Father’s Day is coming around on the calendar again.  Those fortunate children with a living father can celebrate him with cards, gifts and phone calls.  Those who lost him years ago or just recently will remember the good things about him and perhaps become newly aware of what he was about, how hard he worked and what you meant to him. The idea of the commemoration was long standing before it became an official holiday in 1972. One story about the beginnings of the observance of Father’s Day has to do with the Monongah Mining Disaster of 1907, near Fairmont, West Virginia.  An explosion occurred that instantly killed most of the 367 miners working inside the mines.   Coal dust or methane gas was ignited and more than a thousand children lost their fathers that morning.  The exact number of fatalities was never determined, though later investigations in the 1960’s suggested a fairer number to have been five hundred men and boys.  Today there are monuments in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Fairmont and in San Giovanni in Fiore, Italy from which many of the miners emigrated.  “The sacrifice of those strong men shall bolster new generations,” says the Italian monument.  This terrible accident and others sparked public demand for oversight to help regulate mines and as a result the United States Bureau of Mines came into being.   The celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society is part of American and World history now.   New generations are encouraged by the examples of those hardworking fathers whose rules and regulations and oversight have kept you in line and shown you the way.  He is always looking out for you.  Thanks, Dad. Linda Clark has already posted a picture of her dad and his banjo upon the internet. Celebrate Champion fathers.

There was a good turn-out for the first Skyline Work Day.  Terri Ryan reported that they were able to give the gym and the stage a much needed coat of paint.  She said “It was great to have parents, students, community members, and staff come together and get things done.”  A grant from True Value came through Cooper Lumber in the form of gallons and gallons of red and white paint. Caleb Harden, a kindergarten student at Skyline, was the youngest participant on Friday.  He was joined in the venture by Sarah, Dana and Lydia Harden, Andrea Strong, Lisa Shepherd, Diane and Xue Lynn Altendorf, Nicky and Scott Johnson, Clayton and Jessica Chlarson, Jocelyn Downs (Skyline’s new third grade teacher), Katie Vivod, Wes Woods, Jeanne and Billie Curtis, Lisa Shepherd, Wilda Moses, and Roy and Terri Ryan.  There is still much to do and hopes are that there will be more opportunities this summer for the community to help to get the little school ready for another great year.  School secretary, Helen Batten, was pleased Monday morning when she came to work to see how bright and clean it all looked.  Daniel Parkes Jr., who will be in the third grade when school starts in the fall, will be nine years old on the 19th of June.  He will have a fresh, bright perspective on the year ahead.  He will know that people in the community care about his education—Champion!

A long tradition of Champion children showing livestock at the fair continues with this generation of youngsters.  Foster Wiseman won the Grand Champion prize over the Jersey’s.  Brixey farmers Jenna and Jacob won prizes for herdsmanship.  Kalyssa Wiseman and Taegan had a wonderful time showing their calves.  They all won prizes and made memories that will build upon memories to make them life-long farmers and family farms are what the Nation needs.

The television series Gunsmoke frequently figures in the conversation at the Wednesday gathering in the Historic Emporium over on the North side of the Square in downtown Champion. Strother Martin is a favorite of the actors who played interesting rolls in the series.  His quote from “Cool Hand Luke” gets a regular mention: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”  Martin was a swimming instructor in the U.S. Navy during World War II and after the war he moved to Los Angeles and got his start in the movies.  He died young—age 61.  “Island in the Desert” is a favorite of his episodes on Gunsmoke.  “Little Girl” is another favorite, though Martin is not in this one.  Marshal Dillon had to find a suitable home for Charity Gill, a young orphan, after the little girl’s father died when his cabin caught fire.  Charity insisted that she should live with the Dodge City lawman.  He arrived back in town with her to find that the women had all gone to Topeka to fight for Women’s Suffrage.  “If they get it, we’ll all suffer,” said one of the men of the town.  That brings us back to the Historic Emporium down where country roads meet the pavement at the bottom of several steep hills on the wide, wild and wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.   It is 2015, and some ornery agitators, uninformed instigators, still rue the day the 19th Amendment passed guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.   Beginning about the time of the setting of this Gunsmoke episode, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve their goal.  They were murdered, imprisoned, tortured, beaten, starved, force fed, and intimidated in countless ways.  It is a hard-won right.  Considering that only 36.4 per cent of eligible voters participated in the last National election, if all the women in the country were to vote there might be some positive changes made.  The suffragist song, “We As Women” says, “Now then, all forward together!  But remember, every one, that ‘tis not by feminine innocence the work of the world is done.  The world needs strength and courage, and wisdom to help and feed.  When ‘We, as women” bring these to man, we shall lift the world indeed.”

Will Harley ever get his hay in?  These are unsettled days weather-wise.  Good luck to all you farmers out there.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood indicates that the 17th and 18th and the 24th through the 28th will be good days to plant crops that bear their yield above ground.  “Plant three rows of peas:  Peas of mind, Peas of heart, Peas of soul.  Plant three rows of squash:  Squash indifference, Squash selfishness, Squash hate.   Plant three rows of lettuce; Lettuce be kind.   Lettuce love one another.  Lettuce grow our own food.  Water freely with patience and cultivate with love.  There is so much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow.”   Cindy Winchester of San Antonio, Texas shares this thoughtful poem by email at Share yours that way or by snail mail at The Champion News, Rt. 72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or in person down on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium.  Look across to the South Side of the Square and marvel at the Behemoth Bee Tree.  It seems to be sprouting a few limbs way up at the top.  Look in on to see more of Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!