A long lovely road to Champion.

The swift passage of time is illustrated as open enrollment at the Skyline R2 School will be on August 2nd and 3rd, 2017 from 8:00a.m to 3:00 p.m.  Any new students or new preschool students will need to fill out enrollment papers.  If you have any new neighbors please let them know about these dates.  More important dates to keep in mind are August 11 and 12.  That will be the time for the Annual Skyline VFD Picnic.  Reports are that the Holt Picnic was another great success.  The General reports:  “The hamburgers, pies, and music, and all the games—plus the weather was wonderful making both evenings very pleasant.”  These summer picnics are the summertime equivalent of Christmas in these parts.  Sure, they are fund raisers for their various good causes, but they are also opportunities to get acquainted with your neighbors, to see old friends you only see at these events.  Community is a Champion commodity.

It was already hot late last Tuesday morning when Lem and Ned made their re-acquaintance with some Old Champions.  The pair came ambling up the drive way waving their hats and grinning.  It was a fine reunion.  Lem had the shoulder strap twisted on his bib overalls.  Ned said that kept him safe from getting hit by lightning.  They were most pleased to have made it back to Booger County for Turnip Day.  “On the 25th of July, sow your turnips, wet or dry!”  They headed right on out into the garden.  The plot was overgrown.  They began to pull the tall weeds and to beat the soil out of the roots against the sides of their brogans.  They went hard at it and made some good progress.  Directly, they stepped into the shade for a dipper of water and Lem said, “Ned if we start getting ready to plant our turnips on Turnip Day, reckon what Old Mr. Fortiefive will do on Lame Duck Day?” [July 28, 2017]  “Well, Lemuel, I reckon he ought to goose step hisself off for a spell and find him a wide stump to sit on and cogitate.  He’s got some serious deep reckoning to do, but he don’t seem apt for it.  Now, you and me go around planting turnips all over the country, because we like them and they are good food and easy to grow, and our friends don’t care how many turnips we plant or where we plant them, but what if we was sowing tares—bitter sneezeweed, pig weed, musk thistles, stinging nettle, cockleburs, burdock and dandelions?  The missus wouldn’t in no way be accommodating to let us work up her garden spots and do all those little chores the mister don’t want to do.  No. There’d be no dippers of cool water and no gooseberry pies, and no turnips.”  Back out in the weeds once more, Lem asked, “Ned, reckon he knows the difference between tares and turnips?”  “It’s a quandary for sure.  He is a naturally mendacious critter.  We don’t seem to have any kind of functioning democracy at the moment, but they say it takes character to stand up to the rigors of indolence, so most likely we’ll be all right.”  A gooseberry pie can buy a lot of hard work and perceptive philosophy if you have friends like Lem and Ned.  They seem to agree with their host that things are a mess on the federal level, that it seems that every cabinet appointment has been chosen to destroy anything of human significance in that part of the government, that the parts of the structure that are beneficial to human beings and to future generations are being systematically dismantled, and with very little attention.  Still, Ned reckons we will be OK.

In the champion@championnews.us mailbox:  “We are Russ and Teryl Penner and we were in Alberta visiting our son Max and our beautiful daughter-in-law Camilla.  Max’s Vanzant friends will be happy to know he’s thriving under single payer health care.  They took us fishing on Lesser Slave Lake where Teryl caught the biggest fish on the smallest rod.  Beautiful country and friendly people.  We enjoy The Champion News.”  It was nice of the Penners to share their Canadian adventure.  It turns out that friendly people find friendly people wherever they go and the biggest fish is always good.  It will also be nice if America gets some form of single payer health care when the dust settles.  There is plenty of settling that needs doing.  Some particular worrisome things these days have to do with the examples being set for children.  Parents need to continue their efforts to foster the civilizing emotions in their children—empathy, self-control, morality and realistic self-regard.  It is a natural parenting tool to point out when things are wrong, so Champion parents also put good effort into recognizing when things are good.  “If you have a warm heart and you care for others you’ll be happy and the community in which you live will be happier too,” said the Dahli Lama.  Another lovely message comes from the fair Morag Edward in Edinburgh.  “A juvenile sparrow is hanging out with me today.  When the rain escalates to monsoon level, he comes indoors, all muddy feet and rat feathers, then when it stops he hops out into the honeysuckle and delicately sips rainwater off each leaf.”  How splendid it is to get good mail.

In what year were you born?  How old are you going to be at the end of this year?  Those are some nosy questions, but Elmer says that if you add your birth year and your age together the answer will be 2017.  He always has something interesting to report.  A couple of those handsome and athletic young men from the White River Valley Electric Cooperative happened to be in the neighborhood for lunch on Wednesday.  They had come from a job over west of Highway C, where they had come upon a big black bear, or rather, the bear had come upon them.  He was right out in the middle of the road and an ominous fellow.  The linemen got their work done and skedaddled.  They took their lunch out on the wide veranda and listened to the music for a little while.  This time of the year a walnut can let go of the tree unexpectedly onto a tin roof with a “Bang!”  A person in deep concentration can jump out of her skin at the sudden impact and an observer such as one of those young gentlemen can get a kick out of how high.

Butterflies and beer cans are some of the colorful things along the roadsides and creek beds in the area.  Of course, somebody who has consumed four or five cans of beer probably does not want to have the empties in his vehicle when he is out on the pavement and is likely to be stopped by the constabulary.  He might be considered to be considerate when he leaves them all in a dry creek bed right by the road so that an environmentalist could easily collect them.  Butterflies get collected as well, but mostly just their digital images (not on film any more).  See what you can see on your way to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  “I see skies of blue and clouds of white, The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, And I think to myself what a wonderful world” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

More colorful than beer cans–Champion butterflies!