One Champion asks, “Is there is any better weather ever for sleeping?”  The reprieve by the rain from outside chores, the perfect temperature, the soft quality of the morning light and the comfort of the sheets all invite the drowsy pensioner to linger.   Those first thoughts of the day savored in the luxury of sloth:  “How green is my valley!”   Champions have plenty to do inside as well, so they are up and at it.

Friday night was damp for the Up and At It 4-H picnic, but it was reported widely that Saturday night was good.  Good food, good music and good fellowship are the hallmarks of this annual event.  Everybody has a good time.  The year goes by so quickly, if you missed this one, the next one is just around the corner.  Meanwhile the 4-H kids benefit year around from this fund raiser and their Champion friends wish them every good success in their endeavors.  Leadership programs in the 4-H Club prepare young people to step up to the challenges in their community and the world.  Head, heart, hands and health—Champion!

Miley Day Schober was around every corner with her rake on Wednesday helping her grandmother and the other Skyline Auxiliary members get the picnic grounds ready for the big happening.  Wednesday evenings are dedicated to picnic preparedness and Miley is an enthusiastic participant.  Her family has a long history with the Skyline VFD back to its very beginnings.  It is a fine thing to see individuals willing to work as a group for the benefit of the whole community.  A man named Edmund Hale said, “I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”  That is a mouthful and a great Champion sentiment.   A phone visit with Irene Dooms lets Auxiliary members know that she will be at the picnic with some coconut cream pies made from her sister’s receipt.  She allows that her pies will probably not be as good as Esther’s but she wanted to keep the tradition going.  Her pies will rival any that the generous membership can contribute.  Everyone will look forward to a mouthful of that goodness.  Irene and Esther’s old family home place is still in the family and a year or so ago was seriously threated by a grass/brush fire that jumped the road.  She was so grateful that the Skyline firefighters were willing to take her gate down and get it put out before the fire took the whole place.  Her membership in the fire department and a few scrumptious pies express her gratitude.  She is a Champion.

Last Tuesday morning very early the wind blew a tree down in the Mountain Grove apartment complex where Ruby Proctor lives.  The tree did not hit her house, but it came close to her sister Amy’s place and made a mess in the yard for a little while.  Amy has some beautiful flowers that the tree top missed as it thrashed and crashed almost to her door.    A luscious double begonia in a color somewhere between tangerine and orange survived nicely on its shepherd’s hook by her walk way.  Across the courtyard, Ruby has some beautiful roses and a petunia planter that is just exquisite.  It was a lovely morning for a pleasant visit out on the porch.  Ruby always thinks of Champion as her home.  She grew up right in the heart of the place and the place is much in her heart.  She was pleased to hear that Lorene Johnston’s notebooks are being enjoyed.  Lorene was Ruby’s husband’s niece, so Ruby is well acquainted with Lorene’s long time habit of conserving things of interest.   She would certainly have clipped out a newspaper picture of the tree down in front of Ruby’s place.

Champions are all relaxed and smiling as the green beans go in the jars and the tomatoes begin to ripen.  A vigilant eye is directed toward the corn patch lest the raccoons decide on an early feast.  Linda’s almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood says that the 30th and the 31st of July will be good days for planting root crops and for transplanting.  Likewise the 1st of August and the 4th and 5th will be good for root crops and for starting seedbeds.  The joys of the garden are many!  Hopefully Taegan (Peanut) Krider will be down on the Square in Champion on Friday and Saturday with some of her Dad’s extra zucchini.   Several young families will be down there for an informal swap meet then.  It is reminiscent of the old days when the square would be full people catching up on the news of the week and seeing what people had brought to sell and barter.  Those were the days before the internet and television.  There were phones then, but not nearly everyone had one, so they would just head on down to Champion with their eggs, or rabbits, or fish, or extra green beans and would come home with a needed tool, or some dishes or something nice from someone else’s closet.  It is a lively community yet—Champion!

Tennessee family and friends have graced the place with warm smiles, wholehearted handshakes and hugs, and beautiful singing.  They were well met and will be always welcomed.  Birthdays for early August include Seamus Heffern and Skyline School bus driver Paul Kennedy.  They both celebrate on August second.  Seamus lives in Springfield but has recently spent some of the best part of his summer vacation with his grandparents just over in Champion South.  He and his little sister, Lizzy, and the new puppy, Skooter, romped and played until the grandparents were exhausted—in a good way.

Walter Pidgeon and Maureen O’Hara were the stars in John Ford’s 1941 movie.   The protagonist said, “How green was my valley that day, too green and bright in the sun!”  So it was not a question but an expletive.   Richard Liewellyn’s 1939 novel ended with, “How green was my Valley then, and the Valley of them that have gone.”  It is easy to look at a place full and vibrant with life and yet see the shadows of dear ones, gone, moving through memory in the intervals of present business.  So it is in this valley.  The many songs about valleys often have references to old and new loves, sweet and sad.  “I’ve got a mountain of love for the girl in the valley.  I’ve got an ocean of dreams for the girl in the valley.”  Share your favorite at or Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, Mo 65717.   Come down to a beautiful valley, at the bottom of several hills, at the junction of country roads and the beginning of the pavement, just down from the joining of Clever Creek to Old Fox Creek  where stands the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square.  You may stand in the lovely lanai there to sing your favorite valley song or just look out across one of the world’s most charming valleys–Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!