Champions are feeling blessed and grateful that the wild, dangerous weather passed us by. At the same time, neighbors all around the country are cleaning debris, calculating their losses, and formulating plans for how to proceed. Like the song says, “Time is filled with swift transitions.

The 38th Denlow/Fairview School Reunion went off without a hitch. It also went off without many who, for reasons of traffic and health, were unable to make it. The number of surviving students is dwindling. There were four Denlow students in attendance and three from Fairview this year. The rest of the crowd was made up of descendants of alumni, friends, and neighbors. The fish, chicken, and sides were scrumptious, and the fellowship sweet. Pete and The General did a fine job with the auction, eliciting as much laughter as money.

Memorial Day—a time of remembrance and reverence. While only about one percent of the population are serving, most Americans are descendants, relatives, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances of people who are serving or who have served. The many who lost their lives in that service, the service of keeping the rest of us free in our precious democracy, are the reason for this holiday. One hundred eleven flags in the Denlow Cemetery mark the Veterans resting there. Putting their lives on the line is the nature of that service.

Ed Henson, genial storekeeper, friend, and neighbor was born May 27, 1903. He is well regarded by people who never met him but have heard the many rich stories of Champion’s early days. Paula Mudd celebrates that day and has the benefit of having many of her children and grandchildren near to help her party. A few of the others who started their lives that day are Henry Kissinger—1923, Vincent Price—1911, Rachel Carson—1907, Dashel Hammett—1894, Wild Bill Hickock—1837, and Cornelius Vanderbilt—1794. Every day of the year has some notable attached to it.

Walls are going up! Bright red walls are going up on the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department’s new fire house! It has been a long process. Back on December 12, 2023, a Skyline Assistant Fire Chief posted: “We had the exciting opportunity to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new fire station. This project has been in the works for several years now. Some of you may not be aware that there is no running water at the station and no facilities such as bathrooms. This makes it difficult to hold board meetings training events and so on. But the wait is finally over. As you drive by the firehouse, you will start to notice progress being made. Skyline area volunteer fire department would like to thank everyone who came out and showed their support—Squires Fire, Good Hope Fire, Sheriff Degase, and Commissioner Travis Chaney. A big thank you to CDBG and Jessica Moran with CDBG and South-Central Ozark council of governments for making this happen.” It is happening and the whole community is glad.

On Saturday, June 15th, the Ava community will come together in support of the Haro Family. The benefit will be held at the Ava Middle School Cafeteria. At 5 pm Hucklebucks BBQ will serve dinner with donated sides for $15.00 per plate—water, tea or coffee provided. There will be an auction at 6 pm with donated items. Reach out to Deannetta (417) 683-0840 or Rose Zella 683-0826 to donate. Deanna Riley writes, “Sal and Silvia Haro were two of the kindest people in Ava! It didn’t matter if you were at the restaurant or saw them a store, you could always be sure Sal was going to wave big with a giant smile on his face, while Silvia always greeted with a big smile and the hugs that only a mother could give. They treated everybody like family. They cared about their community, and they showed it. This loss hits deep and hard. Please make time to join this benefit and help this family, just as they have helped others. Please show up and pack the building just as so many have done at their restaurant.”

Sudden tragedy, dangerous weather, horrific disasters, and merciless warfare join old age, disease, famine, and crime to reduce the global population. Still, there are a lot of us. We endeavor to persevere, to be grateful, compassionate and optimistic—Champions! Looking on the Bright Side!