2009.03.18 In the name of science

Written by David Green.

Here’s an old one from March 1, 1989, back when I was capable so staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning. I can’t make it past 1 a.m. anymore, which is why I’m turning to the archives to fill this space.

It’s 2:16 in the morning and I’m trying to make sense of a few By The Way notes I’ve been carrying around in my pocket. I was away for a few days and I’m still catching up.

I won’t say that I went on a short mid-winter vacation. There’s always too much razzing when you go on vacation. “What? You took a vacation again? Don’t you ever work?” You know the lines. So here’s what really happened.

I was part of a bizarre psychosocial experiment during the latter half of last week. Brother Dan was in from Seattle and brother Tom and family were in from St. Paul. Joining my family, we all traveled to the cold north country near Boyne City. We were frequently forced to put on skis and travel through the woods.

Nine people descended upon a formally quiet household to investigate the dynamics of overcrowding. Researchers will be sifting through their notes for months evaluating what happened at this bizarre encounter.

We didn’t take many notes, ourselves. It was just a fairly normal time together without too many strange things happening.

A highlight of the visit occurred at Boyne City’s massive Avalanche Hill. People ride sleds and tubes down a hill as tall as a water tower, approaching breath-taking speeds that cause frostbite to form rapidly.

Our hostess, Paula, showed us how it’s done by demonstrating the famous Chiropractor Flop onto a skating rink. She climbed a ways up the hill, jumped on her tube and took off. She reached the bottom rather quickly and then traveled up and over the snow retaining wall surrounding the rink. She was airborne a good six feet off the ground before slamming onto the ice. She refused requests for a repeat performance.

The strangest incident happened while most of us were asleep. Tom went on a bathroom visit and discovered a bath towel in the toilet. A bowl and fork were nearby. He left and went outside. Dan later discovered the grisly scene and removed the towel from the bowl, purportedly dripping water all the way to the bathtub.

Discussion the next morning placed the blame firmly on our hosts’ cats—none of us was about to admit having any part in it. It was also the cats that caused Colleen to lose sleep. Her cat-o-phobia made her lie awake, expecting a cat to jump on her face while she was sleeping.

The greatest mistake of the trip was reading the sign on I-75 that informs the reader that he is halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Rosanna went into a tizzy about visiting Santa Claus.

There were Ben’s incessant knock-knock jokes, Dan’s search for Michigan maple syrup in the syrup capital of Shepherd, and bickering kids in a six-hour car ride. But overall it was a great trip. The snow was deep enough for Ben to dig a tunnel in the front yard, plenty deep for skiing—and that’s why I went north.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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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