Vanzant Picnic

The Vanzant Picnic drew another great crowd. These summer gatherings are perfect opportunities for neighbors to get together. The drawings, the games, the good food and wonderful music made it fun for everyone. Bertie and the Boys closed out the evening’s entertainment Saturday and they were well worth the wait. Jim, that tall cowboy with the big hat, could not make it out from Mountain Grove for the picnic. He has a hitch in his get along which friends hope will be healed up by the time Andrew Hardin leads the Bud Hutchison Champion Fall Trail Ride in October. Kenny, the good looking one, shared that report and seemed to be having a good time even without his friend there. The consensus of opinion out among the picnickers was that we live in a special part of the country where events like this tie communities together. John and The General, along with a couple of others, kept a steady shuttle service to and from the forty acre parking lot. Both days were scorchers and though no one waited for the sun to go down to have fun, it was a relief when it did. All in all, it was a lovely affair and the volunteers are to be commended for their hard work and community spirit. The Holt 4H Picnic will happen in a couple of weeks, then the Skyline VFD Picnic. Another splendid summer social season is in full swing–a spectacular start.

Lee and Glenda Unger have kin folks in Red Bank. They live up in Illinois and make a trip down this way every so once in a while. They subscribe to the Douglas County Herald and keep up with things going on in the area. They made their second annual (we hope) trip to Champion on Wednesday and were there for the serious little thunder storm that almost drowned out the music of the porch jam. Lee said they like hanging out on the North Side of the Square. It was there they heard about the Vanzant Picnic. They had reservations to go to the Dixie Stampede Friday night, but decided to make the journey over to Vanzant from their lodgings in Branson instead. They sound like Champions.

Grandchildren bring much joy to old folks. When Hovie and Dawn Henson were in town over the Fourth of July holiday, Hovie was excited to report that their granddaughter Avery Roden, down in Houston, had just been inducted into the National Honor society. He has previously bragged about her martial arts prowess in national competitions. It is just the nature of grandparents to go on and on. Connie Brown let us know that her dad, Robert Brown, had celebrated his 79th birthday on July 7th. He and are alumni of the Champion School. Bentlee Seaborn will be in the first grade when school starts up at Skyline in the fall. Bentlee and kindergarten student, Lily Trujillo, share July 10th for their birthday. Jude Hicks will be in the third grade. His birthday is July 14th, Bastille day. In the future, his history studies will let him know how special that day is for the French people since 1790. He might learn of Jean-Paul Marat who became one of the most influential men of the French Revolution through his newspapers and pamphlets. Judy Collins sang a song that tells much of his story. Oddly enough, it seems applicable to these times as well. History seems to repeat itself.

Tomato blossoms.

Gardeners are happy for the rain. Before it dries up they plan to be out there weeding. When the ground is nice and wet, the weeds seem to almost jump into your hand. A few years back one heard the song ‘Home Grown Tomatoes’ about the same time she heard about ‘switching the tomato plants.’ At first it was thought that the idea was to trade some tomato plants for other tomato plants, but that was not the case. The gardener was suggesting that one should take a switch to the tomato plant in the way your grandmother took one to you, but perhaps a little more gently. The point of the exercise was to improve pollination. Since the tomato flowers have both male and female parts they rely on pollinators such as bees to do the magic that starts the fruit. Just gently shaking the flowers will do the trick if you are short of bees. No need for a switch, Grandma. Some will be heaving sighs and rolling their eyes as gardeners come at them with cucumbers, green beans and zucchini. Be patient with your gardening friends. They are high on fresh food. They cannot help it. They are singing, “Just two things that money can’t buy and that’s true love and home grown tomatoes.”

Some Champions still get mail addressed to Route 2 even though it was changed to Route 72 several years ago. We are lucky to live in an area where we know our postal carriers by name. It has been a joy to have Karen Ross at our mail boxes these past years. We can let the folks on her new route (Route 71) know that they will be enjoying a diligent and genuinely pleasant mail carrier. Over the years Champion has had a number of carriers. Homer Akers had a reputation for going fast and being on time. Cletis Upshaw delivered the mail here for many years. You could set your clock by him and if you were lucky you would be at the Champion Store when he was there reminiscing and telling stories. He knew everything that was to be known about this part of the country. Bob Chadwell kind of took after Homer Akers except for the being on time part. Then we got Karen. We will miss her, but she said she would not forget us and, though we are looking forward to getting acquainted with her successor, Karen will always be a Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!

Ruth Collins had her granddaughters with her again at the picnic.