A full house beats a straight every time, unless it is a straight flush. That was a good lesson to learn among friends down on Teeter Creek. A house full of family and friends makes for memorable summertime fun. Much of that fun is made possible by Mr. Willis Carrier who invented a device to control humidity—the fundamental building block for modern air conditioning. This week we will be singing his praises and singing Jimmy Rogers’ “Mother, the Queen of My Heart.” It is a song about a broken deathbed promise. “Son, don’t start drinking and gambling. Promise you’ll always go straight.” Ten years later, he came back around and renewed his vow to his dear Mother like a Champion.

Those gathering for the Champion Reunion on Saturday, September 2nd will also be most appreciative of Mr. Carrier. The Recreation of the Historic Emporium is cool inside. As the number of Champion School alumni dwindles, these days we are just calling it the Champion Reunion, to include so many who have great memories and long associations with the place. New comers are welcome too, to get an idea of the interesting community history where they have decided to make their home. The noon time potluck is always a feast, and the chance to hobnob with old friends and make new ones is not one to miss. You musicians, bring your instruments.

The Skyline R2 School open house Thursday was a delightful event. Donnie Luna had spent the afternoon grilling hotdogs out under the wonderful new awning. This addition will keep students dry from the bus to the door during a downpour. There were hotdogs for everyone, and the lunchroom and halls filled up with students, parents, staff, and friends for lots of socializing and planning for a great year ahead. There are about 82 students enrolled and 17 staff members. Sarah Harden is the new school secretary and bookkeeper, Karen Tamblyn, says she is already on top of things. Helen Batten had cookies to share and will be substitute teaching as needed again this year. She loves it. Bud Watkins could be seen all summer keeping the grounds in beautiful shape. The floors are gleaming, and the new HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters in every room will help keep contagion down while trapping dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any tiny airborne particles. Kaitlyn Smith will appreciate them as she travels over from Vanzant to be the new school nurse. Cheyenne McIntosh says they could use a few more guitars for her class, if any of you have one to share. Those instruments that have been in the back of the closet or under the bed for years can still be resurrected into musical learning for our future generation of bluegrassers, rock and rollers, country, jazz and classical players. They say adolescents with music training have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open, and ambitious–those cotton picking kids!

Ambition in the kitchen turns to making salsa, pico de gallo, and canning black eyed peas. We are grateful for the garden’s bounty even as we sympathize with those suffering bad weather and fire related calamities all over the country. The whole world seems to be in an uproar with climate catastrophes, war, poverty, and political strife. Out here on the banks of Clever and Old Fox Creeks, we acknowledge our good fortune and strive to lend a helping hand. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!