February 12, 2018

CHAMPION—February 12, 2018


The wild vicissitudes of weather drive many current conversations.  Old Champions, opting for prudence, decided to enjoy the warm comfort of their little country home rather than going to a movie matinee.  Many who had to be out during these tricky road conditions found difficulties along the way.  Car crashes and slips and falls take their tolls—more expensive than movie tickets.  The actor, Wes Studi, is playing Chief Yellow Hawk in the film ‘Hostiles.’  Christian Bale plays Captain J.J. Blocker.  They say that the film presents an authentic portrait of the native peoples living in the 1890s.  A review from the Billings Gazette says, “….former rivals are forced to work together to survive, eventually transition their relationship from hate to respect and ultimately acceptance and love.”  The writer encourages us to see this movie and to go with an open mind and open heart.  That kind of encouragement can be applied to all manner of social, cultural, and political situations.  Icy conditions outside made the week-end a great time for enjoying the Winter Olympics on television and for watching the birds at the feeders in the yard.  The birds entertain all year, but when it is so bleak, gray and cold outside, their beauty is more evident and glorious by contrast.  The contrast and competition among the world’s athletes is also a thing of beauty.  Not only are these young people physically beautiful, but the attitudes and gratitude they all seem to exhibit gives a positive spin to tumultuous and troubling world affairs.  It is nice to see these wholesome young Champions behaving well.  The feats they exhibit are astounding.  We are amazed that such antics are possible.  There is danger inherent in most all of the events and more danger as overly inspired Old Champions go gliding across the kitchen floor, arms extended, head thrown back as the music swells.

The Champion News mailbox (TCN, Rt. 72, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717) received good mail this week.  Jody Henson wrote that Royce had hip surgery on December 13th–their 59th wedding anniversary.  He is busy doing physical therapy and pleased to be ‘homebound’ with Jody.  They are staying home to avoid the contagious diseases going around, but Jody says, “We will survive and God is Good!”  Friends will be looking for them at the Champion Spring Fling when the date is set for that sterling event.  North Texas Hillbillies, Suzie and Wes Freeman, say the weather has not been bad there.  Wes has planted seven rows of onions and has two more bunches to plant.  Suzie brags on him and his wooden truck replicas.  He has now produced 110 models in all colors.  She said they were married November 23, 1965 in Mountain Grove.  The Champion News had erroneously credited them with fifty-five years of marriage when, in fact, it has only been fifty-two years (and almost three months now).  They have happy years ahead of them.  There were also several pieces submitted to “Lofty Thoughts” at champion@championnews.us.  One suggests that the five kinds of people who will help us the most in life are the inspired, the passionate, the motivated, the grateful and the open-minded.  A more somber note came with a quote from the Artist Formerly Known as Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson), “ A two party system, the lesser of two dangers, the illusion of choice.  A veiled form of fascism where nothing really changes and you never had a voice.”  Another quotes Frank Zappa who said, “Music is always a commentary on society.”  He also said, “There are more love songs than anything else.  If songs could make you do something, we’d all love one another.”

Birthdays!  How often we think of dear Ruby Proctor with her sweet smile and generous heart!  She was born right in Champion and always loved the place and its people.  Her birthday was on the 19th of February.  Her sons, Pete and Frankie, celebrate on the 18th and the 29th.  Joanna Bell was born February 21, 1969.  Carson and Drayson will find out their Mother was born on February 23, 1983.  Ella Mae, who believes in Chem-trails, shares her birthday with the Indian Swede who believes in growing things and the beauty of rocks and feathers.  That is the 24th.  Jack Masters, great grand-son of Uncle Al Masters, will enjoy his birthday on the 27th.  He is a linebacker already awarded a college football scholarship.  He will finish his senior year at McCallum High School this spring.  Enjoy your special days and as many others as you can.  Time is filled with swift transitions.

Tim Tamburrino and Sara were at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam on Thursday evening.  They really get around.  He established the Midwest Bluegrass Directory in 2012.  He says, “I believe we need to PRESERVE AND PROMOTE this music for future Generations.”  He has 1,534 people following his internet post of scheduled events and featured musicians.  That quadruple by-pass that he had last October does not seem to have slowed him down.  You will recognize him when you see him—a big man in a big white hat, a nice smile through a white beard, a pretty red shirt, a turquoise bolo tie and a camera on a tripod.  He and Sara are doing a good job of preserving and promoting.  A YouTube video appeared on the internet of Kenny Bushong at the McClurg Jam playing an old time fiddle tune.  The video was published in 2012 by folks at the Myerstown Family Farm who said, “He always says, ‘Well it wasn’t much but I put out all I had.’”  He passed away on Thursday, the 8th.  Those who had a chance to hear him play and to be acquainted with him knew him to be a real gentleman—a Champion.  He will be much missed on the Bright Side.


