CHAMPION—August 8, 2016

Catahoula Frankie Midnight, the ‘hog-killing swamp dog,’ was just a month old when she first visited Champion. At nine months now and at 50 pounds, she enjoyed the Mill Pond on a hot day and then a nice nap.

        Champions are getting excited about the Skyline Picnic to be held on Friday and Saturday.  (See details in the newspaper ad.)  Their grocery shopping lists include ingredients for pies and cakes to donate for the concession stand and for the cake walk.  It will be another chance to meet up with family and friends for an evening of fun.  This year Champion’s prominent artisan has donated a quilt/display chest.  It is 24″ high, 29″ wide and 18″ deep.  It is a beautiful piece of work with glass sides and front to show off those prize possessions.  The drawing will be held on Saturday night.  Last year Sally Prock won the drawing for the quilt called “Broken Dishes.”  It was put together with hundreds of tiny pieces and quilted in a style called ‘stippling.’  Sally was happy and the community was happy for her because she is always out supporting every good cause in the area.  This picnic supports the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department.  The firefighters are all volunteers who are trained as first responders to aid in emergencies of all kinds in addition to fighting fires.  Proceeds from the picnic go toward equipment and training for these folks who are willing to put themselves at risk to protect the lives and property of their neighbors.  Champions!

        Caleb Harden, Jaycee Hall and Cryslynn Bradshaw are all first grade students at Skyline School and they all have birthdays in August.  Caleb’s birthday is on the 5th, Jaycee’s on the 10th and Cryslynn’s on the 12th.  Their birthday celebrations will be over before school starts on the 17th.  The school will have an open house from 5:30 – 7:00 in the evening of the 15th to give the community a chance to get to know the teachers, the parents, and the students.  Everyone is welcome.  Foster and Kalyssa, Champion grandchildren living over in Marshfield, will have helped their Dad count his candles.  He was born August 8, 1968, so that is quite a few candles.  Champion friends wish you all a Happy Birthday.

        Boy Howdy and the Howdy Boys, featuring Rattlesnake Slim and Frankie Midnight, the Wonder Dog, provided almost a week of entertainment for folks up in Near Champion North.  The band pulled in Tuesday and departed Sunday.  In their wake, the house seems big and quiet.  The days passed with no television—no news, no politics.  It was a lovely time of pleasant conversation, storytelling, help with farm projects, great meals and music, music, music.  These world travelers continued their tour on to North Carolina where it is sure they will be well received.  Meanwhile, back in Champion, plugged back in now and turned back on, it is exciting to see young people from all over the world striving to be the best in the world at their Olympic sport.  The Olympic Games remind us that we live in a small world and people have more in common with each other than they do differences.  It is a cause for optimism to see that spirit of friendship and cooperation.

        It was great to see Ruth Collins back at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam with her velvety voice and sweet smile.  Dwight is sporting his new titanium hip and is getting around nicely already with just a cane.  The big circle of musicians included Montana Banjo with his lightening fingers and a guitar wielding high lonesome singer wringing hearts with, “Why did I leave my plow in the field and look for a job in the town?”  Festus had another humorous ditty.  Jerry obliged requests to yodel.  Roberta wished someone “Many Happy Hangovers.”  Visiting Texans wowed the house with eastern European music from Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia.  The time flew by and already folks are looking forward to next Thursday.  Pot luck at 6 p.m. and good music until 9 makes a nice evenning.

        “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it,” according to Mark Twain.  He was born in 1835, and died in 1910.  He was a keen observer of the human condition.  His observation, made sometime well over a hundred years ago, may have been a cynical response to a disappointing election.  A candidate who, in the recent election, won by a narrow margin was heard to say, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your vote doesn’t matter!”  One hundred thirty seven people who voted for the Skyline School Tax Levy are disappointed.  Those voting against the proposal numbered 201.  In the previous election, the proposal was defeated by mere 3 (or maybe 6) votes.  Once again, the resourcefulness and dedication of the school board, the staff and the school community will be called on to keep our valuable little rural school viable with minimal resources.  Their efforts are to be commended.

        The weather is volatile all over the world these days.  There has been flooding in places that have never seen it before here in the United States and across the world.  Strong winds and heavy rain have wreaked havoc in many places.  Damage from recent storms has been cleaned up nicely on the Square in Historic Downtown Champion and locals are grateful for the relatively minor nature of it.  Marge and Doug are home again from their summer in the mountains and may have some stories to share about nature at higher elevations.  When they first located to this area they spent some time searching for it and now that they know where the Square is (at the bottom of several hills, near the confluence of a couple of creeks, where country roads meet the pavement), they may well be enjoying the placid view of the wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek and of the Behemoth Bee Tree from the wide veranda of the Famed Emporium.  On Friday and Saturday nights, on your way home from the picnic, pull over at some scenic overlook and gaze at the heavens for a while.  If the sky is clear you are sure to be rewarded by the Perseids Meteor Shower and the sight of many fireballs streaking across the sky, but “don’t let the stars get in your eyes.  Don’t let the moon break your heart.  Love blooms at night…” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!