CHAMPION—June 6, 2016

Clever Creek rushing deep…

        The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.  In Booger County it falls harum-sacrum.  Folks over on the west side of the county are having to water their gardens, and some in the central part are saturated.  Seriously large hail hit Champion South with a vengeance recently, while four marble sized pieces bounced harmlessly a mile north of the City Center.  A look at A Champion Farmer’s Almanac at will reveal that from the 12th of the month through the 16th, grains, flowers, seedbeds, leafy vegetables and all above ground crops planted now will do well.  It is a Champion time of the year!

Bingo Parlor ready for an update.

        The Skyline VFD fish fry was an unqualified success on Saturday, even in competition with the Douglas County Fair and celebrations going on in Denlow.  The sun came out after a lot of rain and it was a relief to get out in the beautiful afternoon and evening to a great dinner.  Dale and Betty Thomas were some of the first to arrive.  They are already getting ready for the Pioneer Descendants Gathering in October.  They were joined by friends and family for some good visiting over dinner.  Quite a few took advantage of the ‘take out’ service and were able to enjoy a lovely meal at home without a lot of dishes to do.  Generous portions of good food, fish or chicken, and all the fixings, made the contribution to the volunteer fire department seem like a bargain.  They plan another such event on June 18th.  Everyone is welcome and proceeds will be used toward the maintenance of VFD equipment and facilities.  Generosity is a hallmark of this part of the country.  Dr. Kay Talley, a recent arrival from California, who lives over in Vanzant now, found out about the fish fry while enjoying the Denlow School Reunion last week.  She is such a fan of Volunteer Fire Departments that she made a donation in advance.  She will make it out to one of these dinners soon to get acquainted with more of the community—a welcome addition.

        A young fellow named Josh Bradley, step-son of Bobby Davis (RD) and son of Trish Davis is fighting malignant melanoma.  Cancer is a fight that many of us know all too well.  At the very least, Josh faces chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and much travel and time off work.  He is going to Texas on the 13th to start treatment at M.D. Anderson.  Friends are sponsoring a “9 Pin No-Tap Benefit Tournament” for him that evening at the Springfield Lanes.  Call Jim Blair (417-459-5061) or Cindy Blair (417-459-5060) for details or to contribute items for the drawings which already include weekend getaways and bowling balls.  An account has also been set up at the Town and Country Bank in Ava in the name of Josh Bradley or Trish Davis to accept donations to help with expenses for this young family man—a husband, father, son.

        Sara Hardin, newly elected member of the Skyline R-ll School Board, and Skyline alumnus, was at the fish fry at the school Saturday providing information about the proposed school district tax levy coming up on the August 2, 2016 ballot.  The current levy is $2.9503 per $100.00 in assessed value.  With the increase to $3.43, and the matching funds that the State will then provide, the total revenue added to the school will be approximately $64,600.  That will go a long way toward the busses, safety updates, technology, chairs and desks and other necessities that our endangered little rural school needs.  “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people,” said John Kennedy.  It is to the advantage of everyone in the school district, whether or not they have children in school, to keep the little institution thriving.  The loyalty of alumni like Ms. Hardin will sustain the community well into the future.

        More little Dutch Bantam chickens were to be the gift for the archeologist to the west of Ava.  He celebrated three quarters of a century of living on the June 2nd.   Wayne Sutherland was 85 on June 7, 2015.  He has recently been honored by the Older Iron Club in Cabool.  These are Skyline student with birthdays in June:  Jacob Shannon, 1st grade, the 10th,  Meguell Townsend, 5th grader, on the 11th, Wyatt Hicks, 6th grader, on the 13th,  Zachary Coon, 5th grader on the 15th, and Sirinity Townsend, 4th grader, on the 16th.  In Ava, Janice Lorain has a birthday on June 15th and Foster Wiseman, Champion grandson, celebrates on the 16th.  Gifts, cards, songs and cake make for happy birthdays.  Being remembered is the best.

Denlow Alumni
Fairview Alumni
Lavern and Jessie May Miller celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary and her 90th birthday!

        The Fairview/Denlow School Reunion was another splendid affair.  Pete Proctor took over the master of ceremonies duties from The General and so a great deal of silliness was avoided, but there was still enough.  Cathie Alsup Reilly was able to make it over from Kentucky after all.  She had been having transmission troubles in her car, which was only going in reverse, so when she decided at the last minute that she could come to the reunion, her husband, Mickey, agreed to bring her in his truck rather than see her take off going backwards.  They made a fast trip of it and seemed to have a good time.  Later Cathie posted on-line an amazing description of the flood of 1876, which makes a very interesting read.  Laverne and Jessie May Miller were in celebration mode.  They have just completed 70 (seventy) years of married life and Jessie May’s 90th birthday.  Wayne Coats came up from Arkansas to act as auctioneer this year, and while he did a passable job and had a lot of fun at it, it was agreed by all that he could take lessons from Laverne.    Photographs were taken of the students who attended each school.  Some attended both.  Gracie Smith Hicks is reported to be the last surviving Denlow teacher.  She lives up in Oregon now.  Most of the people who attend this reunion did not actually go to either of these little schools.  The alumni are just willing to share their get together with friends and family and neighbors.

        Charlie Lambert was in Champion on Wednesday.  He attended the Wednesday morning jam at the barber shop in Ava and then made it out to his old stomping grounds.  It is 110 miles for him to make the trip now days and his friends here are happy to see him.  He stays busy with his grandchildren and all the things that people who are old enough to be grandparents do.  He said that he has not been playing music as much as he did when he lived around Champion and that it is easy to fall out of practice.  He and Lonnie Krider, Whitey Upshaw, Wayne Anderson, and others used to ‘tear it up’ around these parts on a regular basis.  Music is a great tonic, especially for those playing.  “Musician, heal thyself!”  The paraphrased admonition is directed to some favorite players who are being absent from local jams these days.  None of them are old enough to remember Rudy Valley singing, “Keep a little song handy where ever you go, and nothing can ever go wrong.  Keep a little song handy and sure as you know, the sunshine will follow along.  Any little single jingle is welcome when you mingle in any single throng, so keep a little song handy where ever you go and nothing can ever go wrong” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!