2011.06.22 Trying to capture the "Essence of Morenci"

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

Kym Ries and I leave for New Orleans Thursday. We’ll be attending the American Library Association Annual Conference to present a summary of the “Picturing New York...in a tiny Midwest town” program the library hosted in November. 

Five of the 30 libraries that won an ALA grant for programming related to the Picturing America collection were selected to showcase their program during a conference session, “NEH’s Picturing America: Model Programs for Public Libraries.” 

I vacillate between thinking it’s going to be so much fun telling everyone who attends the session about Kym’s cool idea (to use all the posters in the National Endowment for the Humanities Picturing America collection that have anything to do with New York City) and wanting to throw up at the prospect of talking in front of all the people who attend. 

And, then, I worry, will anyone even attend? I worry even more...will I get the darn PowerPoint presentation done in time? It’s late Monday night and I need to have it e-mailed to the Project Director of the ALA’s Public Program Office by 5 p.m. At least, I assume she means 5 p.m.

First she said she needed the presentation by Tuesday. I had planned to have it done by Sunday night and e-mailed by Monday. But then I got an ocular migraine around midnight, just when I was really hitting my stride. 

Ocular migraines don’t hurt, at least not my variety, but they make you see funny things. It’s kind of like the peripheral vision test the Secretary of State gives when you renew your driver’s license or when you go for an eye exam at Dr. Cable’s office and they take you into that little room, give you a button gizmo to press and make you look into some kind of machine that periodically flashes these weird lines. You press the button every time you see the lines.

Flashing weird lines...that’s what I see all the time when I get an ocular migraine and I can’t really read or see well enough to work on the computer. So, I was totally done for and had to just go to bed. At midnight...when the night was still young. That meant I had to ask what time Tuesday the presentation had to be submitted.

The Project Director wrote back, “By the end of the day would be fine...” and I laughed out loud. 

“Lady,” I wanted to say, “The end of the day is right about 3 or 4 a.m. for me.” I wrote her to that effect and she wrote back Tuesday morning saying, realistically, she wouldn’t look at the file anyway at 5 p.m.

“So it would be fine if you send it whenever your day ends, and I’ll have it first thing tomorrow.”

That was great news to wake up to after going to bed at 7 a.m. But it also means, without a sharp Tuesday deadline, I will tinker and tinker and tinker and be up to all hours. 

It’s really a short presentation—each library is limited to 15 minutes—but there is so much to pack in about the program. And then the ALA project director suggested I start off talking a bit about Morenci. That meant I had to toss in a few photos to illustrate the essence of Morenci. 

I was hoping to take a photo of one of those huge tractors that come through town, parked at the light in front of the bank. I thought that would capture the town and country theme exemplified even in our festival, the wonderful architecture of our older buildings, the “one stoplight” size of our town

It got me thinking about what is quintessentially Morenci. Back when the trees almost formed a canopy over Main Street, I loved to return home from vacations and drive in from the west and see those trees. The trees of Morenci were a real drawing card for me. 

Then when I walked out of the library to take photos, I noticed the Fireworks Fund thermometer painted on the front window of Rural Urban Insurance and the names of all those who donated. 

And, it hit me that the essence of this town is the people—the incredibly giving and helpful people who rally behind causes, who pull together in the face of both adversity and good fortune, who devote time and energy to make things happen to enrich the lives of others.

People like Kym Ries.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016