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A chance trip around the county was an opportunity to marvel at the beauty of a place like this.  The roadsides are strewn with Echinacea, butterfly weed, Queen Anne’s lace and an occasional purple musk thistle.  In places where the hay has been cut and rolled, the manicured fields show the care farmers have for their land, and in places where the hay has yet to be cut some meadows are waving high in mixed hues that reflect May’s dry weather and sudden new growth green.  Roiling clouds in blue shades moved by unseen swift winds filter and shift the light, or the sun breaks through to immortalize a moment somewhere along the lovely way home to Champion.

Monday morning found the school bus rolling down the road to Skyline as summer school begins.  Some of the great kids celebrating summertime birthdays are Ashlee Dean who will be nine on the 9th and Rose Penn who will be nine on the 10th.   Adeline Homer will be eight on the 12th of June.  She will be in the second grade.  Glenn Dylan Ford will be eleven on the 13th and on that day Wyatt Hicks will have his seventh birthday.  Zachary Coon will be six on the 15th and so the first grade will be his destination.  Champion grandson, Foster Wiseman, will have his birthday on the 16th.  He is growing up quickly, as are all these delightful young folks.  Summer school students will be brushing up their academic skills while having lots of fun including a trip to the Ava pool on Fridays.  Students do not have to live in the Skyline district to attend.  It will be exciting to hear more about the first annual Skyline R2 Foundation Bass Fishing Tournament.  The foundation is a new organization and it is off and running for the benefit of the area students.  The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program is a fine example.   There is information available about it at the school as well as at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion.

Harley and other Champion logophiles (people who love learning new words) have a couple of interesting specimens this week.  “Retrouvaille,” is a noun that means the joy of meeting or finding someone again after a long separation; rediscovery.  In a sentence, “The broad expanse of the shady veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium is frequently the scene of nostalgic retrouvaille as visitors come and go.”  The other new word is “paucity.”   It means a lack of, or a rarity and was used last week in an article entitled “What About This…?”  An example of its use not found in the article but rather about the article is, “The paucity of tolerance for an Irishman by an Italian was ironically demonstrated thru copious declarations with many raised glasses of a very nice Chianti.”  On an unrelated note, it has been pointed out that ‘they’ is now being accepted as the third person personal pronoun, effectively doing away with ‘he’ and ‘she.’   For one particular Champion, the evolution of language seems sadder than they expected. (It just seems wrong.)

Pete Proctor is not sad.  He just returned home last Wednesday from a two week trip to Virginia with his son Bryan and his family.  He was sorry to have missed the Denlow School Reunion, but he had a good time touring all the memorials in Washington D.C.   They took a lot of good photographs, one of which is of Pete touching the name of his friend, Terry, on the Viet Nam Wall.  Terry was from Tennessee and they were roommates for five months before Terry was killed.   At the World War II Monument, they ran into a bunch of Veterans from Baltimore.   Most of them were in wheelchairs, Pete said.   The Korean War Memorial was very eye-catching.   There are 19 statues representing all the Armed Services and an ethnic cross section of America.  The figures are wearing ponchos and seem to be walking up a hill with the cold winter wind at their backs, talking to one another.  Overall, it was an experience that Pete hopes every Veteran can have.  It would be a learning experience for any citizen, worth the time and trouble it takes to get there.  Bryan is stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.  Pete is happy to know that he will be retiring in November and will move back to Mountain Grove.  His wife, Jamie, whom he met when they were both in the Service, and their two children nine year old, Tristan, and seven year old, Laney, have been living with Pete since February.  The kids love the Mountain Grove Schools.  Everybody will be glad when Bryan gets home.  This was a great trip for the family, particularly for Pete who has been the Post Commander for VFW Post 3770 for some while now and will continue to be active in this great organization though Archie Dailey will take over as the new commander shortly.   Those men do a good job of keeping those who serve in the thoughts of those who do not have to.  Champions!

Esther Wrinkles reports that there will be a Pie Supper to Benefit the Vanzant Community Center on June 16th.  On the occasion of this benefit, someone suggested that candidates for office should pay double their bid on the pies just for the chance to glad-hand.  This lovely little building is certainly seeing some good use these days.  In addition to various musical pot-luck dinners open to the public, some area residents are hiring the building for private parties.   There was a report of a Good Neighbor of the Month award ceremony that was so surprising that the recipient grew hair!  He must have been bribing the sponsors over at the North Town Mall of Mad Goat Flats with peanut butter ice cream.  They say it is really good, but only ‘select’ Champions ever get a taste of it.  It would seem that we are neighbors, but just not all that close.  Perhaps the occasion of the Fairview School Reunion coming up August 11th will be a convenient time to remedy some presumed slights.  The Skyline VFD Picnic will be that day too, so there will be plenty opportunity to prove its reputation—a peanut butter ice cream dream.

Frank Sinatra would have said that dreams are being fashioned in June when summertime is new.  He was right.  It is a delicious time when the garden is starting to produce and has not yet succumbed to drought, pestilence and disease.  Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place says that the 6th, 7th, and 8th will be a good time to plant late beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and other root crops.  The 9th will be a particularly good time to transplant.  Check it all out at, at the Plant Place, or on the new bulletin board at the Historic Mercantile located at the bottom of some green hills, at the edge of a famous creek where the dirt roads and pavement collide.    Sing your favorite June song out on the spacious veranda.   Following an extended saxophone solo, Frank sang, “You’re the ghost of a romance in June going astray, fading too soon, that’s why I say, ‘Farewell to you, Indian Summer.’” Goodbye, Indian Summer.   Hello Champion!—Looking on the Bright Side!

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