2009.08.26 Crazy times in the big city

Written by David Green.

This old column from 20 years ago is a little sad because it mentions six vacation days. It’s been a while since I’ve had six vacation days. All in a row, no less.

I was granted a day off last week so we took off for a three-day weekend, if you count not leaving until after noon and five hours sitting in the car. Writing Observer stories.

We went north to experience rain and chill. It’s been too hot and dry down here in the south. I recall walking the streets of Traverse City wearing four shirts and wishing I had my sweatshirt from the car.

With that weather, there wasn’t much to do but visit stores and remember that this is called vacation for my wife. For me it was called torture. It was called madness.

I stood in the basement of the refurbished state mental hospital—now stores, offices and condos—staring out the window, wondering if I would ever be released.

Finally I was. The sun came out Sunday and the obligatory dip into Lake Michigan arrived.


It happened in the Village

Sept. 7, 1989

So there I was walking near St. Mark’s Place in the Village. A subway was rumbling away somewhere down below. A man in a delivery truck was screaming at a woman who stopped to get a parking spot.

There was a bag lady looking through the trash and an array of the down-and-out sprawled on benches and asleep in the shade of buildings. A woman with green hair walked by, then a little later one with lovely purple locks.

A man stood in the street pounding a long stick on the pavement and chanting, “Light my fire! Light my fire!” I looked across the street and noticed he was yelling at the fire station.

Then these two nasty-looking guys approached me. One of them looks out of the corner of his eye at me and he says, “Kill him. Bring him back to life. Kill him again.”

Isn’t that the kind of story you expect to hear from someone returning from a vacation in New York City?

It really happened, but I wasn’t too concerned. Those two were just having some fun. They walked right on by.

If you had six days and some gas money, wouldn’t you choose New York City for a little relaxation?

Actually, our destination was the Bronx. There’s always a bed awaiting us at Colleen’s mother’s apartment—that is if her brother Mark sleeps on the couch.

The impetus behind this visit was the marriage of a high school buddy of Colleen’s. That grand event took us somewhere up onto Long Island. The reception was at the plush Swan Club. My attire made it closer to the Swine Club. Someone had to play the role of country bumpkin.

Around 1 a.m. on our first night out of Morenci, in a Motel 6 in Youngstown, Ohio, Colleen realized she forgot my dress shirt. She found this so funny she was forced to stuff a pillow in her mouth to avoid waking up our neighbors. About 2 a.m. she realized she also left my shoes behind. And my belt.

My wedding experiences are limited, but it seems that in Michigan people dress up for weddings and dress down a little for receptions. Loosen or remove the tie. Take off the jacket. Even go without a belt in my case.

We arrived at the wedding and I almost felt overdressed. A lot of people weren’t wearing suits. When we later arrived at the Swine Club, I left my coat and tie in the car and turned over the keys to the attendant.

We went inside and there were the same people dressed to kill. I’m sure there was a lot of explaining going “Oh, he’s from Michigan.” They could have at least said Ohio.

I remember looking over my shoulder at the final glimpse of the New York skyline before it becomes hidden by that low range of mountains in New Jersey. I remember glancing at the Toledo skyline off the turnpike a few hours later and thinking how tiny it looks.

Then came the Morenci skyline which of course is nothing but trees. But you know, it kind of looks like Central Park and that’s where this big ugly guy came up and...

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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