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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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