A few days of cooler temperatures and much needed rain has done wonders for gardens and gardeners.  It is a relief to have some respite from the heat though Champions are apprised that it will return if not with a vengeance, certainly with vigor.  Inside plans for those days include deferred house work, correspondence, crafts, music and daydreaming.

Someone in the audience said, “I don’t think I would like to be thirty again.”  That person may have found that it is pleasant, after all, to be older.  It is an arguable point, but kind of pleasant to think that some are enjoying the aging process.  The reflection was sparked by the revelation that Sherry Bennett would celebrate a birthday on Monday.  The General took it upon himself to lead that special song.  Later on he did a bang up job of “Down Yonder.”  It was a nice beginning for a good evening at the Vanzant Jam, particularly with the presence of a couple of young fellows.  It is reaffirming to have talented young people interested in the ‘old’ stuff and willing to carry it on authentically.  Thanks, Bo and Elias!  Old and new, music is a connection.  A favorite red head sings a fairly new song with the refrain:  “And if they found the fountain of youth, I wouldn’t drink a drop and that’s the truth.  Funny how it feels I’m just getting to my best years yet.  The older I get.”


J.C. Owsley, a staunch supporter of The Champion News, sends in a photo of an item that has come into his possession.  He does not say where it came from or how much it might weigh, just that it is about 20 inches long and the tines measure about 3 inches.  He is optimistic that its utility will be revealed by the panel of experts routinely gathering in the Meeting Room at the Historic Emporium on any Wednesday.  (A wild guess is that it is some black smith tool.)  Champions are optimistic that he may make a surprise visit just to lighten the mood and amp up the intellect.  The Bright Side could be brighter.

The Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Annual Picnic will be August 10 and 11 this year.  It speaks to the rapid passage of time.  Esther Wrinkles, who was one of the originators of the organization, often said that she wished the August election came after the picnic so that the politicians would have the opportunity to address constituents and would, therefore, wind up contributing substantially.  Esther was community minded and a regular poll worker.  It would be interesting to hear her ‘take’ on the wording of Proposition A, a referendum ordered by petition.  See if you can figure out exactly what the question might be and what it might mean.  As it will appear on the ballot:  “Do the people of the state of Missouri want to adopt Senate Bill 19 (“Right-to-Work”) as passed by the general assembly in 2017 which prohibits as a condition of employment the forced membership in a labor organization (union) or forced payments of dues in full or pro-rata (fair-share); make any activity which violates employees’ rights illegal and ineffective; allow legal remedies for anyone injured as a result of another person violating or threatening to violate employees’ rights; and which shall not apply to union agreements entered into before the effective date of Senate Bill 19?  State and local government entities expect no costs or savings.”  Esther was an outspoken conservative and an astute observer.  She would see right through this thing.  We miss her keen insight, her coconut cream pies, her good humor, and her kind heart dedicated to family and community.  Her birthday was June 28, 1917.  A Champion!

“Mid Continent Nail laid off 60 of its 500 employees last week,” George Skarich, the company’s executive vice president for sales, said Thursday.  “Another 200 layoffs could come in the next two weeks.”  Tariffs placed on imported steel and aluminum products are cited as the cause.  There are about 15 nail companies left in the United States and Mid Continent makes 50 percent of the nails produced in America.  All of Mid Continent’s nail manufacturing in the U.S. takes place in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  The far reaching ramifications of their random acts may not be apparent or of concern to powerful people who may never have had to work for a living.  Harley Davidson jobs are being lost up in Wisconsin as a result of trade disputes.

Champion’s first ripe tomatoes.

The First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest has been won by Deward’s lovely granddaughter.  In years past the winning tomato had to be brought to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium and there shared with whoever was present.  Go to www.championnews.us to see previous tomato contest winners.  These days, a photograph on line from a reliable source is sufficient.  Neighbor Smith suggests the tomatoes need to be examined for authenticity, though that examination might be the end of the tomatoes.  The winning gardener also keeps a flock of beautiful chickens of which she is very fond.  The story of The Little Red Hen offers a moralistic tale of the importance of hard work and the shame, as well as consequences of laziness.  The story has a new twist that is likely to be entertaining to many.  “And who will disinvite the lying bigot?”  “I will!” said The Little Red Hen.

The champion@championnews.us mailbox has been busy this week.  From a reader in Pennsylvania,  “When we hate the opponents of justice and mercy, we create a bond between ourselves the wrongdoing they perpetrate.  We must rise up within our righteous anger and behave like civilized humans.  This is nearly an impossible feat, but we are here to do the impossible.  There is no other way to defeat the darkness than to shine a light.”  A guy named Quaker Jo said, “Anything you allow your government to do to other people, they will eventually be able to do to you.”  Another warns that while the big circus is going on, behind the scenes every aspect of government that works for the benefit of the population is being dismantled.  In her first year as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has proposed drastic cuts to funding for public schools and gutted protections for survivors of campus sexual assault.  Another, defending herself from being ridiculed as a ‘liberal,’ writes, “Every child of God should have a liberal heart.  You must be very generous in giving as you have been blessed by the Almighty God.  When you sow into the lives of others, your soul shall be made fat with pleasure from God and will also be enriched with more grace.”  The best we can do is to stay informed and to exercise our voting franchise.  Meanwhile, civil discourse with people who believe the complete opposite thing is still possible.  We can disagree without being disagreeable.  Rudy Valley sang, “Keep a little song handy wherever you go and nothing can ever go wrong.  Keep a little song handy and sure as you know the sunshine will follow along” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!