Way off in the future there will be Champions who recall these pleasant days out in the wonderful glider and comfortable chairs on the front porch of the Historic Emporium. Now that winter’s chill is a distant memory, much of the socializing has moved from around the stove to the porch, where friends and neighbors meet serendipitously, or by plan, to pass a few tranquil moments. ‘Romantics’ from Almartha regularly spend a peaceful hour there, being willing to travel the considerable distance for the experience. The fiddler’s brother in law asked (essentially) “Where else might one go to find a real country store at the end of the pavement, on the banks of a creek, at the conjunction of county roads, at the bottom of several beautiful hills in the midst of such agreeable company?” That is Champion.
Cowboy Jack was leading the pack when Bud Hutchison’s Annual Champion Trail Ride came into the Square Wednesday afternoon. Fourteen riders made the trip and all seemed to report a good time. Wilma Hamby and her son, Mike, were there. Wilma only wears one spur. Bob Herd has some nice spurs. He dozed for a moment on the porch. Junior Brown, Nancy Burns, Dale Lawson, and Marvin Eagleston enjoyed the ride as did Bill and Marsha Brunner. Cheryl Fortunia rode a quarter-horse and the rest were on Fox trotters. Hershel Letsinger shed some light on the number of available trails in the area. He pointed out that this part of the country was deeded to individuals as it was settled. Later the Forrest Service came in to buy up the parcels from the settlers to form the Mark Twain National Forest. Many of the farm-to-market roads and trails and old Model T roads that became part of the Forest have not grown over altogether and so they provide many miles of trails for the horsemen to enjoy on their weekly outings. Butch Linder brought up the rear of this trip, which Jack says is usual. The two of them took turns leaning on the porch rail describing just how they are both related to the same people without being kin to each other. They both grew up right in this area and so it is almost a chore to draw the distinction and it is a source of much amusement for onlookers. This week many of these riders will head over to Braddock Lake for their jaunt. With the “Near Drowning” still fresh in their minds, the Cowboy’s friends will be keeping a close eye on him.
School is out this week! Skyline students are celebrating. Summer stretches long and lusciously out before them now. They will learn, when they get older, that summer really passes in quite a great hurry. Young Meikel Klein will have his fifth birthday on the 17th and so will go into kindergarten next year. Grayson Atchison will be in the sixth grade and he will be eleven on the 18th. Heidi Strong will have her sixth birthday on the 22nd and so will be a first grader next year. Isaiah Collins will be eight on the 23rd. He will be in the third grade. For a few weeks now many students will have choices about what they do through the day. Some will sleep late. Some will buck hay to earn a few dollars. Others will go to camp or visit their Grandmother. Champions hope they all know that these are some of the days they will look back on with great fondness in the distant future. The Skyline R2 School Foundation is getting ready for the big Bass Fishing Tournament down at the Spring Creek Boat Ramp in Isabella, MO on the 26th. Brian Sherrill has all the good information about it at 417-683-7950.
A distant Champion News reader writes that she appreciates the reference to the Suffragists Lucy Burns and Alice Paul, who labored against an oppressive regime to secure the voting franchise for women in this Nation. “In this intensely interesting political climate,” she says, “it is good to remember that women cast more than half the ballots in the national elections and 66.6 percent of female citizens are reported being registered to vote.” Lucy and Alice would be proud. The occasion of the Skyline VFD Community potluck dinner brought out quite a number of political candidates. It was a good chance for them to become acquainted with potential voters and vice versa. There were no formal speeches made, but plenty of hand shaking and quality chit chat. The food was plentiful and tasty and the fellowship most pleasant. It would be a gift if all the political assemblies to come could maintain such a high level of civility with rancorous, divisive rhetoric left behind. People with differing opinions are still neighbors, still live in the same communities, still care about the same things.
A young soldier from Rolla was killed while serving in Afghanistan on Saturday. He was Pfc. Richard McNulty III and he was scheduled to come home soon. His wife is due to give birth to their first child in late June. This is one of the many families suffering a terrible loss as the conflict goes on.
Since 2001, there have been 1969 US Military killed there for a total of 3005 coalition military fatalities. They are far away from their homes, but are fighting for the sake of their Nation. They have Love and Gratitude due them from their Country, as well as some compassion and assistance. Champions all.
Mother’s Day had the phone lines and flower shops busy as Champions paid attention to their favorite ladies. Esther’s lovely pies got the attention they deserved at the pot luck and Esther herself was treated to dinner by both her sons on Sunday. She said they really had a good time.
Linda’s Almanac says that the 17th and 18th will be good days to kill plant pests. Pig weed is one that many gardeners like to kill, but some encourage lambs quarters, mullen, and dandelions. It is said that a weed is simply a plant whose virtue is not yet known. Pig weed has no virtue as far as can be discerned. After the weeding, Saturday the 19th will be a good day for planting root crops and for transplanting. Sunday starts the good planting time for the above the ground crops again and the next good days for those will be the 23rd and 24th. The Almanac is posted on the refrigerator in Henson’s Store and online at www.championnews.us. It can be found at The Plant Place in Norwood as well. Rain is being scarce in these parts, but gardeners who can irrigate and mulch stand a good chance of success in this unusual year.
Come down to the Historic Emporium on the north side of the Square to sing your favorite rain song. “I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain. I only wanted to one time see you laughing in the purple rain.” Whatever the color of the rain, if it is wet it will be welcome in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!