2010.04.21 Maybe we don't want to know

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

There are some things you just don’t tell your parents. They don’t have to know. I thought of that recently when I asked Maddie about the waves in Bali.

Overseas study. It still amazes me that so many college kids travel across the big water to pick up a few credits—a few very interesting credits.

I certainly don’t fault kids who can pull it off. Maddie puts in a lot of hours in a job she has while going to school, and she has the smarts to get something I never saw—scholarships.

Besides, when I went to school, I don’t recall anyone signing up for overseas study. It was a real rarity. I went camping at Pinery Provincial Park once, across the big water of the Detroit River and north to Lake Huron.

That wasn’t nearly as foreign as a spring break trip to Florida. I didn’t receive any academic credit for either trip, although I learned a little about county sheriff deputies of the south. I probably never told my parents.

After Maddie’s six-week class in Thailand and Malaysia concluded, she did some cheap traveling around Southeast Asia. While in Bali, she satisfied a long-held desire to go surfing. The opportunities in Michigan are rather slim, but she signed up for a surfing class and had a blast.

I asked her later if the waves were very large. She said they were and added, “We went to a beach one day and I thought I was never gonna come up a couple times.”

There it is; that’s the sort of story you don’t tell your parents.

Actually, I was glad to hear it. I’m very pleased she’s having these experiences—and even more pleased to know she’s surviving them.

The class involved a lot of snorkeling in the reefs (the toughest 12 credits she’s ever earned, I’m sure), but she told us something early on that left us a little unsettled.

The kids were warned by their instructor to avoid touching a tiny water snake they might encounter while snorkeling. It didn’t have a very powerful jaw and could only pierce the skin between the fingers. However, a bite generally led to death. There wasn’t much that could be done.

When she told that story, I immediately wondered if this was the Thai version of the Snipe Hunt. There was just something about it that didn’t sound quite right.

I asked Mr. Google about the matter and learned there are some nasty snakes in Thailand (such as the ngoo tap saming kla and ngoo chong ahng), but nothing came close to describing the illusive little water snake.

Still, it gave the parents something to think about for a few weeks.

I told my parents about my encounter with a mother black bear and how her jaws grabbed my thigh through the tent, but I related that story long after it happened. Actually, I think they rather enjoyed the tale.

That’s the only really frightening thing I can remember, other than helping to start a car somewhere in Washington state.

I was hitching across the country and got picked up by a nurse from Colorado somewhere in British Columbia. Heading south, we’d stopped somewhere along the coastal road and her car wouldn’t start after the rest stop.

There was a downward slope to the road, so I pushed her car back out of the parking spot, and then started pushing it down the road.

The car fired up and the nurse and her dog headed down the road with my backpack and other possessions in the back seat. Would I ever see them again?

Yes, she turned around and came back to get me. I don’t think I ever told my parents that story.

Maddie told us one day about a hike that a few of the kids took with a professor. Most of the class was water oriented, so for something different they headed inland up into the mountains.

It was supposed to be a five-hour excursion at the most, but something went wrong. It turned into a nine-hour adventure with paths hacked by machete,  students helping each other down steep hills, grabbing onto ant-covered, thorny vines, crawling through rocks and avoiding falls. They had an OK time.

We know about jumping out of the taxi in Jakarta, about the frightening hotel in Vietnam and the motorbike tour in Vietnam, but I can’t help but wonder what she’s holding back. Maybe the details will leak out over the years.

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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  • 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.
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    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.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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