Some Champions are busy this time of the year plucking, shelling, peeling and slicing–doing hot work in the kitchen.  Perhaps folks were just tougher in the old days or perhaps it was not so hot back then before air conditioning.  That air conditioners might somehow have contributed to the overall warmth of the weather is a quandary too touchy to ponder.   An informed Champion says that refrigerants no longer contain CFCs due to government regulation, but carbon is still the culprit when it comes to this kind of overheating.   Back to the kitchen, Aunt Eavvie Sharrock said, “Our freezer’s full and so’s our jars.  Not much is left but garden tares.  High cost of living, we’ve tried to beat it, if God will let us live to eat it.” She would have felt right at home in Champion.

Dear Champion and Champion friend, Esther Wrinkles, is in Mercy Hospital in Springfield as the result of having broken her hip very early Sunday morning.  Her family is pleased to report that the repair procedure went well and that Esther is in good spirits.  She will be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in a couple of days.  Her mailing address is Route 1, Box 845 Vanzant, MO 75868, and notes of encouragement will find her wherever she has to be until she can get home again.  A speedy recovery is what her friends and family have in mind for her.   It does not appear that she will be able to make it to     the Skyline Picnic this year, but that is not a possibility that her friends in the Auxiliary are willing to consider at this point.  “Esther will surprise you.”  She has been a real worker for the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department since it first got started.  She is a ‘Founding Member,’ pie baking, quilt making, music loving, tireless supporter of this important organization.  The most recent quilt that she has contributed to the cause is on display down at Hensons Grocery and Gas on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  Address a Champion picture post card to Esther while you are down there and imagine the smile it will bring to her.

Go to the First Champion Tomato category at to see some genuine sweet smiles.  One of them is on the face of Louise Hutchison, another Skyline Auxiliary Champion who has made pies, sold quilt tickets, and run the picnic bingo parlor for years and years.  Louise and Wilburn have some good help that lets them get out and about these days.  Hopefully, they will make it over to the EE Picnic this next week end.  They were there for the cool evening of the Vanzant festival, so perhaps their presence brings the cool factor.  No wonder they are so much in demand!

Grace Crawford will be seven years old on the 25th of July.  She will be in the second grade when school starts up this fall.  Taylor Blasius will be fourteen.  She has completed the eighth grade at Skyline and is moving on to high school.  Both of these young ladies have some excitement ahead of them.  Taylor’s mother has been very active in the Skyline School Foundation and really represents the concept that if you want to get something done, give it to the busiest person around.  That is Patricia, not just busy, but productive.  The School Foundation is doing some good work.  Already there are more than thirty members of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library receiving books every month as they learn the love of reading in preparation for starting school.  Boosting and supporting the students and faculty of the little rural school is certainly a worthwhile endeavor and Champions are looking forward to more from the Foundation as time goes by.  When the Fairview School Reunion happens on August 11th, attendees will have a chance to contribute to this organization whose sole purpose is to perpetuate the positive school experience they remember so fondly.  Champion!

When the Patriot Guard Riders attended the burial of Private Romualdas Prenskas the other day, they filled in the gap of missing family for this Veteran of the Viet Nam War.  He was born in Lithuania and joined the United States Army after he became an American citizen.  He was trained at Fort Leonard Wood.  Lithuania is in a part of Europe that was occupied by Nazi Germany and then by the Soviets when the World War II was over.  The War was over, but life was not easy in the Balkan states.  However Private Prenskas came to America and for whatever reason, he stood up to serve his new Nation.  With the exception of the indigenous peoples, the whole population of this area was made up of immigrants, the descendants of pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians.   They came mostly from the British Isles, some before the Revolutionary War, then through Kentucky and Tennessee over time and finally to the Ozarks.  People are still pouring in and out of this lovely part of the world and Champions acknowledge that everyone comes from somewhere.   They are just lucky to lite in Champion!

Tuesday through Friday this week will be a good time for planting above the ground crops.  Thursday and Friday will be a good time to fertilize those things that are growing already.  So says Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  If water is available and some shade can be had or rigged there is some good growing season ahead still.  Get a look at that Almanac on the bulletin board at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium in the heart of the commercial district in Downtown Champion.  Stroll around and enjoy the view from the broad veranda.  ‘When you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree’ is good advice from the song “Pennies from Heaven.”  This mention was made to clear up some confusion resulting from zealous expurgation.   Many old time locals, as well as new comers, find music to be an important aspect of a happy life.   Sing, “The night was dark and stormy.  The air was full of sleet.  The Old Man stepped out in the yard and his shoes were full of feet.”  Do not, however, sing the rest of the song because you will be in Champion and therefore—Looking on the Bright Side!