The mist hanging in the valleys on Monday morning speaks of the rain that fell enough to wash the dust off the cars, but not enough to wake a person up to say, “Oh! It’s raining!”  The forecast for the end of the week shows Champion to be cool and damp.  When it comes to the weather, Champions never complain. Zoey Louise, a Champion granddaughter who will soon be nine years old, says, “You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit!”  That is an excellent precept that speaks of a good upbringing.  It must come from her Mother’s side.

When Harley and Barbara were down from Illinois during the Skyline VFD Picnic, Harley remarked that he has some incredibly beautiful tomato plants that are not making much in the way of tomatoes.  He did have a small bunch of plump Romas to share with sister-in-law, Karen, who said they were very pretty and very tasty.  It is to be noted that Barbara had her birthday on Sunday and now is considerably older than some of her family and friends in Champion.  Until they catch up with her again those younger people will go out of their way to show deference and appreciation for their elders.  It is the Champion way!  Harley drives a bus and school has started up there again too so they probably will not make it to the Champion School Reunion this year.  It is coming up on Saturday, September 1st.  Even Champions who never attended school there are welcome and everyone always goes away from the occasion with a smile.  Bring lawn chairs, a bite to eat, and get ready for some serious visiting, reminiscing, acquainting and reacquainting.

The 30th Annual Champion School Reunion is just the first of a series of excellent gatherings of the fall season in the bustling crossroads of one of the prettiest places in the world.   “Crossroads” is used here only as a designation for a gathering place or for the hub of a community.  Looking from above (on the map), the loop around the Square is Lonnie Krider Memorial Drive.  It connects County road 243 from the north, with County Road 234 from the east and with the pavement of Highway WW that goes off to the west.  If a person is of a mind to go south, he might take out east on 234 for a way and then turn right on 235.  A person could spend a pleasant hour just perusing the map, but better yet, make the trip.  Refresh yourself out on the porch at the Historic Emporium and enjoy the sites.

On Thursday, the 13th of the month, the West Plains Wagon Club will come through again on their week-long trip from West Plains to Mansfield.  They generally spend the lunch hour and a little siesta break around the Square and are most congenial to spectators, many of whom may never have seen, up close, wagons and buggies hitched up to horses and mules.  There are all kinds of different outfits.  Many of these rigs are equipped with solar powered electric lights and running water, but some are as close to the original historic configurations as is possible with only minor alterations to fit current conditions.  Look in on to see some great pictures of Wagon Trains in Champion or come out and see them in person.  The procession creaking out of the Square on its way north puts a person in mind of the changing of times.   “The only constant is change,” they say, and Champions are not at all adverse to it.  Forward thinking is not anathema to a love of history and precious memories of the golden days of youth.  “The old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be, many long years ago!” Every guy who was born in 1939 thinks the ’57 Thunderbird (or Desoto) is the prettiest car ever built.

It will be remembered off in the future (way off) that Janna Brixey did not want to go to school.  She does not like riding the bus and the whole process of going every morning seems egregious to her.  Once she gets there, however, and gets involved in the day, she seems to like it quite well.  She talks about it favorably when she returns home in the evening, and yet, the morning starts the whole process over again.  She will soon discover that the rewards are worth the trouble it takes to get there.  Kindergarten is cool.  Meanwhile, she and Kalyssa Wiseman will have their fifth birthday on Friday, the 31st of August.  One is just a few minutes older than the other.  They will probably know each other for the rest of their lives, so they can work it out between them who is older.  Larry Wrinkles has his birthday on the 1st of September.  He most generally is at the Champion School Reunion and he will have to make a good appearance this year as a stand-in for his Mother, Esther Wrinkles.  She will be spending a little more time at the Autumn Oaks Care Center where she is doing rehabilitation for a broken hip.  This will be the first Reunion that she has not attended and these are the kinds of “changing times” that people dislike.  She will have lots of company there as friends stop in to report on the reunion and to tell her how much she was missed.

Third grader Jasmine Schroeder will miss getting to have her birthday at school.  She will be nine years old on the third of September which is Labor Day this year.  She can celebrate with her Skyline classmates later.  The fourth of September is the birthday of both Ronald Thornhill who will be 14, and Eathaniel Poppas who will be 10.  Two sixth grade boys, Derek Camp and Donavon Sarginson, share their 12th birthday on the fifth.  Birthday celebrations can be some of the best part of life.  The chance to tell friends and family that they are loved and cherished on their special day and that the world is somehow sweeter for their very presence is a chance not to miss.  The feeling one has about his own birthday can change from age to age and if a person is lucky somewhere along the line he begins to be grateful for having lived another year.  Send any birthdays that you would like to commemorate to or to Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Freely, lavishly send birthday cards to friends and loved ones by the U.S. Postal Service.  Write some post cards and love letters to the troops overseas and tell them how much their sacrifices are valued. Karen Ross, Champion mail carrier, participated in the Customer Appreciation program of the post office by delivering banana bread.  Notes back to her in thanks for the deliciousness included the sentiment that it is the community who appreciates her.  Reliable mail service to rural residents is noting to take for granted.

Elmer Banks’ birthday is on September 15th! It will be hard to tell how old he is and the fact is he may not know himself.  He is originally from Transylvania, Louisiana and lived many places before he settled on Champion as his home.  Fun and laughter come along with him and it will be “Elmer Banks Day” in Downtown Champion on his birthday as the whole town gathers for a swap meet kind of festival with the Fall All City Yard Sale and Musical provided by the All General Accordion Ensemble.  Come for the fun to Champion! Looking on the Bright Side!