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 @ 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!