their gardening/farming responsibilities to frolic with the seldom seen children and grandchildren visiting from afar.  There was blueberry picking, pie and jam making, sewing machine lessons, fire fly catching, pizza dough making, trips to the swimming hole, lots of music making, long walks and the much anticipated trip to the wonderful Champion Store.  The week went by in a blur leaving some old Champions exhausted and happy and looking forward to next summer.

        There was speculation that Larry Casey might not have been able to attend the benefit arranged for him by his family over at the Vanzant Community Building Saturday, but he made it and enjoyed getting to see everyone who came out to lend a hand.  The success of the event speaks to the kind of community that steps up to help when help is called for and so Larry’s medical care will be subsidized for a while and he and his family are grateful.

        Gratitude is being spread around on the internet.  Doni Coonts says that the hard work of Carolyn, Scott, and Justin Whillhite, John Homer, and Roy and Terri Ryan has made the Skyline greenhouse possible.  The project is almost completed so that students will be able to enjoy first hand experiences with growing plants.  Their progress will be followed with interest.  Meanwhile, Abby Homer is volunteering her creative talents with her paint brush to give the school’s hallway a new look.  It will be a surprise for returning students.  Skyline student Alyssa Strong was born June 23, 2003, so she is now eleven years old.  She will be in the 6th grade at Skyline this year.  Lloyd Perryman Jr. is a prekindergarten fellow.  His birthday is June 30th and he will be 4 years old.  Birthday celebrations are a good way to spend some summertime.  Esther Wrinkles Birthday was June 28th.  Eva Powell’s is the 29th and that is also the birthday of KZ88 Radio personality, Butch Kara.  Champion granddaughters, Faith Ann Lansdown and Sierra Parson share the 21st as their birthday.  Faith Ann turned 12 years old and Sierra became an amazing 17.  It goes by so quickly.  Just ask those grandparents.

        The Summer Solstice—the longest day of the year—was a brilliant day for a family reunion.  The 40th Back to the Land Reunion was held at the Hammond Mill Camp over near Dora.  Back in the 1970’s the Ozarks had an influx of “Urban Refugees.”  They were primarily young people, college graduates and drop-outs and hippies of all descriptions pouring out of the cities, looking for a wholesome life in the country to raise their families and to “live off the land.”  They bought farms and raw land and set about to garden organically, to build their own houses, to home-school the children who had been born at home with midwives.  They played a lot of rock and roll music, and had big parties and swap meets.  They ate brown rice and made yogurt.  They were idealists, transcendentalists, environmental activists, and young, often unskilled and generally naive.  Some did not succeed.  Building a house together can be hard on a relationship and more than one ‘blanket was split’ before the roof made it on the cabin.  Many lived in old school buses and tents and shacks they cobbled together.  Local folks shook their heads and made a lot of jokes at their expense, but many like the Champion Hensons, Hutchisons, Hicks, Brixeys, Kriders and Smiths and others also extended a helping hand and were willing to share their life experiences and know-how.  Many of their own children had moved off by that time, as jobs in the Ozarks were few and far between, so they were pleased to see some young people move into the area who seemed genuinely interested in the old ways of doing things.  Some of the immigrants had the hope of merging social and environmental consciousness with the solid skillsets of the people who had been living here for generations.  Forty years later, some of the new-comers who stayed on look just like the old timers to the newer newcomers.  They have contributed to the local culture.  Many are back in the city again and are dispersed from coast to coast, but they all feel that their time in the Ozarks enriched their lives.  Saturday saw about 140 of the Back to the Landers together again at the Old Tree Huggers Jamboree.  They did not all know each other back in the day, and there were new spouses, children and grandchildren in the mix at the big gathering.  Name tags helped keep the embarrassment down as features have aged and memories have slipped, but they all remembered the band, Hot Mulch, playing “Well, I’m moving to the country where everything is fine.  Gonna live in a dome and drink dandelion wine.  When the collapse comes I won’t get the blues.  I’ll have all the back issues of the Mother Earth News.”  The name of that original song is “Ozark Mountain Mother Earth News Freak.”

