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“Home” can almost be defined by that feeling that sweeps through a body returning there after a noteworthy absence.  A few hours, a few days, or longer in the great elsewhere, near or far, can bring a fresh perspective on the hat hanging place, where shoes are left by the door and the hair is let down.  To round the bend and see the house still standing when the iron might have been left plugged in and turned on is a joyful feeling.  Gratitude is Champion.

The Douglas County Museum and Historical Society has posted on line a couple of pictures of the Champion School.  One is from 1947, a side view of the building.  The other is from November of 1920, showing the 33 first through the fifth grade students lined up in two neat rows with their hair combed and looking studious.  The names are all there and their faces match up to tell the stories we know as history.    This was a bustling burg back then.  “Facebook” has its well-earned detractors, but it is a delight that this post was picked up by Sharon Tate Williamson who flung it around on the internet for Robert Upshaw and many others to ‘like’ and for THE CHAMPION NEWS to pick up.  Some kind of cyber-magic will soon enough have these great photographs posted at in the School Reunions category.

The Champion School Reunion is just around the corner!  The Summer Social Calendar is bulging.  The first Skyline Community Market Day is coming up August 1st.  It is a morning event from 8 a.m. to noon.  Since it is pre-election, the hopes are that viers for public office will show their faces and state their cases and spread some political largess around.  Some of them attended Skyline and might benefit from seeing the old place again.  The Market is being organized and sponsored by the Skyline Community Teachers Association with proceeds from booth rentals to go to the CTA Scholarship and the Youth Empowerment Program.

The following Friday and Saturday, the 8th and 9th, will be the high point of the summer at the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department Picnic.   The East Fairview District 46 School Reunion will be held on the 9th at the Vanzant Community building.   There will still be time for those attending the East Fairview Reunion to make it down to the Skyline Picnic for the music and for the exciting drawings.  The handcrafted red oak, cedar lined blanket chest (cedar chest) is drawing a great deal of attention over at Recreation of the Historic Emporium on the north side of the Square in Downtown Champion. Bonnie Mullins has sent in money for her tickets.  She and Pete are doing all right up in Wichita.  She is glad their family reunion is there this year and hopes to get back this way one day soon. Some special arrangements will have to be made to get that cedar chest to her if (when) she wins.  Good luck to all.

A smart dog has only one skunk experience.  Rudy has recovered from several episodes of snake bite, but Friday evening’s face off with the King of Stink will surely have set him on a lifetime path of strict avoidance.   The Annual Table Rock Lake Bridge and Food Frenzy got off to a slow, but memorable start as the Oklahoma team mascot met his olfactory match.  Rudy travels with the doo wop quartet, known on the bridge circuit as the Mister Sisters.  They are a curious mix comprised of a watch maker, a card reading Gypsy word slinger, a construction goon contralto, and Tim, who learned bridge as a wee lad at his Old Grannie’s knee.   They were formidable opponents for the Fortnight Bridge group.  When the shouting was over, each team left with a prize, new friends, and an enhanced knowledge of the game of games.  Norwood’s Linda, on the Fortnight team, came home with the grand prize.  (Champion missed it by a mere 2000 points!) Rudy’s Jill took the nickels home. (There must have been a pound of them!) Elegant, commodious accommodations, gourmet dining, stimulating companions in a tranquil setting made the two day getaway seem like a tropical cruise.   Fortnighters and Mister Sisters alike are refreshed, renewed and ready for fun.  Whose deal is it?

One of the treats of travel is the opportunity to see unrecognizable names on political signs in yards and on fences as counties and congressional districts change through the windshield. Perspective is a tricky subject.  People rarely change their political views even when faced with the possibility of those views having been discounted, discontinued, or disregarded by the very namesakes of the philosophy.  Words are tricky and political word trickery is an art. The proposed Amendment Number One might look better to some if it were called the International Industrialized Intensive Factory Pig Production and Monsanto Protection Act. Some would argue that folks in Missouri already have The Right To Farm, and as it is, the Ozarks boast some of the cleanest and most bountiful fresh water in the Nation.  Now there is something worth protecting!

Often by this time of the year summer looks ragged and brown, parched a little around the edges.  This year seems the exception to the rule and no one is complaining.  Come down to the broad inviting banks of Old Fox Creek with your garden riches to share.  Linda’s Almanac from up at The Plant Place in Norwood reveals that July 24th and 25th will both be most fruitful for root crops and transplanting.  The 26th will be good for corn, okra, beans, and other above-ground crops.  All those days will be good for planting seedbeds and flower gardens.  It is acceptable to brag about your garden glory and not share it, but the proof of the pudding is one of the favorite of puddings.  Ethan Alexander and Zee Heffern probably had pudding (banana) on their birthdays on the 19th.  Terry Prock had a birthday on the 20th and Rosie Gunter on the 23rd.  They both teach at Grace Crawford celebrates on the 24th.  She will be in the 4th grade there this fall.  Jaci Borders will be five years old on the 27th and that puts her in kindergarten this year.  “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!”  That is the name of the last book in the series of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  The Skyline R-2 School Foundation has sponsored this program with some great success–the love of reading being one of the favorite of loves.

Share your favorite loves, your news, views and summertime adventures at or mail them to The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO. 65717.  Find out how to get tickets for that handsome cedar chest there as well.  Play favorites out on the spacious veranda at the Historic Emporium.   Hum some tune that makes you think of home (“in the good old summertime, in the good old summertime, la la la la la la with your hand in mine”)  It is acceptable to sing right out loud if you know the words and have a good voice.  Otherwise, just hum and smile.  You will be in one of the world’s truly beautiful places—Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!

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