A long dusty road to the end of Summer.

“And let us not be weary in well doing,” is a favorite scriptural quote of a favorite Champion born and raised here. He moved away for a while but came back and lives 200 yards from where he was born up there on a hill on WW Highway with one of the most lovely views in all of Champion. His admonition is adhered to nicely and is a general characteristic of the area. Ms. Helen Batten writes to say that the Douglas County Health Department is going to come to Skyline School, Tuesday, October 3rd. The nurse will be doing blood pressure and body-mass-index checks, as well as glucose screening. She reminds us that we need to fast before the glucose test. The nurse arrives at Skyline at 8:45 a.m. and is there until 10:45 on the first Tuesday of each month. This time she may also be offering flu shots if they have enough vaccine after their shot clinic of September 22nd. This is one of the many examples of well doing. Others are the wonderful little rural school that is shaping the adults who will be running things one of these days. Skyline teachers, administration, staff (Thank you, Ms. Helen.), and board members put in a lot of hours and thought dedicated to the wellbeing and advancement of our most precious asset–our children. Additionally, the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department is here to protect our lives and our property. They are the Volunteers who leave their farms and their jobs to use the Jaws of Life to get us out of our car wrecks and to do the wellness checks that we need when we are in need. Of all the things of which to be weary, well doing is not one in Champion.

Someone said that if you act like you are having a good time, pretty soon you will forget that you are acting and will really be having a good time—maybe having a really good time. That has been the message on a card sent to a Prominent Citizen off and on annually for a while. It turns out that he has been having a good time for all that time. Pete Mullins over there in Kansas and Janna Brixie of Skyline School share his birthday as do Skyline 4th grade student, Lydia Harden and prekindergarten student Myson Loveless. They all celebrate on the 1st of October. William Tucker Clark shares his birthday on the 2nd with Mahatma Gandhi. Tucker was born in 2015. Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1869. Tuckers old granddad celebrates on the 4th. The General’s little sisters celebrate on the 4th. That is also the birthday of Skyline 5th grader, Malachi Fulk. Skyline VFD Auxiliary president Betty Dye celebrates on the 7th, as does Vicki Trippe, another civic minded woman doing good work for her community and the Nation. Happy days to all you Champions!

Frank Martin lives in West Plains and shares this poem on the internet. “Weather exceeding all norms/ Appears in unusual forms/ The latest forecast/ First worse than the last/ Shattered scours and stumber throns” Folks who are fortunate to have persimmons growing say that the seeds all have spoons in them. This is portentous of heavy, wet snow. Meanwhile, the wind blew things around in West Plains on Sunday and across the world today floods from hurricanes have taken many lives and the homes of many together with all their possessions. Fires in the West have taken lives and homes and have scorched some of America’s most beautiful landscapes. Neighbors to the south have their world shaken apart over and over again with many still trapped in the rubble. Sarah Cloud lives in Hurricane, Idaho. She writes, “This week I see post after post bashing people who are protesting. I see a POTUS who is fueling the fire. I also see how easily your attention was swayed away from battles for basic needs of fellow Americans in DC and silence about our citizens in Puerto Rico. By all means, get mad over a few professional players, meanwhile some of us are fighting for your rights to medical coverage, tax relief, social security and education. As my child always point out, when government says, ‘Hey! Look over here!’ they are hiding something over there.” Raymond James of Leeton, Missouri writes that enrollment for 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) stars November 1st and ends on December 15th. Senator John McCain has a terminal brain cancer and a good attitude. Knowing that this is probably his last term in office, the 81 year old Veteran is free to pursue a legacy of actually representing the best interest of the Nation and its citizens. How encouraging it would be if it did not take the threat of death for our elected officials to do the right thing.

Gardening has proven to be an excellent activity this year. In spite of the recent dry spell, gardens have been wonderfully productive. Skip and Ina from over near West Plains are sharing excellent cucumbers. The seed came from MFA. The cucumbers do not get very big and do not get bitter. One Champion is grateful to friends for their having shared their favorite tomato varieties over the years. Sierra and Bailey’s grand-papa likes ‘Amy.’ It is a small (golf ball size), indeterminate variety with a rich full taste, productive until frost. Louise Hutchison, who won the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest in 2008, favored ‘Parks Whoppers.’ Louise won an antique blue fruit jar and two dozen canning jar lids and other prizes for her two baseball size ripe beauties. She just had a birthday on the last day of summer. Linda, who operated The Plant Place in Norwood for many years, likes the variety called ‘Delicious.’ Our Ms. Brooks shared the ‘San Remo.’ They are no longer available, but they were an incredible tomato—a big Egyptian variety. Cathy Odneal advises wisely to plant basil in with tomatoes for good results. There is time yet before the full moon to plant spinach, kale, lettuce and collards. After the moon changes will be a good time to get next year’s garlic in the ground. A few truckloads of organic fertilizer sounds like a good idea at this time of the year.

Carson and Drayson Cline have been in town for a few days. Drayson had his 4th birthday in August and Carson will have his 3rd birthday in October. At the same time he was being born in Cox Hospital, his great grandfather was over in Mercy Hospital getting a hip replacement. They are both doing well until this day. Carson and Drayson have good friends and cousins in the neighborhood. It is a delight to see them growing and learning and playing together. They remind one of Rolf Harris’s song, “Two Little Boys.” It is a sweet story of friendship and love. One says to the other, “When we grow up we’ll both be soldiers/ And our horses will not be toys/ And I wonder if we’ll remember when we were/ Two little boys.” Old sweet songs help take away some of the stress and anxiousness of these tumultuous times. It was a joy to have a favorite fiddler back at the Vanzant Jam. He gazed at the lovely Lena and sang, “I love you just the way you are. I wouldn’t change you if I could.” That is how it is in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Clever Creek at the end of Summer.