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.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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