2006.10.25 Die here or elsewhere?

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It was the odd question of the week. I was standing by the kitchen counter applying peanut butter to a rice cracker when my wife asked me something.

“Do you want to die in this house?”

I knew Colleen had a large kitchen knife in her hand, but I didn’t turn to face her. If she was about to stab me, it would be in the back. I wouldn’t give her the pleasure of a decent murder.

Turns out she was asking if I was interested in moving some time in the future...or did I want to die in this house.

Two kids gone, one a senior in high school—she was thinking about our future. More room than we would need, stairs to climb up, stairs to climb down, repairs to make in an aging home, etc.

And then there’s the issue of grandchildren, all those next-generation offspring who don’t yet exist. Maybe we’d have to move to get closer to the dispersing family.

Ben is in Miami, a place so far south that he says it’s south of the South. It’s an entirely different culture.

Ben took the job down there stating that he would like to return to the Great Lakes state sometime down the road, but certainly not now. Landscape architecture firms often live by public money for the parks and downtown development projects they design, and Michigan isn’t a place for public money these days.

Rosanna is in year three of college in Kentucky, and with a Kentucky boyfriend, maybe she’ll end up living there. That’s a long drive, too.

Too early to even guess with Maddy. She has yet to settle on a college and she’s applying to schools from here to there.

My parents stayed put here in Morenci and had access to three grandchildren plus a 90-minute drive to three more. Two others are a few states away in Minnesota.

Through some strange planetary alignment, all of my siblings were in Morenci Friday. Dan flew in from Seattle for a home town visit. Tom had two days off from school, so he decided to drive over. Diane wasn’t about to miss out on this and she came down from East Lansing.

We decided to participate in a shared interest, geocaching, so we grabbed our GPS receivers and headed out in search of hidden “treasure.” Since Colleen appeared to be free of weapons, we allowed her to come along.

While traveling between the Little House on the Hill and Wabash Cannonball Trail #1, Colleen put a different twist on the “Do you want to die here?” question. She asked my siblings if they ever considered moving back to Morenci. “Do you ever have a yen for it?” is the way she put it.

Dan said he has no yen and Diane said she hasn’t either.

“I could move back if I had to,” she added.

“Maybe if a giant wave wiped out the west coast,” Dan said.

Tom never answered that one so I asked him the next day when he and Dan and I were headed to Lost Nations to look for the famous cave that I’ve long heard about. There was a geocache nearby.

Like the other two, Tom has no reason to consider moving back here. All three of them live in areas that hold a lot of appeal.

Tom figured he could do it if Colleen and I were still living here, but he didn’t think he could ever talk his wife into making the move. She’s from Minnesota and they live near the 45th parallel. What’s the appeal of southeastern Michigan?

You can visit the Silas Doty cave only so many times before getting accidentally shot by a hunter.

When we were about to set out Friday afternoon, I pulled up to a gas pump at the Deli, opened the window, and asked the elderly gentleman who was studying the directions to “Fill ’er up, please.” I knew it was Jack Smith.

He turned around looking a little surprised until he saw the joker who was asking. He couldn’t see through the tinted glass of the van so I opened the door and there were the other three Green kids, much to his amazement.

We helped Jack with his purchase—he was just filling a gas can—and he mentioned that he and Ruth are considering moving to Illinois to be closer to their children. That sounds like a situation in which Ruth had a knife in her hand one day and asked, “Do you want to die in this house?”

I guess it worked for her.

   – Oct. 25, 2006

 

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • 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.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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