Traveling on.

…on the East side of the Square….Sanders, Webster, Feltz

The West Plains Wagon Club rolled in early to Champion on Thursday. They had tried to take a couple of rest stops on their way, but both times had to move on due to traffic on narrow roads. They were happy to reach the Square and to be able to take a leisurely luncheon break. Families of home-schoolers stopped into check out the interesting wagons and the beautiful animals. There were six wagons in the train this time. Jim and Judy Cantrell headed up the procession and were lucky to have one of the Keller brothers drive part of the way. Ken Felts had another Keller brother take his reins for a while. Marvin and Nancy Webster came next in their big wagon. They have made some long trips in this one—once all the way to Wisconsin and back. Jerry Sanders and Tony Amison had a horse in between their two mules in their three-up. Their little traveling companion is part Beagle and something else, Tony says, “…a sweet dog,” a Cracker Jack. David Dinwiddie had horses pulling his wagon. He has been accustomed to driving horses, but this was his first wagon train experience. He says he is having a wonderful time, but will be better outfitted next year. Randal Barnet says he likes riding drag because he can stay far enough in the back to avoid the dust and his fine mules can catch up any time. He has a little dog, Joe, who talks to Randal, but Randal does not tell anyone about it. He said that if he told you about it, you would tell someone else and they would call you a liar for the rest of your life. He is a thoughtful man, an Arkansawyer from down Viola way. Nancy Webster had the sad news to report that their long time wagon train friend, Shelby Blades, had passed away a while back. The wagon trains are getting shorter as the years go by, but it is encouraging to have newcomers like David Dinwiddie join in and to have youngsters like the Keller brothers interested in the art. We will see what next year brings while we enjoy again having had the chance to see something lovely out of the past roll down the road. Happy Trails to you, until we meet again!

…on the South Side of the Square…Cantrell, Barnet, and Dinwiddie

Former Skyline teacher, Lannie Hinote, posted last week that it was 28 degrees in Marshall, Alaska, and that she was looking forward to fall. Up in Sheridan, Wyoming, Marge and Doug enjoyed their first frost on Friday. They had picked their crops already and had them ripening under newspaper in their basement. Marge said that fires burning in southeastern Montana had blown some smoke into their county and that there were some fires in Wyoming south and west of them, but that all was well with them. Many of us have friends and families out on the West Coast who are dealing with the devastation of the wild fires. The smoke engulfing the coastal cities is being very hard on everyone, especially those already having breathing issues. By Thursday, rain in Oregon had helped improve the air quality and mitigated some of the fire hazard. The rest of the coast is still under siege and much in the thoughts of Champions.

Every once in a while something unexpected and pleasant happens. Such was the case for Alvin Barnhart recently. He learned that he had twelve chances to win the amazing No-2020-Skyline Picnic quilt, purchased for him by his friend, Hovey down in Houston, Texas. They were Mountain Grove High School buddies a while back. Hovey wrote that Mountain Grove was competing against West Plains in football and “on the first play, our friend, Alvin, was knocked unconscious. The first half we were giving it 110%, playing for our friend, Alvin. Even though West Plains had a superior team, Mountain Grove was leading at the half. The second half we got worn down by a team that had more talent and depth. Mountain Grove lost.” Hovey was sorry the Champion School Reunion had been cancelled, so he did not make the trip back home this year. He also bought quilt tickets for his Champion cousin living on a Centennial Henson Farm, who said, “That is nice of Hovey and Dawn. They have always been wonderful family and visited my Mom for years when they came back home for reunions.” Meanwhile, it made a nice spot in Alvin’s day and he said to tell Hovey, “Thank you,” and said that he would do something nice for Hovey someday. He will find out if he is the winner on October 1st. Marge Carter sent a picture of the quilt to Doug’s daughter, Tammy, and they are both buying tickets through the mail. So is Theresa Howard up in New Vienna, Ohio. Alvin has competition.

These beautiful cool days have gardeners bring in the sheaves. It is a good feeling and great to be able to share the harvest. Whether or not you have vegetables to share, it is well worth the time to check in with friends and family who are still isolating due to the pandemic. Frances Banks was up for a nice phone visit the other day. She is feeling grateful for her family living close by. She misses Elmer, as do all his Champion friends. He could spin a yarn from here to yonder and there was always some laughter around him. Frances has a good sense of humor too and plenty of her own stories. Glen Branstetter was talking to a friend of his over near Hartville and said, “You’ve told that story so many times you are about to believe it.” Champions have asked again to hear the saga of Waterhole Ike and the IRS.

More good news is that we can cast our ballot for the November 3rd election as early as September 22nd! We can just go to the County Clerk’s office and exercise our franchise. The fifty days between now and the election will be noisy and contentious, so voting early will let a lot of that hyperbole pass us by. At this stage of the game, it is probably a rare individual who has not made up his mind. About half of the voters will be disappointed and it will be up to the other half to be gracious. As to the 46.9% of the eligible voters who did not bother to vote last time, maybe you want to rethink it. The more of us who participate in our Democracy, the better it will work for us. Champions! Looking on the Bright Side!