2010.12.15 What I learned: Morenci 2010 Edition

Written by David Green.

When my son-in-law Taylor visits, I’m always able to extract a guest column. This one arrived by e-mail four hours before deadline. Plenty of time the way we work.


The old cliché goes “You learn something new every day.” I suppose it’s true, considering I get on Facebook, Twitter, and a number of news sites daily and there’s always some new bit of information I’m receiving on there. For instance, did you know the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows? Did you know that in 2000, Pope John Paul II was named an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters? Here’s one more thing I recently learned: it’s against the law to mispronounce “Arkansas” (Ar-kan-saw) in the state of Arkansas.

This past weekend, Rosie and I came up to Michigan for “the Big Chill at the Big House” hockey game, and a baby shower. I wasn’t on the internet much, but I still managed to learn something new each day of the trip.

• (Friday) – If you get a chance to go to “America’s Number One Place to Pig Out,” do it. Just know that you’ll regret it for a couple of days.

Rosie and I, along with our Canadian friend Ryan, drove up from Little Rock on Friday morning. We had an extra ticket to the hockey game, and figured Ryan, a former high school hockey player, would love to attend.

On the route from Little Rock to Morenci is a little town called Sikeston, Missouri, home of Lambert’s Café. I don’t know how to describe Lambert’s other than it’s like Cracker Barrel on steroids. Each plate comes with enough food for at least two people, they are constantly passing out rolls (literally throwing them through the air) the size of softballs, and the drinks come in 34 oz. mugs. Rosie got the fried chicken tender platter, which came with eight large chicken strips, two sides, and several pass arounds (foods that don’t count as sides, but the servers just bring around to each table without any limit) like fried okra and fried potatoes and onions.

Ryan and I each got the small chicken fried steak (11 oz. as opposed to 16 oz. for the large), which is about as unhealthy a food as you can eat. Our meal came with three sides along with the pass arounds and rolls. Lambert’s is the portrait of American gluttony.

The food was delicious, but I’ve never felt so disgustingly full. Sikeston is about eight hours from Morenci, and we didn’t eat the rest of the car ride. We did, however, spend most of the ride groaning and complaining about our stomachs being so full.

On Sunday morning we got up to take Toronto to the Greyhound station for his trip back to Toronto. I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said “nothing, I still can’t really think about food after Friday.” That, ladies and gentlemen, is one substantial meal.

• (Saturday) – Outdoor hockey is almost as fun as indoor hockey.

Rosie, Maddie, Ryan and I had a great time at the hockey game Saturday night. It was not too cold, the rain held off just long enough, and the atmosphere was electric. The Big House clearly wasn’t meant to host a hockey game, though. With the ice at the center of the football field, everyone was pretty far away from the action. We were fortunate to have seats up a little higher, so we could see everything, but the folks down low couldn’t really see above the boards.

It was exciting to be a part of the record-setting crowd, but I feel like the game-watching experience would have been much better indoors. In an arena we would have been able to see and hear the action much more clearly. That way, Ryan could have better explained to me what was going on, because let’s face it, I never played much hockey growing up in Kentucky.

• (Sunday) – The Lions are going to be good soon.

I watched Sunday’s disappointing Lions/Packers game (I’m a Packers fan) at my grandfather-in-law’s house, and I’m convinced that in a few years the Lions will be a formidable team. Their defense has been good all year, and they have some solid offensive players as well (Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson). Thanks to another bad record, they will get a pretty high draft pick in 2011, and if they can hit another home-run like they did with Ndamukong Suh, they’ll be in business.

Next year, if Matthew Stafford is healthy and productive, and the defense is again improved, I think the Lions may sneak into the playoffs. I hope so, anyway. I don’t cheer for any team over the Packers, but I think it’s about time the Lions were relevant again. The good folks of Michigan deserve a decent professional football team.

• (Monday) – If the windchill is hovering around zero, put on some pants.

Like a fool I decided to wear shorts for the car ride back to Little Rock on Monday. I figured that we would only make a few stops, and that the car would stay pretty warm, so I wanted to be comfortable for the trip. The cold temperatures froze our windshield wiper fluid, though, and we had to stop about 10 times to get out and clean the nasty road-salt spray off the front and back glass. It wasn’t bad if the breeze was stable and the sun was out, but those gas station car-ports block the sunlight and act as wind tunnels. I got a lot of funny looks during our stops – and I deserved each one of them.

Now it’s Tuesday morning and I feel a bit feverish. Maybe it was being exhausted from finals week and not eating well on Friday and then being outside all day Saturday that got me feeling a bit sick. Or maybe it was dressing like it was a cool fall afternoon and not a miserable winter morning. When I was a kid and wanted to wear shorts in the winter my mom would rationalize it by saying “he’ll put pants on if he gets cold enough.” Well, mom, I think I’m retiring my shorts for the winter.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016