2007.05.31 Spectacular finale

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

This week’s column shall recount the vigors my friends and I undertook in celebration of the Memorial Day weekend, among other things.

The First Annual Tri-County Watermelon Eating Contest Invitational was an inspiration and a delight.

The idea for the competition came to me in a vision—a vision of watermelon for sale at a local vendor, to which my valet Jimbo and I had traveled with the interest of purchasing a parcel of noodle salad. On sight of the immense green fruits, turgid in fecundity, I turned to Jimbo and instructed that we shall buy two plump specimens.

“I suspect we’ll stage a race of sorts, Jimbo,” I said. “It is only proper to eat a slice of watermelon or two on a balmy Memorial Day weekend, and that we do it in stiff competition—one that includes physical rigors as well as that rigor we undertake in shoving fruit down our maws.”

By tea time, we had rounded up five competitors—my brother, James; the voluble Tony Centofanti; James Dickey, a lay-about and amateur apothecary; a man we knew only as Chris; and, of course, myself.

The valet Jimbo never much cared for watermelon and volunteered himself as judge.

So it was that at 6 p.m., we competitors lined up on the southern edge of my courtyard, faced with the following challenge—to consume one slice of melon, sprint 20 fathoms, devour another slice, gallop a further 20 fathoms and touch a patio chair: all more quickly than the competition.

I had stacked the game against the only man I suspected a more fleet masticator than myself—my brother. Though he could ingest  hogsheads of food in seconds, he had, until recently, weighed nearly 25 stone. While he has shed at least a third of that weight, I had recently undertaken to augment my own foot speed with circuit exercise and jumping jacks. Certainly, I thought, whatever time I lost in the mouth race would be made up in the foot race.

Scarcely could I have been more incorrect. Immediately after the starting firecracker detonated, I set myself at a substantial disadvantage by lunging into my fruit too brashly, knocking two large pieces onto the lawn. I finished the remainder of the slice with impressive clip, but my grasp was encumbered by the watery slickness on my palms. I had barely fished the first derelict chunk from the grass when James sprinted off with much apace.

Following soon after was Tony, and by the time I bounded to the second station, they were both well into their slices. Both touched the patio chair before I had even swallowed the last mouthful of my second watermelon.

My third place finish was remarkable only in that I rounded out the distinguished trio that touched the chair more than a minute before the final two pitiful competitors. However, all involved remained in good spirits and looked back on the contest with much praise and amicability. It is with such sentiments that I shall recall my time here at the Observer.

Speaking of: if my diction this week seems strangely garrulous, it is because I am practicing for my life’s next endeavor—to attend a graduate academy, where pretentious nincompoopery is the norm and discernible prose is reserved for proletarians.

So, it is with much solemnity that I announce that this shall be the final installment of the Standard Deviant, and that I shall depart Morenci soon.

However, it would be hideous and improper to be on my way without first thanking several inhabitants of Morenci and Environs, among them David Green, Colleen Leddy, Gene Beaverson, Chris Hylander, Joan Rice, Tom Spiess, Dee Potter, Dee Ferguson, Kyle Griffith, Anita Van Zile, Brad Whitehouse, Melissa Stewart, Chief Larry Weeks, Dominique Cox, James Wright, Chuck Ekins, Harriet Clark, Rich Foley, David Hankins, Valerie Salerno, Liz Stella, Sheri Frost, Sue Schaffner, Sally Canfield, the proprietors of the Morenci Pub, and innumerable others.

I thank you all for coming in and out of what have been the two most interesting and, well, quite indescribable years of my life.

Finally, for any who might have wondered how I fared on Saturday’s Graduate Record Examination, I am satisfied to say that I scored in the 93rd percentile on the portion with which I was most concerned. I shall not bore you with further report.

Thank you, and best wishes to all, especially Kim Ekins, whom I, personally, couldn’t imagine forgetting to include in a farewell column.

    – May 31, 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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