After the fire—west side of Mountain Grove’s square.

Terri Ryan shares a quote by Charles Glassman: “Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” Glassman practiced medicine in Rockland County, NY for twenty-five years and said that he watched medical practices shift from being focused on patients to being focused on problems: from health care to sick care. He has a lot of positive, inspirational things to say, but this quote seems particularly appropriate these days. Ms. Ryan seems to be able to find just the right groups of words to make us feel better and be better. Some Old Champions are struggling because their young kin folks from Lafayette, Louisiana have had to postpone, hopefully not cancel, their regular summer visit to the Bright Side since the vaccination rate in Douglas County is 16%. Baby Georg is just five months old, and his folks are not willing to run the risk, particularly considering the rise in pediatric Covid cases. They are not the only routine visitors to be reluctant to head this way. We will rely on Ms. Ryan and Dr. Glassman to help us stay positive during our struggles and to be kind even when we are frustrated.

Stone Cottage Bakery and Café

Histories of the various businesses that occupied the west side of the square in Mountain Grove over the years and accounts of other catastrophic fires in the area circulated around the tables in the Meeting Room at the Historic Emporium on Wednesday. The pictures and videos of the fire on the internet had Champions only partially prepared for seeing the aftermath in person on Monday. The little Stone Cottage Bakery and Café will not open in the Dryer 1935 building and the new pizza joint, Matteo’s, on the south end of that block will be a while in reopening, but the owners say they plan to open as soon as they can. The hard work and hope invested in those businesses is somehow more evident in the charred remains. Champions wish them good luck in their recovery.

Bob and Ethel were a welcome site in Champion on Wednesday after a long absence. Bob suggested that we get acquainted with Gary Mule Deer, a comedian and musician who famously said, “My grandad used to say, ‘If everybody liked the same thing, they’d all be after your grandma.’” Ethel shared a recipe for a green tomato pie, which will get a test soon, though it is the opinion of some prominent Champions that there are better things to use for pies. There is hardly anything better than seeing old friends again. If you cannot see them, give them a call. You never know whose day you might brighten.

A hazy horizon.

“Music imprints itself in the brain deeper than any other human experience. Music brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.” Says Dr. Oliver Sacks. The Sometimes Porch Band managed a few old tunes even as their old acoustic instruments absorbed humidity and their strings began to oxidize in the heavy hot air. While they appreciated the kind invitation to play inside in the cool, the exciting comings and goings on the wide veranda were irresistible. A board member paused to share an update on the construction progress at our great Skyline R2 School. It is significant and ongoing. A local genuine rapscallion bragged about not being afraid to get dirty. His fearlessness was evident. Author, Mike Upshaw, discussed his latest projects and extended an invitation to The Stained-Glass Theatre, where his two sons will be appearing in a production called “Hi-Tops,” which will run through August 21st with Saturday matinees and evening performances during the week. Fox Creek neighbors stopped in for lunch and made a new acquaintance with the author who, in distant years past, had occasion to use their now relocated, updated and enhanced out-house, which has become the primary tourist attraction on Fox Creek Road. It is always stimulating in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

After the fire—west side of Mountain Grove’s square.