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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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2009.05.06 Missing: the May Basket

Written by David Green.


Has anyone hung a May Basket on you yet this year? “Hang” is the proper verb to use with May Baskets, although I’ve never seen one hung before. They’re always just quickly plopped on a porch.

Or at least they were in former times. I don’t know when a May Basket was last created in Morenci. Do they still exist?

It seems as though they died long ago. Here’s a column I wrote in 1989 about the death of the once-popular spring activity. I don’t recall ever receiving any response.

Dear friends, we are gathered here today to mourn the death of an honored Morenci tradition, the passing of an important part of our local heritage—the May Basket.

This all started when Old Joe Farquie burst into the office in a rather agitated state. Wait a minute. Who’s this Old Joe fellow?

Ben learned a song from a kids’ tape that he says goes like this:

“I know a man named Old Joe Farquie,

His house was 40 stories high.

And every room in that house

Was filled with chicken pie.”

I think I’ve heard that song before, but wasn’t it Old Joe Clark? No way, says Ben. It’s Old Joe Farquie. We figure he’s getting him mixed up with Joe Farquhar. Here’s Ben’s favorite stanza. I hope you’re not eating when you read this.

“He never married the school teacher,

I’ll tell you the reason why.

She blows her nose in old cornbread

And calls it pumpkin pie.”

So, as I said, Old Joe Farquie came into the office quite distressed despite the pleasant May Day weather. He had asked about a dozen kids if they knew what a May Basket was all about and no one knew. His own son just laughed at him.

It appears that the May Basket tradition has skipped a generation here and just died out. For those who don’t know of the pleasures of this event, this is how it works.

You go down to Duane’s Market and ask Paul to get a cardboard box out of the basement for you. Then you buy some crepe paper at Gardiner’s 5¢ to $1 and decorate the box. You make a large quantity of popcorn, throw in a bunch of candy and you’re ready to go. Ideally, this should be a cooperative effort. You meet at the park at 7 p.m. and everyone brings something to put in the basket.

Then everyone travels to Mr. Lamley’s house, for example, quietly places the basket on his porch, yells “May Basket!” and runs. Mr. Lamley has to run out and catch you. Anyone he catches (this was a few years ago, remember) is on his team and they help with the catching.

Then you can either allow yourself to be caught—food and friendship—or you can just hide out in the field and go back home long after the popcorn’s gone.

This is what we used to do, kids. Stop laughing, it’s a lot of fun. It’s not some dumb game like “Kick the Can.” That’s what my mother played when she was a kid. I never saw the attraction in it.

May Baskets are (were) apparently a local phenomenon. I did an informal survey at college once, asking kids from around the area if they used to “hang” them. Only two people had even heard of them, and one said the baskets were allowed only on May Day, unlike Morenci where the entire month was game.

With this broad base of readers throughout the nation, let Old Joe Farquie and me know if May Baskets are surviving in your area.

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