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.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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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