2009.04.22 Just get out of the house

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Staring at an empty computer monitor sometimes makes me think that I don’t get out enough. When there were children in the house, there was always something happening and we were off here and there.

Now I just stay at home and try to write, challenged by the constant distraction of the internet. When I do go out, it’s with a camera. My wife accused me of becoming a recluse, but I think that was because I wasn’t interested in traveling with her to Lansing Saturday night for a library event.

I went out Thursday, but only to the track meet at Sand Creek. I spoke with fellow Morenci alumnus Jack Palms and learned that he’s closed his photo studio. I suppose he’s not getting out as much anymore since he’s now working from home.

I briefly spoke to Bob Bach and talked longer with Teddy-boy Hutchison. Ted is collecting the young stinging nettle plant for a spring tonic. He said he’s feeling wonderful.

I went out Friday afternoon to the baseball diamond. I spoke to the Madison catcher’s mother who was taking photos in the same narrow opening that I was using. I knelt and gave her the standing position.

I stopped at the softball diamond and heard some excellent reports about the Flying Bullfrogs story. Really heartening reports. Someone liked it so much they said it was only a step below the border change incident of the 1980s.

A little side story here. I was recently looking through old Observers for some information. I turned a page and read a big headline about Morenci getting its first charter school. “What?” I said aloud.

It was the one about the Harold Hall Academy for football studies, with Jim Gilmore serving as headmaster. April 1, 1998. I’d forgotten about that one completely. It had me fooled for a second.

But back at the game...I heard about a discussion between a couple—one from Michigan, one from Ohio—over which state had the most gullible readers. The Michigan wife was winning. She heard far more stories from her Ohio husband. But then a colleague of hers provided the head-slapping moment when he expressed his utter disgust with the idea of combining sports programs.

Here’s what I’ve learned from this: Apparently the two best April 1 stories involved that invisible border between two states and the great resentment that exists. If I’m still unfortunate enough to be doing this job in 2015, I’ll have to keep that border thing in mind.

From what I’ve heard, there were a lot more Fayette people upset about the Bullfrogs and they have my sympathy. This is the first April 1 on a Wednesday since we expanded our Fayette coverage a few years back. Except for those already familiar with the Observer, how would they know that a newspaper publisher would be so stupid as to make a fake story the number one report on the front page?

I started walking back to my car to drive home from the game and paused to talk with Dick Kelly. Before long, Cathy Williams stopped to tell me how much she enjoyed this year’s April 1 story.

I got out for a few minutes Saturday afternoon when I drove to the Fayette area to see someone, only to find that his business closed at noon. Nice day for a drive.

What saved the wasted trip was a bumper sticker. When I was back in Morenci, I noticed the sticker on the car ahead of me. It read “My boyfriend is in the U.S. Navy” and the car was driven by a man. I’d like to get a couple of those: one for my wife and one for myself. Good conversation piece for the few times when I get out.

Later in the day my camera bag and I got out to the woods near the cemetery to look for wildflowers. This was a return trip. It was too windy earlier. Five deer ran across Sutton’s field and crossed through the cemetery. It made me laugh to think about reading Observers from the 1950s when a white-tail deer sighting made the front page. Fifty years later it’s slipped to page three.

It was late afternoon and the bloodroot flowers that I spied earlier had all closed up tight. I brushed a tick off my hand and headed home to write.

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