February 5, 2018

CHAMPION—February 5, 2018


A Champion Blizzard on Sunday afternoon.

The Groundhog’s prediction played out significantly on Sunday with blizzard-like conditions in the afternoon.  Six more weeks of winter will be just the right amount and then glorious Spring will be upon Champion again and the tribulations of late frosts and heavy rains or no rains will be the concerns of that season.  For now the Internet will be covered with snow pictures.  Certainly there will be some good ones at www.championnews.us.  There a person can also find all the news that does not appear in print on paper, in the original text, going back eleven years.  Road conditions are the current news together with the big pile up out on I-44 Sunday evening and the many other accidents all around the area.  Hopes are that all the injured and inconvenienced people will find comfort and safety and whatever they need.  The weather turned out to be more dangerous than people expected.  Champions stay home if they can and take special precautions if they must be out.  Skyline R2 School was closed because of road conditions.  Additionally, seasonal sickness has been going through the student body, so a school closing is a chance for staff to continue their on-going program of sanitizing.  Champions appreciate our wonderful little rural school and all those dedicated people who keep it going.

Sharon Sanders, reigning Douglas County Checker Champion and curator of the Douglas County Museum, has just celebrated a birthday.  Melissa Lilly Masters, Navy Veteran and Champion niece has her birthday on the 6th, and Cowboy Jack revels on the 7th.  He continues to keep his hat out of the creek.  Zoey Louise and Alexandra Jean can sing, “Happy birthday, dear Mom,” on the 8th.  Skyline first grade student Aidan Acree celebrates on the 8th.  Clare Shannon Johnson parties on the 13th and was seen congratulating her friend Debbie Newlyn on-line on her own recent birthday.  The 13th is the birthday of Skyline fifth grader Joshua Garner.  Miss Shelby Ward was born on Valentine’s Day.  She has Champion grandparents who live off in Salem but come home often.  Skyline fourth grader, Madison Bradshaw was born the 16th of February.  Trish Davis is a recent twins-grannie.  Her birthday is on the 17th.  That day is also for Linda Clark, a triplets-grannie.  All you Champions, curators, students, teachers, Veterans, nieces, parents, grandchildren and grandparents can be delighted because your friends and families love and admire you.  Enjoy it.

Imagine what a stranger might think upon entering your home for the first time.  When his or her attention moves from your welcoming smile, what does the stranger register about you and your place?  A well-appointed space with gleaming surfaces and elegant minimalism can still feel quite home-like.  It does not need to be like an upscale hotel lobby.  Just add some favorite family photos, a special painting by a granddaughter, curiosities and gifts from friends for your collections, your collections, and plants.  Plants always give vibrancy to a space.  So much for the elegant minimalism.  Once a Champion gave a birthday gift to her husband with the following note:  “Happy birthday, Darling!  Here is a gift for you that no amount of stuff can replace.  It is your own clean, flat, empty space.”  (Except for the note.)  There are volumes written about clutter, poems about clutter, web-sites full of quotes about clutter.  The word ‘clutter’ is even heavy—too many t’s.  A neighbor helping another neighbor with some projects assigned most all of her precious stuff with the term ‘junk’ and suggested it should all be eighty-sixed (thrown out).  She was appalled.  Value seems to be a subjective term.  It is not possible to look at a person and to know all that has occurred in that person’s life that causes him to be the way he is.  Judgment is a tricky proposition.  It comes back to Rabby Burns saying, “Oh, would some Power give us the gift To see ourselves as others see us!  It would from many a blunder free us, And foolish notion.”  There is also a growing realization that the generation to come is not interested in the vast majority of the ‘crap’ they are destined to inherit.  A cold, windy day might be a good one to go through that filing cabinet drawer that has not been opened in fifteen years.  Imagine the treasures!

Quotes supplied this week to the “Lofty Thoughts” section of The Champion News champion@championnews.us include Abraham Lincoln’s, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution.”  Herman Melville’s “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.”  Mahatma Gandhi’s “… Seven sins are:  wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice, politics without principal.”

