Gentle rains punctuated with sunny spells have made for a lovely week. The elegant outpost on the broad bristly banks of Old Fox Creek has been visited heavily by locals, neighbors and erstwhile residents turned sightseers and absentee landlords. Champions busy at home will gladly leave the plow in the field to spend a few minutes in the throng when (if) they are alerted to the various impromptu gatherings. It will be interesting to hear the debate/discussion around the table about the Right to Farm amendment. It sounds like a good thing, but Tim Gibbons of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center says it is another step in the elimination of independent producers, not good for farms, or for the environment, or the market place and not good for the rural economy. Douglas County has had its own pig farm scandals in years past and not interested in smelling another. There are two sides to every story. These days the winning side is generally corporate even though people do the voting.
June Summer School is in full swing up at Skyline. The greenhouse is taking shape. Adeline Homer, who was a third grader this last year at Skyline, has her birthday on June 12th as does classmate Isabelle Creed. They will move on to the 4th grade together with Wyatt Hicks. His birthday is on the 13th and he shares it with 8th grader Glen Dylan Ford. On the 15th Zachary Coon will celebrate. He will be in the third grade when school starts back up. Foster Wiseman will have his birthday on the 16th. He lives up in Marshfield but is a frequent visitor to his Grandmother’s Champion farm. June is also full of wedding anniversaries. Old couples growing old together for better and for worse still, amazingly enough, enjoy each other’s company. Fatherhood also gets it due in June. Paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society cannot be too much appreciated. The young fathers who are actively participating in the raising of children are affirming or refuting the examples their own fathers set. There is the feeling that they want to be just like their own dear old dads or that they want to be like the dads they wanted their dads to be. Either way is fine and it is beautiful to see sons and daughters looking up to fine role models—Champion dads!
Mistakes are made. Linda’s Almanac for June as it appears on the www.championnews.us website is correct. A corrected version will get down to Henson’s G & G before this is in ink. The errors and omissions started about the middle of the month and covered about eight days. It is all fixed now with apologies. Other errors are made purposefully sometimes as a way to revisit a subject. Of course it was not Willard Coonts who was knife fighting with Lee Ray at Ava High School back in the 60’s. It was W.D. Coonts. That is not to say that Willard did not engage in some risky behavior, just that this particular incident (revisited here) involved his son. W.D. and Lee sat in the back of the classroom (probably English) and had a little game they played with their pocket knives. It was not mumbly peg which is generally considered to be an outdoor game, but a surreptitious parry and prick gambit where each one conceals his open pocket knife in his hand with his thumb covering the point of the blade so that should the teacher turn around and catch something going on, it would just appear that one or the other of the ruffian teenagers was poking the other in the leg with his thumb. It happened this way that one day Lee forgot his knife. He got off to school without it. As soon as W.D. realized the situation he became more aggressive so that Lee scooted his chair over to get out of reach. This made it awkward for W.D. who lunged a little farther and accidently let the point of his knife blade slip out from the end of his thumb. He poked a little hole in Lee’s new blue jeans and as it turned out a little hole in Lee as well. Lee knew it was an accident but he was still mad, new blue jeans and all. Out in the hall W.D. was just standing up from his locker when Lee cold-cocked him. He did not really knock W.D. out, but he knocked him down and then as he helped him up, they exchanged a couple of words that brought the whole episode to a peaceful conclusion.
Friday morning J.C. Owsley joined up with fifty or more of his friends in the Caney Kansas Saddle Club and took off on a three day ride through Kansas and Oklahoma on his big white mule, Dot. Dot is just on loan for a while and will get a little rest after the exertion of carrying the big man through two states. Perhaps he will bring Dot to Champion for Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride. J. C. has another horse that he has raised, which is becoming a pasture riding fence checking favorite for the cowboy. The Fox Creek Rodeo could have used some cowboy acumen the other day. Details of the wild excitement are purposefully sketchy to avoid the publicity. Barbara, up in Peoria, probably knows all about it. If her hay maker does not get rained out he will get some bales put by before he goes home, meanwhile he can spend some time soothing hurt feelings over having sailed right by the Johnston’s new home without a by your leave, a wave or a howdy. “I’ve got a pig at home in the pen and corn to feed him on. All I need is a pretty little gal to feed him when I’m gone.” That is probably a tune that Dylan Watts can pick on his banjo and his family and friends hope he will bring it with him when he comes this way from Tennessee now that he has his driving permit—over here to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!