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.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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