Double fiddles are a double delight and so it was on Thursday at the Vanzant Bluegrass Jam when Roger Williams joined Jerry Wagner and the bunch in the circle making and enjoying the music and the fellowship.  The potluck supper starts at six and by seven the music is on.  It goes around the circle until nine, though often enough, a duo or trio will carry on for a while and it is hard to walk out the door with such good stuff going on.  Almost any night of the week there is a jam going on around here somewhere with great live music.  Valentine’s Day is coming up and love songs will be the mode o day.  Jewelry, flowers and candy, poetry and promises, good deeds and favors all count, but for romance, there is nothing like a good love song.  “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “Waltz Across Texas With You,” “I Love You Because,” “I Love You Just The Way You Are,” and a new old favorite, “That’s How Much I Love You.”  Eddy Arnold sings, “Now if you were a horsefly and I an old gray mare, I’d stand and let you bite me and never move a hair.  I’d stand and let you bite me and never move a hair, ‘cause that’s how much I love you, Baby.  That’s how much I love you.”  Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday this year.  That makes it all the more special in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Sometimes a trio lingers a while.  Here is Dave Medlock, Travis Hathaway, and Roger Williams.

January 29, 2018

CHAMPION—January 29, 2018


When he was 71 he used to square-dance. Now he is 81 and has a new hip, a new knee, a stylish walking cane and the same sweet smile photographs going back decades prove he has always had. The big crowd at Vanzant’s Thursday Jam (brought out by good weather and good road conditions after a long period of neither) celebrated Duane Collins in advance of his Sunday birthday. The General led that song, and, according to him, did a good job of it. There will have been a big gathering of children and grandchildren at the Collins’ house on Sunday and Ruth is always happy for such an occasion. Champion’s close neighbor, Glen Cooley, celebrates on the first of February and has been doing so since 1940. Zack Alexander also has his birthday on the first and he has Champion grandparents who love to party with him. His Aunt Angie has the second as her birthday as do Judy Sharon Parsons, Connie Grand, Charlene Dupre, Catherine Mallernee and Nikki Combs. Groundhog Day is a particularly popular day for birthdays of interesting, talented people. Our Skyline R2 School is turning out interesting, talented people, among them eighth grade student, Jeffrey Rineman, who will have his day on the third. You celebrants are appreciated, admired and loved by your families and friends. Be happy.

Look for this logo to help support our great little rural school–Skyline R2 School.

Skyline School participates in the Box Tops for Education program. The school gets $.10 for each box top bearing the Box Tops for Education logo–most General Mills products. They also collect Best Choice labels and get $30.00 for each 1000 they send off so, as Ms. Helen says, “That adds up.” Feel free to mail your box tops and labels to Skyline R2 School—Box Tops, Rt. 72 Box 486, Norwood, MO 65717 or drop them off during school hours. There are plenty of ways to support our vital little school. Even if we do not have students attending, we all benefit from it. Newcomers and old folks can benefit by being around young people. It is a way to participate in the community and to keep ourselves young at heart. Bridget Seabert Hicks says they are looking for volunteers to work the concession stand on the following evenings: February 6th , February 20th, and February 27th. Call 417-683-4874. Have some fun doing good.

Wednesday was much improved as Sharry Lovan brought her father’s beautiful old banjo to Champion to join in with the regular neophytes. The banjo is not that old since her dad bought it new when she was seven. It is beautiful though. On Saturday it was well reported that she and her friends, David Richardson, Lynette Cantrell, Rod Cash, and Wendy and Ed Cline had enjoyed a terrific success as they paid tribute to Patsy Cline. Bravo! Sharry says her four year old granddaughter, Kiley Mae, has a case for her guitar now and is anxious to work up some tunes to perform with her grandmother. Other musical events to put on the calendar include one that Champion friend, Kaitlyn McConnell of Ozarks Alive has put together. On Saturday, February 24th, several of the region’s longtime musicians (Alvie Dooms, H.K. Silvey, J.R. Johnston and David Scrivener and others) will gather at the Ozark County Historium in Gainesville to share stories about old-time music and its place in local communities. After a panel discussion led by Kaitlyn, the musicians will play some of the old songs commonly heard in days gone by. This event is free and open to the public. Kaitlyn will inform us of the time.

Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. That is according to Proverbs 11:25. It could be the reason an Old Champion’s Mother would, upon the arrival of any guest, invited or chance, soon offer water, coffee, or tea. There are probably a number of Biblical verses that have encouraged this particular hospitality, which some call Southern, though gracious people of all climates subscribe. This verse also suggests that a generous person will prosper. The King James Version says “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” We think of fat and jolly in the same thought if the heavy person is someone we like. Liberalism seems to have a bad name these days, contrary to what a good upbringing might have taught. Champions, on the whole, like a liberal piece of pie but are want to conserve it nevertheless.

Beautiful warm days have some Old Champions out working beyond their capacity. They will nap heavily and groan from the unusual exertion. They will rest up and then get back to it, proud of what little they do get done. The little bit of rain and little bit of greening is encouraging. How nice it is to be out in the fresh air and away from the internet and the dreary political news of television and radio. It is fascinating to think that in less than a year our core principals have been degraded and our free and open society is in one of its worst conflicts among its own citizenry since the Civil War. While preparing the same soil for this year’s crops that was worked during the Civil War, one thinks about the terrible strife that occurred around these parts in those not so long ago days—within the memory of some old timers not long gone. It is not just the middle of the road, compromising moderate who needs to ascribe to tolerance, those hard right, poor-hating isolationists need to listen objectively to the other side even as do the left leaning, inclusive, spotted owl-loving, do-gooders. If both teams could be corralled for a manure shoveling contest, Champion would be known as the Fertile Crescent of Booger County. Seed catalogues have been tantalizing all winter. Now it is about time to make some decisions about the garden and the government—approaching, as in the song, with “A Purpose and a Plan” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


January 22, 2018

CHAMPION—January 22, 2018


Saturday’s road snow gave way to Monday mud.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”  John Steinbeck’s question in Travels with Charlie: In Search of America is clearly answered with our dramatic temperature change during the course of a few days.  On Saturday there was still snow on country lanes.  We are plenty sweet, thank you.  Champions were optimistic for good rain, the gentle soaking kind, but it came down in buckets with plenty of thunder.  The Official Champion Peach Can set in a flower pot out in the open contained precisely 1.5 inches of rain.  That is the most significant precipitation in quite some while.  A foray out on the 4th Tuesday for blood pressure exams (by Tina of the Douglas County Health Department) at the Re-creation of the Historic Emporium will give locals the opportunity to see if there is water under the New East Champion Fox Creek Bridge.  Can Spring be far behind?

Susan and Wesley Freeman have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.  They live down in McKinney, Texas, but Suzie says they are still ‘hillbillies at heart.’  Their Champion friends send them congratulations.  Alvin Barnhart celebrated a birthday on Saturday, the 20th.  On Friday he had been out in the woods cutting firewood to help a neighbor who had suffered an accident and was out of commission.  Champions say, “Happy birthday to a good neighbor.”  Talk about your good neighbor.  That is Brenda Coffman Massey.  Her birthday is the 22nd and she turns out to be behind or right in the middle of practically every good work in her neighborhood.  Not only that, she has a great smile and capacity for fun that is the envy of every old stick-in-the-mud around.  The fiddler’s sister, sweet Sally Prock, shares her birthday on the 23rd with a dynamic young percussionist, Oliver Holden Moses, who was 16 in 2015.  He is dazzling them at Northwestern University now.  Thomas Jarnigan’s is old enough now to sing, “Happy Birthday” to his dear old Dad up there in the Pacific Northwest.  Cowboy Jack can sing that song to his dear Joyce on the 26th and Shannon Alexander can sing it to the lovely Kaye on the 27th.  A note in the Official birthday book says that Jacob Brixey’s Dad was 40 years old in 2012.  Loneda (Neda) Bennett is now a grandmother (Paisley) and also has a birthday on the 30th.  Ms. Helen over at our wonderful little Skyline R-2 School shares student birthdays with The Champion News:  Jacob Brixey, second grade—January 18; Kyle Barker, fifth grade—January 21st; Elizabeth Hinote, third grade—January 22nd; Blake McIntosh, kindergarten student—January 24th; Brooke Johnson, sixth grade—January 26th; Erika Strong, fifth grade—January 30th.  All of you, enjoy all your days.  Make the most of them like Champions.

