2011.06.22 No end to the Siberian elm

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Siberian elm is certainly my least favorite tree. We had quite a sizable one growing in our side yard until the infamous Middle School Awards Night Straight-Line Thunderstorm of 2000.

The wind only brought some of the tree’s heavy branches down—including one that made a hole in our roof—but we had it cut after that. We had already spent more than enough ice storm nights listening to crashes onto the roof from its branches dropping.

What I don’t like about the tree isn’t so much its state as a handsome mature visitor from eastern Siberia. It’s the dozens of little sprouts that come up everywhere. I’ll be trimming Siberian elm for as long as I live here.

That’s what I was doing Saturday afternoon instead of doing what I should have been doing—creating stories for a newspaper.

I was trimming elm, cutting through dozens of ivy tendrils that are trying to take over our house, and pulling out grapevine and thistle when I realized how odd my job is.

For example, I went to Fayette Friday night to cover the Civil War program at the Opera House. I enjoyed it very much and I had some good conversations with people afterward.

But everyone who attended the event is done with it. The program is over. But I have to “enjoy” it all over again while writing a story about it. 

This is all very obvious and I should have realized it before in the past 30 years, but that’s my life over and over again. I go to a ball game and when it ends, that’s pretty much the end for everyone there, except me. I have to go through it all again and put it into words.

I go to a council meeting, go home and live through it all again. What a weird existence. Everything in double.

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A couple of weeks ago I received an amusing report from Morenci native Herb Camburn who lives in California. I think his tale sets a record for bad newspaper delivery. The non-deliveries don’t count; only those papers that eventually reach the subscriber are eligible for consideration.

“I just brought in the Observer that the mailman just delivered. I didn’t glance at the date but thought that the photo on the front of a kid and pumpkins was a little strange for the month of May.

“When I checked the date at the top it was: Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Boy, the U.S. Postal Service has really outdone themselves this time!

“I think this is really amazing. I have absolutely no idea where this paper has been lurking for eight months! In any case, most of the papers have been arriving in pretty good time now.”

I don’t know if “amusing” is really the word to use here. A little sad, actually. We continue to receive complaints from subscribers about poor delivery, along with occasional reports of very good delivery. A subscriber in one Florida city, for example, will get the paper on Saturday or Monday while someone in another part of Florida might get two at a time or an older one before a new one, or none at all.

I remind people of the option to download the electronic version (the photographs look so much better), but a lot of people just want newsprint in their hands.

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One more newspaper update. A few weeks ago I wrote about “my other wife” and mentioned this incident:

I was rubbing [my wife’s back] and mentioned something about the scar on her leg from the motorcycle. I must have been half asleep. Colleen has never been on a motorcycle, but I know I’m not making this up. Someone, one of my other wives, was once burned by a motorcycle exhaust pipe. If you’re reading this, let me know. I’d like to clear this one up.

An out-of-town subscriber read that account—someone a year behind me in school—and she knew exactly who it was that suffered the leg burn. That may be so, but it was no one I ever dated, so I’m still wondering about this one.

–0–

It’s now a day later and I’ve finished the Civil War story. I have to admit, I enjoyed the show all over again. It wasn’t an unpleasant chore at all to recreate the program for others to read. 

I don’t even want to think about how few people will actually take the time to read it. If I start doing that, doubts about my career will spread like Siberian elm.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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