The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2007.04.18 Dogged by the baby

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

Darla the dog is no fan of babies.

I was worried about how she would behave when my brother John and sister-in-law Stephanie brought their newborn son over for Easter dinner last week. I even suggested keeping the froofy little bichon poodle in her night-night (cage) until John, Stephanie, and little Johnny Five were on their way home.

“Don’t worry,” my mom said. “Darla will be on her best behavior.”

To my surprise, she was.

When my nephew arrived, I was pleased to notice that the Winnie-the-Pooh characters on his brand-spanking-new Easter outfit were recreations of E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations—not the Disney-ized versions most are familiar with.

I’ve always been a fan of A.A. Milne’s original Pooh stories, and since high school have been disheartened by what Disney has done to the characters. I took a moment to remark to John that he was raising his son right.

“Glurg,” he replied. I reckoned I could’ve fit my entire comic book collection in the bags under his eyes. He and Stephanie had had a stressful week, as I imagine all new parents do in the days ensuing the birth of their first child.

First, there was concern over whether Johnny Five was eating enough, then there was concern about regularity, then there was concern about whether the operation “down there” was healing correctly—all issues that were discussed at length in the build-up to the Easter feast, which I was characteristically itching to get at.

Darla didn’t know what to make of Johnny Five. As my mom laid him on the couch to look over his outfit, the dog sat perched on the other side of her lap. She leaned over cautiously and took a sniff of the baby’s blanket, then darted back to her side of the mom. She stayed alert after that, nose up, perplexedly breathing in the new baby smells.

It was funny in a pitiful sort of way to watch the poor little dog try to figure out what the hay was going on. She shot me a series of desperate looks, as if to say, “Jeff, I don’t understand. Help.” I couldn’t help feeling bad for her.

I went downstairs to hassle my other brother Jamie while he played video games. When I emerged a few minutes later, Darla was sitting in front of the kitchen sink, separated from Johnny Five by a counter and a couch.

“What are you doin’ over there, boo-boo?” I inquired.

“Johnny Five hiccuped,” my mom said. “Darla didn’t like that.”

“Oh Dar Dar boo-boo dog,” I said, scooping her up. “You didn’t let that mean old baby scare you, did you?”

“She said ‘I did,’ she said,” I replied in mock conversation. “I don’t like those babies.”

“Boo-boo, you don’t gotta be scared of no babies,” I told her.

I went to the refrigerator and got her a carrot. My parents began substituting carrots for doggy treats when Darla started getting a little pudgy. I’ve read that, unlike humans, dogs can’t eat anything they want without gaining a pound.

Poor thing. In a few minutes, I would be in ham heaven.

Or so I thought. As my dad began carving that juicy meat into manageable hunks, an intense rumbling came from Johnny Five, followed by a cathartic wail.

Darla boogied out of the room.

Soon, it was clear that the confusion over whether Johnny Five was regular or not was resolved.

My nostalgic mom eagerly volunteered to change the baby’s diaper. I curiously ambled over to watch her work. I’d never seen anybody change a baby before, and knew it was a skill I’d have to learn at some point.

Boy, talk about a sour, unwholesome task. As my stomach veered south, my mom worked along with somewhat distressing enthusiasm. She handed the soiled baby wipes to John, who disposed of them in the next room, but not before swiveling around with an exaggerated motion that brought the wipes frighteningly close to my face.

He’s such a jerk.

Anyway, I was in no way prepared for what I saw—when babies go, they go, and there is all kinds of peripheral cleaning and maintenance that I hadn’t thought of.

Yuck. It was another of life’s lessons learned at the expense of my appetite.

But not at the expense of Darla’s. After we sat down to eat, she jealously nudged my leg as I munched a stalk of asparagus. Gone was my taste for ham. Gone was my taste for cheesy taters.

Dar Dar pawed at my shin.

Smiling, I flicked her a sliver of meat.

    – April 18, 2007 

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