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The first Monday after Labor Day was the first day of school for many back in the ‘old’ days.   These days school is already in full swing with all the contingent excitement and anticipation for a good year ahead.  A preschool teacher was quoted as having said, “I will not believe all the things your child tells me about you if you will not believe all the things he tells you about me.”  This happened a number of years ago and is not to say that the children are, or were, necessarily prevaricators, but rather that they have a distinctly different point of view about most things based on their lack of experience.  That is what school provides—information and experience.  Skyline School’s Communications Arts teacher, Carolyn Willhite, will celebrate her birthday on August 23rd.  Third grader Rowdy Woods will have his special day on August 29th.  Jenna Brixey will be in the first grade.  She and Kalyssa Wiseman share a birthday; they will both be seven years old.  Champions!

The Champion School Reunion happens on the Saturday before Labor Day.  New old memories will come to the surface to be shared among the many.   Last year the event took place on the hottest day of the year. (TCN—September 2, 2013) “That did not seem to make much of a difference to the fifty or so stalwart Champions, families and friends who enjoyed the afternoon under the ancient walnut trees in the old school yard.  Ruby Proctor pointed to the tree that was home base and told about the batter who let go of the bat after a hit.  It hurled right into her face and she said she still had the scar, but her sweet smile hides it well.  Some of the others who passed the day with Ruby were Elsie Curtis, Debbie Massey, Connie Brown, Robert Brown, Paul Brown, Lee Brown, Richard and Kaye Johnston, Karen Krider, Ray Hicks, Pete Proctor, Harold and Eva Phillips,  Elva Ragland, Sheila Brown, Betty Henson, Fern Bishop, Kenneth and Barbara Anderson, Wayne and JoAnn Anderson, Russell and Dean Upshaw, Frank and Freda Proctor, Arlene Cooley, Tom Cooley, Laine Sutherland, Frances Sutherland, Billy Jo Lambert and his son, Don Krewson, Anita Krewson, Wayne Sutherland, Modeen Dooms, Mrs. LuAllen and two daughters, her son and his wife, Benton Hutchison, Jackie Coonts, Dale and Betty Thomas, Leslee Krider, Bill Smith, Wilma Hutchison Pointer and her husband, Royce and Joe Henson and Vaughn Henson.   Royce and Vaughn completed the Walk of Ages again from Cold Springs to Champion.”   That was last year.  This year Champions will miss some of those dear ones.   To the many in the area who have Champion connections and history, this is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and recollect. The pot luck luncheon on the grounds is always a feast.  Everyone is welcome.   You never know who you will see on the Bright Side!

It seems that the same people in any given community do all the hard work that makes it a real community.  On a warm Saturday afternoon a week after the Skyline Picnic, a certain prominent citizen and prominent girlfriend were observed up at the fire house continuing to work.  They were doing the final tidying up after the picnic and beginning the process for another sterling event next year. Neighbors at KZ88 FM Real Community Radio in Cabool will be broadcasting four hours of the picnic music from Saturday night together with a short interview with the Skyline Fire Chief.   It will be broadcast from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Saturday night, August 23rd, and then again on Sunday, the 24th,  from noon to four o’clock.  It will be like being there again!  We appreciate you, KZ88!

“We will kill a chicken and churn!”  That is the sentiment that goes with the open invitation to good neighbors and old friends.   A few miles across the county is still not a long trip, but as days fill up more quickly as the years have gone by, old friends who see each other rarely make it a celebration and special occasion when they can get together.  With technology and transportation improvements, closeness is less about geography now than it has ever been.  The neighborhood is big and good neighbors are a great gift.  They share the garden produce–awash with squash and unnumbered cucumbers.  They share the hard work, the troubles and triumphs.   For those who do not get The Champion News (TCN) through the Douglas County Herald, last week the paper ran an ad for a benefit to be held for Ronnie Thompson and it was the first that many had heard of his illness.  Ashley Pierson (417-686-0164) is the contact person for that event.  It is news to some that Harley Krider is also having some health issues.  All those suffering ill health and loss benefit from the ministrations of their good neighbors, friends and family.  Both these Champions are getting good health care and have a good prognosis for which their vigilant good neighbors, friends and family are grateful. Compassion is a Champion notion.

Not everyone has a good neighbor.  It is sad but true.  Complicated human relationships and seemingly unrelated events sometimes throw incompatible people right next to each other for better or worse for the duration.  How issues are resolved and circumstances tolerated can make the very exciting subtext of a crime novel or of a treatise on tolerance and forbearance.  “The sun comes up and the sun goes down and the hands on the clock go round and round.  Life gets tee-juss, don’t it?”  That is part of an old song that might fit the dreary life of someone who declines to be a good neighbor.  It takes two.

Neighbors over in Vanzant are continually kicking up their heels.  Those Thursday night bluegrass jams are still in full swing and let him who has a foot to pat come on over for a pot luck dinner about six and then enjoy an evening of great music.  “Saturday Night Under the Stars” over at the Vanzant Country Store is getting some good press on the internet and Champions on their way to Mt. Grove have seen some expansive attention going into what used to be the Junction.  By contrast Champion seems all the more laid back and easy going.  Plenty happens, however, and a lot of it out on the spacious veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium overlooking the bucolic Square wrapped and boundried by the wild, wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  The veranda is situated to catch the lovely summer breezes offered by nature and the verbose windiness of farmers, cowboys and charming itinerant vagrants and loiterers.  Check out TCN (The Champion News) at to get a clear view of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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