        Thursday and Friday will be good days for planting above ground crops according to Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood.  It is easy to get called away to the creek on these beautiful summer days when the afternoons heat up.  Early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to be out in the garden for older folks anyway.  The creek can reduce a person’s core temperature substantially.  Lee Ray says that at 75 miles per gallon (on his motorcycle) a person just cannot afford to stay home.  Add the savings of not having to run the air conditioner when he is not there and it can be figured that he is almost making money by making frequent trips to the wild wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  He spends so much time on the wide inviting veranda at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square that it is a wonder he did not see the low-down sneak-thief vandals that meticulously unbolted the city limits sign on the west side of town and made off with it.  This is not the first time it has happened and since the grass has grown up pretty tall around the sign post, there is every chance that the delinquent criminal trespassers got their britches full of chiggers.  The last time the crime was attributed to jealous marauders from up Spotted Hog way, a community of about the same size but without a sign of their own.  It could be anyone though from anywhere in the world.  After all, everyone wants to be a Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 16, 2014

June 17, 2014

CHAMPION—June 17, 2014

        A few dry sunny days kept Champions busy catching up with the laundry, using their environmentally friendly, carbon free solar clothes drying apparatus.  These days came after some significant rain that had the creeks up and roads impassable in some spots for a while.  Fox Creek poured over the bridge and drug a big log out on it and left it there.  The fine County Road Men from the Drury Shed came out that evening and looked the situation over.  The next day they came from the other direction and were able to get the log off the bridge so traffic could flow freely again.  What Champions!  It is easy to take those guys for granted.  They are out doing the hard dangerous work that allows everyone to go where they want to go and for the mail to run.

        When an old Champion opened her mailbox to put in the outgoing mail she found it full of ants.  There were a couple of spiders too.  She trudged back up the hill and returned with an insecticide spray and some newspaper to clean the thing out.  It probably happens that mailboxes across the wide spectrum of rural routes are infested with ants, spiders, wasps and who knows what all.  Thanks, Karen, and your alternates for your intrepid delivering service and for your willingness to open those mailboxes in spite of what surprises there may be hiding there.   Considerate postal patrons might keep an eye on the condition of their boxes and add ‘ants, spiders and wasps’ to that list of ‘neither hail, nor sleet, nor snow, nor dark of night shall stay these swift couriers from the completion of their appointed rounds.’

        Happy Father’s Day cards have been choking mailboxes this week.   Paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society are much in the thoughts of Champions.  Those fortunate enough to have their fathers living still struggle to find words to express their love and appreciation.  It may be that the old guy is not particularly sentimental and figures that he was just doing what he was supposed to do, being protective, supportive, and nurturing.   The acknowledgment is not wasted.  Older folks think about their fathers long ago passed away and still remember the feeling that everything was OK when he held their hand.  “Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’.  Daddy’s hands, were hard as steel when I’d done wrong.  Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand there was always love in Daddy’s hands.”  That is a Holly Dunn song and most appropriate for the occasion.

        A letter to “Friends of Skyline School” has gone up on the bulletin board in the meeting room at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in downtown Champion.  In addition to reporting on its accomplishments, the Skyline R-2 School Foundation is setting a goal of raising $3,000.00 to buy three new drinking fountains for the school and to have them installed.  It is an important project to promote the health of the students.   Daniel Parkes Jr. will be a second grader at Skyline this fall.  His birthday is June 19th.  Linda Kaye Watts (nee Krider) celebrates her birthday on June 21st.  She went to Skyline a few years ago and now has grown-up sons of her own.  Sierra, who lives in Portland, Oregon, has Champion grandparents and also has a birthday on the summer solstice.  Sixth grader Alyssa Strong will have her birthday on the 23rd then an ancient tree hugger by name of Nicholas celebrates on the 25th.  Truthfully, he celebrates all the time…waking up.

