“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.” So said James Russell Lowell (1819-1891). The poem from which these lines are taken is full of keen observations about the value of natural beauty. “Every clod feels a stir,” says he, and so it is in Champion! “With the deluge of summer” near, Champion hearts revel in the lovely here and now. Monday’s deluge of delicious rain was also most welcome.
Emerson Rose and Eli Oglesby have been visiting their grandmother in Champion and having lots of fun with their sweet cousins. Their aunt Linda Krider Watts will have a special birthday on the 21st of June this year. The first day of summer has been a special occasion for her family for well over three decades now. Champion granddaughter, Sierra Parsons, who resides in Portland, Oregon, will be some undisclosed teenage age, maybe in the neighborhood of seventeen, but it does not matter. Already a very talented artist, she has a great sense of style that may render her hair any color and her lipstick any shade. She carries with her the self-assured, buoyant optimism that people remember themselves as having had at that age, though truly few ever did. She has her Grandparents impressed and that is always good. Alyssa Strong will be nine years old on the 23rd of June. She is a fourth grader at Skyline School. Nicholas, who lives over off Tar Button Road will celebrate his birthday on the 25th. He is an elder. That is to say, “He is Old,” no telling how old. Some young people refer to him as Grandfather, a role that he embodies with reverence. Casey Boyd will be in the eighth grade this year and will have his 14th birthday on June 26. Devin Scott will be eight that day and will be a big second grader. Summer school is in full swing over at Skyline and teacher, Terry Ryan, is reporting the Friday trips to the pool in Ava are being lots of fun.
Neighbors over at Vanzant will be enjoying the pies and the fun of the Saturday Night Pie Supper that is being held to benefit the Vanzant Community Center, which is turning out to be the very Jewel of Eastern Douglas County. Of course, Champion is the Jewel of Central Douglas County and Ava can be the Jewel of Western Douglas County. The other day someone asked, “Just where is Champion? “ Well, if a person were traveling to Champion from Norwood, he would go south on Highway C for about 14 miles and would make a left turn on WW Highway. He would have passed the Skyline School at the corner of C and 76 Highway and would have gone on to WW, the first paved road on the left. Two miles or so east on WW is Champion, clearly marked with shiny new MODOT signs. If a person were coming from Ava, he would have to come out east on 14 Highway because of the timely work on the Bryant Creek Bridge on 76. It is about seventeen miles to Evans, where he would then make a left on Highway C, traveling north. Three or four miles north on C meets the intersection with WW and a person would make a right turn there and travel on down to the lovely burg. From Mountain Grove, one might go south on 95 and then east on 76 to C, then on down to WW, and thence Champion. From Gentryville, it is west on 14 to C and then north as before. However, if you were coming from Drury, you might just go to V Highway and turn west. Travel on the pavement for a mile or so and then just as the road makes a nice ninety degree turn to the left, a pretty dirt road takes off straight ahead. That’s the road for you and if you bear neither to the left or the right, but stay the central course, in good time you’ll be in Champion and glad of it. Once there, take the time to explore the Square. Enjoy refreshments on the broad veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium. If you need some calf starter, some baling twine for your baler, a frozen pizza, certain plumbing parts, or just a cookie and a nice cup of coffee, Champion is the place to be.
A well-known, life-long resident of Champion and a self-admitted logophile was anxious to learn the New Word of the Week early, and he was told that it would probably be ’lugubrious’ because of the comical sound of the word. But it turns out that the word means sad, mournful, gloomy, melancholy, and sombre, none of which is at all in keeping with the feeling of Champion and so it has been replaced with ‘stellify’ which means to change or to be changed into a star. “Champion has been stellified in the memories of former residents who sadly must now live elsewhere.”
Champions did not forget that D-day was last week and that Father’s Day is this coming Sunday. There is always plenty to celebrate and Champions are particularly pleased with their Veterans and their Fathers. Champion gardens are luscious. The bugs like everything. Deer and rabbits are having their fill of people-vegetables and gardeners are making the adjustments required and taking the preventative steps available to save as much of the harvest as possible. Linda’s Almanac is available for inspection at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion or at www.championnews.us. It says that the 16thand 17th will both be good days for planting root crops and will be good days for transplanting. The moon sign will change then and the 20th and the 21st will be favorable for above the ground crops again. In Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!