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“Thanks for what little you did do.”  That jest from the parent of a Champion many years ago was meant to say, “I am grateful for your effort, but do not think you are through.”    When Sunday’s lightning and thunder produced almost enough rain to settle Champion’s dust some were looking the gift horse squarely in the mouth.  The horse is thirsty.  Champions never complain about the weather though it is frequently the subject of the conversation.  Now that many have their first cutting of hay up in the barn, it would be most timey to get some regular afternoon showers, or some all-night gentle soakers.   Champion, Terri Ryan, who teaches at Skyline School and has had a history of horses visiting her place, shares a remark made by Joyce Meyer: “There is no danger of developing eyestrain from looking on the bright side of things, so why not try it!”

Terri Ryan is also on the board of the Skyline R-2 School Foundation which is having its big Bass Fishing Tournament on Saturday. Brian Sherrill, who knows about these things, has been instrumental in getting this great happening together.  He is a new Skyline School Board member and the father of a student who will be in kindergarten next fall.  By the time Silvana graduates from Skyline she will have been there for ten years and the school will have enjoyed the participation of these active, interested parents for a decade.   It happens that some students have their birthdays after school is out.   They have summer parties.   Joseph Kennedy will have his birthday on the 29th of May.  He will be four years old and will be in pre-k in the fall.   Landon James will be six on the first of June and the first grade is where he is heading.  Michelle Cochran will have her birthday on the third of June.  She has graduated from Skyline now and is moving on to high school.  Time goes by quickly, or so it seems to old people.

Neighbors over in Denlow are getting ready for the Denlow School Reunion on Saturday.  The General will officiate (again).  The program will begin at eleven in the morning and will include the regular quiz where Denlow students are pitted against students from Elsewhere.  The questions are ‘Generally’ contrived to give the Denlow students the advantage, but crafty team leaders like Linda Clark, and Elsewhere student, Cathie Alsup Reilly, have thwarted the home team on more than one occasion.  Cathie has stated that retribution for her victory caused her to be relegated the “hula” squad the following year.  “Don’t ask.”  The potluck lunch at twelve thirty does not require participation in the quiz or the hula, but just an appetite for good cooking and good conversation.   The food is always wonderful, but the best part is the chance to fellowship (used here as a verb) with friends and neighbors, new and old, in a most welcoming, hospitable situation.  This is another of those exceptional times when fond memories of days long gone collide with the delightful here and now.  “Champion!” or rather “Denlow!”  Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time for this affair and the perfect time to remember the Veterans who have sacrificed so much as well as all those so dearly missed.

Champions extend congratulations to friend Keith on the occasion of his fortieth wedding anniversary to the fair Charlotte.   He works in an industry devoted to the interests of all the people of Ava and some of the other people in Douglas County.  He makes some excellent points about the value of skepticism when it comes to the media and joins with Champions in wielding Ben Franklin’s speckled ax while in the pursuit of self-betterment and moral perfection.

Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood indicates that the 25th all the way through the 29th will be a barren period, good for killing plant pests, cultivating or taking a short vacation.  The 30th and 31st will be good for above-ground crops.   After Bud Hutchison’s trail ride a week ago last Wednesday, the Cowboy bowlegged (another verb)  his way up the steps of the Historic Emporium and allowed as how he expects to win the First Ripe Tomato In Champion Contest this year and for his prize expects some new Levis and a nice cowboy shirt.  He said that he already had tomatoes ‘this big’ whereupon he proffered a thumb and forefinger circle somewhere in size between that of a marble and a ping pong ball.  Speculation is that he spent $4.98 each on full grown tomato plants with tomatoes already on them.  Well, there is no way of proving that, but since the First Ripe Tomato in Champion Contest is sponsored by The Champion News, which has no revenue, it is likely that the prize will be the same as in previous years and will amount to an old fruit jar and a dozen canning flats.   Some say he is not even eligible, since he lives in Evans, but he seems to be a fixture in Champion and Champions are known for their latitude.   Little Emerson Rose brought the winner down to the Square on behalf of her Champion Grandmother back in 2010.  There are some nice pictures of her on-line out in the Loafing Shed and some question about whether her Grandmother collected her prize.  There are no pictures of last year’s winner and no one can remember just who it was, so most likely no prize was awarded.  The rules are simple.  The tomato must have been grown in Champion and must be shared with the judges who will be those people present at Henson’s Grocery and Gas when the tomato arrives.  A picture must be taken and pertinences revealed, such as the variety and culture of the winning fruit.  It is all very exciting.  Share your excitement at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at

The solar eclipse made quite a stir in some parts of the country.  Many Champions missed it altogether because of the nonproductive cloud cover, the hills that obscure sunset for some and suppertime for others.  As pictures of the event become available from those places to the west where it was most visible, it is easy to see that ancient peoples might have assigned a great deal of mystery and magic to such an occurrence.   Astronomers and NASA scientists have it all pretty well explained now and in sixteen years they say it will happen again just this way.  Meanwhile June Carter Cash wrote “Ring of Fire” and a plaintiff rendition of it can be heard in her album recorded in 1999, where she accompanies herself on the autoharp with just a fiddle in the background.   Come down to the Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square and sit a spell.  Remember The Carter Family’s “Keep on the Sunny Side.”  You’ll be in Champion—already Looking on the Bright Side!


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