Champion

Champions have been bringing the sheaves into the air conditioning this week, preserving the harvest in their comfortable kitchens during the heat of the day.  One remarks to another, “We have too much food.”  Not nearly everyone in the world can say that and so Champions do not complain about the work and freely share their bounty.

President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a holiday in 1887.  The celebration of the American labor movement is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.  The holiday was meant as a tribute to their contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.  Canada shares Labor Day celebrations with its southern neighbor while 80 or more countries world-wide celebrate May 1st as International Worker’s Day.  An interesting posting on the internet says that if we want to live in a country that produces things, we need to buy things that are made here.  It stands to reason.  Whatever political motivations President Cleveland had for choosing September for the observance, and history says there were several, current observers will find bargains and reasons to celebrate….friends, family, music, corn on the cob, peach cobbler, watermelon.

Celebrating starts on Saturday for those attending the Champion School Reunion.  The Walk of Ages is taking a new route this year.  Royce Henson and party will be leaving the Denlow Cemetery at ten in the morning with the plan of walking to Champion.  They will have to step right along if they plan to get there for lunch.  The General will be accompanying the group and will most likely mark cadence.   “Let’s go on and have some fun…walking on down to Champ-i-un…one, two…”  When they get there they will find a big crowd already in the midst of the fun.  Temperatures are forecast to be more mild, but even mid 80’s will be hard on the General who probably does not spend an hour a day on the elliptical machine and then an hour swimming as Royce does.  There will most likely be some support vehicles and cooling stations along the way as well as some new Burma Shave signs.  A favorite one of those from 1939:  “A peach looks good…With lots of fuzz…But man’s no peach…and never wuz… Burma Shave.”

Anyone driving late at night in the area needs to be on the lookout for deer.  Fortnight Bridge players on their way back to the rendezvous point Saturday night slowed down to see an enormous deer standing by the road, not very interested in the passersby.  The Norwood player said that she sees deer every bridge night on her way home.  Conversations about deer had the Champion player (winner of the nickels) reporting seeing deer in the late afternoons out at the edge of the woods.  Often they become visible by the movement of their tails as the constant flicking of white catches the eye.  Those tails are busy flicking flies, gnats, ticks, fleas and any number of other pests that might plague a wild mammal.  It was speculated that such a handy thing as a tail would eliminate the need for bug spray and would, for a person working out in the garden, leave hands free for weeding, pruning and picking.  The Vera Cruz player (winner of the quarters) said that if people had tails they would never be able to hide their feelings.  A recent Nation Geographic article reveals that there is an ongoing study concerning the emotional context of the dog’s tail wag.  So far it has been determined that wagging to the right is the excitement of recognizing the dog’s master or another friendly dog.  Wags to the left also indicate excitement, but contingent with some anxiety.  Imagine the tails on the tattle tales and the tellers of tall tales down at the Historic Emporium.  No secret would be safe.

Birthdays are not secrets.  People benefit by a little annual attention.  Drayson Cline had his first one on the 23rd.  He is walking with purpose, running and busy.  His cousin, Dakota Watts, is a grown up now and has his birthday on the 24th, as does a favorite nephew in Pennsylvania, Daniel Cohen.  Barbara Krider has her birthday on the 25th.  Champion friends hope Harley feels like singing that song to his sweet wife.  Across town, Donald might sing to Rita Krider on the 26th.   Seneca Parsons will have a beautiful birthday on the 27th with his dear ones around their kitchen table.  The 29th is a special day for third grader Rowdy Woods, who will be nine years old.  He shares the day with local Champion Bill Smith and with Mini Jo Henson who will be at the Champion School Reunion to meet Royce when he comes strolling down the hill.  August 30th is the day of the reunion and it will be Laine Sutherland’s birthday too.  Maybe she will bring some of her lovely musician friends with her for the enjoyment of all.  It is rumored and hoped that The General’s guitar might be waiting for him when he comes stepping into the square.  Sunday will be the best day of the year for Kalyssa Wiseman and Jenna Brixey. One is older than the other by an hour or two.  They will both be seven.

These last hot days have turned the roads powdery dry so dust coats the wilted weeds and bedraggled grapevines drooping out of the withering trees that over spread country lanes.  Summer is winding down and leaving the countryside weary.  Just a little rain will restore enthusiasm.  Imagine that first breath of cool air that precedes a gentle shower.  Imagine that little feeling of relief and hope being inhaled everywhere so that societal and political tensions might be soothed a little.  Bring all that kind of courage and optimism with you down to the wild wooly banks of Old Fox Creek.  Deward Henson went down to “the village” every day but one for fifty years.  That was the day National Geographic showed up to feature the place in the book America’s Hidden Corners.  The picture in the book shows a good-sized pile of firewood stacked up just where the good-sized pile of firewood is stacked now.  Seasons change and so it is in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

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