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

        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!