        When Larry Casey won the First Ripe Tomato in Champion contest back in 2009, he was 73 years old.  He said that he had been gardening for 70 years already.  He had just returned from a trip to Houston, Texas where the Local Pipe Fitters Union, to which he had belonged for 50 years, had honored him for his achievements.  He said that he came back to find his garden overgrown with weeds and two big tomatoes hiding in them, just about ready to eat.  He was willing to share one with Champion friends as a requirement for winning the contest.   (It was delicious.  “The tomato had a nice firm heart and a rich tangy taste, sweet and juicy.  It was firm enough to cut nicely, but definitely perfectly ripe.  A little salt and the judges were transported to tomato heaven.”)   Casey became acquainted with this part of the country about thirty years ago when he came to visit some friends.  He had been working up in Alaska and when it was time to relocate he settled here.  He made friends, did a lot of welding, raised purple hulled peas and chickens.  He has had ongoing health issues and his family and friends are giving him a benefit supper at the Vanzant community building on Saturday, the 21st.  There will be a barbecue dinner, pie supper, an auction, some live music and a quilt raffle.  Festivities start a 4 o’clock and more information is available at (417) 683-9032, for anyone who would like to contribute items for the auction or help in any other way.  Champion for a Champion!  Larry plants by the signs.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 18th and 19th will be favorable for planting late root crops.  Those days will also be good for vine crops that can be planted now and for setting strawberry plants.  They are good days for transplanting.  The 22nd and 23rd will also be good days for those things.
        An email with pictures arrived in the Champion @ championnews.us mailbox to the effect that Jenna and Jacob Brixey, Cousins Maddax and Tyler Klingensmith, Kalyssa and Foster Wisemen and Teagan Krider showed at the Tri-County Fair June 13 and 14.  They all received blue ribbons and a trophy and are already the future farmers of Champion!

Foster and Kalyssa Wiseman initiate their cousin Drayson Cline into the joys of participating in the fair.
Jenna and Jacob Brixey, Cousins Maddax and Tyler Klingensmith were busy wrangling their calves at the Tri County Fair.

        The Skyline VFD Auxiliary met on Wednesday evening down at the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square.  It was a good meeting–the preliminary one that starts the planning for the annual Skyline Picnic.  This year, in lieu of a quilt, the Volunteer Fire Department will be selling tickets for a custom made cedar chest.  It was made by a prominent local artist and will soon be on display at the Emporium.  All the proceeds from the cedar chest and all the proceeds from the picnic go to buy firefighting equipment and other necessities.  Come down to the broad inviting banks of Old Fox Creek for your own necessities or to get a look at that cedar chest, or just to pass some pleasant time in one of the world’s truly lovely places—Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

CHAMPION—June 9, 2014

        Gentle rains punctuated with sunny spells have made for a lovely week.  The elegant outpost on the broad bristly banks of Old Fox Creek has been visited heavily by locals, neighbors and erstwhile residents turned sightseers and absentee landlords.  Champions busy at home will gladly leave the plow in the field to spend a few minutes in the throng when (if) they are alerted to the various impromptu gatherings.  It will be interesting to hear the debate/discussion around the table about the Right to Farm amendment.  It sounds like a good thing, but Tim Gibbons of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center says it is another step in the elimination of independent producers, not good for farms, or for the environment, or the market place and not good for the rural economy.  Douglas County has had its own pig farm scandals in years past and not interested in smelling another.  There are two sides to every story.  These days the winning side is generally corporate even though people do the voting.

        June Summer School is in full swing up at Skyline.  The greenhouse is taking shape.  The Parent Teacher Organization is sponsoring a co-ed softball fundraiser.  Entry forms are due by June 21st and can be obtained at the school.  There will be six teams, each team will play three games and it will be held at the old Ava Fair Grounds on June 28th.  Get your team together.  Contact Mary (417-543-0644) for more information.  The Skyline R II School Foundation (Rt. 72 Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717) is looking for support as well to replace aging drinking fountains.  It is estimated that it will cost about $3,000.00 to buy and install the three new drinking fountains.  Adeline Homer, who was a third grader this last year at Skyline, has her birthday on June 12th as does classmate Isabelle Creed.  They will move on to the 4th grade together with Wyatt Hicks.  His birthday is on the 13th and he shares it with 8th grader Glen Dylan Ford.  On the 15th Zachary Coon will celebrate.  He will be in the third grade when school starts back up.  Foster Wiseman will have his birthday on the 16th.  He lives up in Marshfield but is a frequent visitor to his Grandmother’s Champion farm.  June is also full of wedding anniversaries.  Old couples growing old together for better and for worse still, amazingly enough, enjoy each other’s company.  Fatherhood also gets it due in June.  Paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society cannot be too much appreciated.  The young fathers who are actively participating in the raising of children are affirming or refuting the examples their own fathers set.  There is the feeling that they want to be just like their own dear old dads or that they want to be like the dads they wanted their dads to be.  Either way is fine and it is beautiful to see sons and daughters looking up to fine role models—Champion dads!

