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Some Champions are feeling that they have had a reprieve, as if they have been pardoned or have found amnesty or sanctuary from the heat and the oppressive prospect of no-end-in-sight to the brutality of summer, in spite of the full knowledge that ‘eventually’ it will be some other season.  An inch of rain is truly a gift and Champions say right out loud, “Thank God!”

“You can’t go home by the way of the mill.  There’s a bridge washed out at the bottom of the hill.”  Well, the bridge on Highway 76 at Bryant Creek was not washed out but it is being rebuilt.  They say it is going to be a doozie.  Anyway, it will not be open in time for the Skyline VFD Picnic, so people from the other side of the creek will just have to go around in order to get to the fun this year.  Maybe the bridge will be will be ready for use when school starts on the 15th of the month.  Students and teachers are getting geared up for another successful term of learning and growing.  Kinzleigh Crain will have her 10th birthday the day before school starts and Trent Homer will have his seventh birthday the day after school starts.  Kinzleigh will be in the fourth grade and Trent will enter the first grade.  There may be some new students in Skyline this year as there are reported to be some new families with children moving into the area.  It has been said that due to the current state of the economy the birthrate in the US is significantly down.   Add to that to the evidence that while the overall population of rural Ozarks counties is increasing, so is the median age.    There are plenty of Champion grandparents who would be pleased to have some young people move into the neighborhood, preferably their own grandchildren, but any would do.  A new batch of Dolly Parton Imagination Library Applications has been delivered to Henson’s Store in Downtown Champion so the little ones who make their way to Champion/Skyline will be able to get started right away building their own libraries.  It is true that much of the knowledge of the rest of the world will be coming to students on the internet from here on out, but it is also true that a bound book with paper pages, new and bright, or ragged and well-read can spark imagination and curiosity just as it did for Champions back in the days when they attended their own treasured little school.   As the years roll around and people look back with nostalgia on their school experiences in the little one and two room school houses in these parts, perhaps they will think about the one hundred or so youngsters who are attending the Skyline School today.   The Skyline School Foundation has been set up to help this small rural school with some of its needs, which are many.  There will be some good information about the Foundation available when the East Fairview District #46 has its reunion at the Vanzant Community Building on the 11th.   The Champion School Reunion is always held the Saturday before Labor Day and there will be plenty of opportunity for Champions past and present to subsidize the future by supporting the Foundation today!  Look in on www.championnews.us to see Champion School Reunions from the past.  There are pictures there of Hensons, Cooleys, Sutherlands, Kriders, Hicks and Hutchisons, Smiths and Upshaws, Andersons and Proctors and on and on.

Esther Wrinkles is feeling better and someone said that she should have had a stack of quilt tickets by her bedside there at the Autumn Oaks Caring Center in Mountain Grove.  She has a pretty steady stream of visitors and they all have an interest in this year’s quilt.  Bob Berry comes by to see her every few days and he has bought lots of quilt tickets over the years and he won one fairly recently, maybe at the Skyline chili supper a couple of years ago.  Mary was very happy about the whole deal.

Linda’s Almanac from over at the Plant Place in Norwood will let you know that there is plenty of growing season left this year.  As the harshness of the weather abates, enthusiasm for gardening is refreshed.  Some gardeners mix lettuce and radishes together and the harvest process promotes the thriving of each.  The almanac reveals that the best days for destroying weeds will be the 11th, 12th,  13th and 16th , though some figure that anytime you pull a weed is a good time.  There are good times to be had in a garden any time.  One says that when the soil is so nice and damp from the rain, “Why, the weeds fairly jump into your hand!”   Find the Almanac up in Norwood, on the internet or on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G on the North Side of the Square in scenic and serene Champion.

As is frequently the case, Linda had the high score in the regular Fortnight Bridge Club game on Saturday night.  She has been playing for a long time and continues to take lessons and teach.  The game is a good exercise for holding on to the processes involved in remembering things and keeping brains working with agility and keenness.  It works better for some than for others.  A link in the www.championnews.us  site takes a person interested in bridge to the American Contract Bridge League.  There is a link there also to the VFW website where a great deal of good information about Veterans is available.  For example, one in seven new Veterans will have some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.  There are 244,000 new cases of traumatic brain injury and it is reported elsewhere that every day one American Service person takes his own life.  Veterans have a lot of Love and Gratitude due them as well as some support and understanding.  Local Veterans are always a significant presence at area picnics, chili suppers and benefits.  They are Champions every one.

“You ought to see my Blue-Eyed Sally.  She lives way down on Shinbone Alley.  There’s a number on the gate and a number on the door.  The next house over is the grocery store.”  Those are lines from Bob Wills’ song, “Stay All Night.”  Sally Prock might have been the Blue Eyed Sally that Mr. Wills was singing about, but she was most likely just a very little girl when the song became popular and she lived more than a few doors down from the Mercantile.  She is quite popular in Champion and she shows up for every important function and sometimes just for the fun of it.  She has a great smile.  “Pull off your coat.  Throw it in the corner.  Don’t see why you don’t stay a little longer” In Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!

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