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.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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