A Champion Road Trip

In a nice turn-out Saturday for the Skyline VFD Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast, members had a chance to vote for additional board members and to express appreciation to the volunteer fire-fighters who leave their jobs and supper tables to come to our aid when we need it. This breakfast may be the last function of this kind for some while. This Saturday, the 21st, friends were to again congregate at the School for a catfish dinner and music by Duke McIntosh’s New Grass Attack in a get-together to support our great little rural school. Superintendent Donnie Luna was to give a presentation concerning the future of the school including information concerning our local tax levy. Our current rate is $2.77, well below the state average operating levy of $3.67. There will be an initiative on the April 7th ballot to raise our levy up to $3.43, the magic number that will make the school eligible for a substantial amount of additional funding from the state and federal government. Many local people remember when Skyline was built back in the 1950s. There have been additions and upgrades over the years, but at this time, the infrastructure could use some serious help, i.e. the gym roof, the HVAC system, etc. Moreover, the 2018 vote to raise the minimum wage has a significant impact on the annual operating budget. Residents, who have no interest in the school, still have interest in their taxes. If we lose the school and are thrown into neighboring districts, the tax levy will jump up to $3.66, at least, without a vote on the matter. Education is about the best investment to be made. After all, these bright young folks will be running the world soon. For a while they will be studying at home and being prudent like the rest of us during this unusual time. They will be learning how adults behave in an amazingly distressing situation, so we are committed to setting a good example. We need to be conscious, cool and kind—Champions.

Simone Biles is an American artistic gymnast. She has a total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals and is the most decorated American gymnast and the world’s third most decorated gymnast. Her birthday is March 14, 1997. She is 23 years old. She is an amazing young lady who has a powerful voice as a result of her phenomenal skill and she has used it to help make some significant change. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, also an amazing individual, celebrates her birthday on the 15th, the Ides of March. She was born in 1933, and was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. She has had a substantial voice in promoting justice. In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate, as described by the Bard. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. Perhaps politics have evolved, but things seem pretty brutal these days. A friend reminds us (as if we had ever known) that when Shakespeare was quarantined because of the plague, he wrote King Lear. As we are sheltering in place, self-quarantining, and doing the prudent things to keep ourselves and our communities safe, we may write epics about the family dynamics of loyalty and selfishness; we may practice on our musical instruments or perhaps sort out our photographs, paperwork and possessions; we may focus our attention on our families, near and far, and on our friends and neighbors. Closeness has not all that much to do with geography in these modern times with our excellent technologies.

Champions up on Cold Springs Road thought to take a Sunday drive just for the purpose of ‘dirt road therapy’ to enjoy nature and a respite from the stressful news. They headed south and soon found their way impeded by the high waters of Clever Creek. So they turned left on 76-24, known as Fox Creek Road. It had been years since they had traveled this path and they were again impressed with the fine work of those gentlemen from the Douglas County road department. There were a few rough spots due to recent heavy rains, but it was overall quite passable and certainly a lovely drive with high rock cliffs on the left side and deep drop-offs on the right. Recent logging left some significant mud along the road side and opened up some lovely views of the valley beyond with Fox Creek roaring through. They turned east on 95-240 thinking to sneak up on the General from behind, but they were again thwarted by a raging torrent, perhaps just a feeder creek to Greasy or Fox, but impassable nonetheless. Sources may refer to this as the Denlow Branch. The driver backed up the several hundred yards rather than risk sinking in the wet fields on either side with a three point turn. Then it was on to Denlow. What a lovely trip. The adventure continued until bellies grumbled for lunch. They pulled into their own drive having registered 12 miles on the trip meter and reaffirmed that we live in one of the world’s truly lovely spots, surely as lovely as the Emerald Isle itself. St. Patrick was kidnapped and spent 6 years herding sheep in Ireland before he made his escape. Later he went back and made a name for himself. Champions will be wearing the green Tuesday and parading around their kitchen tables singing, “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral!” On Thursday they will not be going to the Vanzant Jam because it too has been cancelled until things get back to some form of normal.

To the people who have bought 27 bottles of soap leaving none on the store shelves for others, you do realize that to avoid getting coronavirus, you need other people to wash their hands too. Viruses are contagious, so is panic, fear, hysteria, calm, love, enthusiasm, kindness, joy and yawning. Think of that old song, A Beautiful Life, and lend a helping hand. An Old Champion laughed remembering a song written back in 1963, during another period of National anxiety: “Time passed and now it seems everybody’s having them dreams. Everybody sees themselves walkin around with nobody else. Half of the people can be part right all of the time and some of the people can be all right part of the time, but all of the people can’t be all right all of the time. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. ‘I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours,’ I said that.” Bob Dylan had learned his talking blues style from Woody Guthrie who wrote, “This land is your land–this land is my land.” We are pretty sure he was a Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Clever Creek Runneth Over