At the last possible moment the Third Annual Champion Spring Fling had to be cancelled. It turned out to be a good call because the cold rain just kept coming down all day Saturday. It was a disappointment, but it was the responsible thing to do. There will be some glorious day ahead when we Spring Flingers can revel in the sun. We will enjoy the fellowship of friends and neighbors, the music of local jammers and the fish dinners with all the fixings and crazy taters made to order by the Prominent Champion and his minions. Champions understand that good things are worth the wait, so enjoy the anticipation and when the new date is set, you will be the first to know.

A beautiful day in the Ozarks on Sunday made Mother’s Day a perfect day. There were extravagant expressions of gratitude and genuine appreciation for the effort it takes to raise children. Often the realization of that effort does not come until we are parents ourselves. One recalls her Mother having said, “I hope you have a dozen and I hope they are all just like you.” For those of you lucky to still have your mothers in the world with you, feel free to tell them you love and appreciate them any time you please. No need for a special day for our Champion mothers.

There was a good turnout for the public meeting concerning the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department on Friday evening. A grant proposal is in the offing for a new fire station. When it materializes it will mean a change in the configuration of the picnic grounds, but will not change the picnic! When it happens there will be improvement in the capabilities of the fire department such as being able to refill the pumper truck quickly and reliably. Hopes are that enhanced training facilities, upgraded equipment and technologies will encourage more young people in the area to become involved in the fire department. Volunteers are the folks that protect our property and our lives. The picnic has historically generated much needed income for the fire department, but more than that it has generated a sense of community. It is a chance to express our appreciation for the volunteers who leave their jobs and lives at a moment’s notice when they are needed. It is also an opportunity to renew old acquaintance and to reminiscence as we have here on these grounds for decades–Champion continuity.

May is a popular month for birthdays. The crowd sang that song for Kenneth Anderson Thursday at the bluegrass jam. His birthday was a day or two earlier according to tattle-tale sources. Elizabeth Heffern and Linda Cooley share the 15th as their special day. Alvie Dooms and Ivan Moses have the 16th for their celebration. Exer Hector Masters and Rachael Cohen, dynamic women both, have the 18th as their special day. Heidi Strong is in the 7th grade at Skyline. She and Teresa Wrinkles both celebrate on May 22nd. Happy birthday wishes go to all of you from your Champion friends.

In a chat with J.R. Johnston the other day he talked about hauling the asphalt for the road between Branson and Silver Dollar City. He knew a lot about the area and had been going there since it was just beginning to be an attraction. When he was growing up his family lived over on Fox Creek near the Manfred Smith place and he walked the three miles to the Champion School meeting up with Krider kids along the way. He enjoyed the Champion School Reunions and the Spring Flings. Hearts are broken at his sudden passing on Friday. He had been absent from the local bluegrass jams that he loved for a few weeks, doing physical therapy, trying to alleviate the pain he was having in his hip. The cold damp weather did not help. It was great that he felt like getting out on his mower on the first beautiful day in a long time, but he had an accident and lost his life. His many friends have lost the pleasantness of his company and the shared joy he had with them and music. On Monday the steady stream of friends and family at his visitation numbered in the hundreds. They came to express their affection for him and to offer condolences to the family. It was a precious scene. J.R. and Janet have been part of music gatherings all around the country for many of their 67 years together. Hearts are broken, but we smile when we think of them in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!