2007.07.15 A long weekend in Kentucky

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Where did I go wrong? I just returned from my summer vacation (four days) and I’m wondering how I can possibly make a newspaper in a day and a half.

I have no photos. I’ve written only one news story. The city council agenda looks pretty weak, news-wise. I might have to dig into my secret folder to pull out an emergency feature story that I’ve saved just for an occasion such as this.

But only four days of vacation? OK, so I took a little time in the spring to visit my son and I’d really like to get up north for at least a weekend. How can a person go an entire year without staring at Lake Michigan for a while?

I ask where I went wrong because I read today that George Bush has averaged 62 days a year off the job since he was elected president. He’s trailing Ronald Reagan 436-418 in total days off and he has 528 days remaining in office. That’s a long time. That’s a lot more vacation yet to come.

So I took a short vacation, but it was surprisingly good. It was satisfying beyond expectations. That’s saying a lot since it was all centered around a wedding—an event I typically don’t mind avoiding. I do recall saying to my wife at one point, “If we still had young kids, I wouldn’t be here anymore.”

I think that comment was made during a lull in the action following the reception meal. We were abandoned at our table, we didn’t feel like going off visiting with strangers, and it was past my bedtime.

I remembered years past when we seemed to almost always take our kids along to events and at some point they would get bored or tired or loud and I would have to leave the scene with then, darn it. I missed many exchanging of the rings because I was out wandering around the church yard to provide child care.

This wedding was no church service. Everything took place in the wilds of Kentucky, at Cumberland Falls State Park. The ceremony itself was a public affair. The invited guests sat in chairs, but any visitor to the falls at that moment could stop and watch, and several of them did.

It’s such a great area of the country. I mentioned the need earlier to stare at a big lake. I’ll take the big rocks of that area as a substitute.

As usual, we allowed geocaching to take to interesting places. I looked up some hidden caches on the geocaching website before we left, then the four of us (the two daughters were alone) headed out to search on Friday.

First came the immense natural arch. Incredible beauty. We didn’t find the cache, but it didn’t matter with the big rock to look at.

Next we went in search of a particular creek, but the road signs didn’t match the map book and we finally ended up driving down a long, winding single-lane trail that ended up in someone’s back yard.

The dogs were going crazy with excitement. There was a large display of stuffed animal heads along the back porch. The owner was just emerging from the house when Rozee shoved the gear into reverse.

We were being a little scared Yankee about the whole situation—it probably would have been a very interesting encounter with a very friendly guy—but off we went back to the park and a close look at the falls.

The three women rode the Mist of the Cumberland or some such name—the rubber raft Kentucky version of the Niagra Falls cruise. I went in search of a geocache and was stymied again.

The next day we went in search of Buzzard Rock. Down a long, long road with no houses for miles. A half-mile walk into a woods. Thoughts of the movie “Deliverance.” There we go again, acting like we’re from some other country.

Eventually the trailed narrowed to a path and it suddenly opened to most incredible view, standing on high rocks overlooking a river far below, with buzzard waiting for our fall. Maybe I don’t need Lake Michigan this summer. Maybe I’m all set with natural beauty.

By noon Sunday we were headed back north, past a man on his porch getting a haircut, past the tobacco fields, heading back to where an unwritten newspaper awaited me.

It was strange to drive back into Morenci again—it always is when you go from here to there in one day—but it didn’t seem too short of a trip. It felt just right, and what more could you want from a little vacation?

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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