The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2009.01.07 Sniff my gris-gris

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I have a little bag of voodoo in my pocket. I know it’s there; I can smell it.

Among the presents I received for Christmas this year, my gris-gris is easily the most unique. I think I can safely assume that no one else in my reading audience got gris-gris this Christmas, or maybe for any Christmas.

When we visited my daughter Rosanna in New Orleans a few weeks ago for cajun turkey, I received an e-mail from my cousin-out-law Ralph. I told him I was in New Orleans and he answered with a brief reply: “Don’t forget your gris-gris.”

I asked Rozee what my gris-gris was and learned that it’s a little voodoo thing to ward off evil spirits or bring you good luck. Or at least to have an interesting smell.

Someone told me recently that New Orleans is the only city he’s visited where he sensed evil. I went to New Orleans without the protection of gris-gris (pronounced gree-gree) but I have it now. Mine is a little flannel bag filled with herbs and seeds and oils. It emits quite a scent.

My gris-gris reminds me of the smell of oil painting. I use to mess around with oil paints in high school and sniffing the bag brings back memories of that.

Rozee was looking for a unique gift on a New Orleans website. She noticed a store with an interesting name—Between Piety and Desire—and learned that custom-made gris-gris was available there.

She went to visit the proprietor, Miss Kathy, who went to work on my voodoo on the basis of a few facts Rozee provided.

Gris-gris always has an odd number of ingredients and mine has 13. An informational card states that Miss Kathy refuses to create items for bad purposes, nor will she ever use items from someone’s body. There’s no hair or nail clippings in my bag. No body fluids. What a relief.

But here’s what I do have: some Spanish moss for the understanding of interdependence; St. John’s wort for good rest; sage for wisdom and patience; angelica for protection; grains of paradise for financial security; mustard seed for faith; and carnation for good health.

There are also four oils: orange for cheerfulness and energy; chamomile for calm and the release of anger; frankincense for divine guidance; and cypress for durability.

There’s also a bit of the gem carnelian for strength and flexibility, and a little snail shell for slowing down and appreciating the world.

Rozee told Kathy that I work a lot. Hence the cypress, carnelian and orange oil. I suppose the snail shell, too. Miss Kathy was quite pleased with her work. A note to my daughter said “This gris-gris is really good.”

I sent an e-mail to Miss Kathy asking if it was OK by her if I kept my gris-gris in the little plastic packet that it came in rather than trailing a scent of those aromatic oils.

Either way was all right by her, although she pointed out the potency of the gris-gris is more pronounced outside the plastic.

I told her I would love to untie the flannel bag and take a look, but I figured that might be against the rules. I was right. Don’t open it. She said there are historical reasons and also practical ones, such as spilling some ingredients and risking the loss of power.

Some people are probably horrified to learn that I have voodoo in my pocket. Why would I want to mess around with that stuff? Most  would simply think I’m nuts to even believe in it. Wait, I never said I believed in it, and besides, Miss Kathy explained that no belief is necessary for it to be effective. “What – you believe that?”

Look, I’m just walking around with an odd Christmas present in my pocket. Now and then I remove it to let someone take a whiff.

Eventually, she says, my gris-gris will lose its power. At that point I can return it to her and she’ll recharge it or I can destroy it. She gives instructions:

“Please don’t burn it or cut it up. The best way is to throw it in water running away from you, with a few words of thanks or farewell.”

If you ever catch me me tossing something from the south side of the Main Street bridge, you’ll know my voodoo is gone.

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