Champion Pot-Luck
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Attending the 35th Champion School Reunion on Saturday, August 31st were: Robert Graham, Royce and Jody Henson, Tom and Valle Mills, Connie, Paul and Robert Brown, Dean, Dailey, and David Upshaw, Fae Krider, Ruth Daharsh, Ethel Luellen Anderson, Louise Rinebold, Phyllis and Pete Proctor, Larry and Teresa Wrinkles, Alvie Dooms, Betty Henson, Lonnie Mears, Wilda Moses, Irene Keller Dooms, Beverly Keller Dooms, Dale and Betty Thomas, Dean Brixie, Darrel Hutchison, Wes Lambert, Judy Keller Mears, Glenna L. Henson, Lee Ray, Laine and Frances Sutherland. There may have been others as well. Of those who signed the register, eleven or twelve had been Champion School students. The weather was as perfect as could have been hoped for. There was no need for the giant walnut tree that served as first base to provide its now scant shade until late afternoon. The grass is lush on the old school grounds that students all recall has having been a big sandy lot—sand four inches deep. The reminiscing was sweet, though there were many thoughts of those absent this time. Friends reconnecting and catching up with each other’s news mixed in with old stories. Grandsons of Rufus Keller shared stories about him, how he raised his own tobacco and shared it with his neighbors and a report of his having said, “He fell out of a barbed wire fence, straddled a cherry tree and tore himself from now till tomorrow morning. The Doctor said he didn’t know if he would live from one end to the other.”

It was another delightful Wednesday out on the wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek. The broad veranda on the Historic Emporium was full of music and fun. Candi and Jeff Bartch have become regular members of the Sometimes Porch Band on fiddle and harmonica. This week Charlie Lambert joined in improving the group substantially with The Spanish Twostep. When it comes to the human brain, music is one of the best medicines. A study at McGill University in Canada revealed that listening to agreeable music encourages the production of beneficial brain chemicals, specifically the ‘feel good’ hormone known as dopamine. Not only does listening to music have a positive effect on stress and depression, playing music reduces stress on both the emotional level and the molecular level. Studies have shown that adults who play music produce higher levels of Human Growth Hormone, which is necessary for regulating body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism and possibly heart function. So, all you folks with a guitar under your bed that you have not played in 20 years, get it out. Get some new strings and play. It is good for you. Taking up an instrument as an adult, even if you have never played, is one of those ways we can fight off dementia. Just sing and you will be improved by music. There will be a “Welcome Home Elva!” jam where singing will be encouraged at the Vanzant Community Building on Saturday the 7th. Doors will open at 4, a pot-luck at 6 and music, music, music. The General’s daughter is recovering from a very fancy heart surgery and the community is happy to see what a great recovery she is making. Everyone is welcome to welcome Elva home!

At the Grandparents Day program at Skyline R2 School on Friday, September 6th, there are plans to have a living museum. Grandparents will be sharing artifacts and telling stories about their own youth. The program starts at 2:40 PM. All grandparents are welcome, whether or not you have a grandchild in Skyline. It will be a chance to meet Donnie Luna, Skyline’s new administrator. His grandfather was Clifton Luna, sawyer and wagon-master of the West Plains Wagon Club. He says that the family began to record some of his grandfather’s stories in his later years. That is a real family treasure. This Grandparents Day program will help secure that kind of treasure for our grandchildren.

Betty Thomas, Larry Wrinkles, and Wilma Hutchison all share their birthdays on September 1st. You will remember that Betty and Dale Thomas hosted the Pioneer Descendants Gathering down at Yates for many years. The Pioneer Heritage Festival gets its inspiration from that wonderful event. It will take place the first week-end in October–a great family friendly event close to home. Larry Wrinkles is a fine story teller, get him started and you are in for some fun. Wilma Hutchison is the woman who kept Bud Hutchison’s trail rides lined out, photographed and documented for many years. She regularly attends the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam and had that song sung for her last week. They will sing it to her again next time while they are singing to Daily Upshaw. She will beam that lovely smile. Andrew Harden leads Bud’s trail-rides these days and will let us know when the fall ride is scheduled. Phebe Ward celebrates her birthday on the 3rd of September, a day before her Uncle Vernon Upshaw and cousin Dailey share theirs. Skyline first grader, Ely Young, shares his birthday on the 8th of September with a bird-watching bridge player whose nickname was “Crayola” when she was in school. Your friends and families wish you all joyful birthdays from Champion.

Labor Day acknowledges the progress we have made as a Nation in improving the lives of people in the work-force. Those changes came about largely through collective bargaining, a genuinely American concept. We are grateful to live in such an enlightened part of the world, though difficulties abound. Mass shootings around the country help to promulgate the fear many already feel as democracy seems so fragile. It is as if we are all experiencing the dread and anxiousness of those on the east coast facing the terrible hurricane as it approaches. Yet, it is said that we are our best when things are the worst. Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!