It is wise to be careful out in public these days with the influenza raging.  Anything that we touch can possibly be contaminated.  Paper folding money is particularly suspect of possible corruption.  It goes through lots of hands.  Hand washing has become a first defense against the virus.  Money laundering is a different thing.  Financial crimes such as tax evasion and money laundering have proven to be the straws that finally break the criminal’s back.  The term ‘money laundering’ actually comes from Alfonzo Capone who began the endeavor in local coin operated laundries that he controlled in New York.  He laundered billions of dollars but was ultimately convicted for tax-evasion.  Other great practitioners of the art were John Gotti, the Teflon Don, and the infamous General Manuel Noriega of Panama, both of whom were brought down by Champion Bobby Three Sticks.  Gotti died in 2002 in the Federal Prison Hospital in Springfield.  Noriega served time in the United States and in France for money laundering before he was returned to Panama where he was incarcerated for crimes committed while he was in office and where he died in 2017.  It may be as dangerous to launder money as it is not to wash your hands.  The flu that is going around now is a particularly virulent strain.  Dr. Taubenberger, Senior Investigator in NIAD’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases says that all the human–adapted influenza viruses of today are descendants, direct or indirect, of that founding virus that caused the 1918 flu pandemic that infected 500 million people around the world and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million people—three to five percent of the world’s population.  Our population is much larger now that it was in 1918, and it can clearly be said that these are even more dangerous times.


Skyline R2 Tigers hosted their second archery tournament at ‘home’ this school year.  There were five schools participating:  Lebanon, Manes, Mountain Grove, Norwood and Skyline.  It is a terrific program that gives boys and girls the chance to build some personal skills, to learn some science and math, to enjoy competing and getting some interaction with kids from other schools.  Parents and others in the community get to help with the concession stand and to fill the grandstand to watch a fascinating event.  It is a very quiet, orderly sport.  Whistles blow, the audience holds its breath and then there is the thud, thud, thud of arrows hitting the targets.  Skyline students did well.  Cyanna Davis was first place among middle school females, Kyle Barker was first in the elementary boys’ division and Malachi Fulk was second.  Faith Crawford was first in the elementary girls’ competition, Destiny Surface was second and Miranda Cannucci third.  All these young people are winners.

On Friday over in Willow Springs there will be a Tribute to Patsy Cline.  Sharry Lovan, David Richardson, Rod Cash, and Lynette Cantrell will join Wendy and Ed Cline at the Star Theatre for the performance at 7:00 p.m.  Five dollars at the door is a bargain for an evening of such fine entertainment.  Robert Burns was born January 25, 1759.  A poet and a farmer, well known for his blunt political and civil commentary, one wonders what he might say about our current situation.  Long-time Champion friend, Eulalia Jasmin, writes in (champion@championnews.us) to say that millions of citizens took to the streets all over the world on January 20th with Burns’ message:  “Oh would some power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us!”  We seem to be in disarray.  The Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City has a sign up that says, “Rather than build a wall, America needs to build a giant mirror to reflect on what we’ve become.”  Thursday will find people celebrating with Burns Suppers in Scotland and many other places around the world even in Vanzant where there will be pot-luck feasting and good music.  It happens in Vanzant every Thursday evening (weather permitting) in the Community Building, starting at 6:00 with the potluck and then a music jam from 7:00 to 9:00.  Maybe someone will sing that Stonewall Jackson song, “I washed my hands in muddy water.  I washed my hands but they didn’t come clean.  I tried to do like Daddy told me.  But I must have washed my hands in a dirty stream” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

A muddy stream when it is not frozen.

January 15, 2018

CHAMPION—January 15, 2018


Champion Snow on Sunday–Photograph by Roger Wiseman

The East Champion Fox Creek Bridge is a fait accompli.  Well done, gentlemen.  It looks good and will doubtlessly serve well until the single tin horn gets blocked with brush and the rushing tide overtops the concrete.  That is not to say that three tin horns could not be blocked with brush and debris, but the FEMA is not there to make improvements, but to restore things, as much as possible, to the way they were before the emergency.  Chances are good that this bridge will last as long as the last one did. Go to www.championnews.us to see pictures of the whole interesting process.

