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Most Champions know that the “Ag News” program comes on TV very early in the morning—very early.   Several were up early enough to hear it Saturday when it was reported that Missouri is flooded!  Cries rose up out of darkened Champion farm houses in the pre-dawn hours: “Where?”  “We’re not we-et!”  “Bring it on!”  “Whhore’s ma boat?”  (Where is my boat?) Or in the case of a certain cowboy, “Whar’s my horse?”   From Coonts Holler to Champion, wherever Rowdy might caper, it is sure he is leaving his hoof prints deep in dry, sifting sand.   Champions have turned off their televisions and have gone out to water the garden.

A prominent occasional Champion denizen remarks that he enjoys taking his ease out on the broad, elegant veranda at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium where he and the fellows can contemplate new words.   “Sylvan” is the word of the day.  It refers to an association with the woods, with that which inhabits the woods, is made of tree materials or comprises the forest itself.   Used in a sentence:  “Champion’s sylvan surroundings embrace the serenity of the bucolic scene.”

Some Champions are worried about the hummingbirds.  By this time of the year, in years past, the chore of keeping the feeders filled has been a delight but truly a chore as the voracious little critters kept things humming outside the windows.  This year Champions are reporting just having one or two pairs.  The Missouri Department of Conservation Ombudsman, Tim Smith, up in Jefferson City talked to the State Ornithologist who said that he is not aware of an overall decline in the population.  As their migration is triggered by day length, the unusually early spring here caused regular flowering plants to be past their prime already when the birds came through, so they just kept going.  He said that some areas are reporting a larger than usual population.  The dry weather may mean that only as many hummingbirds as the area can support will be entertaining here this season.  Champions are pleased with every one they see and do not take them for granted.  They are making smaller batches of food for their feeders and changing them frequently to keep the few little birds healthy.  The ornithologist said that late summer and fall may see a larger population in the area.  Champion!

The Skyline  R-2 School Foundation Bass Tournament is reported to have been a lot of fun.  Rusty Darnell of Joe Bass Team Trail really pitched in to help and the Foundation much benefited from his generosity and that of all the sponsors and participants.  Brian Sherrill has pictures to share and is busy planning for next year.  Expect continued excitement from this great new organization dedicated to the education of the great area kids.  So far, the Foundation has signed up twenty-nine children in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  This is an excellent program where the Foundation is able to provide a new book every month to children from birth all the way until their fifth birthday. The new age-appropriate books arrive in the mail.   It is a way to get them ready to read, ready to enjoy school, ready for a successful life.  Anyone in the Skyline School District is eligible to participate at no cost.  There are applications available at Henson’s Grocery and Gas in Downtown Champion and from any Skyline School Board Member.

Wayne and Jo Ann Anderson celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on Saturday, May 26th at the Denlow School Reunion.   Helping them enjoy their day was Linda Clark, Robert and Sharon Upshaw, Marilyn Hopper Gerald, Kendall Gerald, Malachi Gerald, Bill and Elgin Upshaw, Bethany Adams, Lavern and Jessie Mae Miller, Kenneth and Barbara Anderson, June Chambers, Walter (Pete) and Bonna Mullins, Lorene Johnston, Ed and Sonja Williams, Sally Prock, Carol E. Coats Barnhart, Ruby Proctor, Peggy Hancock, Vivian Floyd, Russell, Dean and Sue Upshaw, Tom Cooley, Darrell Cooley, Ray Hicks, Kenneth and Beverly  (Miller) Tooley, Robert Dean Brixie, Michael and LaSchell (Upshaw) Bearden with Meryl  and Catherine, Elizabeth Johnston, Kaye and Richard Johnston, Shelby and Madelyn Ward, Esther Wrinkles, Lonnie Mears,  Fred and Jean Follis and Virginia Jacobs.  These are not nearly all the people who were there.  Some neglected to sign the book and some were hoping to remain anonymous.  A number were off on other family business in Tennessee where Dakota Watts (Champion grandson) has graduated from high school.  Bravo!  Meanwhile, back in Denlow, Fred Follis led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and then the fun began.   There was the obligatory recitation of the ‘shoot out’ of March 9, 1879, and a variety of questions designed to educate attendees on the version of history currently being popularized by the self-appointed historian.  By contrast, the food was most enjoyable.   After dinner the pavilion filled with well-fed friends and relatives for the annual auction.  Laverne Miller was the auctioneer and once again he did a splendid job in difficult circumstances.   Time and time again, the General bid against himself.  Being told that he already had the bid only seemed to spur him on to bid on things he did not even want.  It would have been sad, if it were not so funny.   On the serious side of things, the Veterans of the group were recognized.  Lavern, himself, landed on Omaha Beach shortly after D-Day and made his way all the way across France and Germany and was in Switzerland when the War ended.   The occasion of Memorial Day keeps Veterans and those currently serving in mind.  They have the Love and Gratitude of the Nation due them and the Flag flying over Denlow serves its grand purpose.

Gardeners have the good news that above the ground crops can be planted all the way from the thirtieth of the month through the third of June.  This is information from Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood.  In this very dry season mulch and irrigation are important.  Some things want continual moisture and some want occasional deep watering.  Haymakers are reporting fewer, lighter bales with less food value.  The price of beef in the grocery store would indicate that the sale barn might still be a good place for relieving the strain on the pasture.

“Mother” Mary Harris Jones is believed to be the inspiration behind the song “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain.”  In the late 1800’s she was traveling around the Appalachian coal mining camps promoting the formation of labor unions when this version of the song became popular.  Miss Taegan Krider is singing it these days, “She’ll be driving six white horses, when she comes.”  It is a lovely song and at two years of age, this young lady does it justice.  Come on down to the Historic Mercantile located over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion to sing your favorite verse.  (The one about chicken and dumplings is a good one.)  If singing is not your strong suit, perhaps you have an ax to grind.  You can do that at Champion Items, Rt. 2 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717 or at Champion@getgoin.net.   If you do not want it speckled, grind it in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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