2007.01.24 Weakened

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

There was a time, many moons ago, when weekends were made for relaxing. Oh, how I yearn for those days.

It’s about 11 a.m. Monday, I’m back in the office typing away, and I don’t feel the least bit refreshed from my weekend sojourn to my parents’ house in Highland. If anything, I’m wound up tighter now than I was when I left Morenci Friday night.

The trouble started with the weather. When I departed at about 6:30 p.m., a light flurry dusted the fields locally, but I heard reports on NPR that the rest of the state was getting hit a little harder by the slush. I pulled off at the Food and Fuel in Jasper and reached for my phone—for safety’s sake I wasn’t going to be doing any speeding, so I wanted to tell my mom not to wait up for me.

But the phone wasn’t in my pocket. I’d left it back in Morenci—20 woeful minutes away. I had a decision to make: I could forge on without my phone, but if I slid off the road or crashed into a tree I’d have no way to call for help short of flagging down an approaching car. Alternatively, I could go back to Morenci and grab the cotton-picking thing.

I erred on the side of caution and went back, adding another 40 minutes to the trip. Aside from that, I made it out of the county without incident. US-23 north on the way to M-59, however, was a deathtrap. I counted seven cars stuck in ditches.

The snow had stopped, but that didn’t make the going any easier—there was no precipitation to help wash the build-up of salt and grit from my windshield, so every two minutes I had to spray it down with wiper fluid. This turned everything indecipherably blurry for a tense few seconds before I could see again.

I was relieved to make it home by 9:30 p.m.—just in time to meet my friend Jimbo for some pool at a pub down the street. A few casual games turned into a three-hour grudge match when we bumped in to some old foes. I didn’t return until 1:30 a.m. and, gah!, what a dumb decision that was. I had to get up at 8 a.m. and burn rubber to Howell to pick up a prescription if I had any hope of making it back in time to join my parents and Darla the dog on a 5-mile hike at the local park.

That was another ordeal. About halfway through, Darla’s paws got iced up, so mom had to carry her the rest of the way. By this point, we were all miserable. The hills were icy and extra tiring to ascend. Afterward, with piteously sore feet, we decided never to walk those trails in the snow again.

I spent the afternoon in Brighton making Christmas returns and finding merchandise to spend my Christmas gift cards on. It was crowded and my friend Tony annoyingly wavered over buying a boxed set of Alfred Hitchcock movies.

“‘North by Northwest!’ ‘Vertigo!’ ‘Rear Window!’” he said. “Fourteen movies for only $100. How could I pass this up?”

After Tony finally decided he didn’t have the bucks for the movies, I unloaded him in Milford and headed back to Highland for dinner and a movie with my laundry. Then I again set off—this time to my friend Dickey’s for a small get-together. I made it to the end of the driveway before hitting reverse and gunning it. No way, José. I wasn’t going. I was gassed out. I needed rest.

I fell asleep watching the “Seinfeld” DVDs I bought earlier.

Darla woke me at seven the next morning. Time for another walk. We forewent the trails at the park for a longer, albeit flatter, route through a nearby subdivision. By the end, I decided exercise isn’t fun and vowed to die young, fat and alone. The rest of the morning was devoted to miscellaneous errands. The afternoon was devoted to a nap that ran a little too long.

(So, I guess I did get some quality rest after all).

By the time I woke, the roads were a mess and I just didn’t have the constitution to make the trip back to Morenci. I tuned in to the AFC championship with fleeting interest before retiring to the basement to watch “Battlestar Galactica” with my brother. That lasted about 11 minutes.

I was asleep by 10:30 p.m. and up by 2 a.m., checking the clock in the kitchen at half-hour increments to make sure I didn’t oversleep my 6:30 a.m. departure time.

Now, here I am, back in Morenci, feeling both exhausted and ashamed. Exhausted because, well, I’m exhausted. Ashamed because my weekend was probably less hectic and more fun than that of 75 percent of the people reading this.

“Grow up, kiddo. That’s life,” I’m sure some of you are thinking.

It sure is. I learn it a little more each week.

    - Jan. 24, 2007 
  • 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
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.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.

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