        Mistakes are made.  Linda’s Almanac for June as it appears on the www.championnews.us website is correct.  A corrected version will get down to Henson’s G & G before this is in ink.  The errors and omissions started about the middle of the month and covered about eight days.  It is all fixed now with apologies.  Other errors are made purposefully sometimes as a way to revisit a subject.  Of course it was not Willard Coonts who was knife fighting with Lee Ray at Ava High School back in the 60’s.  It was W.D. Coonts.  That is not to say that Willard did not engage in some risky behavior, just that this particular incident (revisited here) involved his son.  W.D. and Lee sat in the back of the classroom (probably English) and had a little game they played with their pocket knives.  It was not mumbly peg which is generally considered to be an outdoor game, but a surreptitious parry and prick gambit where each one conceals his open pocket knife in his hand with his thumb covering the point of the blade so that should the teacher turn around and catch something going on, it would just appear that one or the other of the ruffian teenagers was poking the other in the leg with his thumb.  It happened this way that one day Lee forgot his knife.  He got off to school without it.  As soon as W.D. realized the situation he became more aggressive so that Lee scooted his chair over to get out of reach.  This made it awkward for W.D. who lunged a little farther and accidently let the point of his knife blade slip out from the end of his thumb.  He poked a little hole in Lee’s new blue jeans and as it turned out a little hole in Lee as well.  It was not all that painful and soon enough the subject matter of the class captured their attention and the incident was past.  By the end of the class though, Lee had begun to feel a little something warm in his shoe and in his chair.  That little stick must have stuck a little vein because when he stood up to see all the blood, he thought he might need a transfusion.  It was a mess and it was everywhere.  Lee knew it was an accident but he was still mad, new blue jeans and all.  Out in the hall W.D. was just standing up from his locker when Lee cold-cocked him.  He did not really knock W.D. out, but he knocked him down and then as he helped him up they exchanged a couple of words that brought the whole episode to a peaceful conclusion.  Lee said that he thought W.D. was a little embarrassed for having been knocked down and when it was all said and done, they felt even.  Lee did not forget his pocket knife after that.

        Friday morning J.C. Owsley joined up with fifty or more of his friends in the Caney Kansas Saddle Club and took off on a three day ride through Kansas and Oklahoma on his big white mule, Dot.  Dot is just on loan for a while and will get a little rest after the exertion of carrying the big man through two states.  Perhaps he will bring Dot to Champion for Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride.  J. C. has another horse that he has raised which is becoming a pasture riding fence checking favorite for the cowboy.  The Fox Creek Rodeo could have used some cowboy acumen the other day.  Details of the wild excitement are purposefully sketchy to avoid the publicity.  Barbara, up in Peoria, probably knows all about it.  If her hay maker does not get rained out he will get some bales put by before he goes home, meanwhile he can spend some time soothing hurt feelings over having sailed right by the Johnston’s new home without a by your leave, a wave or a howdy.  “I’ve got a pig at home in the pen and corn to feed him on.  All I need is a pretty little gal to feed him when I’m gone.”  That is probably a tune that Dylan Watts can pick on his banjo and his family and friends hope he will bring it with him when he comes this way from Tennessee now that he has his driving permit—over here to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

CHAMPION—June 2, 2014

        “What is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days.”  James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) made keen observations about the value of natural beauty.  He was an American Romantic poet, critic, satirist, writer, diplomat and abolitionist who said “who speaks the truth stabs falsehood to the heart.”  He might well have said, “Too few people control too much money and power in this country, and they are using that control to rig the rules to protect and extend their privileges, snuffing out the light of egalitarianism.”  Something he really did say was, “Blessed are they who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it.”  The likes of Mr. Lowell would be a colorful addition to the sages on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium down on the wild, woolly banks of Old Fox Creek—one of the Champions.  Lee Ray said that if his sister could cheat, he could certainly lie and he came in on Wednesday prepared to do just that, but Bob and Ethel Leach are astute as to his countenance and he knew he would not be able to pull it off.  He gave up on the lying and confessed to having been soundly beaten in Scrabble by his sister.  The score was 366 to 373.  He said that he would a sight rather have been beaten by a hundred.  He went on to talk about knife fighting with Willard Coonts when they were in high school and about what a great prevaricator his great Uncle Jim was.  Some in his family say he favors his great uncle.

