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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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2009.05.13 Paying tribute to L. Cohen

Written by David Green.


Oh, ye of little faith...

My wife suspected I might be driving to Detroit for nothing Saturday night. I knew I was going to the Fox Theatre for a rare performance by Leonard Cohen. She thought I was just a sucker.

I went to a few concerts back in my college days, then it pretty much dropped off. I remember seeing Roberta Flack in Ann Arbor a year out of college and then Harry Chapin the next year.

I was living in Saginaw; Chapin performed at Saginaw Valley College, as it was called at the time. It was a fantastic concert, perhaps a show to end all shows, because I never went to another large-venue performance after that day in 1974.

That’s troubled my wife off and on through the years. Colleen has tried to get me to shows when one of my odd favorites was in Ann Arbor or Detroit, but I never would. I figure I’d rather use the money to buy their music and enjoy it forever rather than listen for just one night. Silly reasoning? Sure it is. I learned that Saturday night. It’s not just the songs passing through my mind; now I can also see Cohen in my mind forever.

I let Leonard Cohen pass by in 1993 when he last visited Detroit. This time, in what might be his last tour, I was feeling some heavy pressure to go. Sybil Diccion knew I was a Cohen fan and she working pretty hard on me. Colleen joined in.

One day I finally went on-line to take a look at the ticket options at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. I wasn’t interested in the thousand-dollar seats in the front row. Even the mid-section seemed quite expensive and I figured the gallery in the back might be too far away to see much.

I tried eBay and found a pair in the front row of the front gallery. I put in a bid and few days later the tickets were mine. As I was telling daughter Maddie about my plans, I said to myself, “Well, here we go.” I hadn’t told Colleen any details because I knew she would think I was nuts.

She asked if I had received the tickets yet and I had to tell her they weren’t being mailed to me. I would pick them up at the Fox before the show. I tried to convince her the deal was legitimate.

“He even offered to fax a photocopy of the sales receipt and his driver’s license,” I said.

“And you didn’t ask for it, did you?” she said. Ah, she knows me well.

Eventually my seller did fax it over, along with a note giving me permission to pick up the tickets on my own, if necessary. I really wanted to meet the guy, but I had expressed some concern about the possibility of getting stuck in traffic and arriving late.

Colleen agreed to go with me, but she wasn’t sure she was really up for three hours of Leonard Cohen. I checked with a college friend, Deby MacGregor, who could easily endure him for an evening.

My seller, Chris, was to drive up from Athens, Ohio, for the show. He sent a link to Google Street View and suggested we meet under the word “Hamburger” at Johnny Rockets near the Fox.

Maddie dropped Deby and me off, then drove off to meet up with a friend. I soon noticed a problem. Since the Street View camera drove by to record the scene, Johnny Rockets had disappeared. There was no Hamburger sign, just a completely different restaurant.

We walked around the area looking for someone who resembled the grainy fax photo. Since we would be searching for someone, I had made a sign showing a word search with the guy’s name highlighted, along with the words “Fox” and “Cohen.”

I walked along the sidewalk and aimed the sign at likely people, but there were no takers. I finally realized we weren’t where the word “Hamburger” once appeared. We moved to the spot, I flashed the sign and there was Chris, with his wife pointing at us.

And who is Leonard Cohen? you ask. The Canadian songwriter was never much of a popular culture performer. He was already an established poet when his first and only radio hit, “Suzanne,” was released in 1967.

I asked the guy in his 20s sitting next to us at the Fox what drew him to the Cohen. It was the song “Hallelujah”—sung by Jeff Buckley and used in the movie “Shrek”—that caught him initially, then he dug deeper and discovered 40 years of intriguing lyrics.

Cohen has a voice that not everyone enjoys, but his words are used by many. From Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to Harry Belafonte and the Neville Brothers, dozens and dozens of others have recorded his music.

Enjoying Cohen often seems like a solitary endeavor, but now I know there are at least 5,000 enthusiastic fans in the area because the Fox was packed.

Leonard Cohen is now 74 years old, but he gave a remarkable performance that lasted nearly three a half hours, his voice still strong and resonant.

As he closed the show, he hinted that he might not be back to the beautiful Fox. He wished us all to be surrounded by family and friends, or if we preferred, blessed in our solitude.

From his melancholy but somehow hopeful songs, that’s Leonard’s life—wishing for warm company and too often finding himself alone.

“But let’s not talk of love or chains

And things we can’t untie

Your eyes are soft with sorrow

Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.”

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