2003.12.24 On my knees, staring at dirt

Written by David Green.


I’M ON my knees, begging you please to come clean. That’s my plea to the kitchen floor.

Getting ready for Christmas means cleaning house. That’s how it is for busy people. Really busy people. They don’t get enough done in the maintenance phase of life. Then when the crunch time of impending visitors arrives, everything shifts into top gear for preparation.

I don’t know how my wife handles the overnight shift, but that’s when she often accomplishes the most. You know the name of her column that often appears on page 2: Midnight Musings. Last night, once again, it went far beyond midnight. We’re close to running three shifts, with no overtime.

For me, it’s the early shift. I’ve been on my hands and knees getting to know the kitchen floor. For some reason, the kitchen floor has long been mostly my domain. Even when we lived in the Observer apartment, I remember tackling that yellowish linoleum, scrubbing and scrubbing the patches of tar from the roof in back. The roof was our verandah and it led to our clothesline. Unfortunately, we sometimes tracked in roof tar on hot days.

I FOUND no tar this morning in our kitchen, but I did encounter some odd substances. The bright blue spots were the most puzzling, but they were easily removed.

The most annoying were the black smudges of unknown origin and unknown molecular structure. It smears to the right, then it smears to the left, but it doesn’t leave the floor. Hmmm, it’s almost like tar.

When I tackle the kitchen floor, I wear an old pair of knee pads, also of unknown origin. They might be a daughter’s old volleyball equipment, but they look pretty basic and they have the name “Grid” at the top. The mud stains suggest they’ve seen some late-season football duty when I’m on my knees taking pictures in the snow.

The lesson in this “Christmas story” is to never assign janitorial duties to busy people. Look at the Observer, but please don’t look too closely. We get an award for our clean newspaper design most every year in the contest, but fortunately, we’re never judged on the condition of the office where the paper is produced.

I SHOULD be turning out a well-crafted Christmas column for this Dec. 24 newspaper. Instead, I’m rushing from floor duty to column duty and then, I hope, onward toward getting some news written before our company arrives.

This Christmas season is a little extra busy at the Observer, because I’m training someone to take over for Felicia, who has handled ad design, photo tweaking and more for the last four years.

Felicia has taken on a job as cheerleading coach for a gymnastics organization and she’s also busy with her new baking business. Now, I’m training Deanna Gillen. She’s catching on, but of course it will take a while. My double duty eats into my writing time.

For example, here it is near the end of December and I’ve never closed up the girls’ basketball season. Did you know Kylene Spiegel became the school’s first thousand-point scorer? Of course not, I still haven’t written it.

But this is no way to end a Christmas column, so let me repeat the oft’ told tale of a dog named Sam. He was my sister’s dog back in the 1960s. I think the date painted over the door of his dog house read 1965.

Sam’s name should have been Bad Boy. Fleas, vomit, horrible odors, night barking, day barking. I would not want to live in a neighborhood like Sam’s, with one exception. I’m glad Sam was part of our family the year he ate a few silvery strands of tinsel.

Through the normal digestive process, the tinsel later appeared suspended from the back end of Sam and it was such a joy to watch him run off into the sunshine, with tinsel sparkling behind him. Now that was a memorable Christmas, and I hope all of you are left with pleasant memories at your house tomorrow.

    – Dec. 24. 2003 
  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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