Oh! They tell me of an uncloudy day! Such a one is a gift, but so is a partly cloudy day when fancy fluffy puffs of water vapor are shadow running over the rolls and folds of verdant hills and fields. A ridge runner gets a visual symphony of undulating colors. How many greens are there? Why are far distant hills blue? A trip to town is an adventure. It was a treat to rendezvous with J.C. Owsley for lunch on Tuesday. He picked up the tab and picked up spirits of some who are feeling isolated by their enlightened beliefs. ‘Enlightened’ is a subjective term, so it can mean anything based on personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. “Of all the saddest words that I have ever heard, the saddest is the story told me by a bird. He had spent about an hour chatting with a flower…” —a lonely little petunia in an onion patch.” It takes patience, tact and perseverance to engage positively with people who believe the exact opposite of your beliefs. Why bother? It’s like the Old Boy says, “Everybody’s got to be somewhere.” We are all here.

Sisters Marjorie Carter and Linda Keys at the Downtown Pawn Shop have been great supporters of the Skyline Fire Department and many other good causes in the area for a long time. They have operated their business on the east side of the square in Mountain Grove for twenty-five years and have served the community well. After trying unsuccessfully to sell the whole business, they have decided to close it on November 1st. There is a beautiful five-string banjo hanging on the wall there and several guitars, acoustic and electric. There are lots of tools and guns, as well as some lovely jewelry on their shelves. It will be sad to see the business close, but it will be a nice change for the sisters as they retire. Imagine not having to go to work on Monday morning. We will miss them, but we wish them well.

Skyline VFD Merchant Supporters

For those who were not able to attend the Holt Up and At It 4-H Picnic, Connie Brown, Sharry Lovan, Phyllis Proctor and others generously shared photos on the internet. The music was great, the food was tasty, the games were fun and the wonderful 4-H Club benefited—head, heart, hands, health. More of this kind of entertainment is coming up with the Skyline VFD Picnic which will occur on August 9th and 10th. It will be another chance to get acquainted with new people to the area and to reunite with longtime friends for an episode of remembering old times and for making new memories, all while supporting the vital little fire department that protects our lives and property. Those volunteer fire fighters, first responders all, leave their jobs and fields and dinner tables to come to your aid. Champions!

Wednesday was a perfect day for visiting around the tables in the meeting room in the Historic Emporium and for porch-jamming. A fiddler and harmonica player were welcome additions to the guitars and mandolins. Red Wing, Old Indiana, The Flowers of Vanzant, Florida Blues and I’ll Fly Away drifted out across the Square. Those good looking cowboys (one of them wears a big hat) from Mountain Grove meandered in from their amble up Cold Springs Road and back. They unsaddled their horses and took care of them before enjoying their refreshments out on the wide veranda. They sang along with fine voices. In homes and barns, in American Legion halls and restaurants, on patios and porches people in these parts get together any day or night of the week to jam. They are teaching and learning old and new songs and tunes–enjoying the fellowship and the healing qualities of music.

Reba Bishop was in Champion Wednesday, but did not let on that her birthday was coming up on July 28th. Several other interesting people have birth anniversaries coming up. Our friend, Karen Ross, celebrates on the 29th. The first of August is remembered as the birthday of Elita January. She passed away several years ago, but is frequently and well- remembered. Herman Melville was born August 1, 1819, so he has his 200th birthday being celebrated in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he lived for many years, writing Moby Dick and other things. The second of August is the special day for a special Champion grandson. Seamus is a very cool young man and everyone who knows him agrees that he will go far. R.D. was 66 last year, so he must be 67 this year. They say a person really gets busy when he or she retires, so now that Trish is retiring, she might be helping R.D. to be busy as well. Like the Old Boy says, “Everybody’s got to be somewhere.”

It turns out that the Old Champion gardener who thought she was ahead of the game because she had so many volunteer tomato plants is stuck with a bunch of ‘chocolate cherry’ tomatoes. They are a little bigger than regular cherry tomatoes; they taste like tomatoes, but are dark and mottled in color. Last year she offered some prime examples to Elmer Banks who declared that he would not eat purple tomatoes. The many, many volunteers all have turned out to be chocolate cherry. Alas. Moreover, sometimes plants purchased from local outlets do not necessarily correspond to the names on the tags in the pots. The up side is that, with good luck, she will have next year to have the perfect tomatoes. Just now, the okra, corn and beans are stealing the show. It is “inch by inch, row by row” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Chocolate Cherry volunteers.