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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • 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.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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