A prominent Champion reported a temperature of three degrees Fahrenheit.   The report was made Saturday though by the time this is in ink he may have lowered his bragging rights. That sounds contrary to the Champion credo of looking on the bright side.  He is, by some reports, at least as contrary as he is prominent and unpredictable.   One time Ruby Proctor said that the winters used to be colder here.  She said that there would be snow on the ground from just after Thanksgiving almost until Easter. The amount and duration of this snow cover is not unprecedented it just has not happened this way in a long time.  A charming neighbor who lives on ancestral property over the hill says in her lovely Christmas card that no two days are alike.  She has no livestock to tend now.  It is the first time in 250 years that her family land has not had a cattle operation.  “Before that,” she said, “The Indians and buffalo roamed.  Before that probably the dinosaurs and trilobites.”  For others of us unacquainted with the trilobite, it is a fossil group of extinct marine arthropods, distant relatives of the lobster and tick.  Distant relatives and friends, now hillbillies in North Texas, Wesley and Suzie Freeman, write to say “Hello and Merry Christmas to all the Champions!”

The Wednesday morning barbershop jam had banjo and guitar music interspersed with hunting stories.  Wayne Anderson told a story about turkey hunting and being crouched down low behind an old log, sitting very still while he called.  Directly he sensed rather than heard something behind him and turning slowly discovered a Shetland pony about two feet from him.  The good looking young guitar player (Wayne is also very good looking.) had a number of very exciting bobcat, fox, coon, and turkey hunting stories, some of which included llamas and goats.   The music was terrific with The Cherokee Shuffle, among others.  Both these fellows have beautiful instruments.  It is likely that their skill could produce wonderful music on about any kind of instrument.  It is sure that the most incredible and valuable of instruments is held sad hostage by an inept player.  Practice! Practice!  That may not be so much fun for a music lover snowed in with a neophyte string player.  Sherry Bennett said that her good neighbor, Dennis Shumate, plowed her driveway.  Musicians are often some of the nicest people around.  Champions!

It was great to get a note of support for The Champion News Online from Bonna Mullins over in Wichita, Kansas.  She and Pete get over to this part of the country as often as they can.  They come to the Denlow School reunions, all the Brixey family reunions and sometimes just for the fun of it.  They had their 58th wedding anniversary back in October.  They went sight-seeing in some of their old stomping grounds and spent the day in Eureka Springs.  They get around.  They have grandchildren who write to them, “Thank you for setting such a good example!”  Bonna is some kind of briar patch kin to Richard Johnston, who has a birthday on the 9th of December.  He and Kaye are hosting Elizabeth while she recuperates from a surgery on her leg.  They are probably all having a good time enjoying the weather together.  Congratulations and good luck!

Emily Dickinson was a major American poet known for her reclusive lifestyle and her brilliant, posthumously published poems.  She was born in Massachusetts on December 10, 1830.  She wrote close to eighteen hundred poems during her relatively short lifetime of only fifty-five years.  Many of these, including “Because I could not stop for Death,” dealt with the theme of mortality.  She lived in seclusion and never married.   Ms. Dickinson would probably not have liked having her birthday celebrated.  Some people are like that.  Then, some people are lawyers.  Steven Wright says that 99% of them give the rest a bad name.  Ava has three prominent barristers celebrating birthdays on the 11th of December.  The contentiousness of their profession probably keeps them from carousing , though as one assumes the mantel of ‘Grandfather’ perhaps mellowness will ensue.  It is sure that Eva Coyote (Kai) Parsons Fouke will be partying down out there in sunny and warm California.  Her Mama and Papa over west of Ava will sit in their warm kitchen looking out at the snow and remember their little girl so precious then, precious still.  Royce and Jo Henson have their wedding anniversary on the 13th of December.  They’ve been together years and years and still are smiling!  The fourteenth winds out a week of celebration.  The day belongs to the living Shannon Alexander.  He is a great photographer, father, spouse, son-in-law and fun lover.  That day also posthumously goes to Spike Jones, born in 1911.  As Spike Jones and his City Slickers, he toured the country with “The Musical Depreciation Review” and punctuated his versions of popular ballads and classical works with gunshots, whistles, cowbells and gargles.  A great Texas woman, Judy Gale Terry-Ing, the dearest friend one could have, was born the fourteenth and left the world much too soon.

Recent world events, the coldness of the weather and the nature of the season might have all hearts a little more open and compassionate.  A news bulletin was reported from Washington recently to the effect that a 45 minute video posted on Tibetan websites had a Buddhist extremist group threatening to “soon inflict a wave of peace and tranquility on the West.”  Champions stand ready!  Bring it on!

Look for some good pictures of Champion in the Snow on line at  Send your ideas about a compassionate look at world events to or to Champion News, Rt.72 Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717. When the roads clear up, come down to the bottom of the lovely hills where country roads meet on the wide banks of Old Fox Creek.  Sing “I traced her little footprints in the snow.”  She was headed to Champion to Look on the Bright Side!