2007.07.15 A long weekend in Kentucky

Written 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.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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