Jonnie’s First Day at Mill Pond

”Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…”  Here they are in Champion!  We have reached the season long before the Summer Solstice.  That will be here on Thursday night, which, they say (whoever they are) will be the coolest day of the week—just in the low 80s.  Lovely.  Until then, our days will be getting longer.  Here in Missouri our longest day will be 14 hours, 52 minutes and four seconds long.  Over in Edinburgh, Scotland, the day will last 17 hours, thirty six minutes and 41 seconds, roughly two and a half hours longer than our day here in the warm, humid Ozarks.  Champions there will holiday at Portobello Beach enjoying the soft whisper of the waves rolling in as they have forever and as they will continue long after we are gone–kind of comforting.  Old timers here will be out early getting the heavy work done.  They lollygag during the middle of the day doing an exercise called “pre-covering.”  That is resting up for the work ahead.  They may get down to the creek just to sit with their feet in the cool water.  Evening chores include a little bit of watering and light duty puttering in the garden.  They say, (them again) that if you see a pretty garden, there is someone in it.  Haymaking has kept some Wednesday regulars away from their Champion recreation.  Alas!  Others may be absent as they prefer not to have to defend their opinions concerning the world situation.  It is awkward.  The horseshoe pitch gets a lot of action these days.  The mutually recognized strength and skill of the competitors, together with their inherent good nature, has, so far, kept the competition friendly, at least overtly.  No raised voices from the pitch have made it into the cool atmosphere of the meeting room and wagering has not yet become any kind of problem.

Meetings have been underway for some while now in preparation for the second annual Pioneer Heritage Festival.  Details are being worked out concerning the music, the food, the vendors, the demonstrations, a talent show, various contests, and all the logistics for what will be an exciting event on October 6th and 7th this year.  It will be held at Chapel Grove out on beautiful Highway 14 just east of Bryant Creek.  The organizers have a great Face Book page called Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks where you can find out all kinds of information about the happening and see some great pictures and stories from last year.  The thoughtful planning going on now will result in good family fun this fall.

Summer school will soon be over.  Kids will be loose on the countryside for the summer time fun that occupies so much of what we recall as having been some of the best times of our youth.  Teachers and staff will get a little break, but the full time process of educating our precious children is ongoing.  Higher learning has been linked to things like democracy, equality, deductive reasoning—good things.  Efforts to defund public education and to delegitimize higher education promote the notion of a population easily managed.  Champions, disinclined to be managed, stand behind our vital little rural school as it turns out tomorrow’s solid citizens.  Go, Tigers!  There is a garage sale being planned for the end of the summer.  Stay tuned to TCN for more details.

Some of the Hopper Family cooling off at the Mill Pond.

Conversations among friends meeting at the Mill Pond to while away a hot afternoon covered a lot of subjects.  The following research was the result of some of those exchanges:  The difference between an immigrant and a refugee is that the immigrant has the choice.  The refugee is seeking refuge and cannot go back to the place he fled.  “We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  This is a quote from a Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech made in 1986 by Elie Wiesel, noted Holocaust survivor and an award winning novelist, journalist, and human rights activist.  The world population is currently reported to be 7,632,819,325.  It grows by many more human beings every second.  A hundred million people are homeless worldwide.  There are 65.6 million forcibly displaced persons across the world.  Sources for these numbers are readily available.  The math works out to say that for about every 7,600 people in the world, there are about 166 who are in desperate need of some kind of help—about 8 people out of every 360.  If the unfortunate people were dispersed evenly across the globe, Douglas County would have about 300 distressed people in dire need.  This is a part of the world where we help our neighbors.  The Statistical Atlas shows that there are 780 people on food stamps in Douglas County.  We have a history of caring for each other and an infrastructure set up to do that.  Champions know that fortunes shift and change.  We do not judge those in less desirable circumstances because we could well be there ourselves tomorrow.

Joseph Goebbels, on the other side of the Holocaust said, “Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe.”  “A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”

The Vanzant Bluegrass Jam goes on at the Vanzant Community Building every Thursday.  A fine pot-luck supper at 6 o’clock is followed by two great hours of music starting at 7.  There were nine guitars, three banjos, three mandolins, one bass and one fiddle last week.  Everyone is welcome and everyone with an acoustic instrument or a voice is welcome to join in the music.  Sometimes the whole crowd will sing along and those moments are wonderful.  Friends and neighbors get the chance to share the week’s happenings, garden reports, and reminiscences.

A note comes to from a distant reader.  She says, “My father passed away at 73—much too soon.  I never heard him say a cruel thing.  I never knew of him lie or lift a hand in anger.  I never knew of him to be unkind to anyone, to consider himself better than anyone or to behave in any way contrary to his idea of decency.  He was self-effacing, generous, and full of compassion, music, and laughter.  He loved his family and told us so.  We miss him every day.“  Fathers the country over were accorded well-deserved attention and accolades on Sunday.  Their examples of steadfastness, responsibility and good behavior stand us in good stead today.  Thanks, Dad.  “In a vine covered shack in the mountains, bravely fighting the battle of time, is a dear one who’s weathered my sorrows.  Tis that silver haired daddy of mine.” Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion Wildflowers