2007.08.01 Dorothy Okray

Written by David Green.

It’s been a month since I left Morenci and I can't believe I am still homesick. You might wonder that only four years in your city could evoke such sentimentality, but I miss you!  Now mind you, Morenci can’t compete with the lushness of the palm trees and exotic flowers one sees along the streets of Sarasota…as most of you know, I am a firm believer of trees in the commercial areas of towns. But, Morenci has something with which even the most awesome displays of foliage can’t compete—a beautiful soul.

I miss my early morning visits to the Village Inn where the waitress brought my decaf coffee upon arrival and the tables were filled with the familiar faces of retired farmers and village folk. I miss Adam and Gail at the hardware store; they are the essence of what it means to be a good neighbor. I loved visiting the library to say hello to Liz, Colleen and the rest of the crew…what wonderfully talented people.

I will always remember David Green from this newspaper whose intelligent editorials were on my must-read list; he was both my first and last visitor, welcoming and saying a fond goodbye.

I could go on and on for there is so much about Morenci and its people that is in my heart: the generous nature of the Kiwanians and earnest endeavors of the Chamber of Commerce for the Morenci citizens, the loving friends I found in my congregation at the United Methodist Church and the Congregational Church that I served for a short time, the Friday night Happy Hour gang, the phenomenal meals at the Disters, movies with Lois, my exercise group at Curves, coffee with Connie…these are precious memories that will always live with me.

Morenci might not be found on “The Best Place to Live” list but that is only because the judges haven’t learned about it.  I arrived in Morenci, sight unseen, expecting a foreign kind of life that included cows grazing on the front lawn of the parsonage, so unaccustomed was I to the life in a rural town.  Instead I found a place I wanted to call home.

My immediate plans are to plant a few flowers, walk on the beach and read that stack of books I brought along. My future plans are uncertain, but a trip back to Morenci is at the top of the list.

– The Rev. Dorothy Okray
University Park, Fla.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.

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