2011.02.02 Monsters of days gone by

Written by David Green.


It’s so easy to get behind in my position. I know I’m not alone with such a complaint, but it’s this person’s behind-ness with which I’m most familiar.

I missed work last Wednesday morning because I had to accompany my wife somewhere. Then on Friday morning I made my first visit inside a court room at John Skelton’s hearing.

What? A reporter for 30 years and never before inside a court room? It’s true. I’m not much of a follower of crime and Chief Weeks jokes that I might become a court reporter after all now that I’ve made my first appearance.

I’ll make that general, non-committal statement that’s often spoken: It was interesting.

I sat in the media section along with the television guys and the other photographers. I felt a little sorry for the first three prisoners. They were facing charges such as failure to pay child support and breaking-and-entering, but as each one entered the court room, he was suddenly facing four TV cameras and the rest of us.

So there were two mornings gone and I still had Saturday to toss aside because of the Michigan Press Association convention. I wouldn’t have gone except for the need to pick up a plaque from an award the Observer won last fall.

Now that I think about it, there was one plaque that went unclaimed. I don’t recall that ever happening before. It was for the best daily paper in its circulation class and no one made the trip to Detroit to accept the award. Tsk, tsk. I paid for my $100 dinner (the one-day registration cost) and braved the icy roads leading to the Renaissance Center.

But as I mentioned at the start, all of this time out of the office has me way behind and searching for an old column to use.

I looked for the column about another press convention where I let the family take the elevator and I decided to race down 20 flights of stairs at the Amway Grand Plaza. 

I got to the bottom floor, pushed open the door and stepped out into the snow. Then I watched in puzzlement as the door closed behind me. It had no handle on the outside, so I had to walk coatless in very cold, windy weather past the diners in the fancy restaurant, pretending I was just out for an ordinary stroll.

As I looked through old Observers to find that incident, I soon discovered a trail of stories that fit into the theme “Country Bumpkin Goes the Big City.” Every year about this time was a tale of embarrassment or silliness and yet they still allow me to attend.

I never did come across that particular By the Way, but here’s what I found instead, called “A Failed Treasury of House Monsters.” It was written Jan. 20, 1993. when my daughter, Maddy, was four years old:

I was on bathroom duty with Maddy the other day when I should have run off for paper and pencil. The problem is that she screams whenever I leave my post.

We were talking about monsters that day and I thought our conversation would have made good column material. Monsters are the reason I was there by her side. There are two known monsters that live in our bathroom and Maddy isn’t about to stay in there on her own.

 I tried to convince her there were no monsters, but she claimed to have seen five of them. Here’s what I remember.

The Toilet Monster: If you thought there was a monster in the toilet, you wouldn’t want to be left alone, would you? When she saw the Toilet Monster, it consisted of a long tongue that came out of the bowl. She later saw its blue eyes.

The Shower Monster: This is tough because the shower is so close to the toilet. Monsters on two sides. The Shower Monster has blue eyes, but the eyes are in the back of its head.

“You only see the mouth,” she said. “The monster doesn’t see you.”

The Basement Monster: “It’s brown. It talks.”

The Closet Monster: It’s gone to the store. No details.

Now back to 2011. Maddy is now 22 years old and likely faces a new array of monsters in her life. None, I hope, are nearly as fearsome as the long-tongued Toilet Monster.

  • 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.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