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.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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