Some of the rain that has been so needed in Champion came in the best possible fashion with no big electrical disturbances and in such a gentle way that not a drop ran off anywhere, but soaked right in. Over the course of a couple of days, the little drops added up to more than two inches in some rain gauges. The rest of the rain that is needed will show up when it does and in the interim Champions will enjoy some bright, steamy days with no complaints. Champions smile at strangers.
The rain did not dampen the enthusiasm for the thirtieth annual Champion School Reunion which took place on schedule Saturday. The pot-luck luncheon is usually held out under the big walnut trees on the old school grounds, but because of the off and on drizzle and outright rain, it was decided to move the festivities into the meeting room at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium. It was an excellent move and the long table of delectable dishes was a sight to see. Royce Henson asked the Blessing on the table and on the gathering. Happy to be there were: Russell Upshaw, Kaye (Upshaw) Johnson, Elva Ragland, Ruby Proctor, who was the oldest one in attendance this year, Phyllis Driskell, Elsie Curtis, Debbie Curtis, Eva (Henson) and Harold Phillips, Frankie and Freda Proctor, Connie Brown, Robert Brown, Lee Brown, Wilma Pointer, Pete Proctor, Norma Shannon, Vaughn Henson, Whitaker Henson, Victor Henson, Victoria Henson, Valli (Henson) Mills, Tom Mills, Alex Mills, Evan Mills, Royce Clayton Henson, Minnie Jo (Lorett) Henson, Karen Krider, Vivian Floyd, Arlene Cooley, Tom Cooley, Betty Henson, Tommy and Barbara Sutherland, Lainie Sutherland, Wes Lambert, Wayne and Frances Sutherland, Modeen (Dooms) McGowan, Darrell Hutchison, Bill and Charlie Smith, Leslee Krider, Wilda Moses and Staci Cline. Others wandered in and out through the course of the day and the mood was effervescent.
Hoovie will be sorry to have missed this reunion. His brother and sister-in-law, three nephews, a niece, and a raft of good looking great nephews and nieces took the long way home through the park. That is to say, they walked from Cold Springs to Champion, a good four miles, in what is now being called, The Walk of Ages. This is not the first of these reminiscent expeditions to have been made in recent years. There was a support vehicle prowling the road back and forth in case of emergencies. Somewhere along the way the leader of the pack decided to pilfer a boulder off the side of the road or out of a creek bed. He must command great respect from his youthful sons and grandsons to have them so willingly wrestle the monster into the back of the truck. It will decorate his landscape in the city and all those who had a part in purloining the great stone will share a family remembrance when they pass by. With every step from here to there evocative of some memory, made mostly sweet by the great passage of time, the party arrived in time to catch their breaths before the sumptuous luncheon. Everything about it was good except that none of Esther’s pies and none of her noodles graced the table this time. Cards were signed by attendees to let her know how much she was missed. The Sutherland Clan headed out en masse to visit Esther after the reunion and Frances took the cards to hand deliver.
Lainie Sutherland, who lives over in Nashville, says she has some wonderful pictures of Champion taken many long years ago. She said that she would email them to [email protected] Everyone is encouraged to follow her lead. A number of folks expressed some interest in old pictures, and it is being talked up that next year everyone will bring their pictures of the old days to the reunion. Between now and then someone will figure out a way to scan them all so that everyone can have copies of all of them. Technology really works well for Champions. Lainie has some interesting information about the history of her family which comes from Sutherland Scotland. Sutherland is a county of 2,028 square miles and contains some of the northernmost land in the island of Great Britain. Douglas County has 814.6 square miles, just as a point of reference. The land over there in Sutherland County is rugged and sparsely populated. Its beaches are on the North Sea. Douglas County is rugged and more densely populated and it has miles of beaches up and down the creeks and rivers and along the banks of beautiful freshwater lakes. It is a small world and then again, there’s no place like home.
Missing also this year was General No-Show Upshaw. He has suspiciously made himself pretty scarce around Champion lately, causing comments such as, Hmmm. On this occasion, there was speculation that he figured he was just so sweet, he might melt if he got out in the rain. Somebody else said that he was much a-feared the creek was up and he canna swim! His chance to redeem himself will come September 15th when the All General Accordion Ensemble is booked as Music on the Square–part of the Champion Fall Market Day Celebration. One vendor has accumulated a Denlow-specific package that should be of great interest to the General. The price of these items has been inflated significantly as a way to extract as much of his dough from him as possible without leaving Sweet Sharon in the lurch. It might be called extortion under other circumstances.
The Labor Day holiday is the yearly National tribute to the contributions workers of all kinds have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the Country. It is also a chance to bid a wistful good bye to summer. That does not rule out the possibility of more very hot weather and the increased humidity guarantees that it will be sweltering, but not for long. Time passes quickly up here in the mountains. The rain seems to have revitalized the remnants of the summer garden and the fall garden is going in. Cole crops and greens have plenty of time to make, particularly if the winter is mild. Look to Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood to help decide what might be planted now–maybe some nice turnips. Find the Almanac on the bulletin board at Henson’s Downtown G & G over on the north side of the Square in Historic Champion or on line at www.championnews.us.
Remember the good part of the old days and remember those precious dear ones now gone. Remember those who are serving Nation in the U.S. Military Service and in other capacities, giving the population the leisure to wax nostalgic. We’ll sing of the old, and we’ll sing of the new. We’ll sing of the changes in years. Everything old is new again in Champion Looking on the Bright Side!