Summertime flowers are making Champion even more beautiful.

Hey! Haymakers are making hay like Champions!  All over the area, from here to yonder, there are beautiful fields just mowed and baled producing record amounts of hay.  Of course, some fields are not producing because of damage caused by the flood, but those that are producing really are.  These days it is big round bales bucked with tractor forks, but many know about bucking those square bales from the old days.  Ruth Fish Collins said that her son could buck a thousand bales a day.  It was just the kind of hard work that robust young country fellows were accustomed to doing back then.  Technological advancements in haymaking have made it so that today, even at an advanced age, The General is able to participate in the agrarian activities that result in the hay getting put up in addition to the validation of having the appearance of having worked hard.  It is a win-win situation—while the sun shines on the Bright Side and elsewhere in the area.  Meanwhile, summer wild flowers in their vigor and profusion have replaced the delicate posies of spring.  Daises, sunflowers, Queen Anne’s Lace, chicory, primroses, butterfly weed, Echinacea, the little pink shy plant and the orange day lilies and so many that we do not know the names of grace our country lanes and fill us with appreciation for the beauty of the place we live.  Time marches on in Champion.

All the birthday Buzz started on the 11th with the special day of Grandpa Woods who is best known for the beauty of his granddaughters and his devotion to them.  Artist and philosopher who spent some formative years in Champion, Joshua Cohen, has a birthday on June 19th.  Daniel Parkes was in the 4th grade at Skyline last year.  He is moving on to the 5th grade and his big day is also the 19th.  Tyler Cark was born June, 20, 1988.  Linda K. Watts has her birthday on the 21st—the first day of summer.  Her Tennessee sons are now both high school graduates with exciting lives ahead of them.  Sierra Parsons out in Portland also celebrates on the solstice.  Her grandparents keep an amazing garden and interesting chickens over west of Ava.  Elisabeth Warren was warned, nevertheless she persisted.  Her birthday is on the 22nd as is that of Ms. Cinita Brown.  Alyssa Strong was in the 8th grade at Skyline last year and now will be a high school freshman somewhere.  Congratulations.  Her birthday is on the 23rd.  The 24th belongs to Easton Shannon who will be a first grader in the fall.  The 25th belongs to Jonny Rainbow of Tar Button Road and velvet voiced Sherry Bennett of bass fiddle fame.  Devin Scot will be in the 6th grade.  His birthday is on the 26th.  The 29th is for David Fulk who will be in the fifth grade in the fall.  It is also the special day of Mrs. Eva Powell.  Her Champion friends miss seeing her in the neighborhood.  Esther Wrinkles was born June 28, 1917.  She passed away in 2013, but the centenary of her birth has her in Champion thoughts as she often is.  She liked to play ‘skip-bo’ with her family.  She loved music, cooking, quilting, her church, her fire department, politics, her many friends, and her big loving family.  All you celebrants past and present know that you have friends and family who think you are top notch Champions.  Happy birthday.

Our kids know they are cared about.  Terry Ryan shares the post, “No matter how much pedagogy we know, no matter how many degrees we have, unless our students know that we care, they will not learn from us.”  That is a sentiment that is reflected in Ms. Ryan’s attitude and commitment to our precious country children and our wonderful little rural school.  Sonja Hodges was at Skyline on the first Tuesday of June doing blood pressure screenings.  (Nannette Hirsch is off on an adventure, but will be back for Champions at the Historic Emporium on the last Tuesday of the month.)  Sonja filled in for Nannette and also happened to be there for the first day of summer school and the ribbon cutting and dedication of the new playground equipment that is called Monkey Junction.  Superintendent Jeannie Curtis did the ribbon cutting and officiated at the ceremony.  She shares Ms. Ryan’s philosophy and has for some time now put her good efforts into making Skyline the excellent little school it is.  The new equipment consists of a couple of slides and some climbing components.  The apparatus came through a Healthy Schools—Healthy Community grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Douglas County Health Department.  The Ava Middle School and the Plainview School have also been recipients of this grant.  Sonja has been with the DCH for eleven years now and has had a hand in many good works.  One of those is the paved walking trail that winds along the edge of the woods and over to the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department picnic grounds.  It is a delightful stroll.  Four times around makes a mile. People like Terri Ryan, Jeannie Curtis and Sonja Hodges make us grateful for their good energy and dedication.

Legend has it that Garryowen was an Irish drinking song that came to the attention of General George Armstrong Custer via a trooper who was under the influence of spirits.  The tune is lively and accentuates the cadence of marching horses and was adopted as the regimental song of the 7th Calvary soon after Custer arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas to take over command of the regiment.  It was the song that followed the column into history.  These days another Yellow Hair seems to be headed for a historic cataclysm.  Like Custer, he is both loved and reviled.  The fact that Custer came in last in his class at West point did not hinder his rise up the ranks of the U.S. Army.  There seem to be many similarities and the song is still lilting and lively, reminding us that things can change dramatically in a short period of time.  Over at the Vanzant Community Building, for example a new structure has sprung up in the past week.  It looks like it will be the new bingo parlor that will be the big attraction at the Vanzant Picnic.  New bingo parlors seem to be all the rage in the east end of Douglas County.

Haymaking duties reduced the Wednesday turn out at the Historic Emporium, though several regular visitors made solid appearances.  Next week there will likely be stories shared about the snakes that are disturbed by haymaking and those that are just out and about this time of the year because it is their nature.  This week the excitement on the wide veranda was a controversy between brothers with differing opinions about who wrote the song, “Satisfied Mind.”  It looks like the dispute is not the first one the brothers have had between them and while the authorship is important, the gist of the song is one of those life lessons.  It seems that “money cannot buy back your youth when you are old, or a friend when you are lonely or a love that has grown cold.”  The beautiful full Strawberry Moon on Friday was enough to put sweet satisfied smiles on the faces of local romantics whose love is still warm in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Black snakes are just out and about this time of the year in Champion.