The range map in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology publication, “All About Birds,” indicates that there are no Spotted Owls in Missouri.  The map shows the nearest habitat is west of Oklahoma.  That information did not play into the conversation interrupted down on the Wild Wide Banks of Auld Fox Creek.  The comparison was being drawn:  Spotted Owl–more or less tasty than Bald Eagle, Buzzard or Peacock.  The great number of deer in area fields and dead along the roadsides figured in the talk.  Some of the talk was meant to be inflammatory and provocative for the sake of comedy, as the newcomer was perceived to be an ecologist or at least to have leanings in that ‘green’ direction.  The Spotted Owl was a player in the logging debates in the Pacific Northwest back in the 1990s.  Federal Protection for this bird came to represent all environmental regulations.  Some of those regulations may have caused the great buildup of brush and underbrush throughout the California forests that made them tinderboxes during the extended drought there.  Fires took the trees holding the soil, and the soil and ash took a trip downhill in the unprecedented rain event.  One thing leads to another.  Often even honest effort to make things better is twisted, thwarted and mishandled.  Despite protection, the owl is still on the decline owing to habitat loss and competition with Barred Owls.  We have Barred Owls here.  Perhaps a Prominent Champion can speak to their taste in comparison to Bald Eagle, Buzzard, or Peacock.  The conversation continued:  “Republican or Democrat, none of them would pull you out of a mud hole.”  “But, sir, practically everyone here is one or the other.  I’d pull you out of a mud hole.”  “Yes,” he said, “folks around here would, but not those Washington uppity-ups.”  He has a point and a sense of humor.

Skyline fourth grade student, Aaliya Irby has a birthday on January 16th on the same day as Coach Davault and Champion granddaughter Miley Schober.  Miley’s cousin, Rese Kuntz, has the 17th as his birthday as does an intrepid Vanzatiana.  The 18th is for Jacob Brixey and Mary Beth Shannon of Far-East Champion.  The 19th is shared by the Preeminent Champion who will be celebrated as the hub around which the growing circles of Champions whirl.  J.C. Owsley of Jordan, Missouri is a staunch supporter of The Champion News and if often seen on a big white mule.  His birthday is also the 19th.  The 20th is the special Day for Sharon Woods.  Sharon featured briefly in a video that appeared again recently on the Internet.  It was posted originally by Lori Woods Lewis on the occasion of her Dad’s 76th birthday, January 13, 2015.  It was a beautiful family circle of herself, her niece, her dad, brother and sister–all singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?“  She remarked that her little family circle had been singing this song together for 45 years.  They say that music is science.  Music is mathematical.  Music is a foreign language.  Music is history.  Music is physical.  Music develops insight and demands research.  Music is art.  Music has healing properties and makes work lighter.  A treat is coming up on Friday January 26th at the Star Theatre in Willow Springs.  Wendy and Ed Cline (no relation to Patsy) will join with Sharry Lovan, David Richardson, Rod Cash and Lynette Cantrell in a tribute to Patsy Cline.  The performance starts at 7:00 p.m. and only costs $5.00 at the door.  There may be parts of the country where music is not so much appreciated or available.  It is better to live here.  The McClurg Jam was cancelled on the 15th due to the snow and very cold temperatures.  That is a rare occurrence since those musicians are a stalwart devoted bunch.  Tuesday is often a favorite day for some Champions since Laine Sutherland is kind enough to post recordings of this wonderful Monday jam on to Facebook.  If you are engaged in this social media, look up “McClurg Jam” and sit back to enjoy dozens of great videos featuring our talented neighbors.  Thank you, Lanie!

School is out and gallons of hot chocolate are being consumed by children coming in frosty after gallivanting in the winter wonderland.  Pictures are being taken and memories stored.  Snow covers clutter and makes things look clean.  It exposes topography with color contrast.  Hills and hollows we love and think we know show themselves differently under coverlets of snow.  With roughly a twelve to one ratio, it takes a foot of snow to amount to an inch of rain.  Meanwhile we are in the tinderbox status where California found itself before the fire, before the deluge, before the mudslide.  There is an unsecure feeling living out here on the surface of the planet.  Old Champions observe that many things, even the weather, change with the natural progression of time.  These days change seems intensified by exploding population and pollution from the industrial activities of man.  Whatever the cause, the world finds itself in a tumultuous state with weather anomalies and an accumulating subversion of norms.  Things seem to be acceptable now that were unheard of even just a decade ago—even a couple of years ago.  It takes more effort to disagree amicably than it once did.  With humor, humility, compassion, empathy, understanding and the whole idea of ‘love thy neighbor,’ we can move on and sing together along with Louis Armstrong, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!