The good news that Skyline voters approved the raise in the operating tax levy is offset a little by the Governor’s announcement of $131 million in budget restrictions on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There may be help from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) in the short term, but all our schools will share in the shortfall. Back to the good news: the Skyline community supports our school and will continue to do so while adjustments are having to be made. Superintendent Donnie Luna, all the staff, and the school board will be doing the hard work of keeping our great school going strong. Thank you. And thank you to everyone who is being safe in the pandemic.

Private W.A. Masters, United States Army Air Corps, WWII Anti-Fascist

The Merriam Webster Dictionary folks define “fascism” as #1: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. #2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control. 75 years ago all Americans fought against fascism. All our “Greatest Generation” of World War II Veterans were anti-fascists. My Dad and all my uncles were anti-fascists. Woody Guthrie had a sign on his guitar that said, “This Machine Kills Fascists.” We may remember him best for “This Land is Your Land.”

Gardens are glorious this year, sending some new fresh vegetable to the table every day and blooming with the optimism of much fruit to come. One Champion noted that when her garden is weed free, well mulched, attractively arranged and bursting forth with produce, no one stops by to see it. On the other hand, when she has let it get away from her and it is weedy, diseased or failing, she can hardly keep people out. They want to take pictures! So it goes. The omniscient they say any time you see a pretty garden there is someone in it. All this isolation makes it easier to be out there even if no one sees. Things that only you see in your garden make it the pleasant place to be in today’s tumultuous times—a butterfly with a tattered wing, a beautiful ribbon snake, or visitors to a dandelion. These recent nights have been so bright a gardener could almost work in the middle of the night. The lightening bugs might help.

Local hay-makers have done a good job dodging the rain and fields are dotted with big round bales. Sometimes the air is full of the hum of distant hay making machinery. It looks like a good year for hay so far. Monday night’s rain was 2.5 inches in North Champion. J.C. Owsley up in Cross Timbers (or over in Jordan) reported almost four inches piling up in his rain gauge and at 8:20 in the morning was still coming down. Cooler weather is on the way for a few days, they say. Last week some were looking for their 12-inch, 3-speed oscillating fan. It is the Ozarks at the end of Spring with summertime fast headed our way.

Show and tell at the Historic Emporium has been interesting lately. A gas powered flat iron was on exhibit there for a while, and has since been taken to a recycler. Another item was brought in the other day by a regular Champion visitor and was identified as a horse clog. It is a three pieced wooden apparatus configured to go around a horse’s foot in such a way to prevent the animal from being willing to run. It is an old thing, but it would still work.

The reward for making a recent rare trip to town was running into Karen Ross. Karen was the Champion mail carrier for a long time. She has another route now and seems to like it just fine, though she asked to be remembered to all her old Rt. 72 friends. Her husband, Mike, is running for sheriff of Wright County, so she must be extra busy these days. We miss Karen, but are very pleased with our new guy, John. Often lately his is the only vehicle going down Cold Springs Road. The USPS has always been an important amenity for rural people. John is doing a good job and is much appreciated.

These are being beautiful days in Champion in spite of the great National and global turmoil. In times like these we think of FDR. He spoke often of our four great freedoms: freedom from fear and want and freedom of speech and religion. Those are things we contemplate in the comfort of our peaceful, rural homes. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!