While it looked a little threatening, dismal, dreary and drizzly on Friday evening, the Skyline VFD Picnic took off and wound up being a delightful event.  Friday was also the forty-fifth wedding anniversary of Darrell  and Barbara Cooper and the whole crowd wished the happy couple well.  Well-wishing and fellowshipping was the overriding factor both nights. Pleasant temperatures and no threat of bad weather boosted Saturday’s attendance, which one knowledgeable spokeswoman figured was easily a thousand.  David Richardson, in addition to his other many talents, turned out to be an efficient and entertaining master of ceremonies as he kept the audience laughing and things moving right along.  He and Brenda Coffman Massey are often seen behind about every good work in the area.  Brenda flipped burgers on the grill and flashed her sunny smile at anyone who suggested she might be working hard.   They are not the only ones (Teresa Wrinkles and others)whose good energies benefit the rest of us.  We have the good fortune to live in a place where community matters and the effort it takes to keep it that way is happily extended by the core group of neighbors upon whom we have all come to depend.  A stranger to these parts from the big city said he had never seen anything like this- no security details needed, people “of all ages having a good time and enjoying each other.  The flag ceremony particularly impressed him. Everyone was quiet and respectful.  “Awesome,” he said, together with a whole lot of other things.  Skyline School’s teacher, Carolyn Willhite, was the winner of the fire pit and lawn chairs.  She has a nice spot for it on her place and her friends are pleased for her to have won.  The 50-50 drawing was won by Jeanine Burch, but there was no report as to the amount of the cash pay-out.  Here is hoping it was a bundle!  The year will go by quickly and we will get to do it all again if we are lucky.  Look at this week to see pictures of your friends and neighbors having fun on Saturday night.  The camera battery became exhausted before the whole enjoyable affair was documented, so you will just have to rely on your memories or your vivid imaginations for your favorite images.  If you took some good shots you would like to share, send them to   

Mrs. Willhite might consider the grand picnic prize as part of her birthday celebration.  That will be on August 23rd.  Lauren Collins is a prekindergarten student at Skyline and her birthday is the 25th of August.  Teahna Oglesby has her birthday on the 22nd, and the next day is her nephew, Drayson Cline’s day, and the next one belongs to another nephew, Dakota Watts, and the next one to Aunt Barbara Krider and the next one to Aunt Rita Krider on the 26th. Those are not all the August birthdays for this family and it is party time from Missouri to Illinois, to Tennessee.  Champions cheer for your birthdays!

The Perseid Meteor Shower was to be at its peak on August 12 into the 13th and it is reckoned that there was a real show somewhere up above the thin veil of clouds over the Skyline Picnic.  In places where the skies were clear, observers surely enjoyed the vision of many wish laden shooting stars though the bright moon may have obscured it to some degree.  The astronomical spectacle of the total solar eclipse (The Great American Eclipse) will soon be upon us – August 21st.  Here in Champion the best information available says that we will experience our version of the event  to about 95.91% coverage of the sun.  It will begin at 11:44.24 a.m. and reach its maximum at 1:13.21 p.m. and end at 2:41:03 for a total of 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 39 seconds of unusual sky.  It is the first time in 148 years that the sky has looked like this.  The next time will be in 2024.  There are instructions on line for building a pinhole camera to view the eclipse.  There are also special glasses available for sale in town.  Some use the glass of a welding helmet to protect their eyes.  However you go about it, learn how to be safe and to take care of your precious eyesight.

Visiting family, the picnic, the eclipse, the garden, canning and yard work all do a good job of keeping us away from the news.  While some are of the opinion that we have an obligation to stay informed, there is some relief to be ignorant of the current situation.  It seems that we see a cruel, frightening upheaval all over the world.  Some of our anxiousness may be connected with the enormous amount of news, information and opinion that is available these days or with the jangling of jingoism that keeps our eyes off what really may be important and who knows what that is? “Silence is complicity,” they say, but who are they? Whatever “side” you happen to be on, remember that it takes two wings for the bird to fly.  Once our beliefs are established in us we are not likely to change even in the face of fact or truth.  There is good and bad in every outfit.  We Champions just figure that we know how to behave and we wished to Heaven that everybody else did.

Travis Hathaway will be pleased to know that his version of “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy” was the hit of the Skyline VFD Picnic cake walk.  Travis is often at the Vanzant Jam.  Last Thursday several musicians who come infrequently joined with all the regulars and the music circle swelled to more than 20.  In the audience Granddad Webber had daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren in from both sides of the continent with him.  Lynette Cantrell with her marvelous mandolin was also there, just having celebrated her own birthday.  Everyone reported that her first Monday Night Acoustic Jam on the Mountain Grove Square had been a great success.  Everyone is welcome to bring your acoustic instrument and join in or just come to listen.  It starts at 6:30 and goes on until 8:30 every Monday evening.  By the time cold weather gets here she expects that she will have found a free indoor venue.

The mild weather we are experiencing is unusual for this time of the year and no one is complaining.  When we enjoy our measure of health, our precious family, our dear friends, our comfort in our idyllic environment and measure it against the circumstances of the great majority of the people living in the world today, we find ourselves to be fortunate indeed.  Come down to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek to enjoy one of the world’s truly beautiful places.  Sit a spell and visit or share some old song that makes you feel like you are at home where you belong or like things are going to be okay because there is enough good around to share.  “There’s a dark and a dreary side of life.  There’s a bright and a sunny side too.  Though we meet with the darkness and strife, the sunny side we also may view” in Champion-Looking on the Bright Side!