        The Skyline R-2 School Foundation is doing some good work with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  Any child in the school district can receive a new, age-appropriate book in the mail every month from birth until the age of five years when it is time for kindergarten.  The young ones are being set up for success in school as they learn to love books and reading.  Currently the Foundation is sponsoring books for 28 children and 13 have graduated the program.  There are applications for the DPIL at the school and at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Champion.  The more the merrier!  In addition to this on-going venture, the Foundation is setting a goal of raising around $3,000.00 to replace the older drinking fountains at the school–a much needed and worthwhile project.  Fund raising ideas are being bandied about.  Until some exciting event is planned, donations will be happily accepted at The Skyline R-2 School Foundation, Rt. 72 Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717.

        Her Skyline/Champion friends are missing Esther Wrinkles who always had such enthusiasm for the school and for the Skyline VFD.  She remarked that it was a shame that the Skyline Picnic always followed the summer elections by a couple of weeks.  She would like to have been able to capitalize on the largesse of the various candidates as they are looking for votes.  The 1982 Skyline School Valedictorian, the incumbent a generous bidder in the silent auction at the Skyline Chili Supper, and an Ava attorney are all vying for the same spot on the bench.  Perhaps on their way to candidate forums here and there they can stop by with some competitive donating.  Perhaps all the candidates for public office could cast their eyes and hearts out to the East and give our lovely little school a helping hand.  Meanwhile, it is good to see the Skyline Greenhouse project taking shape.  Thanks to Willhites, Procks and Ryans, the framing is up and the whole thing looks like it is going to provide an excellent learning environment for country children who want to study how things grow.  Esther would like that.  Plants that she shared with friends keep her in Champion thoughts.  She was a big believer in planting by the signs and would appreciate Linda’s Almanac.  It says that June 7-11 will all be good days for planting crops that yield above the ground.  Find a copy of the Almanac up at The Plant Place in Norwood, on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G, and on line at www.championnews.us.

        Paul Kennedy drives a school bus for Skyline.  His birthday is June 2nd and so he missed getting to hear the kids sing that song to him as they roll along through the beautiful countryside.  Avid Champion News reader, Mark Parsons, over in Western Douglas County also celebrates on June 2nd.  A tour through his garden is at the same time enlightening, encouraging and discouraging.  Keep in mind he has been at it for many years and he has good help and that judging one’s own efforts by his standard is a recipe for dissatisfaction.  It is better to just recognize an amazing, lovely garden when you see one and then go pull some weeds in your own patch.  Margie Cohen up in Pennsylvania has a birthday on June the 3rd.  There is a nice song that goes with that date written by Fats Waller and recorded somewhere around 1935.  It is as if it were written for the woman though the song predates her by at least twenty years.  Like her, it is full of zest, romance, and vigorous enjoyment of life.  Happy days all!

        A hard fast little ten minute downpour did not dampen the enthusiasm for the Denlow School Reunion.  The gathering had just repaired to the spacious pavilion after a satisfying luncheon (with two kinds of banana pudding!) and was getting ready for the auction when the sky opened up.  The musicians put away their instruments during the deluge but were quick to pull them out again when the rain let up.  Lavern Miller officiated again as the auctioneer and kept everyone in stitches as he orchestrated some creative backwards bidding while raising funds to perpetuate the reunion and the upkeep of the grounds.  Kenneth Anderson and Elisabeth Johnston were his helpers and the sale was a lot of fun if not ‘brisk.’  Laverne grew up over around Brixey and Rockbridge.  It was his good luck that he happened to meet the lovely Jesse Mae Williams of Denlow and they have made a fine team for quite a few years now.  He is a World War II veteran and then worked on the railroad for 36 years.  Jesse could probably tell some good stories.  The place was full of good stories and visiting among Johnstons, Andersons, Cooleys, Upshaws, Kriders, Brixeys, Follises, Hicks, Woods, Proctors and many other families with long history in the area.  There were new faces as well and everyone was made to feel welcome.  Since the lack of a ‘program’ was so successful this year, the General has agreed not to do it again next year.  It has been suggested that he might prepare some written remarks or some sing-along songs that would allow everyone to enjoy themselves as much as he does, perhaps a song popular in World War II.  “So won’t you please say ‘Hello’ to the folks that I know.  Tell them I won’t be long.  They’ll be happy to know that as you saw me go I was singing this song.  We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”  Any day is fine in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!