The Vanzant Picnic got off to a good start Friday.

The Champion News subscribes to an email from Merriam-Webster called Word of the Day. On July 2nd the word was ‘canicular.’ It means of or relating to the period between early July and early September when hot weather occurs in the northern hemisphere. The canicular season has been tempered by sudden showers. One visited the Vanzant Picnic on Saturday evening. The Prominent Champion Girlfriend, ring-toss volunteer said, “It was a loving feeling having the rain come down and people still wanting to play the game, and, yep, we let them. We stopped playing when the lightning came and the picnic was called off at 9 PM. I was wishing for nice slow, steady rain overnight and cooler temperatures.” The heat did not appreciably impact the fun quotient at the picnic on Friday either. Pete (Lyman) Proctor was there with the American Legion Post 30. They presented the Colors at the singing of the National Anthem. Pete asked that all the Veterans in the crowd raise their hands. It is inspiring to see how many of our friends and neighbors have stepped up to serve. He said, “Thank you for your service and welcome home.” There was a great deal of welcoming as old friends reunited to catch up on their news, to issue their health reports, and to compare the merits and talents of their respective grandchildren. Teresa Wrinkles had help in the bingo parlor and did a lively business. Brenda Coffman Massey kept her great smile beaming from behind the steaming funnel cake cauldron. All the hardworking volunteers seemed to be having as much fun as the rest of us. With the good food, great music and all the drawings and games, these picnics are canicular high spots.

Sweethearts, Savanna and Travis

Elizabeth Bock and River Stillwood whooping it up.

Dean knows all the words to all the songs!

Gardeners are pleased with the little pop-up showers when they linger a little while over the summer crops. It is preferable that they come with not too much wind, as it is a chore to stand the corn back up and it beginning to ear. Those luscious early crop cucumbers are about over now and little replacement plants are ready to go in the ground. There are a number of crops that can be planted in late July that will have time to yield. Look on the seed packet to see how many days to maturity and decide. It seems that the garden produces more than food. There is some comfort that goes along with the exercise. In times such as these it is pleasant to be doing some simple, basic chores. It is quiet except for the raucous song birds early in the morning.

Ruth Fish Collins and granddaughters

Good news comes from Elmwood, Illinois. Native Champion, Harley Krider, is home from a hospital stay where he had an overhaul on his heart. Reports are that he is making a good recovery. He is receiving calls and restoring his sense of humor. Champion neighbor, Cathy Odneal is also home again after a similar journey. She was in St. Louis at the Barnes hospital for a fancy procedure. She says that not moving around for a few days in a row really takes a toll on a person’s strength. Her friends know that she will do all the hard work it will take get strong again. Their Champion friends and family wish them good luck in their healing processes. They have good support systems and Cathy was quick to say the Barnes nurses and staff were all wonderful to her. Everyone has or knows someone who has significant health issues. It is part of that phenomenon known as the ‘swift passage of time.’ Good luck to all of us. Tina is one of the nurses who work for the Douglas County Health Department. She will be in Champion from 8:30 to 10:30 Friday morning, July 27th doing blood pressure checks and blood sugar tests. She will be there the last Friday of every month. It is a great service to the community—helping us take care of our health. Champion!

The General said, “Everybody had a good time at the 2018 Vanzant Picnic, but some may not remember.”

A person can go on-line or stop at the court house to see a sample ballot for the August 7th primary elections. It is good to have the chance to read those propositions in advance. They are often written in such a way as to make you think you are voting one way when, in fact, you may be voting against your real choice. It is a privilege to vote—to participate in our democracy. Opinions are like ‘noses,’ they say, everybody has one. Back in 1987, President Ronald Regan spoke about the Fairness Doctrine of 1949, which required the nation’s radio and television stations to “afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.” He said, “This type of content-based regulation by the federal government is, in my judgement, antagonistic to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.” Now days, an Old Champion woman, who has for decades been apt to spit on her own kitchen floor at the very mention of his name, finds him almost reasonable. His repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, however, has put us in the awkward position of being bombarded by bias. It is reminiscent of the stark description of cult brainwashing. We cherry pick information to support our preconceived versions of “truth.” When it comes right down to it, my prejudices are better than your prejudices.

Bristow, Oklahoma’s Tom Paxton wrote the song “My Dog’s Bigger Than Your Dog.” He was a fan of Woody Guthrie, who wrote many good songs that seem applicable today. Woody died in 1967. On the 50th anniversary of his passing his daughter, Nora Guthrie, said she had been surrounded by her father’s songs for her entire life. She listed a few of the teachings that his songs have imparted: “We belong to the family of man. We are against racial injustices. We are against social injustices. We are against greed. Fight fascism. We support and respect the workers in the world who built this world, and everyone has or should have, a good job of work to do. Learn history. Children are to be respected, and adults could learn a lot from children. True love makes you want to be a better person. True love makes you want to jump up in the morning and do something good. Each person is unique and each individual has something wonderful to offer. Our religion is so big that no one is excluded from it, and no one can get out of it! Learn as much as you can about the world. Give as much as you can to others.” Nora says the list goes on. The song that comes first to mind when we think of Woody Guthrie is “This Land is Your Land.” The last verse says, “In the squares of the city—In the shadow of the steeple—Near the relief office—I see my people –And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’—If this land’s still made for you and me.” Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Picnic Fun
Front row smiling:  Linda Clark, Barbara Anderson, Kenneth Anderson
Behind them…Upshaw brothers David, Dean, and Dailey