The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2012.02.29 Dinner with the Pope

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

My old college friend, John, had a birthday party Saturday night and we were invited. Colleen was away visiting a grandchild so I headed up to Livonia on my own.

I don’t know what the significance of turning 62 is about. Maybe John was just in need of a party. The invitation arrived a couple of weeks ago along with a page of menu choices.

“The food will be served family style from a central lazy susan. Please select from the list what you would like to eat. Quantities will be based on the number of people who want to eat the same thing.”

This wasn’t something from the restaurant.  Every party guest received a form with their name at the top of the page. No, this was a form from someone with highly-developed organizational skills, also known as John’s wife, Catherine.

I didn’t understand most of what I was reading—fritto misto, pizza con formaggio or margherita, penne san remo, saltimbocca, etc.—but I picked out a few recognizable items and sent an e-mail to Catherine.

When the day arrived, I drove to the home of two other college friend invitees in Plymouth and we made the final leg of the trip together. 

From the outside, Buca di Beppo in Livonia looks like one of a dozen modern restaurant chains, but then we walked inside. We followed our staff person down a hallway and into the kitchen. We passed a dinner table located right there in the kitchen on our way to the Pope’s Room. We had our own little basilica with an enormous round table ready for 18 guests.

On the drive to the restaurant, I said to Deby and Rich that every time I go to an event such as this, I think to myself, “Maybe this will be the night that I act sociable and talk to strangers, but most likely I’ll just be off to the side hanging out with Rich.”

This setup didn’t really allow for anyone to hang out in the corner since there were no corners. There was no room for wallflowers because everyone was up against the wall, which was the same thing as being at the table.

Not everyone was up against the wall. A bust of the Pope was in the middle of the table on the huge Lazy Susan. Deby decided it must have been Pope Gregory XIII who straightened out the calendar dilemma back in 1582. Whoever it was, his piercing gaze forced guests to ask, “What are you looking at?” as he slowly twirled around the table.

First the breads arrived—four or five different kinds—but I hadn’t selected any bread from the pre-order menu. Actually, I didn’t really remember what I ordered two weeks ago, but that didn’t matter because Catherine knew. She had a list and she had made little stickers to place on cards.

As the shrimp scampi made its way around the table, the names of those who ordered it were posted. After those people were served, Catherine removed the names and the dish was fair game for anyone.

And don’t worry about germs from the 18-member family. There were three or four bottles of anti-bacterial hand wash on the Susan and Catherine urged us all to use it frequently because there was sickness going around. Leave it to a nurse to think of that.

Leave it to non-participating guests like Deby, Rich and I to avoid that stinky stuff and remain public health nuisances. I can’t imagine rubbing that all over my hands and then picking up a piece of bread. I’ll just take my chances with the potential of germs.

The introduction of guests revealed that most people at the table were relatives of the hosts, including five nieces who played “I Spy with My Little Eye” off and on for at least two hours. This is a testament both to their observational skills and also to the amazing amount of detail in our basilica.

There were photographs of the Pope everywhere, along with statues, emblems, paintings and banners. “I spy a golden toenail.” “I spy a papal wristwatch.” On the domed ceiling were three angels—one with crossed eyes and misplaced genitalia. So much to spy.

I’m sure everyone ate more than what the little stickers indicated was theirs. Whenever we eat with John, there’s an excess of food. We departed with heavy stomachs.

Deby and Rich took me back to my vehicle and I set out wondering when fatigue would take over. I’m pretty good at driving when sleepy. I do it every Tuesday afternoon and never have to shut my hair in the window as an alarm. 

It was somewhere past Clinton when I noticed it coming on after a full dinner and lack of sleep, but I fought my way through, wondering only once where the heck I was. I was extra careful after Deby told me about Rich getting into a head-on collision with a driver who fell asleep.

I made it home just fine. A good time was had by all and I have a container of garlic mashed potatoes waiting for lunch. Yes, organized Catherine brought along a generous supply of containers for take-home. No food went to waste, but much food went to waist.

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